by B.B. Pelletier
I was asked for a report on the Walther CP99 several times, the last being in the comments to the CP88 report. We have a reader who calls himself (I only assume it’s a man) CP99 Fan, but there are several others who are also interested in this airgun.
Modern gun in all respects
Walther doesn’t tell me their secrets; but, if I had to guess, I’d say the P99 was developed to be the law enforcement sidearm that the P88 never quite became. Both firearms shoot the 9x19mm Parabellum round that is currently so popular among law enforcement agencies around the world. Recoil isn’t an issue, but magazine capacity, ergonomics and manufacturing costs are, and the P99 excels in all but mag. cap., where it is equal. And the ruggedness of the newer polymer-framed P99 is quickly becoming the stuff of legends. But, we’re interested in the pellet pistols, not the firearms.
No. 1 advantage of the CP99
Like the firearm, the CP99 comes with three different-sized backstraps to adjust the gun to the size of your hand. Having the correct backstrap fitted changes the natural “pointability” of the gun from that of a two by four to something more like a Single-Action Army or even a Luger. As practical as Walther’s P38 was, it robbed the soldier of a natural-pointing handgun. Their pocket pistols, such as the PPK, still point well, and their later service-sized sidearms handled better than the P38, but they were not world-beaters.
The CP99 comes with three different backstraps, so the shooter can make it fit his hand. Just drift one pin from the frame to change backstraps!
The P88 was the most recent Walther service pistol and was a wonderful gun that was developed for U.S. Army trials to replace the M1911A1. It proved too expensive to make, but it was a wonderful natural-pointing pistol. Well, the P99 went one step farther by offering a gun the shooter can size to his own hand.
Better fit than the CP88
I like the CP88 better than the CP99, but that’s just my personal taste. The CP99 does fit my hand better, and a P99 would undoubtedly make a better defense weapon for that reason alone. I set up my CP99 to get the gun pointing where I looked and was able to shoot accurately from the hip. At distances up to about 20 feet, this is how I would engage targets most times.
In all other respects, it’s an UMAREX air pistol!
These guns are so much alike under the skin that you can pretty much extrapolate their performance specs from one gun to another. If you have a 4″ barrel, expect velocities around 350-400 f.p.s. If the barrel is 6″, the velocity will top 400, going perhaps to 425. I used to think the 4″ guns could shoot no better than a 1-1/8″ 5-shot group at 25 feet, but using the Walther red dot sight on the CP88 Tactical demonstrated that the gun is capable of a little better accuracy at that distance – perhaps one inch. You should get the same 45 shots or so from a powerlet before needing to change.
It comes down to personal taste, once again. The P99 is now James Bond’s service sidearm; so if that’s your inclination, you’re in good company!