The rise of the BB gun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

Part 2

This report covers:

  • The first BB gun
  • Plymouth Iron Windmill Co.
  • The BB becomes air rifle shot
  • Quality control problems
  • You’ll shoot your eye out
  • World War II
  • After the war

The first BB gun

This is a comprehensive report of the early history of the BB gun. The first successful BB gun is thought to be the Markham. It was made in 1886 in Plymouth, Michigan by the Markham Air Rifle Company. The gun was mostly wood with just a few metal parts where they were absolutely needed — such as the mainspring, trigger, barrel, barrel hinge and other assorted small parts. It looked a little like a gun overall, but the shape was fatter all around because of the wooden parts.

Markham BB gun
Markham BB gun was made of wood with a few metal parts. This is a later 1888 model, but the early guns looked similar. read more


Our own Christmas story

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope this day finds you in good spirits, no matter where you are or what you are doing.

I have a special report just for this special day. It involves a BB gun, Daisy’s Avanti Champion 499 — also known as the world’s most accurate BB gun.

Daisy Avanti Champion 499
Daisy’s Avanti Champion 499 is the world’s most accurate BB gun.

About a month ago, my buddy Otho was visiting my house, and I pulled out my 499 to show him. I’d told him about it while we were at the rifle range the week before and he was fascinated, though he later admitted that he didn’t believe me when I told him how accurate it is. So, I took this opportunity not just to show him the gun, but to let him shoot it. read more


Colt 1911 Special Combat CO2 BB pistol: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


Colt’s 1911 Special Combat BB pistol is a knockout for looks!

Happy Independence Day!
Happy Fourth of July to my U.S. readers! And to everyone else, happy Wednesday!

Today, I’ll look at the accuracy of the Colt 1911 Special Combat BB pistol. We discovered in the velocity test that the pistol doesn’t quite reach the velocity advertised. That made it possible for me to start using and testing the new Winchester Airgun Target Cube that serves as a BB/pellet trap. We also learned that the pistol shoots at dramatically different velocities in single- and double-action. Naturally, I looked at both modes in this test. read more


Colt 1911 Special Combat CO2 BB pistol: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


Colt’s 1911 Special Combat BB pistol is a knockout for looks!

Wow! Today’s test is as different as any I’ve done! This air pistol surprised me completely, with results I’ve never before seen from any airgun.

The Colt 1911 Special Combat pistol shoots BBs, so a velocity test is going to be pretty humdrum. There are a limited number of different BBs to try, and they aren’t going to give fantastically different results like lead pellets do. So, usually a velocity test with a BB gun is a no-brainer for me. Shoot and record the numbers — plain and simple. But not today.

Both single-action and double-action
This pistol fires in both the single-action and double-action modes. For you newcomers, single-action is where the trigger performs the single functon of releasing the hammer to fire the gun. You have to manually cock the hammer before each shot — the trigger doesn’t do it. read more


Colt 1911 Special Combat CO2 BB pistol: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier


New Colt 1911 Special Combat BB pistol is an attractive CO2 gun.

I love my job! I love my job because I get to see, handle and test the latest airguns. Today, I’m starting to look at the Colt 1911 Special Combat BB pistol by Colt. Okay, we all know that Colt doesn’t really make this airgun, any more than Ruger, Remington and Winchester make the airguns with their names on them. But unlike most of the guns that carry those other manufacturers’ names, this 1911 was originally a Colt design. Designed by John Moses Browning, the M1911 pistol is one of the world’s most iconic handguns. It’s more than a full century old, yet more alive and vibrant today than ever. read more


SIG Sauer P226 X5 BB pistol: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


The SIG Sauer P226 X-5 Open combo BB pistol comes as an adjustable-sight version for just a few dollars more than the same gun with fixed sights.

This is an extended report to cover the use of 4.4mm lead balls in the SIG Sauer P225 X5 Open combo pistol. I don’t know if you caught it, but while writing Part 3 we discovered that this pistol is also called the Open model here in the U.S., as it is elsewhere in the world. That has been corrected on the website and we will now refer to this model as the Open combo. It’s also called the X-FIVE and not X-5 or X5. However, that would involve correcting a whole bunch of links, and we’ve opted to not make those changes at this time. read more


SIG Sauer P226 X5 BB pistol: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: If you’ve been waiting for the Mendoza diopter sight to come back in stock, your wait is over!

Part 1
Part 2


The SIG Sauer P226 X-5 combo BB pistol comes as an adjustable-sight version for just a few dollars more than the same gun with fixed sights.

Today is accuracy day for the SIG Sauer P225 X5 combo BB pistol, and it’s a big day, indeed, for this is a gun that was recommended by several readers — starting with Rob from Canada.

I was told three things about this air pistol. First, that it’s extremely accurate. Second, that it’s very loud; and third, that it has the greatest amount of blowback-simulated recoil of any BB pistol around. read more