The Most Bang For Your Buck Part 2

The Most Bang For Your Buck Part 2

What can $100 buy?

By Dennis Adler

All blowback action models with self contained CO2 BB magazines, but not all exactly equal in design, fit, finish, or performance, yet they all sell for $99.99.

For those of you who own and shoot centerfire pistols, the cost of a day’s ammo at the shooting range can often reach $100, and after you are done, all you have is a lot of empty brass (if you police your brass and reload to save money on ammo) and the satisfaction of honing your target shooting skills and bringing home targets that reflect your day’s efforts. What the blowback action CO2 models in this article do is duplicate that range time, and if you have a safe backyard shooting area or a basement set up with an air pistol range, you don’t even need to leave the comforts of your own home. Dedicated airgun enthusiasts know this and gain the same benefits and satisfaction from target shooting with BBs or pellets as their centerfire handgun counterparts, only at a fraction of the cost. Skills learned with air almost entirely translate to shooting range experience with centerfire and rimfire pistols, more so the latter. A good blowback action CO2 pistol can come close to firing a .22, only with somewhat less recoil and much less noise. A .22 pistol with a sound suppressor is very close to a high performance blowback action CO2 pistol in feel and noise level. Blowback action CO2 models are good for practice, especially all of the models in this article, since they duplicate the look, feel, and operation of their centerfire counterparts. read more


The Most Bang For Your Buck Part 1

The Most Bang For Your Buck Part 1

What can $100 buy?

By Dennis Adler

There are doctors, lawyers, biochemists, engineers, business professionals, retired and active law enforcement, military, and people in all fields of work who have always had an interest in firearms, either by profession, as a hobby, or a recreational sport. That describes a good percentage of Airgun Experience readers, and gun owners or “gun enthusiasts” as a group. Counted into that mix are gun collectors, and you would be surprised how many of them also collect air pistols.

Blowback action models are among the best buys in a quality CO2 pistol because so many of them sell for $100 or less including some of the top rated models like the new Umarex Glock 17, Sig Sauer WE THE PEOPLE, and Umarex HK USP, as well as established models like the Umarex S&W M&P40 and Swiss Arms P92. Each sells for just $100.

What this column has taught me over the years is that air pistols and actual cartridge-firing handguns (and rifles) are not mutually exclusive; a fairly high percentage of readers own both, and often choose duplicates of cartridge guns they own. But, there are also a fair percentage of airgun owners who do not own actual firearms, and they represent a group I call “airgun enthusiasts.” They were the intended core readership for Airgun Experience but as it turns out, they are not the core; the majority of readers own both. Still, it is the “airgun enthusiast” to whom I am writing most of the time. read more


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