Double Sneak Preview

Double Sneak Preview

Blowback action models from Sig Sauer and Springfield Armory

By Dennis Adler

This could be the shape of things to come, the Sig Sauer P365 and Springfield Armory XDM 3.8, blowback action CO2 models in the Compact category with self-contained CO2 BB magazines and total authenticity to their centerfire counterparts. These are perfect understudies for CCW training.

These two CO2 models are about to write a new chapter in blowback action air pistol history. The Sig Sauer P365, due out this summer, and the Springfield Armory XDM 3.8, now available for Pre Order (follow this link), are both Compact pistols with self-contained CO2 BB magazines and 1:1 accuracy of design. The significance of this is that there have never been Compact blowback action models with self-contained CO2 BB magazines that are spot-on understudies for their centerfire counterparts. The Sig and Springfield establish a new category for authenticity and training with a full function compact air pistol. That isn’t to say there are no Compact CO2 models, but up until now you either had to live with a separate CO2 chamber in the grip and a stick magazine, like the fine Walther PPS and PPSM2, or a self-contained CO2 BB model like the Makarov, which has an exposed CO2 seating key at the base of the magazine. This totally blows the authenticity of the gun, and a Makarov is hardly a modern CCW training gun, though it is a classic.

Smaller than any blowback action CO2 model with a self-contained CO2 BB magazine and all the features of the centerfire model, the forthcoming Sig Sauer P365, based on the award-winning 9mm Sig model, has ambidextrous thumb safeties, DA trigger and falls into a pistol classification of Micro Compact. This will be revolutionary for a CO2 pistol and Sig Sauer says it will sell for $99.99.

As centerfire pistols that are intended for concealed carry use or as backup guns, the Sig Sauer P365 and Springfield XDM 3.8 are both groundbreaking air pistols flawlessly duplicating their centerfire counterpart’s dimensions, weight, trigger design, sights, and overall handling. On the heels of the Umarex Glock 17 and Springfield Armory XDM 4.5, which established new standards for fit, finish, and totally authentic appearance, (no telltale white lettering or obvious manual safeties) the Compact XDM 3.8 and Sig P365, raise the bar even higher. In less than six months the blowback action CO2 market has witnessed a sea change in what can be done to make an air pistol that meets the demands of today’s discerning airgun enthusiasts and in pistols suited to hands-on training with air.

It is as perfect as a CO2 pistol can be in duplicating the look, feel, and operation of the centerfire XDM Compact 3.8 model.

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The XDM 3.8 Bi-Tone

The new Springfield Armory 4.5 and 3.8 CO2 models come in the XD Series popular bi-tone finish with a polished alloy slide contrasting the black polymer frame. Unlike many bi-tone air pistols on the market, the XDM models look exactly like their centerfire counterparts with the same finish on the slide. The 3.8 Compact also manages to retain its self-contained CO2 BB magazine by using the same style extended capacity magazine as the centerfire version. The self-contained CO2 BB magazine uses XD Gear Grip Frame extensions for the 3.8 and the pistol comes with all three sizes to match the interchangeable backstrap panels. The CO2 magazines fit XD Gear magazine pouches as well.

The blowback action 3.8 models handle exactly like the 4.5 version, which is also offered in the bi-tone finish.


This has been a touchy subject as of late since even high end air pistols are coming in non-reusable plastic packaging (I’m being nice!). The XDM pistols come in a heavy cardboard box with all the accessories needed to step into the role of a training gun for CCW practice. It also comes with a very detailed XD Series instruction book in full color, covering all the operating features, loading and proper handling. The ultimate compact CO2 model, the Springfield XDM 3.8 blowback action BB pistol is the definition of doppelganger.

A cardboard box replaces the plastic that comes with so many CO2 models and the box holds everything you need, including two backstrap panels (three including the one on the gun) with matching grip extensions for the magazine, plus an excellent instruction book.

Sig Sauer may snatch victory from the jaws of Springfield Armory

Since I have an actual sample of the XDM 3.8 to examine, and only advance product pictures of the Sig Sauer P365 CO2 model, I cannot say that it surpasses the Springfield Armory model. We won’t know that until this July when a head-to-head comparison can be made. At this point, the Sig looks like it will be the new standard bearer for Compact blowback action CO2 pistols, since the photos do not show any white markings on the gun, and with centerfire guns being offered with manual safeties, there is no need for an added safety on the CO2 model. Like the latest Sig Sauer blowback action CO2 models, the P365 is designed with the intent of being used as a training tool for personal defense.

It is a masterpiece of Sig Sauer design, a Micro Compact blowback action CO2 pistol with a self-contained CO2 BB magazine. Yes, it can be done.

Smaller and lighter than most pistols in its class, the P365 has an overall length of 5.8 inches, 4.3 inch height (with standard capacity magazine, 4.95 inches with 12-round magazine), 1.0 inch width, and 3.25 inch barrel. The P365 CO2 model is designed to fit in available P365 holster systems for easy practice of efficiently drawing from concealment. The 12-round (to match centerfire capacity with the extended magazine) self-contained CO2 BB magazines allow fast reloading and practice for tactical reloads.

Joseph Huston, Vice President and General Manager of SIG AIR notes that “Our new P365 BB pistol will give P365 owners and others who carry for personal protection a training tool of the highest quality when a trip to the range for live fire is not possible.  The P365 BB Pistol has similar balance and handling characteristics as the centerfire model.” This will also be the smallest blowback action pistol with a self-contained CO2 BB magazine produced thus far making it unique in the airgun marketplace.

The CO2 BB magazines are as close to the polished metal centerfire mags as possible and for the 3.8 the extended capacity magazine has the XD Gear grip extensions. This is as real as a CO2 pistol gets!

Measuring up

Like the Sig P365, the XDM 3.8 needs the extended capacity magazine, which adds to the height of the gun, in order to work in the self-contained CO2 BB magazine. The XDM 3.8 measures 5.6 inches from the base of the magazine to the top of the rear sight, while the Sig, which is advertised as a Micro Compact, is 4.95 inches. In overall length the XDM 3.8 measures 6.5 inches, the P365, a shorter 5.8 inches, so the XDM is a little more hand filling but still small enough for a Compact, equal to a Glock 19, but considerably better looking than a Glock and with a dual safety system.

It is going to be very interesting when the Sig Sauer P365 CO2 model goes head-to-head with the Springfield XDM 3.8 and forthcoming Glock 17 Gen4 later this year. You could very well be looking at 2019’s Replica Air Pistol of the Year.

Both Springfield Armory and Sig Sauer have even more to come in 2019, so, at this point it’s safe to say that, though we do not know exactly where the blowback action CO2 pistol market is heading this year, we do know who’s leading it there.


Pyramyd Air is now listing the new Sig Sauer P365 (follow this link) and you can request an email when it is in stock. The discounted introductory price for this impressive new model is going be $79.95 making it one of the lowest prices for a full function blowback action CO2 model.

A word about safety

Blowback action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.


14 thoughts on “Double Sneak Preview”

  1. Excellent info Dennis, lets look at the Downside for a minute, let me point out that these Replica Air Pistols should be kept out of the hands of youth…WE had an incident here last week where a 14 year old was complained on by his neighbor for brandishing a handgun, when the Cops showed up and confronted the kid he pulled his Airgun and the Cop shot him dead….Cop thought he was in Grave danger…Detroit area…

    • Chuck

      This is a problem that I have brought up in commenting on the importance of treating these authentic air pistols, and all air pistols for that matter, with the same respect as rimfire and centerfire handguns and rifles. At the end of gun test articles I frequently have a warning, A word about safety, which addresses the importance of treating these airguns the same as their counterparts. In the end, the responsibility for adult airguns in the hands of minors is with adults, the same as and equal to the responsibility to keep cartridge firing arms out of the hands of minors. Still, tragities such as you have described in Detroit happen all too often and it is the same as any handgun tragedy. The authenticity of an air pistol is what adult airgun enthusiasts have wanted and with that authenticity comes an even greater responibility for proper storage and adult supervision of airguns when minors are present. When parents and individuals fail in that responsibility, the burden of guilt lies not with a police officer in fear of his life or apparent endangerment to others, though the guilt is felt no less, but with the individuals who failed in their resonibility to keep an adult airgun out of the hands of a child. Taking responsibility should always be the first rule of adult airgun ownership just as it is for gun ownership. Those who fail in that responsibilty put all of us in jeopardy.

      • These tragic shooting incidents have also previously provoked discussion about whether or not legislation (either federal or state) would be passed requiring airgun manufacturers to manufacture airguns in bright colors rather than in realistic replica colors as is done now.

        • As far as I am concerned that would be the end of replica airguns. This follows the same logic as gun control , legislate to the lowest common denominator. There will always be careless, irresponsible individuals. They are a minority and the overwhelming majority who are not should not be lumped into the same category, and stuck under the same label.. You can try , but you can’t legislate behavior and you can’t fix stupid. Sad , but true

        • Charles, that’s a good point, but almost a moot point today given that centerfire handguns are now offered in bright colors, two-tones with turquoise frames and silver slides, anodized aluminum finishes in tones of pink, red, green, and blue, not to mention camouflage finishes and the full spectrum of color finishes available from Cerakote. A gun not being blued or black, or bi-tone like the XDM, doesn’t mean it is an air pistol. Not any more; the centerfire world is a rainbow of colors, combinations and finishes that already far exceed anything that could be done with air pistols to make them not look like centerfire guns. Just for example, check the color combinations offered for SCCY 9mm models, or the colors offered for .38 revolvers sold by Taurus, and .380 semi-autos from Kimber. You can’t change the color of responsibility.

  2. Pyramid has the Sig listed on their website , but not yet available. Given the popularity of the 9 mm pistol this should be a guaranteed winner, but after seeing some preliminary videos and online specs, maybe not. It is a dead ringer for the 9mm pistol, blowback ambi safety, c02 mag, and velocity rated at under 300 fps. Disappointing.

    • Not sure where velocity will fall until it is tested, Sig may be giving a conservative figure. If velocity is around 300 fps, it will be an excellent candidate for Dust Devils like the PPK/S CO2 model. As a small compact pistol with a short barrel, it is really a 21 foot gun, and even 300 fps at that distance will make it a suitable training aid given all the features it offers, compared to compacts like the PPK/S and PPS Umarex models. Accuracy, if this gun delivers that in abundance, will overshadow velocity. Will be interesting to see how this gun tests out.

  3. We english have to be sensible about this. Already we cannot buy realistic air guns in Scotland and the atmosphere is so hostile to firearms that something like you describe would immediately raise a Hue and Cry with lurid pics of our pride and Joy waved about the channels. A ban would soon follow.Fortunately our young criminals use knives at the moment and our police are not routinely armed.(Recent accounts or our brave bobby taking on 3 terrorists with knives make you think) so the chance of this happening are small. As you say we all depend on each other behaving responsibly and teaching our kids the same.
    That being said I doubt I could raise enthuisiasm for a blue M17 ASP!!!

  4. I will probably get the Sig but wish it would be more powerful. The big surprise so far is the blowback Glock gen 3 17.Accurate , pretty much dead on and appears from what I have seen from a promotional video of the Gen 4, throws steel at 75-100 fps faster.

  5. I see the website is advertising the spare mag for the Sig which appears to be the flat bottomed variant. Would’ve nice if Springfield could offer a shorter mag for the XD 3.8

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