by B.B. Pelletier


The .177 RWS LP8 pistol is a big, beautiful spring pistol.

You knew I would get to the RWS Model LP8 Magnum because I’m also testing the Browning 800 Mag, and the two are related in many reader’s minds. This pistol is made by Diana in Germany, but it bears a lot of resemblance to the Browning. It’s big, at 3.2 lbs. and 18 inches long, it’s black and it claims a velocity of 700 f.p.s. Like the Browning, the RWS LP8 is also a breakbarrel, but that’s where the similarity ends.

This gun has very little in the way of synthetic parts. The fully adjustable fiberoptic sights have plastic fiberoptic tubes, of course, but even their mounts are made of metal. It is as if someone in Germany is listening to the world’s airgunners.

The LP8 has no cocking aide, though a preliminary examination of the gun suggests that it could use one. Make no mistake that this is an adult air pistol and not suited to youngsters. I do know, however, that the cocking effort will get easier with time, and also the owner soon learns the exact geometry to make cocking possible with the least effort.

This is a new model for Diana, but a continuation of the line of breakbarrel pistols they’ve been making since 1907. The model immediately before this one was the P5 Magnum, another large breakbarrel pistol that was also rated at 700 f.p.s., but the gun I tested did not achieve that velocity.

The LP8 retails for $289.25 as of this report, which is slightly more than the last price for the P5 Magnum. Even so, those who have rated it give it high marks for accuracy and power, as well as for how well made they feel it is. Criticisms have been leveled at the non-adjustable trigger for being too stiff. In my experience, Diana triggers always need time to break in.

The two-stage trigger on the test gun is superb! It’s one of the finest sporting spring air pistol triggers I’ve used–very light and crisp. And the firing behavior is solid with almost no vibration. I can see how an owner would grow to love this pistol.

The safety is automatic and also ambidextrous! The latter was a complete surprise. Other than the Beeman P1, I don’t think I’ve seen an ambidextrous safety on another spring pistol. Like the safety on the P1, this one can be operated by the trigger finger, so there’s no need to waste time shifting hands to take off the safety.

Scope rail
One novel feature is the presence of an 11mm dovetail rail set atop the receiver, making this pistol acceptable to optical sights. Indeed, at least one reviewer has mounted a scope on his gun. I doubt I’ll do that, because I find pistol scopes to be incongruous; but I’ll devote the time to make the iron sights do their job. Some of the reviewers rate it as being accurate, but one says it isn’t. I suspect his problem stems from trying to shoot a spring gun directly off sandbags, which is an accuracy destroyer.

The grips are new from Diana. They feature finger grooves and a slight palm swell. There’s also a vestigial thumbrest that serves as a trigger finger guide on the other side of the gun. The grips are fully ambidextrous.

General feel of the gun
Most shooters will like the feel of the LP8. Though it’s a big, heavy pistol, the grip and trigger relationship is well designed, so the gun feels smaller than it really is. It sits heavy in the hand; and as long as you don’t try to rest it on anything, it should be pretty accurate for you.