by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Texas Airgun Show
- E Pleb Nista
- Sig 1911s
- Grip safety
- Night sights
- Field strip
- The plan
Texas Airgun Show
Well, it happened a year later than I predicted, but it happened. The Texas Airgun Shot has sold out all the spaces in the hall, they have filled all the spaces on the porches outside the hall and now they are starting to fill a large tent outside the building. What this means is there will be more dealers than ever before and that means more airguns that we have never seen! I predicted this would happen last year, but the hurricane stopped all traffic from south Texas, and it also kept a lot of others away, even though it didn’t come close to where the show was being held.
This year the prizes for the raffle and the door prize are greater than ever. We are having to create ways to give away all the things manufacturers are donating. Also there will be airguns on the public ranges that have never been seen by the general public. Umarex is supposed to bring their new .50 caliber Hammer big bore for the public to shoot and AirForce will have several RAW rifles along with their Texan and TexanSS on the public range. I have shot both the Hammer and the RAW rifles and I can tell you it will be a thrill for those who take the opportunity. The Texans you have read about in this blog. On to today!
E Pleb Nista
Today’s airgun is a commemorative 1911 BB pistol from Sig called We The People. It is a CO2-powered BB pistol that offers full blowback of the all-metal slide, so the recoil will be there. The pistol comes with a realistic-looking weathered finish. There is more to say, but right now I am offering extra credit to the first person who can correctly explain the title of this paragraph, and relate it to today’s report.
The We The People pistol copies Sig’s rendition of a 1911 firearm pistol. It is not identical to the Colt design, and the most significant departure is the external extractor that is seen behind the ejection port in the slide. You can see it in the image at the top of this report.
Sig produces a line of 1911-style firearms, including a We The People version. That pistol is made of stainless steel with the same distressed finish that you see on the BB pistol. The grips are aluminum with 50 stars (25 on each side) for the 50 United States. On the left side of the frame they have engraved 1776 and on the right side the first words of the preamble of the U.S. Constitution — “We the people.” That is a big clue to the question posed in the first paragraph.
You will pay over $1,400 for the .45 caliber Sig firearm, so $100 for the BB pistol seems inexpensive. Yet even at this low price the gun comes with a working grip safety. The 1911 is famous for all the safety features it has, and the grip safety is one of them. The grip safety must be depressed in order for the gun to fire when the trigger is squeezed, and the best way to do that is to have the gun in your hand. In later years (1970s?) it was discovered that some people’s hands were not able to reliably depress the grip safety far enough for the gun to fire, so aftermarket designers put a raised projection that’s known as a “speed bump” on the safety. The extra height of the bump ensures the safety will get depressed.
The Sig firearm comes with tritium-equipped night sights that glow in the dark. I have them on my 1911 from Wilson Combat and they really do work. The radioactive tritium gas in the three dots (two in the rear and one up front) allows them to glow in absolute darkness for about 25 years.
The BB pistol does not have night sights. You wouldn’t expect a hundred-dollar pistol to have a set of hundred-dollar sights! It does, however, have three white dots that represent the night sights on the firearm. When you sight you put all three dots in a straight line under your target.
All the controls work. Besides the grip safety there is the slide release, the magazine release and the manual safety, which on this pistol is ambidextrous. That’s another big feature, because ambidextrous safeties are not universal on BB and pellet guns. And this one is wide enough for your thumb, which on the firearm helps control the recoil.
The magazine release drops the mag straight down from the grip frame for both loading the BBs and for installing a fresh CO2 cartridge. The BB mag is in the front of the mag assembly and the follower stays down while you reload! That’s another positive feature of this pistol.
Someone who knows airgunners is advising Sig how to source their airguns, because this pistol can be fully field stripped. I know that’s not unique in the world of BB pistols, but it’s also not universal. Sig even put the instructions for field stripping right in the manual, for those who haven’t been trained. Other manufacturers aren’t paying attention to details like this that make or break their sales in the airgun world.
I want to say one more thing about the manual. It’s all in English! No combing through arcane languages to find the words you can read. Everything in the manual is written for you! It feels like 1960 again! That’s a big deal to me, because it shows the manufacturer cares about the customer.
This pistol weighs 2 lbs. 4.5 oz. with a CO2 cartridge installed. My loaded 1911 weighs 2 lbs. 8.4 oz. The difference is almost insignificant. I’m saying this pistol feels like a firearm.
I know 1911s and this one is very close to the firearm. I haven’t mentioned this yet, but I’m planning on a special series on using airguns as trainers for defense firearms. We have had lookalike airguns for a long time, but until recently they haven’t been completely faithful to the firearms they copied. Now they are.
You know about the ASG CZ75 SP-01 Shadow BB pistol I’m testing. And perhaps you remember me mention that I’m buying the firearm to go along with that test. CZ USA has not answered any of my emails or phone messages, so I just bought the gun outright on Gun Broker. Sig, on the other hand, has bent over backwards to supply me with a Sig P365 firearm and BB pistol. I don’t have them yet, but Sig tells me they are coming soon.
It would be a little too cheeky for me to get a We The People 1911 firearm from Sig just for this test, but I have many 1911s that I can press into service. Perhaps a genuine 1918 Colt from my collection would be most appropriate?
When I have these three airguns fully tested, along with their representative firearms, I plan on writing a feature article for Firearms News on the feasibility of using airguns for self defense training. We have talked about this for years, and many who haven’t actually looked into it think it’s already possible. Now, I’m going to do it!
These guns weigh almost the same, handle the same and fit in the same holsters as the firearms they copy. In fact I plan on using the Sig 365 9mm pistol for my primary concealed carry weapon, which means it’s going in an ankle holster! The BB pistol will, too.
I plan to shoot at defense targets with both firearms and BB guns. I’ll scale the range and target size down for the BB guns, but the point will be to see how much training value these guns really offer. That should be an interesting report!