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Education / Training Gamo V3 – Part 1

Gamo V3 – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

This report comes at the request of a reader. While CO2-powered BB pistols are all pretty much the same, this one has a thing or two that is unique, so we’ll explore it together.

The Gamo V3 is largely synthetic on the outside. Only the movable slide is metal. That’s right, the slide moves. In fact, it is one of the cleverest arrangements I’ve seen on a BB pistol, because it simulates blowback! You read that correctly – simulates blowback. Before getting into that, however, let’s look at some other nifty features, because I need to get the pistol charged.

Most of today’s crop of CO2 BB pistols have removable magazines, but the one on the V3 is different in several ways. First, it’s a drop-free mag, just like those found on fine firearms. Just press the mag release on the left side of the frame behind the triggerguard, and the mag drops out the same as a 1911 mag would. Sorry, there are no provisions for lefties here.

Drop-free magazine holds both the CO2 cartridge and the BBs. Mag release is the button behind the trigger.

Ingenious design
Once outside the gun, we can see a second difference. The bottom of the mag is solid and hangs below the grip frame, just like the bumper pad of a firearm drop-free magazine. A hidden button pops the “bumper pad” open to reveal the folding thumbscrew for piercing CO2 cartridges. I praise Gamo for this feature, because airgunners today absolutely HATE seeing anything hanging below the grip that isn’t also found on a firearm. A magazine bumper pad is okay because today’s pistol mags have them. Someone at Gamo has listened to this complaint and solved the problem with an ingenious design.

The “bumper pad” on the bottom of the V3 magazine conceals the thumbscrew for piercing the CO2 cartridge. This eliminates a major concern of buyers.

The Gamo bumper pad is shown next to a Wilson Combat M1911 magazine (right) with a real aluminum bumper pad. The Wilson mag costs nearly half of the Gamo V3’s price!

The sights are conventional modern tactical pistol sights, which is to say they’re equipped for night vision. The front sight has one dot and the rear notch has two. On a firearm, these would most likely be tritium capsules, but on the V3 they are white paint – the same as on my Taurus PT1911 economy .45 ACP.

“Simulated” blowback?
What in the heck is simulated blowback? Well, I think Gamo has done an astonishing thing with the V3. At the ridiculously low retail price, there’s no way they could make the gun actually blow back, so what they’ve done is tie the hidden hammer to the slide. As the shooter squeezes the long double-action-only pull, the slide moves with it, forcing the hammer backward until it releases to come forward and strike the valve stem. With every trigger-pull, the slide does come back. It’s before the shot rather than after, and there is no recoil impulse, but movement seems to be very important for the buyers of these BB pistols and Gamo has found a unique way of doing it.

Pulling back on the double-action trigger sends the slide to the rear. The hidden hammer (that silver tab that sticks out below the rear sight) is pushed through its cocking cycle this way.

More ingenuity is shown by the clever use of the moving slide feature in conjunction with the safety switch. It thumbs up into a notch on the left side of the slide and prevents the slide from moving. Since the gun is DAO and the slide must move for it to fire, the safety is foolproof. It’s also much simpler than any other safety I’ve seen.

Next, I’ll shoot the gun for accuracy and velocity.

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

18 thoughts on “Gamo V3 – Part 1”

  1. The V3 always sorta confused me. If you look at places where there is a large number of customer reviews (like ReviewCentre), the V3 gets poor marks. Frequently, the fake blowback is targeted as a bad feature. Of course, they tend to partially blame it for a rather stiff trigger pull, listed as almost 12lbs on the pyramyd site.

    If you look at pyramyd’s description of the pistol, they merely repeat Gamo’s ad copy that this pistol has “a receiver that slides back and forth after each shot”. Gamo is thus describing this gun as having blowback, which it obviously does not. This is misleading at best, and outright deception at worst. It seems a lot of shooters were taken in by this description, and ended up with something other than what they were expecting.

    I know that it’s more expensive to make a real blowback, but given that Walther can sell the PPK for $65, the P99 Compact for $76, and Crosman the PRO77 for $70… it is obviously possible to do it in this price range.

    Given the unrealistic action of the V3, the $70 price tag, the heavy trigger pull, and the false advertising – I can’t help but think that Gamo isn’t really giving the shooter what he or she wants. If so, why not describe it as it is? It sounds like they are merely trying to make a fast buck with some slick ad copy, knowing that most buyers won’t bother returning the pistol.

  2. Vince,

    That’s one way of looking at it. I haven’t fired the V3 for accuracy yet, so my mind isn’t made up, yet. However, your point about the PPK/S is a very important one. When I said what I did about blowback and price, I completely forgot about that one.


  3. “At the ridiculously low retail price, there’s no way they could make the gun actually blow back, so what they’ve done is tie the hidden hammer to the slide.”

    I recently purchased the Gamo V3 for 70$. I was so disapointed with the FAKE blowback, after a few weeks of frustation, I ended up also purchasing the Walther CP99 Compact with REAL blowback for 76$. Do yourself a favor and get the Walther. I have to agree with the first poster. I am not going to return the V3, but I definitely would not haver boughten it if I knew how much better the CP99 compact is for only 6$ more. I am so impressed with the CP99 compact, the V3 is currently collecting dust. One additional gripe, the Walther, you pull back the slide to chamber the first round. The Gamo V3, I pulled back the slide and the whole gun fell apart in my hand.

  4. I have an off topic question. I’m wondering what kind of speed one could expect from a 148 grain lead hollow base wadcutter bullet fired from a smoothbore cane gun using a 12 gram co2 cartridge IF the whole contents of the co2 cartridge were expelled for the shot, possibly through an enlarged exaust valve or port?

  5. Thank you for your answer to my cane gun question and the Saxby-Palmer article. I ran across one of these guns some time ago. Interesting idea. Would like to see something more done with it.

  6. BB,

    is that your hand in that picture?

    Just making a point to some. I dont want to know!

    I agree with scott. Dont show yourself or anything. I say this because i am enjoying this report so much and do not want it to change. If you show yourself than they have won.

    Readers with a good memory and have been reading from the start know who you are.

    just my two cents.


  7. BB
    I haven’t been reading since the beginning and don’t know who you are, but I agree with Sumo. The Curious Georges have to learn not to look a gift horse in the mouth. We have a great resource here, so, just click back and enjoy it.

  8. Sumo and MCA

    i think you have totally missed the point here about BB and who he really is. The man is an airgun genius and whether he is Tom Gaylord or President Bush, we dont actually care. That doesnt mean its not interesting to know. As for “we have won”?? won what?? I didnt know there was a battle going on, let alone that i might actually win something? (ps if i do win, can i have a Career 707 9mm as a prize please).
    And are you 2 actually suggesting that you would enjoy BBs excellent blogs any less if you actually knew he was Kermit the Frog? Come on guys, life aint so serious.


  9. slueth, mca, bb,

    i think there is a reason bb is named bb. Thats because he doesent want to be known.

    BB. i have narrowed you down to three people, bush, kermit, or tom gaylord.

    i have said all i feel the need to say on this matter. If bb doesent care than i dont. It doesent concern me.


  10. Thats an intresting point about the CO2 powered 38cal.. And If you can get three good shots at 550 fps; Would it be worth making a rifle? or does someone allready make one. Not cheep to shoot, per shot but it could be worth it.

    Joe G in Jersey

  11. BB,

    I was only being facetious about not revealing your identity.
    I’m quite sure you are the best judge of how to do things, so no problem there.
    I do know that you are (like me) a veteran and that your military experience has probably had something to do with your interest in airguns and firearms.
    It would be my guess that you want to keep things as private for yourself as possible to prevent flames and from being hassled more than you already are as it is.
    I wouldn’t fault you were that the case, as you have more than enough going on already.
    Thanks, really.

  12. B.B.
    Quick off topic question. When looking at pistol scope specs,what does “exit pupil” mean,and which is better 8mm or 12mm? Also,what does “exit pupil 16-4.6mm? Thanks in advance JR.

  13. J.R.,

    The term exit pupil refers to the diameter of the light beam that exits a scope’s eyepiece. The larger it is, the brighter the scope is.

    When there are two numbers like you have given, the scope is a variable and the numbers represent the range of sizes.

    However, I have never heard of an exit pupil as large as 16mm. It must come from a very low-powered scope.

    Anything larger than about 7mm is wasted, because that’s the maximum size of the Human pupil fuilly dilated.


  14. Jersey Joe,

    These airguns already exist. That’s how I knew the possible velocities for a .38 cal. wadcutter. I had a .43 caliber smoothbore air cane that I ran on CO2 and got 650 with a 120-grain ball. The wadcutter would have to be muzzle-loaded to cut the rifling and reduce the friction to get velocity that high.

    By the way, My cane had a .32 caliber rifled barrel insert, so rifled bullets could also be shot.


  15. I recently purchased a V3 before reading reviews – big mistake.

    It had every malfunction possible. I decided to try to fix things.

    RE: Magazine

    -After loading the magazine(one short as suggested), release the catch then run your fingernail up and down the stack of bb's. This seating seems to increase feed reliability by a considerable amount.

    -Still having intermittent issues with the follower/catch locking unintentionally after it's in the gun. It's probably interference issues during insertion.

    RE: Trigger pull

    There are many things that make this trigger horrible. It can be greatly improved.

    -Remove the lever and spring that lock the slide in the forward position when the trigger is in the relaxed position. It just isn't necessary.

    -Stretch the trigger return spring, but not past the point that it doesn't positively return the trigger.

    -There was a problem with the casting that caused one of the trigger alignment pins to bind right at the point that the pistol is supposed to fire. Use a needle file to clean this up so the trigger movement is smooth and bind free through its entire travel.

    -The sear can be filed. Slight rounding of the tip can be done with a file. This almost eliminates the trigger stacking.

    -The main spring on the barrel can be shortened although I haven't done this yet.

    RE: Accuracy

    -There is no way in hell that it can achieve the advertised .35" @ 10 yard claim.

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