Tanfoglio Limited Custom Part 2

Tanfoglio Limited Custom .177 caliber semi-auto

What it takes to make a winner Part 2

By Dennis Adler

The Tanfoglio Limited Custom is a full size copy of the 9mm competition model with a weight of 2 pounds, 12 ounces. The CO2 model has an identical slide release, ambidextrous thumb rest safeties, and oversize magazine release. The only noteworthy visual difference between the CO2 model and the 9mm Tanfoglio is the absence of a ported slide and the two-tone finish.

The Tanfoglio Limited Custom is a full size copy of the 9mm competition model with a weight of 2 pounds, 12 ounces. The CO2 model has an identical slide release, ambidextrous thumb rest safeties, and oversize magazine release. The only noteworthy visual difference between the CO2 model and the 9mm Tanfoglio is the absence of a ported slide and the two-tone finish.

The Tanfoglio Limited Custom is by far one of the best blowback action CO2 models I have ever tested, and as a competition practice gun, it is second only to the Tanfoglio Gold Custom. However, if your shooting preference is open sights, then the Limited Custom exceeds just about every other blowback action CO2 model you can own. High praise, but having tested all of the major blowback action airguns produced in the last 16 years, if I had to pick one for target shooting it would be the Tanfoglio models. Since I have not yet tested the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five with Bomar-style competition sights, I will reserve that one as a possible equal to the Tanfoglio. But we’ll get back to the Sig vs. the Tanfoglio next month.

The 9mm Tanfoglio model (pictured) is slightly different with a ported slide and two-tone finish with grey frame and slide, and silver-tone slide release, safety, grips and mag well.

The 9mm Tanfoglio model (pictured) is slightly different with a ported slide and two-tone finish with grey frame and slide, and silver-tone slide release, safety, grips and mag well.

What has impressed me about the Tanfoglio models over the last couple of years has been the quality of their build, their weight, balance, accuracy, and superb competition triggers. The 20-round Tanfoglio drop free magazines are another outstanding feature, they are easy to load, have an excellent locking follower and a large loading port. They are also durable enough to drop (onto a soft surface) for quick reloading during practice. Although this is not recommended for the magazine’s longevity, a competition reload demands letting the empty go and reloading as fast as possible. The Tanfoglio magazines are heavy duty (weighing 11 ounces empty) and are built tough with a large beveled floorplate and recessed seating screw. On the receiving end, the broad flared magazine well facilitates a quick reload by limiting the possibility of catching the magazine on the mag well. This is the same design used on the 9mm models.

Both the CO2 model and 9mm can be used with competition platforms like the Safariland 014. This allows the fastest possible draw.

Both the CO2 model and 9mm can be used with competition platforms like the Safariland 014. This allows the fastest possible draw.

The trigger on the test gun averaged 3 pounds, 8.7 ounces, take up was just 0.438 inches with almost no discernable stacking, a clean break and almost instantaneous reset. It is about as fast a CO2 semi-auto pistol as possible, making it ideal for practicing competition shooting skills.

Identical to the 9mm model, the Tanfoglio Limited Custom CO2 model has deeply checkered backstrap panel, a recessed grip contour that rests firmly in the web of the shooting hand, and a large beavertail for additional support. (This is far more important for the 9mm model due to recoil).

Identical to the 9mm model, the Tanfoglio Limited Custom CO2 model has a deeply checkered backstrap panel, a recessed grip contour that rests firmly in the web of the shooting hand, and a large beavertail for additional support. (This is far more important for the 9mm model due to recoil).

With a loaded weight of 2 pounds, 12 ounces, it has the heft of a real 9mm Tanfoglio competition model to go with its competition trigger, sights, and grip profile. To put all of this finery to the final test, I used two different loads, Umarex 1500 steel BBs and Hornady Black Diamond black anodized steel BBs. The test was a competition setup drawing from the Safariland 014 alloy pistol platform and firing 10 shots in rapid succession from 21 feet at a B-27 silhouette target. Although the magazines will hold 20 steel BBs, I only loaded each with 10 rounds. This was done in two back-to-back sets, one magazine with the Umarex and the other with Hornady Black Diamond.

The flared mag well helps speed up reloading by channeling the magazine into the grip frame and preventing the magazine from catching on the edge. The flare also provides additional support for the shooting hand.

The flared mag well speeds up reloading by channeling the magazine into the grip frame and preventing it from catching on the edge. The flare also provides additional support for the shooting hand.

Each Tanfoglio CO2 model has an individual serial number. The trigger design and triggerguard are identical to the 9mm models.

Each Tanfoglio CO2 model has an individual serial number. The trigger design and triggerguard are identical to the 9mm models.

Ambient temperature for the test was an uncommonly warm 70 degrees (uncommon for February in Pennsylvania), with a light breeze and full sun. The Tanfoglio performed flawlessly with no loading or firing issues. Average number of shots from one 12 gr. CO2 cartridge was 50.

In this first shooting sequence the author draws and presents the Tanfoglio Limited Custom CO2 model from the Safariland 014…

In this first shooting sequence the author draws and presents the Tanfoglio Limited Custom CO2 model from the Safariland 014…

…in the second sequence shot with the high-speed camera, 10 rounds are being fired, and as the slide locks back on an empty magazine the author begins to release the empty magazine and reach for a reload from the mag pouches on the Safariland belt…

…in the second sequence, shot with the high-speed camera, 10 rounds have been fired, and as the slide locks back the author begins to release the empty magazine while reaching for a reload from the mag pouches on the Safariland belt…

..the empty magazine drops free and the reload is quickly inserted, slapped home, the slide released and the gun ready to fire.

..the empty magazine drops free (falling on to soft grass) and the reload is quickly inserted, slapped home, the slide released and the gun ready to fire.

The average velocity chronographed at 312 fps, and with the sights dialed in from a previous test, 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 was 2.24 inches with 10 shots measuring 1.25 inches, and a best 5-round group at 0.75 inches.

All tests were done from a distance of 21 feet firing 10 rounds at a B-27 silhouette target, reloading and firing a second 10 rounds.

All tests were done from a distance of 21 feet firing 10 rounds at a B-27 silhouette target, reloading and firing a second 10 rounds.

All 20 shots hit in the X ring of the B-27 silhouette target with a maximum spread of 2.24 inches, with 10 shots measuring 1.25 inches, and a best 5-round group at 0.75 inches. There are multiple hits on the target containing groups of two and three overlapping shots.

All 20 shots hit in the X ring of the B-27 silhouette target with a maximum spread of 2.24 inches, with 10 shots measuring 1.25 inches, and a best 5-round group at 0.75 inches. There are multiple hits on the target containing groups of two and three overlapping shots.

This Tanfoglio is an amazing value as a training gun, and one I consider worth owning, even if you never compete outside of your own backyard.

The Airgun Experience will return next Saturday March 4th with a new series on tactical air rifles and optics.

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.

6 thoughts on “Tanfoglio Limited Custom Part 2

  1. Nice shooting pistol. This at least ,to me ,confirms that bb handguns , even though smoothbore, are plenty accurate . I am willing to sacrifice a little accuracy in exchange for the realism of the co2 containing mag over a pellet pistol. The head to head shootout with the adjustable sight Sig would be interesting . It might also be slightly tilted to the Sig . The longer barrel , even with the compensator removed gives it a little advantage .It also with the longer barrel, gets around 375 fps. That may may be a factor in accuracy as well . One of my most accurate replicas is the Schofield revolver. Despite its’ rudimentary sights , with its’ long barrel and 425 fps it shoots exceptional groups at 21-25 feet. I wonder if the higher velocity or the barrel length is responsible? A fairer comparison might be a standard Sig 226 fitted with adjustable sights , or aColt Gold Cup. No blog for a week ? I may go through withdrawal!


    • I always like to consider the occasional one week break while I prepare new articles an opportunity for readers to look back at earlier articles they may have missed or overlooked. Sometime the second part of a 2-parter has fewer readers. The index is a great guide to finding guns or topics of interest that may be worth a second look.


    • As for BBs vs. pellets, I also find the differences to be small (smoothbore vs. rifled barrels) at closer distances like 21 feet. As you step back beyond the optimum range for a blowback action BB pistol, semi-auto pellet models and especially revolvers, deliver better accuracy with a 4.5mm lead wadcutter from a rifled barrel, than a .177 cal. steel ball from a smoothbore. But, overall, you are right in saying that smoothbores are plenty accurate. The closest to a compromise between BBs and pellets may well be the forthcoming Sig Sauer P320.




  2. I hope that the trend to offering pellet shellsfor smoothbore revolvers fades away. The Schofield deserves a rifled barrel pellet version , as does The forthcoming Remington 1875 In the Peacemaker, I have both designated bb andpellet versions, gives an excuse to have more of them . If I am plinking paper or soda cans the bbs are fine. If Western Action Airgun matches appear using metal reactive targets , lead pellets for safety and longer range accuracy would be the way to go


Leave a Reply