The Beeman P1/HW 45: A shoulder stock, red dot sight & more!
by B.B. Pelletier.
If you own a Beeman P1 air pistol or an HW 45, I'll bet it's one of your favorites. The gun has so much going for it, and today I'll show you how it can be made even better!
A spring pistol with several differences!
For starters, the P1 is one of the all-time highest-powered spring pistols ever made. It achieves that distinction despite being quite compact, if not small. Weihrauch has folded the spring piston into what looks like an oversized slide on a Colt M1911A1. Through the use of an extra-long stroke, they manage to generate magnum power in a space other air pistols cannot.
It's easy to cock
A weaker mainspring allows for easy cocking effort in spite of the power. The piston comes straight back at your hand, so the recoil force is very much like a firearm. The gun can actually be cocked to two different levels for low and high power, though I never shoot mine on anything but high. I found that if I shot too much on low power, the gun would diesel with every shot. Don Walker at Beeman told me to dry-fire the gun twice, after which I should shoot it only on high power. I've been doing that ever since.
Dry-firing the P1 sounds dangerous, but the pistol has a PTFE (a term for Teflon) piston seal that actually forms to the compression chamber that way. Webley rifles used to do that also.
The trigger is excellent!
This is one time an airgun trigger is better than a firearm's. No M1911A1 I ever examined has a trigger as crisp and light as my P1 - not even the ones costing $3,000! Put that trigger with the superb barrel, and you get accuracy that a 1911 is hard-pressed to match out to 50 feet.
What's better than a P1?
A P1 with a shoulder stock, of course. Years ago, Beeman sold an optional shoulder stock for the P1 and I bought one. It was solid, rugged and looked great. Because of the pistol's great power, it made the gun a viable hunting airgun for smaller game.
Beeman dropped the shoulder stock from their line several years ago, but Pyramyd Air created one of their own! The Pyramyd Air HW 45 shoulder stock (also fits the P1 because they are the same gun) is walnut, not the beech that Beeman sold. As a result, it's more highly figured. And, it sells today for $27 less than Beeman charged back in 1995. So it's a great deal.
If you stock it, get a better sight
With the shoulder stock, I was able to hold the P1 much more rigidly, increasing my accuracy. It pushed my limit for hunting small game out to 20 to 25 yards. I chose a red dot sight - and in those days, there weren't a lot of them available. I paid $130 for a Pro Point and got half the performance you can get from the BSA 30mm red dot! Check the price and see what you think.
If you want your P1 to lead an entirely different second life, try a shoulder stock. It changes the way the gun shoots and feels, turning it into a nice little carbine.