Apex Gunsmithing
15Jun/14

Detail Strip Guide: Walther P99/Canik TP-9

It's been a while since I did a detail strip tutorial post, so today we're taking a look at the recently tabletop reviewed Canik TP-9, which is itself a clone of the Walther P99.  Unlike my previous guide, this one is VERY IMAGE HEAVY so be warned!  There's not a lot out there on the P99 design so I hope this can be helpful for any P99 or TP-9 owners looking to deep clean or do polish work.

DISCLAIMER:  It is STRONGLY recommended that you DO NOT mess with the locking block or takedown latch or attempt to remove them.  This unfortunately means you also can't remove the trigger if for whatever reason you need to.  The rest of the gun can be detail stripped without removing the locking block, takedown latch or trigger.

DON'T MESS WITH THESE TWO PINS

DON'T MESS WITH THESE TWO PINS

I'm not covering those components in this guide, but if for some reason you absolutely need to remove any of those here's what I'd would suggest:

  1. Remove the trigger and locking block pins (solid and roll pins respectively)
  2. Remove the sear housing according to this guide
  3. Gently lever the locking block and takedown latch as far up as possible, it WON'T come out yet.
  4. Locate the tiny 1/16" roll pin in the RIGHT side of the takedown latch
  5. Wedge something under the locking block/takedown latch to ensure there's a gap for the pin to go (otherwise it hits the frame)
  6. CAREFULLY drive that pin out top to bottom and hope for the best

END DISCLAIMER


Part 1: The Slide

I'm not going to go into super detail for the slide because frankly it's very straightforward.  The extractor is pinned in place and helps retain the striker blocking safety plunger, but there's very little reason to remove either of those.

1. Field strip the pistol by decocking the gun and pressing down on the latch.

Well that was easy.

Well that was easy.

2. Depress the locking tab on the striker sleeve with a punch and push the backing plate down.

This little tab will unlock the backing plate

This little tab will unlock the backing plate

Slides right off like most striker guns

Slides right off like most striker guns

3. Pull the striker assembly out.  You may need to push the decocker in a little or wiggle it.

It can be snug on a new pistol

It can be snug on a new pistol

4. Remove the decocker button and set it aside.  It has two springs, don't lose them.

Lifts right out

Lifts right out

5. Compress the striker spring and slide out the spring cups.  Using the Glock trick works well here, inserting the striker assembly backwards and using the slide.  The spring cups are long and thin, and also shaped like the Glock "maritime" cups on the ends.

Glock striker springs work in the P99 too

Glock striker springs work in the P99 too

6.  If you need to remove the sleeve, just pull the striker and sleeve apart at the back.  Bit of a puzzle but the right angle gets them apart easily.

Striker assembly, spring cups, etc

Striker assembly, spring cups, etc

The extractor is retained by a spring loaded plunger, and the loaded chamber indicator is held in by a cross pin.  You can find the head of the plunger on the underside of the slide, just aft of the striker blocking safety plunger.

Reassembly: Reverse the above steps, the slide is the easy part!  To get the striker sleeve to compress into the slide you may need to fiddle with the decocker button a bit.

Notes: Glock springs work in the P99, but I wouldn't use lighter than the 5.5 standard Glock spring.  The P99/TP-9 striker spring is quite heavy by default, so using a Glock spring improves the DA trigger considerably.  As always when fooling with light springs, test thoroughly to make sure you don't get light strikes.


Part 2: The Frame

Okay here comes the fun part.  The P99 sear assembly isn't difficult to disassemble, but putting it back together can be incredibly frustrating even using the tricks I've developed working with this TP-9.  So be warned!

Step 1: Drive out the sear housing assembly roll pin.  It will be tight.

I'm not kidding, you'll have to thump it a good one

I'm not kidding, you'll have to thump it a good one

Step 2: Carefully lift out the sear housing.  It's connected to the trigger bar by the trigger spring, and you may need to pull the trigger to the rear to keep it from hanging up.

Some wiggling may be required

Some wiggling may be required

This little seat on the trigger bar is important for reassembly later

This little seat on the trigger bar is important for reassembly later

Step 3: Take a close look at the sear arrangement and how stuff works, always a good policy before you go messing with spring loaded components!  The P99 has an interesting double sear system in single action mode, where the trigger bar pushes the sear lever to the rear and drops the striker sear (the top one) out of the way allowing the striker to fall.  Clever, but in our case here prone to lots of excess engagement (creep) and finnicky angles.  The image below was a pain to take but shows the sear parts well.

Sear lever is vertical, striker sear is horizontal

Sear lever is vertical, striker sear is horizontal

Step 4: Push out the striker sear pin, RIGHT TO LEFT aka interior to exterior.  It has a head on it so you won't get very far trying the opposite direction.  The pin's head should be flush with the housing when reassembled later.

Striker sear, pin and tiny spring

Striker sear, pin and tiny spring

Step 5: Remove the sear lever's hollow bushing pin, and be aware there's a spring in there too.  It's the most frustrating part of reassembly, fair warning.  That's it, you're detail stripped!


Part 3: Reassembly Tips and Tricks

Let's work backwards from the last step of the previous section, which means we start with the nightmare component: the sear lever and its incredibly irritating spring.  It's nearly impossible to describe how to handle this bastard but before tackling it consult the images later on in the design and function rundown to see how the spring should align.

What I do for this thing is use the hollow bushing pin as a slave pin temporarily just to keep the spring where it belongs while inserting the whole mess into the housing.  Once it's in as far as it'll go and the bushing bumps into the housing, yank the bushing out and shove the lever down against the spring.  If you're exceedingly lucky it won't shift and you can get the bushing back in with minimal fuss.

One leg on the lever, one on the sear housing

One leg on the lever, one on the sear housing

The other 99% of the time you'll want a dental pick to force the spring to line up and shove the bushing through.  Make absolutely sure the lever is properly spring loaded when you're done or else you'll end up repeating that circus act until you get it right.  I can't emphasize that enough, because it WILL cause massive headaches if you don't test it first for spring tension.

For anyone interested, the dimensions for a sear lever slave pin would be approximately 0.194" in diameter by 0.210" long.  Slave pins should have beveled edges and ideally a light polish to make them easier to push through with the real pin!

Backing up another step to the striker sear, this guy is a lot more workable but also rather tiny.  Ensure the top leg of the spring is underneath the sear so it spring loads it, and remember that pin has a wider head and must be inserted left to right (exterior to interior) as well as fit flush when installed.

Reinstalling the sear housing isn't difficult, and you can either try to hook the trigger spring loop on the trigger bar while you assemble it or just snag it with a dental pick and force it onto its seat.  Either way works, and the assembly lines up easily as a whole to get it seated in the frame.


Part 4: Gunsmith Ramblings

If you've made it this far, you might be interested in exactly how the P99's guts work.  I took the time while I had it apart to snap some images and illustrate very poorly a few concepts that hopefully make it easier to understand.  The best way to wrap your head around the system is to have a P99 or TP-9 in hand and fiddle with it!

This is what the single action striker sear system looks like in cocked position.  If you're familiar with double sears in bolt actions, it's kind of like that.  There's one sear for the striker itself, and there's a second sear (the lever, in this case) that the striker sear rests on.  The trigger bar pushes the lever to the rear, essentially sweeping the rug out from under the striker sear and allowing the striker to fall.

Striker, striker sear and sear lever arrangement

Striker, striker sear and sear lever arrangement

In double action mode however, the trigger bar does all the work.  The portion of the bar hanging out in the sear housing grabs the striker and pulls it back against the striker spring.  The trigger bar has two "arms", one for turning off the striker blocking safety plunger and one that acts as a disconnector.  When the trigger is pulled all the way back in double action, the second arm hits a cam angle in the slide, pushing the trigger bar down until it lets go of the striker and the gun goes bang.

Geometry is important!

Geometry is important!

Sear geometry is extremely important in trigger design, and the P99 has a lot of potential to have an excellent trigger in both modes with some work done to it.  A major problem is friction everywhere in the gun, which I'm sure plagues the Turkish copies much more than Walther's original pistols.  Spring weight plays a huge role in the double action of any gun, and as mentioned elsewhere in the guide Glock springs work well to drop the 10+ pound pull down to more manageable levels.

The relationship between the striker sear and the sear lever is critical and suffers from a couple of problems.  The first is that double-sear systems like this are almost universally designed to be neutral engagement angles.  Neutral angles mean the two flat sear surfaces should be more or less parallel, and can exacerbate creep if you have too much engagement.

That's a large part of the TP-9's problem in my opinion, but there's not a ton to be done about it without chopping on one or the other sear to change engagement and/or angles.  It's a cheap pistol that serves its purpose well for the price, so a good polish job and some new springs are about all you'd want to put into it.

However if you really wanted to decrease that creep without cutting on the sears, a cheap but potentially effective fix might be to add a little material to the front face (the right side in the pic above) of the sear lever.  This would prevent the sear lever from moving as far forward at rest, effectively decreasing sear engagement.  It's the same concept as using a setscrew adjustment!  You might be able to drill a very small hole and use a tiny set screw in fact, if you were ambitious.

For anyone curious how the decocker works, it has an angled peg that extends down and pushes the sear lever to the rear when the button is pushed in.  This effectively dry fires the striker, but leaves the blocking plunger in place to catch it safely.


Closing

I hope that this guide is useful to some P99 or TP-9 owners out there and that it helps to clear up the lack of info around the net for these under-appreciated guns.  It's a really cool design and was a lot of fun to rip apart having never worked on one before.


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