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
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
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
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
With revolvers making up a part of the new guns for 2020 I have decided to make a few changes to the comparisons and points system from previous years beginning with last year’s single extra point for field stripping, since revolvers can’t be field stripped like a semi-auto. Secondly, since two guns in this year’s comparisons have adjustable rear sights, in order for the comparison’s to be more equal, adjustable sights will also be an extra point, so if any guns end up in a tie, one may get an extra point or two to decide the winner.read more
Back in 2017 I made a favorite pick of new airguns and started what would become the Replica Air Pistolof the Year competition. The air pistols that have won top honors over the past three years are all still being manufactured and are just as worthy of the top gun honors today, in fact, none of them have been surpassed thus far. Building a new CO2 model that can meet or beat the design, handling, performance and accuracy of earlier airguns that earned the Replica Air Pistol of the Year title is never easy, and each successive winner since 2017 has raised the bar. The competition in 2017, 2018, and 2019 was pretty tough because there were a lot of exciting new models, some based on earlier designs (2015 models), that were improved upon and a few that made the jump from BB guns to pellet guns and further expanding the competition for one model to rise to the top. read more
There are only a few CO2 pistol lines that explore a series of original models, the Umarex Glock series, for example with the Glock 19, Glock 17 Third Gen, Gen4 and G19X (Gen5-based), and now the ASG CZ 75 line with the CZ 75, SP-01 Shadow and Shadow 2, which like the Glocks, delineate a progression in model improvements. More commonly a new gun replaces its predecessor, but with the ASG CZ line we have the opportunity to compare three generations of design first hand.
Triggers and triggerguards
Looking at all three ASG CZ 75 models the changes in designs over the years are sweeping from the original shape of the frame and slide to the changes in triggerguard shape and addition of serrations, to the final evolution of the Shadow 2 trigger which is less curved than its predecessors; the bold crescent-shaped trigger was a design trait of all CZ models, so this is noteworthy, too, as is the bold change in the backstrap and beavertail designs between the SP-01 Shadow and Shadow 2. The current evolution of the CZ design both as a centerfire pistol and a CO2 model is a better handling pistol that is more closely associated with target pistols than duty pistols. To that end, CZ still sells an updated version of the CZ 75 B and the SP-01 Shadow, now designated as the Shadow 1 series, as well as the full competition CZ 75 TS Czechmate, (similar to the Tanfoglio Gold Custom). The next gun I would like to see duplicated by ASG would obviously be the CZ 75 TS Czechmate with the optics bridge and muzzle break, as used in IPSC Open Division competition.read more