Last Gun Standing
By Dennis Adler
Right out of the chute the Umarex S&W M&P got bumped by the first of the final four test guns. But first, the .22 LR model used in Part 3 for a baseline; this is a classic American target pistol, the Browning Medalist. As you will notice the slide is short and has only 1.25 inches of travel, enough to eject the spent .22 shell case and re-cock the firing mechanism. The pistol uses target grips that support the shooting hand and bring the gun into proper alignment when aimed (this grip design will come into play later in Airgun Experience when we get into target shooting). It has a bull barrel and enough weight that recoil (muzzle rise) is less than an inch and felt recoil is less than some of the CO2 models already reviewed! So the bar has been lowered for felt recoil from a .22 but raised by two of the blowback action CO2 models in Part 3.
First gun up in the final four was the Swiss Arms 1911 TRS. This is a hefty, all metal blowback action 1911 with white dot combat sights, a very realistic weight and balance, functioning ambidextrous extended thumb safeties, and one of the best slide and frame finishes of any CO2 blowback action 1911. Felt recoil with the Swiss Arms model was slightly greater than the Umarex S&W M&P40, bringing the 1911 TRS to the top of the list for most felt recoil.
Next was the Sig Sauer 1911 which has slightly more felt recoil than the Swiss Arms 1911 TRS or Umarex S&W M&P40, and a little more lightly felt muzzle lift when fired one-handed. This is all, of course, in small proportions, but the Swiss Arms and Sig 1911s feel about equal to the Browning Medalist .22 target pistol, and just a bit under the Walther P22 for felt recoil.
Since we are on a run of 1911s, next up is the Umarex Colt Commander. This is the first of the great CO2 blowback action 1911 models and has earned a reputation as one of the most accurate and reliable. Again, it is very close to a 1911 in weight, balance, and handling, though not as “authentic” as the Swiss Arms model, and has fewer features than the Sig 1911. The Commander has a smoother, lighter trigger, which makes it very accurate, and it comes in almost equal with the the Swiss Arms 1911 TRS for felt recoil.
Last comes one of my favorites, the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five, second only to the Umarex S&W M&P40 and Tanfoglio Limited Custom for absolute authenticity and operation using a short-recoil, locked-breech operating design. The Sig P226 X-Five is another heavy weight pistol and as such has less felt recoil than any of the 1911s. It is a great shooter; but if you are looking for a palpable sense of recoil and muzzle lift this is not going to be your blowback action model.
Last Guns Standing
For most felt recoil it is the M&P40, Sig Sauer 1911 and Swiss Arms 1911 TRS. For one last run, each gun was shot against the other to find the one with the most consistent felt recoil and noticeable muzzle rise. With a fresh CO2, the M&P40 has solid recoil and almost as much muzzle rise as the Walther P22. The Swiss Arms 1911 TRS has more robust felt recoil, but not as much muzzle rise. The Sig 1911 has the most muzzle rise with a full CO2 and felt recoil is just slightly greater than the Swiss Arms and M&P40. But, the Sig cannot maintain the level of recoil and muzzle rise beyond the first 10 or 15 shots, while both the M&P40 and Swiss Arms CO2 models can get through an entire reload before power begins to decline.
The last gun standing is the Swiss Arms 1911 TRS. Most felt recoil and light muzzle rise. The Umarex S&W M&P40 is a very close second, and that really was to be expected. For anyone who seriously wants to use a CO2 blowback action BB pistol for practice and training, these are two standup airguns.