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Walther CP88: the air pistol that launched Umarex in America!

by B.B. Pelletier

Walther’s CP 88 is as realistic as airguns get.

There is no denying that Umarex has made its mark in the airgun world. For those who aren’t aware, Umarex is the company that owns Walther. They bought a 90 percent interest in 1993, and the world wondered what would happen to the veteran gunmaker. This evening, March 14, 2006, in Ulm, Germany, Umarex celebrates the 120th anniversary of Walther – which is stronger now than ever. One reason for their newfound strength is a panoply of realistic airguns that started flowing from Germany in 1996 with the introduction of the Walther CP88!

Drop-dead realistic!
I’ll never forget when I first picked up a CP88. It looked great, but it FELT even better – and that feel is the secret of the success of all these airguns. They feel exactly like the firearms they copy. EXACTLY! The CP88 with the 4″ barrel is a copy of Walther’s P88 Compact 9mm pocket pistol. Though the exterior of the pistol is made of a low-temperature casting metal (pot metal) Umarex has engineered a beautiful finish that resembles blued steel. There are no voids visible, and the corners and edges are as sharp as if they had been milled. The weight is within fractions of an ounce of the firearm’s weight, so you lose nothing in the sensory department.

The slide opens to insert the 8-shot magazine. Indexing is automatic.

An 8-shot revolver
All the Umarex pellet pistols have an 8-shot revolver mechanism at their heart. The photo shows the slide open to reveal the metal 8-shot rotary magazine; this is where it is removed and inserted. One of the clever things Umarex does is locate the split in the slide in a place that’s difficult to see, so the slide looks whole to the casual observer. When the slide is closed again, the magazine indexes automatically and the gun fires a pellet with each pull of the trigger. As with all CO2 guns that fire in both modes, the CP88 is slightly faster in the single-action mode. The longer version of the pistol has a 6″ barrel that delivers more velocity, as well.

You’ll shoot it a lot!
Once you get hooked up with one of these pistols, you’ll find that you shoot it a lot more than your single-shot pistols. To help you keep up with the faster pace, there is a Diabolo Speedloader that loads seven 8-shot magazines at once! The gun comes with two magazines, and you can buy extra packages of three for a reasonable price.

Which pellets to try?
I’ve always liked the Gamo Match pellet for Umarex pistols. It’s a premium pellet, but also light enough to get all the velocity the gun has to offer. If you shoot at paper targets, this is a wadcutter that will punch round holes in the target for more accurate scoring. If you want higher velocity, you might try the Skenco type 2 synthetic skirt pellets. They are lightweight yet offer reasonable accuracy in a gun like this. I haven’t tried the new Gamo Raptors in one of these but I would assume they would be even faster.

What kind of accuracy?
Here is where the longer-barrelled gun shines. Just the extra separation of the front and rear sights makes this pistol easier to sight with precision, so it’s bound to do better at 10 yards. I get five-shot groups that measure 1-1/8″ at that distance (when I do my part). That’s with the Gamo Match pellets.

Don’t forget a holster
You’ll need a way to carry your pistol, and this tactical holster looks perfect. It has the “today” look that suits the gun so well. It fits a regular belt, because the belt keeper is adjustable – there’s nothing else to buy.

Umarex President Wulf-Heinz Pflaumer and his No. 1 client, actor Pierce Brosnin, aka “James Bond.”

Happy birthday, Walther!
Imagine the history that’s steeped in a company like Walther. They have been in business 120 years and have seen the entire history of pistol development. They have been at the forefront of much of that history, with their famous P38, the sexy PPK carried by James Bond of the 1960s and the newer P99 that James carries today. As an airgunner, you have access to many of the world’s most classic pistol designs through the genius of Umarex. The CP 88 is just a look at one of the fine guns they offer. We have many more to discover in the days before us.

63 thoughts on “Walther CP88: the air pistol that launched Umarex in America!”

  1. Hey I just checked out the crosman site they are coming out with new models.hey just came out with the phantom which is a nice looking break barrel rifle that is 1000fps,and more to come this summer.I would like to see some entrys on this when you return B.B.

  2. My mistake the crosman phantom comes out this summer the new release was the remington summit,remington is part of crosman so it is considered a crosman gun.

  3. BB,

    In the longer vertion of the walther cp88,Can you take off the compensator to make it look like the cp88 with out the compensator?
    And can you load daisy pointed pellets in this gun or gamo magnums?


    CF-X guy

  4. CFX-guy,

    You can take the compensator off the 6″ cp-88, but the barrel sticks out unsupported. Unlike the Colt 1911, and Beretta 92 where the comp is just for looks, the CP-88 actually has barrel inside the comp!!

    If you want both a 4″ and 6″ gun, buy the 4″ and add the 6″ barrel as an accessory- Pyramyd has them.

    I have the 4″ blued plus the 6″ barrel, and a 6″ nickel model. BB is right, great feel, very authentic, great shooters, very addictive. The 6″ is more accurate, I don’t have numbers but I can hit better with the 6″. I put a red-dot on the 4″, lots of fun to plink film cans at 6 meters.

    I use only wadcutter pellets. I find the pointed pellets WILL jam as they start to stick out the front of the clip. RWS, GAMO, Crosman wadcutters all work well. I have not noticed much accuracy difference. Get the speedloader, you’ll need it.

    BTW, wood grips are available too, they are very nice!! And, adustable target sights are also available- easy to dial in on those film cans, Pyramyd has those too!!


  5. JDB,

    I dont understand.What you are saying is that if I buy the one with the compensator I cant make it look like the one with out it,even though the normal model can be modified to have the compensator?
    I want the compensator model but I kind of like the look with out the compensator.So if I could take it of to fool around Id like it.


    could you show me in pictures the compensator model with out the compensator?

    My email is hernan_classic@yahoo.com

    CF-X guy

  6. BB,

    I am going to buy a pellet gun.Im looking at 2 airguns.The crosman 357 kit and the walther cp-88 with compensator.Wich one should I buy in your opinion without looking at the price tags?Thanks

    CF-X guy

  7. The question is, can YOU do those things? The gun certainly can. In the hands of a good IPSC shooter, the CP88 can do well.

    Accuracy at a high rate of fire is completely in the hands of the shooter. The gun’s accuracy doesn’t change. However, controllability is important, and the P88/CP88 is well-known for its ergonomic design that enhances controllability.

    Read the report on the CP88 Tactical next week to decide.

    The reliability is very good and the realism is tops.


  8. I am trying to decide on which of two air pistols to buy. The crosman 357 magnum kit or the walther cps sport. I love both guns. The reason why I like the magnum is because it can shoot harder by using the 8 inch barrel (475 fps according to manual). The reason why I like to buy the walther is because for me it looks nicer (more real looking). However, my final decision will be based on accurancy and durability. Which of the two do you think is more accurate and durable? Which of the two do you think will give me less problems. Thanks.

  9. Which air pistol would you reccomend me in buying, the Colt 1911 A1 or the Walther CP88? I love both guns. Reviews for both guns are very positive. I will prefer the one that gives me more accurancy, velocity, distance and durability? Which of the two do you think will come on two when comparing them? Thanks.

  10. B. B. is absolutely right about the CP88, this gun looks/feels like the real thing and is a blast to shoot (no pun intended). I shot up 1000 + pellets and all my paper targets in the first three days. I’m getting at least 80 useable shots per CO2 cartridge. Wadcutters and domes feed flawlessly, no jams with these types of pellets. Haven’t tried pointed pellets. Did try the Gamo Raptors, they jammed frequently in the magazine.

  11. BB

    I’ve had my CP88 since 1996 and had tons of fun with it. I’m in the UK and until I read your post was unaware it was a new gun at the time.
    It has had a problem for quite a while though, when i load a magazine it doesn’t self index, I have to make sure it lines up properly or I can’t fire the first shot. Is this a known and repairable problem?


  12. Alf,

    If just one particular magazine has the problem, it’s the magazine. If they all do it, your hand is worn out. The hand is the pawl that advances the cylinder, by pushing against the ratchet.

    If the gun is the problem, it needs to be fixed.


  13. B.B.,
    How difficult is it to swap out the 4″ barrel with the 6″ product shown on the Pyramid website? Are there instructions included? Does the whole gun first need to be dissassembled? I am not the most handy fella in the world, but if its not too complicated, this little modular set up for the cp88 may be just what i’m looking for. Thanks as always.

  14. Here is the exact product,
    It looks like it requires the gun to be dissaembled, I read through all of your previous posts on the CP88 and the CP88 tactical, none mentioned (If I missed it I’m sorry) the ability for this model to be disassembled (like I believe, older models of the Umarex PPK?), so I’m wondering if this is something that would require some prof. gunsmithing. Im sort of a novice so this would be a determinant factor (the added length of the 6″) in my purchasing this gun over a berretta or colt pistol.

    As mentioned above on this page,
    You can take the compensator off the 6″ cp-88, but the barrel sticks out unsupported. Unlike the Colt 1911, and Beretta 92 where the comp is just for looks, the CP-88 actually has barrel inside the comp!!

    If you want both a 4″ and 6″ gun, buy the 4″ and add the 6″ barrel as an accessory- Pyramyd has them.

    I have the 4″ blued plus the 6″ barrel, and a 6″ nickel model. BB is right, great feel, very authentic, great shooters, very addictive. The 6″ is more accurate, I don’t have numbers but I can hit better with the 6″. I put a red-dot on the 4″, lots of fun to plink film cans at 6 meters.
    I wonder if this previous poster happens upon this blog again, he or she could answer my question on the difficulty of the interchange of barrels on this gun,

    B.B. if you had any further thoughts I’m all ears as always. Thanks for this awesome resource for airgunners.

  15. The main thing to keep in mind when considering the Walther against the Beretta, even above aesthetics in my opinion, are the weights of the guns.
    The Walther weighs 36oz, which is pretty close to the weight of the actual pistol.
    The Beretta weights 44.4oz… that’s 10oz HEAVIER than the real Beretta 92!
    I’m in the process of sending one back to tat my expense, the thing is just too heavy.

  16. Just got my cp88 nickle, Very nice gun. Howeverm the clasp you depress to open the magizine is VERRY difficult to get to pop open. Requires both hands and wears on the thumbs, perhaps it will loosen over time? It seems like all other Umarex guns only need a quick flick of the thumb, not a major two handed work out. The gun pictured on the website, though marked Nickle, appears in distinctly different shades, the photo of the Nickle gun with balck grips, looks bright, silver, shiny, and well, nickle colored. The gun shown with the woodedn grips looks much more beige, or light bronze in color. This was the color of my gun, sort of brushed bronze, not so bright. I figured Nickle was a standard color choice for all these models, I sort of thought the pics on the website were just taken under differnt lights, or intensity of cast light or some thing. In any case, if you order one of these, your taste should trend towards brass over nickle, just a shot out to everyone. I will test out the gun, but i think i may return for a solid black color, have to also try out the 6″ barrel exchange on this gun, looks sweet.

  17. Sometimes there are burrs around the controls of these guns. They will wear in after a while.

    Nickel plate has a golden hue to it, unlike chrome. Chrome, which is extremely rare on guns, is whiteish silver. The difference will be plain when the two finishes are held next to one another.

    Stainless steel can have several hues, but tends to be whiteish, more than nickel plate.


  18. Chesapeake Steve–Unless you’re buying a pistol for just its looks & not performance-(& theres nothing wrong with that)-try the S & W 598 models with the 4, 6, and 8in. barrels. IMO they’re beautiful guns and no other pistols can touch it as far as overall quality and accuracy. And unless you get a bad one-which I’ve only seen 1 of-they wont give you a days trouble. They really are the TOP of the co2 pellet pistol food chain.

  19. Hey Guys, Which do you prefer? the beretta fs92 or the cp88? they are both pretty identical on the inside and performance. I have been thinking about getting the fs92 but ive seen some complaints that the grip is too big for people with smaller hands and the front sight gets loose and eventually falls off…any suggestions anyone? and if you guys say the fs92, can you also tell me if theres anyway to fix the front sight? thanks alot guys…

  20. Hey B.B.

    I have been looking at air pistols for quite a while now and I have come down to basically this Walther CP88 and the Gamo PT-80. I really like the fact that this is so realistic, but I also like the Gamo’s price tag. Do you have an opinion on either of these guns? Which would you buy? Have you chonographed this gun’s speed? If so, would you mind telling me it? I am always a bit wary about the speed given in the gun’s specifications, considering on numerous occasions I have found it to be incorrect.


  21. Rick,

    The CP88 is a class apart from the Gamo. It’s very realistic. That said, the velocity is about the same.

    With the PT 80 I got 345 with RWS Hobbys by waiting 15 seconds between shots. That’s single-action. Double action was 318. Expect groups of 1-1/8″ at 25 feet if you do your part.


  22. Dale,

    You can figure this out for yourself if you know the numbers. Figure 360 f.p.s for a 7.5-grain pellet. Go to the energy conversion formula in the article “What is muzzle energy?” and plug in those numbers.



  23. Has anyone used the following pellets with this CP88/Tacticle gun; which is better for accuracy, distance and impact. Also, would you recommend any other brand or type; my main shotting is outdoor and indoor target only and not for hunting.

    Beeman H&N Match wadcutter

    RWS Meisterkugeln Match 7.0 gr

    Gamo Match 7.5 gr

    Crosman Premier Match 7.9gr

    Thank you,

  24. Jon,

    The bore of the compensator cannot be rifled – it could NEVER match the rifling in the barrel.

    It just fits closely to the muzzle to prevent gas loss, just like the cylinder on a firearm revolver has several thousandths clearance between it and the barrel of the gun.

    I didn’t find where Pyramyd said it would do 560 with Raptors, but I’ll bet it won’t. Maybe 480-500?

    Raptors are very hard and will not deform to seal gas when they jump from the cylinder to the barrel, so I don’t think you’ll want to shoot them in this gun.


  25. BB,

    Thank you for your answer. In Pyramyd website they don’t give any numbers except that if you use the Raptors the velocity will increase 25%. From 450 fps + 25% I figured will be about 560.
    Now given the fact that the compensator can not be rifled, the velocity of a CP 88 4″ with compensator will be the same as a 6″ built in (450 fps)?
    Thank you again,

  26. Jon,

    That 25 percent is Gamo’s number, not Pyramyd’s. They just print what Gamo gives them.

    In my testing, only certain rifles had that kind of increase. Other guns might gain 10-15 percent.

    As for your other question, I don’t know the answer for certain, but when I tested a compensator on another Umarex gun, it did increase the velocity. But maybe not by 50 f.p.s.


  27. BB,

    As per your previous answer you don’t advice using Raptors with a CP 88. What can happen?
    Between a CP 88 4″ with compensator and 6″ which one will you go with? I know that’s subjectiv …
    Thank you again,
    Jon M.

  28. Jon,

    Nothing bad will happen with Raptors. They just aren’t right for this gun. But give them a try if you like. They won’t cause any damage because this gun has a steel barrel.

    I have the 4-inch and like it best. I can’t tell you why. The 6-inch is more powerful and easier to be accurate with, I would think.


  29. BB,
    First of all thanks for all the great articles and advice. I just purchased a Walther CP88 and I've used in now for 3 days. The one problem I have with it is that the initial 3 or 4 shot after I just inserted a new C02 has low velocity and no pop. After that it starts firing normally with power. Do you know what causes that? Why can't it fire with power from the start? Please advice on how I can fix that because I love this gun. Thanks. Rick

  30. Rick,

    I don't think you are adjusting the CO2 cartridge properly before closing thew floorplate and piercing the cartridge. Adjust that wheel as far as it will go before you close the floorplate. That way the piercing needle will go through the cartridge and gas will flow. I think you are piercing too shallow.


  31. BB,

    Thanks for the suggestion. However, I did try that today and it still did not fire correctly the first 2 to 3 shots. I put a drop of pellgunoil, inserted the powerlet and screwed the wheel as far as it will go until it definitely would not go anymore. That's when I closed the floorplate. The first 2 to 3 shots had no power and no pop (like you would hear when the C02 is discharging). However, all of a sudden after 2 to 3 shots, C02 starts working…shots finally have velocity and power and the normal loudness of the CP88. From then on until the C02 runs out, it fires normally. Then it is back to the problem when I replace the powerlet. Do you think the gun just needs a break-in period?

    By the way Kevin, thanks also for your suggestion regarding pellgun oil. I do use that religiously on all my C02 pistols.

    Thank you all for all the help.


  32. Rick,

    The problem seems to be that the gun isn't getting enough gas for the first two or three shots. Why that would be is something I cannot comprehend.

    Try piercing the cartridge then waiting several minutes before firing the first shot. That's just to see if there is a difference.

    When I pierce a new cartridge I always fire a blank as the first shot to confirm that the cartridge was pierced. Do you do that?

    Beyond those things, I cannot suggest anything else. Your break-in period may be the answer.


  33. Rick, I'm wondering if (for some reason) your valve stem could be sticking. It doesn't budge for the first couple of strikes, but after a few shots it finally breaks loose. If this is the case I'm guessing the problem might go away as everything wears in and works with less friction. Or I'm wondering if the hammer spring might be a little weak.

  34. BB,

    No, I have not fired a blank as the first shot. I will try that. I did try something different yesterday. Yesterday, I inserted a new C02 and fired 2 rounds (16 shots…like before, the first 3 shots had no velocity but the rest were fine). After that I put the gun away for the night with the C02 still in the gun. This morning, the gun fired perfect from the get go. The first shot had power/velocity and C02 release. After the C02 was exhausted and I replaced it, it was back to the same problem. So what I am doing now is fire 2 rounds after a new C02 is inserted before putting the gun away. Hopefully the break-in period will take care of the problem eventually.

    Vince, hopefully it is not the hammer spring but I guess we'll see after the break-in period.

    Thanks again everybody.


  35. Rick,

    I just got the CP 88 myself and I am having the same exact issue! That is how I stumbled upon this thread! I love the gun also and I am going to hope it's a break-in issue as well. Keep me posted if you figure anything out about it and I will di the same!


  36. MP,
    Unfortunately, after over 1,000 shots fired, my CP88 still has the problem. I don't know what is considered end of break-in period but I am not sure it will fix the problem. Since I fire the gun at least every other day, what I do is insert a new C02 and fire 2 rounds just to get the valve open and firing normally. Then I store it away. When I do that, the next time I fire it fires normally from the start (until a new C02 is inserted again of course). If you find a solution, please post it and let me know and I will do the same.


  37. HI BB,
    I got the opposite situation of Rick and Vince. For the first shot, I always get a pop and high velocity. For the next shots (in rapid fire) I get low velocity and no pop. I also notice that the hammer does not go all the way back in rapid fire unlike when I cock the hammer for single shot.


    Btw, I use Daisy pointed pellets.

  38. Fr5ancis,

    The first couple shots with CO2 after installing a new cartridge always give a pop. That's liquid CO2 getting through the valve. It goes away after 2-3 shots.

    Double action with Umarex pistols is usually weaker then single action because the action bar doesn't bring the hammer back as far before releasing it, as you have observed.

    Unless you have chronograph readings that show super-low velocities, I think your pistol may be operating normally.


  39. Hi BB,

    Good Day! I was looking for Pellgun oil at gun shops/hobby shops here in Manila, Philippines. Unfortunately they don't sell one. Is there an alternative oil or anything to Pellgun Oil?

    Thanks again,


  40. This is not a "problem" with just this model pistol. I have two (one for me and one for my son) Benjamin EB22's and they both have to be blank fired a couple of times before full power is up. I have researched this quite a bit and believe the CO2 cylinder to be the culprit (quality control). They may have increased the thickness of the pressure seal on the cylinders due to some new safety or shipping law. The airgun manufacturers may not have caught up with redesigning the puncture pin yet. This is just a theory!

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