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CO2 Range days at the 2020 SHOT Show

Range days at the 2020 SHOT Show

by Tom Gaylord

Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

Sig Virtus

P365 BB pistol

Virtus airsoft

Smart Shooter

It’s over

Media day at the Range

Umarex USA

Air Javelin

Air Saber

Constant Acceleration Pneumatic Arms

Light gas

Not done yet

That’s all

I went to two range days this year. Sig Range Day was on Sunday and Industry Day at the Range was Monday. Both are for the media, so we get to see and possibly shoot the guns they are showing at SHOT. I say, “Possibly” because the guns don’t always cooperate. I have seen several that failed to function on range day. That’s either because they were rushed through production or sometimes it’s just bad luck.

Sig Range Day — Sig Virtus

The first day was all Sig. This year they had one new PCP pellet rifle that is now shipping — the semiautomatic Virtus. This rifle is based on previous designs of Sig CO2 repeaters and has a belt-fed magazine. This one is a precharged pneumatic (PCP) though, and develops up to 12 foot-pounds in .22 caliber. So it’s a fun gun!

I shot it with the Romeo5 dot sight and also with the flip up iron sights that are no-doubt called “Backup Iron Sights (BUIS)”. Well, the Romeo5 wasn’t cooperating that day, so I used the back up sights and discovered that the Virtus is a very accurate rifle out to 25 yards. I was putting pellet on pellet at 15 yards. It’s a quiet rifle too, though I will need to test it alone and away from a firing range — hint-hint, Sig!

Sig Air Virtus is a tactical-looking semiautomatic PCP. 

Virtus Tom

Once I switched to open sights, the Virtus was stacking pellets!

P365 BB pistol

I was surprised to see that the Sig P365 BB pistol is back — and apparently has been for more than a month. That’s one I’m in the middle of testing and need to complete sometime soon — another hint Sig!

Virtus airsoft

Sig Air will be bringing in more airsoft replica guns this year. I have tested the M17 already, but not the new M18 that’s the sidearm of several US armed forces. Sig’s Matt Handy showed the guns to me off the range and then I was able to shoot the new airsoft Virtus on the range. I hope to test that one for you this year, as well.

Airsoft Handy

Matt Handy holds the new Sig Virtus airsoft gun.

Smart Shooter

As I was leaving the range I was buttonholed by Hadas Weizman from Smart Shooter. He told me about a new weapons system where the shooter doesn’t have to be that good a shot. Smart Shooter is an electronic sighting system that controls the firing of a rifle. You hold the sight on the target and press a button until the sights draws an illuminated box around the target. Then you release the button and pull and hold back the rifle trigger. A large illuminated cross forms in the sight and you swing that over to the target. When the computer senses the shot is good the rifle fires.

Smart Shooter

Hadas Weizman holds the Smart Shooter training device that he trained me on.

I was trained in five minutes and then turned loose with a live rifle. I hit the moving target in the head twice at 100 yards from the offhand position.

Smart Shooter Tom

I hit the 100-yard moving target twice in the head.

After I finished shooting the Sig guys looked at each other and wondered why the target’s head had snapped back but the whole target had not dropped. They then shot the target in the body and got it to drop. I was told that I had at least wounded the target and that was the goal. Ha, ha!

They told me that a battle rifle is not a precision weapon and center of mass shots are best. But I just thought, “Two in the head and you know they’re dead!”

Smart Shooter moving target

This is a standby life-sized moving target for the Smart Shooter range.

It’s over

Sig Range Day was over for me but I do plan on stopping by their booth to talk more with their reps. I want to get a better feel for what 2020 holds for Sig Air.

Media day at the Range

This Media Day was better organized than ever before. The bus dropped us off at the top ranges where the two airgun ranges happened to be, and all we had to do after that was walk downhill. Even I can do that!

Umarex USA

Almost across the street from the entrance was the Umarex USA range. They were showing both of their arrow launchers and I got a chance to shoot both of them.

Air Javelin

The first one is the budget-priced Air Javelin that’s powered by CO2. It accepts a large 88-gram cartridge, and, though I saw about 10 shots fired, I never saw the cartridge run out of gas. It was 50 degrees, Fahrenheit, that day so I will have to test this one for you myself! Hint, hint — Umarex!

It shoots at over 300 f.p.s. which made me think it was capable of taking deer until I realized that the hollow arrow shaft makes the arrow weigh just 120 grains. It probably could take a deer up close, but that’s not what I would recommend. The guys at the range were talking groundhogs, rabbits and raccoons for this one.

Yes, the arrow is hollow and fits over a long tube in the gun. The air seals quite well, and there is very little impulse when the gun fires.

Umarex Air Javelin

To load an arrow into the Air Javelin I had to look at the slim tube inside the firearm, because the hollow arrow shaft fits it tight.

Umarex Air Javelin Shoot

The Air Javelin was quite accurate at 20 yards.

Air Saber

The Umarex Air Saber is their big dog this year. It launches a hollow 276-grain carbon fiber arrow at 450 f.p.s. This one runs on high pressure air, so it’s a PCP. It operates at 250 bar or 3,625 psi. I’ll have to wait to test one to give you a shot count per fill, but I never saw it run out of air while I was there.

They had a bipod on the range gun and I very nearly shot a Robin Hood at 25 yards, though I purposely tried not to. This arrow launcher is so powerful that they stuck arrows with field points so deep in a 3D jackalope target that they could not pull them back out! For those who don’t know, a jackalope is a mythical cross between an American jackrabbit and an American antelope.


You see a lot of mounted jackalope heads in southwestern bars in America.

Umarex Air Saber

The Air Saber is a powerful PCP airbow.

Umarex Air Saber Tom

The Air Saber was surprisingly accurate at 25 yards. I almost Robin-Hooded, even though I tried not to!

Constant Acceleration Pneumatic Arms

These guys are new to the world of big bores, though I have been communicating with one of the founders, Mark Cherry, for a couple years. To be honest, I didn’t think I would ever see anything come from our talks, but Mark persevered and brought his creation to Media Day. I will first show you the info sheet at their range.

Cap Dragon

This sheet says it all except the experience of shooting the gun.

Light gas

No, light gas is not 90 minutes after you eat onions! It’s a blend of Helium and other light gasses that flow faster than air because their atoms are smaller. I have known for a long time that it’s possible to get much higher velocity from an airgun when you shoot it with Helium, but there is a big problem. Or a very small one, to be more specific! The tiny Helium atoms are so small that they aren’t easily contained by valve seals and o-rings that are designed to hold air. Besides costing a lot, Helium will make a precharged airgun leak!

Well, these guys may have found a solution or solutions for that. The Dragon I shot was tethered to a tank, so lots of gas was being used, but they were also letting the media shoot, so maybe that was just the prudent thing to do.

All I know is I smacked the target at 40 yards on the first shot, with a 350-grain bullet that developed over 700 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The gun kicked like a .357 big bore, which stunned me. Apparently that “thin gas” also absorbs a lot of the firing impulse.

CAP Dragon Tom

The recoil was mild.

They told me their patented valve design maintains constant pressure on the bullet all the way down the bore. A larger valve passageway, longer valve dwell time and that thin gas all contribute to the amazing power that’s claimed.

Not done yet

Old BB was then finished with airguns, so he moseyed down to the other end of the range, sampling all the ranges along the way and stocking up on giveaway SWAG (hats, shorts, cupholders, pens, etc.). I thought I was done until I happened by the Rambo pavilion. There I met Kelle Adams of ShopBadAss.com. She was offering free rides on electric-powered desert bicycles! Would I like to try?

WOULD I?????

So there I am, all 235 lbs. of balding fat man, perched on a fat-tired mountain bike and racing across the Nevada Desert like Jabba the Hutt on a unicycle. No I didn’t fall. And no, I didn’t allow photography. Some things like car crashes, modern art and pictures of me riding a bicycle are best kept private.

Why am I telling you this? So you will tell your wives and they will give you some snappy comebacks to lay on me. You see, that was Edith’s job. Who is gonna pick up a 72-year-old curmudgeon when he piles up his bicycle at 30 mph?


I want one!

That’s all

That’s my report for today. The show opens tomorrow and I hope to have a lot more to show you!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

58 thoughts on “Range days at the 2020 SHOT Show”

      • B.B.,

        Must be a powerful motor to get you to 30 mph! Wonder how far it can go? Did you ask how much weight it can carry? It sure would be a stealthy/healthy way of going around town. You won’t notice the amount of actual exercise you are doing while using the motor on assist only mode, since you will enjoy getting around more the farther you will go.


          • That’s called pedal assist. You can extend the range considerably by using a pedal assist setting. Many ebikes have several pedal assist settings, providing varying amounts of electrical power.

      • B.B.,

        Looks like a great Shot Show unfolding in front of you!

        Do I detect a new blog/Research Subject: E-Bikes?
        There are three classes of them and way too many rules about riding them! The Nanny State has found them early!


    • BB: There are three classes of E-bikes: Class 1 will go 20 MPH but is pedal-assist. In other words, you must pedal the bike and the assist ends at 20 MPH. Class 2 also will hit 20 MPH, but it can do that on E-power without pedaling. The penalty is in range since one is not helping provide power (if one only uses one’s thumb to motate). Class 3 is the higher speed variety that will do 28 MPH. Largely a commuter class and most judicatories outlaw them on bike paths/trails. Ohio has adopted this E-bike scheme following Colorado and other states. You probably were on the Class 3 and the vendors were fudging the top speed a tad bit OR it was hotted up by someone. There is real debate about allowing E-Mountain Bikes on off road mountain bike trails. Our trail patrol has some concerns about the mix of speeds afforded by E-bikes, and concern about some folks riding above their competence ala speed. Glad you had a good time! The positive of E-bikes is that they are getting folks out and riding. So…it is a really mixed bag in the cycling world with respect to E-bikes. We’re allowing Class 1 and Class 2 on our Huron County portion of the North Coast Inland Trail, but Class 3s are to be considered trespassing! Oh, BTW, us 72 year olds are perfectly capable do doing time on the pedals as well as behind the trigger! I know because I am one!

  1. BB
    The bike is cool.

    And I like the Sig Vertus. I got a email from PA yesterday about it. Already bookmarked it. Oh and by the way I did get me another Sig MPX. And this time I got it with the Sig red dot sight. I will have to say I love the little red dot sight. It’s a smaller outside diameter than normal sights like that. I wish Sig sold the sight by itself. I would for sure buy a few.

    And off subject. Got some stuff done to the 95 Mustang GTS I got just a little while back. We dynoed and tuned it yesterday at my buddy’s shop (Turbo Connection). Hes got to do a little more tomorrow but right now its making 399 hp and 448 fpt (foot lbs. of torque) at the rear wheels. He thinks we can get about 5 more hp and fpt out of it. Says it was a tad rich in the mid range of the pull. Going up there tomorrow to see how it drives after the dyno. He said the car totally woke up. So excited about that.

  2. B.B.,

    If one tries not to shoot a Robin Hood but almost does anyway, was the shot accurate or inaccurate? :^)

    I hope this does not make me a bad airgunner, but the product in your report I found myself desiring the most was the electric moped. Anyone who thinks electric vehicles are staid has never driven a modern one!


  3. BB,

    Thank you for the fine report. That Smart Shooter is one amazing device for you to do that on the first 2 shots at 100 yards! The target was quite realistic, which had to give you a bit of an uneasy feeling.

    Have fun at the show. Looking forwards to more reports.

    Good Day to you and to all,………. Chris

  4. BB,

    What do you mean jackalopes are mythical?! They are almost as much a nuisance around RRHFWA as feral soda cans! I wish someone would come here and tell them they don’t exist!

    When you were at the Umarex range, did you happen to see the Avenger? That is supposed to be their new price point PCP. I was wondering how close it was to release such as do they have functioning models yet?

    And just so you know, that is not a Jackalope. It has deer antlers instead of antelope horns. That is the much more common Black-tailed Mule Deerbit. Many bar owners use them to befuddle unwary, uneducated tourists. The Jackalope is now considered an endangered species and comes under Federal protection. To have a Jackalope head you must also have documentation to prove it was “taken” before 1987.

    The Deerbit was just recently added to the threatened species list. With such a high demand, it too will likely be endangered in the next few years.

    • Brent
      I have the Sig MPX and I think it has a very predictable trigger. And actually not to bad on the pull. I have shot other double action triggers that were way way harder to pull.

      Don’t know if the trigger in the Virtus is the same as the MPX trigger but I’m betting it is. If so I think it’s not bad at all for a plinker. Oh and my MPX is pretty accurate out to 40 yards.

  5. Hi B.B. and all,

    These electric bikes are a real menace here in Holland. Just the other day I saw a gray permed old lady, who must have been at least 80, zip through the rush on an intersection at 30 MPH+ downhill with a psychotic grin on her face. Tires screeched and people got out of their cars cursing. But she was already a dot on the horizon.
    Lady I know you don’t have a lot of time left but geez…

    As for the Virtus, I want one, but can’t have one because lookalike airguns are not allowed here =-(
    Because obviously we would all start robbing banks with them or something. Though a nice lookalike airgun would have completed the look for the old lady.


    • “…with a psychotic grin on her face.”
      Carel, we have those here, too, although generally, they are in a huge SUV, (illegally) talking on their cell phone whilst running a red light…yet with that same psychotic grin on their face! =)~

  6. B.B.,
    If my math is correct, the percentage of increase in fpe for that “CAP Dragon” is 62.7%, 67.7%, and 66.4% for those three data points they listed. That is a pretty incredible increase in power for a smaller-molecule gas at the same pressure…I would not have guessed it…quite impressive. And the electric-powered bicycle is pretty neat, too.
    Overall, this makes for a very interesting report; thank you! =>
    Take care & God bless,

  7. BB,

    Great report, just needed more “art work”, as in, at least one pic of you tearin’ up the Nevada desert on that fat tired bike!! You gonna get one? huh? huh? are ya, huh? get one, get one, get one, tee hee!


  8. EPMD, electric personal mobility devices are a booming sector. An easy way to get around, but I would want more storage for ammo trays, milk what have you. And health insurance, but if you are over 65, you have affordable access to it. The electronic sight is a portent of the future that is not unlike a self driving car, no human required. Scary as Granny on an electric bike with a faux assault rifle, but it would put some color in her cheeks!
    I swore I would never get one but now, I have some requirements!

    • Thanks George,

      And the clips just keep coming, what, 15 more videos since the one you posted from Rossi alone.

      Looking like another great new year of new airguns.


  9. B.B.,

    The He has been a known gas in Big Bores for some years and the leakage problems are real! So is the ever increasing cost of He. If more folks used He the builders could provide storage cylinders lined to at least lower the permiability problem. I was interested in the Light Gas mixture composition? So I searched and came up with some other interesting stuff…sort of on the topic plus more about possible future Airgun velocities:


    I have been researching E-Bikes for mountain hunting when there is little or no snow. Mostly for quicker repositioning and carcass drag out assistance.

    One more request, AirForce .50 cal…, any at Shot Show? B.B. future report? Light Gas permiability of the DOT CF Tank?

    Thanks for the early 2020 Shot Show Range Days report!

    This is the dawning of the Platinum Age of Airguns!!!!


  10. B.B. and Blog Readership,

    So for those that are interested the Light Gas is probably composed of a mixture based on Kinetic Diameter:


    Basically it is all about how easily/quickly the gas flows from the storage cylinder to the behind of the Bullet/Pellet.
    You can use the He and if you have turbulent flow in your systemat any point you might as well use pressurized Jello®.


    • Notice that the data in the spec sheet also includes performance data on Air or Nitrogen. Our patent pending technology takes special care to optimize flow passages to enable maximum flow velocities under all operating conditions. Projectile velocities are fundamentally limited by the speed of sound in the propellant at the prevailing conditions (Temperature, Pressure and velocity) at the base of the projectile.

      • SmartPlugs,

        “…prevailing conditions…at the base of the projectile.” So many folks miss out on that point when they claim an Absolute speed limit for pneumatic systems.

        Best of luck with sales and the fun!


    • Coduece,

      Lol! I like it!
      But for now Platinum is still more costly then Helium!

      Some of the stuff about flash heating the gas sounds interesting for getting some REAL performance in the bore!


      • Shootski
        The link was a bit over my head especially this time of night. However any use of helium that doesn’t involve balloons is a more “noble’”use of a finite resource, pun intended.

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