Best entry-level CO2 pocket pistol Part 2

Best entry-level CO2 pocket pistol Part 2

Another “Tale of the Tape”

By Dennis Adler

This is an interesting comparison for me because I have actually done this with the centerfire guns, so I have a somewhat unique perspective on how the PPS and P365 compare as personal defense handguns, and how well their CO2 counterparts can fill in as very affordable understudies for handling and CCW practice. In Combat Handguns we call this head-to-head type of comparison “The Tale of the Tape” and I am going to write this up in much the same way so that the guns speak for themselves and the best choice is clearly evident, though in CH articles I have had a couple of coin tosses over the years. You might want to have some pocket change ready. read more


Best entry-level CO2 pocket pistol Part 1

Best entry-level CO2 pocket pistol Part 1

It’s not the one you think it is

By Dennis Adler

Both entry-level blowback action CO2 air pistols, the Umarex Walther PPS M2 relies on older but still highly efficient operation with a separate CO2 and stick magazine, while the newer Sig Sauer P365 is smaller and uses a groundbreaking self-contained CO2 BB magazine. Both guns sell for within a few dollars of each other.

Pocket pistols are not as big a deal with airgun enthusiasts as they are with folks who carry a handgun for personal protection, even though the first blowback action CO2 pistol, the Walther PPK/S, was regarded as a pocket pistol. To be fair, the pocket pistol label has never really belonged to the PPK/S but rather the c. 1930 PPK, which is a smaller pistol. That’s splitting hairs these days because the PPK is larger than many contemporary pocket pistols, some of which are in larger calibers, too. read more


Retrospect Series: Walther CP99 Blowback Action Compacts Part 2

Retrospect Series: Walther CP99 Blowback Action Compacts Part 2

Walther’s Concealed Carry P99 CO2 model

By Dennis Adler

With a weight, balance and trigger equivalent to the cartridge-firing Walther P99 Compact models the Umarex CP99 Compact makes an excellent training gun as well as an accurate .177 caliber semi-auto air pistol at 21 feet. It also fits all P99 duty gear.

To make this test of the CP99 Compact as realistic as possible I am using the same holster for the CO2 model that I have for my 9mm Walther P99; a Safariland ALS injection molded paddle holster. This is designed for the full size P99 but the Compact fits as well even with a shorter barrel length. As proof of how accurate the CP99 Compact is to the cartridge-firing models, the ALS (auto locking system) thumb release locking system in the Safariland holster works perfectly with the airgun. Makes sense since Umarex and Walther are two sides of the same coin. read more


Retrospect Series: Walther CP99 Blowback Action Compacts Part 1

Retrospect Series: Walther CP99 Blowback Action Compacts Part 1

Walther’s Concealed Carry P99 CO2 model

By Dennis Adler

The Umarex Walther CP99 Compact models are blowback action versions of the 9mm and .40 S&W Walther. Originally offered in all black or bi-tone finishes and authentic in all the essential details, the .177 caliber air pistols have a dustcover accessory rail suitable for compact lights and lasers.

Concealed carry has many definitions, the most basic being carrying any size handgun concealed from view either by clothing or other means. It is, in fact, easy to conceal a full size Government Model 1911 with the proper cover, the same for a Glock 17, a Walther P99 or PPQ, for example. But not everyone needs a duty-size gun for CCW; most people with concealed carry permits prefer subcompacts or compacts for easier and more comfortable carry in calibers like 9mm. Walther recognized that when the P99 Compact was added to the line in 2004. read more


Why manufacturers upgrade guns

Why manufacturers upgrade guns

Change is always questioned

By Dennis Adler

Change is inevitable in gun making. Manufacturers come up with improvements, some suggested by consumers, other created by factory designers. In CO2 pistols the best example of this is the Umarex Walther PPS and PPS M2, the same fundamental gun and firing system (blowback action, CO2 in the grip frame and stick magazine with a full size base pad), but otherwise an almost entirely new gun with improved sights, different triggerguard, slide and frame contours, grip design, and magazine release mechanism (the old PPS used the P99 based ambidextrous release from the P99, the M2 uses the frame mounted release, which is not ambidextrous, from the PPQ M2. The same has transpired with the 9mm centerfire guns with Umarex following suit, which makes sense since Umarex and Walther are the same company. Despite the use of a stick magazine, the PPS and now PPS M2 remains one of the very best blowback CO2 action pistols for shooting fun and fundamental CCW training. Change can be good.

“Why did they do that?” How many times have you said it in your life? And it’s not just firearms, it’s Oreos, it’s Coke, it’s your favorite brand of shoes, and it’s Colt, or Smith & Wesson, and the list goes on ad infinitum, just choose what item you want to debate. Change is always questioned and sometimes the answers are just not acceptable. Other times the answers are understandable, even if you don’t agree, and when it comes to firearms you need to have an open mind because change is inevitable. It is usually the result of improvements, something gunmakers have been doing since the beginning of gun making. Other times, change is to meet the demands of consumers, but that generally only satisfies a portion of customers, the other portion would have preferred things left as they were. (My personal one is Walther doing away with the ambidextrous triggerguard magazine release on the P99 in favor of a typical magazine release button on the frame. Why did they do that?) read more


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