Retrospect Series Part 9 – M&P 45

Retrospect Series Part 9 – M&P 45

The display rack gun takes on the Uber-pistols

By Dennis Adler

There is a pretty good span of time separating these three CO2 pellet models, yet they share very much the same internal designs and quality of construction. The Umarex S&W M&P 45 is the lightweight of the trio, literally in carry weight, and in price. Interestingly, though all three have rifled steel barrels, the M&P is the only one with a correct muzzle opening (.45 ACP) and a recessed 3.3 inch .177 caliber barrel. Aside from a molded plastic slide, molded-in disassembly lever and magazine release, and loading CO2 in the grip rather than in a CO2 magazine like the CP99 and HK P30, the M&P is pretty much an equal to the German-made models when it comes to shooting and accuracy. It is a lot of air pistol for $80.

Its crunch time, time for the Umarex S&W M&P 45 to go head to head with the two higher-priced Umarex German-built models, the Walther CP99 and Heckler & Koch HK P30. It is a comparison of equals in terms of design and capabilities. All three CO2 models are based on centerfire, duty-size (law enforcement and military) use handguns, with the Walther and S&W being polymer frame pistols with striker-fired systems and the HK being a polymer frame pistol with a hammer-fired system. All three are individual design benchmarks as centerfire handguns, all among the first to utilize a polymer frame like Glock. Historically, H&K was the first, actually more than a decade before Glock’s G17 in 1982, then Walther in 1999, and S&W with the M&P (Military & Police) series beginning in 2006 (2007 for the .45 ACP model). There are of course, other gunmakers who have moved to polymer frames, like Sig Sauer, but these three are our topic. read more


Retrospect Series part 6

Retrospect Series part 6

King of the Classics – Walther P.38

By Dennis Adler

In the presentation box is a 1941 Walther P.38, and resting in the lid is the Umarex Walther P.38 CO2 model from 2012. While 71 years separate them, they are both Walthers and bear the same look. The Umarex Walther is one of the best built CO2 models from the early years of replica military handgun models.

Eight years ago, before I began writing about airguns in magazines like Combat Handguns, I had a workingrelationship with Umarex, which has been instrumental in my collaboration on the First Edition Blue Book of Airguns almost 20 years ago. I tend to use that book as a focal point in my change from writing about airguns to becoming a collector. When that first book came out (the Blue Book of Airguns has since continued through a dozen editions), the number of, what I would call, interesting CO2 pistols was limited to the new models I wrote about in that book, nearly all of which are still made today by Umarex, but the guns I write about most in Airgun Experience hadn’t been built in 2001; most weren’t even on the drawing board at Umarex. It would take more than a decade for one of the best blowback action CO2 pistols built to be fabricated and put into production as a 2012 model. And like most of the occasional “exceptional air pistols” that comes from Umarex (those that stand out from the rest of the lineup), it would be a classic military handgun. I don’t think 24 hours passed from the time I got the initial press release until I had placed an order for the new Umarex Walther P.38 blowback action model. I didn’t buy it to write an article but rather to put this impressive replica among my real 9mm P.38 models. In fact, I would not write about it until article No. 20 for Airgun Experience back in the summer of 2016. read more


Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 4

Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 4

What’s in your pocket? Walther and Beretta vs. Sig

By Dennis Adler

What exactly is a pocket pistol? It should be small enough to fit in a pocket and safely inside a pocket holster. The Umarex Beretta 84FS is really a little too large of a gun to be easily carried in a pocket, of course, it depends upon the size of the pocket and style of pocket holster. It would be a push to drop this gun into the front pocket in a pair of Levis. The Umarex Walther PPS, as a training gun will fit in a pocket holster but the longer grip poses some issues for total concealment. The little Sig Sauer P365 in 9mm or .177 caliber fits a variety of pocket holsters like this Galco horsehide PH 460. Why horsehide? A leather holster with a rough finish will stay put in your pocket and not pull out with the gun, as some lighter synthetic or smooth leather pocket holsters can occasionally do. It is also small enough to leave very little outline in the pocket.

I began carrying .380 pocket pistols (as opposed to slightly larger 9mm semi-autos in belt rigs) about 10 yearsago when I got the first of several Ruger LCP models. I reviewed them for Combat Handguns and Pocket Pistols magazines,and over the years ended up with a fully customized LCP and one of the rare Red Trigger Ruger models (which evolved from the custom pistol). The Red Trigger has most often been my companion when I carry concealed. I say most often because sometimes I carry a larger caliber pistol, but only the LCP drops cleanly into the front pocket of a pair of Levis with barely a trace of gun or pocket holster. Larger caliber guns like the 9mm Ruger LC9 come close, but are harder to cover. Sig Sauer did well in the pocket pistol category with their 9mm P938, based on a slightly scaled up .380 ACP Colt Mustang design, as well as their .380 Auto P230, which is a Colt Mustang-sized pistol. But when it comes to packing the most 9mm rounds into the smallest semi-auto, Sig Sauer rewrote the book with the P365; the smallest, high-capacity 9mm semiautomatic pistol on the market. It is that gun, upon which the Sig Sauer P365 CO2 model is based, it too, being the smallest blowback action pistol made with a self-contained CO2 BB magazine. It is the personification of “pocket pistol” in any caliber. read more


Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 3

Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 3

The better of two – 84FS vs. PPS

By Dennis Adler

Big pockets only need apply for these older pocket pistols, especially the much older Beretta 84 series guns that inspired the 84FS CO2 model. An almost 1:1 design, the original Beretta 84 models were regarded as concealed carry .380 autos and even suitable for concealment in a pocket. The newer 21st century Walther PPS is smaller in overall dimensions and packs 9mm rounds. Both CO2 pistols are ideal for basic hands-on familiarization with their centerfire counterparts and well made air pistols for plinking and general target shooting.

This is a paring of pocket pistols which are larger than most but still fall into the subcompact category and will conceal in a large enough pants pocket with just shirt tails for cover. Compared to smaller .380 autos and the 9mm Sig Sauer P365 they are much larger guns, the Walther PPS fairly equivalent to a .380 Glock 42 (also considered a pocket pistol), only the PPS is a little narrower and a 9mm. They are all better suited for close body carry with belt holsters, but when push comes to shove they will fit in a pocket. I didn’t say comfortably, but they will fit. As CO2 models the Umarex Walther PPS/PPS M2 and Beretta 84FS are an interesting match because the centerfire Beretta is a .380 and the PPS is a 9mm, but smaller! read more


Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 2

Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 2

The lesser of two

By Dennis Adler

The Gletcher Makarov PM 1951 is based on the 1951 model Pistolet Makarova which was designed as Russia’s answer to the famous Walther PPK. The Gletcher model comes close to duplicating the design of the original centerfire pistol but requires a deeper grip to house the CO2 in the self-contained CO2 BB magazine.

Compact and Subcompact CO2 models are in the minority of blowback action models available, but these five (actually six major examples if you count the two versions of the Makarov), are the most authentic in overall styling and brand name recognition, i.e. Walther, Makarov, Beretta, and Sig Sauer. This combination of models has not been tested in series, so the approach for Part 2 is going to follow the outline for Replica Air Pistol of the Year, and begin with a one-on-one elimination process beginning with the two most obvious guns, the Umarex Walther PPK/S and Gletcher Makarov PM 1951 (basically a Soviet PPK). read more


Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 1

Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 1

The CO2 subcompacts

By Dennis Adler

“Pocket Pistol” is an incredibly old terminology that dates back to the Old West, actually, even further if you consider Henry Deringer’s small, single shot pocket models which were introduced in the 1830s, and small pistol designs by famous armsmakers like Christian Sharps (of Sharp’s Rifle fame), who managed to put four barrels into a pocket-sized pistol, and of course, Samuel Colt, whose first production revolver, the c.1836 No.1 Paterson, was small enough to fit in the palm of your hand! “Pocket Pistol” is a term that has been liberally thrown around for a very, very long time. read more


Retrospect Series Part 6 – H&K P30

Retrospect Series Part 6 – H&K P30

The Heckler & Koch vs. Walther CP 99 conclusion

By Dennis Adler

As you may recall, Part 5 ended with what appeared to be a problem with the P30 magazine, and we had to waitfor a new magazine to arrive. With the new mag in hand we will pick up where things left off earlier this month with a short recap of the end from last time.

The Umarex HK P30 is one of the best looking CO2 pellet pistols in its class, which is to say guns like the Walther CP99, and at just over $200 is at the higher end but made in Germany. It also fires BBs as well as pellets, so that is an advantage over the pellets only Walther CP99, which sells for $30 less than the P30.

“To recap, I shot Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 gr. lead wadcutter pellets, which averaged 342 fps, a little slower than expected. [Then I shot] lighter weight 5.25 gr. H&N Sport Match Green alloy wadcutters. Beginning with a fresh CO2, the first eight shots averaged 328 fps, which makes little sense and leads me to surmise the magazine is not holding air and is losing pressure prematurely. My first shots started at 355 fps and after 16 rounds (two magazines) had dropped to 317 fps.” read more