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Creed: Walther hits a home run with its first price-point pistol.

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For eight years prior to my taking the editorship of Firearms News, I worked for a fishing magazine and I dealt with companies in the industry on a daily basis. A rod company that was--and still is--known for high-dollar rods (think $400 and up) was introducing what they considered a price-point rod at $189. When talking with a representative of the company, I asked if this was a new direction for them and if they were worried that the move would "cheapen" the brand. The response was smart, and the rods were an overwhelming success.

"I wouldn't say that this is a new direction we're taking with our rods, it's something we're trying in order to get people into the brand who couldn't do it before monetarily," the rep said. "Think of it as a 'welcome to the family' kind of product."

When I got one of the rods in hand, it lacked a few of the nicest features the company was known for, but the fiber of what made the company famous for nice rods was present. They were excellent sticks made of high-quality materials.

This anecdote crossed my mind when I was introduced to Walther's newest offering, the Creed. Many folks think of Walther as a high-end boutique brand that's for those with deep pockets and a deep appreciation for German engineering. If you look at the MSRPs of many of the company's pistols, this isn't entirely untrue. Walther products are very high quality and many are produced in Ulm, Germany (the Creed included), which when you add in the importation costs adds a few bucks to the retail price. Walthers are finished superbly and engineered in fantastic Teutonic tradition with top-notch materials, which further add to the cost. But, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. In the case of the Creed, I was worried that the $399 price tag might come with lackluster performance and possibly sully the Walther name. After a few days on the range, I found out what the gun is all about.

Nuts & Bolts

The Creed is a polymer-framed, hammer-fired double-action pistol chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum. It's a locked-breech pistol that operates via blowback. The hammer is pre-cocked, meaning it's roughly halfway in its rotation before you begin to pull the trigger. There's a temptation to want to call it a single action because of its light pull and use of a hammer, but the first action is pulling the hammer back and the second action of the trigger is releasing it. Why is it hammer fired instead of striker fired? I asked this and many other questions to Kevin Wilkerson, Walther's Marketing Manager. The reason wasn't a function of meeting any departmental requirements; the fact of the matter is that it's just cheaper to build a hammer-fired gun than a striker-fired one. This cost-saving measure is representative of what Walther has done to make a high-quality pistol that will retail for about $350 in gun shops. They didn't use a crummy grade of steel or forego the Tenifer finish; they used clever engineering to save pennies without sacrificing quality.

As another example of saving a few bucks, the barrel is actually three pieces--what Walther calls the barrel assembly. Time is money, and nowhere is that more true than on CNC milling machines. The less time and fewer operations it takes to complete a task or make a part, the more guns it'll chum out, and at a lower price. Barrels with the chamber, locking lugs, hood and all the other fine cuts are time consuming, so making a plain old tube and screwing it into a trunion is pretty clever, and that's what Walther has done with the Creed. The barrel is permanently screwed in to the trunion, so don't try to unscrew it; you'll ruin the whole thing, says Wilkerson. Before you hem and haw about this design or call it cheap, remember that the AK-47--which is regarded as the most reliable automatic shoulder-fired rifle on the planet--uses a trunion, and no one complains about it. The barrel is 4 inches long and has six grooves and a 1-10" twist. It liked 115-grain Federal American Eagle Syntech bullets by a wide margin. See the accompanying accuracy and velocity chart. It's got a viewport notched into the hood of the barrel, but it's difficult to see unless it's bright out- ' side. Don't be lazy and rely on this; check the condition of your pistol properly by retracting the slide a hair. The whole gun is 7.3 inches long, 1.3 inches wide (but for some reason the slide seems wider that that), 5.6 inches tall and my sample weighed 1.46 pounds, unloaded.

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The slide is a bit portly because again, time on the milling machine is money. Not to mention the three-piece barrel assembly inside the slide adds some bulk that would otherwise not be there. Yes, it could be sculpted more and slimmed down a hair, but the end product would cost more, and it wouldn't improve the performance of the gun. As it comes from the factory, the Creed's slide has excellent serrations fore and aft. On the left side, the stylized word "CREED" and the Walther banner are etched. The sights are large, metal three-dot sights, which are really fast to pick up. The rear notch is large and leaves a gap in the sight picture between the front post, which is great for quick acquisition but makes them less than ideal for match-grade accuracy. The rear can be drifted for windage while elevation can be adjusted by turning the screw under the front sight. In the middle of the rear cocking serrations is a roll pin that spans the width of the slide. It holds the block that contains the firing pin and spring. The extractor is large and internal and functioned perfectly. There is a safety plunger that blocks the firing pin from moving forward until it is nudged out of the way. There is no magazine safety. My colleague Jim Tarr would gripe that this pistol has a high bore axis, and he'd be right. It takes more money to engineer a low bore axis, but this is one of those points that's bickered over by competition shooters. To me, it's like an audible rest; who cares? The gun shoots great.

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The trigger design is quite simple, and Wilkerson said part of it was borrowed from an older Walther design, but has been reworked to fit the Creed. The literature says that the trigger breaks at 6.52 lbs., but that's total bunk. Maybe it's because I shot it 200 or so times before I measured the pull, but the trigger on my sample pistol broke at precisely 4.4875 lbs. as measured on a Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge as the average of five pulls. The heaviest was 4 lbs., 12 ounces and the lightest was--get this--3 pounds, 14 ounces. That's a crazy nice trigger pull for a sub-$400 pistol. It's very smooth as you begin the pull, then you meet resistance as the safety plunger is shoved upwards, and then add a little more pressure and the hammer falls. The trigger itself is plastic. For what it's worth, there is an audible and tactile reset. There's not a more stupid point to knock a pistol for than when it lacks an audible reset. Who cares? If you're in a gunfight, the last thing you're going to be doing is listening for a small click as you release the trigger. However, that's just my opinion and I'm open to feedback on why I'm wrong.

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At any rate, the ergonomics of the grip are consistent with what Walther is putting out on new guns like the PPQ .45 and Q5 Match. There's a whole heckuva lot of human engineering that went into these frames, and I think they did great with it; it's quite comfortable. The frame isn't too big or too small and the finger grooves are just right. There are no removable panels or backstrap; these would jack the price up further. The texturing on the grip is a bit lacking for my tastes. I like stuff that leaves an imprint on my hand after I shoot it. The Creed isn't slippery per se, but the texturing could be a touch more aggressive. Again, that's just my opinion.

The magazine release is reversible, but otherwise the Creed is a right-handed pistol with the slide release residing on the left-hand side. At the base of the frame is a lanyard loop and very generous cutouts for magazine extraction, but I doubt you'll ever need them; the mags fly out of the gun with authority when you press the release.

Takedown is achieved by locking the slide back then rotating the takedown lever 90 degrees then releasing the slide. There is no need to pull the trigger to disassemble the gun. That's another one of my pet peeves; complaining about having to pull the trigger to fake a gun down. Who cares if you have to pull the trigger? Oh, but it might go off! How about retracting the slide and visually inspecting the chamber to see if the thing is loaded? It's empty? OK, go ahead and pull the trigger, take the gun down and get on with your life. Use your head. Do these people who complain about that never dry-fire their guns? I can only assume not. Anyhow, the recoil spring is a captive one with a plastic guiderod. The slide reciprocates on four small guides. At the front of the frame is a MIL-STD 1913 rail that'll accept a multitude of goodies. If I were to buy this gun, I'd use it as a nightstand gun and hang a light/laser combo on there. The Creed is kinda big to tote everywhere, but it's a soft shooter, especially when the mag is loaded to its capacity of 16. Wilkerson explained that the Creed is designed as an everyday gun rather than a carry-specific model.

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"We want people to have Walther quality whether it's in a bed stand, glove box or anywhere else," he says. "The good thing about the Creed is that if you really like it, it's cheap enough that you could save up and buy another one fairly easily."

During my interview, I asked Wilkerson why they chose the name Creed, instead of giving it some sort of "PP" denomination.

"Forever Walther has done what we call 'alphabet soup' names, with the PPK, PPS, PPQ and all, but with this new gun--a price-point gun--we thought it was about time we broke out of that and call it something different," he says. "We decided that the Creed was a continuation of our promise of quality to our fans and customers, and that's kind of like our creed anyway, so it stuck."

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Range Time

I took the Creed to the range twice. In my testing and shooting I put a little more than 200 rounds through the gun. I never once experienced a malfunction. At some point during my shooting the feedramp developed a bit of play in it (it seemed to be coming loose), but it's designed to do that, so don't get all worked up if yours does. The gun operated flawlessly with the little bit of feedramp wiggle. I shot a half-dozen kinds of ammo through it, from 147-grainers to 115s. It eagerly digested all bullet styles and weights I fed it. I let several folks shoot it and they all remarked that they really enjoyed the trigger and feel of the gun, and I have to agree.

The recoil impulse is easily controllable, even with 147-grain bullets. It proved plenty accurate with some loads, and not-so-accurate with others.

All in all, the Creed is, in my opinion, one of the nicest guns that can be had in the $300 range. Fit and finish is excellent, and my sample proved utterly reliable. The saying "it's too good to be true" comes to mind, but that's not the case here; this is a lot of gun for not a lot of dough.

Similar to the story of the high-end fishing rods, the Creed is a model that Walther hopes will bring people into the fold and get them interested in other products. They want to make more "Walther guys," and the Creed might do just that.

By David Hunter Jones, Editor
SPECIFICATIONS
WALTHER CREED

         Type:   Semi-automatic, hammer-fired
      Caliber:   9x19mm Parabellum
          OAL:   7.3"
Barrel Length:   4"
       Weight:   1.46 lbs.
     Capacity:   16+1 rounds
        Grips:   Plastic
       Sights:   Three dot, white
      Trigger:   4.4875 lbs. (as tested)
         MSRP:   $399

ACCURACY AND VELOCITY

Manufacturer                 Weight        Velocity     SD

Federal Syntech TSJ            115          1,137      9.87
Aguila TCFMJ                   147           756        129
Winchester FMJ                 147          1,255      6.75
Federal Plydra Shok JHP        124          958.5      12.85

Manufacturer              Average Group   Best Group

Federal Syntech TSJ           1.19           .96
Aguila TCFMJ                  2.18           1.25
Winchester FMJ                2.52           2.39
Federal Plydra Shok JHP       2.52           2.25
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Author:Jones, David Hunter
Publication:Firearms News
Date:Sep 10, 2016
Words:2204
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