Ghost Guns

Ghost Guns

Don’t look over your shoulder

By Dennis Adler

Looking ahead I know there are some new air pistols coming, I know of one or two for certain because I have them (and I still can’t tell you yet), but there are others promised that I have told readers about in recent weeks that are coming next month (as in tomorrow), that probably are not going to show. We all know most of the reasons and know the impact on imports and manufacturing wrought by the current global situation, so no point in belaboring things here. We will see some impressive new guns in July, maybe the long awaited optics mount for the Sig Sauer M17 P320 ASP, eventually the reportedly impressive new Glock semi-auto pellet model, and a comparable Walther PPQ, so appetites are thoroughly whetted and patience evaporating as we head into summer.

Built to train for competitive shooting, the Tanfoglio Gold Custom and Limited Custom CO2 models both fit competition rigs made by Safariland for the matching 9mm models. The designs by Italian armsmaker Tanfoglio S.r.l. are authentic to their centerfire guns. Developed in 2012 and 2013, they were imported into the U.S. until a couple of years ago. They can still be found for sale in Europe and Canada.


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We also know there are a lot of great air pistols already on the market and there are some of you, perhaps many of you, who have yet to experience them. That’s why I go back and review certain guns again and make comparisons between guns to present some options and possibly reintroduce readers to some older, exceptional air pistols. I honestly can’t fathom why some of the older models that were not that impressive are still around, even with their low, entry-level prices, while others, exceptional ones, in fact, have slowly disappeared from the U.S. market, but are still sold in parts of the EU and UK under the same or different name. Some are even sold next door in Canada and I am referring to the Tanfoglio Gold Custom and Limited Custom, which, as a brand, had an impressive run here, and at one point in time, represented the most advanced designs in blowback action air pistols for the American market.

The Limited Custom was in production as a blowback action model with self-contained CO2 BB magazine before the Umarex Colt Commander came out late in 2014; making it one of the very first such designs.

Pyramyd Air and Air Venturi were the principal importers for the Tanfoglio branded, KWC manufactured models. Two of my favorite CO2 pistols, and fortunately I still have them. They came highly recommend by me in Airgun Experience articles going all the way back to the establishment of the column in 2016. But they were around for several years before that. Both were in production before Umarex introduced the Colt-licensed Commander in 2014, while other blowback action BB models were still a year or more away from introduction. The CZ-75 based Tanfoglio duo were champions from the moment they debuted.

While the Gold Custom required optics for shooting, the Limited Custom came with an LPA-style adjustable competition rear sight. Both guns had ambidextrous thumb safeties and metal grip panels again making them distinctive for the time.

Both Tanfoglio models were as near perfect as CO2 BB pistols come, and you could rightly say they set the standard against which later blowback action pistols could be judged. Few have measured up. Last time I looked over my shoulder in 2019 the Limited Custom was gone. The next time I glanced back the Gold Custom had vanished like as wisp of CO2 on a hot summer day. The Tanfoglios are ghost guns, not really gone but caught in the ethereal vapor of importation and marketing, and the U.S. market is not a priority. That is more than a little confounding.

The Gold Custom was (and remains) one of the most impressive looking blowback action CO2 pistols made to date. It was also one of the most accurate at 21 feet.

But here is the thing about the Tanfoglio Gold Custom and Limited Custom compared to the latest crop of best blowback action CO2 models with self-contained CO2 BB magazines; if the Tanfoglios had never existed and were introduced next month as brand new guns, they would be just as impressive for their flawless construction, authentic designs and superior accuracy as any other brand new self-contained CO2 BB magazine model we have seen in the last year! Think about that.  

One test I did with the Gold Custom put 15 shots into 0.74 inches from 21 feet on an IPSC target.

The bottom line is that when build quality, authenticity to a centerfire model, (one of which was a world championship winning 9mm competition pistol built in Italy by Tanfoglio), handing and accuracy from a seven-year old gun can beat the latest 2019 and 2020 designs, there is no question that they should still be available in the U.S. Those of us who have them know the standard for design that was established by KWC and Tanfoglio. Shouldn’t new airgun enthusiasts have the same opportunity to experience them as we did?

The average velocity for the Limited Custom clocked 312 fps, and the best target returned a total of 20 hits all in the X ring (on a full size B-27 silhouette target the X ring has a measurement of 2 inches by 3-1/8 inches). The best total spread for 20 shots fired at 1-second intervals was 2.24 inches with 10 shots measuring 1.25 inches, and a best 5-round group at 0.75 inches with overlapping hits.

            You can look at one of my reviews of the Limited Custom by clicking on this link

            And this link for a review of the Gold Custom

And the point is…

Perhaps we should stop worrying about the scarcity of new models for 2020 and think about some of the best models ever that are just as absent.

1 thought on “Ghost Guns”

  1. For the company that seems totally out of the game,Gletcher gets the award. No Bagant revolvers, some of the most realistic and accurate replicas, the TT33 and the Mosin Nagant rifle. Webley? Wherefore art thou? Umarex Peacemakers, hello? 2020 an awful year all around

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