The XDM 3.8 Part 4

The XDM 3.8 Part 4

The 1:1 Shooting Test conclusion

By Dennis Adler

If you had to pick which one is an air pistol at a glance, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between the .177 Springfield XDM 3.8 in my right hand (larger .45 ACP muzzle) from the 9mm XDM 3.8 in my left. For authenticity, the XDM’s with Melonite-type black and Bi-Tone polished slides are a perfect match for their centerfire counterparts in both the looks and handling department. But how does the CO2 model stand up against the 9mm for defensive shooting practice?

This last installment is really what practical shooting with a CO2 understudy is all about. What we learn from these shooting drills is the fundamental handling of the centerfire model, and in a 1:1 shooting test at practical defensive distances the lessens are almost entirely interchangeable from holster draw, aiming, and firing. What the photos don’t show is the difference in felt recoil and the sound of a 9mm pistol discharging. Otherwise, what you see with one gun is the same as the other, and that is the bottom line value in training with air. Even if you’re not training to carry concealed, or even considering a 9mm pistol for home protection, the total equivalence of the XDM 3.8 CO2 and centerfire models is beneficial for basic handgun skills, even for shooting air pistols. read more


Old World fixed sights

Old World fixed sights

Don’t raise the bridge, lower the river

By Dennis Adler

The big gun of the Old West was the .45 caliber Colt Buntline Single Action. With a 12-inch barrel length, as short as 10-inches and as long as 16-inches, that front sight was a ways out, and you had plenty of steel to sight along. A man with a Buntline could make the long shot.

That’s the title of a 1968 Jerry Lewis comedy that has nothing to do with handguns or air pistols, but the title makes a statement that does, because for the longest time in the history of handguns, the sights, if there were sights at all, were fixed in place. You didn’t adjust the sights, you adjusted your aim.

Long barrels were not an exception back in the 17th century, when the most powerful handgun made was the Wheelock. This model’s design dates back to the German Wheelock pistols built from around 1580 to 1620. There is a long hook on the opposite side of the frame so that it could be hung from a sword belt.

The front sights for handguns more or less evolved from the front sights on muskets, fowlers, and longrifles. The handgun, as an idea, began as the Chinese hand cannon, a small barrel one held in the hand, lit the fuse and pointed at a target. After awhile people started mounting the barrel on a short stick; it was easier to get another stick. Fast forward to the late 16th century and the hand gun was making a comeback in Europe, principally in Southern Germany, as a practical, hand held weapon with a clockwork-like firing mechanism known as a Wheel Lock (or Wheelock). To put this handgun design in some historical perspective, in the period from the mid 1500s to the early 1600s, a trained marksman armed with a Wheelock pistol could shoot a knight in armor off his horse. Of course, this worked as well the other way; a mounted soldier could carry two loaded Wheelock pistols in saddle holsters and one or two more hooked around a sword belt, and return fire from horseback. Hitting a moving target with a large caliber pistol that took almost a half second to fire from the time the trigger was pulled, was no small accomplishment. read more


Crazy for holsters

Crazy for holsters

If the gun fits, buy it!

By Dennis Adler

In the Old West not everyone who carried a gun wore a holster. Some men just tucked the pistol into their pant’s waist. Others who wore a cartridge belt and holster often tucked a second gun behind the belt. The rig I am wearing in this photo is an exact copy of the holster and belt worn by Tom Horn. It was copied from the original by Alan Soellner of Chisholm’s Trail Leather. It was originally used for a feature on Tom Horn in Guns of the Old West. Here it plays host to a pair of 5-1/2 inch Umarex Colt Peacemakers.

I hesitate to tell you how many holsters I have. Let’s just say that if I ever end up on an episode of Hoarders it is going to be because of holsters. I am not alone in this, there are, and this is the truth, people who collect holsters, not guns, just holsters. They buy guns, but only to put in the holsters, that’s where the term “holster stuffer” comes from.

I have purchased holsters, off the rack, as it were, and I have had holsters custom made to fit specific guns, I have commissioned reproductions of original western holsters to be made for articles (which is altogether different because I got paid to do that), but I have also done this just for my own satisfaction. I would dare say that there are some holsters out there today from certain makers that would not exist if I hadn’t been the instigator of its design and manufacturing. There is even one out there today surreptitiously named after me. But before this becomes a holsters anonymous meeting, there is a point to this as it relates to CO2 air pistols. read more


Sig Sauer’s new M17 Part 6

Sig Sauer’s new M17 Part 6 Part 5 Part 4 Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

Training Day

By Dennis Adler

The Sig Sauer P320 M17 was taken to task in a training simulation and delivered on center mass accuracy from multiple shooting positions. The rifled steel barrel and pistol operation make the M17 suitable for training out to actual combat distances of 15 yards (45 feet), which is generally pushing the limits for a blowback action CO2 powered pellet pistol.

This is what the P320 M17 ASP is built to do, allow real world training with a pellet-firing blowback action CO2 pistol at actual close quarter combat distances. I shot this entire final test at a minimum of 45 feet from the Law Enforcement Targets cardboard B-27 silhouette. This target provides a center mass area of 6×9 inches containing the 9, 10 and X rings. Any hits inside that area and the 8 ring score 5 points.

The M17 ASP has an internal barrel length of 4.68 inches and a sight radius of 6.6 inches. Shooting tests were shot from various positions such as dropping to one knee (shown), lying down and shooting up at the target, from a kneeling position at right and left angles to the target, and moving from left to right firing in short bursts.

Shooting exercises

I ran several training exercises including drawing and firing (from a UTG tactical vest holster); shooting short bursts from a kneeling position at right and left angles to the target (noted as RA and LA on the target); I practiced reloads, dropping and rolling over onto one side to fire from a ground level position (noted as prone on the target), moving across the target’s path and rapid firing (indicated by either RF or M on the target). All shots were fired using a two handed hold. I expended two CO2 cartridges and the overall test consisted of 80 rounds of H&N Sport Match Green alloy pellets and two B-27 targets. The ambient temperature for the field test was 49 degrees with no wind. read more


Sig Sauer’s new M17 Part 5

Sig Sauer’s new M17 Part 5 Part 4 Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

The P320 in military dress

By Dennis Adler

Sig Sauer pistols and rifles are among those used in the U.S. by local and state law enforcement, the military and federal agencies. The P320 is carried by the second largest police department in the U.S., the Chicago PD, also the Dallas PD carries the Sig P226, and the Texas Department of Public Safety (Highway Patrol, Texas Rangers, CID and Executive Protection Bureau), has adopted the P320. Sig Sauer pistols ranging from the P226, P228 and P229, are used by more than 20 U.S. state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as the U.S. Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. military investigative services (NCIS, Army CID, Air Force OSI,) Air Marshals, and of course, the new U.S. Military standard issue sidearm is the P320 M17. read more


Sig Sauer’s new M17 Part 4

Sig Sauer’s new M17 Part 4 Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

The P320 in military dress

By Dennis Adler

Were it not for the unusual M17 CO2 magazine, this could be a pair of U.S. Army M17 9mm pistols. Sig has made the airgun a visual match for the centerfire pistol and a dual purpose shooting sport and training gun in one.

This is where Sig Sauer’s purpose of designing and manufacturing CO2 training guns based on their centerfire models comes to realization; or, as they used to say in the auto industry, this is “where the rubber meets the road.” Everything Sig Sauer has done from the P226 ASP, introduced in 2016, through the P320 ASP introduced last year, to the new P320 M17 ASP, has been a deliberate investment in design improvements and innovations executed with Sig Sauer precision. Consider that the P226 ASP used an established (as in not invented here) 8+8 rotary stick magazine; a year later the P320 introduced an innovative rotary pellet magazine with a 20 round capacity, and in 2018 Sig unveils the first self-contained CO2 pellet pistol magazine combined with a blowback action version of its new U.S. Army P320 M17 semiautomatic. The timeline for this is impressive, but the end result, the M17, speaks volumes about what Sig Sauer has accomplished in two different fields of handgun design and manufacturing in a relatively short span of time. read more


Sig Sauer’s new M17 Part 3

Sig Sauer’s new M17 Part 3 Part 2 Part 1 Part 4

The P320 in military dress

By Dennis Adler

You can bet that Sig Sauer’s designers are proud of this air pistol. There may have been some less than enthusiastic reactions to the P320 pellet model, but there is no way to look at or handle the M17 that leaves you wanting for more, unless you just have to have a slide that locks back on an empty magazine and an adjustable rear sight. The M17 checks all the other boxes and get a bonus for absolutely authentic looks.

Blowback action air pistol designs and operation vary from as close to an actual blowback action centerfire pistol as possible, like the Umarex Walther PPK/S, to thoroughly accurate J.M. Browning short-recoil, locked-breech designs, like the Umarex HK USP, and internally contained, frame-mounted firing mechanisms (usually with stick magazines or reversible 8+8 pellet magazines) like the Sig Sauer Max Michel and Spartan 1911 models, or Umarex Beretta PX4 pellet pistol. The latter designs, if they have an open slide and barrel lug interface, only expose the top of the internal firing mechanism, rather than the top of the magazine when the slide goes back or is locked open. This configuration, used in the Sig Sauer Max Michel and Spartan 1911 models, formed the basis for the P320 M17 ASP’s internal design, but the definition of “basis” here is simply that, it was a starting point not the end result. read more