Compartmentalizing Airguns Part 1

Compartmentalizing Airguns Part 1

Best in class options

By Dennis Adler

When it comes to blowback action CO2 models with self-contained CO2 BB magazines, excellent triggers and combat sights, there are several choices including the first of the blowback action models, the Umarex Colt (Colt licensed) Commander which is a contemporary 1911A1 version, and the more modern Swiss Arms SA 1911 TRS which updates the design to match current .45 Colt Rail Gun (CQBP) models with ambidextrous thumb safeties, forward slide serrations, and a long, integrated Picatinny rail for lights and laser sighting systems. These CO2 models offer superb handling and accuracy (at 21 feet) for around $110.

Not everyone has the ability to buy every airgun they want (and neither do I), so you have to make some informed decisions on what to buy. With so many excellent choices today, in just the single category of air pistols, how do you decide? Sure, I get to test them all, but I only keep certain ones, the rest go back, and I make those choices through a process I call Compartmentalizing Airguns. This is simply breaking down specific interests into categories, or compartments. I have four. Since this is my article I’m going to use my interests, and since you are reading this, it’s pretty likely we have shared interests. So, what makes one air pistol more desirable than another? And price isn’t always the answer; in fact, to do this right price has to be a secondary consideration. read more


Revisiting Sig Sauer Part 2

Revisiting Sig Sauer Part 2 Part 1

First Look: The M17

By Dennis Adler

The M17 began as a Sig Sauer P320. The M17 CO2 model follows suit but makes significantly greater gains beginning with a functioning (not molded-in) slide ejection port. It has an M17 coyote-tan PVD type finish on the slide and coyote-tan polymer frame. Overall, it is one giant step forward in CO2 blowback action pellet-firing pistol design from a company that didn’t build air pistols three years ago! (M17 photos courtesy Sig Sauer)

Here is something to ponder. If foreign companies move to America and begin manufacturing here, are they still foreign companies? Is a Chevrolet (I just picked Chevrolet at random) that comes off a Michigan assembly line combining parts made in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico an American car? Is a BMW built in the U.S. a German car? Better yet, is a German or Italian handgun built in the U.S. still a German or Italian handgun? By design, most often yes, but as an imported gun, no, because it’s not. The Sig Sauer P320 variants for the U.S. Army, (the M17 and M18), are built in New Hampshire by Sig Sauer. It is a German design built in the U.S. for the U.S. military. There are also civilian versions of the M17 to compliment the Sig Sauer P320, upon which the M17 is based. Now, jump back to 1985 when Colt lost its “primary” manufacturing contract for the Model 1911A1 as the standard issue military sidearm to Beretta’s Model 92F (M9). Beretta built a good percentage of those guns in its U.S. manufacturing facilities. In 2017, (after only 32 years compared to Colts 74 years) Beretta lost its contract to build the U.S. military’s standard issue sidearm to Sig Sauer in the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System (MHS) competition. That gun is being built in a special section of the company’s New Hampshire manufacturing facility. All things being equal, the M17 is an American-made handgun. What’s my point? read more


Revisiting Sig Sauer Part 1

Revisiting Sig Sauer Part 1

Moving at the speed of air

By Dennis Adler

No company has tried harder to meet the needs for CO2 firearms training and the demands of the consumer airgun market in so short a time. Since late 2015, when the P226 ASP was unveiled, until mid 2018, Sig Sauer has developed and introduced seven air pistols and two semi-auto tactical air rifles. Shown are six of the seven CO2 pistols currently sold by Sig Sauer, (clockwise from the top) the P226 ASP, shown in FDE with suppressor kit, the Spartan 1911, X-Five ASP, WE THE PEOPLE 1911, Max Michel 1911, and P320 in coyote tan.

A little over two years ago international armsmaker Sig Sauer, manufacturer of military, law enforcement and civilian handguns and rifles, did something quite unexpected; they introduced a CO2 powered pellet pistol based on their P226 9mm semiautomatic handguns. The P226 was the same pistol being carried by U.S. Navy SEALs and other U.S. military units, and as federal, state and local law enforcement sidearms. The reaction to Sig Sauer’s introduction of the P226 ASP was summed up in a January 2016 article by the editors of On Target magazine, who wrote: “What would you give for a CO2 powered, semi-automatic, .177 Cal. pellet pistol that looked just like, weighed about the same as, had all the same controls – including the trigger system – and fit in the same holster as your center-fire P226?  How about $110.99? For our money (and not much of that), this is the absolute best practice gun available for P226 shooters.” A few weeks later I had the chance to do a T&E on the new P226 ASP in Combat Handguns magazine (this is before I began writing the Airgun Experience column for Pyramyd Air in May 2016) and in my review I noted that, “The Navy SEAL version ASP has an overall length of 7.75 inches including the threaded 5-inch barrel, a height of 5.5 inches and width 1.26 inches, including grips and safety/decocking lever. The P226 Combat 9mm specs out at 8.3 inches in overall length with a 5-inch threaded barrel, 5.5 inches in height and 1.5 inches in width; once again right in the ballpark for handling exercises right down to pulling the trigger.” Dani Navickas, Sig Sauer’s ASP Air Division product manager backed that up by noting, “We designed our initial offering of airguns to look and feel like Sig Sauer centerfire guns, with similar weight and trigger pull for training purposes.” read more


Sig vs. Sig Part 3

Sig vs. Sig Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

“We The People” and “The Right of the People”

By Dennis Adler

An incomparable duo, the Sig Sauer WE THE PEOPLE in .45 ACP and 4.5mm are the best match up for design and handling of any 1911 pistols. Firing offhand at varying distances, the two semi-autos are almost identical. That demands a special word of caution about brandishing the CO2 model in public (the cartridge model goes without saying). Almost no one can tell it is an airgun unless they are looking at the muzzle. This is the same caution I gave with the Umarex S&W M&P40 and Sig Sauer P226 X-Five, along with a number of other air pistols that are almost indistinguishable from their centerfire counterparts.

Sig’s 1911 CO2 model is not a quiet air pistol, probably a little louder than most blowback action models and it delivers a decent kick when the slide comes back. Not as much as a .22 pistol, but enough to get a feel for shooting a handgun. Like the Sig Sauer 45 ACP Sig 1911 model the air pistol uses the John M. Browning-designed platform of frame, slide, barrel, and recoil system using a recoil spring guide, single recoil spring, recoil spring plug and barrel bushing. The CO2 model follows the same design with internal modifications to accommodate the CO2 firing system which includes an additional lightly wound recoil spring around the barrel, like a blowback action semi-auto. Externally you are experiencing the .45 ACP model when you pick up Sig’s CO2 version of the WE THE PEOPLE. The flat mainspring housing is finely checkered as is the frontstrap, something you will not find on other 1911 CO2 models. Both Sig 1911 models use ambidextrous thumb safeties, the raised palmswell grip safety with extended beavertail and skeletonized hammer also make the CO2 model identical in handling, such as when manually de-cocking or cocking the hammer if a situation dictates that action. read more


Sig vs. Sig Part 2

Sig vs. Sig

“We The People” and “The Right of the People” Part 2 Part 1 

By Dennis Adler

Similitude is the word I would use for these two pistols, identical in every feature except caliber, firing method and recoil. Up to the point where you pull the trigger, there is no difference in handling. The CO2 Sig Sauer WE THE PEOPLE 1911 is a total replacement for every training regimen except live fire with .45 ACP rounds.

For those who have a CCW no one will disagree that training with your handgun is not only essential but can make the difference between being a survivor or a statistic. Of course, no one is going to carry a BB gun for protection, unless you’re up against a renegade gang of ground moles, but with the cost of ammunition and range time, among other things, getting in proper training is costly. Sig Sauer has always had this in mind with their airguns, but never has it been so well expressed as with the WE THE PEOPLE duo of .45 ACP and 4.5mm models. Training with a 100 percent accurate stand in for your centerfire handgun is absolutely worth the price of the air pistol. And even if you don’t have the WE THE PEOPLE .45 ACP model, if you carry, or plan to carry a full-sized 1911, the WE THE PEIOPLE 4.5mm CO2 model is still a 100 percent accurate understudy for a modern 1911 tactical model. read more


Sig .45 ACP vs. Sig 4.5mm Part 1

Sig .45 ACP vs. Sig 4.5mm Part 1

“We The People” and “The Right of the People” 

By Dennis Adler

Mirror images? Not quite, but the two Sig Sauer models, the WE THE PEOPLE chambered in .45 ACP (left) and the 4.5mm (.177 caliber) CO2 model are as close as any two centerfire and blowback action air pistols can be in nearly every detail and feature, making the CO2 model the best 1911 training gun yet.

It is rare that a gun manufacturer becomes directly involved with both the design and the marketing of an air pistol that accurately duplicates the operation and handling of one of its own centerfire models. You can count them on one hand, Smith & Wesson with the M&P40, Webley & Scott, Sig Sauer, and very soon, Springfield Armory. Webley made certain that the CO2 version of its famous MK VI revolver of 1915 was built to the same standards as its legendary .455 caliber revolver by using the original blueprints; much the same will be forthcoming in the manufacturing of Springfield Armory semi-auto pistols and rifles as CO2 models. But Sig Sauer has gone so far as to deliver its WE THE PEOPLE Model 1911 in .45 ACP and 4.5mm (.177 caliber) as a matching pair, making this absolutely the most authentic blowback action CO2 pistol you can own. read more


X-Five Origins Part 3

X-Five Origins Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

Sig Sauer builds a P226 ASP competition model

By Dennis Adler

The Sig Sauer X-Five ASP does not disappoint. It delivers velocity, accuracy and for the most part, realistic handling. The 20-round rotary pellet magazine is slow to load, but you do have 20 shots in 4.5mm to send downrange. The slide has a lot of weight and there is plenty of feedback from this pistol when you pull the trigger.

Sometimes with a new model enthusiasm gets the better of you and little things get overlooked but I cannot say that about the Sig Sauer X-Five ASP, because Sig builds all their ASP models to the same standard and while we may not agree with what that standard represents (non-functioning slide releases and takedown levers, and molded in barrel ejection ports), none of these things actually have a role in operating this pistol because the slide cannot lock back due to the magazine design, the gun is not designed to be disassembled, and there are no spent shell cases to be ejected. Sig Sauer logic dictates that these pieces having no function are not important. They are important enough for the slide release and takedown levers to look 100 percent authentic, but left in a fixed position. And I can live with that. The molded-in barrel slide ejection port interface, not so much. The old Beretta PX4 Storm blowback action 8+8 pellet firing semi-auto introduced 11 years ago has an opening in the slide even though it only exposes the top of the barrel when it retracts. It is just an aesthetics issue for me, but if you can overlook that call by Sig designers the heart of this new CO2 pistol is as well grounded as any blowback action pellet-firing model on the market. read more