The Beeman P1 air pistol: Part 12

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11

Beeman P1.
Beeman P1 pistol.

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sight adjustments
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Crosman Premier Light
  • What is happening?
  • Discussion 2
  • Summary

Today we will look at the accuracy of the Beeman P1 pistol on high power with the UTG RDM20 Reflex Micro Dot sight that Pyramyd Air doesn’t currently stock. This sight is quite small and light and I thought it would be ideal for the P1, which we proved in Part 11, when the pistol was shot on low power. Today’s test on high power will test both the accuracy of the pistol as well as this sight’s ability to remain in one place. Dot sights that are larger have to be butted against the front sight to stay in place, but so far this one doesn’t have to be.

The test

The pistol was fired from 10 meters off a sandbag rest. We learned in Part 11 that if just the butt of the pistol is rested directly on the sandbag, it shoots well. I did try a couple of different rests, but none worked as well as the butt rest I described in Part 11.

Sight adjustments

The first shot was fired with the sight set for low power. I knew it would hit low and it did — about 4 inches low. I had to crank the elevation up a lot to get on target, but the sight had all the adjustment I required, plus I could listen to the tiny click detents to know the sight was adjusting.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

I began shooting with Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets that did so well on low power. On high power, though, they didn’t do as well. Five went into 1.166-inches at 10 meters. There are three shots in the center of the bull that are just 0.336-inches apart, but I don’t want to make any claims. I will have more to say about this after we look at the next two pellets.

Beeman P1 Sig Match group
Five Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets went into 1.166 inches at 10 meters, with three in 0.336-inches.

H&N Finale Match Light

Next up were Finale Match light pellets. I didn’t adjust the rear sight for these, though I expected them to hit lower on the target. When the first shot went high left on the bull I thought vindicated for that choice. But as you can see, the group is blown open.

As open as this group is, I think this pellet is ruled out for the P1 on high power. The group measures 2.199 between the centers of the two shots farthest apart. It’s centered on the bull — sort of — but nothing to write home about.

Beeman P1 Finale Match group
Five H&N Finale Match Light pellets went into this open 2.199-inch group at 10 meters.

Crosman Premier Light

The final group was shot with Crosman Premier Light pellets. Once again I did not adjust the sight. I expected these pellets to hit even lower on the target but the first one tore through the red spot in the center of the bull. Was I onto something?

Sadly, no. Shot two also hit high then shots three through five grouped together at the bottom of the bull. This group measures 1.666-inches between centers, with the bottom three pellets landing just 0.533-inches apart. I will now say something about that.

Beeman P1 Premier Light group
And five Crosman Premier Light pellets made this 1.666-inch group with three in 0.533-inches.

What is happening?

Thanks for waiting until now. What I am about to say applies to the entire test, so I waited until you had seen everything. I think high power affects the pistol a lot more than low power, and subtle variations in my hold are causing the groups to open up. In other words, I think if I got the hold right the Sig pellets would all go to the same place, and so would the Premier lights. Not so for the Finale Match though.

A second reason I believe I am right about this is the last target. I told you where all the shots hit because I watched them. I was also paying a lot more attention to the hold by this time.

A third reason is I had already thrown some shots all over the place while experimenting with different holds and rests before starting the test. Some of them missed the backstop altogether! Apparently the Beeman P1 is extremely sensitive to hold when it’s on high power.

Discussion of the UTG RDM20 Reflex Micro Dot sight

Oh, boy, is this a great little dot sight! Okay, it is very small and that means finding the dot will take longer than with a larger dot sight. It seems simple — just point the pistol straight ahead. Well, you try it sometime! But the biggies that are easier to see through just won’t stay in one place on a P1 unless they are butted against the front sight as a stop. You can put this sight anywhere you like and just tighten it down. There’s not enough mass to worry about.

The adjustments for both elevation and windage have very fine clicks that even an old guy can hear in a fairly quiet room. The dot is quite small when you reduce the illumination. I wouldn’t want it any smaller because it would be hard to see. When it on full power it is a bit distorted, but maybe on a sunny target that won’t be the case.

I wore my regular bifocals for this test and my distance vision is 20/25 after cataract surgery, so evaluate things from that. I looked at the sight through the distance part of my glasses.

Summary

This little sight did well on the P1. I have lots more plans for it. The Diana Chaser will be next. This sight will now be one of these piece of equipment like certain scopes, that I always turn to.

42 thoughts on “The Beeman P1 air pistol: Part 12

  1. BB,

    That dot sight sounds like a real winner, most especially if it is becoming your go to pistol dot. I imagine that once the boys at PA read this, they will contact UTG about it, if they haven’t already.




      • Michael,

        To tell the truth, I have no idea. I have never participated in any benchrest competitions. The videos that I have seen, I have never seen such. Now some of them have such ridiculously humongumous stocks that a bag like that would be a waste.




  2. I’ve heard it said that the P1 is the best air-pistol-analog for firearm handgun training. Do you think this is true? And are there any others, more reasonably priced, that might work reasonably well for that?


    • Vince,

      Yes, I think the P1 is the best air pistol for firearm handgun training. But what does that mean?

      A Beeman P3 or P17 will teach sight acquisition, breathing and trigger control. And any of the new crop of action pistols teaches that plus they are realistic.

      But the P1 teaches the proper hold for a 1911, and no other air pistol I am aware of teaches that as well. However, most handgunners today shoot with two hands, so gun control with one hand is mute.

      B.B.


      • I’m thinking mainly of “the flinch”! I’m guessing that any air pistol would do better in that regard than
        dry-firing drills, but I still like the idea of a pistol that at least jumps or kicks a little with you shoot it. (the tiny muzzle flip of the P17 doesn’t count!)

        But physics is physics… and I guess there is nothing that will even remotely replicate a projectile leaving the muzzle with 300+ ft-lbs of energy.

        Side note: are you done with the 427 series? I dug into mine again, “changed the lube” and installed a new seal rather than re-using an old one. It dieseled a couple of times (I had 1 shot go over 700fps!) It finally settled down in the 520’s with Premiers, which I’m pretty happy with.



        • Vince,

          The advantage the P1 has when it comes to augment the training for powder-burning handgun shooting might be that the P1’s significant recoil is to the rear, the web of the shooter’s hand. As you know, the vast majority of spring air guns do the opposite and recoil forward.

          Michael


          • Ah – right! I forgot about that! Next question: When are the Chinese gonna do their P17 thing to the P1, and produce a comparable gun for 1/8th the price?

            (For whoever’s listening, I’m willing to go up to 1/7th the price…)


            • Vince,

              One of the issues with this one is this is not plastic. I am certain Wang Po Industries can make one like this for a considerable bit less, but will it be as nice? The tolerances for this are a lot less forgiving. Yes, it can be done, but will they do it? I doubt it.

              A prime example is the new Diana Outlaw. A gentleman who does airgun reviews on YouTube bought one and started shooting it. After two magazines it broke. I myself am going to wait a considerable time before I invest what little airgun finances I have in something made by Wang Po Industries.


              • That’s exactly why I said “P17 thing”. The Chiclone business has a spotty record, and their moving into the mainstream hasn’t helped much. But the P17 seems to be an (unexplained) bright spot. I have the first interation – the Marksman 2004 – and it shoots 10x better than it has any right to…


                • Vince,

                  I have heard mostly good things about that particular air pistol. It is one of those rare things that work out right for a change. I even considered one for myself years ago, but with my Izzy and now my Webley I know it just would not do for me. I guess I am spoiled. Shoot, it would have to be one whiz bang of a deal for me to pick up a P1.


        • Vince,

          A Webley Senior Vertical Grip feels very much like a 1911 and has a considerable rearward recoil with a lot of muzzle rise. I am having to relearn how to shoot air pistols after shooting my Izzy for so long. 😉


      • BBP: When I purchased my P-1 back in 1989 or ’90, I was instructed by Charles Trepes, of Precision Airgun Sales, in Cleveland, to shoot the heaviest pellet that was practicable. I used RWS Magnum wadcutters for years, but had to swedge them in a pellet sizer (remember them?) to fit the breech or the compression blew out the O ring on the breech block. The 9.5 gr, now only 9.3 gr, proved to be predictable and exceedingly consistent.

        I recently tried the Ultra Shocks and they prove to be a “fitting” replacement for the RWS and need no sizing. Given their Vortek Lamprey shape, they cut clean holes in paper, but, given the low energy do not expand much in my modeling clay brick.

        Anyway, shooting the heavy pellets consistently on high power over more than a score-and-a-half of years has refined my two-hand hold on my ten-meter range. I absorb the recoil into my hands and keep the butt off of my rest. To stay in the black when shooting 10 m air rifle bulls is almost cheating with the P-1.

        I followed you, BBP, into cataract surgery and recovery in November. It has been interesting getting used to more vision, and I, like you, opted for the pseudophakia set at “infinity.” That has worked well with the UTG Red Dot sight that I had to put on the P-1 as the iron sights were just getting to hard to use.

        My suggestion is to try the JSB Ultra Shocks and get away from the light pellets. When I’ve tried light pellets, they tend to go all over the place. My P-1 must think its an actual 1911, throw a big heavy piece of lead and it doesn’t matter that it isn’t supersonic.


  3. A monopod is another option. I think the UTG is nicely made and a low price.
    My suggestion today is to shoot nothing but PCP’s for a year, and then try to shoot your favorite springer.
    I had forgotten about that little whack! The PG2 works well now, no more twang. Only took 4 tear downs to figure it out.
    Have a nice day!
    Rob


  4. B.B.,

    Is the P1’s recoil noticeably heavier at high power than at low power? I so, even with your extensive experience, might you be falling victim to the flinch factor just a little?

    I cannot think of a way to duplicate the following with an air pistol, but I have read that with powder-burning handguns a training technique some use is to have a friend load one snap cap deep into a magazine without telling the shooter which shot it will be. Then the friend video records the all shots to see if there is a small flinch with the snap cap, visible in slow motion.

    Michael


    • Michael,

      Yes the P1’s recoil is noticeably heavier in high power than in low. No, I was not flinching. I was resting the gun on a sandbag and squeezing the trigger by the book. But my hold did vary enough to throw the shots around — I believe.

      B.B.


    • Michael,

      Flinch…exactly what is it?
      Your techniques are among some of the good methods to TRY to cure flinch.
      Some others are to DRY “FIRE” a great deal more, CALL your Shots, shoot small/low recoil weapon at start of a practice session and at the end of the session when shooting heavy recoil weapons. Lots more ideas exist; some work some not so much!
      Flinch is actually a misnomer! For most shooters FLINCH is actually the eye(s) closing just prior, or at, the weapons sear breaking. The resulting loss of front sight (reticle cross hair/dot) on target results in those uncalled misses.

      shootski


  5. It is a bit disappointing to see such a fine pistol degrade its performance by increasing the power level. A little was to be expected – increased harmonics? – but the results seem a bit excessive, especially in your skilled hands.

    I wonder if the little sight was not ‘walking’ a bit between shots. I had that happen to me with a Diana 34 where I was blaming myself, the pellets, a recent barrel clean, the weather and myself again for enlarged groups with uncalled flyers until I noticed that the BSA dot sight was almost an inch rearward from where I had mounted it. In hindsight, I should have known, but . . .

    Would it be too much work installing the sight against the front sight and try again with just one pellet? The point of impact will most probably change but the size of the group will give a clue. Just asking.

    Henry


    • Henry,

      Let’s be clear about this. The P1’s performance did not degrade in high power. It became more sensitive to hold is all. If I would have been more careful about how I held it for each shot I believe it would have grouped much better.

      The dot sight absolutely did not move on the gun while I was testing it. I was watching for that very carefully, because I know a P1 can do that with a heavier dot sight. But this one stayed still.

      I don’t have the time with this blog to spend the hours necessary (sometimes) to explore each and every thing that affects how a gun shoots. That is why when I get a gun like the Sig ASP20 that SHOULD be super-sensitive and isn’t, I get so excited. And let’s be clear on what I just said, too. The ASP20 did give me some problems while I was testing it the second time at 25 yards, but I saw a double group which is evidence of a slight change in your hold — as long as you have proven that the gun is accurate to begin with, which I had with the ASP20.

      Now, using that same logic, I said in this report that on the last target I thought the same thing was happening, so I watched where the shots hit. When I was super-careful to hold the gun the same way each time, the shots hit near each other. I said that in the report, but I’m taking the time to explain it more thoroughly so you will understand it.

      What do I mean about being super-careful? I mean going from a golfer’s grip, which is precise, to a lockpicker’s touch, which is ten times more sensitive than the golfer’s grip.I don’t usually hold a gun that carefully — though when I competed in 10 meter pistol I did because you have to. It is very tiring, but it does produce results — WITH SOME AIRGUNS. With other guns like a TX200 or the ASP20, you don’t have to be as careful to get results. But in competition, a careful (lockpicker’s) hold can add 3-5 points to your score in a 600-point match.

      B.B.


      • Thanks for the clarification BB, points well taken. My understanding is that all spring powered airguns produce vibrations that make then more or less hold sensitive, and those on the ‘less’ side of the curve are more forgiving, and therefore desirable. On a related line, I have a Diana 6G that also likes to be shot with the minimum external support possible. Sometimes it will produce nice quarter inch round groups, and immediately after that an inch and half spread with vertical stringing. Same pellets, same distance – the only difference between groups being the guy behind the sights, which is why I never considered competitive shooting. Best,
        Henry


  6. I have also been using a small red dot pistol sight on my beeman .22 cal P1, but not a UTG but one that I bought off Amazon and it not only looks cool, but it is very effective.
    I originally bought the optic for my Browning buck Mark URX .177 cal but have decided that it belongs on the P1 instead.


  7. Off Subject Alert!

    I know some of you guys are looking at some of the new small compressors. Just so you know, there are a lot of small compressors coming out of that large Asian country that are extremely reasonably priced.

    Hey, if you are going to buy a PCP from over there, why not the compressor.


    • RR
      What is the word I’m looking for.

      As we get older we get wiser or become more of a cheap skate. Or we just don’t have the money to spend. Or something like that.

      But yes the China compressors do seem to be reasonable and holding their own. Surprisingly mine is doing really well. Knock on wood.

      And add in my .177 Gauntlet and you got some reasonably priced easy pcp shooting going on in addition to the compressor. Just to say both are performing very well. As in the Gauntlet holding up and being very accurate and the compressor holding up and is very fast filling the guns. Again knock on wood.


      • GF1,

        As Dan points out below, with time the stuff coming out of China has and will continue to improve in quality. The price will also escalate accordingly. The increased competition will help to keep prices lower. Our old geezer wisdom is deciding what we need or want and what we can do without. Then we can recognize true quality of something that will stand long term usage.



          • GF1,

            Sometimes. Remember the Mav 177? TCFKAC could not get them with a tight enough quality control. Many of what I have seen will start out great and then they start cutting corners to improve profit margin.

            It is not just the Chinese who are guilty of that. Webley contracted Hatsan to build their airguns. After a bit the quality started dropping off. When you negotiate a product to be produced by a second party, unless you really hold their feet to the fire… Wang Po Industries is really bad about that. Ask GE.


  8. B.B., et al.

    Regarding the matter of improving general product quality over time.

    I’m old enough to recall the post-WWII quality of products imported from Japan. “Cheap Japanese junk” was the general opinion. To be accurate, the early items being imported were cheap, that is low cost, tin toys, low cost dishware and more. Over time quality improved and the mix of products moved upscale. Japan became a power in optics, Canon and Nikon cameras and lenses, Olympus cameras and microscopes. Top-notch hobbyist astronomy optics are dominated by Japan. In the last 15 years Honda has become the dependability standard for cars and motorcycles. In general cars designed and produced in Japan are well-regarded. Japan has overcome the stigma of poor quality by producing excellent quality. Products from Japan are no longer considered shoddy.

    I wonder if the same thing is happening in China. It’s plain that accurate, durable and affordable airguns are going to sell well in the US market. Cheap and inaccurate doesn’t sell well for very long in a free market. The marketplace rewards the company that produces a good product. It looks as if each subsequent release of a Chinese airgun is an improvement on the previous. Indeed, this is a good time to be buying an airgun.

    Dan


    • Dan

      Design innovation and advancement, VS design rip off and copy. That R and D ain’t cheap, but copying something and producing the (same) quality is much cheaper. Last I heard, that was/is being addressed.

      I am not above it,… but do not like it. “Leveling the playing field” was a topic I seem to re-call in recent news. Then again, that depends on what you watch or listen to.

      Chris

      😉 ,……… Chris


    • Dan,

      The quality produced by Wang Po Industries is improving because the market is demanding such. Their main inhibitor now is their government, despite the financial support being provided by such. Whether their industry which is growing will survive what is coming has yet to be determined. If they survive, you will eventually see quality products to rival any in the world.


    • Oriental countries are perfectly capable of meeting any quality standards westerners require. But not for free. Don’t blame the east, blame the margin-obsessed west. imo.


      • John,
        Very interesting; you’ve got a good point.
        I’ve seen some really high-quality stuff (knives for one) come out of the East.
        Yet as you said, the good stuff I got was not for cheap.
        take care,
        dave


    • I too am old enough to remember the junk that came from Japan in the 50s and 60s. It was one of our own, Dr. Deming, who was the catalyst behind the incredible success of Japanese industry. American industry was not interested in his theories, so he went to Japan. They listened and learned, and the rest is history.

      Honda and Toyota are always at the top when it comes to quality and reliability. The Toyota actually has more American content than a Ford or Chevy. They are perfectly capable of producing quality products with American workers too.

      Regarding China, they have a ways to go yet. Industrial pollution and slave labor are acceptable in order to produce products at lower costs. There are Chinese companies capable of producing fine quality though. When I was still working at PH, the company purchased products from China. My job involved measuring and accepting out sourced products. The parts from China were of excellent quality, and better than the same parts being manufactured in our own plant. Mexico…now that was a different story.


  9. “Apparently the Beeman P1 is extremely sensitive to hold when it’s on high power.”

    B.B.
    Back when I had one, that was the reason I sold it.
    I already had a Tempest, so I saw no reason to shoot the P1 on low power.
    The reason I bought the P1 was to have more power, more accuracy, and more range.
    But in the 5 to 10 yard range where I life to plink with pistols,
    I found it easier to hit small targets (bottle caps, pebbles, etc.) with the Tempest.
    *shrugs*
    I’m older now…not to sure about wiser; but if I had kept it (as I now wish I had),
    I’d be playing with different pellet weights, grips, and sights.
    Live and learn.
    Thanks for another great report,
    dave


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