Gun Review: Walther P99

A very detailed review of the Walther P99 pistol has been post on the PAFOA forum here. It also includes some beautiful photos of the P99.

So, the real verdict, how does it shoot? Well, for me, it shoots better than any gun I have ever fired, which includes an impressive list of what’s what in the realm of combat handguns (custom or otherwise). I shot 365 rounds (300 of various FMJ rounds and 65 HP’s) today, and I find that I can rapid fire the center out of a 8×10 piece of paper at 10 yards seemingly all day long regardless of what stance or grip I use. Hell, it didn’t matter whether I used the sights, used a threat-focused approach at near eye level or shot from the hip at 4 yards, I was still on paper and in the scoring ring for all but 10 errant shots. I also got to shoot 150 rounds with my Streamlight TLR-1 attached (20 of them in complete darkness aside from the light) and as a bonus, not only is the light useful, but the extra weight up front allowed for faster follow-up shots; never a bad thing. My concentrated accuracy test involved shooting the staple at each corner of my last target to see if I could hit them and thus drop the paper from the target stand. At 10 yards, it took me a mere 6 shots, with both of my misses being less than a few centimeters too low. That’s good enough for a combat or carry gun, it’s certainly good enough for my standards and I doubt I could have done that with any other handgun I own. It’s inexplicable to me why this gun just shoots so much better in my hands than anything else, though everyone that ever shot with me when I had my previous P99 laughs and tells me I should have never sold it, that was the one gun I shot like a pro. Well, here’s to renewing relationships with old friends, this P99, like her predecessor, has earned her rightful place in a holder tucked inside my waistband.

More here.

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Xsi9mm

    The P99 is probably one of my favorite pistols. I absolutely love firing this one. Its a great weapon.

  • Jake

    I owned a P99 in 40S&W it was a confortable fit but it had problems with not shooting the round right and the bullet would have verry deep rifleing marks.I also had it jam quite a few times.This is why I sold it and got a Glock 22.For target shooting the P99 is fine but I would not trust my life to it as a carry pistol.

    • Ken

      Jake , any weapon will perform to it’s highest potential if it is properly cleaned and maintained . I’ve owened my P99 .40 cal. for several years and I’ve fired hundreds of rounds with this weapon and have never had any problems with it whatsoever. Proper maintenance and care is of the utmost importance with any firearm .

  • Mark

    I have a P99 original in 9mm. It has 3000 rounds through it without any problem whatsoever. Shoots any ammo from FMJ 115gr to Gold Dot +P. A little more recoil than a Sig P226, but it is a lighter, more compact pistol. Carry it in a Fobius tactical paddle holster and you hardly know it is there. Really love this gun.

  • Nathan

    I too have the Walther P99 only mine is in Quick Action, I love it, all though
    I have been neglecting it lately (not going shooting with it) I still hide it under my bed so if I hear a bump in the night I greet that noise with some German Weaponry! I have fired around 2000 rounds through mine, and so far I have had three problems. One isn’t really a problem with the gun its more with the ammunition, damn cheap ammo, Winchester 9mm 115grain. One of problems with my gun I experienced a while ago back in April of this year. My extractor pin was going bad and was causing an increase in brass shavings building up in my internals. I clean my gun the same day, if I shoot over 100 rounds, if I don’t I kind of wait till I feel like doing it. But Walther was definitely awesome about it. Walther took my gun fixed it and had it back to me within less than two weeks. No charge whatsoever, it was also within its one year warranty. The last and rather smaller issue was with the front sight. In May, after I got my gun back from Walther, I took it out shooting. On the last two clips worth of ammo I noticed that the front sight was missing. I searched the range high and low and did not find it. I called Walther and they sent me a whole new set of front sights and an allen wrench and two set screws! I was so thankful. I don’t know of many other gun companies that would go that far for a customer. But I love my Walther P99 9mm QA! 🙂

  • Nathan, thanks for the review!

  • Scott

    I’m currently shopping around for another carry pistol. I have a Springfield, and I’m thinking about purchasing a Walther. I’ve always enjoyed shooting them. I just wanted to say that your review helped a lot.

  • Thanks for your comments. I just purchased a used p99QA . I have been looking for a 9mm for a while and didn’t know much about the kind of gun I wanted. My brother has a glock and recommended it to me. When I went to look at them, I was not impressed with the feel in my hand. It just didn’t feel comfortable. I tried the P99 and it fit like a glove so I bought it. I’ve been looking at some other websites and thought maybe I made a mistake in buying the P99. That is until I read your post. Thanks for confirming my initial feeling of comfort in holding the 99. I’m taking it to the range this weekend.

  • The only problem with the walther that Ive found is being able to obtain reasonably priced high capacity (15) round magazines for it. The walther marked ones tend to run anywhere from $40-$65 US new. The smith and wesson SW-99 mags, which also fit it, are somewhat less costly, but since the November presidential elections, are hard to find, People are buying the mags before they are legislated out of existence.

    I was fortunate to pick up two from for $33 US, but that was all they had…two.


    West Virginia

  • chad

    I bought my walther p99 4 years ago, i truley love this gun. I have probably put about 4000 rounds through the gun over the years. The gun shoots straight and true untill now. I was shooting a match and the gun started shooting in three to four round bursts! I still haven’t figured out what caused that but I am sure walther will take care of this problem. I still love this gun and wouldn’t trade it for any other gun in the world!!

  • Ken

    Hi guys,
    What do you think of the mag release? I havn’t handled the P99 myself, but have been told it is a bit out of the way.

  • Charles

    I love the P99 mag release.

    With severe arthritis, carpal tunnel, torn rotator cuff, etc.; I really need ambi mag releases.

    H&K uses a very similar mag release.
    Ruger P95, P944, P90, etc. have a slightly similar mag release.

    SR9, XD, XDM, and G21SF, use frame mounted ambi mag releases in the 1911 location.

  • Josh J

    I have yet to fire one but have handled and inspected, a used one it was already showing wear.
    This is hard to believe because it is supposedly coated with tenifer just like a glock. “lower case is not an error just a statement”
    The weight is very low and at first glance it feels ergonomic, but this gun tries to be way too many things it has a new da/sa mode.
    I dislike this feature but it gives to trigger pulls out of the box.
    The worst problems I have are it’s a glock with less actual functionality.
    It most likely has the same unsupported barrel, meaning it is not safe for +p ammo.
    And foremost it has less safety than a hi point!
    yeah I am serious look it up if you don’t believe me.

  • Lawrence Keeney

    I really cannot see the problem with safety. It seems to me to have the same sort of safety that the glocks have.

    Mine is also thinner and at least to me seems to be easier to conceal.

    Of course, your mileage may vary…Im having excellent luck with mine.

  • Josh J

    yeah safety wise I am a locked and cocked kinda guy, I was just summarizing the features to try and understand how it could cost so much.
    Either the one I used was damaged internally or the Safe trigger was considerably different from a glock.
    I have carried extensively urban some but mostly in the woods, I carry a Desert Eagle .44 Mk1 locked and cocked it can withstand a 10 ft drop and not fire or even be damaged.
    So you know my bar and hopefully why I feel the need for active safety.
    I also like the Springfield Xd, which is funny as it has it’s own safe trigger, out of the box I prefer single action.
    A fine tuned double is fine but a long two stage safe trigger is not my cup of tea.
    It is rather interesting they seem to have done away with the sada model, for a shorter pulling dao so I am not the only one who did not approve.
    not trying to be argumentative just like to state my opinion and facts I have gathered.
    :> peace man!

  • robert

    Hey I just got my cw permit and I got a P99QA I tried prob every gun in the shop this gun just felt so good in my hand not square and bulky like all the rest . I and I am a lefty and great job walther for the mag release .
    most hand guns I pic up I got to change hands to remove the clip not with the walther . Great job to them on that . Not fired it yet but will soon think my next gun will be a more compact walther .


  • Tremain G.

    Walther P99 AS. this gun is the best i have shooten so far i haven’t have any problems it fits comfortably its very light and easy to conceal. i dont think i would trade it in for anything out there on the market yet im thinking of upgradeing from a 9mm AS. to a 40 cal. QA

  • Charles

    I have been working with P99s for years.
    They are incredibly well designed and offer numerous types of actions and custom features: grips, sights, etc..
    The real problem is that most people do not take the time to understand them.

    A Glock is a Big Mac – it comes one way; you have to live with it. The good news is that there are a lot of aftermarket improvements available.
    A P99 is like a Whopper – they offer a tremendous variety – you can have it exactly your way.

    I could write a book on all of the variants between Walther and S&W, but no matter how you want it, there is one just like you want it.

    They are natural “pointers” and fit any hand.
    They are available in all major calibers.
    They are available in DAO, DA/SA, and several striker actions.

    They are excellent designs and with proper training, they are very safe; more so than most any other pistol design.
    They offer all of the good features of a striker system plus the optional safety of a “decocked” pistol when handling, holstering, reholstering, etc.

    Please study the various fire control [trigger] systems.
    Make sure that you really understand the differences and figure out which is / are best suited to your needs.

    I have all of the variants in all calibers.
    With the inherent “pointability”, accuracy, and speed on target, of the P99, I think that the 9mm is the best choice, and I am very fond of the “QA” fire control system.

    I also have an XDM, some S&W M&Ps, several SIGs, several Glocks, and more other toys than I can count.
    They all have their pros and cons, none are perfect.
    The critical factor is to get good training with a good instructor who really understands ALL of the firearms available and who can help you define YOUR needs and priorities; and guide you into optimal choices for YOU.
    Also, you must both understand that your needs and priorities will change over time, if only because of age and health issues. For 40+ years, I loved 1911s and 357s, and they were good for me. Now, days away from my 65th, there really are much better choices … for ME.

    Beware the guy who insists that you must accept his choice … you could end up wearing a Poodle Skirt, just because he [?] likes them.

    Preparation =======>>> Safety for all.

  • mjack

    I have owned my P99 DAO .40 for 3 years and have fired approx 2000 rds through it. Not a SINGLE problem ever. I have more recently been using it for IDPA and USPSA competition shoots. It shot straight but the 9 lbs trigger pull got tiresome after 30+ consecutive rounds. It was difficult to keep the sights on target when your hand was shaking from the fatigue.

    I use this gun as my home defensive weapon because of its track record with me. It’s a natural pointer and fits my hand well. LOVE THIS GUN.

  • Charles


    Get or try the AS fire control [trigger] version, and pretty much ignore the decocker [unless you want to use it for carry mode].

    Be especially careful when handling and holstering;
    constantly remember that your trigger pull weight is now only 1/2 – 2/3 of what you are accustomed to.
    For all practical purposes this will mimic shooting a Glock.

    For competition, the DAO is too much of “a tour de force” … too far.
    The good news is that your work with the DAO has helped you to develop what should now be excellent trigger control.

    Have Fun & Be Safe,

  • cornel

    well the p99 is the best handgun i ever fired, it seems like an extension to my arm, my model is the da/sa 9mm and let me say that the light trigger pull in the sa mode gives me total control and the abillity to fire mutiple shots very quickly.
    now a lot of people dont take the time to understand the sa/da system, in the double action mode the trigger pull is long and heavy, but after the first shot the weapon goes into the single action mode, that is short and light, and if you want to holster the weapon using the decocker will put it back into the da mode.
    now in a life threating situation you need not worry about unlocking the safety lever, there is none, the safety is your finger and the long hard pull, if your finger is in the trigger guard “safety unlock”, and if your finger is out of the guard “safety on”, like the glock, its a real combat weapon, and in a life threating situation you need the edge, also there is no hammer to hook on your clothes, the unit is striker fired.
    i had this unit about five years and and never had a problem with it, the only con is the size and the limit in conceal carry, but othewise i love it.

  • Charles

    I have been working with P99s for years.
    They are incredibly well designed and offer numerous types of actions and custom features: grips, sights, etc..
    The real problem is that most people do not take the time to understand them.

    A P99 is like a Whopper – they offer a tremendous variety – you can have it exactly your way …
    no matter how you want it, there is one just like you want it.

    They are natural “pointers” and fit any hand.
    They are available in all major calibers.
    They are available in DAO, DA/SA, and several striker actions.

    They are excellent designs and with proper training, they are very safe; more so than most any other pistol design.
    They offer all of the good features of a striker system plus the optional safety of a “decocked” pistol when handling, holstering, reholstering, etc.

    Please study the various fire control [trigger] systems.
    Make sure that you really understand the differences and figure out which is / are best suited to your needs.

  • Bill B

    Josh J, you are supplying no real facts just complaining and espousing supposition.

    He hasn’t “fired” one, yet cries about how awful it is. He compares it to a glock and says it is less than a glock in functionality but then complains that it “tries to do too many things”? You are contradicting yourself Josh. Explain how it is ‘less’ functional than a glock?

    We can also see how much better the Desert Eagle 44 mag. pistol fits in one’s hand when compared to the Walther P99 QA and what about the weight difference – I sure like the feeling of a large brick of lead in one’s hand (Desert Eagle).

    As far as safety goes, if you would have read about the design of the Walther, you wouldn’t have mis-stated on about how it has ‘less safety than a hi-point. It takes the minimalist view on operating features by design on purpose. The less procedures one has to partake in during a stressful action (life threatening) the more likely one is to be sucessful.

    This has been proven over and over in combat.

  • Josh

    uh ok not sure how I missed this but I would love to try one no one I know has one.
    I tried the trigger, the action and the magazine none of which felt ergo.
    I have large hands mb one with bigger grips would fix some problems.
    I won’t buy something that feels average for big money.
    as for facts unless recently added the P99 has no drop safety no active and no magazine or lock up. “latter ho only”
    it does have a “DECOCKER” or may their website offers little fact.
    all the safety features I listed are on both pistols I previously referred to.
    and apparently they are calling their trigger the anti stress.
    if you like this gun don’t be offended I simply stated my opinions and it’s short comings.
    I am a firearm expert so I will hold off on a review until I have tested one.
    as it stands this would not be a bad gun just not one I want.
    oh as for combat who uses it I find no military are you referring to your own exploits or a policing agency.

  • Eric

    quote :oh as for combat who uses it I find no military are you referring to your own exploits or a policing agency. unquote

    The P99 is the standard side arm in the Finish army and serves as standard duty pistol at Police forces in Poland, Germany (some Federal states), Spain and Portugal. It’s also used by Police departments in the UK and Canada. As we speak the P99 is competing against various competitors in the race to become the standard pistol for the Dutch Police (more than 50,000 pcs to be ordered nationwide, to replace their old Walther P5’s). Glock already lost out, mainly because of the lack of second strike capability and a dozen other requirements the Glock can not meet (Glock already lost 2 lawsuits against the Dutch government) That being said, I think my P99 – which I own and shoot for about 10 years now – is an outstanding gun. I also have a Walther P5 and a Benelli B76 but if I had to bet my life on it, the P99 is my first choice. Reliability second to none! One thing; as already said it has a specific manual of arms and I would strongly suggest to properly train on using the gun, but once mastered you won’t regret it.

    By the way, this year I ended up third in our steel plate competition, using my P99.

  • David

    I got the Walther P99AS in 9mm a few months back. I’ve only put around 300 rounds through it, but I really like its feel in my hand. Very natural and comfy. Was torn between it and a Sig P229. Couple of things I’ve had problems with my P99 though are these: When you load the 15 clip hi-cap mag to the max with Remington HP, it has a problem chambering the first round. The slide doesn’t go all the way back forward so I have to push it the remaining cm the rest of the way forward. When I put 14 of these rounds in the clip; no problem. Haven’t had this issue with FMJ rounds though. Very strange. I think it’s something specific with the Remington rounds I’ve been using. Secondly, I found the gun seems to pull to the right on recoil. Don’t know if it’s the round, or my shooting incorrectly though. Maybe my gun isn’t fully broken in yet either. Reliability is superb though. Haven’t had any problems mechanically with it.

  • Josh

    huh cool guess my books are old it seems to have lots of police use and some military.
    if they are beating glocks then glock is lying a lot “1st in LE more LEA’s carry glocks than any other brand” quote from glock ad
    I still need to burn a couple hundred rounds through one, I may change my mind they seem to be winning everyone else over. :>

  • Steve

    Josh-“Don’t Knock it ’till you’ve tried it” comes to mind and I’m glad you might give a P99 a shot-Literally. Mine is in 40Cal. QA and adds (exageration to follow) target seeking capabilities to the ammo. It’s just really easy for me to hit where I want and such was the case with the very first clip I put through it. The features I want are included and those that I don’t are not. I come from a family of shooters. My grandfather used to change my diapers on the workbench in his shop and still sells firearms to this day. The moral is Iv’e shot a lot of rounds thru a lot of guns for many years. My P99 although a personal choice, is my sidearm for concealed carry. A different choice would require me to simply pick up one of the dozens of other guns out of the safe. Someone also said something about drop test? How ’bout holding on? Or utilizing the lanyard option? At my Grandpa’s we more than drop “tested” before I bought a P99 for myself.The odds of something striking the trigger and firing the gun I’d venture to guess are less than the risk I take operating a motor vehicle on public roadways. Heck the odds of me dropping it in the first place are pretty slim.

  • I’ve had a P-99 in 9mm for a few years now and it is one of the most reliable and accurate handguns I own. It is a real pleasure to shoot and I have never had a malfuntion with it no matter what kind of ammo I use. The mags are hard to find, but I have 6 of them and that should be plenty. It came with two Clinton 10 rounders, but the mags were easy to find at the time and I bought 6 16 rounders.

    Mine has a 4 digit serial number so it’s an early one. It was my favorite personnaly owned hand gun until the wife and kids bought me a Remington 1911R1 for a retirement gift. I wish I had a P-99 in .40 as a carry weapon, but I don’t feel undergunned at all with 16 rounds of 9mm with a spare mag or two if I needed to carry it.

  • Since the 1950’s I’ve owned many, many guns from rifles,shotguns, revolvers and lately pistols. I’m not a collector, but I like guns! In the
    past 3 years I’ve owned an XD-40 tactical, a Beretta 92f (9mm) a
    Glock 21sf which I owned for only 48 hours and traded for a XD-45.
    After just two clips fired in that glock I had a blister forming on my trigger
    finger. I purchased another Springfield, an XDM-3.8 in 40 cal and really like that pistol.
    Then I purchased a P-99 AS in 40 cal. and fell in love right off the bat!
    Its light and it handles like a dream. The bullets go where you point and I
    like the options on the trigger. This will be my carry gun in all cases! I’ll
    keep the XDM under my pillow for safe keeping. The thing everyone should
    remember it takes Practice, Practice and more Practice to become proficient in what you carry as a weapon. Take care and be safe out there.

  • Ken

    My P99 is the best handgun I’ve ever owned . I like the high volume capacity magazines . It has the perfect weight and balance. It’s accuracy is superb . I can take a single hair off a gnat’s nuts a 50 yards in heavy fog with both eyes open . Thank you Walther, for producing such a fine weapon .

  • Dennis

    I probably have owned about every major hand gun made. For some reason all had something that didn’t suit me. Call me neurotic, maybe so. Last week my gun dealer said he didn’t think there was a handgun made that I would be happy with. Well I have to say that the P99 has cured me. I have put well over 500 rounds through the weapon and not a glitch . This thing feels right at home in my small to medium hands points effortlessly and the trigger is so sweet I cant even begin to tell you. I could change my mind but I would bet that I finally have found my “keeper”.

  • Windmill

    Dutch Goverment has chosen the Walther P99Q as the sucessor for the P 5. Other services like customs wil also adapt to this pistol. In total 43.000 units are to be orderd. Price per unit is around € 500,- . The transition will be completed at the end of 2014.