Beeman P3 air pistol – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Test and photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald


Mac tested his own P3 with a ProPoint red dot sight.

I’ve already tested and reported on a gun similar to this one. Back in 2006, I tested the Marksman 2004 — a carbon copy of the Beeman P3. At the time, I said it was a wonderful value in light of the price for a P3.

Well, the Marksman 2004 went away in 2006, and the Beeman P17 took its place. Same gun, different name. Still made in China, as opposed to the P3, which is made in Germany. This report looks at the genuine German-made P3.

The Beeman P3 is a single-stroke pneumatic single-shot pistol that performs like a target pistol. I will explain why I say that as we go through Mac’s test. The gun is made primarily of engineering plastic, which is the same stuff Glock frames are made of, so no wear-out and breakage fears. It’s an overlever design, where a top strap is lifted away from the frame and rotated forward to open the air reservoir and provide access for loading the pellet. When the top strap is returned to its starting position, the air is compressed in the reservoir.


P3 in the open position. (Photo from Pyramyd Air website)

The barrel is housed inside the top strap, so the breech is available for loading when the top strap is forward. Mac and many other owners feel the loading is somewhat clumsy, but I found it easy to adapt to with practice. When the top strap is closed, the air inside the reservoir is compressed. It takes about 20 lbs. of force to close the top strap for firing.


Pellet is placed into the breech when the barrel is exposed like this. Many feel this is clumsy.

How long can you wait before shooting after the gun is charged? Let’s call it five minutes, because the pump head is also the reservoir seal, and it isn’t strong enough to hold the compressed air for a long time. It has to flex to do its job, and that means it has to be made to give a little around the edges. So, five minutes max before you shoot. It’s best not to charge the gun unless you plan on shooting immediately.

The safety is automatic and sets when the pistol is cocked. It’s located on the left side of the frame which makes it impossible to operate with just one hand.


The safety is automatic and must be released before each shot.

The trigger is adjustable through an Allen screw set in the trigger. Mac reports the test pistol trigger breaks with 16 oz. of pressure and no creep or overtravel. That’s a lighter pull than would be legal on a 10-meter target pistol in competition.


The trigger adjusts through the blade via an Allen screw. It’s crisp, light and breaks cleanly.

The plastic sights are very durable with repeatable adjustments. They also have a very sharp post and notch, so sighting is particularly easy. The front sight has a fiberoptic dot that can also be a solid black post with the right lighting. But Mac preferred to use a ProPoint red dot sight instead, and that was mounted on the 11mm dovetail that is on the top strap.


Rear sight is very adjustable.

Mac’s pistol has approximately 1,000 rounds on it. That answers another question about longevity. The Marksman 2004 and P17 have sometimes had sealing issues with their compression reservoirs, but the P3 doesn’t seem to share them.

43 thoughts on “Beeman P3 air pistol – Part 1

  1. Pistol looks and sounds good. That sight “ProPoint red dot sight”, looks really impressive but I can’t find it on PyramydAir. Should I look elsewhere or is it listed by another name?

    rikib


  2. Well finally got our newest addition to our family settled in and asleep for now (year old German Shepherd). So all 5 dogs and 9 cats seemed to have called it a night. Guess I should too, don’t know when things will start up later this morning.

    rikib


    • WOW congrats Rikib ! That’s good news for you AND that dog. You must be pretty happy.
      It’s the opposite from your house here, my wife would prefer I’d get 2 other airguns than another large dog there’s a nice Rottweiler at the shelter where I took our other dogs but it’s no kill shelter so I can’t justify getting her here and I know they are taking good care of her but it’s still a shelter.

      JF


      • J-F,
        Thanks, everybody seems to be getting along pretty well so far (cats still a little skittish). Our shelter here I believe is also a no kill shelter as well, but I still hate seeing all those loving animals in there. Most for no reason other than owners will not have their pets spayed/neutered. I guess between our vet bills and food bills I could have several guns, but for us the animals are our family and therefore more important. Thank you for loving animals! :)

        rikib



  3. Rikib i used to have german shepherd and alaskan malamute then last year my mother and step-father have divorced and i lost both of them :(


    • C-S,
      That is sad :( We had an Alaskan Malamute, but had to have him put down a couple years ago as he developed a spinal disease the vet said there really wasn’t a cure and we would just prolong his agony to keep him alive. :(
      So now we have a Great Dane, American Bulldog/Hound mix, Dingo, Siberian Husky and our new German Shepherd plus the nine cats (11 if you count the two we feed outside). One big family, but we try to all get along :) :)

      rikib


      • You will see German Shepherd is great dog mine was a female named “Aki” she failed tests for police dog becouse she was afraid of shooting and guns so somebody gave her to my friend and he gave her to me -well to my step-father ,and Alaskan malamute he was a show dog there was not a boring moment with him


        • C-S,
          So far he seems very loving gets along with the other dogs we have, cats he is still trying to get used to. They are coming around though, slowly it has only been about 1 full day can’t expect too much! :)

          rikib


        • I believe we have received more than we every expected with “Charlie”. Talking more with his previous owner he has been through basic training as a rescue/guard dog and has a permit to be allow in stores if the owner qualifies as disabled. We are going to continue his training, the disability part will be no problem because I am much more disabled than previous owner. Charlie has already become my companion and will not let me out of his sight which is wonderful, until you want to go to the toilet. :) :)

          rikib


  4. An air pistol that doesn’t look like an air pistol but also doesn’t need Co2 cartridges.
    That is a good combination :)
    DaveUK


  5. My first impulse is to distrust a gun that can’t hold air longer than five minutes…But then again, who would cock any weapon without the intention firing it right away? Gun safety 101.


  6. The P3 looks very similar to the Gamo Compact. I normally don’t care for auto safety but the way these guns pump it seems like a good feature although it would be nice if you could operate it with one hand. The other thing that sticks out to me is that it looks like the grip has a much smother transition to the frame, my Gamo rubs the top of my thumb hard enough to make it sore after 30 or 40 shots. Does the P3 have a dry fire capability

    Caveman



  7. For those concerned about ‘engineered’ plastic, I would imagine it is much the same as the Gamo Compacts. My Gamo which is just shy of two years old now has over 10,000 shots through it and it performs and looks like new.


  8. Hi,

    Alright. I’ve got a fresh out of the box powerline targetpro sitting next to me. Ahhh….It’s got that new gun smell. It is, for all intents and purposes, my first ‘real’ airgun. What should I do to get it ready to shoot? How should I go about cleaning it? What parts should be oiled?

    Elementary questions, but I want to make sure I do this right.


    • Malcolm,

      Congratulations on the new gun!

      Here’s the 4 part series that B.B. did on the powerline targetpro. Keep the felt washer and o-ring on the pump head lubed (read details in part 1). B.B. reveals a secret about how to increase velocity by ramming extra air (read details in part 2).

      Take the time to read all of the comments in each of the 4 parts. Lots of powerline owners that had good suggestions about using and maintaining the gun. Some of these comments resulted in B.B. doing part 4 in this series. Here’s the link:

      http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2009/08/paisy-powerline-953-targetpro-part-4.html

      kevin


  9. I was very busy the last few days so I just caught up with the blog, to comment on “why I’m an air gunner”

    Without the need for ear protection and heavy recoil air guns help you focus more on fundamentals and communicate and coach new shooters without having to scream to each other.

    Tdung,

    I haven’t hunted for several years either but when I did it was more about working with my dogs. I lived on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and had a pair of Golden Retrievers and we hunted ducks and quail. It was one of the most satisfying hobbies I ever had, watching the dogs do what they were bred for. Also hunting with the dog I harvested hundreds of bird and never lost a single cripple. Now I live in western Pennsylvania with four children and don’t have the time to train and work the dogs. I miss the dogs but don’t miss the harvesting of wild game at all.

    Caveman


  10. I got to shoot a friends P17 in his basement on Monday night. Surprisingly accurate pistol at 10 meters. We shot jsb’s and gamo match. I’d need more time to get used to the trigger, the lack of leverage in cocking gets old, and the side safety is a pain. Pellet loading didn’t bother me. He bought this gun from pyramyd air for $35.00 which I think is a bargain.

    kevin


    • Kevin, that auto safety is disabled pretty easily. Don’t remember exactly how, but several years ago when I got my 2004 I remember it was pretty self evident.


  11. I have had the 2004/2006/P17 for a couple of years. Paid $35 for it.

    Great gun, trigger etc.

    I have held the German P3 and mine side by side and can see no difference in design!

    Their maybe quality differences between them, but with out taking apart i could not see any. Even the screws are the same.

    I think the production equipment is all the same, has to be.

    Any thoughts.

    Glenn


    • glenn,

      I’ve never held a P3 but they look almost identical to me in photo’s.

      Speaking of photo’s, does the first photo (the one with Mac’s ProPoint red dot sight mounted) in todays article look more like a P17 than a P3 or is it just me?
      Notice the front sight is not fiberoptic? Maybe this is an older P3 that didn’t have the fiberoptic front sight? If you look at the second photo in todays article (P3 in the open position) the front site clearly has a fiberoptic dot.

      Maybe it’s just lighting or I’m crazy.

      kevin


      • Kevin,

        I think the fiberoptic sight on the current model was a relatively recent addition to the gun. I just looked at the left profile of the gun that Mac sent, and the gun definitely says P3 on it. The second image was not taken by Mac. It comes from Pyramyd Air’s website. I’ll correct today’s blog to reflect that.

        Thanks,
        Edith


  12. I waited a couple years before taking any of my rifles apart. I wanted to see if I could smooth out the 953 trigger which is very creepy. I did succeed in smoothing out the trigger just a little, but in the process I have one part left over, one of dubious location holding the barrel up, and a gun that shoots 130fps slower than before I took it apart, and pellets all over the place.

    There is an audible hiss when I close the cocking lever. The hiss is definitely the cause of the fps drop and loss of accuracy, however, I never touched the power plant except to put a few drops of silicone oil on the o-ring and sponge. Perhaps I put too much oil? I never even took the trigger apart either I just lubed the areas I could see better with the action out of the stock. I don’t think the left over part is a reason but then, hey, look how much I know about airguns.

    The gun’s back in the closet. Tomorrow I’ll take it apart again all the way down past the o-ring. Oh, yes, I’ve had that action out three times now and I’m really hating that safety button. Why couldn’t they have ground out the slot on one side of the stock so the button could be all the way to one side or the other during assy/disassy. Oooo! Bing! Just got an idea for next time.

    Spell checker works great! It’s Firefox that underlines misspelled words in red during typing. Internet Explorer doesn’t do that so the spell checker is very handy with that.

    -CJr


    • Chuck

      You forgot to put the thingabob into the doohickey assembly slot.

      I love my 953 but hate the trigger. I wanted to smooth it out but was reluctant to try. This is precisely the kind of thing I was afraid of.

      Word on the streets is, Derrick38 could put one of these things back together with his teeth. I bet he has an answer for you.


  13. One important point to note about this pistol and its clones, the Beeman P17 and Marksman 2004/6, is that the action of the closing stroke provides a sharp PINCH POINT. Small-fingered hands beware! Heck, I’ve even taken a small bite of flesh one too many times from between my thumb and forefinger on my shooting hand.


  14. Slinging Lead – We’ll have to go to a range, I only have a suburbian back yard as well. I can get away with it alone because I pick my times wisely and because my backyard is pretty deep and wooded. If there were two of us back there shooting up the place, it may rouse too much attention. There is a 55ft pistol range nearby at $11/hr. That sounds expensive to me, but I really have no idea… You can email me at faid-david@comcast.net


    • Fused

      Suburban backyard? When you said Woodstock, I imagined acres of farmland and split-wood fences. ;-) Then again, parts of Powder Springs are just as I described if you go a couple miles up the road, so I am not allowed to sneer. $11 for an hour of range time is approaching the cost of a tin of good pellets when you consider the PA 4 for 3 deal. I am notoriously cheap. I also hate ranges.

      What we need is a third party in the vicinity, whom has large amounts of land, and an extensive collection of airguns, and a couple extra beers in the fridge. Perhaps we should put an ad in the paper?

      My neighbors are about at the limit of putting up with me as it is. So my place is a no-go.

      Until our beneficent benefactor shows up, perhaps we should settle for meeting for a beer and a burrito or sum such?


      • Your description sounds like Wayne Burns to me. Nicest guy in airgunning as far as I can tell. Too bad he’s on the West Coast.


      • Fused,
        Is your Woodstock in Illinois? My sister lived in Woodstock for a few years then moved to Arlington Heights. Since you have a deep wooded back yard I’m thinking you’re somewhere else. The Woodstock I know is very densely populated. Today she is moving out to the country (Madison, Wis., ha, ha). She can’t wait to get away from the Chicago area traffic. Peoria is about 120 miles south of Chicago and it takes her longer to get out of Chicago than it does to drive the rest of the way down here.
        -CJr


        • CJR, Woodstock GA. It’s about 30 miles North of Atlanta. A nice balance between the big city and the North Georgia mountains. The neighborhoods up here have a lot of real estate owned by the Army Corps of Engineers for watershed purposes into Lake Allatoona. Makes for a nicely wooded subdivision, so I’m not complaining! I do have people behind me, but they’re about 75 yards away and there is a creek between us. Makes for safe shooting because the land goes down and then back up making a natural berm. Side to side, we’re as close as anywhere else though.


          • Do you have, or would a 6′ privacy/stockade fence help muffle multiple people shooting? Might be costly, but hey, when it comes to sports and hobbies money’s no object. You’d only need 30-50yds of fence on each side.

            -CJr


  15. I have had my P3 pistol for about 8 years and it shoots as well as it did on day one. I have read a lot of bad comments on the Marksman “clones” of the P3 and I’m guessing it’s just thee usual Chinese lack of QC. Also, the triggers are not identical other then the basic parts. The P3 is far superior.

    This pistol is far more accurate than my old eyes, even at 25 meters.


    • Buying a P17 is a bit of a gamble, but in shooting mine, it’s hard to find any fault. My P17′s trigger feels as good as a Rekord: two distinct stages with virtually no creep, perfectly smooth and predictable. Problems are well documented, but so are fixes for many of them. At $36 new, it’s a steal.

      Here’s a question. Why does it cost more to put the Beeman name on a Weihrauch ($50) than to manufacture and sell a Chinese knockoff of a Weihrauch with the Beeman name ($36)?


  16. ARRRRGH!! My 34 spring just broke!! I guess now I’m in the same boat as C-S, but my waiting is budgetary. The Princess and I were just starting to get along, our counseling sessions were going so well, then this had to go and happen… Have I ever told you all how much I like the 94?


  17. Slinging Lead,

    I’ve never worked on a Daisy 953. I hear that they oftentimes put extra parts in them.

    P17′s are a great deal. Every airgunner should add one to the roster at only $36. I’ve had to fix a few things on mine here and there, but it’s a pretty easy gun to repair.


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