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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All -

I don't post much, have lurked on a regular basis for several years .;)

The P99 QA was my second handgun; my first being a Glock 23, which I owned about one month before selling. They don't call it a "Block" for nothing.

But I liked (and still do) the idea of a "safe action", "semi double action", etc. consistent trigger pull. I did a bit of research, and decided in the spring of 2002 that the Walther P99 QA in .40S&W was what I wanted.

If I recall correctly, at the time, QAs were not commonplace like they are today. I walked into my gunshop, expecting to place a special order and wait weeks, but there it was on the wall -- They had just gotten the first one in.

It fit my hand perfectly, felt balanced, pointed naturally -- I was sold. I still have my receipt and it's a little painful to look at. Let's just say I paid a premium -- even for gunshop prices -- and leave it at that!

However, in five years and a guesstimated 6,000 rounds, the P99 has NEVER had a FTF, FTE, or any other malfunction whatsoever. And with the exception of reloads, I've fed it just about every type of ammo available, from cheap Fiocchi to premium Gold Dot.

I trust my P99 to go "bang" 100% of the time. And that, I think, is the most crucial element in a defensive handgun.

But it hasn't been all roses...

In the summer of 2002, probably after ~500 rounds, the trigger fell off while at the range. I kid you not: The - Trigger - Fell - Off.

I had the trigger, but couldn't find the retaining pin, so I sent the gun into Walther USA/S&W in MA for repair. I sent it FedEx overnight and got it back about two weeks later.

I'd requested an explanation and a refund for shipping costs (~$30 I think). I didn't receive either...

But the P99 was fixed and continued to function flawlessly as the years passed and the round count grew.

At about 5,000 rounds -- less than six months ago -- I decided to order two parts from Walther/S&W: A new recoil spring and striker spring. The former because it just seemed about time and the latter because I had cut a few coils off the original striker spring in an attempt to reduce trigger pull weight.

However, it didn't take long to recognize that cutting coils wasn't an particularly bright idea. Especially for a defensive gun... Personally, I couldn't tell a difference at all in trigger pull, but I realized that I had weakened it's "bang" ability somewhat and also opened myself up to a potential civil suit ("Your honor, the defendant -- much like Travis Bickle in "Taxi Driver" -- took it upon himself to increase the deadliness of this gun by lightening the trigger, enabling the him to gleefully shoot more people faster...").

I won't delve into the saga involved in obtaining these parts from S&W; but it was a nightmare. Finally, I spoke to Kate Fredette (?) on the phone and everything was made right.

I installed the new recoil and striker spring, and off I went. No problems.

Until this week... The trigger fell off again! Fortunately, the retaining pin was at my feet and I reinstalled it myself, using a minute amount of Loctite and small punch. I wasn't about to resend the entire pistol on my dime to S&W yet again for the same repair.

I'm confident that it's secure now. Also, FWIW, this is not an isolated incident. I'm not sure how common it is, but I've read accounts of other P99 owners who had their triggers just fall off over the years.

Later, I noticed that the "new" recoil spring wouldn't lock into place upon reassembly.

Puzzled, I took a look and saw that it was noticeably bent. I attempted to straighten it and it immediately snapped in half. Fortunately, I'd saved my old recoil spring as it had served me faithfully in the past and the only reason for replacing it was preventative maintenance.

For some reason, I'd bought into the Walther assurance that their polymer recoil spring rod was just as sturdy as metal one. Ehh... A metal rod wouldn't have bent and certainly would not have snapped in my hands. If I hadn't of kept my original recoil spring, I'd be without a working pistol... My guess is that the choice to go with polymer was primarily a cost cutting measure -- and not a way to reduce weight as claimed.

I'm sending the broken guide recoil spring into S&W tomorrow; hopefully they'll replace with a metal one (if available) or at least replace it with the right recoil spring for this make and model... I'm actually wondering if the broken part was for a 9mm? Anyone know? If so, I wouldn't be surprised. I just hope this doesn't turn into another drama of the wrong parts being delivered over and over...

I recognize that I sound like I'm slamming Walther -- both the pistol and the distributor. That's really not my intent as this P99, again, has never jammed on me. Although reliable, not one of my other autoloading pistols can make that claim. They've all choked at one time or another or are finicky about ammo.

So as a five year owner w/ a moderate number of rounds put downrange I'd assess the P99 QA .40S&W thusly:

Pros:
- Excellent value for the money (not when I bought mine, but today)
- Exchangable backstraps for custom hand fit
- Utter, complete reliability
- Good accuracy; I'm sure even better with the AS model

Cons:
- Poor service from S&W; I really, really hope mine was an isolated case. Will find out soon enough!
- There are/were problems with the trigger retaining pin (or whatever the part is); at least on their 48xxx serial # QA pistols
- More of a neutral, but trigger pull could be improved. My feeling is that the QA sits somewhere betwen the mushy Glock trigger and the crisp Steyr trigger. All are striker pistols, precocked. The QA trigger is acceptable, but could be improved imo.


Five year verdict: Can't speak to the new generation of P99s, but mine is fundamentally rock solid, but exhibits a couple of flaws that really should be addressed. Overall score: B+. YMMV.

That's it... Hope you found my five year retrospective a worthy read!

David


 

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I have a P99 QA but with the Titanium slide. I've got about 700 rounds mostly reloads through it. Also Winchester white box 40 cal. ammo from Wally world. Ive never had a FTF, FTE either. BEST damn handgun ive ever owned!:) :cool:
 

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P99 is a great gun but all good things have a few kinks. I believe the .40 had more than the 9mm. Trigger roll pin is not a big deal but it is if it is you gun and it falls out when you need it most.:eek:

As to the recoil spring guide, I guess some plastics can get brittle with time. But mine have functioned flawlessly with thousands of rounds. Could it be that more heat was built up due to yours being a .40? Maybe but I am not a plastics expert. But plastics are not as flexible as one my think and some will definitely break under pressure. My guide rods and springs have a bit of bow to them but I leave them as is. Until the break from firing I am not going to fool with them. A crooked limb can still hold a tremendous amount of weight?

As per S&W, I hope your experience was a ?fluke.? I have had much success in ordering parts and customer service. I can say this. Don?t send your weapon without contacting them FIRST. Unless it is a customer error, they will send you a prepaid FedEx label and will pay shipping both ways?..

As to your trigger pull on the QA, well I can?t help you much. I have 3 AS models and have change striker springs and cut the coils on a couple. For my carry gun everything remains factory original except for the sights due to legal considerations. I tried several different weight springs, Glock and Wolf, but both failed to pop the primer consistently. I cut off a few coils of the standard Walther springs and bingo, lighter trigger pull and no FTF. BFWIW, after several thousand rounds, I can?t tell any difference in the trigger pull of my 99 with the stock striker spring and the one that I snipped of a few coils.

Glad you are still a happy Walther owner. I know that I am?.:)
 

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Bought my 9mm QA from Earl's back in 2000, thus far I am quite satisfied overall. After it reached 12K rounds count over a year or so ago, I stopped keeping the tally.

Lucky enough I got a metal guide rod from S&W several years ago when they offered it. It was all black when new, now is shiny silver. The trigger roll pin did move a little, it happened twice, a tap with a roll pin punch took care of it. I noticed the 2006 QA Compact trigger roll pin's position is slightly different, half of the pin is actually blocked by the frame, I don't see any possibility that the pin will walk.

The trigger pull distance between my full size and compact QAs are noticeably different. The compact has a longer pull. Below is the explanation from Germany :

According to the dimensions which vary from production lot to production lot the trigger travel changes also. During assembly of the pistols we take care of this by adjusting the striker travel which corresponds to trigger travel directly. However this target range for the striker travel still is a "range", hence guns can be on the minimum side or on the maximum side.
Walther adjusts the striker travel by exchanging the striker assembly. For this reason the strikers are marked with a number on the left side. The numbers go from 1 to 5. The higher the number the larger the striker travel and the trigger travel will be.
Please take note that you can not use this to change trigger pull or adjust trigger travel. The striker travel is required to stay within the tolerances put down by Walther. If striker travel is not within specs, then the timing of striker safety, trigger stop, etc. is no longer good and the gun will fail to fire or will not be safe any more.


Hope this info would be helpful ....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the replies.

Jake - Just to clarify, the recoil guide rod that broke is < 6 months old so age/brittleness should have nothing to do with it.

The recoil guide rod that came with my P99 five years ago is still running strong and in my gun right now. It's always been slightly bowed, but as long as it continued to work, I never gave it a second thought.

The broken guide rod is another story. It became extremely bowed within a few months. So much so that it wouldn't lock into place and snapped in half when I attempted (very gently I might add) to bend it back.

I wish someone had been there to snap a picture of the look on my face the precise moment it broke in my hands...:eek:

Sorry for repeating myself if you understood the nature of the problem the first time around!

I think this was just a defective guide rod or perhaps designed with slightly different tolerances for the newer models? I don't know. The only reason I replaced it was because it had performed so well, I thought it deserved an early retirement.;) My mistake.

In re: to trigger pull and the escape-minded trigger retaining pin, I'm ok with both. If I wanted a pistol with a delightfully light and crisp trigger pull, I would have bought a finely-tuned 1911. But then I wouldn't have what I have now; an ergonomic autoloader with 12+1 and a punch; that's as reliable as any .38 wheelgun out there.

It would be nice to buy (if i could find one) an AS and see how it compares in trigger pull. Especially a compact model.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid my dealings with Walther USA are at an end. I emailed their customer support immediately after posting here.

All while praising their products, I requested a replacement recoil guide rod spring for the one that had failed.

No response whatsoever. I'll certainly give them more time to reply, but I'm beginning to wonder "what good is owning a P99, if there's no service to back it up?". After all, EVERY regularly used machine -- be it a handgun, toaster, or wristwatch -- will have a part break/need service at some point.

I own a Steyr S9 which had an embarrassing number of FTEs since day one, but Steyr USA has been so quick to respond and address malfunctions it was unreal. Great customer service.

I wish I could say the same for S&W/Walther.

Can anyone recommend a source for METAL guide rods (besides Walther USA)? I'd happily take a polymer guide rod from Walther -- if they'd only offer me a replacement, or even acknowledge that I existed.:mad:

Speaking of which, as much as I love my P99, can anyone offer differing handgun recommendations (don't say "Glock"!)? Requirements would include: an autoloader, at least 9mm, good ergonomics, and excellent reliability?

That said, if Walther USA ends up replying and replacing this $0.05 piece of plastic, I may go the P99c route after all!

-David

PS -In addition to my P99, I own a Steyr S9, a Kahr PM9 (avoid imho), a Ruger SP101, and an Interams-import PPK.
 

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Perhaps a SIG? I have a 229 that I bought certified pre-owned in great shape. I've put about 1,500 rounds of CCI Blazer through it and it's performed like a champ. I find it to be very accurate. Mine is DA/SA, which I gather isn't your preference, but they do make a DAO version. It's available in 9mm, .357SIG, and 40S&W. I find the feel to be more solid than a Glock or the P99. It field strips like a champ and is easy to maintain. It's small enough for carry, though it is a bit heavier than a polymer pistol. The .40 comes with a 12 round magazine.
 

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The trigger pull distance between my full size and compact QAs are noticeably different. The compact has a longer pull. Below is the explanation from Germany :

According to the dimensions which vary from production lot to production lot the trigger travel changes also. During assembly of the pistols we take care of this by adjusting the striker travel which corresponds to trigger travel directly. However this target range for the striker travel still is a "range", hence guns can be on the minimum side or on the maximum side.
Walther adjusts the striker travel by exchanging the striker assembly. For this reason the strikers are marked with a number on the left side. The numbers go from 1 to 5. The higher the number the larger the striker travel and the trigger travel will be.
Please take note that you can not use this to change trigger pull or adjust trigger travel. The striker travel is required to stay within the tolerances put down by Walther. If striker travel is not within specs, then the timing of striker safety, trigger stop, etc. is no longer good and the gun will fail to fire or will not be safe any more.


Hope this info would be helpful ....
this is great info... which I think would explain why so many different reports on the "QA" are out there..... thanks for sharing this info with us Airfix.....
 

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Uncut .... you are very welcome.

David .... I can see your frustration; call them if you can. As for other alternatives, I would also like to suggest Sig. I tried a P229 DA/SA recently, very impressed; since I'm used to QA trigger, I'm partial to their DAK trigger. I am looking for a P228 myself, too bad no DAK .... I wish I could try the Walther P88 someday, heard so much about its intrinsic accuracy.
 

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Out of curiosity (and taking the thread a bit off track) how come the 228 instead of the 229DAK?
 

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The difference between P228 & P229 is the material used for the slide, but in 9mm this is a non-issue. It's all personal preference, a hard toss-up. I want P228 partly because of its rarity; but I also like P229 as they offer in DAK. It would be perfect had the P225 designed for > 8rds. Like you said, these models are solid.
(Sorry for being off topic.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm not familiar with the Sig Sauer line -- although I recall seeing a picture of their limited edition (?) Equinox (?).

Don't know if I got the model name right, but it was gorgeous. But I also think it was DA/SA (which some swear by, but not me. i want each trigger pull to feel the same) and was a little on the expensive side. But I could be wrong about that, unless it was a ltd. ed., in which case, it's probably gone up in value.

I fired a magazine of .45 ACP through one of my friend's Sig's. Again, the model escapes me, but it was single stack, all steel, and probably about a decade old.

I liked it, but I also like the soft "push" of the .45 round. That's the way it seems to me anyway. 9mm is faster to get back on target, but "snappier", and actually less pleasant to shoot.

Yeah, I know A LOT of people will take umbrage with that statement! And that's ok. ;) The subjectivity of shooting is one of the things I like about it.

What about the SigPro line? I know they're Sig's polymer guns, which I tend to favor, and have interchanable backstraps, which is great also. Do they manufacture a striker-fired DA -- or just an old fashioned SA -- model? If so, how does their DAK trigger compared to the QA?

One last question -- With my Steyr S9, it's imperative that I clean out the extractor channel every 500 rounds or so for reliable functioning. The P99 doesn't really have an "extractor channel", but I realized that I've never detail stripped & cleaned the extractor in all these years & 1000's of rounds... Should I?

Thanks for all your help!

David

ps -- i mistakenly emailed S&W, not walther usa... i thought that they were one and the same? the last time i was on the walther site (a while ago) it was nothing much to speak of. it's definitely changed for the better. i'll resend my email to them and see if i get a response. if i do, i might not be looking at sigs...
 

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I'm definitely a DA/SA or SA guy (with the exception of the Glock, which I like fine) so I cant answer most of your questions. The 229R is kind of plane jane, but a great pistol. It's the Coastie service pistol, not that that makes much of a difference -- pretty sure it won't float! I think the SIG DAO designation is DAK, and is available in some, but not all, lines. They really do have a pretty solid following.

The SIG DAK is heavier and not quite as smooth as the QA.
 

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Can anyone recommend a source for METAL guide rods (besides Walther USA)? I'd happily take a polymer guide rod from Walther -- if they'd only offer me a replacement, or even acknowledge that I existed.:mad:

Speaking of which, as much as I love my P99, can anyone offer differing handgun recommendations (don't say "Glock"!)? Requirements would include: an autoloader, at least 9mm, good ergonomics, and excellent reliability?
http://www.sprinco.com/recoil.html

As for a different Gun....look at the HK P2000 LEM ...it shouldn't cost more then $650 plus tax.
 

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I have the P229 and the Walther P99 and love both. But i have to admit to shooting the Sig slightly more mostly due because the extra weight seems to give me more control over the .40.
If you did go the Sig route you would want to look for a DAK which is Double Action Kellerman (Kellerman is the engineer that invented it). The Sig you most likely shot was a P220 which is a great gun :) Also, the Equinox line is a special edition, or at the least a more expensive option - just looking on gun broker its 979 vs. 695 for a regular P229R. As someone else mentioned you might want to take a look at the Sig Pro line. They are the polymer line and less expensive line of Sigs. For some reason because they are less expensive some Sig owners look down on them but I believe they are just as good as any other. However even though they are lighter, if you're going to carry it you should note that they are larger than a P229.
As far as recomendations, have you looked at the CZ line? My first gun was a CZ75B in 9mm and it has been completely flawless. i believe they make a DAO version, and although less common they made a striker pistol called a CZ-100 that may also have the trigger pull you're looking for.


I'm not familiar with the Sig Sauer line -- although I recall seeing a picture of their limited edition (?) Equinox (?).

Don't know if I got the model name right, but it was gorgeous. But I also think it was DA/SA (which some swear by, but not me. i want each trigger pull to feel the same) and was a little on the expensive side. But I could be wrong about that, unless it was a ltd. ed., in which case, it's probably gone up in value.

I fired a magazine of .45 ACP through one of my friend's Sig's. Again, the model escapes me, but it was single stack, all steel, and probably about a decade old.

I liked it, but I also like the soft "push" of the .45 round. That's the way it seems to me anyway. 9mm is faster to get back on target, but "snappier", and actually less pleasant to shoot.

Yeah, I know A LOT of people will take umbrage with that statement! And that's ok. ;) The subjectivity of shooting is one of the things I like about it.

What about the SigPro line? I know they're Sig's polymer guns, which I tend to favor, and have interchanable backstraps, which is great also. Do they manufacture a striker-fired DA -- or just an old fashioned SA -- model? If so, how does their DAK trigger compared to the QA?

One last question -- With my Steyr S9, it's imperative that I clean out the extractor channel every 500 rounds or so for reliable functioning. The P99 doesn't really have an "extractor channel", but I realized that I've never detail stripped & cleaned the extractor in all these years & 1000's of rounds... Should I?

Thanks for all your help!

David

ps -- i mistakenly emailed S&W, not walther usa... i thought that they were one and the same? the last time i was on the walther site (a while ago) it was nothing much to speak of. it's definitely changed for the better. i'll resend my email to them and see if i get a response. if i do, i might not be looking at sigs...
 
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