Picking a concealed carry gun can be intimidating.
There’s only about, what, 5,000 options?
The compact pistol market has reached the point that you can pretty much blindly reach into a box and pull out something decent. However, certain guns still outshine others; after reading this you’ll see that the Walther P99C AS is one of those guns.
If you’re a James Bond fan you should recognize the full-size P99, after all both Pierce Bronson and Daniel Craig have toted it on screen. Yet a full-size gun is too large for some people’s uses: enter the P99 Compact.
History Was Made in 1996
Way back in 1996, Walther dropped the P99 into the holsters and nightstands of law enforcement and civilians. Intended as a duty gun, the P99 leaves gimmicks at the door, leaving us with a well-crafted tool. Since then, Walther has made some changes to the gun and offered quite a few variants.
It’s become a staple in the law enforcement community throughout Europe. This gun became the basis of the now popular PPQ line of pistols. The same love that the P99 has earned is carried over into the P99C.
Much like the P99, the P99 compact has a handful of variants, but today I’ll be reviewing the most common: the P99C AS (anti-stress). The anti-stress feature is pretty dang cool if you ask me, but I’ll be going into detail about that later.
Fits like a Glove
The P99C’s grip is hit or miss depending on who you ask. It isn’t aggressive like a lot of people aim for now, but I still find it very comfortable. The backstrap is interchangeable: the gun comes with a curved strap and a flat strap.
Since the P99c is a double stack, it still fills your palm. Keep in mind it is still compact, so it is a 2 finger gun. You can get pinky extensions for your magazines. You can also get grip extensions to use with the full sized P99’s magazines.
The small grip does wonders to aid in concealability, another area where the P99C stands out. While not as small as a single stack carry gun, I haven’t had any issues appendix carrying my Walther. Personally, I use a black High Noon Holsters Hideaway; there are kydex holsters out there as well. That said, Walthers and leather are just meant to be.
Size wise, the P99C lands in the same territory of most other compact firearms. It must be said, the P99C is a lot nicer looking than most other compacts.
It features an ambidextrous paddle magazine release (which rocks). Both the decocker and slide release are right handed (sorry lefties). The decocker is in a bit of an awkward position, on top of the slide, but is unobtrusive.
The Magical Trigger
You may be thinking “Did he just say decocker? I thought this was a striker fired gun!”
While it is a striker fired gun, the trigger is what truly sets the P99C apart from the rest. The gun is a double action/single action (DA/SA) striker fired pistol.
The “AS” in P99C AS stands for “Anti-Stress,” which is what the first round will fire in if left in single action. The Anti-Stress system turns the first single action trigger pull into a much longer pull; the following single action shots have the much shorter trigger pull.
The first shot has still that “two-stage” AS trigger pull taking the full length of the double action shot. The first stage has little to no resistance until it reaches the point where the trigger would normally reset in single action. The thinking behind this stems from the P99’s roots as a duty gun—and it carried over to the P99C.
It’s honestly quite nice but can take some getting used to. I still recommend that you carry it in double action rather than single action as there is no safety.
While the mag capacity isn’t anything to be scoffed out (10 for 9mm and 8 for .40 S&W), I will say that newer guns do tend to cram more rounds into similar size guns. You’re pretty much limited to Walther magazines, which usually run around $30-35 for the P99C. There is also a grip extension that makes using regular sized P99 mags easy as well.
Putting that Trigger to Use
Ok, so I just spoke a lot about the trigger. I promise I have a good reason for this. The P99C’s AS trigger is one of Walther’s crowning achievements in firearms. For its size, the P99C is a great gun to bring to the range—and a lot of that goes back to the trigger.
Follow-up shots are quick and easy as the short trigger pull means a short reset. The first shot has still that “two stage” AS trigger pull taking the full length of the double action shot. The first stage has little to no resistance until it reaches the point where the trigger would normally reset in single action.
The sights are plastic and nothing to write home about—just your standard 3 dot. The rear is adjustable for windage and the front for elevation (by replacing the sight). Some people aren’t too fond of them but are aftermarket options available.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
If there’s one thing I can say but not personally demonstrate, it would be the accuracy of the P99C. For the last 6 months or so I let my shooting get rusty—like really rusty. So when I took it out to shoot, my groupings weren’t the best. As an added note, I was using Federal Champion 115 gr.
The only grouping at 10 yds. (9.14 m) I’m comfortable sharing was shot from a rest at an upward angle, yet 2 out of 8 shots weren’t a part of the immediate group. Don’t let this worry you; thankfully I still have the target that my gun left the factory.
This little guy left the factory shooting a grouping of less than 1.5” (3.81 cm) at 16.4 yds. (15 m). I could only dream of shooting this well. My target is on the left and the factory is on the right.
Operationally the gun works flawlessly. The only issues I remember having were early on in the gun’s life when I was using remanufactured ammo. Otherwise, my Walther P99C eats whatever I throw at it (including steel cased ammo). Normally I just use Federal Champion 115 gr (the bulk packs you’ll find at Wal-Mart) and have no functional issues. Hollow points haven’t been an issue either.
My inadequacies aside, shooting the Walther P99C is a dream.
Aftermarket, Kind Of
As the P99 series of guns were originally designed for duty/service use—and super cool spies, just watch this awesome video they made—customization wasn’t really a thought. The P99C comes perfectly serviceable out of the box.
For those of you who like to change up their gun, there is some aftermarket. Threaded barrels, night sights, and grip extensions can be found, but not many. Talon Grips and Hogue Wraparounds are also available. As I mentioned earlier, there are aftermarket sights available.
By The Numbers
Rating the P99C is pretty hard, but here’s my try.
No issues to speak of beyond user error.
For a subcompact, the P99C’s accuracy is astounding and hard to beat.
The grip isn’t for everyone. I find it comfortable and more than adequate. The mag release and trigger are both home runs.
I’m not saying the P99C is one of the most attractive compacts, but it is anyways.
Bang for the Buck 5/5
It may be old, but it still outperforms newer competitors.
I’ve yet to handle a compact that felt as “right” as the P99C, it’s just a great little gun.
Is the P99C still Relevant?
Now you may be going “hey, wait a minute, why should I bother with the P99C when the PPQ SC is now out?”
And you may have a point. Personally, the P99C still outclasses the PPQ. The P99C is one of the few striker-fired polymer guns to feature true DA/SA. It still has the nice larger paddle mag release. And it’s just so darn pleasing to the eyes.
While the mag capacity isn’t anything to be scoffed out (10 for 9mm and 8 for .40 S&W), I will say that newer guns do tend to cram more rounds into similar size guns. You’re pretty much limited to Walther magazines.
There is also a grip extension that makes using regular sized P99 mags easy as well.
Sadly, rumors of the P99C’s possible discontinuation have been circling lately as Walther wishes to push their PPQ line. Finding one can be a bit difficult now. However, the P99C still shoots above its class. They can be found at some pretty tempting prices, yet they still offer a premium experience.
Walther’s P99C is a perfect example of having your cake and eating it too.
What CCW do you run? What Walther is your favorite? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to take a look at our other Best CCW Guns!