This is all about the SW99-45ACP.


March 12, 2013, 10:29 PM
This is all about the SW99-45ACP.

Did you know that the explanation of the SW99 trigger system as opposed to the Walther trigger system description is DA=DA, SA=SATR & AS=SATF. The same trigger system explained in Walther logic and then S&W logic different Viewpoint/Explanation.

Both agreed that DA equates to Double Action. Both chose to describe SA (Single Action) differently with Walther simply specified as (Single Action) but S&W specified as (Single Action Trigger Rear). Walther chose the term AS (Anti-Stress) with an explanation that trigger position with long travel limits accidental discharge under stress. S&W Chose the terminology SATF (Single Action Trigger Forward) but did not specify the reason for the position.

I refer to the SW99 series as the hybrid being the 2nd attempt by Smith&Wesson in collaboration with Walther at marketing a polymer framed semiautomatic pistol.

After reading an article titled “Best of The Breed is Charlie’s Verdict SW99-45ACP” by Charles E Petty in the 2003 August of Guns Magazine I decided to acquire one. Reading the (31) page owner’s manual for the SW99-45ACP I found only (4) pages that did not contain any amount of red lettered wording all the other pages had certain excerpts in red. In short order I went to the Walther Internet site and found a better explanation of the three position trigger system.

I went to the range and experienced the same problem as Petty had with the trigger guard mounted ambidextrous magazine release levers inadvertently activated during firing. Like he I changed my hold/grip to correct this issue. The only other issue I can recall was that the slide would not lock open after the last round was fired. Smith&Wesson acknowledge there was a problem with the magazine springs and replaced them under warranty. The new magazine springs resolved the slide locking problem.

At some point in the past I relegated the SW99-45ACP to the gun safe.

Now that I’m retired I’ve decided to reacquaint myself with this particular pistol.

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March 12, 2013, 11:38 PM
Yeah, I had an SW99 in .45 ACP too and it would up going down the road. I didn't have problems with the magazine releasing under recoil but I had a problem with the magazine release abrading my trigger finger until I filed down the sharp areas. The slide would routinely fail to lock back after the last round and our of my .45 ACP collection, it was the worst perfroming in regards to accuracy and handling. Not a handgun I miss at all.

March 13, 2013, 09:51 AM

I don't know how you managed to make the Anti-Stress trigger system sound like rocket science. :p It's not.

It literally works just like any other DA/SA system (as used by SIG, Beretta, CZ, etc.) with the exception that the first trigger pull will always be the same length, whether the gun is cocked or not.

There is a little "set trigger" feature where you can pull the first single-action pull halfway back so it is shorter like all subsequent single-action pulls if you so desire, but this is not a feature I ever use.

Personally, I only have experience with the Walther P99, and not the S&W clones (and certainly not the rare .45ACP SW99), but my understanding is that the S&W pistols operate just like the respective Walthers.

March 13, 2013, 10:29 AM
Fishbed77:I don't know how you managed to make the Anti-Stress trigger system sound like rocket science. It's not

The (3) trigger positions I was using as an example on how Smith&Wesson and Walther explained the operating principles. Yes it’s not rocket science but Smith&Wesson preferred not to use the AS trigger position description.:D

March 13, 2013, 10:39 AM
Grunt: The slide would routinely fail to lock back after the last round and our of my .45 ACP

Smith&Wesson acknowledge there was a problem with the magazine springs and replaced them under warranty. The new magazine springs resolved the slide locking problem. As for accuracy I can’t comment on that other than my recollection was average for a service grade pistol

March 13, 2013, 02:04 PM
Walther explains things a bit differently than S&W wanted it explained when they marketed their licensed version of the 99 series. Both had their reasons. Both are entitled to their respective prerogatives. ;)

The AS, or Anti-Stress, trigger is called that because the trigger pull length of the 99 AS is the same for the first shot whether it's done DA or SA. Even in their Manual, however, Walther recommends decocking the standard 99 AS to put the trigger from SA (trigger forward) into DA mode (see page page 10), "After the slide is closed, press down the decocker (P99 AS only). Doing so resets the trigger action from Single Action to the safer Double Action mode."

You can read the English version of the Walther P99 manual -

S&W undoubtedly considered input from their legal dept as well as their engineers (of course).

I went through the armorer class (taught by S&W) for the SW99/P99 a few times, and they kept it fairly simple. Black & white photos and text. I have an older copy of the Walther P99 armorer manual, which is basically simple text and some line drawings (no pictures), unlike the current Walther P99 armorer manual which is 34 pages long, has great color photos and is a bit complex.

An interesting configuration change S&W did with their licensed SW99's was offering the SW990L, which is basically a QA mode model with a "smooth slide", meaning without the field-stripping button in the slide incorporated (like the one used in the Walther P99 QA model, to decock the striker). Lacking the button, the trigger must be pulled on the 990L in order to field-strip the pistol. In other words, the 990L was field-stripped similarly to their Sigma, by pulling the trigger on an EMPTY chamber.

The SW9945 was interesting in that it took quite a while for S&W to be able to convince Walther to even design a larger frame for the .45 ACP. We were told that since Walther had no plans to market a 99 series chambered in .45, they were apparently reluctant to make the larger frame. It was finally done, although by that time it wasn't going to be long until S&W engineers were working on their own new plastic pistol model, for which they resurrected a long time name badge, the Military & Police.

FWIW, I think it was during my next-to-the-last SW99/P99 armorer recert we were told that the SW9945 was also going to be offered to LE agency customers with a magazine safety/disconnect option. This optional feature had reportedly been designed by Walther engineers at the request of S&W, and it involved a modification of the frame design. A different frame/mold. Since the molds are expensive, we were told they would only be produced if & when a LE agency ordered a run of SW9945's made with the feature. I never heard of any being ordered, and never saw one.

Personally, I was anxious to see the SW9945, being a long time .45 shooter. I was just a little disappointed when I finally got my hands on one for some extended T&E, though. Big ... as in with a TALL grip frame that was a bit bulky. The Walther backstrap inserts (as innovative as they were for their time) only changed the trigger reach, but did nothing to change palmswell. The SW9945 was about as large as the USP 45, albeit with a marginally better grip frame.

Practical accuracy seemed fine for a service-grade pistol.

I remember hearing about them having a minor mag spring issue at one point for the SW9945 mags, but they certainly aren't the first 9and won't be the last) gun company to experience an occasional vendor-made spring issue.

All things considered, while I'd bought a standard SW9940 and then a SW999c, both in standard configuration (what Walther calls AS), I just didn't like the SW9945 enough to buy one.

On the other hand, I found the M&P 45 to be the first plastic .45 that I immediately wanted to own from the first moment I handled a well-worn T&E gun that had seen many thousands of rounds. Several thousands into owning a M&P 45 DE w/thumb safeties, I find it to be a surprisingly excellent plastic .45 ... and of the 9 pistols I own chambered in .45, it's the only plastic one. ;)

I like the M&P best when chambered in .45 ... much like I tend to prefer the Glock and P99 chambered in 9mm.

After a couple of armorer classes under my belt on the M&P pistol, I'm impressed with the design, and how quickly the engineers have been to respond to owner feedback in the way of some nicely done revisions and refinements.

I still like my SW9940 & SW999c, though. :)

March 13, 2013, 03:57 PM
Fastbolt thank you for your knowledgeable reply it expanded my limited knowledge of the subject and expanded the conversation of the topic.:)

March 13, 2013, 04:59 PM
De nada.

The P99 series hasn't really received the attention in this country that it deserves, in my opinion, anyway. ;)

The strategic alliance agreement between S&W and Walther was set to expire this year, and it looks like Walther has decided to establish themselves as their own importer. Big news. Maybe they'll start shipping more product here finally, although it may be product tailored to customer marketing feedback for the US market. They'll apparently still be involved in the M&P 22 for S&W, and S&W will still be manufacturing the PPK for them to sell in the US market, but I haven't had the time to ask about anything else.

I imagine they'll still be involved for some parts/support issues, since S&W offered their limited lifetime warranty on the SW99's sold (which I always thought was interesting, since Walther only offered a 1-year warranty on the same parts used for their models).

At least Walther took a big step and offered American purchasers of their PPQ a limited lifetime warranty. It''l be interesting to see if they expand on that warranty support philosophy as they better establish themselves in the US market. (Or try to get a foothold in the LE/Gov market in this country. I remember seeing one field office of a fed agency doing some T&E with an early P99 9mm, but it seemed it went nowhere. I was only told they'd experienced some trigger assembly pins "walking", but that could - and has - happened to at least a couple other gun makers I can think of who use plastic triggers with plastic pins. ;) )

Not a few "brand enthusiasts & loyalists" often decry S&W having been licensed to sell their 99 models, but having seen my fair share of both offerings from both companies, the differences are seemingly more perceived than factual.

The SW99/990L frames, and all their parts, were provided by Walther, and aside the from the slide itself and the barrel, the rest of the parts & assemblies in the slide are made by Walther. The slides and barrels in the S&W versions are through-hardened stainless steel which receive the Melonite QP version of the Salt™ Bath Nitriding System (nitrocarburizing), while the Walther slides are carbon steel (zone hardened, we were told), and according to earlier material they used to list the finish as the Tenifer QPQ treatment. More lately they've just described it as Tenifer®-treated carbon steel.

Also, Walther has made continual revisions, refinements and improvements in their own model lines. Some visible, some not.

Bottom line? The 99 series is a very nicely designed and executed service-type pistol that reflects the German penchant for over-engineering and detail. Great guns. Even the licensed S&W versions. :neener:

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