Retrospect Series Part 8 – M&P 45

Retrospect Series Part 8 – M&P 45

The classic S&W pellet model

By Dennis Adler

This is an interesting retrospect piece for me because I never tested the Umarex S&W M&P 45. It was one of those guns that came along when I wasn’t doing much with airguns and by the time I was the M&P 45 was an old gun along with models I had written about years earlier. This is as much a retro piece for me as a writer as it is for you as readers. Am I am thus far pleasantly surprised by the one that got away.

I recall writing about the Umarex Walter PPS when it came out, that “you have to wonder how they can build an air pistol this good and sell it for $90.” I feel that I can reuse those words for the M&P 45, because up to this point it is right at the top of the entry-level price range (like the PPS was) and delivering the same sense of quality in build of more expensive CO2 models. Yes, Umarex has taken the shortcuts mentioned in Part One by molding in a few parts (that wouldn’t function if they were separate pieces), and they have cut manufacturing costs by making the slide an injection molded piece rather than an alloy casting. But even those two things do not equal the disparity in retail price between the Umarex HK P30 and the Umarex S&W M&P 45. The big price difference comes from where the M&P and P30 are manufactured. The HK is made in Germany by Umarex; the M&P is manufactured in Taiwan for Umarex. Those three words, Made in Germany, stamped into the side of an air pistol are what make the greatest difference in price. To explain that, I am reminded of one of Germany’s and the world’s oldest airgun manufacturers, Diana (Dianawerk) Mayer & Grammelspacher, which has been building superb air rifles and air pistols since 1895, and their not to distant venture into China to build the new Diana Chaser, which despite its Made in China stamping on the receiver, proved an impressive CO2 model that lives up to the Diana name. My point being that a German company can have a high quality airgun made outside of Germany, if it lives up to a certain standard. The Umarex S&W M&P 45 is as good an air pistol as the HK P30, it just benefits from more cost effective manufacturing. The upshot is that for under $100 one can get a gun that is capable of living up to the standards of one that costs $249. read more


Retrospect Series Part 7 – M&P 45

Retrospect Series Part 7 – M&P 45

The classic S&W pellet model

By Dennis Adler

The centerfire S&W M&P 45 was introduced in 2007, and four years later Umarex and S&W teamed up to build a matching (design) CO2 model. The air pistol copies the lines as closely as possible and gives one a fairly accurate feel for the .45 ACP model.

In the 1970s, Smith & Wesson developed its own Air Gun Division (Sig Sauer wasn’t the first), and beganmanufacturing air rifles and a series of target pistols based on its own .22 caliber Model 41 semi-auto. Smith & Wesson’s venture into airguns was not entirely successful, and in 1980 the Air Gun Division was sold to Daisy, which renamed the S&W Models 78G and 79G (S&W’s CO2 versions of the Model 41) the Daisy Power Line 41, giving a tip of the hat to the original S&W .22 target pistol. The single shot .22 caliber pellet model remained in the Daisy line until 1984. The S&W models have since become something of a collectible air pistol. read more


Retrospect Series part 6

Retrospect Series part 6

King of the Classics – Walther P.38

By Dennis Adler

In the presentation box is a 1941 Walther P.38, and resting in the lid is the Umarex Walther P.38 CO2 model from 2012. While 71 years separate them, they are both Walthers and bear the same look. The Umarex Walther is one of the best built CO2 models from the early years of replica military handgun models.

Eight years ago, before I began writing about airguns in magazines like Combat Handguns, I had a workingrelationship with Umarex, which has been instrumental in my collaboration on the First Edition Blue Book of Airguns almost 20 years ago. I tend to use that book as a focal point in my change from writing about airguns to becoming a collector. When that first book came out (the Blue Book of Airguns has since continued through a dozen editions), the number of, what I would call, interesting CO2 pistols was limited to the new models I wrote about in that book, nearly all of which are still made today by Umarex, but the guns I write about most in Airgun Experience hadn’t been built in 2001; most weren’t even on the drawing board at Umarex. It would take more than a decade for one of the best blowback action CO2 pistols built to be fabricated and put into production as a 2012 model. And like most of the occasional “exceptional air pistols” that comes from Umarex (those that stand out from the rest of the lineup), it would be a classic military handgun. I don’t think 24 hours passed from the time I got the initial press release until I had placed an order for the new Umarex Walther P.38 blowback action model. I didn’t buy it to write an article but rather to put this impressive replica among my real 9mm P.38 models. In fact, I would not write about it until article No. 20 for Airgun Experience back in the summer of 2016. read more


Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 4

Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 4

What’s in your pocket? Walther and Beretta vs. Sig

By Dennis Adler

What exactly is a pocket pistol? It should be small enough to fit in a pocket and safely inside a pocket holster. The Umarex Beretta 84FS is really a little too large of a gun to be easily carried in a pocket, of course, it depends upon the size of the pocket and style of pocket holster. It would be a push to drop this gun into the front pocket in a pair of Levis. The Umarex Walther PPS, as a training gun will fit in a pocket holster but the longer grip poses some issues for total concealment. The little Sig Sauer P365 in 9mm or .177 caliber fits a variety of pocket holsters like this Galco horsehide PH 460. Why horsehide? A leather holster with a rough finish will stay put in your pocket and not pull out with the gun, as some lighter synthetic or smooth leather pocket holsters can occasionally do. It is also small enough to leave very little outline in the pocket.

I began carrying .380 pocket pistols (as opposed to slightly larger 9mm semi-autos in belt rigs) about 10 yearsago when I got the first of several Ruger LCP models. I reviewed them for Combat Handguns and Pocket Pistols magazines,and over the years ended up with a fully customized LCP and one of the rare Red Trigger Ruger models (which evolved from the custom pistol). The Red Trigger has most often been my companion when I carry concealed. I say most often because sometimes I carry a larger caliber pistol, but only the LCP drops cleanly into the front pocket of a pair of Levis with barely a trace of gun or pocket holster. Larger caliber guns like the 9mm Ruger LC9 come close, but are harder to cover. Sig Sauer did well in the pocket pistol category with their 9mm P938, based on a slightly scaled up .380 ACP Colt Mustang design, as well as their .380 Auto P230, which is a Colt Mustang-sized pistol. But when it comes to packing the most 9mm rounds into the smallest semi-auto, Sig Sauer rewrote the book with the P365; the smallest, high-capacity 9mm semiautomatic pistol on the market. It is that gun, upon which the Sig Sauer P365 CO2 model is based, it too, being the smallest blowback action pistol made with a self-contained CO2 BB magazine. It is the personification of “pocket pistol” in any caliber. read more


Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 3

Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 3

The better of two – 84FS vs. PPS

By Dennis Adler

Big pockets only need apply for these older pocket pistols, especially the much older Beretta 84 series guns that inspired the 84FS CO2 model. An almost 1:1 design, the original Beretta 84 models were regarded as concealed carry .380 autos and even suitable for concealment in a pocket. The newer 21st century Walther PPS is smaller in overall dimensions and packs 9mm rounds. Both CO2 pistols are ideal for basic hands-on familiarization with their centerfire counterparts and well made air pistols for plinking and general target shooting.

This is a paring of pocket pistols which are larger than most but still fall into the subcompact category and will conceal in a large enough pants pocket with just shirt tails for cover. Compared to smaller .380 autos and the 9mm Sig Sauer P365 they are much larger guns, the Walther PPS fairly equivalent to a .380 Glock 42 (also considered a pocket pistol), only the PPS is a little narrower and a 9mm. They are all better suited for close body carry with belt holsters, but when push comes to shove they will fit in a pocket. I didn’t say comfortably, but they will fit. As CO2 models the Umarex Walther PPS/PPS M2 and Beretta 84FS are an interesting match because the centerfire Beretta is a .380 and the PPS is a 9mm, but smaller! read more


Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 2

Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 2

The lesser of two

By Dennis Adler

The Gletcher Makarov PM 1951 is based on the 1951 model Pistolet Makarova which was designed as Russia’s answer to the famous Walther PPK. The Gletcher model comes close to duplicating the design of the original centerfire pistol but requires a deeper grip to house the CO2 in the self-contained CO2 BB magazine.

Compact and Subcompact CO2 models are in the minority of blowback action models available, but these five (actually six major examples if you count the two versions of the Makarov), are the most authentic in overall styling and brand name recognition, i.e. Walther, Makarov, Beretta, and Sig Sauer. This combination of models has not been tested in series, so the approach for Part 2 is going to follow the outline for Replica Air Pistol of the Year, and begin with a one-on-one elimination process beginning with the two most obvious guns, the Umarex Walther PPK/S and Gletcher Makarov PM 1951 (basically a Soviet PPK). read more


Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 1

Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 1

The CO2 subcompacts

By Dennis Adler

“Pocket Pistol” is an incredibly old terminology that dates back to the Old West, actually, even further if you consider Henry Deringer’s small, single shot pocket models which were introduced in the 1830s, and small pistol designs by famous armsmakers like Christian Sharps (of Sharp’s Rifle fame), who managed to put four barrels into a pocket-sized pistol, and of course, Samuel Colt, whose first production revolver, the c.1836 No.1 Paterson, was small enough to fit in the palm of your hand! “Pocket Pistol” is a term that has been liberally thrown around for a very, very long time. read more