When good guns go away

When good guns go away

Losing the Tanfoglio Limited & Gold Custom

By Dennis Adler

When it comes to accuracy with a .177 caliber blowback action BB pistol, there were always two guns you could count on to provide sub 1-inch groups almost every time, the Tanfoglio Limited Custom and Gold Custom, two airguns that almost no one ever had a bad word to say. I certainly didn’t and always used the Gold Custom as my baseline for 21 foot accuracy with a BB pistol. The Limited Custom was always the close second. The CZ-75 based designs were just about flawless with precision triggers and consistent velocity in the 300 to 320 fps range.

I have been sitting on this for awhile. I have certain favorite air pistols that I bring into articles from time to time because they are worth a second or even third mention, because someone might not have read the original articles, or might be new to airguns and are looking for a really great pistol. These were really great air pistols. There are, in fact, a lot of really impressive air pistols today, some introduced just this year, that are almost game changers for blowback action CO2 models. But over the past half dozen years there have been several equally impressive blowback action models, and now two of them are conspicuously gone. I was hoping that the Limited Custom would come back as models sometimes do, but I don’t think it will, especially since the Gold Custom is gone as well. The Limited Custom was, in my opinion and that of individuals who own them, one of the most accurate and best built blowback action CO2 pistols since blowback action air pistols were introduced 19 years ago. And there is a certain irony in that, as the first blowback action CO2 pistol, the Umarex Walther PPK/S, is still being manufactured almost two decades later, while the Tanfoglio Limited Custom, introduced in 2012, is nowhere to be found. Every online retailer that still has a listing, shows it as “out of stock” or “no longer available” and that pretty much spells “out of production.” read more


Dennis’ Top 5 Picks

Dennis’ Top 5 Picks

A handful of Historic CO2 models

By Dennis Adler

Back in the 1970s and 1980s Crosman was already building some authentic looking CO2 air pistols based on the then very popular Colt Python models. While long before air pistols with swing out cylinders and BB or pellet loading cartridges, these early CO2 models helped set the wheels into motion for the impressive CO2 wheelguns and semi-autos we have today. (Photo courtesy Blue Book Publications)

It is a nice August afternoon, sunny but not abusively hot, a light breeze and the perfect day to set up some paper targets in the backyard and have some fun shooting an air pistol. If that sounds far and away from my usual “this is a must have training gun” style, it’s because some days you just want to have some fun with no agenda, in fact, this is what air pistols (and air rifles) were meant for. Thanks to a very industrious airgun industry that begins with some very intriguing CO2 air pistols developed in the 1970s and 1980s by Crosman, which were copies of Colt, Smith & Wesson, and Walther models, (with a really heavy emphasis on Colt), the wheels of industry were already in motion for what we see today from Umarex, ASG, Sig Sauer, and others, who build air pistols that not only look and feel authentic, but work in much the same way as the actual centerfire pistols they are based upon. 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 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


Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open Part 3

Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

Testing with optics

The Walther MRS

By Dennis Adler

The two best blowback action models shoot tight groups offhand with optics, but which is the most consistently accurate, the Tanfoglio Gold Custom (left) or the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open?

I’ve tested air pistols equipped for optics with a variety of red dot sights from those costing less than $100 to professional red dot optics costing $400 and up, and what I have learned is that they eliminate almost every random factor outside of shooter error. The only way to eliminate that is to use a Ransom rest, but in the world of competitive shooting or just leisure time target shooting the random element, the person doing the shooting, has to participate! By adding the optics bridge to the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open the CO2 model moves up into the same category as the Tanfoglio Gold Custom. There are very few blowback action CO2 models that can match the Gold Custom for handling or accuracy. The variable is choice of optics, and I have shot this gun with everything from a low dollar Truglo red/green dot sight (about $47), and Walther MRS ($64.95), all the way up to a $400 C-More STS2 (Small Tactical Sight), and the Tanfoglio performs no matter what is riding on the optics bridge. To give the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open an even footing, I have equipped the Tanfoglio Gold Custom and the Sig with Walther MRS optics, thus this third and final evaluation will come down to trigger pull, slide action, and the wild card, the steadiness of the shooter’s hand! read more


Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open Part 2

Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open Part 2 Part 1 Part 3

Going head-to-head with Tanfoglio’s Limited Custom

The DA/SA vs. the SAO target pistol

By Dennis Adler

Top guns in .177 caliber CO2 blowback action models are the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open and Tanfoglio Limited Custom. The Sig is a slightly larger gun with a longer barrel (not counting the ported compensator), and longer sight radius. Their MSRP’s are within $20 of each other, the Tanfoglio having the higher retail price. Both are currently on sale.

When you are faced with two excellent guns the only way to make a choice is to shoot them both and see which one is best for you. After a lot of testing over the past few years I narrowed down my “Best Guns” list for blowback action semi-autos to about five, and of those, two proved best for target shooting, the Tanfoglio Limited Custom with open sights and Tanfoglio Gold Custom for use with optics. But there is also the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five, which even in its standard configuration can give the best semi-auto CO2 models a run for their money when it comes to features, handling and accuracy. The Sig’s Open model actually rivals either Tanfoglio and it is only one gun vs. two! So, here we go with the first runoff between the P226 X-Five Open and Tanfoglio Custom Limited. read more


The 100th Airgun Experience

The 100th Airgun Experience

What have we learned?

By Dennis Adler

History has, in a way, dictated which guns are the most significant, among them the great Webley MKVI. As a manufacturer, Webley also has a lengthy history building airguns, so their c. 1937 MKVI in .177 caliber is based on the same blueprint as the original .455 caliber military revolver.

History has, in a way, dictated which guns are the most significant, among them is the great Webley MKVI. As a manufacturer Webley also has a long history building airguns and their c. 1937 MKVI in .177 caliber is based on the same blueprint as the original .455 caliber military revolver. (Webley holster by World War Supply, belt courtesy John Bianchi)

It’s hard to believe, but here we are at No. 100. A lot of airguns have been tested in the previous 99 Airgun Experience articles. When I set out to create this series of short features, rather than following a traditional blog format, I decided to write and illustrate them as I would for a magazine. This comes from 40 years in the print media world as an author, editor and publisher; it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Hopefully, those of you who have followed the Airgun Experience throughout the last 99 articles and others who have recently started to read the columns on Pyramyd Air have come to appreciate the depth and detail in each review. The goal has always been to inform, illustrate, and educate as much as possible, not only with reviews of the airguns but their use for enhancing firearms knowledge and improving shooting skills. read more