by B.B. Pelletier

Normally, I don’t do comparisons, but this time I will. Here are two fine inexpensive 10-meter target pistols, one of which, the IZH 46, has become difficult to get. I say they are inexpensive, but that’s only compared to a world-class 10-meter pistol. The Gamo Compact is the least expensive of the two, yet it gives up no accuracy to the IZH. However, the Russian-made IZH has more features than the Spanish Gamo. Either pistol can compete in a local- and regional-level matches. This series will examine both guns in great detail.


Gamo Compact is an attractive 10-meter target pistol that resembles a semiautomatic instead of the single-shot that it is.

Starting with the Compact
The Gamo Compact is a single-stroke pneumatic pistol, which means the pump lever only has to be cycled one time for a shot. If you try to cycle it a second time you lose the air that was compressed on the first pump. The effort needed to close the pump lever during compression is 20 lbs. That’s going to be easy for most adults and possible for most teenagers.


Top strap rotates forward to open compression cylinder (the silver cylinder shown in the bottom half of the gun). Closing the top strap charges the gun with compressed air.

The pistol weighs just over 2 pounds, which probably varies a little with the density of the walnut grips. The grips are medium to large and very hand-filling. If this were my personal gun I would remove a lot of wood for a better fit, because my finger can just reach the trigger. The right-hand grips have an adjustable palm shelf on the right and a thumbrest on the left. They appear to be sized to conform to International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) rules, which means a thickness of not more than 50mm. Left-hand grips do not seem to be available at this time.

Trigger
The trigger on my test gun broke at 48-52 oz. There was a pronounced creep in the second stage on the gun I’m testing. The one trigger adjustment screw simply adjusts the length of the first-stage travel. There’s no adjustment to lighten the trigger-pull or for overtravel. The trigger blade can be rotated on its stalk, which gives some front-and-back adjustment.

The one nice thing about the Compact trigger is that it allows access to the mechanism. In the past, I’ve lubricated Compact triggers, reducing the pull significantly. I thought I’d try with this gun. Under the wooden grip panel on the right side is a milky white translucent cover holding the trigger mechanism intact. This cover can be carefully removed by removing three screws, then the sear can be directly accessed.


Translucent cover keeps trigger parts organized. You can cock the pistol and observe the trigger function through this cover.


The trigger is uncocked. The sear and air release are circled. The next photo shows how they engage.


Sear holds air-release hammer until the trigger moves the sear out of the way. Then, the hammer knocks open the air-release valve. The place where the sear contacts the hammer is lubed with moly to reduce trigger-pull.

After trigger lube
After Beeman M-2-M moly grease was applied to the sear and hammer, the pull weight dropped in stages to 36-39 oz. The creep diminished by about 95 percent but can still be felt. I think the moly may continue to reduce the trigger pressure as I shoot the pistol, because the Compact I owned several years ago was identical to this one and eventually got down to 21 oz. I’ll report on the pull, again, after the gun has a few hundred more shots through it.

Balance
The Compact is a light target pistol, with an especially light muzzle. It floats in my hand, but many shooters will like the light weight. That’s the direction the expensive pistols are headed these days – Gamo just got there first.

Build quality
Gamo uses a lot of engineering plastic in this pistol. Steel or other metals are used where they’re needed, but you’ll see a lot of plastic. That said, the Compact has a good record for longevity and reliability. The sear and hammer are hardened, so if you don’t try to lighten the pull through filing or stoning, they should outlast you. Keep the air cylinder lubricated with Pellgunoil. A drop applied to the air-intake hole gets sucked into the chamber violently as the sealed piston passes the hole. Overall, I think the pistol is something to be proud of. The dark action is set off by the figured walnut grips. The gun you’re looking at is one someone returned to Pyramyd Air for some unspecified reason – so it isn’t a cherry-pick.

Next time, I’ll introduce the IZH 46.