Small is beautiful, or so they say. When it comes to replicas, I tend to agree. For some reason I prefer compact replicas. I always have, and two of the first replicas I owned were both compact replicas by Umarex – the Walther PPK and the Walther CP99 Compact. The CP99 Compact ended up as one of my favourites, partly because it’s a decent replica and partly because it’s well made and put together but mostly because it just so much fun to shoot.
The Umarex Walther CP99 Compact was launched in 2006 and it’s a replica of the Walther P99c. This was the second Umarex blowback BB gun, launched after the success of the Walther PPK/S. These two pistols would certainly make an interesting addition to any collection as they perfectly illustrate advances in handgun design and technology. Both are blowback, BB shooting replicas of concealed-carry pistols produced by the same company, but designed more than seventy years apart.
Real steel background
The Walther P-99 is a short-recoil operated, locked breech, semi-automatic pistol manufactured by Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen in Ulm, Germany. It uses a glassfibre-reinforced polymer grip frame and steel slide. The P-99 was designed as a sidearm for law enforcement and security forces as well as for civilian use and was a direct replacement for the Walther P5 and P88 pistols. It has an internal striker rather than the traditional hammer, and the striker tip protrudes from the back of the slide to indicate that the pistol is cocked. It has a 4″ barrel with an accessory rail beneath. It was launched in 1997 and is currently used by law enforcement and security forces in Europe, Asia and North America.
A concealed carry, compact version of the P99, the P99c was introduced in 2004. This version has a 3.5″ barrel and a 1″ shorter grip and is often used as a back-up weapon by special forces.
The Umarex Walther CP99 Compact
The CO2 powered Walther CP99 Compact has a metal slide, a polymer frame, blowback action and is single action only. It weighs 1.6 pounds, has a 3.25″ smoothbore barrel, fixed sights and a stick-type metal drop-out magazine that holds up to eighteen steel BBs. CO2 is stored inside the grip and accessed by unclipping the backstrap. At some point after initial release, the design of the CP99 Compact slide was modified by Umarex; initial models had moulded plastic over the slide ejection port while later models featured a fully cut-out ejection port. There are no other obvious visual differences between earlier and later models and no functional or technical differences.
Early model CP99c with covered slide ejection port (left) and late model with open ejection port (right)
Umarex also offer spare magazines and a laser sight specifically intended for this model.
Packaging and presentation 2/5
The CP99 Compact generally comes in a small and not especially impressive card box containing the pistol, one magazine and a short user manual. However, in some markets this replica is sold in a plastic bubble pack.
Visual accuracy 8/10
Visually, this is a pretty close. One of the most noticeable features of the real P99c is its shortened grip. However, the grip on the CP99 Compact has to be much longer to allow the CO2 cartridge to fit inside (the same thing applies to the Umarex Walther PPK/S, which also has a longer grip than the original). So, this replica is modelled on a P99c fitted with a grip extension – a commonly fitted optional extra which allows the original to use full-size P99 magazines.
Other visual differences include the lack of a de-cocker on top of the slide, non-adjustable rear sights and an external safety catch/decocker on the right side of the frame on the replica. This replica does have some safety text, particularly on the right side of the slide, but it’s moulded rather than laser etched in white, so at least it’s less obtrusive than on some replicas.
Walther P99c with grip extension (left), Umarex CP99 Compact (right)
As noted earlier, later versions of the CP99 Compact have a fully cut-out slide ejection port, which I think looks better. However, the earlier models with the plastic covered ejection port are actually a closer match to the profile of the original weapon.
However, overall, this is a very good visual replica of the P99c.
Functional accuracy 12/15
This a blowback replica with a drop-out (though not full size) metal magazine. It operates in single action only and the slide locks back after the last round is fired. The slide catch and ambidextrous magazine release work as per the original weapon.
On the real original a cocking indicator is provided in the form of the rear of the striker pin which projects through an aperture in the rear of the slide when the pistol is cocked. This functionality is replicated on the CP99 Compact by the appearance of a red dot in a cut-out at the rear of the slide to show that the pistol is cocked.
CP99 Compact cocking indicator
There are several variants of the real P99c which feature a number of safety configurations. None are accurately replicated on the CP99 Compact. The real weapon also features a decocking button set into the top of the slide (similar to the P99). Neither of these features are replicated here and instead, a rather odd combined manual safety/decocker lever/button is mounted on the right side of the frame, just below the slide.
The CP99 Compact cannot be field stripped.
Up to eighteen BBs are loaded into the stick type, metal drop-out magazine. The follower locks down which makes loading steel BBs into the small hole at the top a little easier. The magazine clicks positively into place and the bottom of the magazine incorporates the lower part of the front of the grip. CO2 is loaded by removing the rear part of the backstrap. The CO2 cartridge is then placed inside and a knurled wheel tightened to hold it in place. To pierce, the rear part of the base of the grip is twisted sharply clockwise.
Before you can shoot, you’ll need to release the manual safety and, frankly, that’s a bit of a pain. The long manual safety is hinged at the rear and you must rotate the front part up through around 15 degrees to move to the “Fire” position. But, first you have to push a serrated plate set inside the safety to the rear, and that’s a job that will risk losing a fingernail. Moving it back to the “Safe” position takes even more effort as this also de-cocks this replica. The manual safety on the CP99 Compact is very similar to the manual safety fitted to the Umarex Walther CP99 but is so nasty in operation that I almost never used it on mine.
The gun feels well balanced and very pointable when you hold it and it fitted my average sized hands perfectly and, despite its small size, it has good weight. The sights are simple, non-adjustable notch and post type without white dots or any other aiming aids. However, it is notable that rear sight has a rather wide aperture, which makes lining up the sights a little imprecise.
There is a distinct first and second stage to the trigger pull, but both are light and precise and the release point is sharp and consistent. The gun fires with a fairly loud crack and the blowback is positive and much stronger than you might expect from such a small replica. The strong blowback provides a distinct recoil effect, making it necessary to re-sight the gun after each shot. The slide doesn’t move through a full range compared to the original (it probably moves less than 1’ during blowback), though this isn’t really obvious until it locks back. CO2 consumption is very good for a blowback replica and I was able to get more than 90 full power shots from each CO2.
Eight shots, 6yds, freestanding
Power as measured on my chronograph was reasonable at around 310 – 330 fps dependent on weather conditions. This is higher than the 295fps claimed by Umarex but I have seen other reviews quoting much higher fps, so it’s even possible that my CP99 Compact was underperforming. Accuracy is also fair for a short-barrelled steel BB shooter – I saw typically saw groups of around 2″ firing freestanding at 6yds and the point of impact was very close indeed to the point of aim.
Overall, this is a fun replica to shoot. Like the Umarex Walther PPK/S, the strong blowback and loud bang make it feel more powerful than it really is, but it is significantly more powerful and accurate than that pistol. It’s no target pistol, but this replica is accurate enough to be fun and challenging.
Quality and reliability 13/15
I’m not aware of any known reliability issues with this pistol. Indeed, some owners have reported firing thousands of rounds through the Umarex CP99 Compact without any problems at all. That’s pretty outstanding for a fairly low cost BB shooter, but it won’t come as any surprise when you pick up this pistol – this gun has a very substantial feel to it. In fact the whole gun has that indefinable feeling of quality that is also found in the best Umarex replicas.
It has an attractive and very durable semi-matt finish and the paint on the metal slide precisely matches the finish on the polymer frame and grips, making both elements look as if they belong together (though there also used to be a version available with a silver slide, which looked rather nice). The slide racks, locks and releases with a precise and satisfying action and there are no rattles or looseness. Overall fit and finish are very good indeed and the finish on the slide seems to be virtually indestructible, something that is depressingly rare on modern replicas.
Overall Impression 14/15
I liked my CP99 Compact. A lot. It was one of the replicas I shot most often and it gave me no problems at all. It feels good to handle and it’s just powerful and accurate enough to be fun to shoot. In this respect it’s notably better than the similar Umarex Walther PPK/S (though a new version of that original design has now been released, which may be an improvement?). The CP99 Compact is also fairly frugal with CO2, makes a satisfying bang and the kick from the blowback is strong. The only thing that lets it down for me is that ugly, fiddly manual safety/decocker on the right side.
Straight out of the box, the Umarex Walther CP99 Compact feels well balanced and well finished and constructed. It isn’t outstandingly accurate, but then no short-barreled BB shooting replica ever will be. It’s satisfying to shoot and this is enhanced by the strong blowback and light, smooth and consistent trigger pull.
The P99 Compact was previously also available with a silver-finish slide, but this is no longer listed as a current Umarex product
This is a logical successor to the original Umarex blowback BB shooter, the Walther PPK/S, but Umarex obviously learned a lot from that first one and the CP99 Compact is a better made, more accurate and more powerful replica. It’s also frugal with CO2 and relatively cheap and overall I’d recommend this without reservation to anyone looking for a well-made, durable and fun BB shooting replica.
Total score: 82/100