Target Pistols and Target Shooters Part 7
Match Pistols – Detailing the Weihrauch HW 75
By Dennis Adler
Unlike the spring piston P1, the Beeman P2 and HW 75 are totally recoilless pneumatic designs, which makes the Weihrauch-built models ideal 10-meter Match Pistols. While the Beeman P2 has taken that long journey into the secondary market, the HW 75 has never left the building and remains one of the best, if not the best, single shot pneumatic target pistols on the market, and also one of the most expensive. Back in 2001 when the First Edition Blue Book of Airguns was published, the Beeman P2 had been in production for 10 years and the MSRP was $385. If you wanted the walnut Match Grips used on the Weihrauch HW 75 (introduced in 2000) it was an additional $70. The Weihrauch had an original MSRP of $495. So it was always more expensive than the P2.
The Beeman P2 tried more closely to emulate the lines and grip profile of a Colt Model 1911 (albeit on a larger scale), whereas the Weihrauch HW 75 M (as it was then listed) had no such pretense, stepping up to its large competition grip design to provide shooters with an almost unrivaled hold on this 4.5mm model. The HW 75 M grip contours were similar to centerfire match pistols with flared grips and thumb rests. Many of today’s centerfire competition pistols have extended magazine wells with a similar contour to the base of the HW 75 (some integral to the grip frame, others attached around it), that provide a similar level of support for the shooting hand, as well as speed up reloading. Unfortunately there is no grip design that can speed up reloading a single shot pneumatic, but the Weihrauch’s grip soundly performs its job, whether from a classic one-handed target shooting stance, using a two-handed hold, left-handed or right.
Full ambidextrous handling is another of the HW 75’s best characteristics, even the barrel assembly release is at the rear of the frame making it easy to use with either hand. The thumb safeties are also easy enough to operate with the shooting hand thumb, though some shooters will have to rotate the pistol just slightly to reach it with their thumb (if shooting one-handed, otherwise the support hand thumb does the job). However, as I discovered, since the safety is ambidextrous it is actually easier and faster to set and release with the trigger finger.
Back in 2001, in my Introduction for the First Edition Blue Book of Airguns I commented that “….there are more air pistols and air rifles manufactured for the adult market (and this includes a very strong youth market for education and competition training at the Olympic level), than at any time in the recorded history of airguns.” That statement not only remains true to this day but the number of airguns and their use for training at all levels, has multiplied every year since. The fact that the Weihrauch HW 75 still ranks among the finest single shot 4.5mm pneumatic air pistols you can own today truly underscores what a great job Dr. Robert Beeman and the Weihrauch engineering department did in 1991 with the P2 (the HW 75 M’s predecessor).
Today’s Weihrauch HW 75
The HW 75 is not quite as big as a 10-meter pistol with an overall length of 11.0 inches (and 6.7 inch match grade rifled steel barrel), a height (base of grips to top of rear sight) of 6.125 inches, frame width of 1.125 inches, sight radius of 9.5 inches, and weight of 2 pounds, 6.5 ounces.
In Thursday’s conclusion of this series, the Weihrauch HW 75 hits the 10 meter firing line.
Special thanks to Steve Fjestad, Bluebook Publications and the Blue Book of Gun Values.