First Look: Umarex SA 10 semi-auto Part 1
If this looks like a very expensive competition pistol, it’s no coincidence
By Dennis Adler
Based on current custom competition pistols like the STI 2011 DVC 3G Race Gun, and the Dan Wesson Discretion, (guns which can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000), the Umarex SA 10 is an innovative blowback action design with the look of a custom built pistol, and the capability of firing both 4.5mm lead pellets and .177 caliber steel BBs. Unlike most airguns that have multiple pellet/BB capabilities, the SA10 also has a self-contained CO2 and 8-shot rotary magazine that provides a realistic reloading experience.
And now for something completely different
With apologies to Monty Python, there is something completely different in the Umarex SA10, the unique design of the pistol’s self-contained CO2 and rotary magazine which also holds three additional rotary clips, allowing the option of quickly reloading the same magazine. Spare magazines are available for those who want the full on experience.
While the looks, weight, and balance of the Umarex SA10 are similar to a Sig Sauer, the SA10 is an amalgam of designs with hints of CZ, Walther, FN, Glock and other tactical pistols, combined with its distinctive skeletonized slide and gold finished barrel that resembles the aforementioned custom competition pistols. In a word, this is a wild looking airgun!
Being a blowback action design, it offers the right feeling when you pull the gun’s integral blade safety DA/SA trigger. The barrel is also threaded and capped, perhaps for the later option of a faux suppressor.
This is a big gun comparable in size to a CZ75, not counting the dustcover accessory rail, which adds another 0.5 inches to the depth of the slide and frame. This is not an airgun you’ll find an everyday holster for. It does, however, fit the universal holsters used on tactical vests. These detach from the vest (hook and loop backing) and can be belt mounted, so there is always a holster possibility. The typical tactical vest/belt holster runs anywhere from $8 to $15.
The two-tone combination of the black polymer frame and black alloy skeletonized slide combined with the gold colored steel barrel and breech block are a striking combination. The slide also has a diamond pattern rib behind and ahead of the ejection port, and behind the long cutaway revealing the top of the barrel. Skeletonized slides (on competition guns) are used to lighten weight, and they also have the added benefit of exposing the polished barrels underneath. Like the STI, the Umarex SA10 makes good use of that concept. The finishing touches are an excellent grip contour with fine grain texturing for a solid grasp, and deep front and rear slide serrations, features you find on many tactical and competition handguns. Finally there is the Picatinny rail, which is long enough to mount most tactical lights and light/laser combinations and give this 8-shot pellet firing semi-auto even better accuracy.
Not entirely perfect
This is without question a good looking airgun and for the price point there are not too many compromises, but those that have been made are worth noting because they take away from the gun’s practical functioning. The biggest offense is a slide that does not lock back (yes, there are small caliber .380 semi-autos that have the same issues but that is still no excuse), the SA10 doesn’t even have a functioning manual slide lock. It functions instead as the manual safety by pushing it forward to lock the trigger (whether the hammer is down or cocked). The bigger offense, however, is the blade safety trigger; it doesn’t actually prevent the gun from firing if not properly engaged. It is a non-functioning but operating feature. On the plus side, the gun has very effective orange dot rear sights facing a low profile black front blade, a very easy to operate magazine release, and a very realistic overall weight of 32 ounces. This is a hand-filling airgun.
Next week in Part 2 we’ll see if it lives up to its image on the firing line.