Maruzen Walther P99 TacIII review


Maruzen Walther P99 TacIII

By Arnie

Stock Specifications
Materials
ABS with metal barrel
Capacity
24 (6mm BB)
Length
180mm / 310mm
Weight
845g / 895g
Includes
gun, magazine, manuals, silencer, lamp, case
RRP
185USD

Well right from the start I’d like to thanks the guys at Endoshoji Japan for sending this product over to me, it was a completely unexpected and much appreciated early Christmas present.

Curiously the P99 is actually one of the most comfortable and ergonomic pistols I’ve held however I’ve never got around to picking up an Airsoft version, so I think someone out there must have been reading my mind. I don’t remember hinting about it on the news page at least.

Introduction: The “TacIII” version is Maruzen’s third tactical boxset from them, coming supplied in a gun case similar to those that most real firearms do these days. The set comprises of the P99 gas blow back fitted with lower lamp unit and upper rail frame, and a silencer. There’s also two Allen keys, a silencer, a clear pipe and paperwork in the box.

The box: Someone certainly put some effort into this, as it is one of the best laid out products of this type I’ve seen for a while. The box is covered in decals and material, and even has an area at the top where the cardboard can be folded back to expose the carry handle for the ABS carry case. Unlike some of the cheaper cases I’ve come across previously, the catches on the case look like they’ll take a fair bit of use, and surprisingly the hinges aren’t just flexed plastic – instead they are hinged with a metal push rod through them. The lower half of the box is fitted with molded impact foam, while the top is your standard egg box foam. There’s a piece of card at the top of the lid which is a hint that you’ll need to look behind the top foam layer for your manuals, warranty card and other paper pieces.

Putting it all together: First things first, you’ll most likely want to see how things fit and go together. The silencer in the box is foam filled, and is quoted to reduce noise by up 75%, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it basically just threads onto the muzzle.

One thing that you might overlook upon initial inspection is that the P99 in this particular boxset comes with a metal barrel – the same that comes in the Maruzen kit with the silencer if you buy it separately from your favorite store. Curiously this barrel has a ~6mm hole bored in the side of it about a 1/3 of the way along. I assume that this to comply with export and safety regulations somewhere. Also of note is the fact that the real threaded barrel set for the P99 features a much beefier silencer and an extended barrel with an external thread (and thread protector), rather than the internal interrupted thread seen here.

The lamp unit is not really of amazing quality, but for Airsoft use it certainly does the job. I’m not a huge fan of standard throw switches on a lamp unit, but the lamp was built on a budget, so I guess corners had to be cut somewhere to get everything in for the price. The lamp has two switches on the rear that protrude inward inside the trigger guard area.

You’ll need an obligatory CR123a battery to power the torch, so if you are lacking one, best pop out to your local electronics store for a few.. ether that or knobble your other lamp for spares. Sadly the ones in the back of the TV remote don’t fit, as that’s normally my first port of call if I’m out of batteries.

Sadly there’s no aiming device supplied with the P99, although there’s room for one in the box. You’ll be missing out if you buy this set and don’t tag a half decent holographic red dot sight onto your order. A Guarder Reflex unit for example will only set you back around £30 and is well worth it.

P99/Walther history:

I’m afraid I’m not that familiar with Walther’s history, so rather than retype what’s already printed here’s the history of Carl Walther and the company courtesy of Walther America:

In the autumn of 1886 when Carl Walther laid the foundation stone of today’s Walther Works in Zella-Mehlis, a traditional site for many German factories. Carl Walther’s greatest interest was in the design of the self loading pistols. Breaking new ground in firearms technology, the first usable German self-loading pistol was released in 1908 as the “Walther Model 1, caliber 6.35mm”. Virtually every World War I German officer carried one of the small Walther pocket pistols.

After Carl Walther’s death in 1915, his sons continued his work for his company. Fritz inherited his father’s passion for self-loading technology. In 1929, he succeeded in the production of the first pistol with a single/double action trigger – the Walther Model PP – and shortly thereafter, the compact model PPK. When the German military called for the more powerful 9mm cartridge in 1938 the Model P38 was developed. This pistol is still used today and its classic design is imitated by numerous firearms companies.

The original Walther factory was destroyed in WWII, but Fritz Walther managed to save a handful of design documents and bring them to West Germany after the war.

Building again from the ground up, he was able to construct a new factory in 1953 in the city of Ulm, where most of today’s Walther production is located.

After celebrating its centennial as a family enterprise, Walther entered into the new globalization era by merging with Umarex in 1993. The Umarex Sportwaffen GmbH & Co KG, under the management of Wulf-Heinz Pflaumer and Franz Wonisch, has a history that is truly unequaled in the weapons business. The success of the merger guaranteed the future of the Walther tradition. This has been demonstrated repeatedly by such accomplishments as winning gold medals at the Atlanta Olympics and developing the acclaimed police and defense Model P99 – “The First Pistol for the Next Century.™”

History and legend had a way of weaving together throughout the story of the development of a firm as famous as that of Carl Walther. Tradition has shaped the firm and Walther has had its hand in shaping history. Military, police and other governmental security groups in every country of the world have relied on the high quality craftsmanship and rugged durability of Walther products. At the same time, hunters and target shooters everywhere are familiar with the name Walther. Excellent service and superior quality have always been the benchmarks for Walther’s success.

In 1999, another step was taken to bring the Walther name into the new millennium. Smith & Wesson of Springfield, Massachusetts and Carl Walther GmbH of Germany announced a joint plan to form Walther USA to distribute Walther branded firearms, air guns and accessories in the United States. (Walther America)

The Police and Defense Model P99 is a 15 (9mm) / 11 (.40) shot pistol (although restrictions apply on capacity in some states/countries), was Walther’s first fibreglass-reinforced polymer framed pistol and is available in three versions:

  • P99AS – Anti-Stress
    Traditional double action and single action modes, and the added feature of the anti-stress trigger position which is engaged after reloading.
  • P99DAO – Double Action Only
    The striker is at rest with no preload for a long smooth trigger pull. The pull is consistent in length and force from the first shot to the last.
  • P99QA – Quick Action
    Partially preloaded striker provides a uniform short light trigger pull. This variation is a favorite among many sportsmen and police tactical units. (this model also available with a titanium coated slide – which replaced the QPQ finish)

The P99 was updated in 2004 (as seen at ShotShow ’04) to include an elongated ambidextrous slide release catch, improved slide serrations for better grip, a weaver rail (the proprietary Walther rail pretty much sucks), new trigger guard. At the moment there isn’t an updated Airsoft replica (yet).

The Maruzen P99 is a replica of a pre-2004 DA/SA Walther from the German factory with roll marked slide markings made famous through cunning product placement in the newer Bond films

Pistol itself: The current Maruzen P99 replica is an officially licensed replica of the Carl Walther pre-2004 P99, with roll/engraved markings. I can’t say for sure what the extent of the license is mind you – quite possibly it could only relate to Eastern countries.

You’ll note that the slide is a slightly bluer colour than the frame itself in the photos. This isn’t a photo anomaly, and curiously the NBB P99 from Maruzen is also the same. I’m not quite sure why it has this blued look to it myself. The real thing has a tennifer treated carbon steel blackened slide, and last I checked it doesn’t normally produce a finish quite that bluey/grey.

The trigger guard shape is very unique, and designed to provide an even trigger pull by maintaining the same amount of distance between the tip of the trigger and the bottom of the trigger guard throughout the trigger stroke.

The grip is highly ergonomic and therefore very comfortable to hold, to give a controlled hold both the grip and the front of the trigger guard are textured. New back straps are available from Maruzen (one smaller one larger) that allow you to vary the grips forward thickness and adjust things for your hand. To fit them, all you do is push out the pin at the rear of the grip, then swing the grip backwards from the frame.

At the front of the pistol there is an accessory rail, but you’ll either need to use Walther compatible products, or get yourself an adapter unit so you can fit standard 20mm gear.

As far as controls go, the layout is pretty simple, there’s a decocking button on the slide, a slide release catch, mag release catch, strip down release, and the trigger itself.

Functionality: So how does it all work?

Magazine catch: Magazines are drop-free on the Maruzen P99, so if you do depress the mag catch the magazine will fall out unaided.. however if you value your mags it’s probably a good idea not to let them drop on the floor.

The magazine release catch is split either side of the lower section to the trigger guard. Unlike your standard 1911/.45 clone it is relatively difficult to operate with your thumb. If you’ve got small hands it’s not a particularly natural move. The disadvantage to the 1911 style is that it’s relatively easy to compress the side of the pistol and accidentally depress the mag catch and thus release a magazine; this is a problem that the P99 does not suffer from.

Personally I’d recommend depressing the mag catch using both your trigger finger and thumb depressing each side of the catch either side of the trigger guard. If you’re a ‘point and shoot’ advocate that’ll be your middle finger and thumb.

If you don’t wish to rotate your hand on the grip to release a magazine (perhaps speed reloading) you’ll find it’s easier just to use your index or middle finger alone, as unless you have huge thumbs you won’t be able to reach the catch from a standard shooting grip position.

Magazine fitment is a little tight, and the catch engages on the last fraction of movement as you slide the mag into the mag well. Push it in firmly and you’ll see and hear the catch click when it’s secure.

Trigger pull: Like any double action pistol the trigger pull is rough on the initial DA pull, but after the first shot you’re just releasing the sear rather than cocking the firing pin and everything is much smoother.

To fire a shot on DA the trigger pull is pretty long, however SA pulls only require you to let the trigger forward about half of the total distance before you pull it back for the next shot.

The same can be said for the slide itself with regard to resistance, which has a fairly ‘gritty’ feel to it as you pull it back, but sequential SA movements are much smoother.

A useful point of note is that exactly like the real thing; if you decock your P99 (thus putting it into DA mode) you can re-cock the striker to put it into SA mode by pulling the slide back roughly 1cm and releasing it. This is just far enough for the trigger mech to cock itself, but not far enough for the blowback unit to cycle and pickup a new BB.

Safety: The P99 has a captive hammer similar in style to the Glock pistols. Unlike the Glocks though there’s not only an indicator to show if the pistol is cocked, but also a decocking button. To the rear of the pistol you’ll notice a hole with a bar inside it. When the red end of the bar protrudes the pistol is cocked, when the bar is recessed it is unloaded.

If the pistol is in SA mode and cocked, simply depress the button on the top left of the slide. Handily it’s the perfect distance to press with your thumb. If the button will not push down, don’t force it – sometimes with new ‘sticky’ slides the slide isn’t fully forward. So if your decocking button won’t move just press your slide forward at the back and you’ll then find that everything works properly.

Slide removal: The slide can be removed with the rail mount fitted and silencer fitted, but is easier with all of that removed.

To remove the slide, drop the mag, depress the decocking lever, then pull the catch above the trigger guard downwards, the slide will now simply pull forwards and off the frame.

With the slide off, it’s very apparent how well everything has been both greased and treated with silicon spray when assembled by Maruzen. All the working parts are nicely greased not too much, not too little – all very nice.

Looking over the internals the internals are a pretty good copy of the real thing but it looks like the part that loads the BB into the chamber is plastic, which could well be a point of failure somewhere along the road, and at the moment I can’t see anyone selling a replacement. This means that either a) there’s no market/need for the part, or b) sadly you’re stuffed when that part breaks, and will have to buy a new P99. On the bright side the slide is reinforced internally with a rather nice metal subframe (see above shots).

With the slide off you can adjust the hopup with the small key (see diagram to the right – from page8 of the manual). The hopup screw is accessed through the small hole in the centre of the inside of the slide with the small supplied Allen key. As things are it is set roughly in the middle. You have 1.5 turns of adjustment either way. Turning it clockwise threads the grub screw in and increases the hop – be gentle and don’t force this otherwise you’ll wreck your hop.

Reassembly is pretty straight forward, but there’s one thing that’s bound to catch you out, as you slide the top back on you’ll need to depress the silver coloured tongued piece that sticks upwards at the rear. See the diagram inset from page 8 of the manual. The strip down catch will most likely stay down, but a cycle of the trigger and decocking mechanism resets it back tot he normal position.

Markings: The replica’s markings are as follows. At the top of the back strap, between the slide dovetails is the serial number “001007”. The serial is no doubt a reference to the Bond ties with the infamous ‘007’ moniker.

On the LHS are the following markings: LHS slide front, roll marked wave “WALTHER” logo and “P99”, frame side front “CARL WALTHER ULM/D0.” The ULM/DO markings would mean that the pistol was proofed at the ULM/DO proof house, HK pistols are also proofed here hence sometimes bear the same mark.

On the RHS are the following; on the RHS slide front: “Licensed Trademark Carl Walther GmbH Germany JASG Maruzen”, on the frame side front “MADE IN JAPAN”, frame side rear “WARNING: READ SAFETY MANUAL, ACHTUNG: WARNHINWEISE BEACHTEN”, lower grip side (left/right) Walther wave logo, slide side middle “MD430794”, accessory rail side ‘Eagle over N’, “MZ” and Antler markings (more proof marks) – I’m unfamiliar with the MZ marking.

The metal barrel is marked “Walther 9mmx19 001007” on the chamber with an Eagle over N proofmark, “SD” stands for the German Schall Daempfer, which means ‘sound dampening’. The “Eagle over N” proofmark would signifies on a real firearm that the pistol/barrel was tested with a proof load. The N stands for nitro cellulose which is a component of gun powder.

A read P99 SD barrel would be extended past the front slide face and have a M13.5×1 exterior thread with very old versions having an M12x1 thread. The Maruzen replica features an M10x0.5 interrupted thread (cut into 6 quadrants, presumably to look like rifling) on the interior of the barrel. Whilst it’s not hugely realistic this does mean that the barrel looks normal without the silencer fitted. Another minor point of note is that a real 9mm SD barrel has no serial number on it, after all the serials on a real P99 all match and the silenced barrel is an option.

On the footplate of the magazine itself is the Walther logo and “P99”, whilst the silencer is marked with the Walther logo and “P99BAAS MS-1”.

Silencer: As I’ve mentioned a bit before this, the real P99 silencer is somewhat larger than the Maruzen copy, and also mounts differently.

Even in Hollywood where the reality of firearms mostly borders on comic book physics, Brosnan’s P99 in “The World is Not Enough” has the right size SD mounted silencer.

Thinking about this I have to wonder where he found the time mid-movie to swap the barrel out though, as the barrel in the dingy scene was a standard unit.. ho hum. But enough of the random movie rambles. I’d add some better screen caps, but my DVD is out on loan (Tim, if you’re reading this pop over for a coffee sometime and bring DVDs :) ).

Even though the Maruzen silencer isn’t hugely realistic, it is filled with foam and reported to noise by up to 75%.

Rather than just quote the manufacturer’s specs, the firing sound was recorded and processed through Adobe Audition. For each test the pistol was discharged towards the microphone from a distance of 6 feet, then fired at an 90 degree angle perpendicular to the mic. Tests were run using ToyJack gas. Both sets are shown to the same scale.

Here’s the readings from the P99 with the silencer fitted (you can actually see the gap and then the spike caused by the noise of the slide blowback for each shot):

Here’s the readings with the silencer removed (six samples possibly clipped for first shot):

  Forward (dB) Side (dB) Wav MP3
Silenced (peak) -4.61 -6.46 link link
Standard(peak) -0.38 -1.03 link link
Difference 4.23 (60%) 5.43 (70%)    

If you want the full stats analysis have a look at this text file – the data has been left out as it’s waaay too boring. :) Please remember these are audio dB readings, and as such they don’t equate to sound level, merely difference in level.

As you can hear/see there is a decent noise reduction with the silencer fitted, even to the noise heard indirectly.

If I’m working this out right, there’s a 4.23dB reduction in sound level heard at the front with the silencer fitted, which equates to a a 2.65x reduction in sound. If you take the noise level with the silencer off as 100% that gives you an a sound that’s 38% (100/2.65~=37.7) of the volume with the silencer fitted, which is a reduction in sound level of roughly 60% according to these figures (5.43dB equates to a 70% reduction – percentages to nearest 5%).

(N.B. the common log of 2 is 0.301, so a power ratio of 2 is 3.01 dB, normally written as 3 dB)

..that’s enough of that, my brain hurts working out logs.

Tactical mount: Looking at the Tactical Mount set that Maruzen supply, you’d most likely think that it’s not based on anything in the real world. To which you’d be kinda right and kinda wrong. There is a Tac Mount rail set for the Walther (similar to one of Maruzen’s older “Tac” sets) which does extend back over the slide in the same way, however I’ve never seen a lamp/ris combo unit out there.

Lamp: This lamp is not strictly a new product, merely a rework of an older design. Basically the RIS mount set is retro fitted to Maruzen’s lamp unit. The side rails for the lamp have been replaced with metal plates with bolt holes. The tac mount then bolts over this with four allen bolts.

The frame is metal, and the side plates for the lamp are again metal, however the lamp is made from a moulded plastic clamshell body, and to be perfectly honest the mould quality is decidedly dodgy. The two halves don’t quite join properly at the bottom, with a 1-2mm gap towards the lamp end of things, plus with all the bolts tightened up as far as you’d really like to push them there’s still lateral play in the upper scope rail of about 2mm left-right at the back.

The play in the mount can easily be adjusted with a little shimming inside the clamp mechanism, placing a little hard plastic cut to size either side of the accessory rails, however the plastic lamp is not quite so easy to fix.

The lamp is operated by two switches that protrude into the trigger guard area. The switches are your pretty basic cheap single throw double pole switches that you’d pickup at your local supplier.

Sadly at the moment I’m short a CR123a battery, otherwise I’d add some shots of the lamp operating and so figures on the brightness. I’ll update things here when I get my other lamp unit back that’s out on loan (hmmm seem to have too much gear out on loan these days).

You can actually fit the tac mount without the lamp, although if you over tighten the lateral bolt between the plates you’ll find that the slide is tight towards the front and it won’t cycle properly. Not quite sure if this is actually intended to be fitted like this, but the scope rail actually has almost zero movement to it when mounted like this.

Build quality: Build quality on the whole is very good, although I’m not so sold on the slide itself. As far as metal parts go, the control levers are metal, as is the barrel, some internals are metal and the magazine and but plate are all metal. The recoil guide is a plastic composite (the real thing is a polymer composite). The front/rear sight are also plastic, and again the sights on the real P99 aren’t always metal based.

Performance: Official specs show the magazines as having a 24 round capacity. This is correct, you can get 24 BBs in, however the model here experienced severe problems cycling after the first shot with 1 in the barrel and 23 in the mag. Literally on the first shot running 134a the slide locked half back and proceeded to dump the entire gas supply simply because the pistol had stopped halfway through the cycle. This isn’t a fault of the pistol exactly, more a combination of pressure on the loading mechanism from the number of rounds in the magazine and the guide follower combined with weak blowback from 134a gas.

With this in mind I’d highly recommend loading 23 in your mags at least until the follower spring has worn in a bit. If you plan to use the P99 in a skirmish or training environment there’s nothing worse than experiencing a jam or lock. Generally speaking if you’re not spotted initially, the resulting “pssssssh” of gas and the 134a induced cumulonimbus cloud caused from a magazine releasing its entire contents may just be the precursor to a hail of painful plastic death heading towards your locality.

Chrono results: Digging through the toy cupboard here I pulled out a selection of gases to test the P99 with. The gases used in order were, Abbey Predator 134a, Abbey Predator Ultra Gas, Toy Jack “New Power Green Gas” and CyberGun Blow Back Gas (Winter). Magazines were emptied between tests and filled with the next test gas then allowed to warm to room temperature. During the test one shot per second was fired through the chrono in an indoor test environment (~20DegC). The FPS results were as follows:

  Abbey Predator 134a Abbey Predator Ultra Gas Top Jack “New Power Green Gas” CyberGun Blow Back Gas – winter gas
# shots:
23 23 23 23
Min FPS:
195.80 290.06 268.86 259.64
Max FPS:
256.60 326.22 339.00 337.26
Average:
224.70 307.26 300.35 290.33
Range:
60.80 36.17 70.14 77.62
RMS:
17.56 9.28 24.50 20.56
~#shots per fill: 40 45 45 60

Results graph
Click for larger version

The Top Jack and CyberGun Winter gas both exhibited very noticeable cool down after around 7 shots with the magazine base reaching single digit temperatures (C). This is reflected in the results with a drop off in power by ~40fps. Both Abbey gases produced a very stable output. There’s a gradual decrease in power for all gases which is most likely explained by a gradual cooling of the gas system throughout the test. Further tests with shots spaced out over a longer time frame should produce a more level output (these results will be added at a later date).

The CyberGun and ToyJack gases did produce a much more noticeable kick than the other gases tested. In fairness the Abbey Predator Gun Gas (134a) was not very strong and not best suited to the test environment. Slide lock back was almost impossible to achieve on 134a when the mag was empty. Gas systems of course work best in warm environments eliminating “cool off”; hence the recommended use of the more powerful gases in cold environments to counter the affect of temperature upon gas expansion.

Based on the results so far at 21degC, I’d recommend Abbey Ultra Gas as it provides a nicely stable output at a very reasonable power level.

Conclusion: The Maruzen P99 box set certainly represents good value for money for effectively an extra 40USD over the cost of the plain Maruzen P99 you get a carry case, metal barrel, silencer, lamp and tactical frame. True, the lamp isn’t the best built accessory in the world, and the rail unit wobbles out the box (can be fixed) but you can use what you want and ditch the rest should you so choose.

Power is respectable, and the GBB cycles well on Abbey Ultra gas giving an average of around 307fps on 0.2g BBs. Initially the slide is somewhat sticky, but this does free up with use.

I was genuinely surprised by the silencer and the difference in sound level with it fitted. The change from a crack to a thud was instantly audible. The fine thread fit can become loose after multiple shots and might need a quick tighten occasionally.

Overall? Well it’s not a bad box set at all. Personally I’d like to fit it with a metal slide, and matching recoil spring and valve set. The lamp is something that I’ll ever use but thankfully you can use the scope rail without the lamp. Is it worth the money? Sure I think so.

Available accessories: Currently the following parts and additions are available for your Airsoft P99 (excluding cosmetic parts such as lamps etc).

Metal slide (Zeke)
Super recoil unit (Protec)
Maruzen grip set
Firefly power valve
KM 6.04 inner barrel with/without silencer adapter (extended 200mm version available)
KM recoil spring guide
Maruzen 40rnd extended magazine

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it does show that there’s pretty much all you could think of for the pistol out there. No one has produced a “sport” compensator for the P99 yet.. but they don’t look that nice so I’m not too bothered over that.

For the real Walther Walther themselves provide fiber_optic/sports/tritium sights, silencer set, derma grip, various lamp/laser units, and a magazine mounted flashlight. It’d be nice to see Maruzen produce a replica of the real lamp mount for the magazine for one. The extended magazine that maruzen make for the P99 doesn’t seem to have a real world counterpart, but that doesn’t mean that one isn’t made for the real thing somewhere.

Manuals:




External links: Links to external sites of interest.

The unofficial Walther P99 FAQ
Walther’s official defense pages
Lenaburgs.net Walther page – handy place with some decent P99 related material

By Arnie

Comment
on this review in the forums


Last
modified:
Thursday, December 16, 2004 1:06 PM
Copyright ArniesAirsoft

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