by B.B. Pelletier

The Mayhem .45 Sport Tactical air pistol is a big, heavy airgun.

If you liked the Dan Wesson revolver we looked at a couple weeks ago, here’s another realistic airgun for you — the Mayhem .45 Sport Tactical air pistol. This one is a semiautomatic pistol style, and the owner’s manual says that it fires semiautomatically. Without a 12-gram CO2 cartridge installed, all I could feel was a double-action-only trigger-pull, because every pull of the trigger was obviously also cocking the internal striker. So I installed a cartridge to see if it really is semiautomatic once charged.

Not a semiautomatic
Indeed, this is not a semiautomatic! When you pull or squeeze the trigger, you’re also retracting the internal striker against a powerful spring. A true semiautomatic would cock this striker spring for you by the action of firing. In a firearm, the moving slide would push the external hammer back until the sear caught it and then all you would have to do is squeeze the trigger a little each time to release the sear. That is the definition of semiautomatic. The exposed hammer you see on the gun is a solid cast piece that doesn’t move, so the real striker (the correct name given to a weight that is internal and doesn’t pivot on an axis, but moves straight back and forth to impact the end of the valve stem) is inside the frame of the gun and hidden from view.

Some people insist that double-action-only applies to just revolvers, but that is incorrect. Glock sells only firearm pistols, but they label their triggers correctly as double-action-only. The Mayhem trigger is also DAO.

General impression
The Mayhem is very large and heavy. The grip feels wide — like the grip on a double-stack firearm pistol in which the cartridges in the magazine are offset to accommodate twice as many in the same magazine height.

The entire exterior of the pistol is metal except for the grip. That’s where the weight of 2.29 lbs. comes from.

The sights are the fiberoptic type that I usually criticize for their lack of precision, but this is a BB pistol and probably capable of shooting to the same precision as the sights can control. So, in this case, the sights match the capability of the gun very well. There are no adjustments for these sights. The front is a red tube that is largely unprotected from impact and the rear is a curved green tube that appears as two green dots.

The entire top of the pistol is a stylized Weaver rail that Pyramyd Air calls an optics rail. Under the muzzle, there’s also a short Picatinny rail for accessories like tactical flashlights. Weaver bases will attach to Picatinny rails, but not vice-versa.

Looking down on the top of the pistol, we see the stylistic “Weaver” sight rail that extends the length of the gun. It should accommodate standard Weaver bases, but it has non-typical scalloped notches instead of the usual square Weaver notches.

Underneath the slide at muzzle, there’s a short Picatinny rail for tactical flashlights and lasers.

The whole plastic grip panel pulls back to expose the CO2 cartridge housing. Loading is quick and easy and the screw that tensions the CO2 cartridge does not show when the grip is forward.

The grip pulls back to expose the CO2 receptacle. The BB magazine is a metal stick-style.

The 19-shot BB magazine is a stick-type located in the front of the grip. It’s made of metal and better-made than 90 percent of the stick magazines I see in similar airguns. The spring-loaded follower pulls down and locks at the bottom so you can load the magazine with one hand. There’s a wide opening for loading the BBs. When you’re finished, push the base of the follower that protrudes through the bottom of the magazine, and it’ll unlock and spring forward to tension the BBs.

The slide doesn’t move on this gun, nor is there any blowback sensation. The trigger stacks toward the end of the pull, allowing you to control the gun for more precision. It isn’t as easy to control as a gun with a single-stage trigger, but you can learn to control this kind of trigger pretty quickly. I imagine a gun like this will be chiefly used for plinking at soda cans and targets of equal size, though I do plan to test it on bullseye targets.

The power is rated at 430 f.p.s. Since this is a steel BB gun, there can be no confusion about what that means. Only steel BBs will be used in the gun, so any that I try should go approximately that fast.

Airsoft heritage
This is another air pistol that made the transition from airsoft. You can see that in several places, starting with the threaded muzzle that’s obviously meant for a silencer. A second clue are multiple references made in the owner’s manual, where the instructions refer to this as a “soft air” pistol.

There’s nothing wrong with transitioning from an airsoft gun, We saw that in the Dan Wesson revolver and liked it very much. But this pistol must stand on its own merit, so it’s going to be treated the same as all other BB pistols. As nice as it feels, I hope it does well!