Walther CP88

Walther CP88 Competition Part 2

Aiming downrange with the classic Walther semi-auto

By Dennis Adler

The Umarex Walther CP88 Competition brings the classic design of the Walther P88 Champion 9mm pistol to the world of airguns with a 4.5mm, 8-shot semi-auto based on the most exclusive of the P88 models manufactured in 1992.

The Umarex Walther CP88 Competition brings the classic design of the Walther P88 Champion 9mm pistol to the world of airguns with a 4.5mm, 8-shot semi-auto based on the most exclusive of the P88 models manufactured in 1992.

In design and operation, the Umarex Walther CP88 shares an internal kinship to the 4.5mm Walther CP99, also introduced by Walther some 16 years ago. Both use 8-shot cast alloy rotary magazines which are loaded at the breech after using the slide release lever to open the action. Depressing the release allows the forward portion of the slide, containing the barrel, to move forward exposing the chamber. Once loaded, pushing the slide back to the closed position makes the gun ready to shoot. Internally, the CP88 models, like the CP99 pellet pistols, are revolvers with the rotary magazine cycling around the barrel bore like the chambers on a revolver.

To load the CP88, the slide release lever is pushed down about 45 degrees allowing the forward portion of the slide, containing the 6-inch rifled barrel, to move forward on the frame. This allows access to the breech to insert an 8-shot rotary cast alloy pellet magazine.

To load the CP88, the slide release lever is pushed down about 45 degrees allowing the forward portion of the slide, containing the 6-inch rifled barrel, to move forward on the frame. This allows access to the breech to insert an 8-shot rotary cast alloy pellet magazine.

This allows all of the CO2 to be used to send the 4.5mm lead pellets downrange at an average velocity of 400 to 425 fps. With the Competition length 6-inch rifled barrel, (which is a full length, one piece barrel, not an extension), the pistol’s accuracy at 21 feet and 10 meters is impressive, even fired off hand with the standard sights.

The slide release lever should be worked carefully with the hand over the top of the slide (so as not to allow the slide to slam forward when it is released). Allowing the barrel to drive forward with full force will cause extra wear on the mechanism. (You can see part of the heavy spring exposed underneath the slide). After the slide is released, the lever should return parallel to the slide, as shown. If it ends up locking down at 90 degrees it has been rotated below its normal operating position.

The slide release lever should be worked carefully with the hand over the top of the slide (so as not to allow the slide to slam forward when it is released). Allowing the barrel to drive forward with full force will cause extra wear on the mechanism. (You can see part of the heavy spring exposed underneath the slide). After the slide is released, the lever should return parallel to the slide, as shown. If it ends up locking down at 90 degrees it has been rotated below its normal operating position.

The CP88 models have a couple of interesting features worth noting, one is the trigger design, which, unlike the single action trigger on the 9mm Champion model is a double action trigger pull, thus longer and harder. The CP88 is equivalent to firing a DA/SA or DAO revolver with the trigger pull cocking the hammer. Unfortunately, since this is not a blowback action air pistol, every shot is with the DA trigger pull. You can also manually cock the hammer, which puts the trigger into single action and reduces the average trigger pull from 8 pounds, 15 ounces, to 7 pounds, 10.5 ounces.

The only weakness in the design is not having white dot sights for better target acquisition. The rear sight is a windage adjustable, dovetailed u-notch design.

The only weakness in the design is not having white dot sights for better target acquisition. The rear sight is a windage adjustable, dovetailed u-notch design.

The CP88 uses standard front blade sight.

The CP88 uses a standard front blade sight.

The trigger requires a full inch of take up with consistent stacking to a clean break; most of the take up is used to rotate the internal magazine and lock the hammer back to a staged position, just like a double action revolver. A straight, clean pull through of the trigger is no harder than manually cocking the hammer for each shot, since the final 0.315 inches of resistance is still north of seven pounds. Once you get a rhythm for handling the long, heavy trigger pull on the CP88, it is a very predictable gun to shoot.

To conduct the test I used Meisterkugeln 7.0 grain wadcutter lead pistol pellets, which cleared the ProChrono chronograph’s traps at 428 fps average on a fresh CO2 cartridge. Fired offhand at 21 feet the best 8-shot group (one full magazine) measured 1.50 inches with five of eight in the X of a Birchwood Casey Big Burst orange target. My best average groups with eight 4.5mm pellets was 1.25 inches but none put five of eight in the X, so I’m going with that target as my best overall average since the five shots measured 0.74 inches and took out most of the X.

Tests were fired indoors at 21 feet using a two-handed hold.

Tests were fired indoors at 21 feet using a two-handed hold.

The weather was too cold for CO2, so the tests were shot indoors at 21 feet. I have tested this model outdoors at 10 meters and my average groups have been 1.25 to 1.50 inches, so there really isn’t much difference at the longer range, the CP88 Competition’s 6-inch rifled barrel makes it easy to shoot sub 1.5 inch groups consistently. Of course, in real 10 meter competition, that’s a big spread, but then again, this is an 8-shot, 12 gram CO2 powered airgun, not a 10 meter Olympic target pistol.

Using RWS Meisterkugeln 7.0 grain Professional Line wadcutters, five of eight shots grouped at just under 0.74 inches in the X, which was pretty much obliterated. I dropped three a little too low, extending the total spread for 8-shots to 1.5 inches inside the 10 and X rings.

Using Meisterkugeln 7.0 grain Professional Line wadcutters, five of eight shots grouped at 0.74 inches in the X, which was pretty much obliterated. I dropped three a little too low, extending the total spread for 8-shots to 1.5 inches.

For training indoors or out at 10 meters, the CP88 Competition is a very affordable entry level pistol with a legacy of its own, having been among the very first of Walther’s 4.5mm, CO2-powered semi-auto air pistols. It is a gun done right, right from the start.

5 thoughts on “Walther CP88

  1. Nice looking ,accurate pistol , but it is time to move beyond the dated hey I am a mini revolver hiding in a semiauto body. Time for some real blowback straight mag feeding pellet semiautos. Until then it is bb pistols ,and my old Crosman 600


    • There’s a way to go yet, but I think the time is not too far out when a CO2 magazine with a rotary belt pellet will be developed. There is no way yet that I know of to feed pellets into a vertical magazine like BBs. But trust me; there are manufacturers trying to figure it out because you are right, a magazine loading semi-auto with a self contained CO2 pellet magazine is the next logical step in blowback action air pistols.


  2. That would be ground breaking, but a you stated for now the co2 bb mags are the only viable method. That isn’t so bad they are still pretty accurate and a target type 22 auto styled after a known older 22 pistol or a more modern Ruger Mark IV or Browning Buckmark wit ha co2 mag and short blowback slide would be nice to see. For now as far as accurate pellet shooters ,revolvers rule Webley Fosberry anyone?


Leave a Reply