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


Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 7

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 7

No real losers

By Dennis Adler

Six impressive new guns from 2020 cover the range from the 1870s to the 21st century. With that level of diversity among pellet cartridge revolvers, a belt fed pellet semi-auto, and two blowback action BB pistols, the comparisons are stretched to the limits but the underlying qualities of each gun, as well as their shortcomings, will ultimately lead to a best choice for 2020’s Replica Air Pistol of the Year.

In the past few years it has been a clear process of elimination that has made the annual top gun choice comparatively straightforward as one gun always rose to the top. Not so in 2020 with three guns tied at 49 points and two at 48 points. Even the gun that comes in last, the Chiappa Rhino, has 47 points and at the beginning was the one gun I thought had the best shot at 2020’s title being the only totally new CO2 air pistol of year.  The remaining five are all improvements or upgrades to existing models and every one of the six models reviewed for Replica Air Pistol of the Year fell short of 50 points (some even with bonus points added to their total) for one reason or another. read more


Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 6

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 6

The gun you didn’t expect: Select-Fire Barra 009

By Dennis Adler

The Barra 009 blowback action CO2 pistol is based on the Glock 18 design, and like its 9x19mm centerfire counterpart, is a select-fire pistol. While not a direct copy of a Glock, the select- fire mechanism and general layout of the air pistol are close enough for this to be the best CO2 BB version.

This was the least anticipated blowback action CO2 model of 2020 because absolutely no one expected it,oreven anticipated that Umarex and Glock would build a G18 select-fire pistol. And they would have been right, because they didn’t. This cinematic spy gun, (about the only time you ever see a G18 is in movies), comes from a company that was also “living in the shadows” to borrow a line from James Bond films, and appeared more focused on Old West guns, particularly the S&W Schofield. But Barra was (and still is) also driving headlong into not only modern handguns, but unusual ones at that. They came in out of left field late this year with their version of a Glock 18, a gun that was barely on anyone’s radar until the opening scenes in the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall. Before that, no one had seen a G18 in a movie since The Matrix Reloaded in 2003, and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, also in 2003. Glock rarely sells them to anyone outside military, law enforcement, and government agencies. It’s not even on the Glock USA website, but it was a gun that air pistol enthusiasts really wanted. More about that later…    read more


Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 5

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 5

The Shadow 2 Knows

By Dennis Adler

If nothing else, most of 2020’s new CO2 models have a lot of eye appeal. The ASG CZ 75 Shadow 2 certainly being among the best. It is shown here with its predecessor the CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow (still available). The changes between the two guns are mostly cosmetic but also functional like the revised backstrap contours, new thin blue anodized aluminum grips, and improved (changed) shape of the classic CZ 75 trigger, among other alterations to the slide and frame. This is all authentic to the changes made to the centerfire models, a big plus for earning points.

If you’re wondering how this year’s top gun competition is going to play out, I am too. The choices are few, but every one has been a gem of a gun in one way or another, whether a brand new design, like the Chiappa Rhino, or one of multiple updates to earlier guns like the Barra Schofield Wells Fargo, or the subject of this article, the improved ASG CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow, updated to match the centerfire Shadow 2 target model. Is it a better gun than the SP-01 Shadow? That was what seemed to be the case in the initial Airgun Experience review with the Shadow 2’s adjustable rear sight being the single most important advantage over the earlier model. The rest is aesthetics, important, but not a groundbreaking improvement over its stylish SP-01 Shadow predecessor. read more


Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 4

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 4

The improved Sig M17 with optics deserves a shot

By Dennis Adler

I know I said I wasn’t going to do this but with so few new CO2 pistols this year, and a couple of them variations of exciting models, the Sig Air low profile reflex sight added to the M17 ASP virtually creates a new gun. If Sig Air had put this out as a complete gun instead of making the sight a separate piece to add on to an existing gun we would have easily accepted it as a new 2020 model!

I know I said this would be throwing a ringer into the mix but with rebooted Schofields and Peacemakersit seems a little hypocritical to block the Sig Sauer M17 ASP with Sig Air reflex sight from this year’s somewhat limited competition, especially when the most accurate pellet-firing pistol so far is a 5-inch smoothbore Single Action revolver!

If you have the M17 ASP and don’t have the Sig Air reflex sight it is a game changer for this otherwise not overly accurate blowback action CO2 pistol. The M17 was never intended to be a target pistol just one capable of getting hits in center mass on a silhouette target, and it has proven very good at that, even from 15 yards out. The addition of the Sig Air red dot reflex sight gave the M17 the added accuracy that could not be readily achieved with its fixed sights, so this is like the Airgun Builder Peacemakers; you have to put it together. Unlike getting a complete custom Single Action from Pyramyd Air though, you have to do the assembly yourself as I outlined it in the October 2020 Airgun Experience articles on the M17. read more


2020 Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 3

2020 Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 3

Timeless wheels

By Dennis Adler

We begin where we ended about a year ago with a gun being sold by Umarex as a custom model, and now one that can be configured using the Colt Peacemaker Airgun Builder, a 7-1/2 in rifled barrel model in the classic nickel and gold combination. These are the two guns I had built (as a pair) earlier this year. The combinations possible for 2020 are extraordinary, and the new models as a line (not an individual gun) are what I am considering as a candidate for Replica Air Pistol of the Year.

The third contender for this year’s top gun title is not a gun but rather a new concept for airguns. This year marked the launch of Pyramyd Air’s Airgun Builder for the Umarex Colt Peacemaker. Now I know you’re saying, how can a gun that has been around for five years be in contention for 2020’s Replica Air Pistol of the Year? Every time a manufacturer makes a change or upgrade to a CO2 model we look at it as a new gun, the introduction of the 7-1/2 inch Umarex Colt Peacemaker on the heels of the 5-1/2 inch, for example, or when the rifled barrel was added; another new gun to be considered. With this year’s implementation of the Colt Peacemaker Airgun Builder, the guns are new again in an even broader sense, because you can have it built the way you want.  read more


2020 Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 2

2020 Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 2

Hexagonal wheels

By Dennis Adler

The combination of the black frame, nickel cylinder and crane, hammer and trigger with the blue grey saw handle composite grip adds to the Charging Rhino’s unique otherworldly looks. If Deckard had pulled this gun in Blade Runner you wouldn’t have been surprised.

It was a given that the new Chiappa Rhino would be a serious contender for 2020’s Replica Air Pistol of the Year. How serious? About as serious as an African Rhino charging in your direction! Now, I don’t know what that is like but I had a friend back in my Guns & Ammo days who had just such an experience and as many years later as it was when he told me the story the experience was indelibly etched in his memory right down to the smallest detail. It was a photo safari and he told the photographer not to use the motor drive Nikon (they were very noisy back then). But he did, the Rhino heard it, eyesight is awful but hearing is off the charts, and the beast turned in their direction, saw some blurry objects and charged them. Fortunately they were far enough away that the Rhino lost interest after the first 100 feet or so. A close call just the same, so, yeah, the Chiappa Charging Rhino is a serious contender for this year’s top gun title. It might not win but it could come awful close! read more