Gamo Compact target pistol: part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gamo Compact
Gamo’s Compact single stroke target pistol.

This report covers:

  • What is the Gamo Compact?
  • Can you shoot 10 meter with one?
  • Description
  • Sights
  • Trigger
  • No safety
  • Pumping
  • Summary

I last tested a Gamo Compact single stroke target pistol in 1996, when I bought one for my newsletter,  The Airgun Letter. That was 19 years ago, and I was interested to see if the gun had changed in any way. As far as I can tell, it is exactly the same today as it was back then. That’s something you can’t say about a lot of airguns.

What is the Gamo Compact?

The Compact is a single stroke pneumatic target pistol. Yes, it is a 10-meter target pistol, though Gamo doesn’t represent it that way. Nor should they. Ten-meter air pistols are very specifically designed for just one thing — competition in bullseye target shooting at 10 meters. Yes, people do use them in other ways, but the guns are designed for just one purpose — putting pellets as close to the center of a bullseye as humanly possible.

The Compact is priced well below most other 10-meter target pistols, yet it can shoot nearly as well as any of them. The trigger is heavier and the ergonomics are not as sophisticated as the guns that cost $1700 and more, but nobody expects that from a $250 air pistol. The truth is — the Compact is everything people wish the IZH 46M was. It’s lightweight, inexpensive and accurate.

Can you shoot 10-meter with one?

The question that always arises is can someone shoot in formal 10-meter pistol competitions with a Compact? I don’t see why not. When I was at the top of my game, I could shoot an 89/100 with one. That was about where I shot with any 10-meter pistol. I will say that it was harder to shoot that well with the Compact because the trigger wasn’t as light and crisp as other target pistols, but it could be done.

Description

The Compact is very light for a target pistol. It weighs 1.95 lbs. which is 884 grams. That puts it on the light end of the target pistol weight spectrum. From the comments I read these days, that makes the Compact a popular weight. Ten-meter target shooting is done with the gun held in one hand only and this one is much easier to hold than so many on the market.

The top of the gun rotates up and forward for the one pump stroke. Press in on a light gray button located below the rear sight to unlock the top strap for cocking and pumping. The trigger cocks when the upper strap has raised about 4 inches, or almost to a 90 degree angle. Then the top strap continues to rotate upward and forward until it is almost 180 degrees from its closed position. After that, a pellet is loaded in the breech that is now forward (inside the top strap) and the top strap is rotated closed to pump the gun.

Gamo Compact open
The top strap rotates up and forward to open the gun for pumping.

The grips are oiled walnut. They are finished very rough for better gripping. An adjustable palm shelf can be slid up and down to compress the firing hand in place, which is common on all 10-meter target pistols. While the grip panels are shaped well enough, if I were to compete with this pistol I would have to use a wood rasp and wood putty to perfect the fit. But that is true for most target grips, save those made by Morini that cost as much as this entire pistol.

The grips are for right-handed shooters, only. The grip frame is not so complex that a skilled grip maker could not make a set of left-hand grips for you but that isn’t necessary. Gamo does make and offer left hand grips for the Compact. Pyramyd Air appears not to have them in stock at this time, but I’m sure a call to them would be able to arrange something.

One more thing about the grips. They are flat on the left side. What most shooters do not understand is that 10-meter target pistol grips are required to be no more than a certain thickness. If the grips could be thicker, nothing would keep competitors from turning them into free pistol grips, and that is what the rules are trying to prevent. Ten-meter air pistol is not the same competition as free pistol.

free pistol grip
The Olympic Free Pistol has a grip that can completely encircle the shooting hand, helping the shooter hold the gun. Ten-meter air pistol grips are not allowed to do this.

There is some steel in the gun and a lot of synthetics. This has not changed in 19 years. Back then synthetics were not received well, but today, with all the synthetic firearms, public opinion has changed.

Gamo rates the pistol at 400 f.p.s. They include a small tin of Gamo Match pellets in the box with the gun, so I will be sure to test it for you with those, along with some other good target pellets. This would be an ideal velocity for a target pistol and one that is great for a singe stroke to achieve.

Sights

The front sight is a narrow low blade and the rear is an adjustable notch that’s also narrow when the gun comes out of the box. Thankfully, the notch width is adjustable. The owner’s manual shows you where the rear notch adjustment screw is located. I was able to adjust the notch to perfectly suit my tastes.

Gamo Compact rear sight notch adjustment
This tiny screw on the left side of the rear sight adjusts the width of the rear notch.

The rear sight adjusts smoothly with positive clicks, so you know the sight is locked in place. Unfortunately there is no scale for either elevation or windage, so you have to know which way the screws turn to know where the sights are going.

Gamo Compact rear sight
The rear sight adjusts smoothly and positively in both directions. The light gray button below the sight is pressed in to release the top strap for cocking and pumping.

There is a top rail on top of the gun, but it is not undercut in a dovetail. So you aren’t going to mount an optical sight easily on the Compact. I don’t say it’s impossible — just not easy to do. I would plan on using the sights that come with the gun.

Trigger

The two-stage trigger-pull is advertised at 3 lbs. even, and I have to say the test gun feels like all of that. I will weigh it for you in Part 2. I see that I did some lubrication of the trigger parts on the gun I owned 19 years ago, and they really helped the pull, so we will see what can be done with this one in Part 2. Other than that, the pull weight is not adjustable.

The only trigger adjustment mentioned in the manual is the swiveling of the trigger blade to suit your trigger finger. There is a screw in the bottom rear of the triggerguard but it does nothing. The manual used to say it was for the adjustment of the length of the first stage pull, but turning it has no affect on anything and that text has been removed.

No safety

The Compact has no safety, which is standard for all 10-meter target pistols. But the owner’s manual does show a safety. The problem is the owner’s manual is also for a sporting version of the gun called the PR-45 that isn’t sold in this country. That gun does have a manual safety located on the right side of the frame, at the rear of the triggerguard.

Pumping

People confuse cocking the gun with pumping. Cocking occurs in the first 4 inches of top strap travel. It isn’t even noticeable. But pumping the gun does take some effort.

This is a single stroke pneumatic, so pumping is only one stroke and that stroke compresses all the air that will be used to fire the pellet. First-time shooters quickly discover that guns like this can be daunting to pump.

There is a technique to pumping that reduces the effort needed by as much as 5 lbs. Instead of rushing the stroke and forcing down the top strap violently, go slower and you’ll find the effort is less. I intend testing this method in Part 2, to see if it produces the same velocity as pumping more aggressively.

Summary

I’m testing the Gamo Compact after many years and it appears the gun is still the same as before. That’s good, because the Compact was always a good target pistol. It isn’t meant for formal competition, but my testing of 19 years ago showed that this pistol can compete with the best of them.

This is a very accurate air pistol for shooters who want the best at a reasonable price. Yes, I understand $250 is a lot of money, but when you look for the alternatives, there really aren’t any. If you want an accurate air pistol for target shooting, the Gamo Compact is the best deal going.

Of course we still have a lot of testing to do. There is velocity testing, a look at the trigger mechanism and of course accuracy testing. I’m no longer a competitive shooter, but shooting from a rest, I should be more than able to wring out the Compact for you.

47 thoughts on “Gamo Compact target pistol: part 1



    • A faster pump should not make more power as you are still compressing the same volume of air as with a slower pump. If it does, you have a problem such as a seal leak.

      When he mentioned it cocked at a partial stroke, I myself thought “dry fire”.



      • B.B.,

        Dry-firing alone makes the Gamo Compact worth serious consideration vs. the IZH 46M. On the other hand the IZH 46m has roughly twice the sight radius of the Gam Compact, and I would imagine that would make a significant difference.

        Michael



          • B.B.,

            I have an Alfa Proj and an Avanti 747 but neither a Gamo Compact or IZH46m, but I have read that the IZH has a dry fire trigger that is quite different in feel than its trigger feels when an actual shot is taken. I’ve read the IZH has a small amount of creep and is slightly heavier in dry fire.

            Does one have a more useful dry fire than the other in your experience?

            Michael


            • Michael,

              I own an IZH 46 and can tell you the dry-fire trigger is very close to how it feels when shooting a pellet. I just tried it in both modes and it fels perfect in dry-fire, but does have some creep in the pellet mode. Most shooters would never notice the creep, but a 10-meter shooter would spot it instantly.

              The Compact has zero creep in either mode, but is MUCH heavier! I hope I can take care of that.

              B.B.



  1. I would suggest trying the Chiappa FAS6400, a pistol very similar in design, but all metal and with an excellent trigger; it costs a little more but is well worth it. I have one with the standard instead of competition grips which are great, and much more comfortable than those on my IZH-46M, which I truly detest.

    I don’t understand the reasoning behind the grip rules, and the caption comment “The Olympic Free Pistol has a grip that can completely encircle the shooting hand, helping the shooter hold the gun” doesn’t make sense. It looks more like the shooting hand can completely encircle the grip. If the rules are meant to make shooting more difficult, why not just make the shooter wear a blindfold?


    • Christoph,

      I guess I didn’t show a good enough picture of the free pistol. That was a classic Haemmerli, which is the best. Look at this Russian pistol:

      http://www.network54.com/Forum/417256/thread/1321913768/Me+Too,++Me+Too….+Here’s+my+Olympic+Free+Pistol…+TOZ35

      The FAS600 has been a classic 10 meter single stroke for several decades. I tested one for The Airgun Letter back in the 1990s. But even then it cost 3 times what the Compact cost.

      The rules help to level the playing field. That’s why there are weight classes in boxing. It is a challenge to hold a 10 meter pistol steady. That’s why I like Morini grips so much. They really help you hold the pistol!

      B.B.


      • Wow, that picture of the gun on the Yellow is really wild. I see what you are saying now, but that thing makes my hand feel claustrophobic, if that even makes sense. But, I still don’t see why the grip couldn’t be finished on both sides. Oh well, it’s irrelevant since I’ll sure never compete with my lack of skill.


  2. I just received one of these two weeks ago. Good little pistol for a starter 10 meter or plinker. I also own a Daisy Avanti 747, night and day difference between the two. The Daisy is very nose heavy compared to the Gamo and the grip on the 747 is a modified sporter grip. Both shoot about the same velocity but I find the 747 easier to load and pump, though the Gamo is not that hard to pump. The grip on the Gamo is a little small if you have big hands, and I do. I had to modify the palm shelf so it would go lower. All together a good little pistol for the money and compared to another poster’s recommendation of the FAS 6004, yes that pistol is all metal but the price is more than double of the Gamo. For that money I would look for a used real 10 meter pistol.



  3. I’ve had my Compact since 2005. Ten years later likely 30000 pellets later it still functions flawlessly. i replaced the seals about 5 years ago because it stopped holding pressure…but $70 later it was up and running just as knew.
    For a number of years I participated in a local informal league with about 20 other shooters. I seldom placed out of the top 5. There was one other Compact and one fellow with an Izzy 46…all the rest were Anchutz’s, FWB’s and the like…the Compact acquitted itself very well.
    I consider it to be an even bigger ‘sleeper’ than the Avanti 853.


  4. I love my Gamo compact. I bought it used a few years back. I don’t use it anymore as the frame cracked around the trigger pin. This came from holding the grip and pumping. A weakness in the frame design. I am hoping I can get a replacement main frame now that thet are producing the gun again.


  5. B.B.

    This is a nice write up on a pretty cool pistol.

    However, I do believe, when you are up to writing it, that it’s time for another piece on Miss Edith; while we always like to read about airguns, I think some more stories about her awesomeness would be appreciated by all.
    Thank you.

    take care & God bless,
    dave


  6. BB (or anyone else who feels like commenting)

    Im in the market for a new airrifle. I think it will be the lgv. Im not sure what caliber and power. There’s 117 and 22. And available in 12 fp and full power.
    You shot them both. 117 full power ans the 22 at 12 fp. Which of them both was the smoothest and most accurate? Thats all Im looking for, accuracy and smoothness.

    Question two: any downsides known for the lgv? Im looking for a breakbarrel. Under/side-leavers are out. My guess is I cant go wrong with the lgv, or are there issues whitch I dont know of?
    Thanks


  7. BB–I have shot my friends Gamo compact. My hands fit the 1911 frame perfectly. I could have bought a Browning .22 at a good price, and several Ruger pistols. I did not because the grip angle is too extreme for my hands ( yes , I can shoot with either hand). There is something in my wrists that prevent them from bending down far enough to shoot these pistols comfortably. I wish that these pistols were available with alternate frames, so that I could enjoy them. Ed


  8. Sounds like the Compact is an amazing value then.

    It is priced right in the middle between the HW40PCA and the HW75 in Germany. The HW40 is probably amazing for the money as well, but doesn’t have match grips.

    HW40PCA € 115
    Gamo Compact € 190
    HW75 € 275
    Baikal 46M € 400

    Still, I wish Weihrauch would make the 75 with real match grips. The build quality and finish of my HW45 is excellent and I expect the 75 to be the same. With 10 meter style match grips, it would probably be the only match pistol a mediocre shooter would ever need 🙂



      • I only have the HW45 (=P1) and that’s a powerful, yet fairly compact spring pistol. Yes, it’s somewhat hard to cock and that may annoy some people. It has a weaker setting, but cocking to full power isn’t any harder really, because you have some momentum already.

        I mainly used it as a reference point for build quality above though, since I was really talking about the HW75 (=P2) which looks exactly like the 45 but is a single stroke pneumatic. I think pumping it should be easier than cocking the 45 but I have no personal experience.


  9. B.B.

    I shoot my old Diana 6G with match grips, at a 25 foot indoor apartment range. I have been very tempted by the IZH-46M in the past. Should I be tempted by the Gamo? The 6G is a break barrel with perfect cocking ergonomics.
    Any recommended reading for match pistol shooting?
    Thanks,
    -Y



  10. So, Gamo comes through with a quality target pistol. I didn’t think that was their area. I guess this answers my question of whether the Daisy 747 can compete in airgun matches. If this slightly higher priced pistol is borderline, then I guess the answer is no. Value is kind of a relative quality. I thought that the IZH 46 was supposed to be a bargain among competition pistols but here it is more expensive compared to the Gamo. The way I was shooting the Daisy 747 last night, I won’t be in any matches any time soon. 🙁

    Buldawg, yeah those stunts are not worth it. Interesting to hear that they have devices that allow those various car maneuvers. I really could not see how the car was moving in a circle with its nose pointing at the center. I guess the girls should not have given up their numbers so easily.

    Interesting history about stock car races. The one time I attended the Indy 500 I thought the atmosphere was pretty uninhibited, but I believe it is even more so in the stock car circuit. As it says in the Tom Cruise movie: “If you monkeys want to turn yourselves into a greasy spot on some mountain road, I don’t give a hoot, and I don’t think anyone else does either.”

    He he.

    Matt61



    • Matt61
      That is why they call them stunts as the cars and bikes are specially modified to do the stunts that they do and perform the slides and jumps and such so what you see on TV is not always reality. Take the Dukes of Hazard for example as they had many 69 dodge chargers that were used in the show for the stunts since after the jumps the cars would be in need of quite a few repairs and there was only one car that was used for most scenes and most stunts were just repeats dubbed in to each show in order to not destroy only a handful of cars for the entire series.

      All motorsports racings atmosphere has been tamed way down in the last 20 years as I used to go to every 24 hours of Daytona and 12 hours of Sebring in the 70s and 80s and it was one big non stop party all weekend long with stages setup by race fans with girls dancing with next to nothing if even that much on for all to see and the cops would just watch and keep the fights and girls from being abused but if you were minding your own business they let you be. Nowadays you will go to jail for the wrong look at a cop in an instant.

      NASCAR has not been true to its beginnings since the mid 80s when the days of the door slammer were replaced with tube chassis sheet metal bodied lookalike race cars and it was then that I stopped watching the biggest demolition derby ever televised on national TV. NASCAR stands for North American Stock Car Auto Racing and Toyota is by no means or way a North American Stock Car so it is no longer true to it roots and is all about money today as it is the only racing program that does not race in the rain and in my opinion there is no reason that they cannot other than the drivers are a bunch of sissies that are to scared to put grooved rain tires on and race in the rain. Heck even the AMA superbike and Moto GP race bikes race in the rain on two wheels so I just have no need for NASCAR anymore as a motorsport.

      BD


  11. Yogi – Diana 6G is a wonderful thing. Keep it. But watch the seals, because they turn to cheese over time, and are, for a home “gunsmith”, a pain to replace and get shooting properly.

    I have an early Gamo Compact. The trigger screw definitely adjusts sear engagement: you can take the grips off and watch it doing so, and end up with a better trigger than you started with. The newer ones (there was a period when Gamo dropped the Compact from the line-up) don’t do this. Probably because you could adjust it far enough to fail a drop test. There are ways of rectifying this set out on the net, though some of them seem to risk weakening the trigger, which isn’t a good idea.

    I like it. It is way from being a serious 10M pistol, but it is good enough as a starter, and better in that role than an HW40 or 75. Or anything else in its price bracket.



  12. I have four lower end 10M pistols. Gamo Compact, Avant/Daisy 747, Alfa Proj C02 and a CMP-1. All except the Alfa Proj are in the $200 range for price
    The Gamo felt like a gun worth more then its price. Accuracy is good but not as good as the 747. The light weight is a major factor to me. I could easily shoot 75-100 shots with the Game because of its weight. The 747 is nose heavy and takes a lot of use before you adapt to it but is far more rewarding when you begin to get consistent groups with it.
    Problem I found with the 747 is its not a good feeling gun. The powder coated die cast finish is cheap. The plastic grips are a bummer to hold and only gets worse when you sweat. When I first opened the box when I got it, I couldn’t believe I just spent $220 on it and felt almost ripped off.

    The CMP-1 recently released from Mrodair is a bargain for what you get. Finish is nice, accuracy on mine is not that great and I have run plenty pellets ranging from RWS hobby’s all the way up to Finale match and nothing is what I consider acceptable beyond plinking. But it is a great pinker, nice to hold, feels great and it is C02.

    My Alfa Proj. Is by the far my favorite, a heavily under rated 10m pistol but the current PCP version is $600+.
    It feels good, great quality and has amazing accuracy.
    Overall, the Game strikes a nice balance for price and accuracy. Build quality is good and you feel the $225 was well spent. For backyard 10m champion wanna be’s it is perfect.

    Although I don’t own one, the FAS 6004 appears to be a higher end Gamo. I would also put it on the top of my list.
    I did contact Gamo and they informed me they have the parts in stock to fix my Game so I am very excited to get it back up and going.


  13. DHZ8guru– I use stick on sandpaper on the plastic grips. It is sold for stairways, and skateboards. It makes the grips feel like sharkskin. It is easy to remove and does not leave any adhesive on the grips. I also use it on rifle stocks, especially laminated stocks. Try it on your 747, I use it and it makes a big difference. I also have a perspiration problem. It can be cut to shape with a strong scissors, but don’t use a good one. I had to buy my wife a new scissors but the old one still cuts the sandpaper. Ed


  14. B.B. Just started reading the blog a few months ago. In the process of getting into air guns due to shortage of .22 ammo! Been reading many of your reviews including the 6 part one you did comparing the Gamo Compact and the IZH 46M starting back on April1, 2008. I am very interested in the Compact at $250 vs the 46M at $600.


  15. Azbob,

    Welcome to the blog.

    I test airguns for guys like you who want one gun and don’t want to make a mistake in their purchase. Of course it’s hard to understand something without actually trying it, but if you follow along I think you’ll eventually get the information you want.

    B.B.


  16. Dhc8guru –Let me know how the sandpaper works for you. Put it where your hand and fingers make contact with the grip. The adhesive is waterproof or at least water resistant. I perspire a lot, and it does not affect the adhesive. Ed


  17. Hi B.B.
    Great timing on your review! I bought the Gamo about two weeks ago (after reading your Gamo vs. IZH article several times) and have been shooting it every day. I had a three shot group at 10 meters that measured .266″ yesterday and a three shot group with all touching the inner 10 circle today (RWS Basic Diablo pellets). I’ll wait to read the rest of your test before attempting to modify the grip and I ordered some moly paste today to help free up the trigger a bit. I can not detect the trigger having two stages or much creep at all. Is it possible I just got really lucky or do you think this is due to the fact that I have not shot better pistols?


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