Barra 009 vs. Umarex G17 Gen4 Part 3

Barra 009 vs. Umarex G17 Gen4 Part 3

Wherein the 009 plays G18 for a full auto CO2 shootout

By Dennis Adler

This is where we have to suspend the reality of what are copies of actual firearms and what are versions of actual firearms and follow the almost irresistible fascination of full auto shooting with air pistols. You don’t even have to ask why because the question answers itself; the overwhelming majority of us cannot own a select-fire handgun, not even a vintage one like an original 1932 Mauser M712 or any of the few select-fire copies such as the Spanish-made Beistegui Hermanus Royal Broomhandle. Even these still fall under the federal rules for ownership of an automatic weapon. There’s that and the extremely high prices for these historic select-fire pistols. As for modern or at least relatively modern select-fire guns like the Beretta 93R or current Glock 18/18C, they breathe the same rarified air. But air is the answer, CO2, which opens up the possibility for anyone to own what looks like, feels like, and technically, shoots like the real guns. We have the somewhat fictionalized Umarex Beretta 92A1 and M9A3 with select-fire mechanisms (fictionalized because only the 93R ever had this option), the superb Umarex Broomhandle Legends M712 (a great gun in need of a better finish), the Crosman P1, which is another Beretta-style gun a hair closer in looks to the 93R and based off the same select-fire platform as the now defunct Gletcher BRT 92FS. (Then, of course, there are quite a few select-fire CO2 rifles and carbines like the Crosman DPMS and Bushmaster, the Mini Uzi, and vintage WWII era MP40 and M1A1 Thompson, but that’s another story and a lot of CO2.) Last, we have the new gun the Barra 009.

Three very different generations of guns both as centerfire and CO2 models; the classic Mauser Model 712 select-fire Broomhandle with removable box magazine, developed in 1932 and introduced as an air pistol by Umarex in 2015, the latest Beretta 92-Series pistol, the M9A3 introduced by Umarex as a select-fire version last year, and the brand new Barra 009 CO2 version of the Glock 18 select-fire 9mm pistol. The 009 is also the most compact of the trio.
All three have CO2 BB magazines with 18-round capacities. The Barra 009 is the easiest of the models to load BB with a locking follower and a large loading port. The Beretta also has a locking follower and loading port. The hardest to load is the M712 mag which requires holding the follower down to allow loading BBs. Spare magazines are really essential for all three fully auto capable air pistols.

Who squares off?

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In practical terms of guns based on actual select-fire handguns that exist or once existed, the Barra 009, in the role of the Glock 18, can only go up against the Mauser M712 because it’s the only other CO2 model reproduced from an actual centerfire pistol. In the harsh light of day that’s like putting a WWII P-51 Mustang up against an F-16 (yes, I know there are more modern jet fighters in use, but the F-16 is a fair analogy) so we are going to throw in a ringer, the latest M9A3 CO2 model because it is “loosely” based on the concept of the Beretta 93R (which only exists as an Air Soft model…expletives deleted).

There’s an interesting irony to this CO2 comparison because technically, in terms of the original centerfire guns, the Beretta M9A3 (2016) is a newer gun than the Glock 18/18C (1988/1997) but, the M9A3 was never a select-fire pistol and the Beretta 93R was developed way back in 1979, which would make the Glock 18 a newer pistol. In CO2 thanks to Barra, the 009 is also the newest select-fire CO2 pistol.

What we know before pulling the trigger

The 009, M9A3 and Mauser 714 air pistols are all in the same retail price range, $159.95, $149.95 and $149.95, respectively and all discounted to between $112 and $130. You have three historically different designs, the groundbreaking Mauser design of 1932, the classic 1970’s Beretta 92 platform updated to M9A3 in 2015, and the Glock 17 platform from 1982.

Levers, dials and switches, three ways to go from semi-auto to full auto. The Beretta M9A3 CO2 model has a small selector lever at the right rear. This feature does not exist on the centerfire models. Authentic to a fault, the Broomhandle Model 1932 selector has a button to depress and a dial to rotate from semi-auto “N” to full auto “R” while the Glock-style selector switch on the 009 simply thumbs down like the safety on a semi-auto, SA in the up position, full auto when pressed down.

The M712 as a CO2 pistol is very authentic except for finish, the M9A3 and 009 (as Glock 18) also have exceptional authenticity but have superior finishes (one of these days I am going to a full refinishing series on the M712). The M712 air pistol, like its centerfire counterpart, is not a particularly accurate pistol on full auto (unless you fit it with a shoulder stock), while the M9A3 and 009 are both decent shooters on full auto, though no where their semi-auto accuracy.

For my money, I would own all three, but if you don’t and are even on the fence about this (assuming you haven’t already ordered a 009) I’m going to line them up and shoot them out head-to-head. May the best gun win!

The vintage Mauser holds the CO2 and BBs in the removable box magazine and has a capacity of 18 shots, the 009 uses a self-contained CO2 BB magazine with an 18 round capacity, and the Beretta uses a self-contained CO2 BB magazine that also holds 18 rounds. So on that comparison, the playing field is level.

With the exception of the first round with the Beretta (if the gun has been de-cocked) once the first shot has been fired on semi-auto all three are ready to shoot again and on full auto they continue to shoot until the magazine is empty or you release the trigger (which is recommended for better accuracy after every few shots as well as to prevent cooling down the CO2 too quickly and loosing velocity). I like to feather the triggers and get between three and five shots per pull.

All three guns have fairly light single action pulls and once you start firing on full auto they are easy to manage, the 009 in particular, which has a very good trigger. With CO2 loaded and 18 rounds in each gun, it’s time to pull the trigger.

A total of 54 shots from three guns at an IPSC silhouette target from 15 feet showed which gun was the most manageable and accurate. Top scores were made with the Barra 009, Umarex Beretta M9A3 and Umarex Legends M17, in that order, with the 009 also having the closest 5-shot group. All but five shots out of 54 were inside the target’s A-Zone, but only the 009 managed to keep all 18 shots in the A-Zone on full auto (with one shot right on the line). The Mauser was all over the target but still kept all but three inside the A-Zone. The Beretta and Barra delivered concentrated groups, the Barra actually hitting high on full auto (leading to a hold under near the bottom of the A-Zone) while the Beretta was easier to shoot bursts into groups near POA, with the gun being almost a quarter of a pound heavier (loaded) than the 009.

At 15 feet from an IPSC silhouette target, the vintage Mauser punched its 18 rounds into an area stretching from the bottom of the A-Zone to the top and into the right side C-Zone; pretty much 18 shots in center mass but totally spread out. This is actually good for the somewhat wild M712 on full auto. The Beretta with its excellent sights is easier to put on target and landed 18 in two clusters, 10 shots in the lower portion of the A-Zone, 6-shots in the upper A-zone and one just cutting into the C-Zone at 3’oclock; the Barra 009 came slammed 18 into all in the A-Zone, the best shooter for tight groups, with the best group of 9 rounds in the lower A-Zone and 9 rounds spread a littler wider in the upper A-Zone. The tightest groups were 5-hits at 1.25 inches with the Barra 009 and 5-hits at 1.43 inches with the M9A3.

All three select-fire models are more fun to shoot full auto than on single action regardless of accuracy, but when it comes to scoring points the 009 as a purpose-built, select-fire pistol runs over the Beretta, and on handling beats the Mauser. Which one is the most fun to shoot? After years of newer guns coming along (mostly all more accurate), there’s still nothing that can beat pulling the trigger on that vintage Mauser CO2 pistol. What can I say? Classics rule the world of CO2 models!

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