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What Happened to the Walther P99?

We take a look into what happened to James Bond's own Walther P99 and why the beloved pistol is still hot on the used market.

Walther has always been a neat company — one of the few gun companies to cross over and become a part of the cultural zeitgeist.

Walther PDP Full Size Solo
The PDP joined the Walther family around 2020/2021… and effectively replaced some of Walther’s models.

Walther mainly did so through the PPK series of pistols and their use by famed spy James Bond.

Outside of the PPK, they’ve produced some very nice, high-quality pistols that are often extremely underrated and admittedly under-marketed in the United States.

Roger Moore Carrying a Walther PPK as James Bond
Roger Moore Carrying a Walther PPK as James Bond

One such pistol is the now-defunct Walther P99.

Walther P99C
Walther P99C

So, today, we’re going to explore the Walther P99’s design, life, and what happened to it…

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P99: One Unique Pistol

At its core, the P99 seems like every other modern handgun. It’s a polymer frame, striker-fired 9mm that feeds from a double-stack magazine.

Yawn, right? Well, hold those yawns.

Unlike all the other polymer frame, striker-fired pistols, the Walther P99 uses a very peculiar striker-fired system.

It’s a true DA/SA striker-fired design. DA/SA systems are normally reserved for hammer-fired handguns like the Sig Sauer P226 or the CZ 75 series.

Rarely do we see a DA/SA striker-fired gun…yet the Walther P99 went even further into the weird with an anti-stress trigger.

579
at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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The AS trigger system implemented a 2-stage trigger system into the P99. When cocked initially, the striker would be in single-action mode, but the trigger would be double-action length.

Its first stage is almost weightless and brings the trigger rearward to the single-action trigger pull length. The idea was that the longer pull would help prevent negligent discharges from police in stressful situations while still providing a crisp and light trigger pull.

walther p99c
P99C

On top of the slide, the P99 features a button that allows you to decock the firearm into double-action mode.

In terms of triggers, the DA and SA were brilliant…smooth, light, and grit-free.

Truly works of art.

Tomorrow Never Dies

The P99 famously found its way into the hands of James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies and again in the World Is Not Enough.

It became Bond’s main sidearm but never reached that peak PPK status.

James Bond Walther P99
Walther P99

Walther produced several variants, including a DAO model, a Quick Action that’s essentially an SAO model, and a compact variant that’s rather rare.

A Game of Clones

Later, Walther teamed up with Smith & Wesson to produce the SW99.

The SW99 was a P99 with a Smith & Wesson-produced frame and a Walther-produced slide. Prior to the M&P series, the SW99 was Smith and Wesson’s entry into the world of polymer-frame pistols.

(Photo: WikiCommons)

While the SW99 isn’t a licensed clone — rather a collaboration — it did jump-start the idea of companies working with Walther to produce P99-style guns.

I own the very cool MR9 from Magnum Research, a P99 with a stainless American-made slide on a Walther-made frame. TFB did a video showing these two side-by-side. Check that out below.

When Canik came around, they started cloning the Walther P99 and seemingly had great success.

So, What Happened to the P99?

The Walther P99 was a cool pistol, and it attracted some partnerships within the American firearms world. However, it just couldn’t keep up with the likes of Glock, FN, Beretta, and even S&W.

Walther P99C
Walther P99C

The P99 did well overseas with contracts around the world. However, in the states, it never gained a foothold, and Walther didn’t seem interested in marketing to the American market.

Also, the American market seemed to really like the Glock style striker-fired designs, which explains why the PPQ seems to be a much more popular pistol.

Lead Free Ammo Walther PPQ and Target
The PPQ also bit the dust…

Walther officially discontinued the pistol in 2021 and later killed the PPQ in favor of the PDP. (What’s so great about the PDP, come check it out in our review!)

It’s a sad affair because the P99 was a great pistol with a lot of potential.

What do you think of the Taurus CT9 and CT40? Let us know in the comments below. This is a new series for PPT, so be sure to tell us if you like it and check back next week for another What Happened. In the meantime, check out last week’s look at the Taurus CT.

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7 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike bogdanski

    Where can I get a threaded barrel for a p99?

    January 11, 2023 8:03 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Frank

    Has everyone forgot about the SW99?

    November 30, 2022 12:04 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Nick

    The P99 hasn't been discontinued. They're still being made in limited runs in Europe and new batches ship into the USA every year or so. The P99c and the PPQ have been discontinued though.

    November 21, 2022 5:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Cj

    While technically discontinued, Walther continues to make the P99 in small quantities as production allows. They’re available for purchase now and can be easily located (late October 2022).

    October 26, 2022 8:30 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jim Hovater

    Learn your S&W history: The polymer-framed S&W Sigma (now the MUCH improved SD9/40) predated the SW99 by at least a decade.

    July 26, 2022 1:59 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bemused Berserker

    I've been a Walther fan since I bought my first,, a PPK/S in 1978. I did get to fire the P99 a few times, as a friend had one, it is a great gun, though I didn't care for the Euro Mag Release paddle. When the PPQ M2 came out, I bit and bought one in 9mm and one in .40 S&W. I still have both and shoot them on a regular basis. Only gun I've ever been able to consistently triple tap with. Best out of the box trigger on the market.

    The PDP is really just a further refinement of the PPQ for all intents and purposes.

    July 24, 2022 6:59 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Simone

    love the specific history, yes, more plz

    July 24, 2022 5:46 pm
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