Best blowback action airgun sights Part 3

Focused Groups

Best blowback action airgun sights Part 3

The Top Guns

By Dennis Adler

These four blowback action CO2 models have the best overall authenticity, operating features, balance in the hand, triggers, and sights of the air pistols tested. In price, the Tanfoglio is the most expensive with a $189 MSRP but the lowest at a discounted price of $80; the Sig is the next with an MSRP of $149 and a discounted price of $110, both the Colt 1911 and M&P40 have MSRPs of $120 and discounted prices of $100 and $90, respectively.

These four blowback action CO2 models have the best overall authenticity, operating features, balance in the hand, triggers, and sights of the air pistols tested. In price, the Tanfoglio is the most expensive with a $189 MSRP but the lowest at a discounted price of $80; the Sig is the next with an MSRP of $149 and a discounted price of $110, both the Colt 1911 and M&P40 have MSRPs of $120 and discounted prices of $100 and $90, respectively.

The four contenders for best blowback action airgun sights are the Umarex Colt Commander, Umarex S&W M&P40, Sig Sauer P226 X-Five and Tanfoglio Limited Custom. What pushed the Beretta 92A1, Sig Sauer 1911 and Max Michel 1911 out of contention? Little details, some almost negligible, others noteworthy when brought face to face with the four guns that came out on top. First the excellent Beretta M92A1; it could just as easily have been a top five with all of its authentic features and best-in-class handling, but it also has small, military-style sights, white dots yes, but smaller and just a step down from the excellent white dot sights on the Colt Commander and S&W M&P40 for rapid target acquisition. However, these are the actual sights used on the 9mm Berettas. In other respects the Beretta is hands down a better gun to shoot than the Colt Commander (isn’t that how Beretta got the U.S. Government contract in the first place back in 1985?), but this is about sights, and the M92A1 doesn’t make the cut. read more


Best blowback action airgun sights Part 2

Focused Groups

Best blowback action airgun sights Part 2

Thinning the herd

By Dennis Adler

A trio of three dot sights available on blowback action air pistols; the Sig Sauer 1911 (left) Umarex Colt Commander (center) and Sig Sauer Max Michel 1911. All three take completely different approaches to the white dot sight design.

A trio of three dot sights available on blowback action air pistols; the Sig Sauer 1911 (left) Umarex Colt Commander (center) and Sig Sauer Max Michel 1911. All three take completely different approaches to the white dot sight design.

I have always been a fan of white dot sights, particularly tritium night sights, which are a must for serious 24/7 carry, but if I had to make a choice between three white dots, or just a white dot front sight, I would probably pick the white dot front paired with a wide notch black rear sight. The best example of this type with a blowback action CO2 air pistol is the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five. Why a single dot over the three white dots? Aligning three dots is an absolute lock on target, and some of the best handguns in the world rely on this design, but putting the front dot between the goalposts is a little quicker under varied lighting conditions. Still, the majority of law enforcement models like the S&W M&P9, M&P40, M&P45 and M&P Shield, Beretta M92A1, and Glock models, rely on three dots (the Glock design actually has a standard white outline rear sight notch and white dot front, which was shown in Airgun Experience No. 102 with the ISSC M22). The majority of replacement sights for Glocks are three dot, tritium night sights, or fiber optic sights, the latter being a completely different subject in regard to CO2 models. Not to sound hypocritical, among my several EDC handguns, only one has a white dot front sight (and it is a tritium sight), the other two have three dot sights, one of which is custom fitted with tritium combat sights. read more


Best blowback action airgun sights Part 1

Focused Groups

Best blowback action airgun sights Part 1

By Dennis Adler

Blowback action CO2 models offer a wide variety of sight designs and action to duplicate cartridge-firing models. This makes a CO2 semi-auto an ideal practice gun, especially to hone trigger and sighing skills. Pictured are the new Sig Sauer Max Michel (top center), Umarex Beretta M92A1 (top right), Tanfoglio 1911 (center right), Umarex S&W M&P40 (bottom right), Tanfoglio Witness 1911A1 (center of group) and Sig Sauer P226 X-Five (far left).

Blowback action CO2 models offer a wide variety of sight designs and actions to duplicate cartridge-firing models. This makes a CO2 semi-auto an ideal practice gun, especially to hone trigger and sighting skills. Pictured are the new Sig Sauer Max Michel (top center), Umarex Beretta M92A1 (top right), Sig Sauer 1911 (center right), Umarex S&W M&P40 (bottom right), Tanfoglio Witness 1911A1 (center of group) and Sig Sauer P226 X-Five (far left).

Target shooting with blowback action semi-autos is as close as you can get to shooting a small caliber handgun. The one thing always absent from CO2 powered air pistols, whether semi-autos or revolvers, is appreciable recoil, even to the level of a .22 caliber pistol. So how is target shooting with an air pistol in any way equivalent to firing a cartridge handgun? With CO2 powered semi-autos it is the blowback action which, regardless of the level of recoil, still puts the slide in motion, and with it, the gun’s front and rear sights. Learning how to reacquire the sights and get back on target is a key training skill that can be learned with CO2 powered, blowback action airguns, but there are differences in guns, designs, and sights. read more


War Dogs – The Colt Model 1911A1

War Dogs – The Colt Model 1911A1 Part 3

Racking and stacking the .177 caliber Remington 1911 RAC and Tanfoglio Witness

By Dennis Adler

The guns of World War II are generally out of date by contemporary standards, and most have become venerated collectables like the M1 and M1A1 carbine, M1 Garand rifle, Winchester Model 1897 trench gun, and Colt Model 1917 revolver, but one gun from WWII is still regarded as a modern weapon, the Colt Model 1911A1. This timeless design is still found in the holsters of elite U.S. military forces, albeit a more militarized 21st century variation, but still at its core a Model 1911. read more


War Dogs – The Colt Model 1911A1

War Dogs – The Colt Model 1911A1 Part 1

The handgun of The Greatest Generation in .177 caliber

By Dennis Adler

Pictured with a portrait of the 1911’s inventor, John M. Browning, and a copy of the patent for the 1911 dates Feb. 12, 1911, the CO2-powered Tanfoglio Witness 1911 is the closest in design to the later c.1924 version 1911A1.

Pictured with a portrait of the 1911’s inventor, John M. Browning, and a copy of the patent for the design, dated Feb. 12, 1911, the CO2-powered Tanfoglio Witness 1911 is the closest in appearance to the improved c.1924 version.

Success, in the truest sense, must be measured by more than achieving a place in history; it must ultimately be gauged by its longevity throughout history, and there is only one handgun design from the early 20th century that has remained in continual use to the present day, the Colt Model 1911A1.

John M. Browning’s designs went through its various stages of development between the first Colt semi-auto of 1900 and the introduction of the Model 1911A1 in 1924. Shown are the principal guns designed by Browning and manufactured by Colt’s. (Guns courtesy Mike Clark/Collector’s Firearms and Tim McGonigel collection)

John Browning’s designs went through various stages of development between the first Colt semi-auto of 1900 and the introduction of the Model 1911A1 in 1924. Shown are the principal guns designed by Browning and manufactured by Colt’s. (Courtesy Mike Clark/Collector’s Firearms and Tim McGonigel collection)

Designed by John Moses Browning, his earliest patent for a semi-auto is dated April 20, 1897; a date that would appear on the slides of Colt semiautomatic pistols for nearly half a century. Between 1900 and 1911 Browning’s designs would make the Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Co. one of the world’s leading producers of self-loading pistols. The road leading to development of the Model 1911 was well traveled by Browning with an entire series of semi-auto designs for Colt’s beginning in 1900. read more