05 June 2006

Showcase: The SW99

Now, unfortunately, I don't have any pics of my own to show off and tell you about this...OK piece of hardware. So, the below will have to do:

I did own one in early 2000, not long after it had come out. I had really wanted a Walther P99 (I had just seen the latest Bond film at the time), but since the police supply shop in Ft. Lauderdale was out of them, I "settled" for the next best thing. If I had not been so easily given over to lust, I would have passed this one by and gotten a refurbished H&K P7 that was being offered for just a little under $100 more.

Yeah, to think that a cop recommended the P7 over the Smith while I was in the store! Sometimes I do things that make absolutely no sense.

Word of advice...if you're really lusting over a piece of blued steel, don't go running off to the nearest sporting goods store, police outfitter, or pawn shop. Do your homework, and really give yourself time to think over whether or not that piece of hardware really suits you.

It's kind of like avoiding the grocery store when you're hungry. Only the goods are a lot more expensive.

At any rate, I got the 9mm version, so I wouldn't have to spend extra on a different caliber of ammo (I already had a H&K USP9 at the time).

The quick review: Just another 9mm. Not as quality-engineered as a H&K, but does OK.

The pluses about the gun: it's not a Hi-Point. Or a Glock. But it is something of a Glock knock-off, in that it has a polymer frame, striker instead of a hammer, and no mechanical safety.

However, the features Walther/SW have given it to distinguish it from a Glock are worthy of note. It does have a decocker, a button towards the back of the slide. And it is something of a DA/SA auto pistol. In DA mode, the striker isn't set, and you have a long trigger pull. Very long. Then after the first shot, it sets itself into SA, with the striker set, and a short trigger pull.

You can set it into SA from DA without discharging the firearm by pulling the slide back about half an inch.

Then there are the niceties like a loaded chamber indicator, a raised pin on the rear of the slide that sticks out when you have one in the pipe. And there's the choice of three different backstrap sizes, to make the pistol fit a variety of hands.

But still no mechanical safety. I don't like that on a cocked pistol.

I found that, at least on the 9mm version, the barrel was very loose when the slide was locked back. It was flared at the end to hold it in place when it was ready to fire (which made me wonder if the unit was originally designed for the .40, and if you could switch out barrels and magazines), but once the slide was shoved back, it was all loosey-goosey. It fed fine, and I could do OK with it at reasonable ranges, but the loose barrel made me question its accuracy.

SW literature said it was at least as good as the Walther. A gun dealer in Fairbanks said it really didn't matter what happened to the barrel once the bullet had been fired. By that time, it had already been through the pipe.

And now for a somewhat humorous anecdote. I include it here because it involved my SW99. When I worked out in South Florida, I would usually carry my pistol in a briefcase, and strap it on when I went out for lunch. Afterwards, I would take it off and tuck it away back in the briefcase.

Around the time of this story, my car was pretty much out of commission thanks to radiator problems. So, I drove with a housemate, who also worked at the same office I did. That day, I decided to take the SW99 along.

Lunch came, and so did the Smith. But I kept it on my person afterwards, instead of putting it back in the briefcase.

It was a Wednesday, and my church held services Wednesday nights. My housemate also went to that church, so we went together after work. Because it's not kosher to carry in a church, normally, on Wednesday nights, I make sure whatever pistol is in my briefcase, unloaded, and locked.

This time, however, I forgot the briefcase.

So here I am, with gun on hip, wondering what to do. Service starts in a few minutes, so I can't run back to the office, disable the alarm, go upstairs, unlock the office, grab my briefcase, relock the office and reset the alarm in time. Our church was in a rough part of town, and we had someone's car get broken into, so I didn't want to leave it in my friend's car (or even my own, for that matter--it is obscenely easy to break into a Dodge Omni).

So, I brought it in, and hoped to God it wouldn't print too bad. Or worse yet, peek out from underneath my vest. Or worse even yet, go off. Boy, that one would go over well with everyone.

Normally, I lead praise. This time, I thought it best to just sit and be part of the congregation. But people, being what they are, like to run in the same ruts. Most everyone else could lead praise & worship, but they figure that since ol' Jeremy is here tonight, he'll do it.

It was getting late, and I hate being late. 7:05 and still no one getting up and getting us rolling. So, up I went.

Nothing happened along the lines of what I feared, thankfully. The service went on with only one other person knowing I was armed.

Furthermore, Wednesday nights were "sharing nights." Open pulpit for anyone with a line. I had something, and gave a short sermonette.

So, I can boast that I have led praise and preached while armed.


the pistolero said...

So, I can boast that I have led praise and preached while armed.

...all the while able to protect your fellow worshippers from the wolf that might have come knocking...

The Mad Hatter said...

Well, I like to think that I consider God my first line of defense. Maybe having a Plan B is a sign of a lack of faith, and I've had others take a friendly jab at me whenever I wear my USP shirt, saying "that's used to kill God's people," and "if you live by the sword, you'll die by the sword."

While I know of people who have been divinely protected under the most unusual of circumstances, I also personally know of at least one person here--and a brother in the faith even--who would not be around if he had not been armed out in the field (and that very recently--he got charged by a brown bear and dropped it from about 14 yards away).

the pistolero said...

Maybe having a Plan B is a sign of a lack of faith

Well, I don't know that I'd go that far; didn't Jesus tell the apostles that if they didn't have a sword, to sell their clothes and buy one -- basically tell them they needed to look out for themselves? I am no theologian or even have an extensive knowledge of the Bible, but it would seem your friend's experience with the bear lends credibility to the contention that Jesus' statement to the apostles is just as applicable to us now as it was to them back then.