Here's What You Need to Know: Like any purchase, the decision depends on a lot of factors.
Initially released in 1997, the Walther P99 has become one of the most popular firearms on the market due to its unique trigger system, easy usability, and popularity amongst law enforcement and military personnel. While it is visually pleasing, the weapon touts an “Anti-Stress” trigger system in addition to having traditional single and double action systems. We’ll get more into what that means below.
The P99 comes with three dot sights, and frankly, I’m not a fan. Maybe I’m just impatient, but I don’t like three dot sights at all. They’re difficult to use, and all of the sights look the same to me. I’d prefer to use fiber optic rods on the front sight. It would be more expensive, but I guess that just makes me a little ritzy. For me, it’s worth it. You also can look at some of the best night sights out there here.
Of all the semi-automatic pistols out there, the Walther P99 is by far one of the most reliable. Walther by reputation produces some of the most reliable guns in the game today, and the P99 is no exception. In fact, due to it’s glass-reinforced polymer body, it’s extra durable in harsh conditions. The P99 is incredibly resistant to rust and decay due to its durable body.
The handle on the weapon isn’t anything special, but it passes my tests. It fits well in my hand, and I like the handleability of it… most of the time. I will say, it can get a little slick if you’re sweaty or in the rain, likely due to its glass reinforced polymer body (mentioned above). Like I mentioned though, the gun is durable in harsh conditions. That said, a shooting glove could help with this, but you’ll also get better with the gun grip the more you shoot it.
This is where the P99 gets good. A lot of pistols have a double-action mode, which makes the gun safer but harder to fire. There’s also single-action mode, which means that the gun is easier to fire but rather unsafe to carry. With AS mode (Anti-Stress mode), you get the best of both worlds. The first shot is going to be harder to fire, like a double-action shot. Then, each ensuing shot is only drawn back a few millimeters, and then you can fire again like a single-action shot. AS mode is without a doubt my favorite part of this firearm. It’s something truly revolutionary that Walther has developed for the industry.
Magazine & Reloading
In the P99 you get fifteen rounds per magazine. The release is ambidextrous, making it easy to use by pulling with your pointer finger and thumb no matter your dominant hand. This also makes reloading easy. Additionally, you can find the decocker on the right side of the gun.
Length & Weight
The P99 weighs in at 22oz, which is quite a bit lighter than your average pistol, but make no mistake this is not a lightweight pistol. It’s five inches tall, and seven inches long, and four of those inches are the barrel. As I said, it’s not a lightweight pistol, so if that’s what you’re after you may want to see if the Bodyguard 380 by Smith & Weston tickles your fancy. It’s also a bit more affordable.
This gun does have quite a bit of recoil for a pistol, which can be a problem because of the grip issues that were mentioned above. It might cause wrist or hand soreness after repeated use, though you might also see your recoil decrease over time. I don’t love the recoil management on this one, which is unfortunate because I love the trigger system.
If you’re looking to buy the P99, you can expect to pay around $550. Some places will even list it for as much as $600, but for the most part, you can expect this pistol to be at or around the middle of the market price. If you want something a bit cheaper but still love Walther’s German engineering, check out the PK380.
Like any purchase, it depends on a lot of things. Where do your priorities lie? Why do you want this gun? And ultimately, how important is having the AS trigger system? For me, I’d probably end up buying another handgun. Specifically, I’m a fan of the Taurus PT1911 and the H&K P30.
Richard Douglas is a long time shooter, outdoor enthusiast and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller and other publications.
This article appeared earlier this year and is reprinted due to reader interest.
Image: Wikimedia Commons