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Old 12-30-2009, 03:15 PM   #1
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P99 versus P99 AS

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A local shop has a used P99 for sale for $450 and a new P99 AS for $729 (both in 9mm). They are the same gun with minor differences (the trigger guard bump, smaller mag release, proprietary accessory rail on the used one), right? What would you factor into the decision as to buy new or used in this case? I know the used one is the DA/SA version (WAP65000) but I didn't check any other details. I'm a newbie, so I wouldn't know what to check for wear on a used gun. Is that reason enough for buying new? Or is it fairly safe to assume that a gun that looks good on the outside is probably in pretty good shape. $279 is a pretty big difference, so even if a spring or other part needs to be replaced, I'd still come out ahead with the used one?

Let me say that I'm very open to informed advice. If a novice should stay away from used guns (even a durable, German-made Walther ), then I'll listen to that advice. I'm especially interested in things I should check about the used gun to aid my decision (parts to inspect or model years to avoid).

Full disclosure: I haven't actually decided whether to buy a P99 yet. I get to shoot one this weekend for the first time. If I love it, I'll likely buy one.

Thanks.
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:29 PM   #2
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I believe the P99 and the P99 AS are identical in function; the AS was just renamed to distinguish it from the QA. I don't have any problem buying used guns, and as you have seen they can represent a very good value. Just give it a good inspection to see that it is in good shape and doesn't have any unusual wear or corrosion.

$450 is a good price for a P99 these days; I don't recally seeing one in 9mm under $500 for almost a year.
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:03 PM   #3
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More details

I went back and looked it more closely. It was made in 2000 (AA mark and "CARL WALTHER USA LLC Alexandria/VA" on the slide), but it looks brand new. The barrel shows almost no wear. Also the store is very well regarded, and they guarantee all the guns they sell, including consignments. It's looking like a pretty great deal. It comes with all the original parts/accessories and both 10-round mags. I suspect I'll be buying it Saturday (after shooting a P99 AS for the first time). And with the money I'll save I could almost get a matching brand new P22.
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:33 PM   #4
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I guess it comes down to whether you want the old frame or the new.

I personally prefer the newer style frame/slide serrations to the old.
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Old 12-30-2009, 05:43 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ShipWreck View Post
I guess it comes down to whether you want the old frame or the new.

I personally prefer the newer style frame/slide serrations to the old.
I do too, but you have to admit that that is a substantial price difference. One thing I did notice about the older model is the mag release is almost impossible to activate with my shooting thumb. So that's more than a cosmetic difference, but to me it's not a $279 flaw.
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Old 12-30-2009, 06:22 PM   #6
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That looks to me to be a heck of a good price on the used P99. You don't see them for sale at that price often. If the gun is in good shape, and if you truly wanted a P99, I'd jump at it and make no mistake, especially if it comes with all of the goodies included. Of course, it's easy for me to spend someone else's money.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:03 PM   #7
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I do too, but you have to admit that that is a substantial price difference. One thing I did notice about the older model is the mag release is almost impossible to activate with my shooting thumb. So that's more than a cosmetic difference, but to me it's not a $279 flaw.

You will have to break the habit of the thumb for the mag release. On the P99, you use your trigger finger. You will see....

Be aware that some people complaint that the "ski bump" on the old model rubs their finger while shooting
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:24 PM   #8
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Forget the trigger finger. Try your middle finger. With a little practice it feels much more naturaly, and it's just one less "muscle memory" for you trigger finger to learn.
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:00 PM   #9
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The 1st gen P99s are all "AS", so the only differences are the mag release is smaller, the accessory rail is different (and much more limited) and the rest is all cosmetic.

From what you've said, this sounds like it will be your first gun? In that case, try your thumb, your trigger finger and your middle finger on the mag release. Whichever feels most natural for you is the one you should consistently use, to develop the muscle memory.

From your description, it sounds like a great gun at a great price. If they haven't already, ask the shop to show you how to break it down, then inspect it while it's broken down. Give it a thorough look--if there's anything abnormal, wear-wise, it will be glaring. Everything should be nice and smooth. Take a good, long look down the barrel. You should be able to see the rifling and there should be no pitting. It too should be nice & smooth. See if it's dirty or if there's any corrosion.

When it's assembled, work the action a few times. It should be smooth when you pull the slide back and it should slam home when you let it go. With the striker cocked, a partial pull on the trigger, just taking up the slack, should get you a click and the trigger should remain in that position. Pull the trigger the rest of the way--it should be smooth and of course, release the striker. Pull the trigger with the striker not cocked, so it's in double action mode. It should be a stiffer pull, as it is pulling the striker back & then releasing it, but it should still be smooth.

With an empty magazine in the gun, pull the slide back. It should lock back. If it doesn't, it could be older followers (the plastic piece in the magazine, that the ammo rides on) or it could be weak magazine springs. Either way, it's a cheap fix and just takes a quick call to Walther America (aka Smith & Wesson--they're the current Walther importer). Press down the slide stop lever and after the slide rams forward, make sure the slide stop lever moves freely.

Also make sure the take down buttons move freely. Have them show you that when they show you how to field strip it.

Find out if it comes with the box & all accessories. It should come with 2 other backstraps and 3 front sights, a small hex wrench for the front sight screw and the paperwork.

These are great guns. I've owned 2, one first gen and my current one. Both were the most accurate guns I'd ever fired, straight out of the box. My P99 is still the most accurate gun I own.

If you do get it, be sure to post pics!
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:05 AM   #10
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Thanks for the great advice. Now I'm counting the days until Saturday (the day I get to shoot one and coincidentally by birthday). Assuming I like shooting the P99, I'll stop on the way home and buy one. I hope no one snatches the used one before then, but if so I'll splurge on the new model (and tell myself that the larger mag release is very, very important )
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