.: Walther P99 Versus Beretta 92 Product Comparison
I carried a Beretta 92F while serving in Iraq. This experience was mostly negative. The 92F must be immaculately clean in order to function properly. In the Middle Eastern desert, this meant that if I didn’t clean my weapon four times a week, it would be nearly as likely to miss-feed as fire. Next to the P99, it looks large and boxy. In the hand it feels heavy and clumsy. I often find myself wishing that the next firearm I carry into combat could be a P99QA.
In this document I will disclose the results of an in-depth comparison of the Walther P99 QA to the Beretta 92 F. This comparison draws from the findings of a 2,000-round battery of tests performed with 6 volunteer testers of various builds and with varied shooting experience.
My wishful thinking in regards to the sidearm I will next carry into combat led me to design a battery of tests to compare the performance of the Walther P99QA to that of the Beretta 92F.These tests focus specifically on the P99QA’s viability as a combat weapon for use by the US Military. I selected six volunteer testers that represent a reasonably accurate cross section of the shooters that are likely to use a sidearm in the US Military. I had each tester fire over 100 rounds through each weapon from different positions and under different levels of stress. All testing was conducted at a distance of 25’ and was scored utilizing a standard 25’ pistol target for a total of 50 points possible for a 5 round set.
Testing began by familiarizing each tester with the P99QA and Beretta 92F. Based on aesthetics alone, all testers chose the P99QA. It is simply a beautiful weapon. All testers also preferred the feel of the P99. The P99's ergonomic grip, designed by well- known European free pistol and grip maker Cesare Morini, is a marvel. In the interest of time the medium backstrap was used for all testers. Even without taking advantage of the opportunity to adjust the grip to fit the hand of each tester, they were all impressed with the feel of the weapon. Another factor adding to the attractive feel of the P99QA is its weight. The P99QA weighs 709 grams, compared to the 92F’s 970 grams. The P99 is more than 27% lighter! While these results dealing with advantages the P99QA has in the areas of aesthetics and ergonomics will never add up to credentials for entry into US Military service, they certainly move it from the store’s shelf into the hands of its customers.
Once the testers were allowed to fire the weapons, opinions began to change. Again and again the testers fired better with the 92F. In the end, testers scored a total of 2,651 points with the 92F and only 1,980 points with the P99QA. The testers fired with 42% accuracy with the 92F and 31% accuracy with the P99QA. The less proficient testers experienced a wider gap in the accuracy of their shooting than did the more proficient shooters. The least proficient tester shot with 12% accuracy with the 92F and 8% accuracy with the P99QA. The most proficient tester shot with 61.7% accuracy with the 92F and 61.5% accuracy with the P99QA. The conclusion must be that the P99QA is not as intuitive to shoot as is the 92F.
The testers pointed to the trigger as the source of their difficulties in shooting the P99QA. Its trigger pull, which is identical for every shot, is significantly longer and heavier than is the 92F’s single action trigger pull. This difficulty can be overcome with practice, but the fact is that shooters in the US Military do not get to practice with their weapons nearly enough. A US military sidearm must be intuitive to shoot and the P99QA is not.
During the battery of tests, over 800 rounds were fired through each weapon. The weapons were not cleaned for the duration of the tests, in order to gauge their reliability in less-than-perfect firing conditions. In the course of the testing, the 92F experienced 60 mis-feeds while the P99QA experienced 6. The majority of the 92F’s misfeeds occurred later in the testing when carbon buildup was substantial. They occurred mostly with the less-proficient testers, whose grip on the weapon was not sufficient; however, under the same conditions with the same shooters, the P99QA experienced 10 times less miss feeds.
In the US military great emphasis is placed on weapons maintenance, but when it comes right down to it, a sidearm should shoot every time the trigger is pulled, no matter what. The 92F, with its nearly 8% likelihood of a miss-feed when it is moderately dirty, is unacceptable.
One test performed required the testers to load a magazine, fire 15 rounds as quickly as possible, drop the first magazine, load a second magazine, and fire another 15 rounds as quickly as possible. The test was evaluated both for accuracy and the amount of time it took to complete the task. This test was designed to put the function of each weapon to the test as it is manipulated by a shooter under stress. Every tester was able to complete the task more quickly with the P99QA than with the 92F. The testers attributed these results to the P99QA’s ambidextrous magazine release, which is integrated into the trigger guard. This design feature was a favorite among the testers.
In the end, neither the Walther P99QA nor the Beretta 92F seems to fit the bill as the perfect weapon for use in the US Military. The official sidearm of the US military should be as easy to fire accurately as possible. This rules out the P99QA. It should also be as dependable as possible under adverse conditions. This rules out the 92F. The results of this battery of tests make it clear that my wish to carry a Walther P99QA into combat is not likely to come true; however, as a weapon in general, the P99QA’s superior aesthetics, ergonomics, functionality, and dependability make it the clear winner when compared with the Beretta 92F. I highly recommend the Walther P99QA to any shooter with the resources available to put some time and effort into adjusting to its unusual trigger pull. This weapon will respond admirably as the shooters skill increases.