Barra 009 Part 005

Barra 009 Part 005

Full Auto Operation

By Dennis Adler

Right now, if you are into blowback action CO2 BB pistols, this is the hot ticket for 2020. The Barra 009 is everything you found desirable about the Gen4 Glock 17 plus the option to fire on full auto at the flip of a switch. This is what makes CO2 airguns exciting to shoot.

This is the part of every select-fire CO2 air pistol test that we wait for because this is an experience you can generally only get with an airgun. I have fired full auto centerfire rifles and they can be a handful, same for pistols, but most reports on the Glock 18 say that recoil is not that hard to manage on full auto compared to other select-fire pistols. Certainly with the Barra 009 recoil will not be an issue no matter how nice the rapid action of the slide feels and the low dB report sounds. It is a mere fraction of what the real gun would be like. And that is actually a good thing, as very few of us will ever need to train for full auto firing with a handgun or rifle. It is an occasional privilege for those of us who write about firearms so our opinions are grounded in fact. The fact is, at the moment, the Barra 009 is in a class by itself as the most compact (compared to the Beretta 92A1/M9A3 or Mauser M712) CO2 full auto handgun on the market. And a gun in a class of its own deserves a good explanation.

The single operating feature that separates the 009 from the G17 Gen4 is the G18-style select-fire switch, the same design as the 9x19mm Glock 18. There are two indicators on the slide, a single dot for semi-auto with the lever in the up position…
…and two dots for full auto fire with the lever in the lowered position. This rotates a metal tab on the inside of the slide that acts on the sear in the trigger mechanism allowing the gun to fire as long as the trigger is held in the reward position, whether feathering a few shots or emptying the magazine.

The Glock 18 is still the top select-fire 9x19mm handgun in use for military and law enforcement, the Barra 009 translates that concept into a blowback action CO2 pistol with a standard complement of 18 rounds in the CO2 BB magazine. That means a little over a second on full auto and the mag is empty. It’s fun but impractical unless you have several loaded mags and want to waste BBs and CO2. The trick is to learn feathering the trigger to fire short three and four-round bursts with some degree of accuracy. That is the goal with a gun like the 9mm Glock 18, as well as the .177 caliber Barra 009. The one exception with the 9mm would be laying down suppressive fire during a combat engagement or in close quarters against multiple targets or a single primary. As an air pistol, the 009 is just for engaging cardboard and cans, but the basic principles are the same.

On the far left you can see the tab in the semi-auto position (selector lever up) and this function is to allow the sear to essentially reset the trigger after it is pulled and the slide has cycled closed. Even if you hold the trigger back, the gun will not fire again until the trigger is released and pulled again. You may have heard stories about semi-autos suddenly firing multiple shots, and that is an issue with the sear. A broken sear will cause a chain fire if you are holding the trigger back when it happens. With a select-fire pistol the sear or its function is removed from the equation. At right, the tab has been rotated down and the edge of the catch now appears flat (rectangular). It will no longer allow the sear to engage thus allowing the gun to fire automatically as soon as the slide closes. This continues as long as the trigger is held back or until the magazine is empty. This is a somewhat different design for the air pistol than an actual centerfire Glock 18 mechanism, but the end result is the same.

If you have fired the Umarex Legends Mauser Broomhandle Model 712 on full auto you know its accuracy is only fair unless you have a Broomhandle shoulder stock; most originals and some reproduction stocks fit the CO2 pistol. The Beretta 92A1 and M9A3 are a little more manageable and accurate than the Mauser. The Barra 009 then, does not have too high of a bar to surpass and the operation is actually a little easier because of the trigger and recoil system used in the Glock Gen4-based air pistol.

Here we see the tab in the semi-auto position as it relates to the firing mechanism on the frame (red arrows). When the slide in on the frame what you see on the left actually fits over the right of the slide. The tab engages the trigger’s sear when the slide closes after firing. With the tab lowered (full auto switch) this action does not occur because the catch is folded down. The gun fires automatically the instant the slide closes and repeats as long as the trigger is held. Feathering the trigger is a necessary skill to squeeze off only a few consecutive shots and then release. Once you can learn to fire in short bursts your accuracy, and the gun’s, will increase.

 For this final test of the 009 I am setting the selector to full auto, holstering and the doing the entire shooting exercise as a close quarter combat test, drawing, firing multiple bursts at a target 21 feet down range, reloading and repeating. Here’s what happed.

Ready on the firing line, the switch is lowered to the full auto position for the range test at 21 feet.
On target and ready to fire I engage the trigger and begin to squeeze off short bursts of fire. I averaged four to five rounds at a time. The first and second shots were generally close together on the target, the rest began to open up. POA was changing and I made adjustments as the gun cooled down and velocity began to drop below the average 315 to 317 fps. I estimate that as I continued to shoot short bursts velocity was hovering around 300 fps, maybe a little less as went on.

All previous semi-auto tests of the 009 have shown that the gun’s windage is dead on center; elevation is off and requires a 3 to 3.5 inch hold over the bullseye at 21 feet. This is my starting point for the full auto evaluation using an IPSC cardboard silhouette and aiming just above the A in the Z-Zone. If the gun has any tendency to rise on full auto I’ll know pretty quickly, also my plan is to shoot in short bursts for the first run of tests. At 21 feet using a two-handed hold and Weaver stance (I did not alter my stance and lean in as you would with a 9mm) I immediately discovered the 009 has a slight climb and a tendency to hit right. My first 18 shots in short bursts were nothing but a learning experience. They were all over the center mass of the target, most mid-line and the right side of the C-Zone. With a corrected POA at the mid section and left of center I put 11 of 18 rounds in the A-Zone from top to bottom and the rest hit lower and right as velocity dropped off from the rapid firing.

Even firing short bursts, 18 rounds is gone pretty fast and I had two extra magazines loaded and ready for a quick reload.
The magazines are placed in the pouch rounds (BBs) facing forward. This allows me to pull the fresh mag and rotate it up it is one single rotation of the hand from pouch to magazine grip well.
Here you can see the empty magazine falling away from the gun (about waist high against my shirt), as I begin to bring the fresh mag into position.
Seat the magazine into the grip well, release the slide and the gun is ready to go. This whole process takes about as much time as firing out all 18 rounds (magazine dump) on full auto. Unless you have a lot of loaded magazines you want to shoot in bursts; might get you a whole 10 seconds. The forthcoming extended capacity magazines will be much appreciated by those who want to get the most out of shooting the 009.

This brings me to the subject of velocity and a quick chronograph test to see if I can clock a burst of fire. I got two shots at 315 fps and that was it. It would be safe to say that as you fire a burst, velocity is going to drop from 315 to below 300 fps in five rounds firing at a fraction of a second (as low as 288 fps, which I got on another chronograph test). So, my hold under is not really going to work as shots begin to drop. I decided to raise my POA to mid-center of the A-Zone still correcting left. And that’s the ticket. I put a total of 21 shots in the A-Zone, 23 shots in the C-Zone, 4 shots in the D-Zone, and out of 54 rounds (three magazines) there are two that originally hit very high on my first shots missing center mass altogether (actually unintended head shots), and four shots spent on chronographing.

I learned as I shot with the 009 on full auto. The gun on semi-auto shoots low but almost dead center. My correction was a 3-inch hold over to bullseye on semi-auto but on full auto it put shots too high. I lowered my aim to below center and shots grouped around the A-zone at the start and then began to drop. I also had to correct my windage left to get the center groups (red hits in the A-Zone). Lower hits in the C-Zone came as CO2 cooled from rapid fire, but I was still keeping almost all hits in the center mass. I did have four that went into the D-Zone (as shown). There is no B-Zone on an IPSC target.

I ran out the CO2 in my last two mags (average is 54 shots per CO2 on full auto fire) using a Shoot-N-C silhouette target and put all of the shots in center mass. Full auto is not accuracy it is saturation. And the 009 saturates the target from 21 feet.

I ran out my CO2 in the last two magazines with a Shoot-N-C target and it pretty much came up with results similar to my tests on the IPSC target. This is nowhere near the precision shooting of the 009 on semi-auto, but the fun factor and the challenge is commensurately greater.

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