Blog Update

Hi Everyone – This is Kristen Coss, Marketing Director with Pyramyd Air. We wanted to let you know that Dennis is retiring from writing the Airgun Experience blog to focus on his health. Pyramyd Air appreciates his airgun and firearms expertise and his contributions to this blog for nearly 5 years, and we wish him well.

Although no new content will be added, we encourage you to explore the many topics Dennis wrote about over the years. There is lots to learn, and lots to keep you entertained! read more


Temporary Blog Hiatus

Hi Airgun Experience readers – this is Kristen, Marketing Director with Pyramyd Air. Dennis is feeling under the weather and will be taking a break from the blog for a bit. Be sure to check periodically – he will be posting as soon as he is able to. He is in good spirits and looking forward to getting back to blogging! Thank you!


Barra 1911 vs. Sig Sauer WTP and Swiss Arms TRS

Barra 1911 vs. Sig Sauer WTP and Swiss Arms TRS

May the best gun win

By Dennis Adler

A trio of top 1911 CO2 designs, the new Barra 1911 (rear) is a more authentically designed version of the Swiss Arms 1911 TRS (front). The odd gun in the group, meaning not a Rail Gun, is unique in its own design, the Sig Sauer We The People. While the TRS is “based” on a 1911 design (since Swiss Arms does not technically build a centerfire 1911), the Barra and Sig are copied from actual current 1911 centerfire models. What do I mean by technically? San Swiss Arms is part of the L&O conglomerate of companies headquartered in Switzerland that includes Sig Sauer GmbH and Sig Sauer Inc.

Let’s go with an assumption that the Barra 1911 is the second best blowback action 1911 on the market.First,authentic stylinghas to make it better than the Swiss Arms TRS and the Umarex Colt Commander. As for the Sig Sauer 1911 We The People, it is exactly the same in appearance as its .45 ACP Sig Sauer 1911 WTP counterpart, and whether you like the patriotic heavy-handedness of the gun’s design or not, 1:1 is 1:1 no matter what the centerfire gun looks like. I happen to think the Sig is one of the best looking 1911 designs that is not a Colt, not particularly for the “1776” and “We The People” embossing on the right and left sides of the slide, which is fairly subtle against the finish, but rather for the rugged, distressed finish itself, the 13 stars on top of the slide, and the 25 stars on each grip panel, the flat mainspring housing, fine grip checkering, and polished black grip safety, ambidextrous thumb safeties, hammer, and slide release. It is one of the most well thought out and finely-executed blowback action air pistols that has been built. Being second to that is no mean feat. read more


Barra 1911 Part 3

Barra 1911 Part 3

What makes a good 1911 CO2 model?

By Dennis Adler

The new Barra 1911, top right, fits into the category of more modern designs along with the older Swiss Arms TRS, top left. For fit, finish, and handling (with one reservation that I will explain), the Barra is in a class shared by the Colt Commander, new (2020) Springfield Armory model, center, and the best 1911 blowback action pistol on the market, the Sig Sauer We The People.

That’s a question I ask every time a new CO2 version of the Colt Model 1911, 1911A1, or 1911 variant comes out. What manufacturers want to do is make air pistols that will sell. Umarex recognized that in 2014 with the Colt licensed Commander model, which wasn’t actually a Commander but a Government Model 1911 with a couple of upgrades to the sights. Back in 2014 it was the only game in town but the components to manufacture it in Taiwan were not exclusive. Others came (and went) but the designs rarely upped the game until Swiss Arms started having Rail Guns built. They have been few in number and now the Barra picks up the mantle with a gun that is more authentic than the Swiss Arms model. But is it any better? Is it a good 1911? read more


Barra 1911 Part 2

Barra 1911 Part 2

A 1911 by any other name

By Dennis Adler

In the looks department, if you like 1911 Rail Guns, the Barra delivers on design to match its current Colt 1911 centerfire counterpart. Rail Guns by the nature of their design are less elegant looking than the classic 1911, but the Barra pulls off a pretty good look for fit and finish.

The Colt Model 1911 is timeless. A fair enough statement considering that aside from the Colt Peacemaker, it is the longest continuous production handgun in history, to be specific, 110 years for the 1911 and 148 years for the Single Action Army, though you could deduct 15 years when manufacturing was suspended at Colt’s between 1941 and 1956, but that still leaves 133 years by the original manufacturer.

As a company, Colt’s has gone through bankruptcies and reorganizations quite a few times, as have many American manufacturers, including Colt’s biggest competitor Smith & Wesson. It is not unusual in American industry. Some great American companies, companies we once called American institutions, have failed to survive such events in their original form or name (though some do survive). Colt’s is on that footing once again, and soon may become part of CZ (just as Dan Wesson did some years ago). Will Colts manufactured by Colt, even if owned by a foreign company, still be Colts? It’s a reasonable question. Will a Colt’s Manufacturing Co. owned by CZ still build 1911s and Peacemakers? Most likely, but will it still have the same prestige? read more


Barra 1911 Part 1

Barra 1911 Part 1

The first “new” gun of ’21

By Dennis Adler

The shape of things to come is the shape of things that were, the Colt Model 1911. This is still the gun to beat when it comes to a timeless classic even in its latest tactical guise as a Barra CO2 version of the current Colt Combat Unit Rail model.

Why did I put “new” in quotes? Well, there’s nothing new about a blowback action 1911, even a modern tactical version like the Barra. Why then is the first new model for 2021 based on a design that was used for one of the very first blowback action CO2 models introduced seven years ago? The answer is that the 1911 is the most successful handgun of the 20th century; the fundamental design is literally 110 years old! If you think about it, there isn’t much from 1911 that is still around today in its original form. What else is memorable from 1911? The first bi-wing seaplane was put into service in 1911, and flying boats would become highly successful in commercial aviation by the 1930s. In 1911 GM introduced the Kettering electric starter on the Cadillac and hands and wrists have been thankful ever since. Crossword puzzles….OK, that’s one that really hasn’t changed too much, but when it comes to handguns a whole lot has changed since 1911 and continues to change, yet the 110 year-old Model 1911 design endures even in the age of polymer-framed Glocks and Sig Sauer M17s. Why? Because John M. Browning designed the most rugged, reliable, and easy to service handgun for the U.S. military in 1911, a gun so good it remained the standard issue sidearm from 1911 to 1985, that’s 74 years; through two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and the early conflicts in the Middle East, and even since it was replaced (twice in a little over 30 years time), the 1911 has remained in use with some specialized military units and with law enforcement. In spite of newer, higher capacity, lighter weight handguns, the 1911 is still that good in 2021. read more


Year End Summary

Year End Summary

Putting things in context

By Dennis Adler

Here’s two CO2 pistols that few of you expected to see in the running for 2020’s top gun title, and of course, the Barra Schofield Wells Fargo won as Replica Air Pistol of the Year. Why that happened is more about the quality of the gun than how new it is technicaly, though every change in an air pistol is worthy of review and evaluation. And such was the case with both the Umarex Colt Peacemaker from the Pyramyd Air Airgun Builder project for 2020 and Barra’s move to fulfill the wishes of airgun enthusiasts who wanted to see the classic 5-inch barrel model of the S&W Schofield. Just think if Umarex had released a 4-3/4 inch CO2 Peacemaker this year how things might have gone! But this has not been your typical year or anything like it.

This has been a most unexpected year. No matter what your political or fundamental beliefs, 2020 has been a year of unraveling that has put us in a place we have not seen in recent history, although we have all been here before, if not us then our parents or grandparents, but the story is told the same; prosperity reversed for the many, health and well being in jeopardy and the future hopeful but distant. It sounds like a storyline that could as easily be a Western or science fiction film (actually it is, over and over) but 2020 is not a film it is our reality. We really are at the end of the last reel, when everyone looks to the sunrise and heads toward whatever lies just beyond the horizon, because the next chapter has yet to be written. read more