Double Sneak Preview

Double Sneak Preview

Blowback action models from Sig Sauer and Springfield Armory

By Dennis Adler

This could be the shape of things to come, the Sig Sauer P365 and Springfield Armory XDM 3.8, blowback action CO2 models in the Compact category with self-contained CO2 BB magazines and total authenticity to their centerfire counterparts. These are perfect understudies for CCW training.

These two CO2 models are about to write a new chapter in blowback action air pistol history. The Sig Sauer P365, due out this summer, and the Springfield Armory XDM 3.8, now available for Pre Order (follow this link), are both Compact pistols with self-contained CO2 BB magazines and 1:1 accuracy of design. The significance of this is that there have never been Compact blowback action models with self-contained CO2 BB magazines that are spot-on understudies for their centerfire counterparts. The Sig and Springfield establish a new category for authenticity and training with a full function compact air pistol. That isn’t to say there are no Compact CO2 models, but up until now you either had to live with a separate CO2 chamber in the grip and a stick magazine, like the fine Walther PPS and PPSM2, or a self-contained CO2 BB model like the Makarov, which has an exposed CO2 seating key at the base of the magazine. This totally blows the authenticity of the gun, and a Makarov is hardly a modern CCW training gun, though it is a classic. read more


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 3

My favorite CO2 air pistol of all time Part 3

And what makes it special

By Dennis Adler

Out of the two dozen CO2 models I talked about this week that have been developed over the last four years, there are five that have become my absolute favorites, well seven if you count the Mini Uzi and MP40, but for practical purposes, I’m limiting this final five to handguns. The choices are obvious to those who have read Airgun Experience over the past three years, and one of these is my absolute favorite among the Colt Peacemaker, Sig WE THE PEOPLE, CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow (Blue), Tanfoglio Gold Custom and Umarex Legends Mauser M712 Broomhandle.

Having a favorite anything means you have had it for awhile, unless something comes along that is so overwhelming it surpasses everything before it. In the world of firearms that only happens once in a great while. With blowback action CO2 models based on actual centerfire guns, it can happen more often because air pistols not only have ties to the latest guns, but can just as easily be based on guns from the past; with air pistols a new gun is always interesting, but it isn’t always new. One of the best examples of this was last year’s Umarex HK USP, a gun that has been around for some time but as a new blowback action CO2 pistol really hit it out of the park. The next closest was the Umarex Glock 17, a design that has been around as a 9mm pistol since 1982. Both are great and maybe in a few years one of them will become a favorite for me, but what I consider a favorite gun has a deeper meaning. 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


My favorite CO2 air pistol of all time Part 1

My favorite CO2 air pistol of all time Part 1

And what makes it special

By Dennis Adler

The very first Airgun Experience was a tribute to John Wayne’s last film, The Shootist, and the limited edition Umarex Colt Peacemaker hand engraved and custom finished Shootist CO2 model. This was the beginning of an entire series of hand engraved CO2 Peacemakers in 5-1/2 and 7-1/2 inch barrel lengths that would be introduced in Airgun Experience articles.

This marks the 400th Airgun Experience article and over the period from No. 1 to No. 400 so many new CO2 air pistols and rifles have been introduced it becomes difficult to keep them all in comparative categories. The only real defining characteristics are magazine types, blowback or non-blowback actions (and that has to include revolvers), sights, though most are fixed sights of one type or another, and lastly, the quality of the build, fit, and finish. In most cases the differences between blowback and non-blowback semi autos covers all the rest, but not in every case and with today’s choices, that really doesn’t pare down the list all that much. So to start, let’s look back at new models introduced since Airgun Experience No. 1, which started with a new model. read more


Model 1911 Variations Part 3

Model 1911 Variations Part 3

The shape of the past, present and future

By Dennis Adler

It comes down to four guns that embody four different styles of 1911. The Umarex Colt licensed Commander was the standard against which other CO2 models were judged for several years due to its superior fit, finish, and accuracy. This has been challenged by guns like the Swiss Arms TRS that has all the features most people wished were on the Commander (though not everyone wants a Rail Gun), the Air Venturi John Wayne is totally retro, which appeals to 1911 purists, while the Sig Sauer is the best possible combination of features, as taken directly from Sig’s own .45 ACP 1911 models. But with this version, you have to be into making a bold statement with the look of a handgun, caliber notwithstanding.

With all four guns using the same self-contained CO2 BB magazine design and similarly based blowback action firing systems, one might expect that all four will have approximately the same average velocity and accuracy with their respective 5-inch smoothbore barrels. Allowing a + or – 5 fps for average velocity between guns, they should all be around 300 to 310 fps. Where I expect to see some difference is in accuracy at 21 feet due to varying internal tolerances, sight and barrel regulation (which too few blowback action CO2 pistols have), and, of course, different triggers. They are all hammer-fired designs but even there, hammer design can have an influence. This will be a proof of the sum total of parts used for each gun. The price spread for all four guns is from a low of $99.95 for the Sig Sauer to $109.99 for the Colt Commander and Swiss Arms TRS, and a high of $119.99 for the John Wayne (the higher price is reflected in the John Wayne name, licensing rights and use of the trademark signature). read more