What exactly is an entry-level 10 meter single stroke target pistol? Well, the answer depends upon who you ask and what period of time you’re asking about. Some 30 years ago, the answer was quite different than it is today. And notice that I didn’t use the word “pneumatic.” Back in the 1980s, Feinwerkbau was one of the most respected names in 10 meter air pistols with models like the FWB 65 (introduced back in 1965 and manufactured until 2001), the Model 80, which added stacking barrel weights and an improved adjustable trigger mechanism, and Model 90, which used an electronic trigger. These were side-cocking, recoilless, spring-piston designs for competitive shooting. Feinwerkbau rifles and pistols were the championship airguns in International Shooting Sports Foundation (ISSF) competition and the FWB Model 65 pretty much ruled air pistol competition for 30 years. Today, FWB’s precharged pneumatic (PCP) pistols are the standard bearers.read more
Italian armsmakers have a slight advantage over American armsmakers, and even over most European armsmakers; the Italian firearms industry is more than 500 years old. The earliest written reference to Italian gun making is dated April 21, 1459.  Beretta, the world’s oldest gunmaker, has been in business for 493 years, and thus it is safe to say that the Italians know a little bit about making guns. Chiappa has only shared in 60 of those 559 years of arms making, but has carved out its own niche among the most respected gunmakers in Italy. I have written thousands of words about Chiappa over the years, but never a word about airguns until now, and the FAS 6004, which is, in its own right, very much a “niche” airgun, with very few contemporaries as a single stroke pneumatic 10 meter target pistol.read more
There are all types of sights for handguns, some you can change and some you can’t, and sometimes you have to play the hand you’re dealt. Or do you? With the series on single shot pneumatics completed, the topic of sights, in particular those on the Air Venturi V10 and Weihrauch HW 75, was brought up, because while fully adjustable, they can be hard for some people to see. I can vouch for that because I’m one of them.
At some point in life most people end up wearing glasses, others have been wearing them since they were kids. I was fortunate for the first 50 years of my life to have had 20/20 vision. That changed in my early fifties to glasses for reading. Add another decade and it was glasses for reading, driving, and yep, shooting. Shooting glasses are a necessity, prescription shooting glass are as well. But even with glasses and adjustable sights, if you are putting back on black sights (rear notch and front blade) on a black target like a simple Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C it is hard to tell if the sights are perfectly aligned. I do this three times a week and sometime five, so I’ve learned to compensate; that’s a fancy word for putting a piece of masking tape on the front sight to make it easier to see when I have trouble. I’ve mentioned this a few times with certain airguns in the past. It’s a quick fix. Sloppy, and of course, I never photograph the guns with masking tape left on the front sight. Most of the time the guns go right back after the article is done and I don’t want to make any changes that would be permanent, like using nail polish or paint. I’m pretty much that way on airguns I own, too. Like them left as they were. However, there are better things to use than masking tape if you want to make a semi-permanent change to the front sight. Here are two of my favorites, and they are easy to do with simple items you might have around the home or office.read more
Throughout this series on single shot pneumatic air pistols each gun has distinguished itself with unique features, the Air Venturi V10 with its specific grip configuration for entry level competitive 10-meter shooting, the Beeman P3 with its excellent fiber optic sights and semi-auto pistol like handling, and now the Weihrauch HW 75 with its superb ambidextrous grip and safety design, target trigger, and ease of operation.
As I mentioned in Part 7, the grip design on the HW 75 is similar to centerfire match pistols that use a flared profile with thumb rests, only the Weihrauch’s is ambidextrous. The palm shelf is also seen on centerfire competition guns, some of which are machined as part of the grip frame, others, like the Max Michel (as shown in Airgun Experience No. 175) attached around it. Either way, it provides more support for the shooting hand, whether part of the grip frame or the grip design itself.read more
Unlike the spring piston P1, the Beeman P2 and HW 75 are totally recoilless pneumatic designs, which makes the Weihrauch-built models ideal 10-meter Match Pistols. While the Beeman P2 has taken that long journey into the secondary market, the HW 75 has never left the building and remains one of the best, if not the best, single shot pneumatic target pistols on the market, and also one of the most expensive. Back in 2001 when the First Edition Blue Book of Airguns was published, the Beeman P2 had been in production for 10 years and the MSRP was $385. If you wanted the walnut Match Grips used on the Weihrauch HW 75 (introduced in 2000) it was an additional $70. The Weihrauch had an original MSRP of $495. So it was always more expensive than the P2.read more
The word “classic” gets thrown around a lot these days, always has, and is often misused to glorify some piece of past history. I used to get all up in arms back when I was writing books on American and European Classic cars over the misuse of “classic” when describing American cars from the 1950s. Classic was very strictly defined, at least for automobiles, as a period from 1924 to 1948 and only specific makes and models; prior to 1924 an automobile could not be considered a classic (could be an antique or vintage car) and after 1948 it would be a milestone car, (if so deemed by the Milestone Car Society). A 1955 Thunderbird, for all its glory, was not and will never be a Classic Car, even if it is a classic in the minds of so many. But when it comes to some things, movies for example, classic has a lot more latitude and interpretation, or the classic “little black dress” or a “classic firearm.” How old does an item have to get to be considered classic? When there is no governing body (like the Classic Car Club of America for example) to lay down a set of rules and standards, classic becomes more of an attribute for longevity, the recognition of a design that has remained popular for an extended (generational) period, like the Colt Model 1911, or one that was popular at one time but has become antiquated by more modern versions (cell phones for example, though I’m not sure the first Motorola StarTac flip phone will ever be called a classic outside of Star Trek circles, but it is among Time magazine’s “All-Time 100 Gadgets”). When it comes to air pistols, “classic” has a lot of ground to cover! Among single stroke pneumatic airguns I would venture to say that few will take offense if the Weihrauch HW 75 is deemed a classic.read more