Readers have already raised the question of building CO2 powered blowback action air pistols with increased recoil. While this contradicts the goals of centerfire pistol manufacturers who look for ways to reduce recoil, for CO2 pistols, if you want more authenticity, you need more felt recoil. This is, in part, what will be a result of Sig Sauer’s current venture into building new models that generate higher velocities with self-contained drop free CO2 BB magazines. Higher velocity should mean more recoil from the blowback action (if everything is kept proportionate); action, reaction.read more
Blowback action felt recoil and what it means to shooting practice Part 1
Or as Sir Isaac Newton put it in 1687,
“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
By Dennis Adler
Four ideal candidates for blowback action CO2 models with just enough felt recoil to give shooters a better sense of the gun firing in addition to slide motion. This small “kick” is less than a .22 target pistol, but enough to give some degree of feedback. Pictured are the Umarex S&W M&P40 (left and moving clockwise), the Tanfoglio Limited Custom, Umarex Beretta 92A1 and ASG CZ-75. All four have similar barrel and slide designs but only the Tanfoglio and M&P40 have barrels and slides that lock and disengage like a cartridge firing pistol.
Newton’s third law of motion is still the best explanation of recoil from a firearm, even though when he postulated his three theories of motion 330 years ago it is unlikely he was thinking about firing a handgun (unless he was familiar with Wheelock pistols), but his theory of action and equal and opposite reaction is perfectly suited to defining recoil in a handgun. Heavy recoil has never been a desirable characteristic, but it comes with the territory. This is, of course, relative to the handgun design and other mitigating circumstances, but Newton’s theory applies in proportion whenever a bullet, BB, or pellet, is fired from a handgun. What are those mitigating circumstances? With handguns it is design. The maximum example would be firing a .500 S&W magnum revolver, the most powerful production revolver in the world (sorry Harry you’ve been replaced), in which the full action of firing the revolver distributes the recoil back through the gun and into the shooter’s body. The weight of the gun itself, barrel length, as well as porting of the barrel to allow gasses to escape upward and reduce muzzle lift, and even grip design are factors to mitigating felt recoil. (Different bullet grain weights, type of gunpowder, and even bullet designs will also have a bearing on recoil). The opposite end of that extreme would be a silenced .22 caliber semi-auto which would exert almost no appreciable recoil. So why are we looking for recoil in a CO2 powered blowback action air pistol?read more
Sig Sauer’s custom competition .45 ACP model and .177 caliber version
By Dennis Adler
Close in theory, close in design from Sig Sauer, the 9mm Max 1911 (left) has a twin (or at least first cousin) in CO2 with the Max Michel, Jr. .177 caliber model. The two pistols are almost identical in weight and balance, making the airgun a great indoor or backyard training aid.
Up until this week it had been awhile since I put an air pistol up against its cartridge firing counterpart, but the Sig Sauer Max Michel 1911 models are worthy of a comparison for the sake of training purposes, despite the differences between the 9mm and .177 caliber pistols. Sig has gone to some length to produce its own personal line of CO2 models based on their cartridge firing versions (there are also Sig Sauer licensed CO2 models like the Sig Sauer 1911 and P226 X-Five, but they are not made for or marketed by Sig Sauer).read more
A quick look at comparing centerfire pistols to Blowback Action CO2 models
By Dennis Adler
One of the smallest 9mm models available and definitely one of the narrowest at 1.0 inches, the original Walther PPS and newer PPS M2 have an ideal CO2 match up in the Umarex Walther PPS. The Walther PPS blowback action airgun is one of the most technically accurate air pistols and ideal for this comparison with an actual centerfire model. The PPS CO2 model is the gun on the right. The air pistol is just slightly taller by 0.44 inches due to the grip housing the CO2 capsule.
Before I get into Part 2 of the 9mm Max Michel Max 1911 vs. the .177 caliber Sig Sauer Max Michel blowback action model, I want to step back to a test I first ran a little over a year ago with a pair of matching 9mm and CO2 pistols. It will make the comparison of the Sig Sauer models more clear and underscore the value of certain CO2 pistols as worthwhile for simple practice sessions that cost only a few dollars in CO2 and BBs but can help to strengthen shooting skills. This is particularly advantageous for those who live in parts of the country with severe winters which can make outdoor shooting practice difficult if not impossible and even a trip to an in door range taxing. There are only a handful of CO2 models that I personally regard as suitable for this kind of work and all but one are blowback action semi-autos. The most basic design, i.e. the easiest to shoot in terms of handling and carry are those pistols with the fewest features and most intuitive operation. That is the fundamental definition of a Glock. For CO2 models and centerfire counterparts I have one model that should be in every airgun collection and definitely used for indoor or backyard practice. It is not new, but rather well established and if you don’t have this air pistol and are serious about training with air, you should; the Umarex Walther PPS.read more
Sig Sauer’s custom 1911 model and .177 caliber version
By Dennis Adler
Team Sig’s Captain and world champion shooter Max Michel, Jr. is shown testing the Max 1911. The centerfire models are chambered in .45 ACP, .40 S&W or 9mm. Introduced in 2012, it was followed by the Sig Sauer Max Michel, Jr. CO2 model in 2016.
It would be safe to say that Max Michel is a natural born competition shooter, one of those fortunate individuals who knew what they wanted to do from the time they were very young and pursued their dream. For Max Michel, that dream was to become a world champion competitive pistol shooter, a goal he has achieved by becoming not only the current IPSC World Champion; but the only competition shooter in history to hold seven World Speed Shooting Championships. Michel is also a fifteen-time US National Champion, the only Action Shooter to win all USPSA Area Championships in the same season (2010) and the only Action Shooter to hold a Guinness World Record. Talk about fulfilling your aspirations.read more
War Dogs – The Classic German Luger and Mauser Part 3 Part 2 Part 1
Downrange with the WWII Mauser Broomhandle Model 712 and Luger P.08
By Dennis Adler
Both the Luger and Mauser designs date back to the late 19th century, the Broomhandle going through numerous changes from 1896 to 1937 but remaining very similar in design, even the Model 712 with its removable box magazine. The 712 is the basis for the latest Umarex WWII version of the Broomhandle. The WWII Umarex Luger P.08 is also a solid representation of the 1908 version of the Luger, which eliminated the grip strap safety.
The idea of a selective fire machine pistol (a fully auto handgun as opposed to a fully auto submachine gun) dates back to the very early 1900s. There had been several German models, like the Steyr M1912, offering selective fire mechanisms long before the Broomhandle Mauser in 1932. The Model 712 came with a standard 10 round magazine allowing the pistol to fit inside the wooden shoulder stock and an extended capacity 20 round magazine, which was advantageous when discharging the gun on full auto.read more
War Dogs – The Classic German Luger and Mauser Part 2 Part 1
The WWII Broomhandle Mauser Model 712 and Luger P.08
By Dennis Adler
The Umarex Legends WWII series now includes the Mauser Model 712 Broomhandle. The enhanced finish on both CO2 models gives them an even more realistic appearance, especially the P.08 with its aged dark brown grips. The Model 712 is again so accurate in detail that an original Mauser wooden shoulder stock will mount and lock into the rear pistol grip channel.
You didn’t have to be a German soldier or a member of the French underground to have a Model 712 in the 1940s. The Broomhandle Mauser design transcended wars, ideologies and nations; it was one of the most advanced handguns of its era. The Model 712 Broomhandles had been used by explorers, adventurers, expeditionary forces, and individuals everywhere in the world from 1932 until well after WWII, even though all Broomhandle manufacturing at Mauser had ended in 1937. In addition to other Broomhandle models, Mauser produced nearly 100,000 Model 712 pistols, a great many of which were sold to the Chinese in the 1930s, but the Model 712 and other Broomhandle models in 7.63mm and 9mm were also being used prior to, during and after WWII in countries as far flung as England, France and Italy, Austria, Turkey, Persia and the Middle East, in Finland, Norway, Indonesia, Siam (Thailand), Russia, the United States, and South America. Not as ubiquitous as the semi-auto models, the 712 was in that same rare category as the fixed magazine 20-shot models introduced in the early part of the 20th century and long before the 712 with its detachable box magazine. (Two years earlier Mauser had built a small number of Model 1930 semi-autos with the same removable box magazine that would be used on the selective fire Model 1932). The Umarex Mauser Model 712, particularly the WWII limited edition with weathered finish, looks even more like a real Model 1932 Mauser.read more