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


War Games: Uzi Pistol vs. HK MP5 K

War Games: Uzi Pistol vs. HK MP5 K

Two classic military arms air each other out 

By Dennis Adler

The Uzi (right) is more than 50 years old in design yet remains as viable a self defense and tactical pistol today as in the 1950s. The blowback action CO2 model sold by Pyramyd Air has a select fire system that allows both semi-auto and full auto. The Umarex HK MP5 K is a more modern design which is still in use today by military and law enforcement. The CO2-powered PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) version is a very authentic rendering of the compact H&K pistol with folding stock.

Few military arms have remained as universally accepted around the world as the Uzi pistol and Heckler & Koch MP5K. Neither gun in full automatic military versions is available to the general public without an ATF Form 4, local law enforcement approval, a federal background check and a $200 tax stamp, or a Class III license for automatic weapons. But, both have been spectacularly duplicated as CO2 blowback action versions by Umarex. There is a special select-fire Uzi Pistol with folding shoulder stock sold by Pyramyd Air, a semi-auto only model from Umarex, and the HK MP5 PDW semi-auto version. These 20th century firearms, one more than 50 years old in design, are still in daily use the world over; that’s how good they are and how well they perform in combat and law enforcement situations. As CO2 models they put at hand designs that most of us could neither afford nor use for practical shooting, but as .177 caliber airguns, they serve a purpose for sport shooting and, if need be, as training substitutes for the actual guns. Either way, both are great fun to shoot as CO2 models. read more


Umarex Heckler & Koch VP9 Part 3

Umarex Heckler & Koch VP9 Part 3

A balancing act on air

By Dennis Adler

There are no obvious compromises in the new Umarex HK VP9 when you look at it from the left side. All the key features and factory markings have been faithfully reproduced and the gun comes within fractions of an inch and a few ounces of matching the centerfire version. As a modern, polymer framed semi-auto, it is well presented as a blowback action CO2 model.

Building new guns is always a balancing act between design, production cost, and marketing, which was pointed out in detail by Walther designer, engineer and author Dr. Peter Dallhammer in his 2018 book The Textbook of Pistol Technology and Design. In it he writes, “From a manufacturer’s point of view…consumers are more cost-conscious than ever and competition among the market is fierce. It isn’t enough to try to differentiate a product based on performance alone, so manufacturers utilize special promotions, persuasion and sale price.” Dr. Dallhammer underscores in terms of cartridge-firing handguns the same balance I have been writing about in Airgun Experience with comparable CO2 models. The same forces are at work whether it is a new H&K 9mm pistol or a CO2 model. He also notes in his chapter on Production Technologies that the use of polymer parts “is widespread in gun manufacturing. Plastic parts are ideal for both integral designs and functional integration, and are beneficial in the construction of pistols.” It is easy to apply this to CO2 models based on centerfire guns that have polymer frames and parts. Guns like the Umarex HK VP9 and Glock 17, for example, are easier, faster, and more authentic to manufacture because the centerfire guns they copy have the same polymer frames. This makes it possible to sell blowback action CO2 models like the VP9 for only around $80 (discounted by retailers) because the primary components can be more affordably manufactured compared to metal frames. And of course, this applies to centerfire guns in comparison to those with steel frames. read more


Umarex Heckler & Koch VP9 Part 2

Umarex Heckler & Koch VP9 Part 2

More Bonding

By Dennis Adler

It’s not that unusual for the bad guy’s gun to become the good guy’s gun in a movie, but certain guns have more infamous histories (mostly tied to their use during wars) that have led to them being typecast as a villain’s gun, or in more literary terms, the antagonist’s weapon. With German guns, the Broomhandle Mauser is often found in that role, along with Lugers, and Walther P.38s; however, there are occasions where a gun long associated with bad guys is suddenly recast by placing it into the hands of the story’s hero. A P.38 briefly ended up in Bond’s shoulder holster in Goldfinger but only in a few scenes, and in nearly all the Bond films 007 has ended up shooting guns other than the PPK. read more


Umarex Heckler & Koch VP9 Part 1

Umarex Heckler & Koch VP9 Part 1

Bond’s other gun…

By Dennis Adler

When this still shot from Spectre first appeared everyone was convinced that 007 was trading in his PPK for a brand new H&K VP9. But that’s not quite the way it went; Bond picked up the VP9 fairly early in the film and used it on and off throughout the remainder of the movie. Daniel Craig had used H&K rifles in most of his previous outings as Bond, but this was a first for an H&K pistol.

James Bond and Heckler & Koch; there’s two names that don’t roll easily off the tongue, but H&K has had a supportive role in a number of the James Bond films over the years, but never quite so blatantly as in the latest adventures of 007 with Daniel Craig, starting with Casino Royale where 007 introduced himself to Specter’s Mr. White at the end of the film holding the HK UMP-9 he has just used to shoot him in the leg. Bond had the HK again in the opening of Quantum of Solace, which literally picks up moments after the end sequence in Casino Royale. 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