My favorite CO2 air pistol of all time Part 2

My favorite CO2 air pistol of all time Part 2

And what makes it special

By Dennis Adler

The Maschinenpistole 40 or MP40 was one of the big hits from Umarex in 2017.
The CO2 version of the full auto 9mm WWII submachine gun allows semi-auto fire as well as full auto, making it much more CO2 and BB friendly. The self-contained CO2 BB magazines use a pair of 12 gram CO2 cartridges. It doesn’t hurt accuracy, either.

When you have a veritable history of American and European firearms recreated today in .177 caliber BB and 4.5mm pellet firing airguns, everything from selective fire pistols like the Mini Uzi, Broomhandle Mauser Model 712 and WWII German MP40, to state-of-the-art semi-autos like the Glock 17 and legendary guns from the American West, like the Colt Peacemaker, finding one gun that raises the bar or hits your “must have” list, is like going to a premier firearms auction with the determination that no matter how many guns catch your eye, you are only going home with one. And so we begin Part 2 back in 2017. read more


Conceptual Evolution

Conceptual Evolution

Looking back and looking forward

By Dennis Adler

For 2019 Umarex only has three new models we haven’t already seen, the Glock 17 Gen4, Beretta M9A3, and Ruger 10/22 but they also count the late 2018 introductions of the Glock 19, Glock 17 Gen3, HK VP9, and Legends Cowboy Lever Action as new models for 2019. Considering their timeline in 2018, they certainly qualify, giving Umarex quite a lineup of new CO2 models for this year.

Every so often you watch a movie trailer and it looks like it is going to be the best new film of the year, but it turns out that all the best scenes were used in the trailer and the movie as a whole falls flat on its face. That’s kind of where we are looking forward to new air pistols this year. Tom Gaylord gave us a thorough look at what new airguns are coming in 2019 direct from the Shot Show floor. And there are a lot of new airguns coming, but in the area of CO2 models, the offerings are impressive but few, as they apply to Airgun Experience readers. We are a picky lot and expect every year to be a banner year with an abundance of new and exciting CO2 pistols and rifles. But the reality is not always as exciting and many months go by between debuts and availability. Case in point, Umarex has announced a second Glock 17 with an enhanced blowback action for even more realistic handling. As a training gun this will be a benchmark, at least for those who want to train for carrying a 9mm Glock. And even just as a CO2 pistol on its own, it will likely rise to the top as one of the, if not the most realistic CO2 pistols built to date. But exhale; we won’t see them until late this summer. This is about the same waiting period as last year’s Shot Show announcement of the Legends Cowboy Lever Action Rifle (before it was pushed back to December). But it has proven well worth the wait. The question is, “What are we waiting for next?” read more


Last best semi-auto showdown Part 2

Last best semi-auto showdown Part 2

Three blowback action models that wowed us

By Dennis Adler

Oddly, while the Glock 17 is the newest blowback action CO2 model, it is the oldest of the three designs dating back to 1982. The M&P40 was introduced by S&W back in 2006 and as a CO2 model in 2016. The Heckler & Koch is an older design that evolved out of the U.S. Army SOCOM project (United States Special Operation Command) in 1989 and has been in production by HK ever since. As a CO2 model it barely beat the G17 to market.

I’m not sure what air pistol manufacturers can do in 2019 that will outshine the HK USP and G17, though Glock and Umarex will be adding a G17 Gen4 model this year, which will offer the improved Gen4 design modifications (but does not appear to have Gen4 interchangeable backstrap panels). While we wait to see what Sig Sauer will unveil or announce this coming week as well as the latest announcement of the Air Venturi/Springfield Armory models, let’s wrap up this week by drilling bullseyes with these three impressive blowback action models, starting with the Umarex Glock 3rd Model G17. This one delivers on the promise of striking authenticity of fit and finish hinted at by the non-blowback action entry-level G19 Compact model earlier in 2018. The G17 has made good on everything developed for the G19 with the addition of a blowback action and self-contained CO2 BB magazine, all of which were praised in last December’s rundown to Replica Air Pistol of the Year. The Glock lost 10 points and a solid shot at the top honors because it cannot be field stripped. I can’t say that field stripping is the be all and end all of what a CO2 semi-auto should encompass in its design, but it is a sticking point for many, myself included, but as you will see, there is so much more to the G17 (and hopefully the Gen4) than one facet of design authenticity. read more


Last best semi-auto showdown Part 1

Last best semi-auto showdown Part 1

Three blowback action models that wowed us

By Dennis Adler

There are a lot of choices in blowback action CO2 models, but this trio represents air pistols that have raised the bar. The Smith & Wesson licensed Umarex S&W M&P40 helped establish the standard against which most other blowback action models are judged. The 2018 (well…2019) Umarex Glock 17 has delivered on as much practical authenticity as possible given the limitations imposed by its design; not quite up to the M&P40 across the board but a new standard bearer in its own right. The Umarex HK USP blowback is really the first gun to rival the M&P40 in every way and do so as the only hammer fired model of the three.

Now that the Umarex Glock 17 is available and ready to ship, (so get your gun before they end up on backorder), it is fair to make some hard comparisons between a trio of blowback action models that simply leave you asking, “If they can get all this right, why can’t they get other things right?” Perhaps they do and we fail to recognize it. Let’s start a few years back with what I consider the one semi-auto CO2 air pistol everyone who likes modern pistols should own, the Umarex S&W M&P40. It just doesn’t get any more authentic than this. Or does it? read more


The new gun I enjoyed shooting most this year

The new gun I enjoyed shooting most this year

…and you’re going to be surprised!

By Dennis Adler

When you write 144 articles a year just on air pistols, you shoot a lot of air pistols and you do it every week. As much as I like shooting (air pistols, air rifles, and centerfire guns), it is a job and you approach each new test gun as a blank sheet of paper. Some new models this year practically wrote their own story; others were not so much disappointing as they were not what I had expected. You start with un-boxing a new gun, going over the instruction book, looking at the gun and all its features, and the occasional lack of features, and go forth with objectivity. This was essential for 2018’s Replica Air Pistol of the Year and the set of categories and points system established to rate each gun as fairly as possible. You do the test, take the pictures, write the article and move on. That’s just the hard truth of writing a column three days a week. Most of the test guns go back to the manufacturer, some are inventoried for follow-up articles and comparisons that eventually lead to picking the best examples to evaluate for the year’s top honor. The boxes either sit all nicely stacked waiting for their second turn, or when they have no chance of a second review they go back after the article is done. I’d like to say I enjoy shooting every air pistol I test, I’d really like to say that, but some I’d just as soon never shoot again; I have a low threshold for inadequate designs. But every year there are a few new guns that even after the article is done and I have moved on to the next, that still sit out on a special table waiting for a free hour so I can shoot them again, just for fun. read more


Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 5

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 5

What it takes to become 2018’s Top Gun

By Dennis Adler

Once again a very interesting pairing of guns, both polymer frames, one a DA/SA hammer-fired pistol with a safety/decocker, the other a DAO striker-fired design with an integral trigger safety. Both blowback action pistols are almost 100 percent accurately matched to their centerfire counterparts. Only one has a solid chance of becoming this year’s Top Gun.

This pairing is another ideal match, two polymer frame semi-autos, the Umarex Heckler & Koch USP and Umarex Glock 17, and while they both take different approaches to the same end, one is vastly superior, both as a centerfire pistol and as a CO2 model. But superiority, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder!

Both blowback action designs have slides that lock back on an empty magazine but the Umarex HK USP and Umarex Glock 17 take two very different approaches to their internal designs, the USP follows the centerfire pistol as closely as possible with a short-recoil, locked-breech, tilting barrel design like the actual 9mm model, while the G17 employs a closed system that is designed to optimize CO2 by using a shorter blowback stroke while increasing velocity.

We begin with the H&K USP, a centerfire pistol design that has been in use since 1993 but only this year has become available as a blowback action CO2 model. Waiting a quarter of a century for a gun to be developed into a CO2 model is not unusual (the Mauser Model 712 Broomhandle was developed in 1932, so we waited more than 80 years for that one). Over the decades since WWII, Heckler & Koch has not introduced as many pistols as some of their competitors, but when they do, the design and design variants generally stay around for a long time. H&K moves at its own pace, seldom influenced by trends, but also has a penchant for surprising the firearms world with innovative designs, and that is why the USP makes a good match for the Glock 17. To Gaston Glock’s chagrin, the Glock 17 was not the first polymer-framed semiautomatic pistol; the first was developed in 1970 by Heckler & Koch, the VP70. read more


Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 3

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 3

What it takes to become 2018’s Top Gun

By Dennis Adler

Two entry-level CO2 models with great features, authentic designs and shared handicaps based on retail price point (actually selling for just $69.95), the new Umarex Glock 19 and updated Umarex Walther PPS M2, have the looks down pat, good performance, and make the issue of separate CO2 and stick magazines much easier to live with. Note that the stick mags in both pistols have full size base pads so the guns look right from the top down!

It’s the best new non-blowback action BB model vs. the latest update to an unseated champion in entry-level blowback action semi-autos, the Umarex Glock 19 against the Umarex Walther PPS M2. No two CO2 models could be better pitted against each other despite the fact that the Glock is a non-blowback pistol…it’s just that good!

It is a masterpiece of external design that does the best job of looking like its centerfire counterpart of any air pistol on the market. The Umarex Glock 19 is almost indistinguishable from the 9mm model, and Glock being aware of that subtly made one obvious change to the gun by eliminating the caliber markings on the slide. There is also the equally subtle crossbolt safety at the top rear of the trigger, even though the air pistol has a working Safe Action style blade trigger. Attention to details in the grip panel pattern, front strap grooves, checkering and every functional feature, such as the slide release are perfect, even though it is a non-blowback action pistol.

What Umarex and Glock have delivered with an entry-level model of the G19 is about as much fine detail as it is possible to get into a CO2 pistol’s exterior design. And you can say the same for the Walther PPS M2. Both the new Glock and updated Walther look like their centerfire counterparts in almost every important detail. Neither has a self-contained CO2 BB magazine, both use separate CO2 chambers in their grip frames and easy to load stick magazines. Overall, they are pretty much equals in the air and BB loading department and are priced the same selling discounted for $69.95. They are very affordable entry-level pistols with exceptional performance and design. read more