Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel CO2 blowback airsoft kit: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
The Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel pistol is a real competition airsoft gun in a box!

Well, here’s something different! I’m testing an airsoft gun — actually the Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel CO2 blowback airsoft kit — which the distributor calls a softair gun. Many of you don’t remember this, but years ago I used to test airsoft guns for this blog from time to time. Then Pyramyd Air got a dedicated blogger for airsoft and I stopped reviewing them. Well, that blog is no longer active, so I told Edith I wanted to start testing them again, now and then. I don’t skirmish and I don’t shoot guns at people. So, my interest in airsoft guns is in their realism and how well they shoot. That’s how I’ll be looking at this one. Since realism was the original impetus behind the creation of airsoft guns, I don’t think my views are out of line.

This test is actually the first part of a twofer because there’s also a Tanfoglio Gold Custom CO2 blowback BB pistol that I have. I’ll test that one after I finish this test, but I won’t link the 2 reports to keep the confusion down. The gun I’m looking at is serial number 12021442.

Today’s test isn’t just a gun — it’s an entire shooting kit that comes with a Swiss Arms red dot holographic sight. The pistol comes with a Picatinny sight base attached to the gun but no dot sight in the package, so this dot sight completes the ensemble. And it’s an all-metal gun that weighs 3 lbs., 4.4 oz. without sights, ammo or CO2! That makes it 2.5 oz. heavier than my Wilson Combat .45 ACP when it’s fully loaded! Nothing but metal touches your hand. Although the gun resembles a 1911 somewhat, it’s also clearly different. The grip frame reminds me of a Llama Max II 45L/F hi-cap pistol because it ‘s wider, more rounded and softer than a slabsided 1911.

This firearm is purpose-built as an IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) competition gun. It’s endorsed by 5-time IPSC world champion Eric Grauffel and is a copy of the gun he uses. Its purpose is to place as many shots as possible into the highest-scoring kill zone of silhouette targets in the shortest possible time. The slide has a cocking knob located on the right rear, so you don’t rack the slide to start the gun — you pull back on the cocking knob. Even though the trigger appears to be double-action, this pistol is single-action only. And the trigger-pull is to die for! I’ll get to that in a moment.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
A knob on the right rear of the pistol retracts the slide to cock the hammer. Blowback continues to cock the hammer after the first shot until the magazine is out of ammo, then the slide remains open.

With this gun, we have a dilemma. It has blowback action that drives the slide to the rear with each shot, cocking the hammer for the next shot. With most airsoft guns with blowback, you get the feel of recoil that a firearm would have. It isn’t exactly the same, but it’s a good simulation, which is the primary reason these guns have it. However, with this pistol, we want to recover from each shot as fast as possible, so any movement caused by blowback runs counter to the purpose of the gun. We have it and it works, but we don’t really want it — except to cock the hammer. Fortunately, the makers understood that, and the blowback of this pistol does not make the gun bounce in your hand. Throw in the safety, which is wide enough so you can rest your thumb on it, and you’ve got an action pistol that’s still very controllable.

Trigger
I don’t know how they did it, but the makers of this pistol gave it one of the finest 2-stage trigger-pulls it has ever been my good fortune to try. It’s not a glass-crisp release; stage 2 does have movement. You can feel the blade as it moves, but there isn’t even a hint of creep. I’ll test the trigger for you in Part 2 and give you the numbers. But I’m telling you now — this one is very good!

Safety
The gun has an ambidextrous thumb safety that can be used as a thumb rest for your shooting hand. The reason to do this is to reduce the amount of muzzle flip with each shot, allowing you to get on the next target faster. Since IPSC is a timed competition, everything that saves time is a benefit.

The forward part of the grip frame and backstrap are both finely checkered for a better grip. I would want even more checkering, but the gun still grabs your hand well. The backstrap is a full beavertail that goes way back over your shooting hand. The hammer is both bobbed and skeletonized for speed. This pistol showcases the type of race gun features competitors would spend thousands of dollars to get.

The magazine holds both the single CO2 cartridge and 17 6mm airsoft BBs arranged in a vertical double-stack column. The specs say this is an 18-shot magazine, so I will be checking that during this test. The extended magazine release on the left side of the frame cleanly releases the drop-free magazine, and the next loaded mag installs easily in the funnel-shaped butt…because, once again, time is the issue.

Of course, the gun’s caliber is 6mm. The lithographed box indicates the pistol does best with 0.20-gram BBs that are supposed to leave the muzzle at 350 f.p.s. Velocity is also given for 0.12-gram BBs that are supposed to go out at 450 f.p.s. Naturally, I’ll test both claims.

BAXS
This pistol has a proprietary version of Hop-Up called the BAXS shooting system. It puts a controlled backspin on the plastic ball, giving straighter flight over a longer distance. It’s adjustable and requires partial disassembly of the gun to access the adjustment. The slide has to come off. It’s held on by a disassembly pin, similar to the one found on a Beretta 92FS. I’ll test the efficacy of this for you when I write the accuracy test.

There are no open sights on this gun, as it’s a competition model. But it does come with a Picatinny rail for optical sights. The rail is attached to the left side of the gun’s frame by 4 Allen screws, and there are 4 more threaded holes on the right side of the frame, although the base isn’t symmetrical and cannot be switched over to the other side. The slide is free to cycle beneath the rail and is the reason there’s a cocking knob on the gun.

These days, dot sights reign supreme in IPSC competition, so that’s what’s provided in the kit. The Swiss Arms dot sight is a holographic-type red dot that has 11 levels of brightness and the off position. Naturally, the dot is adjustable for both windage and elevation. I see that the dot is very fat, which helps with rapid target acquisition more than precision; again, time is the crucial factor. So the choice of this particular sight was well thought out.

Yes, there’s a blaze orange muzzle to comply with U.S. import regulations. And, no, it’s not okay to take it off or cover it up. If you get in trouble with this gun and have altered the muzzle, you bear the full brunt of liability for the problems it causes.

There’s also a compensator on the muzzle of the gun. It would work if the gun had the volume of gas that’s generated by a .45 ACP cartridge. But with CO2, it’s just there for looks.

Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel airsoft pistol
This pistol is a serious IPSC competition gun.

Initial impressions
I know handguns, and this KWC (Taiwan) airsoft pistol blows me away. It isn’t just good — it’s great, and you can tell it was purposely made that way. There’s no luck involved here — this pistol is intentionally meant to be wonderful.

I know it isn’t a precision target pistol; but it’s made for a type of target shooting, so it has to be accurate. Right? I’ll try to test it in the way it was intended to be shot.

I didn’t select this pistol on my own. I asked Pyramyd Air’s airsoft expert, Sergey, to send me the best gun he has. And this was his choice. I haven’t fired one BB through it, yet I’m already inclined to agree with him!

58 Responses to “Tanfoglio Gold Custom Eric Grauffel CO2 blowback airsoft kit: Part 1”

  • Gunfun1 Says:

    What range/yards do they shoot the competition at?

    • Slinger Says:

      Gunfun1: Never shot a ball gun, but this very attractive pistol inspired me to look at the ipsc rules. (70 plus pages) The only reference to distance I found stated that where metal targets were used they must be a minimum distance of 7 metres from competitors. Might this suggest a larger ‘kill zone’ than HFT do you think?

    • GF1,

      Very close range. Not more than 30 feet. You run through a maze of targets and they are presented in different ways at different distances. It’s all online.

      Watch this video:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABhkFTO4cp4

      B.B.

  • RidgeRunner Says:

    A while back I saw a mom buying her tweeny son an airsoft pistol at WallyWorld. All kinds of alarms went off in my head. Unfortunately, these things have started showing up in the news. You cannot blame the cop when he blows your kid away for pointing one of these things at him, orange muzzle tip or not. They will likely be the cause of severe restrictions on ALL air guns.

    Don’t get me wrong, I would really like to try one of these things out come the spring thaw (CO2). I was also taught that you do not point a gun at anyone unless you intend to kill them. Growing up, I was not allowed to have bb guns and sling shots and such because my dad had them and he knew. I had an Iver Johnson Mark X from the time I was three and when I was six my Dad and Granddad started teaching me how to shoot and how to safely handle firearms.

    We teach our children that the way to settle disagreements is to kill the person we have a disagreement with and then give them the “toys” to train with.

    I’m sorry BB. I did not start out to jump up on a soapbox, but I got on a roll.

    • RR,

      I agree with your position on shooting at people, but that doesn’t condemn the gun. It’s the gun we are talking about here — not skirmishing.

      B.B.

      • RidgeRunner Says:

        I know, and like I said, I personally would really like to try this thing out. It is most unfortunate that so many people look at these things as toys. They are not. At WallyWorld, they are not in the toy section, they are with the firearms and air guns.

        I’m sorry, I’m ranting again. Please continue.

        • cowboystar dad Says:

          Hey RidgeRunner…any room on that soapbox for me ;-)
          I’ve not purchased airsofts for my sons (who really wanted me to) till this year. I always felt that it gave the wrong message.
          On the one hand…here son, take this .177 pellet gun and shoot at that target…BUT DON’T EVER POINT IT AT A PERSON…IT WILL HURT OR KILL THEM.
          No way I was going to buy them airsofts and tell them to head out in the backyard and ‘have at it’ shooting each other.
          Like you I cringe everytime I’m in Canadian Tire (Canada’s version of WalMart) buying their 10year old a cheap (but realistic) looking airsoft knowing that there is going likely going to be no safety instruction whatsoever.
          But that all changed this year. The Archery club my boys are members of started an airsoft ‘IPSC Night’ every Wednesday evening. A proper IPSC airsoft course of fire…with a heavy emphasis on safe gun handling.
          A Sig Sauer P226 and a Caspian Arms 1911 now see regular Wednesday evening use.
          And not to brag…but my 12 year old holds the junior (under 18 record) since the competitions started last spring.

    • Ridgerunner,

      We teach our children that the way to settle disagreements is to kill the person we have a disagreement with and then give them the “toys” to train with.

      An overstatement for sure.

      I don’t think most people teach their children to settle disagreements by killing someone. Most kids find non-violent ways to settle disagreements. The ones reported on the news are the exception, not the rule. They’re a very, very small minority. I base that on the fact that there aren’t thousands/hundreds of thousands/millions of children being killed due to disagreements.

      Edith

      • RidgeRunner Says:

        I was referring to our society. In school they are taught “There is no God” and “Survival of the Fittest”. You turn on the TV and everyone is shooting or blowing up everyone else and the hero or heroine is above the law. And then there are the games… Thankfully, like you have said, most kids figure out the difference between fantasy and reality. The others grow up and get elected to Federal positions and exempt themselves from the law.

        I KNEW I SHOULD HAVE JUST LEFT THIS ALONE!

      • cowboystar dad Says:

        A thorny issue to be sure Edith.
        It is definitely a case (IMO) of the ‘gun’ taking the heat for poor parenting most often, unless mental issues are involved.
        My boys (10 & 12) have been brought up around guns all their lives…from Nerf to Red Ryders to last weeks suppressed .308 police sniper rifles.
        I get regular comments from the adults at the range we are at about how they know the safety rules better than more than a few of our adult members.
        At the same time they have friends that I wouldn’t leave unattended with a b.b. gun let alone a powderburner.
        And it’s not because they are inherently bad kids…it’s just so obvious that they spend hours playing violent video games/watching violent movies with absolutely no parental involvement.
        I’m in no way adverse to either…this past weekend my oldest spent Saturday afternoon playing the new Call of Duty and the youngest wants Warhammer (a D&D style board game for Christmas).
        But we also on Nov 11th rewatched Saving Private Ryan. We watch this or Black Hawk Down every Remembrance Day (our version of Veterans Day) just to remind them that getting shot or killed isn’t all fun and games. It hurts like hell and those scenes where grown men are crying for their mothers is heart wrenching.
        But I know too many kids who never are taught what it may be like to be on the other side of that bullet they see sent out on Call of Duty.
        But as you say the numbers truly aren’t that great…I blame the media for this.
        But though they may be in the minority (thankfully)…to many people out there are pretty lousy parents in my opinion…worried way more about working a few extra hours to get that brand new SUV than they are about what their kids are doing.
        Okay…I now relinquish the soapbox ;-)

    • Malcolm Says:

      To a certain extend, I agree.

      But I also know, I grew up with bows and arrows (homemade, granddad-made, later store-bought), those little toy guns you squeeze the two handles together and it shoots the little rubber yellow bullets, bb guns, slingshots…Along with my 6 brothers and sisters, and we never had to be told not to stick each other with arrows. The little rubber-bullet squeeze-guns we shot at each other with, the bb guns we didn’t. I don’t think it takes a great thinker to see the difference between two things that shoot, but with unequal lethality. And I simply cannot believe that there are that many Americans so totally detached from reality that they cannot differentiate between a nerf gun and a firearm, that skirmishing with airsoft guns will cause them to think they can skirmish with firearms for an even better time.

      Universally-applied dogma is the enemy of common sense. Don’t point a gun or shoot at something you don’t intend to destroy? Correct. Take that principle and apply to broad-spectrum to any toy that reminds people of guns? Not so great.

      One final point I would make — Recently a cop blew away a kid with an airsoft gun in California. Apparently the child didn’t point the thing at him, but refused to put it down when ordered to. To me, that is not a valid application of lethal force. “I felt threatened” has become a catch-all excuse for SOME police to ride roughshod over common decency. Airsoft guns have orange tips, and they are so common that I doubt the officer didn’t know what airsoft guns are. That’s when Barney Fife needs to apply a modicum of common sense and consider the possibility that — surprise — that rifle-looking object with an orange tip might just be a toy. Never mind the fact that you can tell just by the way a person, especially a child, is hefting it, whether it is heavy enough to be a real AK.

      Being a cop is not a safe job, but its an all volunteer force — nobody drafted these guys, If a policeman cannot enforce the law without trampling on the rights of citizens, without mistaking every gun-shaped toy for a firearm, without shooting children who are holding toys, then that cop needs to find a nice safe desk job and leave law-enforcement to those with enough common sense, honor, and responsibility to police without killing children holding toys.

      • cowboystar dad Says:

        Sorry, but I gotta disagree with you on a couple of points.
        What seems to have been the case in the shooting of the child was that the kid didn’t put the gun down after repeatedly being told to do so and was turning towards the officer with the gun in hand when he was shot.
        Second…the cop should have known it was an airsoft.
        Really??
        Take for example the gun shown at the top of this page. You’re telling me that at 30′, in a tense situation you’d be able to see instantly that this is an airsoft gun.
        You must have wayyy better eyes than me.
        And lastly…it’s been mentioned over and over that he was a ’13 year old child’.
        Well…my 12 year old is about 3″ taller than his mother (he’s 5’5″). He ways 125 lbs and there’s nary an ounce of fat on him.
        Sorry…if someone his size was turning towards me with the gun in the above picture after having been repeatedly told to drop the weapon and not doing so…I’d likely do exactly what the cop was trained to do…make sure he got to go home to his family that night.

        • Malcolm Says:

          Not just because of the orange tip. At 30 feet, the way in which the person is holding it, hefting it, the way the light plays on the surface of it, the scale (many airsoft guns aren’t as large as the weapon they supposedly replicate) — all these things should have tipped off the cop, especially since cops are supposedly so much more qualified than your average bear regarding firearms. Also, the fact that it was a child (maybe things have changed, but as I see it 12 is still a child) would be a hint that maybe, possibly, that’s not actually an AK. All things considered, especially since the thing was never pointed at them by their own admission (I should add that two cops were present), shooting to kill is unpardonable.

          • cowboystar dad Says:

            Sorry Malacom, but what you really need to do is contact your local police dept and see if they offer ‘ride alongs’ (most do), then possibly you’d know what you’re talking about.
            First…go to a store selling ‘real’ airsoft weapons, as opposed to the $50 plastic toys you buy at Walmart (which is what you are talking about).
            ‘Real’ airsoft are EXACT replicas of the firearm they are copying. If you hold this in one hand http://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Elite_Force_VFC_4CRL_AEG_Airsoft_Rifle/2896#Specifications and a real AK in the other I defy you to tell which is which at arms length until you open the breech.
            But of course no bad guy would ever paint the tip black…no, even they would consider that unethical.
            And you must have missed my point in my last post…my 12 year old (well, nearly 13) towers above him mom and at 20 feet, from behind looks every bit an adult.
            As well (okay I’m on rant about you lack of knowledge)…even if he is only 12…he can hit steel at 300m with a .308 and keeps a full mag inside of a 6″ circle at 10yds with a 9mm.
            Please don’t ever consider becoming a cop Malcolm for your families sake…with your flawed thinking you’d be dead in six months.

          • Malcom,

            I’m sorry, but I don’t think cops know much about firearms unless they are also shooters. Many cops are shooters and they could be experts, but those cops who don’t shoot for recreation are not necessarily endowed with special knowledge about guns.

            B.B.

            • Malcolm Says:

              BB, I absolutely agree. In my experience cops seem to have a below-average level of competence around firearms. But the line of bull we always hear from members of the statist side of things is that the police are so much qualified than regular citizens when it comes to firearms.

      • J-F Says:

        I have to agree with Cowboystar dad on this one.
        The cops were in uniform, in a squad car, had the flashing lights on and used the siren.
        They ordered the kid to drop the gun with their guns drawn from behind the relative safety of their car doors. What were they supposed to do? Wait for him to shoot at them to be sure if it was a firearm or not?
        Orange tip or not. Nothing will stop a criminal from painting the tip of his gun orange.

        I’m really sorry for the kid AND for the cops who will have to live with this for the rest of their lives but they had no choice.

        J-F

        • J-F,

          Some wannabe crooks have already done that. Don’t know if I’m remembering all the facts correctly, but some robbers had painted their gun pink and tried to rob some people at an ATM. They thought it would seem less threatening, and people would give up their money and not be so rattled. They were caught by the police.

          Edith

      • RidgeRunner Says:

        What is to keep a criminal from painting the end of his gun orange in the hopes that the cop might hesitate long enough for him to get the advantage in the gun fight?

        • Fred DPRoNJ Says:

          RR,

          and that is exactly the scenario that I imagine runs through every law enforcement personnel’s mind. That and “Do I feel lucky?”. In this case, is it real or is it a toy? I believe in making your own luck. Someone is about to point a firearm at me, I’ll ask questions after I shoot.

          Fred DPRoNJ

        • RR,

          That’s already been done. Criminals may not be smart, but some are very creative.

          The laws were changed years ago so that brandishing or threatening with any gun would result in the same charges as though you’d used a firearm. So, every gun is treated like a firearm.

          Edith

          • J-F Says:

            WOW it’s hard to believe a Canadian law on a gun issue is actually better than a US law! We don’t need the orange tip here if the gun is shooting 366fps or faster with .12 gram airsoft ammo (if it’s not it has to be clear).
            Here if a “gun” is used to perpetrate a crime it doesn’t mather if it’s a firearm, pellet, BB, airsoft, carved in a piece of wood, a bar of soap or a form made by your fingers in your jacket pocket. It’s all the same.
            And I think it’s the way it should be and cops shouldn’t take a chance with their lives. If the other guy wishes to take with his life it’s choice, the cop shouldn’t take one with his.

            J-F

  • /Dave Says:

    Looks like fun! Not something I personally would spend $200 on at this point in my life, but maybe someday. I doubt the frame is forged, but is milled or is it just cast steel or aluminum like the cap guns of my youth?

    /Dave

  • J-F Says:

    I remember when you used to review airsoft gun! Some of those look so amazingly beautiful…
    When they’re available maybe you could test both the airsoft and airgun version of the guns side by side so those who aren’t interested by airsoft still have something interesting to look at?

    For those interested here is the steel BB version: http://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Tanfoglio_Gold_Custom_CO2_Pistol_Dot_Sight/3240

    J-F

    • J-F Says:

      Sorry… my bad… I should have taken the time to read the blog before posting a comment.
      I justed looked at it before going to work this morning and but I just took time to read the thing during my lunch break.

      On the airsoft thing I have to disagree with most of you. Playing with an airsoft gun if done correctly isn’t worst than playing with a cap gun like we used to do when we were kids. If you show your kids how it can and can’t be used and you see they are responsible enough why not.
      What I do agree on is it seems that “under adult supervision” and common sense as all but disapeared from most people and houses.

      J-F

  • dangerdongle Says:

    Airsoft must be much more popular than bb/pellet guns considering the sheer variety of weapons available. That orange thing turns me off every time though.
    Speaking of KWC, if PA is going to sell their airsoft guns, is there any chance they’ll carry the bb/pellet lines as well?

  • Bub Says:

    First off I am also uncomfortable shooting at people even if it’s an airsoft or paintball. I know people who play these games and love it, but it just seems it sets a bad example. But what do I know.

    A little over a year ago I picked up a KWA ATP pistol for use as a training aid. If you’re into any of the action shooting sports i.e. IDPA/USPSA these things work great for backyard or even indoor practice. The ATP fits in any holster a Glock 17 uses which allows you to practice draws, etc. At close range (5 to 10 meters) accuracy is ok.

    My neighbors no doubt think some old dude in the backyard with half dozen targets playing with a toy gun is strange, but it works for me.

    The gun B.B. Is using would be considered a race gun in most action sports. Looking forward to how his review turns out.

  • Beazer Says:

    Howdy Mr. BB. Very cool, thanx. Shoot/ride safe.
    Beaz

  • Gunfun1 Says:

    I watched the video. Cool stuff.

    Maybe that could be a fun Friday night/weekend event thing to do with the family. Not necessarily a competition. But a place to go have fun shooting and to also learn about how to improve your form when shooting pistols.
    Maybe that could be a new thing that would take the place of game rooms or slot car tracks back in the day. If some body opened a place up and you could rent the guns or something. That could be a low cost investment towards starting a business.

    I think that would help me out greatly if I could do something like that. I need all the help I could get with a pistol. And that type of sights is great for training kids to shoot.
    I think its cool stuff.

  • Bradly Says:

    All, I don’t know much about air soft. I do know the ammo is very “lite’ so even a heavy .20+ grain bb isn’t going to have much energy. With the better airsoft pistols/rifle, what would be the range one could hit a coke can off hand with? Is 20 yards too far? The reason I pulled that # down is due to reviews I’ve read on PA about people hitting a can at that distance. Thanks for helping educate me. Bradly

    • Bradley,

      You can probably hit a Coke can out to 200 feet once you get the range.

      B.B.

    • Wulfraed Says:

      With a good hop-up system, probably a goodly distance for a CO2 or “green gas” model, or an AEG rifle.

      Note that those .20gram (not grain — they come in at 3.1 grain; a bit under the lightest non-lead pellets) can break window glass at 25 feet… As my father discovered a few days after firing a burst from my AEG M-14 /through/ a paper bag hanging from a floor joist that was about 12-15 feet from the basement window.

      This is with what would be considered a low-powered springer — the electronics part is an RC car battery driving a motor that cocks a piston with about a 4-5 inch stroke.

      • Bradly Says:

        Wulfraed, Great catch, Thank You. All that time I never knew. I always wonder how, when I thought it was grains, they could shoot far at all being that lite. Now I know. They are more powerful than I thought. A .30 gram is equal to 4.629 grains. That is close to a BB (5.10 grain). Not bad at all. I really like the “looks” of the “metal” airsoft heavy shot. Hmmm….great now this is something else I’m going to want :o )

  • james Says:

    Off topic question
    Are multi-pump air rifles like the Blue Streak affected by the cold like CO2 and springer’s?

  • Matt61 Says:

    If you want to legitimate airsoft as a training tool, just Google Tatsuya Sakai. Here’s a Japanese guy who trained with an airsoft pistol because guns are not allowed in his country. Then he comes over here and after a month of training on firearms, he wins the Real Steel Challenge. I was thinking in a general way about proving the connection between airguns and firearms with my five yard range that I practice on, but it sounds like this guy has done it. Granted that the contest seems to be speed shooting and not accuracy, so it is particularly aligned with airsoft. But still….

    Matt61

    • Matt,

      What a great story! And although IPSC isn’t precision shooting, accuracy is involved. It’s just coupled with rapid target acquisition, so the two play off one another.

      I wish there was an airsoft IPSC club around here.

      B.B.

  • TCWriter Says:

    I think the Tangfolios started out life as CZ clones (you can see it in the current shape), though they’ve evolved somewhat from the original design. They’re known for their natural fit in the hand, and shooting my friend’s production class CZ-75 confirms the fact it feels and points very naturally.

    I’ve been shooting a fair amount of action pistol competitions the last year, and I’ve been told at the USPSA nationals, CZs (and a smattering of Tangfolios) actually outnumbered the Glocks in the production class. That’s a sea change.

    I know a growing number of shooters are using Airsoft guns to practice at home (especially in light of the recent ammo shortage), though it’s something I haven’t tried.

    • BG_Farmer Says:

      CZ-75 and/or the clones and derivatives would be my 9mm of choice, if I needed a 9mm. I tried to talk a friend of mine into getting one, so I don’t have to spend the money and find another variety of ammo :) .

    • TCWriter,

      That’s where I’ve seen it! Thank you! I knew I had seen this pistol or something close to it before.

      B.B.

  • BG_Farmer Says:

    BB,
    The “shooting at people” aspect of airsoft has always turned me off; I don’t even like the idea of paintball. That said, the use of airsoft for IPSC is actually pretty exciting to me, and it makes infinite sense, esp. for getting younger or more inexperience shooters introduced safely. Thanks for — once again — showing me something I would probably never have looked at on my own. Are you committed to changing every one of use barnyard bubba’s one at a time?

    PS. Another N. Lewis thread. I directed him to your series.
    http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=28596.0

  • Kevin Wilmeth Says:

    B.B., count me among those who is very excited to see you picking up Airsoft blogging again. I’ve recently done quite a bit of my own research on the topic, owing to my interest in using Airsoft as a personal training tool for gun skills, and I can certainly attest that such research is often gaggingly painful. Your method and precision will lend a technical legitimacy that…I just haven’t found otherwise. (If any of the “commentariat” here happens to know of other resources that I’ve just missed–please, I’d love to know about them! :-)

    I don’t think I will ever be able to play the popular skirmishing games either; I’m quite clear in my own mind what it would take for me ever to muzzle another live human being intentionally, and am not interested in confusing the matter with such games. (Now, the idea of an “Airsoft IPSC” or equivalent, that sounds much more like the kind of thing I’d be interested in.)

    I’ll be very interested in what you report about the inherent accuracy possible with some of the different designs. The pistol in question here is way too “racegun” for me, but theoretically the inherent accuracy should be very similar to the iron-sighted, sans-”compensator” variant that does interest me. (It would be even more interesting as a “green gas” pistol, because of my cold-weather limitations.)

    I don’t know what you might have planned for further Airsoft reporting, but I can certainly relate the sort of things that I’d be interested in learning:

    - Possible inherent accuracy of different core designs (e.g., blowback auto pistols, revolvers, semiauto rifles, bolt rifles, etc.). How do different powerplants and barrel lengths affect precision accuracy?

    - Durability: are there rules-of-thumb about how long an Airsoft gun will/should last? It certainly seems like the words “full metal” are marketable terms that must have some meaning, but I’d love to see it further quantified.

    - Do you know why there seem to be some obvious “holes” in the available universe of Airsoft guns? (e.g., I can understand why nobody might choose to produce a replica of, say, a Star PD, but the apparent lack of any replica of the ubiquitous Smith J-frame seems like a pretty big oversight…)

    - At the risk of getting personally pedantic: what customization options might be possible? For example, if someone wanted a replica or trainer of an 18″ barrel bolt rifle with a 12″ LOP, ghost-ring aperture sights and a Ching Sling, what would be the way to go about doing that? (i.e., are barrels and stocks easily shortened, are front sight bases available, does anyone do Airsoft custom smithy, is home smithy worthwhile or generally reckless, etc.)

    In the end, I’m sure I’ll learn a great deal from whatever it is you do end up doing, and again, I’m happy to see you adding Airsoft into the rotation. Thank you for that!

    • Kevin,

      In my day I have rebuilt meca boxes (gear boxes) with steel gears and shims, installed stronger springs, which in turn required stronger batteries to operate, and installed tighter barrels. I have shot airsoft guns that could keep nearly all their balls inside a half-inch at 10 meters.

      The one weakness of any airsoft gun is the ammunition. Some of the balls contain voids, no matter who makes them, and that throws off their flight. Some brands are very good about maintaining quality while others aren’t as good. Then there is the surface of the balls. I have found that an ultra-thin coating of special wax gives the best performance, but that experience is now more than 5 years old, and this technology is improving every day.

      This Tanfoglio pistol I’m testing is a full-bore race gun and no mistake, but as such it is tuned to the nines. A gun like this ten years ago would have cost over a thousand dollars to build, and there were none like it being sold over the counter. I’m not a big fan of race guns, either, but with this one you get such a fine trigger that I’m willing to look the other way. If I can shoot tight groups with it as well, I’m not going to shut up!

      A decade ago, Daisy was considering importing an airsoft single shot target pistol that resembled an FWB 65 very much. The ammo was super-heavy (0.33 grams) and supposed to also be very uniform. Of course they all make claims like that until I get a chance to test the stuff! That pistol never happened, but I never lost my fascination for a really accurate airsoft gun.

      B.B.

      • Bub Says:

        I’ve had the best luck with heavier .25 grams in my KWA ATP. In most cases IMO avoid the .12 grams stuff.

      • Kevin Wilmeth Says:

        Thanks for the extra intel there–that is just exactly the sort of thing I’ll be happy to absorb. :-)

        For the record, I am actually quite interested in that iron-sighted variant of this same pistol you’re looking at here–both BB and Airsoft–so I’m really looking forward to this series. (I’ve got a very similar “Witness” firearm in .45, made by Tanfoglio and imported by EAA, which seriously got my attention after the improvement of a good overtravel stop. The short reset is just delicious, while still being very positive.) Given the pricing and the verbiage on PA for the two different variants, I would certainly guess that the only real difference between the two guns is the sighting platform and the faux compensator–but if you are aware that this is not the case, I’d love to know about it. I’m certainly willing to make the investment for demonstrably superior accuracy and/or trigger action.

        As to the piece you’re testing, I’d also be curious as to your opinion on the “removability” of that racegun magazine funnel. From the pictures on PA it certainly looks removable, and presumably the magazine only locks on the traditional catch, but it would be another plug in the gun’s favor if the grip length could be made the same as on my firearm.

        Thank you again for the series, and for your work in general. The quality is…conspicuous. :-)

        • Kevin,

          There is no way of removing the mag funnel on this gun without leaving a mess behind. It was incorporated into the design and taking it off would leave an unflattering stepped grip frame.

          I own a Wilson Combat CQB .45 that has the nicest semiautomatic trigger I have ever felt. This airsoft gun’s trigger is just behind that. I don’t know how nice your Tanfoglio trigger is, but this one would be hard to beat.

          B.B.

      • Wulfraed Says:

        The .12g balls tend to be light plastic, all with an offset bubble inside.

        All the .20g balls I’ve seen appear to be some sort of compressed composite, fused under pressure, so are unlikely to have bubbles.

        And then there is the matter of the biodegradable balls… My first packs would degrade in two days if they got wet. The newer stuff appears to have a 6-month degradation time — probably gives a longer shelf life once unsealed; no swollen from humidity 2-day balls jamming in the barrel.

  • hawaiian eye Says:

    What kind of scale would be good to weigh pellets?

    Stan

    • Stan,

      Any electronic powder scale will work well for that. Powder as in gun powder. Look at midway.com.

      B.B.

    • Wulfraed Says:

      For individual pellets, some of the electronic jewelry scales (look for one that has grains as an option)

      I have an AWS GPR-20 (max/resolution):
      grams: 20.000/0.001
      grains: 308.64/0.02 (okay, it will handle up to 10 28gr Eun Jin pellets)
      pennyweight: 12.860/0.001
      carat: 100.00/0.005

      You have to close the lid over the pan to block out the effects of air currents affecting the read-out.

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