Shooting on Auto

Shooting on Auto

Can accuracy be maintained?

By Dennis Adler

The current hot trio of selective fire, blowback action airguns: the Umarex Legends Mauser Model 712, Mini Uzi Sub Machinegun, and Umarex Beretta M92A1; all three actual-size self contained CO2 and BB magazines for even greater authenticity.

The current hot trio of selective fire, blowback action airguns: the Umarex Legends Mauser Model 712, Mini Uzi Submachine gun, and Umarex Beretta M92A1; all three use actual-size self-contained CO2 and BB magazines for even greater authenticity.

Fully automatic handguns, rifles, machineguns and machine pistols were designed for a specific reason, saturation firing. From the 19th century Gatling gun to John M. Browning’s legendary BAR, the Broomhandle Mauser Model of 1932, Colt M16, and the famous Israeli Uzi, the use of full auto has been intended to give the user a tactical advantage. But what good is that advantage if you can’t hit anything (accurately) with the gun?

Anyone who has ever fired an automatic weapon, whether an M16 (my first experience in basic training a very long time ago), an Uzi or other selective fire weapon never forgets the first time. I was told by the drill sergeant to “…squeeze off a few rounds,” and I did, about 30 of them….to which he responded, “son, (in a voice very much like R. Lee Ermey, “you’ve been watching too many John Wayne movies.” I learned how to feather the trigger, get a firm hold and maintain my sight picture. But accuracy was never as simple as all that when the selector switch was rotated. This was true the first time I fired an Uzi pistol and several other full auto weapons during visits to arms manufacturers over the years. The real takeaway was not learning to fire hell bent on emptying the magazine (you have to do that at least once) but using the firearm’s sustained fire capability to its best advantage, which is generally close quarters under fire or to suppress enemy fire.

The switch is on when you rotate the Model 712 selector from N to R, the Uzi by pushing the selector forward to A, and the Beretta by flipping the lever from one dot to three dots.

The switch is on when you rotate the Model 712 selector from N to R, the Uzi by pushing the selector forward to A, and the Beretta by flipping the lever from one dot to three dots.

Learning how to manage impulses and maintain short burst fire is one of several skills you can gain with selective fire, blowback action, CO2 powered airguns like the Mini Uzi, Umarex Beretta 92A1, Broomhandle Mauser Model 712, and new Umarex Legends WWII era MP40 submachine gun. Of course, none of these deliver the recoil of their cartridge firing counterparts (for a selective fire Beretta you have to go back about 40 years to the introduction of the Model 93R which was produced until 1993), but surprisingly, even with blowback action CO2 powered models there is muzzle rise and a noticeable decline in accuracy. This Airgun Experience is about learning to control the physics of sustained fire.

The easiest of the three to shoot is the Mini Uzi since it has a folding shoulder stock and a good sized forend to wrap your hand around. Accuracy on full auto is only modestly effected by recoil or muzzle rise.

The Mini Uzi is the easiest to shoot since it has a folding stock and good sized forend to wrap your hand around. Accuracy on full auto is only modestly effected by recoil or muzzle rise.

I began with the easiest of the current models available, the Mini Uzi Submachine gun. (The new Umarex Legends MP40 will not be out until a little later this year). The selective fire Mini Uzi is a special model and uses self-contained CO2 BB magazines, so it is about as real as it gets when you load and fire this machine pistol. With the selector pushed all the way forward to “A” you can empty a 25-round magazine in a little over 2 seconds. But you really don’t want to. With a firm hold on the forend (using a slight downward pull when you begin firing), and the shoulder stock pressed tight into your shoulder, try to squeeze off three to six shots and let up on the trigger. Average trigger pull is 3 pounds, 6.7 ounces, so it doesn’t take much effort. This is the easiest and most accurate of the blowback action, selective fire CO2 pistols currently available. With a little practice you should be able to fire consistently accurate short bursts with the Uzi. My best groups averaged from 0.75 inches to 1.25 inches and the overall spread for 25 shots was 4.5 inches.

Lean in, pull down and hold on, the M712 will deliver the most felt recoil (for a blowback action CO2 pistol) of any selective fire model, but with a secure grip as shown, the M712 will deliver satisfying results at 21 feet. This is the easiest of the three to fire in bursts of five to six rounds.

Lean in, pull down and hold on, the M712 will deliver the most felt recoil (for a blowback action CO2 pistol) of any selective fire model, but with a secure grip as shown, the M712 will deliver satisfying results at 21 feet. This is the easiest of the three to fire in bursts of five to six rounds.

Shooting a Legend

Stepping up in performance and back in time to 1932 with the Umarex Legends Model 712 you have a unique selective fire handgun that is remarkably accurate in design and operation to the original Broomhandle model. Firing this pistol on full auto means taking things into your own hands with a firm grasp around the front of the frame, magazine well and magazine, and again with a slight downward pull as you begin firing to reduce muzzle rise. With an average trigger pull of 4 pounds, 10 ounces, using a firm grasp on the M712 and short burst fire with a light pull and release (that’s five to six consecutive shots), will help keep rounds pretty tight at 21 feet (optimum range for this blowback action pistol). Again this is a practice, practice, practice shooting skill but the M712 can deliver accurate burst fire. The real 712 was notoriously inaccurate fired on full auto, but with the addition of the wooden shoulder stock holster for support it was a lot better. You can, in fact, purchase a reproduction Mauser Broomhandle wooden shoulder stock (about $180 for the whole rig, shoulder stock and leather holster harness) and it will mount perfectly on the Umarex Model 712 pistol grip. I’ve done it and it works. It also improves accuracy even further. My best group fired off hand at 21 feet on full auto averaged 6 rounds at 1.05 inches. I tended to pull a little right on most shots, and with the Broomhandle’s bolt slamming back every fraction of a second, it has the most recoil and muzzle lift of any blowback action selective fire model. But if I can get groups like this so can you. The overall spread for 18 rounds measured 3.75 inches.

This is the hardest pistol to control on full auto because the slide action is brisk; there is light felt recoil and muzzle rise. It is also harder to feather the trigger on the DA/SA action. One reason the original Beretta Model 93FS derived 93R selective fire pistol only allowed 3-round bursts on the auto setting. The M92A1 lets the gun run to empty.

This is the hardest pistol of the three to control on full auto because the slide action is brisk; there is felt recoil and modest muzzle rise. It is also harder to feather the trigger on the Beretta. This is one reason the original Beretta Model 93R selective fire pistol only allowed 3-round bursts on the auto setting. The Umarex M92A1 lets the gun run to empty.

Last is the latest, the Umarex Beretta M92A1. This is one of the best built blowback action CO2 pistols on the market, and it uses a variation of the Model 93R action, which allows the pistol to switch from semi-auto to full auto with a selector switch. To get off an accurate burst from the M92A1 you need to use a firm grip with the support hand extended and the thumb resting along the leading edge of the frame just behind the rail mount. I actually got a firm rest on the side of the rail to give the pistol a little better stability on full auto. This is the most difficult pistol to shoot accurately on full auto because of its size, but it can still deliver accuracy if you run it in short bursts and keep the support hand working on muzzle control. Trigger pull after racking the slide is single action and resistance is a modest 5 pounds, 2 ounces average, so again it is easy to fire short bursts and release, allowing a pause for the CO2’s temperature to regulate. My best groups at 21 feet averaged a total spread of 4.25 inches for 18 shots with a best 6 grouping at 1.75 inches.

Chilling Facts

One other thing to remember, rapid sustained fire with a CO2-powered airgun will reduce velocity (thus accuracy), so shooting short bursts will keep your CO2 from super-cooling. Airgun Academy author Tom Gaylord explains it this way: “[CO2] cools when it expands by flashing from liquid to gas. Therefore, when you shoot a CO2 gun rapidly, the gas will cool the gun parts considerably. Because CO2 pressure is based on temperature, the pressure in a CO2 gun will drop if a series of shots are fired in rapid succession. In practical testing, I’ve seen velocities decrease by more than 100 fps over a long string of shots.”

When I shoot a selective fire air pistol I always try to shoot in short bursts (three to six shots) then pause before shooting again, at least 15 seconds. This will help maintain velocity and accuracy. You’ll also extend the number of shots from your CO2 cartridge.

The Uzi sent a best six rounds downrange at 0.75 inches (large red circle).

The Uzi sent a best six rounds downrange at 0.75 inches (large red circle).

The M712 is the most fun to shoot of all the selective fire models, not only for its historic accuracy but the overall feel of firing on full auto. As for accuracy the Broomhandle punched six shots into 1.05 inches from 21 feet.

The M712 is the most fun to shoot of all the selective fire models, not only for its historic accuracy but the overall feel of firing on full auto. As for accuracy the Broomhandle punched six shots into 1.05 inches from 21 feet.

All 18 shots from the Beretta M92A1 in full auto struck the center of the target with a spread of 4.25 inches, a best six with two overlapping, at 1.75 inches. This gun has the most muzzle rise of the three but keeps the shots still closely grouped together. On a man-sized B-27 silhouette target every shot would be across the 9, 10 and X.

All 18 shots from the Beretta M92A1 in full auto struck the center of the target with a spread of 4.25 inches, a best six with two overlapping, at 1.75 inches. This gun has the most muzzle rise of the three but keeps the shots still closely grouped together. On a man-sized B-27 silhouette target every shot would be across the 9, 10 and X.

A blowback action air pistol on full auto will generate enough force from the action of the slide (on the M92A1), and bolt on the Broomhandle M712 and Mini Uzi Submachine gun, to induce mild muzzle lift, far less than a 9mm (or 7.63x25mm in the case of the Mauser), but enough to throw off accuracy compared to firing semi-auto. And remember, these are smoothbore barrels shooting round steel BBs, so accuracy is not their strong suit to begin with. Having said that, the CO2 powered models are as close as the vast majority of us will ever come to firing the real cartridge models, which are all expensive, rare (the M712 and Beretta 93R), and require either a Class III firearms license to own, or going through the steps and added expenses to purchase a Class III weapon. This process has not changed since 1934; it is slow, but possible. The airgun experience is faster and a whole lot less expensive.

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.

12 thoughts on “Shooting on Auto

  1. The712 was my first foray into select fire. With short bursts it was relatively accurate , but compared to the UZI , a must have , the sights were not as easy to dial in. The UZI feels like a real Carbine and is dead on accurate. Having another couple of bursts in the mag doesn’t hurt either . Picked up a shoulder stock for the 712 and will have to try it . The new MP 40 looks like it will be a game changer.Larger overall size and weight plus good sights and 60 rounds in the mag will make this a serious contender for top gun. Would like to see the technology used for that mag to create a 30–40 round mag for the 712. Hopefully, Umarex has an r& d team working on a Thompson, M2 Carbine , andanSW 43/44.


  2. Not saying I am not thrilled to have full auto bb replicas available, but was just looking at the SIG 320 pellet pistol using a belt fed slim 30 round mag. Next up would like to see that technology used for the Beretta 92 in the form of a true R version select fire pellet pistol , with a rifled barrel and 30 rounds.. The Mauser 712 would also seem very adaptable to that type of mag, and with the shoulder stock would be something. Just saying


    • My jury is still out until I test the new Sig P320 (though I have very high expectations) but I wouldn’t change the Beretta 92FS or 92A1, I’d rather see the 93R as you suggest. I have been pushing for that one for awhile. If the Sig’s belt fed pellet magazine could be adopted that would be terrific and with the 93R’s extended magazine design it would probably work even better than in the Sig. Keep those ideas coming. We are getting a lot done in the airgun world!


      • Will have to wait to get a Sig through regular channels. Would think that if it works ,Sig would use this magazine instead of the earlier Carbine mags . This design could be an airgun breakthrough for select fire pelletguns and pistols


  3. Dennis,

    I’ve read some of the Pyramyd Air customer reviews about the Mini Uzi Submachine Gun. Several of them report problems with the fire selector switch not going into semi-auto mode easily or reliably. Several also report problems with magazines that leak CO2 after only 1 or 2 uses.

    Did you observe any of these problems during your review testing of the Uzi?


    • I have had my UZI and 3 mags since they first came out. Less problems with these than most others. Wonder if the switch problems were from the Pyrsmid select fire versionsof home brewed ones?


  4. I only test these guns randomly, but I have had the selective fire Mini Uzi for almost two years and used it in half a dozen various articles. During that time I have never experienced any issues with the selector, and having three magazines and switching them out to reload, again I’ve had zero issues.


    • Dennis,

      Thanks, I’m glad to hear that. I’ve resisted buying one of these Uzi replicas because I shoot only indoors at this time and I wouldn’t be able to take full advantage of the gun’s auto mode. After seeing the announcement about the new Legends MP and wanting it for the sake of it being a historic replica, I began thinking I can make the same purchase justification for the Uzi. After all, how else will I be able to get an Uzi which is every bit as iconic as a historic replica as the MP40? I’m certainly not going to try to get the firearm version; I don’t need that.


      • Once bitten by the bug (airguns or actual cartridge guns), we all come to realize that “collecting is a verb.” A well rounded collection of historic airguns will continue to grow as more and more new models come out. The MP40 is another iconic addition. Also, be sure to check out the new John Wayne commemorative WWII Model 1911A1.


        • Because I already have the limited editions WWII Commemorative 1911A1 and the NRA Limited Edition 1911A1, I thought I would pass on the John Wayne commemorative 1911A1.


          • It’s a nice addition to a 1911A1 airgun collection and you already have the first two. But I know how collecting can get a little obsessive (voice of experience). This isn’t necessarily relevant to you, but I knew a gun collector once who loved the standard blued Colt Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless .25 ACP. He must have had a hundred of them. And I asked him one time, why do you have so many of the same gun? His answer was interesting because they were all 100 percent condition in the box examples. “They’re all different,” he said, “they all have different serial numbers.”


      • Part of owning these airguns is the flexibility of where you can shoot them . In your backyard , basement garage . Just use a soft backstop like a box stuffed with newspaper or foam packing . I have never had a problem . Could always use H&N smart shot bbs to further reduce risk . Go ahead, make your day


Leave a Reply