Ghost Guns

Ghost Guns

Don’t look over your shoulder

By Dennis Adler

Built to train for competitive shooting, the Tanfoglio Gold Custom and Limited Custom CO2 models both fit competition rigs made by Safariland for the matching 9mm models. The designs by Italian armsmaker Tanfoglio S.r.l. are authentic to their centerfire guns. Developed in 2012 and 2013, they were imported into the U.S. until a couple of years ago. They can still be found for sale in Europe and Canada.

Looking ahead I know there are some new air pistols coming, I know of one or two for certain because I have them (and I still can’t tell you yet), but there are others promised that I have told readers about in recent weeks that are coming next month (as in tomorrow), that probably are not going to show. We all know most of the reasons and know the impact on imports and manufacturing wrought by the current global situation, so no point in belaboring things here. We will see some impressive new guns in July, maybe the long awaited optics mount for the Sig Sauer M17 P320 ASP, eventually the reportedly impressive new Glock semi-auto pellet model, and a comparable Walther PPQ, so appetites are thoroughly whetted and patience evaporating as we head into summer. read more


Sig Sauer ASP Pistols Part 2

Sig Sauer ASP Pistols Part 2

Pellet Power Showdown

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 had a lot of weight and there is plenty of feedback from this pistol when you pull the trigger.

This brings us to one of the most interesting of the Sig Sauer pellet-firing CO2 pistols, the X-Five ASP,which in the centerfire world was known as the X-Five, a competition model based off the great Sig P226 made famous by U.S. Navy SEALs as far back as the mid 1980s. Sig Sauer has built more than 30 versions of the P226 platform since 1983, plus the X-Five Series of guns, a total of three models, and the X-Series of seven different competition and match grade pistols, which ended their production runs in 2014. Simply, there were a lot of P226 X-Five and X-Series competition models for Sig Sauer to draw upon when developing Sig Air’s X-Five, CO2, blowback action pellet firing model. read more


Following a thread

Following a thread

The sound of faux silence

By Dennis Adler

About the only thing the two Beretta models share in common is the CO2 BB magazines. This makes the older magazines one may have for a 92A1 suitable for use in the newer gun and probably the most important thing of all for anyone who adds an M9A3 to their airgun collection. The treaded barrel presents an interesting feature since Umarex does not sell a faux suppressor for the M9A3.

In a recent article on “Why tan guns have great appeal” I pointed out that the Umarex Beretta M9A3 has a threaded barrel unlike the earlier 92A1 version, but that Umarex does not offer a faux suppressor to fit the newer Beretta semi-auto/full auto CO2 model. One of our regular readers, an avid collector and also one of the most astute when it comes posing questions, asked if there is a faux suppressor out there that fits the M9A3’s authentic-looking threaded barrel. The answer is yes, but it follows an idea that has long attracted air pistol enthusiasts to reproductions of military arms, some of which in their centerfire lives were designed for or altered to accept a silencer. read more


History teaches us that the past is never forgotten

History teaches us that the past is never forgotten

Some modern airguns with their roots in the 19th century

By Dennis Adler

As a handgun owner, long before I began writing about handguns as an occasional columnist for Guns & Ammo over 20 years ago, back when Garry James was editor, my interests were mainly historic firearms, (same as Garry), and that is what I wrote about in G&A, as well as in my first gun book, published in 1998, on the history of Colt’s 2nd and 3rd generation black powder guns. A dozen gun books later, on subjects as varied as Winchester shotguns, guns of the Civil War, guns of the American West, cartridge conversions of Civil War era black powder guns, and the history of the Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Mfg. Co., my interests have never changed; so in my mind, modern handguns are essential to modern times, but historic guns are quintessential to handgun history, and to a great extent, American history. read more


A conversation about attraction

A conversation about attraction

The collector’s eye

By Dennis Adler

The answer to the question, “What got me into collecting replica air pistols,” would seem logical, the first replica air pistol I reviewed 19 years ago, the Walther CP99. It is in my opinion one of the finest multi-shot pellet firing CO2 pistols ever made, and I have purchased every one I ever tested, but it isn’t the gun that got me into collecting.

The other day a friend asked what got me into collecting replica air pistols? I thought the answer was obvious from my recent Retrospect articles on the Umarex Walther CP99, but as it turns out that really isn’t the case. At the time, 2001, when the First Edition Blue Book of Airguns was published, I wasn’t an airgun collector, I had a few but I was a gun collector; air pistols were not something I had developed an interest in acquiring; remember, this is almost 20 years ago.  

The First Edition Blue Book of Airguns was simply an editorial project for me as Special Projects Editor for Blue Book Publications. The book was, in fact, a collaborative effort between me, publisher Steve Fjestad, and the inspiration for the book in the first place, Dr. Robert D. Beeman. So to honestly answer the question, “What got me into collecting replica air pistols? I would have to look back at the actual centerfire guns I was collecting 20 years ago. read more


56 Years ago, Crosman gave us a sense of reality

56 Years ago, Crosman gave us a sense of reality

Welcome to the “Was” Part 3

By Dennis Adler

The Crosman design was the first of many similar air pistols to follow over the decades, but it is most interesting to realize that back in the early 1960s, when the first variation was introduced, Crosman used of a lot of S&W features making the air pistol, including a very authentic trigger and hammer, with commensurate feel and weight, and essentially copied the metal sights on S&W models with an adjustable rear.

I learned to shoot with revolvers. That was back in the 1970s. I’d grown up on air pistols, and never shot a cartridge gun until I was in my early 20s, and that first trip to the range with an S&W .38 was an experience. Within a decade I had begun a career as a journalist, and had started collecting Smith & Wesson revolvers. I use this to set the stage for what can describe a great many people my age today that learned to shoot with a revolver back in the 1970s, a time when S&W and Colt were the most commonly carried revolvers in law enforcement and among civilians with carry permits or for use in home protection. Of course, there were a lot of significant semi-autos back then, too, but it was S&W revolvers that I shot and enjoyed most in those days, and because of that I literally skipped over the CO2 models available, like the Crosman 38C and 38T. Their appeal to me now is more than nostalgia, because I never shot one until this week. It is an airgun experience that I am very glad to share with you because these old guns seem even more impressive today in the light of what airgun manufacturers are willing to build and sell. Sure, the Umarex Colt Peacemakers are extraordinary, same for the Bear River Schofields; both groundbreaking CO2 models steeped in the history of the American West, but with few exceptions there is a dearth of equally impressive DA/SA models, and even the best of those, like the ASG Dan Wesson Model 715, are chambered in .177 caliber. What is sorely missing after testing the old Crosman 38C is a good .22 caliber model for more serious wheelgun shooters. In retrospect, back in the 1970s I could have been the beneficiary of what I write about today! This was a great training gun, and shooting .22 caliber pellets as accurately as a centerfire revolver at distances out to 10 yards. read more


56 Years ago, Crosman gave us a sense of reality

56 Years ago, Crosman gave us a sense of reality

Welcome to the “Was” Part 2

By Dennis Adler

A single CO2 powered DA/SA revolver that fires .22 caliber pellets and looks like a classic S&W would seem like a perfect gun for 21st century air pistol enthusiasts, but no such gun exists unless you go back to the mid 20th century. What?

It is mind boggling that with today’s technology airgun manufacturers, who have made stunning advances in the design and manufacturing of blowback action semi-auto CO2 models, have not pursued some equivalency in the design and manufacturing of DA/SA revolvers, with the exception of the most recent offerings from ASG with the Model 715 Dan Wesson lineup. And even still, they are .177 caliber pellet pistols, not .22 caliber. You have to go to an entirely different type of air pistol to get into .22s today. read more