Umarex Walther PPS M2 Part 1

Umarex Walther M2 Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Why Gun Manufacturers Change Designs

By Dennis Adler

At Walther, change has never been made for the sake of change. Developing the PPS took years and when it was introduced it created its own market niche; a 9mm slightly larger than a .380 Auto Walther PPK/S. The PPS was introduced in 2008; the Umarex CO2 version was introduced in 2014. The new PPS M2 CO2 model (right) updates the design to match the 9mm PPS M2 introduced in 2016.  

There is design development and then there is design evolution. The latter is often a change that comes over time to improve a pistol’s operation, such as a better safety mechanism, improved sights, or the famous change from the original Colt Model 1911 configuration to the 1911A1. This has always been controversial, since manufacturers, including Colt, often revert to the old design in order to appeal to consumers who prefer the flat mainspring housing. This is design change by consumer demand, and it doesn’t happen often, but it has happened to Walther, not once but twice in recent time with a change from what I personally regard as one of the truly innovative advancements in magazine release designs. It starts with the Walther P99 (developed in 1995) and later copied on the Walther PPS (in 2008). It is an ambidextrous magazine release incorporated into the back of the triggerguard. Heckler & Koch uses a variation of this design on their H&K pistols and it makes dropping an empty magazine a simple movement of the trigger finger, or support hand thumb, (with a two-handed hold). It is different, maybe even unconventional, but it’s easy to learn and easier to use than a traditional magazine release button on the frame. And the design was ambidextrous from the beginning. read more


Umarex Walther CP 88 Part 3

Umarex Walther CP 88 Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

Where it all began 22 years ago

By Dennis Adler

I had a fairly calm day for the shooting test and a temperature in the mid 80s. Both CP 88 models (the Compact is in the holster at my waist) functioned perfectly and I was able to shoot an average of eight rotary magazines on one 12 gr. CO2 at optimum velocity. All tests were shot from 10 meters (33 feet) fired off hand as pictured.

I suppose it is fair to ask why I would spend a week reviewing air pistols that are 22 years old, and the answer to that is simple; after 22 years they are still being manufactured, and precious few pellet-firing, multi-shot air pistols are built as well. Newer air pistols can out perform them in terms of capacity, loading system, and blowback action, but when it comes to hands down manufacturing quality very few modern air pistols can touch them. Those of you who have the Walther CP 88 know what I am talking about, and those of you reading this and wondering if you should get one of these old pellet models, are beginning to realize by this third installment, that these late 20th century Umarex Walther models are tangible proof that “new and improved” can be highly overrated. read more


Umarex Walther CP 88 Part 2

Umarex Walther CP 88 Part 2

Where it all began 22 years ago

By Dennis Adler

The Walther CP 88 4-inch Compact and 6-inch Competition (which is the Champion barrel length) models have been around for 22 years, so they are not newcomers to the precision CO2 airgun field, but rather 21st century standard bearers, with a long enough production history to have become somewhat iconic (and if you happen to have a nickel model even rare) in the airgun world. The latest matte black oxide finish on the current CP 88 models has the same great design and can still be fitted with factory optional hardwood checkered grips.

There’s an Old West story I like, and I have probably told it before, but it seems appropriate for the Walther CP 88. It is about a young cowboy who rides into town after getting paid for a cattle drive and decides that in addition to a hot bath, a shave and haircut, he wants to buy himself a new handgun. He goes into the local gun shop, asks the proprietor what he has, and is shown the latest .45 caliber Colt revolver, a Model 1878. “How do you like this? Newest thing out; a double action forty-five” he tells the young man. The cowboy handles the gun, looks at the trigger and turns up his nose. “Ain’t worth a row of beans,” he says, “no man ‘cept a tenderfoot wants that kind of thing? Ye see, a man that’s used to the old style is apt to get fooled, not pull her off in time, and then he’ll be laid out colder’n a wedge.” He hands it back and tells the shop owner, “Give me an old reliable all the time.” A lot of airgun owners can relate to that, “…Ye see these new fangled blowback action pistols don’t always work right, shoot slower, ain’t as accurate and might even wear out. Give me an old reliable all the time.” In the world of CO2 powered, pellet-firing, multi-shot semiautomatic pistols, an “old reliable” happens to be the Walther CP 88. read more


Umarex Walther CP 88 Part 1

Umarex Walther CP 88 Part 1

Where it all began 22 years ago

By Dennis Adler

In 1996, Umarex and Walther began a new chapter in the history of airguns with the innovative CP 88; a 4.5mm pellet-firing, CO2 powered semiautomatic pistol available in two versions based on the 9x19mm P 88 Compact and P 88 Champion (Competition). These latest CO2 models remain identical to the original 1996 versions.

If I were to go back to the very first pellet-firing air pistol I owned I would have to go back to the 1960s when I was in my early teens and had a Marksman MPR, a single shot pellet pistol (it also had a 20-shot spring fed BB magazine making it a repeater, if you call having to pull the slide back to cock it for every shot “repeating”). Pellets, however, had to be inserted individually at the breech. In a lot of ways not much has changed in that respect with single shot pistols and air rifles. The Marksman looked like a Model 1911 and was a good BB/pellet gun for the time, and I have to say, it was also what got me interested in both air pistols and small caliber revolvers and semi-autos. By the time I was in my 20s I was already a collector. I still have the very first .22 caliber rimfire semi-auto I ever owned, an Erma Navy Luger that I bought in 1972. As for the Marksman, it got lost somewhere along the way but amazingly Marksman still manufacturers a version of this same gun, the Model 2002. The MPR was built from 1958 to 1977. More to the point, at least in my case, is that one very interesting or groundbreaking BB or pellet gun can lead to a lifetime of collecting and shooting. In 1996 that happened for many Americans with a company named Walther, (yes that Walther) and an innovative CO2 powered, 8-shot pellet pistol accurately copied from the 9x19mm semiautomatic Walther P 88 model. When it was introduced in 1996, the Walther CP 88 was the first of its kind and the beginning of a new era in air pistol design and manufacturing. read more


The BB Conundrum Part 3

The BB Conundrum Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

Smart Shot, lead, steel and dust

By Dennis Adler

The generally underpowered Umarex Walther PPK/S gets an impressive boost from using lightweight Dust Devils which work perfectly in the stick magazine and blowback action of the PPK/S.

A pound of lead or a pound of Dust Devils will fall at the same rate of speed according to Galileo, but a 7.4 gr. lead BB will have a slower velocity than a 4.34 gr. Dust Devil. Galileo never had to deal with such problems. To begin our final installment let’s review the velocities with the test guns fired using Smart Shot and Dust Devils.

The first gun up was the latest Umarex Walther PPK/S which sent the heavy copper plated lead shots downrange at a marginal average velocity of 228 fps, and even with .177 caliber steel BBs the PPK/S can barley do better than 290 fps. But loading the Walther with Dust Devil BBs gave the CO2 pistol a competitive average velocity of 315 fps. So, let’s see what the PPK/S delivers in accuracy at that velocity, and not from 15 feet but a full 21 feet like other blowback action BB models that shoot in the 300 fps range. read more


The BB Conundrum Part 1

The BB Conundrum Part 1 Part 2

Smart Shot, lead, steel and dust

By Dennis Adler

BB cartridge loading revolvers have it easy, semi-auto designs not so much when it comes to .177 caliber steel BB alternatives. There are plenty of options like Smart Shot (far left) copper plated lead BBs and traditional 4.5mm round lead pellets like Gamo Round. You have steel BBs like the Umarex Precision, which have proven to be among the best for blowback action pistols, even with rifled barrels, and then there is the innovative frangible Air Venturi Dust Devils (shown in a non-factory tin at far right). Dust Devils are designed for use on metal or hard surfaced targets and virtually disintegrate on impact to prevent ricochets, but they have another advantage.

Every so often we shoot ourselves in the foot (metaphorically speaking), and the ammunition of late seems to be Smart Shot. It is a great idea, a lead ball with a copper coating designed to minimize ricochets off hard surfaces, like reactive steel targets and pellet traps. Obviously no one should ever shoot a steel BB at a steel, metal or other hard surfaced target unless they’re willing to reap the ricochet whirlwind. Smart Shot was designed to make that less likely. For action shooting with an Umarex Colt Peacemaker or any BB cartridge firing revolver, Smart Shot is worth its weight in, well, copper and lead with reactive targets (more on this later in the year when the weather decides what season it is!) The question of late is how well it works in semi-auto designs with vertical magazines (stick magazines and self-contained CO2 BB magazines) and as I discovered it doesn’t have to be a blowback action pistol for Smart Shot to jam up the works. This has prompted me to look at other alternatives, especially when the air pistol is designed to shoot 4.5mm lead or alloy pellets, as well as BBs through a rifled steel barrel. Steel BBs work perfectly in these guns according to the manufacturers but as I have said before, over time the hard steel rounds traveling down a rifled barrel will begin to erode the lands and grooves. How much time? I don’t know; I tend to like shooting pellets in pellet pistols and have never quite settled into the idea that some can shoot BBs, too. If I wanted to shoot BBs I’d have purchased a BB pistol. But for the sake of argument, let’s look at some of the options available for dual ammo firing rifled barreled pistols. read more


Umarex Walther PPQ

Umarex Walther PPQ

Not big on change

By Dennis Adler

Were it not for the 4.5mm muzzles these Umarex Walther CO2 models could pass for the 9mm models at a glance. In fact, the CP99 was first used as a training gun when it was released in Germany 18 years ago. Police were already carrying the 9mm P99 and for recruit training the CP99s were used for handling familiarization, magazine reloading (using the same triggerguard ambidextrous magazine releases and extra CO2 magazines). The PPQ CO2 model was introduced 11 years later with the same alterations to the original P99 model, including new rear slide serrations and the addition of front serrations. The airgun is accurate but not exact, lacking the integrated blade trigger safety feature. The PPQ is priced considerably lower than the CP99.

It is funny that I commented about gaining experience through mistakes in a recent article and then made one, well not a mistake, more of a misspoken statement about the Walther PPQ CO2 model being new. In my mind it is new because it is more up to date than the CP99, which was the first modern CO2 pellet model to be introduced by Umarex and Walther.  (The CP88 was earlier but not as new of a firearms design as the then groundbreaking 9mm P99, the first striker-fired DA/SA polymer framed semi-auto).The CP99, as I have mentioned before, was also one of the first modern air pistols to be adopted as a training gun for police and military. It was originally used by German law enforcement to train officers issued the 9mm P99 models. This was almost 20 years ago, and since then many CO2 models have been used for law enforcement and military training, as well as civilian training, most notably the Sig Sauer P226 and S&W M&P40 blowback action CO2 models. But the PPQ has sort of lived in the shadow of the CP99. When it was introduced in 2011 Tom Gaylord reviewed the “new” model. And this is where my personal resistance to change kicked in. read more