Gamo V3 - Part 1
by B.B. Pelletier
This report comes at the request of a reader. While CO2-powered BB pistols are all pretty much the same, this one has a thing or two that is unique, so we'll explore it together.
The Gamo V3 is largely synthetic on the outside. Only the movable slide is metal. That's right, the slide moves. In fact, it is one of the cleverest arrangements I've seen on a BB pistol, because it simulates blowback! You read that correctly - simulates blowback. Before getting into that, however, let's look at some other nifty features, because I need to get the pistol charged.
Most of today's crop of CO2 BB pistols have removable magazines, but the one on the V3 is different in several ways. First, it's a drop-free mag, just like those found on fine firearms. Just press the mag release on the left side of the frame behind the triggerguard, and the mag drops out the same as a 1911 mag would. Sorry, there are no provisions for lefties here.
Drop-free magazine holds both the CO2 cartridge and the BBs. Mag release is the button behind the trigger.
Once outside the gun, we can see a second difference. The bottom of the mag is solid and hangs below the grip frame, just like the bumper pad of a firearm drop-free magazine. A hidden button pops the "bumper pad" open to reveal the folding thumbscrew for piercing CO2 cartridges. I praise Gamo for this feature, because airgunners today absolutely HATE seeing anything hanging below the grip that isn't also found on a firearm. A magazine bumper pad is okay because today's pistol mags have them. Someone at Gamo has listened to this complaint and solved the problem with an ingenious design.
The "bumper pad" on the bottom of the V3 magazine conceals the thumbscrew for piercing the CO2 cartridge. This eliminates a major concern of buyers.
The Gamo bumper pad is shown next to a Wilson Combat M1911 magazine (right) with a real aluminum bumper pad. The Wilson mag costs nearly half of the Gamo V3's price!
The sights are conventional modern tactical pistol sights, which is to say they're equipped for night vision. The front sight has one dot and the rear notch has two. On a firearm, these would most likely be tritium capsules, but on the V3 they are white paint - the same as on my Taurus PT1911 economy .45 ACP.
What in the heck is simulated blowback? Well, I think Gamo has done an astonishing thing with the V3. At the ridiculously low retail price, there's no way they could make the gun actually blow back, so what they've done is tie the hidden hammer to the slide. As the shooter squeezes the long double-action-only pull, the slide moves with it, forcing the hammer backward until it releases to come forward and strike the valve stem. With every trigger-pull, the slide does come back. It's before the shot rather than after, and there is no recoil impulse, but movement seems to be very important for the buyers of these BB pistols and Gamo has found a unique way of doing it.
Pulling back on the double-action trigger sends the slide to the rear. The hidden hammer (that silver tab that sticks out below the rear sight) is pushed through its cocking cycle this way.
More ingenuity is shown by the clever use of the moving slide feature in conjunction with the safety switch. It thumbs up into a notch on the left side of the slide and prevents the slide from moving. Since the gun is DAO and the slide must move for it to fire, the safety is foolproof. It's also much simpler than any other safety I've seen.
Next, I'll shoot the gun for accuracy and velocity.