Target Pistols and Target Shooters Part 7

Target Pistols and Target Shooters Part 7

Part 6  Part 5  Part 4  Part 3  Part 2  Part 1

Match Pistols – Detailing the Weihrauch HW 75

By Dennis Adler


One of the finest single stroke pneumatic 4.5mm air pistols you can own today, the Weihrauch HW 75 has been around for 17 years and before that as the Beeman P2 for a decade. The high quality walnut grips provide an ambidextrous hold for right or left-handed shooters with an easily activated ambidextrous manual safety. 

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 grips provide a thumb rest on both sides and a full surround palm shelf for a secure hold whether fired in a classic one-hand shooting stance, or with a two-handed hold. The grip is a medium-large size that fits the average hand. The stippled finish on the lower portion of the grip aids in a secure hold and support of the hand as it rests on the palm shelf.

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.

The Beeman P2, predecessor to the HW 75, used a traditional 1911 style wood grip like the Beeman P1 Magnum. Aside from the grips, the basic design of the P2 has been around for 27 years, either as a Beeman or Weihrauch model.

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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.

The HW 75 has an easily adjusted windage and elevation target rear sight with a wide square notch. As a hammer-fired pistol the HW 75 can be dry fired by simply cocking the hammer. There is no need to open the action to stage the trigger.

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).

For some the safety may be too far forward to reach with the shooting hand thumb. I found it easier to use the shooting hand trigger finger since the gun has ambidextrous safeties. Here I am using my right hand trigger finger to release the right hand safety, which would normally be for left-handed shooters. The same applies to left-handed shooters who can use the left side safety with their trigger finger. A very well thought out design courtesy of Dr. Beeman and Weihrauch.
From safety release to trigger is a quick move for taking the shot.

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.

The full ambidextrous design of the HW 75 will be explored in Thursday’s 10-meter shooting test. Here the safety has been released and is shown in the FIRE (forward) position. The small hole in the triggerguard is to allow the hex-head wrench to pass through to the trigger adjustment screws. Also note that the top of the barrel assembly is fully grooved to reduce glare.

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.

12 thoughts on “Target Pistols and Target Shooters Part 7”

  1. Reading about this pistol is similar to reading a test report of a new Aston Martin or other cars of it’s ilk. Well, not really, I could make it a priority, save my play money and eventually get one Your Thursday will be very interesting. I am looking forward to it.
    Thank You

      • Good Luck on the Aston Martin Dennis. The beauty of both of these, the Aston Martin and the HW 75 are they are quality items that are instant collectibles . A person could buy 4 modern blowback action pistols for the price of a HW 75 and with prolonged use, they would self destruct . I am sure the HW 75
        would keep working long enough to hand them down to your children, grandkids and heaven knows how much longer . For me, a HW 75 is possible, Not so for the Aston, but I don’t have the British government buying them as Mr. Bond does. 🙂

        • Speaking of 007 did you know that Sean Connery is holding a Walther LP53 air pistol in the movie poster for From Russia With Love? So even 007 used an occasional airgun.

          On November 25, 2010 the Walther LP53 held by Connery in the 1963 movie poster sold for $430,000 at a Christies auction. That’s almost twice as much as a 2017 Aston Martin DB 11!

  2. Wow, that is some interesting trivia that a lot of folks are not aware of. As a recent convert to air gunning, I was unaware of the Walther LP53 pistol. A Google search gave me some cool videos of the pistol and some of it’s history , Thanks again Dennis .

    • I can imagine several ways a single shot pneumatic could be built around the look of a percussion lock dueling pistol. Great idea. Would be an fascinating gun to build. It would also have to be a .22 cal. pellet to make it more interesting and accurate. That’s one for the dream book of airguns!

  3. Yes ,I always knewSean Connery was posing with an air pistol in that photo , now Iknow which one . Will probably never see the dueling pistol pneumatic, like lot of my ideas , but it seemed interesting at the time.

    • The technology is old and established. It is the tooling for the pistol frame, grips, and hammer design that makes it difficult to do. Costs are often prohibitive on something that would not be a “mainstream” gun and I dare say a single shot pneumatic 19th century dueling pistol would be pretty far from mainstream. It would also be one of the most interesting single shot pneumatics ever done! And there is a solid precedent for making one, Lewis and Clark carried an air rifle with them on their Corps of Discovery expedition from 1803 to 1806. Airguns were well established by the 19th century. Why not a percussion lock-style single shot .22 pneumatic or even a CO2 powered pellet gun with the CO2 in the grip? If this sounds interesting to anyone, speak up.

  4. Certain companies want to appeal to the mass market , and some make fewer numbers of a high end product , Chevy and Aston Martin. There is a market for both. Not they they are a great example of management, but Colt sells every SAA they make , and so does Ruger with the New Vaquero . I think airgun manufacturers need to decide where they stand and which market they want to market to . Will be interesting to see which approach Umarex will take with the Glock licensed pistols .

    • My understanding is they are going full on with the Glock arrangement starting with the G17 which from what I have seen thus far is like the S&W M&P40, a 100 percent training substitute. I will have a review in Airgun Experience as soon as a sample is available. This could be the next best CO2 training gun to come along.

  5. Not a big Glock or polymer pistol fan , but since you never know what you might wind up having to shoot . I like being familiar with most pistols , so I will probably pick up the co2 version for that purpose . Said I didn’t have much use for one , never said I didn’t know how to use it

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