Walther CP99 Compact – Blowback Action Semi-Auto Part 2
Airing out the CP99 Compact
By Dennis Adler
To make this test of the CP99 Compact even more realistic, I used the same holster for the Umarex model as I use for my own Walther P99, a Safariland ALS injection molded paddle holster. This is designed for the full size P99 but the Compact fits as well even with a shorter barrel length. As proof of how accurate the CP99 Compact is to the cartridge-firing models, the ALS (auto locking system) thumb release locking system in the Safariland holster works perfectly with the airgun.
I began the test with the CP99 Compact holstered, released the lock, drew the gun and then racked the slide to chamber the first round. Now, most people will carry a compact or subcompact semi-auto with a round chambered. Others feel uncomfortable carrying concealed with a chambered round. It is a personal choice. The CP99 Compact assists in this decision by having a loaded chamber indicator (red dot at the back of the slide) similar to the original P99’s striker status indicator. The red dot is not present if the safety is engaged or the slide has not been cycled.
The manual safety on the airgun has one other noteworthy feature that also harkens back to the original P99, a de-cocker. The airgun’s manual safety automatically de-cocks the action when set. You can both feel and hear that happen. To return to the FIRE position, pull back on the serrated center section of the manual safety and then push it back up to the FIRE position, (red dot exposed). This does not, however, re-cock the gun; you have to manually cycle the slide, since this is not a true DA/SA design.
For those just getting a CCW or thinking about it, purchasing an airgun like the CP99 Compact and a concealed carry holster will help in the decision making process before making the financial and moral commitment to carry a handgun. The CP99 Compact gives you the exact same handling with the exception of lighter resistance when chambering the first round, and of course, no muzzle lift or loud report, just a subtle crack in the air as it fires, and the feel of the slide coming back to re-cock the striker.
The CP99 Compact uses a stick magazine that holds 18 steel BBs, but it is still released from and loaded into the grip in the same fashion as a 9mm or .40 S&W magazine. Reloading practice with the CP99 Compact is in actuating the ambidextrous magazine release built into the triggerguard (inserting the stick magazine) and releasing the slide to chamber the first round as you would with the cartridge-firing model.
The airgun uses a quick load magazine design that speeds up the process. Just lock the follower at the bottom and drop the BBs in the opening at the base of the magazine. Have a few extras ready to go (they sell in sets of two) because you can burn through 18 shots pretty fast with this airgun.
As for accuracy, at 21 feet, which is recommended for blowback action air pistols, and is also the same distance for close quarter combat training with compact and subcompact cartridge-firing handguns, the air pistol placed 10 shots in the X ring with a best 5 rounds making one ragged hole measuring 0.5 inches. The total spread for all 18 shots was 1.75 inches, and average velocity was 350 fps.
Using the LaserMax Spartan green laser at 21 feet, tests were shot in 10 round groups. A total of 20 shots struck in the 9 ring while 10 grouped in the 10 and X rings. The group in the 10 and X measured 1.5 inches. The groups in the 9 ring also averaged 1.5 inches. Using the laser on the CP99 Compact is a good training experience for shooting in low light situations, and the laser maintained the gun’s accuracy at the same distance.
I like this airgun for a number of reasons; first that it is a Walther branded pistol, secondly, it handles close enough to the 9mm and .40 S&W models to make it an acceptable training gun, and last, as an air pistol just for plinking and shooting paper, it stands up as a well-built, easy to use, quality airgun at a very reasonable price. When you put all that together, it’s hard to go wrong with this Umarex match up to the Walther P99 Compact.
The Airgun Experience will return in September with a new series on “Airguns of the American West – Delivering Western Justice.”
A word about safety
Blowback action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.