Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 3

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 3

What it takes to become 2018’s Top Gun

By Dennis Adler

Two entry-level CO2 models with great features, authentic designs and shared handicaps based on retail price point (actually selling for just $69.95), the new Umarex Glock 19 and updated Umarex Walther PPS M2, have the looks down pat, good performance, and make the issue of separate CO2 and stick magazines much easier to live with. Note that the stick mags in both pistols have full size base pads so the guns look right from the top down!

It’s the best new non-blowback action BB model vs. the latest update to an unseated champion in entry-level blowback action semi-autos, the Umarex Glock 19 against the Umarex Walther PPS M2. No two CO2 models could be better pitted against each other despite the fact that the Glock is a non-blowback pistol…it’s just that good!

It is a masterpiece of external design that does the best job of looking like its centerfire counterpart of any air pistol on the market. The Umarex Glock 19 is almost indistinguishable from the 9mm model, and Glock being aware of that subtly made one obvious change to the gun by eliminating the caliber markings on the slide. There is also the equally subtle crossbolt safety at the top rear of the trigger, even though the air pistol has a working Safe Action style blade trigger. Attention to details in the grip panel pattern, front strap grooves, checkering and every functional feature, such as the slide release are perfect, even though it is a non-blowback action pistol.

What Umarex and Glock have delivered with an entry-level model of the G19 is about as much fine detail as it is possible to get into a CO2 pistol’s exterior design. And you can say the same for the Walther PPS M2. Both the new Glock and updated Walther look like their centerfire counterparts in almost every important detail. Neither has a self-contained CO2 BB magazine, both use separate CO2 chambers in their grip frames and easy to load stick magazines. Overall, they are pretty much equals in the air and BB loading department and are priced the same selling discounted for $69.95. They are very affordable entry-level pistols with exceptional performance and design.

Hard to tell from the outside, but there’s an airgun in there and this one uses a removable backstrap (like the Umarex Walther PPS) to load the CO2. The seating tool is built into the backstrap panel (shown in the raised position). The stick magazine loads 16 BBs to match standard capacity for a 9mm Glock 19. For authenticity the bottom of the stick magazine’s full size base pad bears the GLOCK logo.

As new models for 2018 the G19 and PPS M2 were both surprises; the M2 mostly because the PPS version was already such a good seller and the upgrades to M2 amounted to an almost entirely new pistol, and the G19 because everyone had expected it to be a blowback action pistol with self-contained CO2 BB magazine. Umarex and Glock decided to save that for the G17 which was introduced this year but will not be ready for delivery until January. The six months separating the debut of the G19 and G17 gave everyone a chance to look at what Glock’s first CO2 pistol had to offer and everyone who has looked past the separate CO2, stick magazine and non-blowback action, (I know, that’s a lot to look past) has found a remarkably solid, accurate looking and more importantly, accurate shooting BB pistol that looks like it should cost more than it does. Further, Glock did not fall into the Warnings and verbiage trap with the G19. As basic as this initial offering is, it is so close in looks to an actual Glock 19 that it is virtually indistinguishable except for not bearing the Gen4 or caliber markings on the slide. Beyond that, which may have been deliberate Austrian thinking for letting people know this was not a centerfire model; the design of the G19 CO2 makes no compromises.

Umarex and Glock chose to keep the G19 as clean and realistic as possible by putting all verbiage, caliber marking and proof mark on the bottom of the triggerguard and dustcover. The actual Glock serial number inset is used for a serial number.

All of the verbiage is hidden on the underside of the triggerguard and dustcover. Glock did concede to safety requirements by slipping a crossbolt safety into the back of the trigger (pictured from the left side in the fire position) although in original Glock form the G19 CO2 model is fitted with a functioning Safe Action-style blade trigger safety. Most impressively, Umarex and Glock came to terms on finish, not a typical air pistol matte black, but as close to a Glock finish on the slide as possible, which adds greatly to the airgun’s authentic looks.

The stick magazine earned big points by having a large follower that locks down and a big loading port on the back allowing you to almost pour 16 rounds into the loading channel.

The fine details that have gone into the Glock CO2 model are like the new Hatsan H-1911 and ASG Dan Wesson Valor 1911, separate parts, not molded-in pieces, which are evident in the slide, which, although not a blowback action design, has the fit of a separate barrel, slide and extractor, and a slide lock (for disassembly of centerfire pistols). While none of these features function, they look like they do. Same for the slide release on the left side. The air pistol even has the manufacturers mark panel above the right grip that reads: Officially Licensed Product of GLOCK. And that is perhaps the last word on this CO2 model; it is a Glock in every possible way for learning basic skills and handling its centerfire counterpart. Looking at the G19, just on face value, how it feels in the hand, its weight, balance, accessory rail, fit, finish, trigger, and correct Glock white outline rear and white dot front sights, I am willing to give it a pass on the stick magazine and non-blowback action. For $69.95 it is more than you expect in its overall design and performance. And it is the latter that is perhaps the most satisfying feature of the G19.

Fine details in every area include the back of the slide, clean, separate barrel and slide ejection port interface, extractor and loaded chamber indicator, and Glock markings. The white outline Glock rear sight and white dot front are the finishing touches. You would almost expect the slide to draw back and chamber a round from the magazine!

The Umarex Glock model has a factory rated velocity of 410 fps. Being a non-blowback action pistol an extra 100 fps over blowback models is to be expected. Using Umarex Precision steel BBs the Glock clocked an impressive average of 430 fps with a high of 439 fps and a standard deviation of 5 fps for 10 consecutive shots. The authentic Glock-style sights are very easy to pick up on almost any target and at 21 feet my best 10-shot group measured 1.375 inches with 5-shots grouped at 0.5 inches. The G19 may not be the Replica Air Pistol of the Year, but it is still a top gun.

From 21 feet, the G19 shot best with Umarex Precision .177 caliber steel BBs, delivering a best 5-shot group (right of the bullseye at 1 o’clock) measuring 0.5 inches. Average velocity with the steel BBs was 430 fps.

Model: Umarex Glock 19

Authenticity 1 to 10:  10 (based on fit and finish despite being a non-blowback)

Ingenuity of the design 1 to 10: 8 (loses points for separate CO2 and stick magazine)

Ease of use 1 to 10: 10 (feels like a Glock not an air pistol, stick magazine is easy to use)

Field stripping capability 1 to 10: 0

Performance & Accuracy 1 to 10: 9 (0.5 inch 5-shot groups at 21 feet fired offhand)

Total Points: 37

The new PPS M2 is a totally different fit in the hand than its predecessor with rounded grips and cross-directional grip stippling, finger grooves in the frontstrap, and a contoured, undercut triggerguard. The new CO2 model also copies the M2 centerfire pistol’s front slide serrations, inset Walther banner, and improved sights.

The new Umarex Walther PPS M2 is another well made entry-level gun that not only builds on an established centerfire model but an established CO2 model. The original PPS was based on the 9mm model and was introduced as a CO2 pistol in 2014. It immediately became a popular blowback action model, so well made and so accurate that it overcame its basic separate CO2 and stick magazine stigma effortlessly. When Walther updated the 9mm and .40 S&W PPS to the PPS M2, there were substantial changes to the gun’s design which Umarex and Walther have translated into the 2018 CO2 model.

There are significant changes from the PPS to the PPS M2. The M2 slide is flat along its entire length; the rear sight sits the same but has larger white dots, the front sight is a different shape with a larger white dot. Both slides operate the same and lock back on an empty magazine, but the M2 has forward slide serrations and a very different grip contour that is easier to hold. The one advantage the PPS M2 has over the Glock 19 is blowback action for the same price, and a slide that locks open on an empty magazine.

Comparing centerfire and CO2 pistols, Walther has done another near perfect counterpart to the PPS which has an overall length 6.3 inches, barrel of 3.18 inches, a height (with 7-round capacity magazine) of 4.9 inches, width 1.0 inches, and carry weight (empty) of 21.1 ounces. Both the centerfire and CO2 models have polymer frames and metal slides (alloy for the air pistol) so overall weight for the CO2 model is 20 ounces, overall length 6.3 inches, smoothbore inner barrel 3.34 inches (recessed 0.437 inches from 9mm muzzle opening), height 5.0 inches (base of magazine to top of rear sight), and width 1.0 inches. Close enough in any comparison to serve as a 1:1 CO2 counterpart for the PPS M2.

Walther redesigned the trigger system on the centerfire M2 and reshaped the trigger. The CO2 model uses the same trigger and internal systems as the PPS CO2 pistol, which is an SAO trigger with a long take up, mild stacking and a clean break. The sights on the M2 are a little easier to pick up (as they are on the centerfire PPS M2).

Can changing what you shoot change how you shoot? It can and it did with the PPS M2. Switching to Air Venturi Dust Devils, the lighter weight frangible BBs still shot high but not as far left and grouped pretty tight from 21 feet with the best five of 10 shots strung together at 0.5 inches.

Changing designs can have an effect on performance even though many of the same components are used. With the CO2 PPS M2 this has resulted in a maximum factory rated velocity of 340 fps which is a 10 fps drop from the PPS model. Interestingly the gun clocks higher velocities than the factory rating. Using Umarex steel BBs the new M2 version delivered average velocities of 360 fps. My PPS M2 test gun consistently shot left and high, so my aiming correction was at 4 o’clock, 1-inch below the center of the target. (The original PPS CO2 model also shot a little high). The corrected POA gave me a best 5-round spread of 0.75 inches with two shots overlapping at the bottom of the 9 ring. I re-shot the test with Dust Devils (which didn’t exist when the first PPS CO2 model came out) and while the M2 still hit high and a little left I got dime-sized groups with a best five rounds out of 10 measuring 0.5 inches and an overall spread of 0.94 inches. Velocity also increased to an average of 378 fps with the lighter weight BBs. From a purely technical standpoint the PPS M2 is a better gun in the hand than its predecessor but not quite as accurate.

Model: Umarex Walther PPS M2

Authenticity 1 to 10:  10 (based on fit and finish)

Ingenuity of the design 1 to 10: 8 (loses points for separate CO2 and stick magazine)

Ease of use 1 to 10: 10 (improved sights, stick magazine is easy to use)

Field stripping capability 1 to 10: 0

Performance & Accuracy 1 to 10: 10 (blowback action and sub 1-inch groups at 21 feet)

Total Points: 38

Next Tuesday it’s the showdown between two top blowback action models, the ASG CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow and Sig Sauer’s extraordinary WE THE PEOPLE 1911.

6 thoughts on “Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 3

  1. Wellllll, after next Tuesday we will be down to 3 Pistols the Sig P320, the Sig P226 and the Glock 17. I think I’ve got that right… i’m betting on the Sig P226 X Five ASP as the overall winner…All of the guns examined thus far are very worthy of ownership.

    Where is everyone ???

    I received my DW 715 6″ Black last week and it is a Masterpiece I paid $159.00 and its worth every penny…I’ve added a UTG Red Laser ($26.00) to the under barrel shroud.

    I have this UTG Laser on all my Pistols (7) because they are small, unobtrusive, easy to install and leave the Top Side of the gun for using the open iron sights…I highly recommend this approach as an inexpensive way to add some Diversity to your Airgun shooting…


    • Chuck

      The UTG is a good pistol laser. I also like the LaserMax Spartan, sold by Pyramyd Air. As we are heading toward December 25th don’t forget the Umarex HK USP blowback, still a dark horse candidate for Top Gun.

      Next week gets more exciting as the competition hits a level playing field.

  2. Nice pistols, but they are out of their league compared to the Glock 17,andH&K USP. It might be fairer to have classes for pistol fthe year. Bb and pellet. Blowback and non blowback.It will be hard for any bb pistol or non blowback pistol to compete with the innovation of the SIG17

    • If this were not a points system for making the final choice and I could go with my gut, (the gut of a stylist, not an engineer), I would end this next week with the ASG CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow Blue winning and the Sig Sauer WE THE PEOPLE 1911 slamming into a solid second place, but this is a points system and there are a lot of variables as to how points are allotted. True, a non-blowback action pistol can not get as many points, and a pistol that has no field stripping capability looses 10 points right there. Getting to 50 points is going to be difficult for most of the 10 guns chosen from this year’s best new models. As I get into the more intricately built guns the point spread is going to get much tighter. Can a BB pistol beat a pellet pistol? That depends on what you want in the pistol overall. There is no clear cut winner yet. Breaking it out into blowback, non-blowback, BB and pellet still leads to one overall best of the best, and that actually presents itself as each gun is rated against its closest competitor like the G19 and PPS M2 and Tuesday’s head-to-head between the Shadow and WE THE PEOPLE. As point totals get closer we will likely have a runoff before December 25.

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