by B.B. Pelletier
The Gamo PT-85 Blowback Tactical air pistol is a different air pistol in several ways that I will describe to you today. For starters, the most dramatic difference that strikes me is this pistol has a 12-inch barrel! You read that correctly, a 12-inch barrel. So, when Gamo makes the claim of being the fastest CO2 pellet pistol around, they have done their homework to make it so. The extra-long barrel means additional “burn” time to the gas, which is really extra acceleration time in the barrel. Carbon dioxide is a relatively sluggish gas that needs a longer time to act on the base of the pellet because of its lower pressure. With just 850 psi at 70 degrees F, it has about one-half or less the pressure of air found in a precharged pneumatic gun, plus the large CO2 molecule moves more slowly through the valve than the much smaller atoms found in air. In recent testing reported on the internet, a barrel length of 16 inches was found to be about optimum for CO2, as far as terminal velocity is concerned. That was with the valve in the gun that was being tested, but the valve in the PT85 pistol is certainly in the same class.
Putting a 12-inch barrel in a CO2 pistol is a great way to maximize the muzzle velocity. They conceal it beneath a fake silencer. Remove the silencer, and about seven inches of unfinished steel barrel protrude from the muzzle.
The second remarkable feature of this pistol is that there’s a front sight under the wraparound Picatinny quad rail. Not that one in 10 owners will ever use it, but it’s there. It has the mandatory dot to align with the two on the rear sight. These are tactical sights, and you use them by aligning all three dots while placing the center dot on the desired point of impact. You can do that with the fake silencer in place, so in effect, you get two different pistols when you buy this one. One has a quad rail and a tactical flashlight, laser and a dot sight with red, green and blue dots of varying illumination intensities. Why they left out the bayonet is beyond me.
The other pistol configuration is without the quad rail, using the conventional open sights. So the owner has a choice of just how much bling to bring to the fling.
The third major feature is one I’ve seen before, but not often. The magazine that fits into the grip is double-ended and each end contains an 8-round circular clip. You have 16 rounds on hand when the gun is fully loaded. All you have to do is remove the clip and flip it to the other end to get the final 8 shots.
The owner’s manual
Gamo promises 560 f.p.s. for this pistol. Although the too-brief owner’s manual remains silent on the subject, the cover of the box explains that this is done with Gamo Platinum PBA .177 pellets, of which they’ve included 50 with the gun.
I’ll test the pistol for both velocity and accuracy with PBA pellets and lead pellets. With a 12-inch barrel, I expect to see remarkable velocities with both types.
I’m going to blast the thin owner’s manual of this pistol for several weaknesses and errors. First, in the “How to install the CO2 cartridge” section in the manual there are too few words and none that help. They do not show how the grip is separated to access the loading area. So I’ll tell you. Just grasp the lower portion of plastic grip in one hand while holding the pistol in the other. The pull is straight apart and very hard, because there’s a locking tab at the top of the smaller part to be overcome.
The section on how to load pellets is similarly thin and graphic-oriented. These graphics are also weak. If you can’t figure out how to load the magazine, don’t look to the owner’s manual for help. Let me show you.
The Gamo PT-85 Blowback Tactical air pistol is both a single- and double-action handgun. The weight is given as 2.32 lbs. but with all the different accessories and pistol configurations, that will change as the gun does.
The finish is matte black, and your hand touches plastic almost exclusively. Only the trigger, slide and silencer are metal. The double-ended magazine is plastic, too.
I think this pistol will be received very well by younger shooters, because it embodies the design features that have come to be expected in a modern tactical sidearm. And the accessories are over the top at the price.
Personally, I hope the gun is accurate and as powerful as advertised.