Walther Creed 9mm: Gun Review
By reducing features that aren't relevant to every shooter, Walther has created an excellent modern polymer pistol with a price tag under $400.
Not too long ago I was tooling around Appleton, Wisconsin visiting the folks from the United States Concealed Carry Association to test out some new gear and looking for one of those “cheesehead” hats. I succeeded on the gear front but am still cheese-hat-less. I suppose I’ll survive.
Anyway, I had the opportunity to shoot a new (to me) gun, the Walther Creed. I’ve always like the feel of the modern Walther pistols. Those ergonomic grips fit me comfortably, so I find the pistols easy and soft to shoot.
The Creed has those features too, but represents a deliberate effort to shave some cost by eliminating or tweaking some of the extra stuff. To get the money thing out of the way, the Creed retails for just $399. That’s a whopping $100 to $200 (give or take) less than other polymer pistols in a similar class.
From what I can see, the company managed to reduce the price point not by hacking up important elements, but by reducing a little here and there on features that are not relevant to everyone. We’ll hit on some of those as we take a quick tour of this pistol.
A Quick Tour
The Creed is a polymer-frame pistol like the PPQ, P99 and other modern offerings from Walther. In fact, at first glance, you might think it is a PPQ. It comes with two 16-round magazines and is packed in a hard plastic case. It’s a full-size gun with a 4-inch barrel and a 7.3-inch overall length. The unloaded weight is 27 ounces.
That makes it about three-quarters of an inch shorter than the Glock 17, mostly because that Glock has a 4.5-inch barrel. It’s also two ounces heavier than the G17, but that’s not a bad thing when it comes to handling recoil.
The important metal stuff like the barrel and slide are Tenifer-treated for durability and corrosion resistance. You’ll also notice that the slide has cocking serrations in the front and the back. If you’re one to check the chamber by grasping the front of the slide, you’ll appreciate that feature. If you’re not, the serrations probably won’t get in your way.
When you get into the specific features, you can start to see some hints as to where Walther did its trimming to meet the aggressive price point. The trigger has no leaf to block movement. However, there are two internal drop safeties and a firing pin block.
The sights are standard three-dot in white. The dots have no tritium nor do they glow after exposed to light. However, the sight housings are both made of steel, so they’ll be plenty durable. The Creed does not offer interchangeable backstraps, so the grip size in the box is the size you live with. I’m not sure if I just don’t care or if my hands are universally sized, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever actually switched to a different backstrap on any of the pistols I’ve used. So, for me, that’s no big loss.
The operating controls are what you would expect for a pistol in this class. The generous magazine release button is installed on the left side of the frame just behind the trigger. Without adjusting my firing grip, I can easily reach the release and drop a magazine, so swaps are quick and it’s easy to get the first shot of a new magazine off quickly.
If you shoot left-handed, you can easily swap the magazine release button to the opposite side. There’s a takedown lever on the left side. That’s not ambidextrous nor does it need to be. To field strip the Creed, just remove the magazine, lock the slide back, and rotate the lever. The slide will come right off, and there is no need to press the trigger, which is a nice safety feature.
Forward of the trigger guard, the frame has an accessory rail with two cross slots for attachment of your preferred lights and lasers.
How About Some Action?
Let’s talk about the action, because it’s interesting. You’ll notice that when you start to press the trigger, a hammer appears out of the back end of the slide. It’s shaved, so there is no spur or way to cock it with your thumb. So, technically, this is a hammer-fired pistol which might imply that’s it’s a double-action. As a refresher, a double-action pistols do two things (hence the name double) when you press the trigger: they cock the hammer and then releases it to fire the shot.
However, this design is a bit different. It uses a pre-cocked hammer. Here’s what that means for the shooter.
When you press the trigger, since the hammer is pre-cocked, you don’t have to do all the work necessary to fully cock the hammer with your trigger finger. To put numbers behind that, normal double-action pistols require 10 to 12 pounds of trigger pressure for a double-action shot. The Creed, with its pre-cocked hammer, only requires 5.5 pounds.
Because of this design, there’s no ability to just press the trigger again if you hear a click instead of a bang, which is sometimes called second-strike capability and you can do with a DAO or DA/SA pistol (so it’s like shooting a striker-fired pistol in that regard).
While some people get all cranked up about having “second strike capability,” I could care less. In fact, to me, it’s a completely meaningless “feature.” When shooting a semi-automatic pistol, my instinctive response when hearing a click is to smack the magazine, rack the slide, and try again. Doing a second trigger press instead is a personal opinion preference, but I don’t see the lack of it as a big deal.
Even when shooting a revolver, you’re not hitting the same cartridge again when you pull the trigger a second time – you’re in a sense “ejecting” the one that didn’t go bang by moving it out of the way.
I measured the weight of the trigger press using a Timney Triggers scale and found that it consistently measured exactly five pounds. There’s about one-half inch of take-up with light resistance, maybe a pound or so.
During this phase, you can see the bobbed hammer rock back out of the rear of the slide. Once you encounter pressure, an additional eighth of an inch breaks the shot. If I put it right to my ear, I can every so slightly hear a bit of grit during the press, but I can’t feel it. All in all, especially for this price point, it’s a surprisingly good trigger feel.
The trigger face itself is wide, about three-eighths of an inch, and smooth with rounded edges. It’s perfectly comfortable during longer shooting sessions – not like some other pistols that’ll give you blisters. I know, first-world problems.
Shooting and Accuracy Testing
The Creed is an exceptionally soft shooter. That extra couple of ounces on the overall weight, combined with the well-rounded grip profile, make this a comfortable gun.
The 9mm isn’t exactly an abusive monster of a caliber, but compared to some of the new polymer lightweight sub-compacts on the market, this one is a pleasure to shoot. You know how it goes, larger and heavier guns are usually easier (and more pleasant) to shoot, but perhaps not as pleasant to carry.
Between my plate rack shooting adventures with the USCCA and the time I’ve spent with the Creed at my home range, I have not yet had any malfunctions. It does what it’s supposed to. The steel magazines drop free easily when commanded to do so and lock into place with authority.
I’ve been using it with a Comp-Tac International Kydex holster molded specifically for the Creed. It’s an outside the waistband holster that comes with three different mounting options: belt loops, paddle, and offset belt loops. I love the belt mount – it locks in place and is rock solid once placed.
These days, modern handguns are more accurate than most of us shooters, so the degree of mechanical accuracy isn’t a big problem. However, I do find that’s it’s a good indicator of general fit and attention to detail. If parts are precisely sized and placed, and of good quality, then that tends to show at the range with accuracy performance. Since most guns are more accurate than my eyes are at 25 yards, I mount a handgun scope using a UM Tactical Rail Mount when trying to shoot small groups. This nifty invention allows you to put a scope or red dot on just about any pistol with an accessory rail up front. Since the Creed has that, I was good to go. I stuck my trusty Bushnell Elite 3500 2-7x Scope on the Creed for testing. While it looks kind of “interesting,” it’s an effective way to see what a pistol can really do.
Stabilizing my scoped Creed on a pistol rest weighed down with a 25-pound bag of lead shot, I proceed to fire lots and lots of five-shot groups using a variety of 9mm ammo. Here’s what I measured when I averaged everything out.
|Ammunition (9mm)||Group Size (5 shots, 25 yards)|
|American Eagle FMJ 115 grain||2.76”|
|American Eagle FMJ 124 grain||3.26”|
|American Eagle FMJ FP 147 grain||2.58”|
|CCI Blazer 115 grain||2.60”|
|Federal FMJ RN 115 grain||3.10”|
|Polycase Inceptor RNP 65 grain||3.01”|
|Sig Sauer FMJ 115 grain||3.45”|
|Sig Sauer V-Crown 124 grain||2.01”|
Considering the price point of the Creed, I found that pretty impressive. The group sizes easily matched that of pistols retailing for $599 and more. Sure, if you add some hundreds to the price tag, you can shrink those groups down an extra inch at 25 yards. But I have to ask, does it matter? Call me pleasantly surprised – I didn’t expect those results.
Plenty of other holster and accessory makers have gotten into the Creed market, in addition to the ones already mentioned.
We tested the Comp-Tac International holster for this story, but other holster makers have jumped on the bandwagon. Alien Gear now offers their Cloak Tuck inside the waistband holster to fit the Creed, and the Cloak Mod and Cloak Slide for outside the waistband carry. DeSantis also makes a number of Kydex and leather OWB and IWB holsters. Be sure to check the Walther website as other holster vendors are listed there.
As far as lights or lasers go, the accessory rail on the Creed will allow you mount most any general-purpose rail accessory.
If you want something lower profile for concealed carry, you might consider one of the Crimson Trace Rail Master Universal Laser Sights. For a home-defense setup, you can add something like a Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro, which combines a 100-lumen light and a red or green laser in a slightly larger rail-mounted housing.
You can order two types of magazines for the Creed. The pistol ships in two variants, one with the 16-round magazines mentioned here and an alternate version that comes with two 10-round magazines (for those “compliant” states). Additional magazines are also available separately.
The 10-rounders have an MSRP of $42, while the 16-round mags retail for $39. If you shop around a bit, you should be able to find both for less at local and online retailers.
Summing it Up
From my experience so far, the Creed is a bargain. If you don’t care about a couple of the details like swappable backstraps to change grip size, then it’s hard to go wrong. It’s solid, easy to shoot, and runs like a champ. At just $399 MSRP you’d be hard pressed to match the bang for the buck.
Walther Creed 9mm Specifications
|Weight (empty)||27 ounces|