Tuesday, October 7, 2008

40-round Impression: Walther P99

So I was at the Saturday night shoot, and I inquired about a regular's P99. His response: "wanna shoot it?" One of my rules to live by is to never pass up the opportunity to shoot new guns and ammo. And so...

The Occam's Razor crowd (Glocks and/or 1911s) will doubtless go into conniptions when they find out that the P99, as configured, has *three* trigger pulls. That's right. Not content with a standard DA/SA configuration, the good folks at Walther have given in to the German tendency to over-engineer everything, and have given the shooter DA, pre-cocked DA, and SA. How's it run?

The DA is, well, a DA - long and heavy. The SA isn't horrible - not excessive amounts of movement, and a break of 4 pounds or so. The pre-cocked DA is really the SA with a take-up the length of the DA stroke, so it still breaks right around 4 pounds. When you shoot it in this mode, the first shot is SA with the long take-up, and each successive shot resets at a standard SA position; when you remove your finger from the trigger it returns to the full DA sweep position, so the first shot of a new string is the long, 'safer' pull. Other than the take-up, it's the same pull, so you don't *really* need to learn two triggers. Judging from the position of the decocking lever (out of the reach of a standard grip, right in front of the rear sight), the full-strength DA is not the intended mode of carry, but available for the litigiously minded, or as a second-strike capability on a reluctant primer. The utility of that feature is questionable, but it's nice to have the option.

How's it shoot? In 9mm (light loads, admittedly), the gun is child's play to run double-taps with. Ergos are impressive, or at least they felt good in my hands. The German-style mag release is fucking bizarre. Give me a button, please.

I'm quite impressed. I usually dismiss the P99 as another space-age polymer-frame wunderpistol, but it's a very well engineered space-age polymer-frame wunderpistol.

No comments: