Umarex H&K USP Part 1

Umarex H&K USP Part 1

The long awaited HK .177 caliber blowback action model

By Dennis Adler

Umarex and Heckler & Koch went all the way to make certain the new blowback action USP would be fully functioning and accurate match for the centerfire model. One minor alteration is the slight difference in the base of the magazine and the use of USP, and not HK USP, on the grip. Of course, white lettering is also a hint, but that isn’t always the case. There have been numerous centerfire pistols with white lettering on their slides. Also take note of the angle to the top of the barrel lug and its ft to the slide. There will be more about this later in the article.

Heckler & Koch has always catered to a variety of end users from civilians to military and law enforcement by tailoring its models in multiple variants, like the USP, which is offered in different calibers; 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, and trigger/operating configurations. The standard USP or V1 is a DA/SA pistol, while the V7 version, for example, is a law enforcement (LEM or Law Enforcement Modification) version with a DAO trigger. The USP is also offered in left and right hand versions for the safety/decocking lever. There are also special variants V3 DA/SA without a SAFE position, just a decocking lever, the V4 which is a left-handed version of the V3, the V5 DAO without the decocking lever, V6 DAO with safety for left-handed operators, V7 and V8 both DA without safety or decoking lever, and two special variants for Government Agencies, V9 in DA/SA right-handed, and V10 for left-handed users. The new Umarex CO2 model is the standard V1 configuration, DA/SA with safety/decocking lever on the left side. read more


Compartmentalizing Airguns Part 2

Compartmentalizing Airguns Part 2 Part 1

Best in class options and a new contender!

By Dennis Adler

There are a few visual differences between the Umarex Beretta 92A1 (left) and the 9mm Beretta model. There’s the obvious white lettering on the CO2 model’s slide but in terms of size, handling, balance, and features, this is the one air pistol I would choose to be my one and only full-sized blowback action CO2 model. It has every desirable feature including a couple of years of production under its belt and readily available spare CO2 BB magazines.

What’s my choice for the gun that offers the most options for the money, as well as accuracy and reliability? I narrowed my best choices down to the Umarex Colt Commander or Sig Sauer WE THE PEOPLE for accuracy, trigger pull, and long term reliability (based on internal design, which is the same on both pistols). I have had the Umarex Colt Commander since the model was introduced in 2014; never a failure, never a problem. I have also chosen the Umarex Beretta 92A1 for the same reasons plus the advantage of a DA/SA trigger and selective fire like its distant cousin the 93R. All three guns are fully field-strippable and have excellent white dot sights. My overall first choice in the category then, the gun that fits the first compartment on my list, is the 92A1. read more


Compartmentalizing Airguns Part 1

Compartmentalizing Airguns Part 1

Best in class options

By Dennis Adler

When it comes to blowback action CO2 models with self-contained CO2 BB magazines, excellent triggers and combat sights, there are several choices including the first of the blowback action models, the Umarex Colt (Colt licensed) Commander which is a contemporary 1911A1 version, and the more modern Swiss Arms SA 1911 TRS which updates the design to match current .45 Colt Rail Gun (CQBP) models with ambidextrous thumb safeties, forward slide serrations, and a long, integrated Picatinny rail for lights and laser sighting systems. These CO2 models offer superb handling and accuracy (at 21 feet) for around $110.

Not everyone has the ability to buy every airgun they want (and neither do I), so you have to make some informed decisions on what to buy. With so many excellent choices today, in just the single category of air pistols, how do you decide? Sure, I get to test them all, but I only keep certain ones, the rest go back, and I make those choices through a process I call Compartmentalizing Airguns. This is simply breaking down specific interests into categories, or compartments. I have four. Since this is my article I’m going to use my interests, and since you are reading this, it’s pretty likely we have shared interests. So, what makes one air pistol more desirable than another? And price isn’t always the answer; in fact, to do this right price has to be a secondary consideration. read more


Umarex Walther PPS M2 Part 3

Umarex Walther M2 Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

Why Gun Manufacturers Change Designs

By Dennis Adler

Rarely do you have the opportunity to choose between an older and newer version of the same gun, the original version usually goes away, but not so with the Walther PPS and PPS M2, at least for the present. Making that choice is entirely based on aesthetics and function. The changes to the PPS in the M2 configuration has changed the way the magazine release works and where it is placed, changed the grip fit and contour and even the sights and magazines. They really are two completely different guns, especially as CO2 models.

I think this is an instance where one look at the new gun explains everything. There’s no question as to why Walther (and Umarex) redesigned the PPS, other than why it took them eight years. I’ll even concede that the magazine release button on the PPS M2 works just as well as the ambidextrous triggerguard release on the PPS (I’m right handed, so concession is easier). But that one issue does not detract from every other change in the pistol’s design and handling. The M2 is a better gun overall. Good enough, in fact, that the PPS has been updated as a CO2 model while the PPQ CO2 pistol is still based on the original 2011 design. (The PPQ Airsoft model has been updated to the M2 design as well as the .43 caliber paintball version). The original PPS CO2 model (or PPS Classic as it has been re-categorized), was an exceptional blowback action BB pistol and very close to the 9mm model in looks and general handling. It remains one of the best subcompact CO2 pistols in its class. The M2 version is unlikely to dethrone the original unless it is a more accurate pistol, and that’s a tall order. read more


Umarex Walther PPS M2 Part 2

Umarex Walther M2 Part 2 Part 1 Part 3

Why Gun Manufacturers Change Designs

By Dennis Adler

At a glance, it is pretty obvious that the PPS M2 is a total redesign of the frame, grip, and slide. It goes even further on the 9mm versions. The squared off upright stance of the PPS has been replaced by more contoured lines, a more ergonomically shaped grip and a sense of style that the otherwise excellent PPS seemed to lack. As for the personally lamented loss of the ambidextrous triggerguard-mounted magazine release, I may be in the minority of Walther owners in the U.S., but I never had a problem with it or learning how to instinctively use it to drop an empty magazine. The new push button release is just as fast and by and large, more familiar to the majority of semi-auto pistol owners, but not ambidextrous.

Redesign by design is the best way to summarize the total number of changes between the Walther PPS (henceforth the PPS Classic, anyone for a Coke?) and PPS M2 centerfire and CO2 models. The Umarex Walther PPS M2 shares very little with the PPS, aside from internal operation and trigger design, including the obligatory crossbolt trigger safety. The M2 clearly shows its PPQ M2-driven design changes making it a more contoured pistol that is better balanced in the hand. Visually the PPS and M2 have almost nothing in common, but as a CO2 training gun, the M2 falls into that same perfect niche as its predecessor. But perhaps even better, as each of the PPQ derived enhancements to the PPS benefits not only the gun but the individual who handles it. read more


Umarex Walther PPS M2 Part 1

Umarex Walther M2 Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Why Gun Manufacturers Change Designs

By Dennis Adler

At Walther, change has never been made for the sake of change. Developing the PPS took years and when it was introduced it created its own market niche; a 9mm slightly larger than a .380 Auto Walther PPK/S. The PPS was introduced in 2008; the Umarex CO2 version was introduced in 2014. The new PPS M2 CO2 model (right) updates the design to match the 9mm PPS M2 introduced in 2016.  

There is design development and then there is design evolution. The latter is often a change that comes over time to improve a pistol’s operation, such as a better safety mechanism, improved sights, or the famous change from the original Colt Model 1911 configuration to the 1911A1. This has always been controversial, since manufacturers, including Colt, often revert to the old design in order to appeal to consumers who prefer the flat mainspring housing. This is design change by consumer demand, and it doesn’t happen often, but it has happened to Walther, not once but twice in recent time with a change from what I personally regard as one of the truly innovative advancements in magazine release designs. It starts with the Walther P99 (developed in 1995) and later copied on the Walther PPS (in 2008). It is an ambidextrous magazine release incorporated into the back of the triggerguard. Heckler & Koch uses a variation of this design on their H&K pistols and it makes dropping an empty magazine a simple movement of the trigger finger, or support hand thumb, (with a two-handed hold). It is different, maybe even unconventional, but it’s easy to learn and easier to use than a traditional magazine release button on the frame. And the design was ambidextrous from the beginning. read more


FAS 6004 Part 3

FAS 6004 Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

Chiappa’s Single Shot Pneumatic Target Pistol

By Dennis Adler

The FAS 6004 delivered on velocity (based against factory velocity specs) with all three wadcutter pellets used for the shooting evaluations, Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 gr., RWS R10 Match 7.0 gr., and Air Venturi 7.48 gr. lead wadcutters.

What exactly is an entry-level 10 meter single stroke target pistol? Well, the answer depends upon who you ask and what period of time you’re  asking about. Some 30 years ago, the answer was quite different than it is today. And notice that I didn’t use the word “pneumatic.” Back in the 1980s, Feinwerkbau was one of the most respected names in 10 meter air pistols with models like the FWB 65 (introduced back in 1965 and manufactured until 2001), the Model 80, which added stacking barrel weights and an improved adjustable trigger mechanism, and Model 90, which used an electronic trigger. These were side-cocking, recoilless, spring-piston designs for competitive shooting. Feinwerkbau rifles and pistols were the championship airguns in International Shooting Sports Foundation (ISSF) competition and the FWB Model 65 pretty much ruled air pistol competition for 30 years.[1] Today, FWB’s precharged pneumatic (PCP) pistols are the standard bearers. read more