Follow Up Review on M9A1; personal decision reached.
Performed an inspection and side by side comparison of my P99 that I have had for a couple of years (and has been one of my favorites) to the new M9A1 and made the decision that the A1 is my new primary firearm and the P99 was given a good cleaning tonight and ready for storage, maybe even sale, depending upon how much stuff I want to buy for the A1.
I made my decision on what I believe are some good objective details and also some just plain personal preferences. Based on 37 years of shooting and about a decade as an LE firearms instructor and armorer, I decided I like both the design of the A1 as well as the workmanship better than the P99. I compared weights of major asemblies (used wife's food scale so not very scientific/accurate) and not much significant differences found there; the slide and mags appeared to be similar in weight, frame of the A1 a bit more, but not much.
I think the A1 shoots better for me due to the lower muzzle rise enabling faster second shots. I also find the 15 round A1 mags easier to load the last few rounds than the P99 mags, not sure why, doesn't feel like there is a big difference in spring pressure, perhaps the boxy shape of the A1 mags make it easier to hold, not sure. Another probably trivial point, but I still thought about it as a possitive for me, and really not a big deal, but the case the Steyr comes in is just a very sturdy case with an excellent hinge and good secure locking devices that are convenient to use. This is a concern to me (and again agree a smal concern), but I travel by plane occassionally and FAA reg requires the unloaded pistol to be in a hard sided locked case and typically have to open for inspection so it is convenient to have a well fitting case for a pistol that locks securely but is still quick and easy to open. Just avoids any wasted time, when getting to the airport, like to get my bags checked in as soon as possible and get to the coffee shop to get one to go for the ride. The P99 case is flimsy in comparison, no real hinge just plastic that flexes, no locking tabs, you have to wrap a cable around the handle, really awkward.
So, for me anyway, it is a done deal, the A1 is it; researched holsters, have a couple of nylon ones that fit; talked to El Paso Saddlery yesterday by tel and found that they have a mold for the A1, also, FIST has the mold and they offer an incredible selection of options, so ordered one for concealed carry yesterday, plan on ordering one for duty on Monday. Still like the P99 a lot and think it is a real good firearm, just decided I like the A1 better.