My Recent Experiences with my S&W99 need to vent (long)


January 14, 2004, 01:23 PM
Well here goes...for about 2 months now I have been planning on getting my CCW. So I saved up enough cash to take the class and went and registered. Well I also decided that I wanted a smaller (yet still full size pistol) to practice with and use as my carry weapon. I really was digging on the Walther P99...well I sold one of my 1911's to pay for the walther except I didnt have enough cash so my FFL presented me with a S&W99. I did some homework and talked to some people...and I guess roughly they are the same gun but the S&W is a lot cheeper so I went for that gun. Bought it...field stripped it at the range cleaned and oiled it...and went out to practice with it and see how my new toy fired.

Here is where it gets interesting...
Upon the first 4 shots I noticed that the pistol was shooting about 2-3 feet lower than where I was aiming...I thought no big deal I am used to my Kimber and maybe this pistols sights arent as accurate. so my wife tried it she is used to her beretta which I cant shoot my way out of a paper bag with and she had the same results. Upon investigating the pistol we thought that the front site looked really crooked but we chalked it up to us being tired as it was getting late so we called it a night. That night when I cleaned the pistol I noticed what looked like brass shavings all over the inside of the pistol...I thought ok...maybe the box of ammo i bought was crap.

The next day after work I took my new friend to the range and I was determined to see if the gun was not right or it was just an adjusting period...I walked in bought 300 rounds of .40 ammo and went right out to the range...and to no avil in 100 rounds could I get 1 shot to be on target. So after changing the front site to every other one the pistol came with and waisting anther 100 rounds between me and several other more expericned shooters it was deemed that the pistol was junk.

So I went home and called S&W and they said that they were sending me a fed ex shipping label. After getting off the phone I took the pistol apart again to clean it for them to be nice...thats when I noticed the metal shavings again...except there were tons of them everywhere and thats when I noticed that it was metal from the slide rubbing on the handle...the polimer handle/frame was all scratched to hell on the inside...and when I removed the recoil rod and spring the whole underside of the barrel was scratched to hell also...this gun it a complete lemmon. Man I hope they make it right. :(

So its been a shipping label and I have a pisol that is better to throw at the bad guys then shoot at them with...anybody else ever have anything like this go wrong?

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George Hill
January 14, 2004, 03:13 PM
Ooch... that's not cool.
Good luck with this!

January 14, 2004, 03:15 PM
I am going to be sure to post updates...since I havent sent it to them I am going to take pics and post them

Black Majik
January 14, 2004, 03:59 PM
Man, I'm sorry to hear.... that's quite a nightmare.

you shoulda kept the 1911 :D

Anyways, good luck w/ the ordeal. I'm interested in seeing the results. Hopefully S&W goes through w/ taking care of their customers.

January 14, 2004, 04:03 PM
Keep us posted on the results. Does sound like a lemon. I did the same comparison between P99 and SW99 in 9mm and went with the P99. Guess I just trusted Walther and their proof mark more.

January 14, 2004, 05:17 PM
My first pistol was a S&W Sigma. It had known feeding issues and I sent it to S&W. They had it back and fixed (new barrel, new mags) within a week and I haven't had any problems since.

brad cook

January 14, 2004, 05:32 PM
Sorry to hear about your troubles.

I have heard (I have no way of knowing for sure) that the S&W versions of the P99 just aren't right for some reason. I hope they can fix it for you. It sucks to have a gun that you can't trust, for any reason.

Please let us know how it turns out.


January 14, 2004, 07:12 PM
Last time I sent a S/W back I just e-mailed and they gave me thier fed-ex number to schedual a pick up at the fed-ex website (you can also call with this info to do the same thing once you have S/W account number).

As for what will happen when it gets there who knows. I've had some very good and very poor service from them.

Kentucky Rifle
January 15, 2004, 11:22 AM
Odd, but I read a gun rag article that said, "Though the SW99 & the Walther P99 are *basically the same, buy the Walther version".


January 16, 2004, 12:37 AM
I used to own both, the SW99 was more accurate and the slides would interchange, I sent it back for feed jam problems. SW said that they polished the ramp and sent it back. IT DID THE SAME THING! I was using Fiocchi HP, similar to black talons, and it jammed every 20 rounds or so. I decided to trade it. The Walther never jammed. You have a lemon and I don't think S&W will do anything about it.

The Walther is worth the money, especialy in OD

January 16, 2004, 12:56 AM
Local range here said they dont like um... course they told me to buy glock over my hk but they are nice guys...said they have had a few probs ..not sure if they even carry them any more

January 16, 2004, 06:21 AM
Sad to hear this/ glad you shared it.
A S&W99 was in the running for my own CCW, along with a S&W 1911. Sounds like the same old-lame old from S&W even with new ownership.
Pity really. (I'm a died in the wool Smith-aholic.)

The Mighty Beagle
January 16, 2004, 11:59 AM
Smith will make it right.

Why people would get on here and act like Smith is just going to ignore your problem (like they’re Taurus or something) is beyond me, and is in stark contrast to my experience with them. Like everyone else, their QC just isn’t what it used to be and they occasionally put out some lemons. I’ve had to send several guns back to them for mostly cosmetic complaints, and can assure you that their service is the best I’ve experienced from any gun maker I’ve dealt with.

Specifically Swallent, I don’t mean to sound rude here, and maybe it’s just my misunderstanding you, for which I apoligize in advance, but ...

You say your polymer frame is actually wearing down your slide ... are you sure? Really, no offense intended if this sounds kind of sarcastic, but I thought plastic was softer than metal. I’m no gunsmith, but you say your frame is all scractched up AND your barrel and slide are shearing off metal? This really boggles the mind. From what you are saying, the most likely conclusion is that your gun is made of pot metal. Are you sure it isn’t brass shavings from your rounds, or maybe the Melonite coating coming off your barrel?

You don’t report any functioning problems, despite the gun eating itself, which is mysterious ... I mean, you’d think with that much galling going on inside, enough to shave stainless steel and scratch German polymer ... some part must really be bearing down hard on each other. If there’s that much, how does it still function without freezing up?

I mean jeez, some pistols won’t work if you don’t use enough of just the right kind of lube, let alone fill their internals with metal shavings. I guess your pistol at least does one thing correctly. Kind of a munument to reliability, in a weird way I suppose.

Hmmm. Certainly this is the first I’ve heard of this problem, and I frequent about every board out there. I’m betting Smith would be extremely interested to hear about it.

To the other posters, I don’t mean to be argumentative or negate your experiences, but I’m having some trouble understanding where you’re coming from. All I can tell you is that my new SW99 9mm (a Christmas present written about here on THR) is constructed like a Swiss watch. Other than it not shooting as tightly as I’d like (which is probably all me), I have nothing but praise for it. In fact out of the half-dozen S&W autos I’ve owned, my SW99 has the best machining of all of them. BTW, all were reliable, trustworthy carry guns. Hate them all you want, just more cheap guns for me to choose from.

I personally would choose the SW99 every time over the Walther. Here’s a few reasons why:
1. I like Melonite better than Tennifer - it doesn’t look or feel grainy. Silky smooth.
2. Stainless steel slide and barrel underneath that Melonite
3. Lifetime warranty vs. 1 year warranty
4. Same frame either way, same warranty center backing it up either way
5. Smith melted down the edges on the P99 slide, making it much nicer for CCW comfort
6. I prefer American products
7. it was just plain cheaper for what I feel is equivelent performance.

In fact, through some rather embarrassing negligence on my part which I won’t go into here, I broke my SW99 only a few days after getting it. I ended up having to call S&W and they sent me a shipping label, which I had in about 3 days.

Call them back and ask where your label is. The trick in dealing with them is to get past their Customer Service people, who sometimes put forth a cynical sentiment not shared by the techs who will actually work on your gun. Ask to speak to one. I did this, and recounted the embarrassing tale of incompetence that led to my pistol’s problem. The tech. was not judgemental at all, and ended up repairing it for free under warranty even though in all honesty I should have footed the tab for it.

I got my gun back yesterday. It was gone a grand total of 7 days. and it works perfectly. They even gave me a free magazine.

January 22, 2004, 09:42 AM
well I sent it to S&W last thursday and since then my internet has been down at home (when it rains it pours) anyways here are the pics I shot the night before fedex came to pick up the pistol. Mighty Beagle perhaps these will answer some of the questions you asked

In this shot my lousy photoshop skills tried to circle the scaring on the polimer frame:

In this shot here you can see the metal shavings and scraped up slide

In this shot I used photoshop to make the barrel stand out from where it sits in the slide...the recoil spring has been removed and you can see the scratched barrel:

Never seen anything like it to be honest...I talked to customer servive and they said they have it and its being worked on. more to come...

January 22, 2004, 10:22 AM
Never seen anything like it to be honest...

Neither have I. Especially since your photos turned up as red Xs:D

I have a Walther P99 and a SW99 compact. My observation was that both are roughly equal in quality, but I don't particularly care for the slide finish in the SW99. My front sights on both guns are crooked. I think this has something to do with the way they are attached to the slide. The front sights are plastic and I'm thinking I will replace them with Meprolights S&W should testfire and correct any sighting errors (you did report that also, right?). If it isn't 100% satisfactory when you get it back, stay on them. They have a lifetime guarantee and they will make it right. As for the brass shavings, I wonder if your extractor isn't too tight. Have you looked at the spent casings? That's something else S&W should look at. As for the frame warping and the slide chewing on it, I'm thinking you're going to get a new from. No way to repair that.

January 22, 2004, 10:27 AM
Thanks for the pics!!

I would guess you're going to get a brand new gun. That thing looks to be way out of whack!!

January 22, 2004, 10:27 AM
Well I'll be damned if my stupid internet went down yet again...dang thats frustrating...good thing I am at work...anybody know where else I can host these pics?

January 23, 2004, 07:57 AM
there fixed the pics

January 23, 2004, 08:35 AM
Man :what:

I have never seen a barrel chewed up like that. The recoil spring shouldn't be hard enough to do more than just polish it. The brass shavings don't concern me all that much, but I'd be interested in knowing what they do. Please keep us updated. I'll bet you'll be getting a new pistol top to bottom. S&W does have a history with me of fixing the problem rather quickly but not telling you what it was they did. Kind of annoying. I sent a Sigma in some time ago b/c the mag wouldn't lock in place. They fixed it and returned it within two weeks, but didn't say anything about what they did. My father returned a Walther P99 that jammed up tight. Same story. Not so much as a note as to what the problem was. I pushed the matter with my Sigma and they eventually told me that they replaced the mag release, then did an upgrade on a bunch of parts (fine by me, just tell me when you do it so I'll know if a recall is ever issued).

January 23, 2004, 08:41 AM
I sent a Sigma in some time ago b/c the mag wouldn't lock in place. They fixed it and returned it within two weeks, but didn't say anything about what they did.

When they repaired mine they sent it back with what looked like some kind of internal repair order attached that indicated a replacement of the barrel and mags.

brad cook

January 23, 2004, 09:02 AM
I had a friend of mine that had the very same thing happen with her SW99. SHe took it back to the shop and they exchanged it for another one (friends with the owner) which exibited the very same thing. I believe that S&W made good on replacing both specimens but the shop kept them and the lady got something different altogether. I suspect that there was a run of these things with this problem and some of them still keep coming up. The design seems sound enough. I think it was a manufacturing thing that has (hopefully) been cleared up by now.

The Mighty Beagle
January 23, 2004, 09:43 AM
Wow, that's incredible Swallent. Looks like you're the first to alert us to a bad batch of SW99's.

Thanks for the pics - I can't even imagine what a terrific SNAFU at S&W caused that, but keep us posted.

BTW, re: the work orders, I felt they did more work to my gun than they admitted on paper too, but I can't prove it. I know at work things take twice as long when you do something and then stop everything to document it ... I like to think they just wanted to get my gun back to me quickly.

January 24, 2004, 04:50 PM
My department issues the SW99 (.40) but I have always carried my personally owned Sig P226 (.40). I tried the SW99 out for fun, something new, and I noticed that it was very comfortable in my hand, recoiled relatively softly and was dead on accurate. The only problem I had was that every 100 rounds or so it would fail to feed a round. I went back to my P226 and later told the armorer about the FTF. He took the gun poliched the feed ramp made sure everything else was good and gave it back.

Since then it has been flawless, feels great, is as accurate for me as any other gun I've shot in its class (right up there with my P226) and is easy to carry. I think its an outstanding gun, shoots just as accurate as the P99 (buddy has one) and feels a bit more solid to me, although I do prefer the P99's looks.

Give it a try if they fix it or give you a new one, I think its a great service gun at a great price. Heck I've seen lemon Glocks, Sigs, HKs, Smiths, Berettas, Kimbers, you name it. They all put out lemons occasionaly although I have to agree that Smith's initial quality control is less then it should be, its almost as if they let the customer test it for problems. But they do fix it quickly when you find one and then its typically a great gun.

January 25, 2004, 06:22 AM
From what I've been able to glean online, the S&W is better in the .40 S&W, and the Walther is better in the 9mm.

Mighty Beagle -
I tried to thank you via PM but you have it turned off,,
thanks for the input.

January 25, 2004, 04:20 PM
I own the SW99 in .40 and the P99 in 9mm, There are definitely some cosmetic differences, but they are essentially the same weapon. I love them both, and use the 9 for duty carry, and the .40 off-duty.

Another poster mentioned Fiocchi ammo. Interestingly, the only bad experience I had with the SW99 was while using Fiocchi ammo - different ammo during same range session, and function problems were solved. Not a bit of trouble with any other brand, and to date, haven't tried Fiocchi in the P99. Also had malfunction problems with Fiocchi in my M590.

I can't speak to the sight problems - both of mine have Trijicon, and I have no trouble putting lead on target. Something I don't believe you mentioned toying with was the interchangeable grips. I have relatively small hands, and although the small backstraps felt a bit more comfortable in my hand, I got better accuracy with the mediums, and so use them on both pistols. Since there is a good deal of difference between the 1911 and the 99 frames, try experimenting a bit more with your gripping. I carried a 1911 for 13 yrs as my sidearm in the Army, and it definitely doesn't have the ergonomic feel of the 99, and so required a little different shooting style.

I have not experienced the metal shavings or frame scratching you describe, so it is entirely possible that a badly machined batch got through. Good luck and keep us posted.

January 28, 2004, 02:20 PM
I recieved this letter Monday...yes I am bored and scan everything

and I just got word from my wife that FEDex called and they have a package at thier office that needs to be picked up and signed for! That was a much faster return rate! anyways I cant wait to see what all was done to it and try it out again...stau tunned could the final chapter be right around the corner? updates to come soon

January 28, 2004, 02:28 PM
My guess is that it's a brand new gun!! We can only hope!!

January 28, 2004, 02:31 PM
My guess is that it's a brand new gun!! We can only hope!!

That is exactly what I am hoping it is!! Wont know for 2.5 more hours...the suspense is killing me haha!!

January 28, 2004, 11:37 PM
Well what ever they did it fixed the problems...this is the same gun I sent them...I'll take some more pics of the new internals is how the first magazine fired I am very pleased the 2 really off shots were the first 2 shots fired (took me a couple shots to get used to the grip and what not...or I am a lousy shot however you wanna rate it)...the rest were pretty accurate I must say...Kudos to S&W on a fine repair job...I just love this gun now

Highland Ranger
January 29, 2004, 09:01 AM

Any idea what they did to it?

January 29, 2004, 09:21 AM
You didn't get a new gun, but they made it good, so that's what's important.

I'm guessing they may have had a bunch of them with the same problem, due to some portion of the Manufacturing process.

January 29, 2004, 09:31 AM
I have no idea what they did...the paper the sent had 2 of the 8 problems listed and repaired next to them...what ever that means. its the same barrel and its polished now so the scratches are hardly noticable...and the same polimer frame...also polished. So yepp same gun and no description of what they is much much more accurate now I think I just need to get some practice in with shooting my Kimber has spoiled me :) I cant wait to go to the range this weekend for a longer shooting session

Mike Irwin
January 29, 2004, 11:53 AM
"Why people would get on here and act like Smith is just going to ignore your problem (like they’re Taurus or something) is beyond me..."

Because a lot of people here and elsewhere have had S&W either ignore or fail to rectify the problems with their guns.

Some years ago a friend was informed that 12" groups at 10 yards from his 908 or 910 (can't remember now) was perfectly acceptable.

January 29, 2004, 11:58 AM
I was worried...but now am totally satisfied...this is what I feel going to be a great firearm now and I have a good amount of confidence in Smith now..obviously they made it right and therefore I am happy and will consider thier products in the future. The gun seems very accurate now...the bad shot is me...I need to get used to/practice more with it...

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