Walther Creed 9mm Pistol Review: Best Handgun Under $350?

The Walther Creed is one of over a dozen pistols I was charged with reviewing at the same time, and one would have to excuse me for not paying much attention to it at first. It is almost the cheapest of all these guns and will certainly not make anyone at a gun counter excited to look at or hold it, even though it feels quite decent in the hand. It has a model name that apparently bothers some people, Walther themselves haven’t had a lot of traction in the US handgun market, and it isn’t very pretty.

All of that said – if at any point during the testing you’d asked me which of these many pistols I liked the most, I would have replied:

“Walther Creed.”

Most of my friends and acquaintances were puzzled by this response. One friend, upon being informed of my liking for the pistol, just replied “unsub.” I think everyone was expecting this pistol to be a boring, who-cares, also-ran model which Walther Arms only produced to get a toehold in the budget pistol market.

While this may have been the intention of the executives who assigned engineers to this pistol, or however that sort of thing works, the people who designed this gun did, in my opinion, a fantastic job. They grok what it means to make a shootable handgun.

Most notably, the trigger is great. It’s a light double action style pistol with a bobbed hammer, not a striker. I don’t know if this was a cost cutting measure or if it was done for some other reason, but they really did amazing work at whatever price point this thing was intended to meet. It’s clean and crisp and has a short positive reset and has everything you want in a striker gun trigger, but it has a hammer. If I blindfolded some people who’d been dry firing a bunch of other quality striker gun triggers and slipped a Creed into the mix, I don’t know if they’d be able to tell it wasn’t a striker fired pistol. Given the low quality of many striker gun triggers, that might sound like an insult. It isn’t. This trigger was good out of the box and only got better with time.

It’s a big gun, especially for a 9mm. I don’t know why it’s so big. It’s practically Glock 21 size in terms of slide width and general heft, but it’s not a .45. It doesn’t need to be this big, but it works. Some people would probably complain about a high bore axis. I only notice this in extreme examples, and the Walther Creed is not such an example.

It was very easy to shoot rapidly and accurately. Put simply, I found it to shoot softly and carry a big slide. I handed it over to numerous shooters, from experienced to novice, and they were all able to put rounds on target quite well with the Creed. No other pistol I had on hand was so universally easy to shoot.

I was unable to test the accuracy of the Creed using the Ransom Rest, but from a sandbag or offhand at distances exceeding 100 yards, I hit small targets with the Creed. From a mechanical standpoint, it certainly appears to meet or exceed the accuracy of any other pistol at this price point and many others at higher price points. This was all the more impressive given that it has a three-piece barrel which I believe was selected as a cost saving measure. The Walther Creed is the Marine Corps of handguns – low budget, high effect.

Heading into the torture test portion of the review, I had high hopes that the Creed would chug through the abuse with its massive slide shrugging off the dust, mud, and water like it was nothing, rendering pointless the purchase of any other pistol. Sadly, this was not to be. The pistol didn’t properly function in any of our abuse tests, and most problems appeared to be related to the magazine. Even a slight amount of debris would render the follower unable to perform its normal ascent within the magazine body, instead resulting in three or four rounds falling out if the mag was shaken upside down.

Thus, the Walther Creed cannot be said to challenge the big-name, bigger-price polymer pistols. It’s just too big to carry given the capacity and cartridge it offers, although one could certainly do so if they wished, and it wouldn’t be something I would grab for a gunfight in a swamp or desert.

But not every pistol needs to triple major at Gun Harvard. Sometimes it’s okay if you end up with a pistol that graduated in the top 5% of its mechanical engineering class at State Gun Tech. It’s okay if you can’t use the same gun for home defense, concealed carry, duty, competition, hammering nails, and leveraging your brand ambassador status to make money off a discount code on zombie green gun holsters.

In the case of the Creed, I would absolutely trust it as a home defense gun. I would without hesitation keep one around as a fun and easy to use pistol for new shooters to learn centerfire handgun shooting. It has no bad habits or features that would interfere with safe and easy handling and shooting. You don’t need to pull the trigger to disassemble it, for example, and it fits a lot of hands quite well despite the mass of the slide. I don’t think there are going to be a lot of gun parts or gun accessories aimed at the Creed, but that’s fine, because it doesn’t really need anything other than night sights and a decent weaponlight to be a fine home defense weapon.

I took a brief look at what had already been said about the pistol before writing this article, which is something I don’t often do. I even went so far as to read a certain firearm blog. I noticed that almost the entirety of the conversation centered on the name of the gun, including many jokes involving the titles of songs most people haven’t heard since before Tom Brady’s first Super Bowl win.

While another name would probably have been better received in America, I feel that the obsession with factors as pointless as a name is a perfect example of how far “gun culture” has strayed from attention to what really matters in a defensive firearm. Despite its name, the Walther Creed excels at some of the most common tasks for which people purchase handguns.

After I filmed the final video for this review, I was asked by a previously-non-gun-owning friend which handgun I’d recommend he purchase for home defense on a budget. “Walther” and “Creed” were the first and second words out of my mouth.

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