By Bill Rapier

Based in Idaho, Bill Rapier is the owner and lead instructor of American Tactical Shooting Instruction (Amtac) and also the owner of Amtac Blades.

Bill has recently retired after twenty years in the Navy, where his duty assignments included several years at SEAL Team 3 and over 14 years at Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU). Positions held include assaulter, breacher, sniper, team leader, troop chief, and military working dog department senior enlisted adviser. He has always been an avid shooter and is heavily involved in combatives having earned a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

I have been carrying and teaching with various versions of the Walther PDP for the last approx 2.5 years (double check the amount of time). In this article I want to talk about why I carry a PDP and also how I came to the decision that this is the right platform for myself and my family.

First a little bit of my background. I joined the military right out of high school and spent 20 years in the Navy, the majority of that time was spent in the SEAL Teams. During my time spent on active duty I was always the guy who was into shooting and combatives. Upon retiring from the service I started Amtac Shooting, a training company with a mission statement of helping good Americans be more capable to protect themselves and their families.

During my time spent on active duty our service pistols included the Sig P226, Sig P239 as well as the H&K Mk 23. For my personnel off duty EDC pistols I have carried everything form snubbie S&W hamerless wheel guns to 1911’s to Glock’s. So how did I end up in the Walther camp.

It all started when a friend of mine named Bill Blowers gave me a call one day and basically told me I needed to “try these Walther Pistols” (If you know Bill Blowers you can hear the voice that it was delivered with and also realize that there may have been an expletive or two thrown in with it). So on Bill Blower’s recommendation I decided to give the PDP platform a go, fully expecting to not to like them enough to switch platforms. Within about two months of carrying, shooting and dryfiring the Walther PDP I was convinced that it was better. Not better as in the difference between an old flint lock and a modern striker fired pistol, but better in the sense of this is a solid incremental improvement over my previous platform. This Walther PDP is reliable, shootable, carryable, and gives me a magazine capacity to deal with more than one problem.

So lets talk about what is actually most important in a pistol that you are planning on protecting yourself, your family and your community with.

  1. Number one is that the pistol must be utterly reliable and safe. If it fails in either of these categories, it might be a fun range toy, but it will never be a pistol that I would trust my life or my family’s life to. The PDP is boringly reliable and safe (I am a proponent of trigger safeties).

  2. Number two it must be shootable. This encompasses the ergonomics of the pistol, the feel of the pistol in hand and most importantly the trigger of the pistol. The PDP series has the nicest factory striker fired trigger on the market. Having an extremely good factory trigger is very important to me after watching student pistols have reliability issues in class either due to home gunsmithing on their triggers or from buying aftermarket triggers. The bottom line here is that with a good trigger it is easier to shoot more accurately.

  3. Number three it must be carryable. Let’s face it all tools are a compromise. If I know I am going to get in a gunfight later in the day I would wear armor and carry a rifle (or better yet change my travel plans). If you have found the “perfect pistol” but it is to big/ heavy/ chafes me while I am carrying it….. to the point that you don’t actually carry it, it does you no good. The PDP is very carryable.

  4. Number four is magazine capacity. I like having lots of bullets. Part of what I want to be ready for would be an active killer event or a coordinated terror attack, like we just saw in Moscow Russia. I have never shot anyone with a pistol, but with rifles during the war we always pulled the trigger a lot. If you train, being able to send 4-5 shots per second is not that hard, so bring lots of bullets. My full size PDP gives me 18+1 capacity with flush fit magazines.

  5. Number five is accuracy. How well you are able to shoot any pistol is a combination of how accurate the firearm is able to shoot if you take out the human factor, we will call this the pure “accuracy potential” of the pistol and how shootable the pistol is. The PDP combines excellent accuracy potential along with great trigger and overall ergonomics to make this a very easy pistol to shoot to a high degree of accuracy.


One of my friends and mentors (Tom Kier) told me many years ago that I should get a full size gun, meaning the pistol that I shoot the best and then dress to conceal it. What do you want to be ready for? I picture a member of my family being held by a thug with a blade to their throat. What pistol do I want to be able to put a round in to the bad guy’s right eyeball? My answer is a full size 4 inch PDP with a MRDS and light/ laser on in it. Keep training.

High Capacity Magazines To Keep You In The Fight