Tanfoglio Limited Custom .177 caliber semi-auto
What it takes to make a winner Part 1
By Dennis Adler
The Tanfoglio Limited Custom competition pistol is an Italian version of the CZ-75. The 9mm cartridge-firing versions of the .177 caliber Limited Custom and Gold Custom competition CO2 pistols are also based entirely on the CZ-75 using a short-recoil operated, locked breech design. The CZ-75 is a well established design used by armsmakers the world over, and though the names may be different, what is behind the name remains a CZ-75. Česká Zbrojovka developed the platform in 1976 and improved upon it with the addition of a firing pin block in the late 1980s, (CZ-75B), and the addition of a de-cocking lever (CZ-75 BD). While CZ-75 duty pistols are DA/SA, the competition versions are SAO designs (as are the CO2 models), but still share the ambidextrous safety, triggerguard design, and unique Česká Zbrojovka slide to frame fit.
All CZ-75 designs, including those by other manufacturers like Tanfoglio, use the same shallow slide configuration with rails that ride inside, rather than outside of the frame. It is the reverse of most other semi-auto pistol designs where the slide rails fit over the frame. The CZ design allows an uncommonly tight slide-to-frame fit, solid barrel lock-up and more consistent accuracy and this translates to the CO2 models, as well. This design was pioneered by Sig back in 1947 with the groundbreaking P210, still regarded to this day as one of the most accurate semiautomatic handguns ever produced.
The CZ design and 41 years of production have resulted in a handgun that has become not only one of the most prolific military and law enforcement sidearms (outside of the U.S.) but also one of the finest competition pistols in the world, and that is where the .177 caliber Tanfoglio Limited Custom begins. Like the 9mm Tanfoglio competition model, the CO2 version has a special dark silver finish (more of an anthracite grey on the airgun), the same over-sized squared triggerguard, fine checkered backstrap and front grip strap, and competition pistol-based Tanfoglio Xtreme aluminum grips, Xtreme Hammer, Xtreme style SAO trigger, flared and beveled magazine well, over-sized checkered magazine release, and ambidextrous thumb rest safeties. This is a handgun built to compete right out of the box.
The CO2 Version
Like the Tanfoglio Gold Custom reviewed in Airgun Experience No. 7 and No. 8, the Limited Custom is true in its design to the 9mm models.The key features that make the Tanfoglio Limited Custom CO2 model one of the best blowback action air pistols available are all accurate to the 9mm model, including an easily, click adjusted rear sight with elevation and windage screws. The Bomar-style sight is one of the best target designs available. The air pistol also has large ambidextrous thumb safeties, extended beavertail grip, deeply checkered back and front straps, wide, beveled magazine well, and a skeletonized hammer with knurled spur. The airgun also uses a full length guide rod and coned muzzle profile barrel (with the .177 caliber barrel recessed inside). The 9mm model has a 5-inch barrel, while the internal .177 caliber barrel on the CO2 model measures 4.0 inches.
Like its 9mm counterpart the Tanfoglio Limited Custom is ready to shoot at a competitive level right out of the box. For a blowback action CO2 model, it is an exceptional handgun. Just how exceptional will be explored in Part 2.
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.