Not all blowback action airguns are created equal

Not all blowback action airguns are created equal

Looking inside today’s latest blowback action semi-autos

By Dennis Adler

Blowback action air pistols were first introduced about 16 years ago with the Umarex Walther PPK/S (top). The latest model from Umarex, the S&W M&P40 is also a blowback action air pistol but uses a design much closer to a modern short-recoil locked breech design.

Blowback action air pistols were first introduced about 16 years ago with the Umarex Walther PPK/S (top). The latest model from Umarex, the S&W M&P40 is also a blowback action air pistol but uses a design much closer to a modern short-recoil locked breech design.

When I was a kid there were no semi-auto blowback action air pistols. In fact, until I was almost 53 years old there were no semi-auto blowback action air pistols. Today there are a lot of them, and some have evolved into such accurate reproductions that the only thing separating them from their cartridge-firing counterparts is what comes out the end of the barrel. To achieve that level of authenticity in design and operation, not only the exterior of the pistol has to be correct, but for some models, what goes on inside has to be nearly the same as well. read more


Luger P.08 and Makarov pistols

Luger P.08 and Makarov pistols Part 3

Making a choice between two Makarov pistols

By Dennis Adler

The two Makarovs, Gletcher’s PM 1951 (rear) and the Umarex Makarov Ultra. Neither gun is an exact copy of the famed post-WWII Soviet handgun, but each has its advantages and disadvantages.

The two Makarovs, Gletcher’s PM 1951 (rear) and the Umarex Makarov Ultra. Neither is an exact copy of the famed post-WWII Soviet handgun, but each has its advantages and disadvantages.

The Makarov or PM 1951 was a new design for the Soviet Union, but the Pistolet Makarova was, for the most part, a Russian variation of the circa 1930’s Walther PPK, in fact, both guns are very much alike, not only in general appearances but internal design and operation. Nikolay Makarov made a very nice Walther and Gletcher and Umarex make very nice Makarov pistols.

How close it is? The Gletcher PM 1951 (top) looks a lot like a real Makarov (bottom) but is a little lankier and lacking in a few minor but noteworthy details.

How close it is? The Gletcher PM 1951 (top) looks a lot like a real Makarov (bottom) but is a little lankier and lacking in a few minor but noteworthy details.

The Gletcher Russian Legends version is very accurate in design with proper grips (although a longer grip frame, (necessary for the length of the self contained CO2 and BB magazine), lanyard loop, muzzle shape and general contours. The trigger is slightly different in shape, but there is a big plus in that minor detail. In overall appearances it close to the Makarov. read more


Luger P.08 and Makarov pistols

Luger P.08 and Makarov pistols Part 2

Luger vs. Luger – Evaluating the Umarex and Gletcher P.08 Models

By Dennis Adler

Two versions of the same design, the Umarex Parabellum P.08 (top) and Gletcher P.08 (bottom) take different approaches to their blowback action .177 caliber models.

Two versions of the same design, the Umarex Parabellum P.08 (top) and Gletcher P.08 (bottom) take different approaches to their blowback action .177 caliber models.

The Luger is one of the most “available” military handguns in the world and their values can range from around $1,800 to $10,000 and up, depending upon the model, year of manufacture, the manufacturer, and of course, condition. The average price for a 95 percent condition Code 42 or byf Mauser-produced P.08 model is around the $2,000 to $3,000 mark [1], which makes the Umarex Legends .177 caliber Mauser Parabellum P.08 model a heck of a buy since it has all of the essential operating features and factory markings, right down to the number 42 stamped at the back of the toggle. This was the Mauser GmbH manufacturer’s code for military contract guns built from 1934 to 1940. After 1940 the code was changed to byf. read more


Luger P.08 and Makarov pistols

Luger P.08 and Makarov pistols

One legendary WWI and WWII German semi-auto

faces off with Russia’s post WWII top gun

By Dennis Adler 

Two of a kind times two, the Umarex P.08 Legends Luger Parabellum (with the toggle locked open), the Gletcher P.08 version (one of two Luger models offered), the Gletcher Russian Legends Makarov (slide locked back) and Umarex Makarov Ultra. All four are blowback action semi-autos, but none are alike!

Two of a kind times two, the Umarex Legends Parabellum (toggle locked open), the Gletcher P.08 version (one of two models offered), Gletcher Russian Legends Makarov (slide locked back) and Umarex Makarov Ultra. All four are blowback action semi-autos, but none are alike!

Many of you are going, “What, why is he comparing a Luger with a Makarov?” Two reasons; both have their roots tied to military history and both have become iconic firearms. The Luger Parabellum is an evolution of a late 19th century design, the Borchardt, while the Makarov, an early post-WWII pistol, has its basis in the mid 20th century Russian Tokarev semiautomatic pistol, without which the Makarov might never have been designed. Both 1908 Luger and 1951 Makarov were being used in the post WWII era, and both remain to this day among the most significant of all European handguns, albeit the Luger with a much greater heritage than the Makarov. Both have been recreated as high-quality, blowback action .177 caliber semiautomatic air pistols, and by two different manufacturers, Umarex and Gletcher; two guns, two manufacturers, and two different approaches to the same end. Who comes out on top?  You be the judge. read more


Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical

Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical Part 3

Taking a Second Look

By Dennis Adler

The CO2-powered Sig Sauer has a skeletonized aluminum alloy target trigger with vertically serrated shoe and over travel adjustment. The diamond checkered rubber Tac Master grips give the pistol a secure, tactile hold with the wraparound frontstrap panel. It is shown with a Galco Combat Master belt holster for the Sig Sauer P226. The 1911 rail gun also fits this rig as well as several other offered by Galco.

The CO2-powered Sig Sauer has a skeletonized aluminum alloy trigger with over travel adjustment. The diamond checkered rubber Tac Master grips give the pistol a secure, tactile hold with the wraparound frontstrap panel. It is shown with a Galco Combat Master holster for the Sig Sauer P226. The Sig 1911 rail gun also fits this rig with the muzzle extenting about an inch out of the bottom. Galco also has Government Model-sized rail gun holsters.

Back in the October 14th Airgun Experience, the Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical was put to the test against the Umarex Colt Model 1911 Commander. The Sig’s modern rail gun design and ambidextrous extended thumb safeties gave the .177 caliber airgun a tactical handling advantage over the standard 1911A1 design used on the Umarex Colt Commander. But where the Sig came up short was in reliability. And that was strictly a function; or rather malfunction, of the self contained CO2 and BB magazines for the Sig Sauer 1911 Tactical. read more