Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 1

Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 1

The CO2 subcompacts

By Dennis Adler

“Pocket Pistol” is an incredibly old terminology that dates back to the Old West, actually, even further if you consider Henry Deringer’s small, single shot pocket models which were introduced in the 1830s, and small pistol designs by famous armsmakers like Christian Sharps (of Sharp’s Rifle fame), who managed to put four barrels into a pocket-sized pistol, and of course, Samuel Colt, whose first production revolver, the c.1836 No.1 Paterson, was small enough to fit in the palm of your hand! “Pocket Pistol” is a term that has been liberally thrown around for a very, very long time. read more


Retrospect Series Part 6 – H&K P30

Retrospect Series Part 6 – H&K P30

The Heckler & Koch vs. Walther CP 99 conclusion

By Dennis Adler

As you may recall, Part 5 ended with what appeared to be a problem with the P30 magazine, and we had to waitfor a new magazine to arrive. With the new mag in hand we will pick up where things left off earlier this month with a short recap of the end from last time.

The Umarex HK P30 is one of the best looking CO2 pellet pistols in its class, which is to say guns like the Walther CP99, and at just over $200 is at the higher end but made in Germany. It also fires BBs as well as pellets, so that is an advantage over the pellets only Walther CP99, which sells for $30 less than the P30.

“To recap, I shot Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 gr. lead wadcutter pellets, which averaged 342 fps, a little slower than expected. [Then I shot] lighter weight 5.25 gr. H&N Sport Match Green alloy wadcutters. Beginning with a fresh CO2, the first eight shots averaged 328 fps, which makes little sense and leads me to surmise the magazine is not holding air and is losing pressure prematurely. My first shots started at 355 fps and after 16 rounds (two magazines) had dropped to 317 fps.” read more


Legends Ace in the Hole vs. Dan Wesson Model 715

Legends Ace in the Hole vs. Dan Wesson Model 715

Short barrel revolvers meet by chance

By Dennis Adler

Built for Sylvester Stalone’s character in The Expendables the gun at top is a heavily modified 3-1/2 inch barrel length Colt SAA with a ported barrel and unusual hammer made for fanning the gun. The ported barrel is used to reduce muzzle lift by letting gasses escape allowing the upward force of the gasses to help push the muzzle down. Ported barrels, also known as Mag-na-port (the company that invented barrel porting), are used today for competition guns, as well as general firearms, rifles and even shotguns.

Can a gun that never existed in the 19th century, be compared to a gun that didn’t exist until the 20th century?It is a curious question that you can only ask in the world of CO2 handguns.

The Umarex Legends Ace in the Hole is the gun that never existed as a real gun in the 1870s, at least not in the entire configuration of the .45 Colt that was made up for The Expendables movie, upon which the Ace is copied, but there were snub nose Peacemakers in the past, even ones with shaved hammers and no front sight. But, there were no ported barrels and no fanning hammers back then. The Ace in the Hole falls into a hole that makes it unique, but not authentic to actual Colt designs. But given that at least three such Colt Peacemakers of The Expendables design now exist (with custom movie guns, rarely is a single gun built, usually at least three are made so there are backups in the event a gun is damaged during a scene).  read more


A conversation about attraction

A conversation about attraction

The collector’s eye

By Dennis Adler

The answer to the question, “What got me into collecting replica air pistols,” would seem logical, the first replica air pistol I reviewed 19 years ago, the Walther CP99. It is in my opinion one of the finest multi-shot pellet firing CO2 pistols ever made, and I have purchased every one I ever tested, but it isn’t the gun that got me into collecting.

The other day a friend asked what got me into collecting replica air pistols? I thought the answer was obvious from my recent Retrospect articles on the Umarex Walther CP99, but as it turns out that really isn’t the case. At the time, 2001, when the First Edition Blue Book of Airguns was published, I wasn’t an airgun collector, I had a few but I was a gun collector; air pistols were not something I had developed an interest in acquiring; remember, this is almost 20 years ago.  

The First Edition Blue Book of Airguns was simply an editorial project for me as Special Projects Editor for Blue Book Publications. The book was, in fact, a collaborative effort between me, publisher Steve Fjestad, and the inspiration for the book in the first place, Dr. Robert D. Beeman. So to honestly answer the question, “What got me into collecting replica air pistols? I would have to look back at the actual centerfire guns I was collecting 20 years ago. read more


Retrospect Series Part 6 – Walther CP99 Postscript

Retrospect Series Part 6 – Walther CP99 Postscript

Remembering all the details and options

By Dennis Adler

The CP99 was one of my first multi-shot pellet guns and remains a personal favorite. I have three; the all black gun, stainless slide bi-tone with the optics bridge and red dot scope, and the OD green Military version. Almost everything you do with the airgun is identical to handling the 9mm model Walther.

One of the interesting things about being considered an authority on anything is the moment you realizethat you forgot something. I have owned this trio of Umarex Walther CP99 pistols for almost 20 years, one of them has even been back to Umarex for repair, and after all those years, in spite of what new models have come along, I still consider them among the best made CO2 pellet pistols you can own. Until the other day, I hadn’t fired the standard model (black finish) since 2016 when it came back from repair. It has been several years since I fired any of them, with the guns protected in their hard plastic cases. I keep these separate from the “inventory” of air pistols that come and go over the years for magazine articles and for use in Airgun Experience, because they are my personal guns. But I’m dancing around the point of this CP99 Postscript article. In doing my comparison with the HK P30 last week, I forgot that the Umarex Walther CP99 was an actual DA/SA pistol and wrote it up as a DAO (and I have since gone back into the article and corrected that error). I simply forgot that the CP99 has the capability of being fired single action and that the decocker is a functional feature. How could I do that? I haven’t fired the CP99 single action in, well, let’s say in “recent memory” and have shot the guns as DAOs except in my initial review of the CP99 in 2001, and again in a reprint of that article for Airgun Experience in 2016. So, here is my full review of the Walther CP99 DA/SA model. read more


Retrospect Series Part 5 – H&K P30

Retrospect Series Part 5 – H&K P30

The Heckler & Koch vs. Walther CP99

By Dennis Adler

The opportunity to shoot BBs from the HK P30 is a secondary feature; the gun by design is a pellet pistol with a rifled steel barrel. Its closest competitor, both as a 9mm pistol for law enforcement and military use, and as a CO2 pistol, is the Walther P99 and P99Q variations and the CP99. The CP99 has been in production going on 20 years and later in this review I will run the Walther against the HK.

I started this with good intensions and had no expectations of a mechanical problem with the P30; in fact, my actual concern was with the almost 20-year old Walther CP99 I was going to test it against. What can I say? This stuff happens, and the HK developed a problem.

Continued velocity tests

To recap, I shot Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 gr. lead wadcutter pellets which averaged 342 fps, a little slower than expected. Today it is going to be lighter weight 5.25 gr. H&N Sport Match Green alloy wadcutters. Beginning with a fresh CO2, the first eight shots averaged 328 fps, which makes little sense and leads me to surmise the magazine is not holding air and is loosing pressure prematurely. My first shots started at 355 fps and after 16 rounds (two magazines) had dropped to 317 fps. I shot the Gamo lead BBs through the magazine and velocity again jumped around with a high that surprised me of 360 fps and then it dropped to 312 fps after half a dozen rounds. Since I do not have a spare magazine for the P30, we will have to suspend this test until a new one can be delivered. This rarely happens to me, but this gun has been sitting around in its case for a couple of years. This is definitely, “To be continued…” read more


Retrospect Series Part 4 – H&K P30

Retrospect Series Part 4 – H&K P30

Heckler & Koch’s take on Walther’s rotary pellet semi-autos

By Dennis Adler

The design for the HK P30 CO2 pistol is on the money and the airgun will fit all holsters that work with the HK model. The Galco rig is designed for concealed carry and offers one an opportunity to experience the comfort (or discomfort depending upon the individual) of wearing a full-size gun on your hip.

The Umarex Heckler & Koch P30 is a little more expensive than some CO2 pellet-firing models but there is always a premium on air pistols manufactured in Germany rather than in Taiwan or Japan. That is reflected in the quality of the build which is the same as earlier German-made CO2 models like the Walther CP 88 and CP 99.

The strong advantage to the HK P30, over any of the previous models, is the dual firing system (rotary pellet and combined CO2 BB magazine) which make the HK P30 a potentially better training gun than its predecessors, even the Walther CP 99 series which were originally used as training guns for German police. The HK CO2 model is likewise intended for training, as a great majority of Heckler & Koch centerfire models are built for law enforcement and military use, including the P30. read more