Retrospect Series Part 9 – M&P 45

Retrospect Series Part 9 – M&P 45

The display rack gun takes on the Uber-pistols

By Dennis Adler

There is a pretty good span of time separating these three CO2 pellet models, yet they share very much the same internal designs and quality of construction. The Umarex S&W M&P 45 is the lightweight of the trio, literally in carry weight, and in price. Interestingly, though all three have rifled steel barrels, the M&P is the only one with a correct muzzle opening (.45 ACP) and a recessed 3.3 inch .177 caliber barrel. Aside from a molded plastic slide, molded-in disassembly lever and magazine release, and loading CO2 in the grip rather than in a CO2 magazine like the CP99 and HK P30, the M&P is pretty much an equal to the German-made models when it comes to shooting and accuracy. It is a lot of air pistol for $80.

Its crunch time, time for the Umarex S&W M&P 45 to go head to head with the two higher-priced Umarex German-built models, the Walther CP99 and Heckler & Koch HK P30. It is a comparison of equals in terms of design and capabilities. All three CO2 models are based on centerfire, duty-size (law enforcement and military) use handguns, with the Walther and S&W being polymer frame pistols with striker-fired systems and the HK being a polymer frame pistol with a hammer-fired system. All three are individual design benchmarks as centerfire handguns, all among the first to utilize a polymer frame like Glock. Historically, H&K was the first, actually more than a decade before Glock’s G17 in 1982, then Walther in 1999, and S&W with the M&P (Military & Police) series beginning in 2006 (2007 for the .45 ACP model). There are of course, other gunmakers who have moved to polymer frames, like Sig Sauer, but these three are our topic. read more


Retrospect Series Part 6 – H&K P30

Retrospect Series Part 6 – H&K P30

The Heckler & Koch vs. Walther CP 99 conclusion

By Dennis Adler

As you may recall, Part 5 ended with what appeared to be a problem with the P30 magazine, and we had to waitfor a new magazine to arrive. With the new mag in hand we will pick up where things left off earlier this month with a short recap of the end from last time.

The Umarex HK P30 is one of the best looking CO2 pellet pistols in its class, which is to say guns like the Walther CP99, and at just over $200 is at the higher end but made in Germany. It also fires BBs as well as pellets, so that is an advantage over the pellets only Walther CP99, which sells for $30 less than the P30.

“To recap, I shot Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 gr. lead wadcutter pellets, which averaged 342 fps, a little slower than expected. [Then I shot] lighter weight 5.25 gr. H&N Sport Match Green alloy wadcutters. Beginning with a fresh CO2, the first eight shots averaged 328 fps, which makes little sense and leads me to surmise the magazine is not holding air and is losing pressure prematurely. My first shots started at 355 fps and after 16 rounds (two magazines) had dropped to 317 fps.” read more


Retrospect Series Part 5 – H&K P30

Retrospect Series Part 5 – H&K P30

The Heckler & Koch vs. Walther CP99

By Dennis Adler

The opportunity to shoot BBs from the HK P30 is a secondary feature; the gun by design is a pellet pistol with a rifled steel barrel. Its closest competitor, both as a 9mm pistol for law enforcement and military use, and as a CO2 pistol, is the Walther P99 and P99Q variations and the CP99. The CP99 has been in production going on 20 years and later in this review I will run the Walther against the HK.

I started this with good intensions and had no expectations of a mechanical problem with the P30; in fact, my actual concern was with the almost 20-year old Walther CP99 I was going to test it against. What can I say? This stuff happens, and the HK developed a problem.

Continued velocity tests

To recap, I shot Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 gr. lead wadcutter pellets which averaged 342 fps, a little slower than expected. Today it is going to be lighter weight 5.25 gr. H&N Sport Match Green alloy wadcutters. Beginning with a fresh CO2, the first eight shots averaged 328 fps, which makes little sense and leads me to surmise the magazine is not holding air and is loosing pressure prematurely. My first shots started at 355 fps and after 16 rounds (two magazines) had dropped to 317 fps. I shot the Gamo lead BBs through the magazine and velocity again jumped around with a high that surprised me of 360 fps and then it dropped to 312 fps after half a dozen rounds. Since I do not have a spare magazine for the P30, we will have to suspend this test until a new one can be delivered. This rarely happens to me, but this gun has been sitting around in its case for a couple of years. This is definitely, “To be continued…” read more


Retrospect Series Part 4 – H&K P30

Retrospect Series Part 4 – H&K P30

Heckler & Koch’s take on Walther’s rotary pellet semi-autos

By Dennis Adler

The design for the HK P30 CO2 pistol is on the money and the airgun will fit all holsters that work with the HK model. The Galco rig is designed for concealed carry and offers one an opportunity to experience the comfort (or discomfort depending upon the individual) of wearing a full-size gun on your hip.

The Umarex Heckler & Koch P30 is a little more expensive than some CO2 pellet-firing models but there is always a premium on air pistols manufactured in Germany rather than in Taiwan or Japan. That is reflected in the quality of the build which is the same as earlier German-made CO2 models like the Walther CP 88 and CP 99.

The strong advantage to the HK P30, over any of the previous models, is the dual firing system (rotary pellet and combined CO2 BB magazine) which make the HK P30 a potentially better training gun than its predecessors, even the Walther CP 99 series which were originally used as training guns for German police. The HK CO2 model is likewise intended for training, as a great majority of Heckler & Koch centerfire models are built for law enforcement and military use, including the P30. read more


Retrospect Series Part 3 – H&K P30

Retrospect Series Part 3 – H&K P30

Heckler & Koch’s take on Walther’s rotary pellet semi-autos

By Dennis Adler

The Umarex HK P30 delivers a lot of airgun for the money. For proficiency training or to get a feel for handling the 9mm pistol, the CO2 powered HK P30 delivers outstanding performance with a 3.35 inch rifled steel barrel. The gun comes in a hard plastic foam lined case with spare rotary magazine and pellet seating tool.

Umarex always has big shoes to fill, it’s own, as the world’s largest manufacturer of airguns, and those of the various brand names Umarex represents. The list reads like a Blue Book of Gun Values, from Colts to Walthers, revolvers and semi-autos, lever action rifles to full auto submachine guns. Scrolling down the brand name alphabet, when you get to “H” there is one famous German brand that jumps out, Heckler & Koch. HK is also one of Walther’s greatest competitors (as Umarex and Walther are two divisions of one company), and Umarex treads the divide with one particularly intriguing CO2 model that lifts its internal design from the German-built Walther CP 88 (as well as the Beretta 92FS and Walther CP 99, among others), the c.2007 HK Model P30. read more


Balance of power – Hammer and Hammerless guns

Balance of power – Hammer and Hammerless guns

Is one better than the other? It’s complicated

By Dennis Adler

From left to right are technology changes spanning 71 years from the Colt Model 1911 to 1982 when the Glock 17 design was first introduced. Prior to semi-autos, there was no such thing as a manual safety for revolvers other than the Old West wisdom of carrying the gun with the hammer resting on an empty chamber. For all intents, other than dropping a gun with a chambered round, the hammer was the safety. When semi-autos came about some form of manual safety was a priority from the start and the 1911 became the standard bearer for that idea, which was a requirement of the Ordnance Department during the gun’s developmental testing. In addition, the gun had the grip safety. Still, the early manual of arms stated that the gun should be carried without a round chambered. More modern guns like the H&K USP with a DA/SA trigger system, external hammer, and both a manual safety and decocker, make it one of the safest semi-auto designs. Glock rewrote the book with the G17 by designing the safety into the trigger and using a striker rather than either an external or internal (hammerless) design. There is no manual method for making a Glock safe (outside of carrying it without a chambered round) other than the Safe Action Trigger and internal firing mechanisms to prevent accidental discharge if the gun is dropped with a chambered round. All the safety and operating features are duplicated in the CO2 models pictured; however, the Umarex Glock actually uses a small internal hammer to strike the CO2 release valve, rather than an actual Glock-type striker.

Believe it or not, this question of hammers vs. hammerless has been a topic of debate among gunmakers since the Civil War! For me, it is a more complicated question. I am a self-confessed bag of complexities, and as I get older the bag has to hold more because I view handguns a little differently than the public at large. I look at them with an eye toward the art of gun-making and aesthetics of design. The gun is more than the sum of its parts for me, or its purpose. This ideal was true back in the 1700s and 1800s when guns were also regarded as symbols of appreciation and respect, as gestures of treaty or a means to open a political dialogue. The profuse embellishment of flintlocks, percussion pistols of all types, and cartridge-loading revolvers and rifles was an art form; the presentation pistol was a work of art. Today there are wings in museums dedicated just to the eloquence of firearms designs, engraving, and history. Those values still exist in the artistry of engraving older-style handguns based on 19th and early 20th century models.    read more


Greater Expectations

Greater Expectations

A serious look at air pistols and practicality

By Dennis Adler

Back in 2000 when I was preparing the First Edition Blue Book of Airguns these were the latest designs. They were all pellet-firing pistols that had excellent velocity, authentic styling and fundamental handling, guns that could be used for target shooting and handgun training (like the Walther CP99), but they were not blowback action pistols, and they were not actually semi-autos. Internally they worked like a DA/SA revolver with the cast alloy pellet magazine inside the action, rotating like a cylinder with each pull of the trigger (or by cocking the hammer). Look at the guns pictured in my feature from the 2001 book, and you will see the finest CO2 air pistols on the market at the time.

Rarely do I use this forum to write an editorial opinion, but it seems that the time has come to compare the market, marketing and manufacturing of air pistols to the expectations of consumers, and these are seldom shared objectives. It does happen, but not as often as most of us would like. We expect new guns every year, and that means we are sometimes thrilled, but more often easily disappointed. 

When I came into the airgun/air pistol market as an author almost 20 years ago, most of the airguns I write about today not only didn’t exist, they were not even imagined as being possible (Glocks for example). BB guns were as basic in 2001 as they were a decade or more before. When I looked for superstars that would be the topic for my first book on airguns (published by my late friend Steve Fjestad at Blue Book Publications), the field was small but well focused on two fronts. There was adult sport shooting with BB and pellet guns, and secondly a handful of guns (some the same) aimed at use for fundamental handgun training. This was nothing new, airguns had been implemented in the past for military training in times of war. read more