Walther CP99 Compact – Blowback Action Semi-Auto Part 2

Walther CP99 Compact  – Blowback Action Semi-Auto Part 2

Airing out the CP99 Compact

By Dennis Adler

The Walther CP99 Compact is a quality-built airgun that proved more than adequate for use as a training aid, as well as a great .177 caliber, semi-auto for target shooting at 21 feet.

The Walther CP99 Compact is a quality-built airgun that proved more than adequate for use as a training aid, as well as a great .177 caliber semi-auto for target shooting.

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.

The CP99 Compact is so accurate in size that it fits in the same holster as a 9mm or .40 S&W P99. This holster used for the evaluation was a Safariland ALS paddle holster. The hex head screw on the front of the holster is used to adjust pistol retention.

The CP99 Compact is so accurate in size that it fits in the same holster as a 9mm or .40 S&W P99. The holster for the evaluation was a Safariland ALS paddle holster. 

With the CP99 Compact locked into the Safariland ALS holster, it cannot be drawn without first depressing the release lever on the inside edge of the pouch. This is done with the strong hand thumb just as the fingers wrap around the grip and the trigger finger rests just above the outside depression for the triggerguard. This allows your trigger finger to be properly positioned with the frame and triggerguard after drawing the gun.

With the CP99 Compact locked in the Safariland ALS holster, it cannot be drawn without first depressing the release lever on the inside edge of the pouch. This is done with the strong hand thumb as the fingers wrap around the grip and the trigger finger rests just above the outside depression for the triggerguard. This allows your trigger finger to be properly positioned with the frame and triggerguard after drawing the gun.

The author demonstrates drawing the CP99 Compact from the Safariland ALS holster. Note the thumb depresses the locking release (arrow) as the pistol is drawn. Also note the position of the trigger finger on the outside of the holster.

The author demonstrates drawing the CP99 Compact from the Safariland ALS holster. Note the thumb depresses the locking release (arrow) as the pistol is drawn. Also note the position of the trigger finger on the outside of the holster.

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.

When the action is cycled on the Umarex CP99 Compact the loaded chamber indicator shows red. This is the airgun’s version of the original P99 striker status indicator which shows red (actually the back of the striker) when the action is cycled.

When the action is cycled on the Umarex CP99 Compact the loaded chamber indicator shows red. This is the airgun’s version of the original P99 striker status indicator which shows red (actually the back of the striker) when the action is cycled.

If the CP99 Compact has been de-cocked by setting the safety or the slide has not been racked to cock the action, the loaded chamber indicator is black. This is a very good training aid to learn the gun’s condition. This training relates to many cartridge-firing semi-autos that utilize some form of loaded chamber or striker status indicator.

If the CP99 Compact has been de-cocked by setting the safety or the slide has not been racked to cock the action, the loaded chamber indicator is black. This is a very good training aid to learn the gun’s condition. This training relates to many cartridge-firing semi-autos that utilize some form of loaded chamber or striker status indicator.

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.

The air pistol differs from the 9mm and .40 S&W CP99 Compacts in several ways but the most notable is the addition of a manual safety on the right side of the frame. Shown in the FIRE position, to set the safety and simultaneously de-cock the action, you push the lever down.

The air pistol differs from the 9mm and .40 S&W P99 Compacts in several ways but the most notable is the addition of a manual safety on the right side of the frame. Shown in the FIRE position, to set the safety and simultaneously de-cock the action, you push the lever down.

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 blowback action gives the Compact Walther airgun a more realistic feel when it is fired.

The blowback action gives the Walther airgun a more realistic feel when fired.

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.

Best group first offhand at 21 feet using a Weaver stance put 10 shots in the X ring with a best 5 rounds making one ragged hole measuring 0.5 inches.

Best group fired offhand at 21 feet using a Weaver stance put 10 shots in the X ring with a best 5 rounds making one ragged hole measuring 0.5 inches.

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.

Shooting at dusk the CP99 Compact equipped with the LaserMax Spartan green laser directed all shots (total of 30 from three 10-round sets) into 1.5 inch groups with all 30 rounds inside the 9, 10, and X.

Shooting at dusk the CP99 Compact equipped with the LaserMax Spartan green laser directed all shots (total of 30 from three 10-round sets) into 1.5 inch groups with all 30 rounds inside the 9, 10, and X.

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.

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