I Carry: Walther PDP Compact Pistol in a Dark Star Gear Holster

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posted on February 19, 2021

Firearm: Walther PDP Compact (MSRP: $649)

Stop me if you’ve heard this pistol described before: It has a 4-inch barrel, squared-off trigger guard, 15-round magazine, striker-fired, and has a polymer frame and trigger-blade safety. Think you know what pistol I’m talking about? Well, considering that Walther just released its new PDP Compact this week, I doubt this was what came to mind. Brand new for 2021, the PDP is Walther’s latest addition to the concealed-carry market, and it’s got a lot going for it.

For starters, there’s what Walther calls “Super Terrain” cocking serrations, both front and rear. These oversize projections aren’t just cut into the slide—they actually extend beyond the surface of the slide. Charging the PDP is a simple task using these effective additions. The grip surface is what Walther deems “performance duty texture,” giving a tactile, almost sticky feel to the grip that keeps it firmly in the hand. Three backstrap sizes are available to further fit the PDP to the individual shooter.

Looking atop the slide, there’s a familiar cut near the rear. Walther’s PDP is cut for an optic, and when ordering the pistol, choose which optic you want to mount and the company will include the plate for it. In a clear nod to the ever-growing popularity of red-dot sights, there’s a slight projection at the bottom of the grip—this is to allow a full, three-finger grip that assists in bringing the dot into view. Applying pressure at the bottom of the grip helps bring the pistol level and often will bring the dot into view as part of the presentation. It’s well-thought out, and one of the first red-dot specific grip features we’ve seen in a new pistol.

Other nice touches include an oversize magazine release, a simply massive, but sleek slide stop and a trigger that’s among the best we’ve tried—and not just among striker-fired pistols. Walther’s new PDP line is a continuation of the manufacturer’s evolution in handguns for the concealed-carry market, with each iteration building on the successes of the last. The PDP might just be the best pistol you haven’t heard of... Yet. 

Holster: Dark Star Gear Orion (MSRP: $80)

One problem with brand-new pistols is that quite often, the need to keep the release quiet interferes with the availability of gear at the launch. Fortunately, the folks at Walther worked with the folks at Dark Star Gear to have one of the company’s excellent Orion holsters available for the new PDP pistol. We’ve covered the Orion previously, noting its robust construction and Dark Wing attachment that helps push the Orion into the body for optimum concealment. It’s a simple-yet-sturdy, single-sheet design with adjustable retention and ride height.

Dark Star Gear’s Orion line is available in a wide variety of color options and can even accommodate custom prints. Attachment options include the standard metal clip and pull-the-dot loops, and the Orion can be ordered for firearms with slide-mounted optics. Pricing varies according to options chosen. 

Knife: Giantmouse ACE Sonoma (MSRP: $269)

A quality EDC setup like the PDP and Orion just calls out for a knife of similar quality. The Giantmouse ACE Sonoma offers a lightweight, efficient knife with a 3.4-inch, straight-back blade constructed of Bohler M390 stainless steel. Overall length is 8 inches, and the ACE Sonoma weighs a mere 3.7 ounces, thanks mainly to the titanium construction of the scales and clip.

Opening via a flipper mechanism, the ball-bearing action is quite smooth, but as with other frame-lock knives we’ve covered, there’s a slight catch. When opened with the right hand, pressing on the flipper with the index finger you need to be careful not to grasp the knife so that your middle, ring and pinky fingers pinch the frame lock. The blade will be difficult to open should this happen. With the ACE Sonoma, though, there’s a simple solution: Place your fingers along the titanium clip, which will relieve pressure on the frame lock. For the southpaws, just make sure your thumb isn’t pressing on the frame lock and you’ll be fine.

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