Springfield Armory XD-M compact blowback BB pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Springfield-XD-M
The XD-M BB pistol from Springfield Armory.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • The test
  • The magazine extension
  • Daisy BBs
  • Dust Devils
  • Smart Shot
  • Trigger pull
  • Blowback
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the XD-M compact blowback BB pistol from Springfield Armory. As I told you last week, I had cross-threaded the end cap of the magazine and stripped the threads, so Pyramyd Air had to send a replacement. I received it last Friday, so I loaded a cartridge in preparation for today’s test. Naturally I used a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of the CO2 cartridge when it was installed.

Alas, the cartridge was empty this morning when I started the test. So I installed a second cartridge, and this time I lubed it with ATF stop leak. In 12 hours I will test the gun to see if the cartridge is still holding. {Note: No such luck! This cartridge leaked down in 3.5 hours!}

The test

I shot seated from 5 meters (16 feet 5 inches) and used the UTG monopod for a rest. I shot with a 6 o’clock hold until discovering that didn’t work.

The XD-M sights are perfect for bullseye shooting. The front fiberoptic doesn’t even show up when the target is illuminated brightly. The rear notch is wide and fits the wide front sight perfectly.

The magazine extension

I discovered why the BB pistol has the magazine extension that was shown and discussed in Part 2. The firearm has a removable magazine well to make loading the mags easier and faster. The mag extension on the BB pistol takes the place of that.

Daisy BBs

First to be tested were Daisy Premium grade BBs. The first shot told me there was a problem when it landed an inch below and to the left of the aim point. The group wasn’t too bad, with 10 Daisy BBs going into 1.427-inches at 5 meters. But to hit a soda can at the same distance I would have to hold on the upper right corner of the can.


The XD-M pistol put 10 Daisy BBs in this 1.427-inch group at 5 meters.  I backed the camera off so you can see how low it is.

Dust Devils

Next to be tested were the new Dust Devil Mark II frangible BBs. For this target I held the top of the front sight above the top of the rear sight. That is a way of elevation the sight picture when the sights don’t adjust, as these don’t.

As I was shooting this group it looked pretty good. The final 4 shots all went into the same hole. I thought I had a good one to show you. But when I collected the target I saw that one or two shots had landed low.

This group measures 3.775-inches between centers, with eight or nine shots in 1.704-inches. Given that I was holding over when I shot it, it isn’t too bad.

prinmgfield XD-M Dust Devil group
The XD-M put 8-9 out of 10 Dust Devil BBs in 1.704 inches at 5 meters, despite having to hold the front sight high in the rear notch to get the elevation.

Kruger targets

The Kruger BB-gun targets I used were ideal for this test. The BBs tore good holes in them because they are printed on stiff paper.

Smart Shot

The last BB I tested was the Air Venturi Smart Shot lead BB. These are much heavier than steel BBs, so I knew they would impact low on the paper. I used the same holdover sight picture as for the Dust Devils, but Smart Shot impacted two inches below and to the left of the aim point, nevertheless. They did group well though. Ten went into 1.625-inches at 5 meters with the holdover sight picture.

Springfield Armory XD-M Smart Shot group[
All 10 of the Smart Shot went intro 1.625-inches at 5 meters.

Trigger pull

There aren’t many BB pistols with trigger pulls as light, crisp and nice as the one on the XD-M I am testing. The two-stage trigger stops at stage two and breaks crisply with 2 lbs. 14 oz. of effort. It only the pistol shot to the point of aim!

Blowback

The blowback is extremely realistic! It kicks like a lightweight .22 rimfire pistol. However, when I tried this for this report while writing about it the gun was out of gas — After just 3.5 hours!

Summary

In my opinion the Springfield Armory XD-M has little to recommend it. It is realistic and the blowback is very snappy, but there were problems with both magazines and the gun doesn’t shoot to the aim point at 16 feet.

If you own the 9mm XD-M Elite firearm then perhaps the BB pistol would be a good companion. Otherwise there are plenty of other lookalike pistols that do much better.


Sig Sauer P365 air pistol: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sig P365
Sig Sauer P365 BB pistol.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • The test
  • The first shot
  • Sig BBs
  • Discussion
  • New CO2 cartridge
  • Crosman Black Widow BBs
  • What I’m up against
  • The trigger
  • Dust Devil BBs
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Sig P365 BB pistol. So far this gun has been performing as it should. I just hope it will stay on the paper at 5 meters. There are two reasons I say that. First, with guns that have a short barrel, ANY movement of the gun/barrel causes large movements of the shots downrange. Short-barreled handguns are just as accurate as handguns with long barrels — they are just harder to shoot accurately. And second, with a sight radius (distance between the font and rear sight) of just a few inches, ANY amount the sights are off will be exaggerated downrange.

The test

I shot from a UTG Monopod rest at 5 meters, the same as with any BB gun. I debated how best to hold the gun and decided on a two-hand hold with the bottom forward portion of the frame resting on the monopod rubber sling. Except for the first shot, all others were shot that way.

I shot 10-shot groups because the P365 is semiautomatic. That didn’t make it easy, just easi-ER.

The first shot

Given the shortness of the barrel I was really concerned about missing the BB trap altogether, so I loaded 11 BBs and fired the first shot from ten feet. I used a two-hand hold and my hands were resting on the foot-rail of my bed.

I held a 6 o’clock hold on the black bull and the BB hit the paper 1.7 inches below the center of the bull and 0.9-inches to the left. Given that I am human, I thought that was close enough. So I backed up to 5 meters and fired 10 more times.

Sig BBs

The first BBs I shot were the ones Sig provided with the pistol. I got an 11-shot group that measures 3.217-inches between centers. The center of the group is 2.4-inches below the center of the bull and 0.8-inches to the left of center. The first shot from 10 feet is inside the group, though not centered.

Sig P365 Sig BB group
The P365 put 11 of the Sig BBs into 3.217-inches at 5 meters.  I marked that first shot from 10 feet.

Discussion

Don’t think this is a bad group! I am dealing with both those issues I mentioned earlier — a short barrel and a short sight radius. Instead, I draw your attention to the group of 4 shots at the bottom, under the BB. This P365 pistol has ULTRA-CRISP sights, front and rear! When I do my very best this is what happens. The problem is, it is difficult to maintain that level of concentration. I actually watched that little hole grow, shot by shot.

What you are seeing in this target is 3 shots plus the first shot up high and then the final 7 shots on the bottom, when I settled down. What this really is, is a (lower) group that is very horizontal — once I got my act together.

New CO2 cartridge

I loaded 10 Crosman Black Widow BBs next. I selected them because, of all the premium steel BBs on the market right now, I am having the most consistent success with them. After the first 4 shots, though, I noticed the power was dropping off. The gun was running out of gas. Since I tested it in Part 3 and know that it runs out of gas very quickly at the end of the cartridge, I knew that the first group of SIG BBs was okay. But it was time to change the CO2 cartridge.

I also know that the first 3-4 shots from a new cartridge will have some liquid in them and will be much faster than the 45 shots that follow. Since this is an accuracy test, I blank-fired the gun 5 times with the fresh cartridge before loading 10 more Black Widow BBs.

Crosman Black Widow BBs

Because the Sig BBs hit low on the paper with a conventional 6 o’clock hold, I raised the front post above the top of the rear notch and still used a 6 o’clock hold that is the most accurate with this type of sight. If that sounds confusing, let me show you what it looks like.

Sig P365  sight picture
This is the sight picture I used for the next 2 groups.

That looks like a difficult sight picture to maintain, so some really good pistol shooters used to have a gold wire inset across the front post to show them the same amount of elevation on every shot. Elmer Keith was famous for it. On some of his sights there were several wires.

Sig P365 Keith sight
Elmer Keith’s front sight was used for distance shooting.

What I’m up against

Now you understand, I hope. Not only do I have to maintain a 6 o’clock hold on the bullseye, I also have to hold the front sight above the top of the rear sight by the same amount each time.

This time with careful aiming I managed to put 10 Crosman Black Widow BBs into 1.96-inches. The group is fairly well centered on the bullseye. I gotta tell you, guys. This group is a combination of me trying real hard and the Black Widow BB being as good as it is.

Sig P365 Black Widow group
Ten Crosman Black Widow BBs made this 1.96-inch group at 5 meters.

The P365 deserves credit, as well, for it functioned properly all the time. Again I remind you how difficult is is to shoot a short-barreled pistol with accuracy. Yet, I can shoot my Sig P365 9mm handgun with astonishing accuracy. Why?

The trigger

The secret behind the accuracy of my 9mm pistol is the trigger. The 9mm trigger is light and very predictable. The BB gun trigger is not that heavy, but I haven’t learned it yet. When I have to keep the bullseye on the tip of the front sight, both sides of the front sight equidistant from the sides of the rear notch, AND keep the front sight at the same height above the top of the rear sight every time, it gets difficult.

The P365 BB gun trigger pull is just a little too heavy, at 5 lbs. 12 oz. for me to do all this. The firearm trigger breaks at 5 lbs. 6 oz, but it’s a very crisp pull that can be anticipated. The BB gun trigger feels similar, just not as predictable — yet. I just shoot better with the firearm. I can’t explain it, other than to say the concentration on the sights needed to get the group up into the bullseye is probably what’s throwing me off.

Dust Devil BBs

Next I loaded and shot 10 of the new Dust Devil BBs. Yes — these are the Mark 2 Dust Devils, but since the box isn’t marked that way, I will just say these are the Dust Devils you get when you buy them today.

Ten Dust Devils went into 3.356-inches at 5 meters. It’s the largest group of the test. I held the gun with the same care as with the Black Widows, but I may have been tiring out.

Sig P365 Dust Devil group
Ten Air Venturi Dust Devils went into 3.356-inches at 5 meters.

Summary

The Sig P365 BB pistol is a remarkable feat of engineering. It is the smallest repeating BB pistol on the market with full blowback. The appearance is an homage to the P365 firearm that is undoubtedly one of the most successful concealed carry arms even built.

If you want realism, this is it! If you want to learn how to use your pistol’s sights, there aren’t many better trainers than this. If feral pop cans have invaded your yard, this’ll get ’em! Just remember — you have to do your part, too.


What is a BB gun?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Intro
  • Wow!
  • Red Ryder
  • BBs have changed
  • Safer BBs
  • Modern BB guns
  • Conclusion

Intro

This blog went live on March second, 2005. Two days later, on March 4, I wrote this report that I am reprinting today in total — just as it was published then. After you read it, I have a few updates at the end.

A BB gun is the fundamental starting point in our hobby. We shoot them, talk about them, collect them, and, for most of us, just hearing the term “BB gun” evokes a flood of memories. But what we think of when we think of BB guns depends largely on how old we are and where we came from.

The most common BB gun known today has got to be Daisy’s Red Ryder. It was the first BB gun many of us had or wanted and, since it has been around almost continuously since its introduction in 1938, that includes nearly every airgunner alive today.

Contrary to the spiel Ralphie rattled off in the movie A Christmas Story, the Red Ryder is not a “200-shot carbine-action range-model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.” Author Jean Shepherd got confused when he remembered the Red Ryders of his youth and not only clipped a bunch of shots from the magazine capacity, he also added the compass and sundial that were only found on the Buck Jones pump BB guns. But we forgave him because of the thousands of pleasant memories he brought to life. Daisy even made a special Christmas Story Red Ryder that DID have a compass and sundial, though they put them on the correct side of the stock (the left) for right-handers. Little Ralphie’s gun was built in reverse for his left-handed operation.

If you are under 40, the Red Ryder may not hold the same fascination it does for older kids. You may, in fact, remember one or two other airguns with equal fondness. One is Crosman’s M1 Carbine, a very close copy of the military firearm that was made popular in the 1960s and ’70s. It was a powerful BB gun that cocked by pushing in on the barrel to compress the mainspring. That took some effort, so smaller kids couldn’t do it, which was good because the carbine was very powerful for its size.

The other gun you may remember is still made by Crosman – the ever-popular model 760 Pumpmaster. Millions of them have been sold since introduction in 1966, the same year the M1 Carbine hit the street. The name was Powermaster back then, a tribute to the easy, short pump stroke that develops magnum power with incredible ease. Millions of boys, along with more than a few girls, fondly remember their 760s.

We still haven’t answered the title question, but here comes a bit of confusion. One of the coolest BB guns ever made is the fantastic Russian Drozd. It shoots .177 lead balls that are SO EASY to call BBs, and yet they are not the same steel BBs that are correct for Red Ryders and 760s. They are both larger and softer, being made from pure lead instead of mild steel. The Drozd has a rifled bore of true .177 specifications, so it shoots round lead balls both accurately and with great force! But, if you put steel BBs, which are both smaller and much harder, in your Drozd, you can jam the feed mechanism and ruin the rifled barrel.

So, have I answered the question yet? Not really, because I haven’t even touched on the latest BB-type gun – the airsoft gun. Maybe this is a good place to stop for now, though, because airsoft deserves a decent discussion (or two) of its own.

Wow!

Things were certainly much simpler (and shorter) on Day Three of this blog! I use that many words in some of my intros today — like I just did in this one.

And things have changed in the past 15 years. The Drozd is no longer available new, though I do know of a large cache of new-old-stock guns, along with a bunch of very desirable NOS Blackbirds!

The Crosman 760 is still being made, though we recently had a test of the upgraded gun — the Crosman 760 Pumpmaster Classic. In fact, I’m still testing that one and need to put a dot sight on for the next test. Maybe I’ll use the Romeo5-XDR. Wouldn’t that be strange — testing a $35 airgun with a $300 sight? 🙂

Red Ryder

The Red Ryder is still with us, of course. And Daisy has released several Christmas Story commemorative Red Ryders for those folks who don’t want to drop $500 to buy an original 1983 Christmas Story gun. Yes, they are easily that much and more, when you can find one.

But recently Daisy came out with a Red Ryder that is sized for adults! Yep, they finally officially recognized that many of their fans have voted for the past 30-40 years.

BBs have changed

The common steel BB that in 2005 was still in it’s humdrum era, has suddenly blossomed in glorious splendor! For starters, the airgun world has recognized that a BB is supposed to be uniform in size and shape. The rusty broken-down BB manufacturing lines that were built more than a half-century ago and produced steel spheres of dubious size and roundness are almost gone. Hint, hint, Crosman. They have been replaced by modern machinery and selection methods that give us BBs of world-class quality! Daisy once bragged about their U.S.-based BB-making capability. Now they buy them from China like everyone else, and we benefit from greater quality control.

I wrote about a BB gun insert that Hammerli made in the 1950s for the Swiss K31 rifle. That insert was supposed to turn the K31 into a decent training rifle for troops. It was a great concept because the soldiers got to shoot their own assigned rifles and become used to their weight, the trigger and the sights. Today that could all be done so much better and cheaper if airgun manufacturers would only realize it. The pellet-shooting Crosman MAR 177 that sold for $600 a decade ago could be remade as an accurate BB gun insert system for AR-15s, M16s and M4s today. Think of all the military could do with savings like that! Of course they would have to wear protection to keep from shooting out their eyes, but from the pictures I see, they already are. [By the way, and the manufacturers all know this — there are tens of millions of AR-15s and copycat rifles in the world. Make an adaptor that is a cheap, safe, close-range BB-shooter for them and you can retire — your fortune is made. You see, gentle readers — AR-15 owners don’t think twice about spending money on their rifles!]

Just so everybody gets it — BB Pelletier just gave away a huge marketing idea to whichever airgun manufacturer is smart enough to capitalize on it. I’m betting on a race between Crosman and Sig. Crosman, because Ed Schultz works there now, and Sig because they can be smart about the market when they try.

Safer BBs

Now we come to two different but fabulous inventions that are revolutionizing the BB gun industry today. The lead BB that has existed for more than 80 years was recognized and is now being sold as H&N’s Smart Shot. Heck — they were making lead balls in that size already; someone just needed to explain the marketing opportunity to them. Rename and repackage the product and suddenly their slow sales to a couple hundred faithful Zimmerstutzen shooters are kick-started to far greater levels!

And then there is the Dust Devil. Now in its second generation, the Dust Devil will feed through magazines that rely on magnets, is accurate and when it hits a hard target it shatters into dust. No more bounceback! No more shooting out your eyes! Mothers of America — you need a new slogan. How about “Texting reduces verbal fluidity”? Too verbose? Maybe “Thumbs make you dumb”, or something like that?

Modern BB guns

And now we come to the BB guns of today. Compared to 2005 we have guns with incredible accuracy, beautiful functionality and other performance aspects. The M1 Carbine from Springfield Armory is fast-firing and hyper accurate with the right BB. The Lil’ Duke from Air Venturi is accurate, powerful and affordable. The Legends Cowboy Lever Action BB gun from Umarex is probably the most accurate BB gun I have tested, short of the all-time champion Daisy 499, and I’m just getting started!

The Legends MP40 BB gun from Umarex is so realistic that I had to buy one for myself! I actually bought a lot of these new BB guns. The Legends P08 (Luger) pistol with blowback is another champ! And don’t forget the Crosman DPMS that gives you both accuracy as well as full-auto capability.

And, by the way, I’m not letting you off the hook, Diana. You promised me an American version of the model 30 bolt-action gallery gun that shoots conventional steel BBs! Since steel and lead BBs are way better today are you concerned the new gun may outshoot your existing European Diana 30? Buck up and take one for the team!

Conclusion

I could go on, but I won’t. The world of BB guns has changed more in the past 15 years than it did in the previous 50. We are truly living in the golden age of BB guns.

And now, in the immortal words of Porky Pig, “I believe we have reached the end of our scheduled entertainment, ladies and gentlemen.”


Sig Sauer P365 air pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sig P365
Sig Sauer P365 BB pistol.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Gun returned in February
  • Oiled the gun
  • Installed the cartridge
  • Sig BBs
  • Blowback
  • Daisy Premium Grade BBs
  • Dust Devil Mark 2 BBs
  • Shot count
  • Average for the first string of Dust Devils
  • Fresh CO2 cartridge
  • Trigger pull
  • Realism
  • Summary

A lot of time has passed since Part 2 of this report. The Sig P365 BB pistol I was testing back in early September of 2019 failed after the velocity test, so I never got to perform the accuracy test. I sent it back to Sig at their request. I then had several conversations with Ed Schultz, who was still working at Sig at that time, and I learned a few things. Most significantly, the valve in this pistol is very small because of the pistol’s overall small size. That makes this valve more sensitive than most CO2 pistol valves. There isn’t as much room for the gas to flow so it tends to flow directly out of the cartridge and through the gun, rather than through a longer gas channel inside the valve. There is a channel but it is very short. That means things either have to work right or perhaps not at all.

Sig dived into the pistol I sent back right away. I got the impression that mine wasn’t the only one that was returned. Sales were suspended for several months.

This pistol is extremely small, yet offers full blowback. There have been other CO2 pistols that were even smaller than this one, but they didn’t have blowback. The P365 is something of an engineering triumph. But that triumph came at the cost of some initial hiccups.

Gun returned in February

Sig sent me another P365 last month and that is the one I’m testing today. I will do the velocity test again, because this is a different airgun.

Oiled the gun

In Part 2 I told you that Ed Schultz advised me to oil the slide of the pistol. The owner’s manual that came with this new pistol says nothing about this oiling, but I know my Sig P365 firearm needs to be oiled, too, so I went ahead and oiled the slide of this BB pistol. I used Crosman Pellgunoil.

P365 oil
This is the photo Ed Schultz sent me, showing where to oil the slide.

Installed the cartridge

I first installed a fresh CO2 cartridge. I remembered that the Allen wrench that’s used to pierce the cartridge has to be turned far to seal the cartridge as it pierces, so I put both hands in a position to be able to turn it far very quickly. Because I did that it sealed immediately.

Sig BBs

Sig doesn’t have their own brand of BBs yet, but they do send a small package of BBs with the pistol, so they were the first I tried. They loaded easily into the stick magazine, whose spring-loaded follower stays down under a slot that’s on the side of the BB column to hold it. Just don’t let that follower slam up when you release it or BBs will fly out the top of the mag.

Ten Sig BBs averaged 277 f.p.s. The low was 255 and the high was 314 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 59 f.p.s. That’s a large spread for a CO2 pistol and probably has something to do with the smallness of the gun and valve. I will also note that the 314 f.p.s. velocity that I saw on the first shot was the only time the pistol got over 300 f.p.s. with this BB. The next-fastest shot went 285 f.p.s. which was a spread of just 30 f.p.s.

Blowback

The P365 has full blowback, meaning the slide travels all the way to the rear on every shot. The gun does not bounce in your hand because the line of the P365 bore is so close to the web of your shooting hand. In other words the pistol sits low in the hand. The P365 firearm also does not bounce when shooting 9mm cartridges for the same reason! The BB pistol just fires with a strong pulse in your shooting hand. You definitely feel it, but the gun remains level and stable. 

Daisy Premium Grade BBs

Next to be tried were Daisy Premium Grade BBs. Ten of them averaged 272 f.p.s. The low was 265 f.p.s. and the high was 280 f.p.s. That’s a spread of just 15 f.p.s. It could be that when the CO2 cartridge is fresh some liquid CO2 escapes through the valve to expand in the barrel, which results in those higher velocities. Maybe the next BB test will tell us.

Dust Devil Mark 2 BBs

I purposely did not test the old Dust Devils for velocity. I may test them for accuracy, but since they are no longer available and they are lighter than conventional steel BBs I thought there was no benefit in seeing how fast they go.

The new Dust Devils are a different story. We know that, at 4.6-grains, they are a little heavier than the old Dust Devils (4.3 to 4.4-grains) but still a little lighter than conventional steel BBs that are about 5.1-grains. It will be very interesting to see how they do. This time I will show you the entire shot string so I can talk about it.

Shot……Vel.
1……….278
2……….296
3……….275
4……….did not register
5……….DNR
6……….279
7……….DNR
8……….275
9……….274
10………DNR
11………276
12………268
13………261
14………253

Okay, that is the 10 shots that were recorded, plus four more that didn’t register. The average for those 10 shots was 273 f.p.s., but I have a problem with that average. Looking at this string, I believe the CO2 ran out at shot 12, which was the 41st shot fired since the cartridge was fresh. There were also several times in the previous two shot strings when the shot did not register through the chronograph, which is why the total shot count is so high at this point.

To show you what I mean about the CO2 being exhausted, I continued shooting with the same Dust Devil 2 BB. For this string I will show the actual shot count since the cartridge was new.

Shot……Vel.
44………DNR
45………245
46………243
47………DNR
48………226
49………224

Shot count

Shot 49 is where I stopped shooting. It should be pretty clear that the gas is running out. You would not have to stop at that point but the end would come within 5-6 more shots. That’s because all the liquid CO2 has evaporated into gas and that gas pressure is falling with every shot. So let’s say the P365 gets 50 good shots per CO2 cartridge. That is a reasonable number for a pistol that has full blowback, and this one was still cocking itself each time until the end. This is another good reason to own a chronograph!

Average for the first string of Dust Devils

If we take the last string of 10 Dust Devils, which are shots 30 through 43 on the first CO2 cartridge, the average velocity is 273 f.p.s. The low was 253 on the last shot (shot number 43) and the high was 296 f.p.s. which was shot 2 (shot 31 since the cartridge was installed). That’s a spread of 43 f.p.s., but as I said, it is not representative.

Fresh CO2 cartridge

To get a velocity that is representative for the Dust Devil 2 BBs I installed a fresh cartridge. I will show the whole string, since this one begins with the first shot on the cartridge.

Shot……Vel.
1……….305
2……….285
3……….292
4……….297
5……….294
6……….288
7……….295
8……….DNR
9……….DNR
10………DNR
11………281
12………280
13………DNR
14………284

This string is more representative for the new Dust Devil. The average is 290. That first shot is the only one over 300 f.p.s., which is also what I wanted you to see. This string allows you to see not only how the P365 BB pistol does with Dust Devils but also how all BBs do when the cartridge is new. The spread for this string runs from a low of 280 to a high of 305, which is 25 f.p.s. Throw that first shot out and the high becomes 297, making the spread 17 f.p.s. — which is close to what we saw with the Daisy BBs, above. That spread of 15 – 17 f.p.s. is probably representative of what the gun gets and the average velocity with Dust Devil 2 BBs is probably 2 or 3 f.p.s. slower than the 290 f.p.s. shown here. They are somewhat faster than standard steel BBs, but still close.

Sig rates the P365 at 295 f.p.s. and that seems to be a maximum velocity. I believe the numbers I have obtained in this test are representative.

Trigger pull

The trigger pull measured 5 lbs. 12 oz. on my electronic scale, but there is more to tell. Several times the trigger seemed much lighter than that and the gun fired before I was ready. And two times in the 63 total shots in this test the trigger was impossible to pull. At first I thought the gun was not cocked, but it was. I guess the trigger linkage has some slop and you have to allow for it from time to time. What you do when this happens is squeeze and relax the trigger blade several times until the gun fires. That may smooth out as the gun breaks in. If I see signs of that happening I will report it.

Realism

This is the most realistic airgun replica I have ever seen! Here is why I say that. At one point in my testing I picked up the P365 and pulled the slide back to get it ready for the next velocity test and, what to my wondering eyes should appear — a 9mm cartridge! Earlier in the morning I had taken a photo of both pistols for this report and had not holstered my firearm again. It is always loaded and cocked, since it is my carry pistol that I use for security duty at church twice each week and any other time I carry. I had picked it up by mistake! That mistake was corrected on the spot by putting that gun back into the holster.

P365 two pistols
You are looking at the most realistic BB pistol replica I have every seen. This one is so good it’s scary! I have to handle the P365 with extra care because I cannot afford to make mistakes! The one at the bottom is the BB gun. The BB gun has a safety the firearm doesn’t have.

Summary

If you fully appreciate what I am saying today you will recognize that the Sig P365 BB pistol is a landmark in realistic airgun replicas. Maybe the sofa engineers will wave their hands at the technical difficulties I have mentioned and wonder why Sig didn’t just get them all right the first time, but I am amazed they have been able to do what they have done! Designing a breakthrough pistol like this is not the same as re-skinning a proven design and calling it something else. Sig has stepped into an airgun design realm that has never before been explored. And Sig is a firearm company! Firearms are not the same as airguns, yet with both the ASP20 rifle and this P365 pistol they have innovated in a big way.

We still have to test accuracy and I have some concerns there, as well. Can BB Pelletier hold this small pistol steady enough to keep all his shots on the target at 5 meters? Because what I want is what the rest of the shooting world wants — a realistic BB pistol that can be used as a trainer for my carry pistol — for $80!!! If this airgun can do that, it is a world-beater!


Springfield Armory XD-M compact blowback BB pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Springfield-XD-M
The XD-M BB pistol from Springfield Armory.

This report covers:

  • Very Glock-ish
  • Polymer pistol
  • BB pistol-three backstraps
  • Striker-fired
  • Grip safety
  • Grip extension
  • Sights
  • Field strip
  • Grease
  • Assembly
  • EXCEPT!!!
  • Power
  • Holster
  • Summary

Here comes a lookalike CO2-powered BB pistol with full blowback — the Springfield Armory XD-M compact BB pistol. It  copies the compact XD-M firearm with a 3.8-inch barrel from Springfield Armory. I say compact because Springfield also offers the pistol in a model with a 4.5-inch barrel and a longer slide. These firearm pistols are offered in the following calibers — 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and 10mm. Several model variations are offered, including pistols with barrels threaded for silencers and a special competition model with a 5.25-inch barrel.

Very Glock-ish

That title is certain to anger both Springfield Armory and Glock. But it’s what many gun writers have said. From the trigger that has the built-in safety lever to the reputation for extreme reliability, the XD-M seems to be close to the Glock in performance. I own a Glock 36 carry gun in .45 ACP, so I will be the judge of that! I can tell you this right now — the grip of the XD-M is less blocky that that of the Glock, making the gun more comfortable to hold for me.

Polymer pistol

The XD-M has a polymer frame — just like the Glock and many other pistols that are hitting the market these days. Ten years ago I was a troglodyte sitting on the fence, shouting vile epithets at “plastic pistols”. I was like an aging Harley aficionado who hated Japanese bikes with a passion. Never mind they were faster, smoother, cost less and used to have more reliability! I liked good old shaky, leaky American iron! But, unlike the political arena, the facts about polymer pistols soon rose up and shut my mouth. Plastic pistols are more reliable than all-steel M1911s.

Don’t bother defending the slabside to me; I own three of them. But what do I shoot? I shoot my 9mm Sig P365 that’s super-accurate and doesn’t kick much. And I shoot the .45 Glock that is also reasonably accurate and also doesn’t recoil as much as it should for that big caliber. It certainly does not bounce like a conventional 1911.

BB pistol-three backstraps

This BB pistol that copies the firearm also has a polymer frame with a metal slide. And this is where the benefits begin. Because with the air pistol you get three interchangeable backstraps to change how the pistol sits in your hand. It came to me with the medium-high arch installed which made the pistol point high. I installed the lowest arch and it now seems to point straight naturally. By the way, you get  three backstraps with the firearm, as well.

Springfield-XD-M-box
A lot of stuff comes with the XD-M BB pistol! There are three grip extensions on the right and two extra backstraps for the grip. In addition to the magazine you also get a large Allen wrench to pierce the CO2 cartridge.

Springfield-XD-M-backstraps
Just press the pin out to change backstraps.

Striker-fired

Both the firearm and this BB pistol are striker fired. That means as you fire the pistol and the slide blows back the striker is cocked. There is no follow-up shot if the striker is not cocked. I don’t like that because if a round is chambered and the striker fails to set it off you must cycle the slide for the next shot. That makes this a single-action only pistol. If you want to shoot after the draw the striker must be cocked, so the pistol is carried with the striker cocked and the next round chambered. That’s also characteristic of Glock-type pistols, which is why the second lever is in the center of the trigger blade. Unless it is pulled, the pistol will not fire. It’s considered a safety feature and the manual for this BB gun even calls it the safety.

Springfield-XD-M-trigger
That center lever in the trigger must be pulled back for the trigger to fire the gun. It’s like a grip safety for the trigger.

Grip safety

This is a feature Glocks don’t have. John Browning designed the grip safety in 1910 or 11 so the pistol had to be in the hand when the trigger is pulled in order to fire. This is still considered one of the best pistol safety features ever designed. The XD-M has a grip safety and I tested it. It works as it should. So does the trigger safety. Not only does this pistol have all the same safety features as the XD-M firearm, they all work the same!

Springfield-XD-M-grip-safety
If you don’t hold the pistol the grip safety won’t be pushed in and the gun will not fire. No thinking is needed for this or for the trigger safety.

Grip extension

The compact pistol only also comes with three grip extensions that match the arch of the three grip backstraps. These make the pistol feel full-sized in your hand. The extensions slip over the magazine and do not attach to the pistol in any way. When the magazine is held tight the mag extension will be tight as well.

Sights

The sights do not adjust. There is an orange-ish fiberoptic bead in front and a conventional square notch in  back with white dots on either side. Let’s hope they are close to where they need to be!

Field strip

The BB pistol; field strips just like the firearm. I don’t see the instructions for this anywhere in the owner’s manual and nowhere online do I see them. But the website says you can do it, so here goes.

1. Remove the magazine
2. Lock the slide back
3. Rotate the take-down lever
4. Release the slide and pull it straight forward off the frame (it will be stiff on a new pistol)
5. Compress the slide spring and remove it and the spring guide from the slide
6. Remove the barrel from the slide 

Step 6 isn’t straightforward, so I will give you the secret. Push forward on the breech with your thumb and, if the barrel locks up, push lightly up on the slide cover (the part that would open to eject a spent round) with a finger of your other hand. That will raise the breech enough to clear and the barrel will move easily forward. When you do this make sure you are pushing the barrel the right way — forward out of the slide. When the barrel releases (but doesn’t come out of) the slide, pull it backward and down out of the slide. The real inner barrel separates from the outer shroud at this point.

Springfield-XD-M-push-breech
To remove the barrel I’m pushing forward on the breech with my thumb.

Springfield-XD-M-unlock-barrel
While pushing forward on the breech you may also have to push in lightly right here. That will unlock the barrel from the slide. I have no idea why the barrel says MATCH — ’cause it certainly isn’t!

Springfield-XD-M-apart
The XD-M doesn’t come apart as fast as a 1911, but it is simple to disassemble as long as you follow my instructions.

Grease

I have to comment that the pistol came with a lot of grease on all the moving parts. I get the feeling you are supposed to keep it this way. A lighter grease like lithium would be best, as you don’t want to slow the moving parts.

Springfield-XD-M-grease
Grease covers every moving part inside the pistol.

Assembly

Yeah, yeah, yeah — the parts go back together the way they came out. EXCEPT!!!

EXCEPT!!!

The one secret to assembly is to first assemble the rear barrel inside the outer barrel (the fake one that looks like a real firearm barrel on the outside). The reason for this is a small pin on the right side of the real barrel breech that has to fit into a machined slot in the fake barrel before the two will fit into the slide as they must.

Springfield-XD-M-lock-breech
That pin on the real barrel (yellow arrow) has to be down in that notch in the fake barrel (blue arrow) before both barrels will fit into the slide as they must.

Power

The Pyramyd website tells us to expect velocities up to 270 f.p.s. for the compact 3.8-inch barrel. We will see when we test velocity in Part 2.

Holster

But wait — there is more! This pistol comes to you with its own holster. And that is realistic, because the firearm comes the same way. Springfield Armory has really put a nice package together with this BB gun!

Springfield XD-M holster
The holster comes with the pistol.

You also get a holster with the pistol. I will test the holster for you. It has a number of features like a quick-release locking button and body-contoured shape. It fits outside the waistband, which means the rear flap goes under your belt.

Summary

This is the little BB pistol that keeps on giving. I just hope the accuracy is there. We shall see!


Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol left
Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol

It’s accuracy day for the Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol, and some of you have been eagerly awaiting this day! I decided to shoot 3 different BBs in the gun just to give you a general idea of how well it groups.

Because this is a BB gun, the shooting distance was 5 meters, which is 16 feet, 5 inches. I sat backwards on a chair, resting my forearms over the back, so the pistol was fairly steady. I selected a 10-meter rifle target for this session because the smaller bull seemed appropriate for the shorter distance.

I forgot!
After installing the CO2 cartridge and loading the first 10 BBs, I tried to shoot the target and the gun wouldn’t fire! What was wring? I knew this was a double-action-only trigger, and it should have worked. Right?

Wrong! This trigger is not DAO. It only feels like one! It’s really a single-action trigger that requires the hammer to be cocked before it’ll work. You can squeeze the trigger all day and nothing will happen until the hammer is cocked. So, with this little problem out of the way, the test could begin.

Crosman Copperhead BBs
First up were 10 Crosman Copperhead BBs. As I shot, I noted that the pistol was very steady in my rested hands. And the target shows that…I think. Ten Copperheads went into 1.521 inches at 5 meters. But note the 2 holes that are apart from the main group. Eight of those BBs made a group measuring 0.78 inches.

The farthest of the 2 holes that are apart from the main group — the one to the extreme right — was a called flier. My hand twitched to the left as the shot fired. The other one, though, was held just like all the rest.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol Coppergead group
Ten shots in 1.521 inches, though the one at the right was a called flier. But look at the 8 that landed on the bull. They measure 0.78 inches between centers.

Daisy Premium Grade BBs
Next I tried 10 Daisy Premium Grade BBs. Like I mentioned in Part 1, they’re top-grade BBs that always deliver the goods. This time, 10 of them went into 1.114 inches. There were no called fliers, and the group is fairly well centered on the bull.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol Daisy group
Ten Daisy Premium Grade BBs went into 1.114 inches at 5 meters. No fliers were called.

Umarex BBs
The last BB I tried was the Umarex precision BB — another top-grade BB. Ten of them grouped in 1.28 inches, with 9 going into 0.998 inches. There were no called fliers in this group, either.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol Umarex group
Ten Umarex BBs went into 1.114 inches at 5 meters. No fliers were called.

Overall impressions
As I told you in Part 2, the trigger-pull on this pistol feels very much like a double-action pull. That’s one where the trigger first cocks the hammer before releasing it to fire the gun. It “stacks” or increases in effort significantly toward the end of the pull, like a vintage Colt double-action revolver. Once you learn how to use that, it helps with accuracy. The pistol is actually stabilized before firing.

This little Beretta is a fun BB gun, make no mistake. I found it trouble-free and easy to use. The sights are right on, and there are no quirks in the operation. If you like BB repeaters, this would be one to consider!


Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Part 1

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol
Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol

Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol. We’ll also look at the trigger and the shot count.

Of course, the first step to shoot a CO2 BB pistol like this one is to install a fresh CO2 cartridge. And when you do, never forget to put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip before piercing. The oil will be blown through the gun, coating every seal on the inside and sealing it tight for a long time. I found the cartridge sealed immediately after it pierced, so this pistol is conventional in that respect. Remember — once the cartridge is pierced and the gas stops hissing, you don’t want to tighten the screw any more or you’ll soon tear the face seal that the cartridge butts against, creating a leak.

The BB magazine holds 17 BBs comfortably, and 18 can be forced in. I loaded them one at a time, but in this mag, they load easily.

Umarex Precision BBs
Thye first BB I tested was the Umarex Precision BB. In past tests I have found this BB to be one of the 2 top BBs on the market for precision and size uniformity. They tend to be larger in diameter, which means they give the best velocity.

These BBs averaged 368 f.p.s. for 10 shots, but I did notice the gun is very susceptible to velocity dropoff if the shots are fired fast. When I waited at least 10 seconds between shots, the velocity held steady; but if I fired 2 shots quickly, the second one was always much slower. In one test, the first shot went 372 f.p.s. and the next shot…fired a second later…went 358 f.p.s.

The fastest shot in the string went 385 f.p.s. and the slowest went 356 f.p.s., so the spread was 29 f.p.s. However, the first 3 shots on a new cartridge always go much faster than the average. If we eliminate those 3 shots from this string, the average drops to 363 f.p.s., which seems like a more reasonable average.

Daisy Premium Grade BB
Next I tried the Daisy Premium Grade BB that’s the other top BB on the market. These BBs are also very uniform and very consistently sized. Ten of them averaged 357 f.p.s., with a spread from 350 to 373 f.p.s. That’s a 23 foot-second spread.

The Daisy Premium Grade BB is as good as BBs get, unless you opt to buy the special Avanti Precision Ground Shot that are the finest BBs available today. But they only show their advantage when used in the equally superior Daisy Avanti Champion 499 BB gun. If you shoot them in anything else, you’re wasting money as sure as someone who loads target rimfire ammo into a semiauto sporter.

Crosman Copperhead BB
The final BB I tried was the Crosman Copperhead BB. This BB is not as consistent as the other 2 because the diameter varies, causing velocity variations. You probably won’t find any flat spots on these BBs, but the diameter inconsistency puts it into the second rank for both velocity and accuracy.

In the 84 FS, Copperheads averaged 348 f.p.s., but the spread is very revealing. The low was 314 f.p.s., and the high was 375 f.p.s. That makes the spread 61 f.p.s.

After shooting 64 BBs (there were many that didn’t register on the chronograph, plus I filled the magazine with each type of BB and then shot the rest of them without recording the velocity), the next few Daisy BBs went 317, 306, 301 and 294 f.p.s., respectively. So, the liquid CO2 was exhausted at this point, and the gas pressure was dropping.

Shot count for a CO2 cartridge
I continued to shoot the pistol until the blowback no longer worked. That happened at shot 78, so that’s the number of shots you can get from the gun. By that time, the gun is shooting the Daisy BBs in the mid-200s, meaning that about 100 f.p.s. have been lost since the cartridge was fresh.

Blowback
The blowback on this pistol is faster than the blowback on most air pistols, because the slide doesn’t come back as far. When the CO2 cartridge is fresh, you just feel an impulse when the gun fires, but I wouldn’t call it realistic recoil. But as the gas pressure lowers, the slide starts cycling slower and you do feel the recoil.

Trigger
Remember that I told you in Part 1 that the trigger felt strange? I said it felt like a double-action-only trigger instead of the single-action trigger that it is. Well, this time I tested it and proved that’s how it feels. Despite the slide cocking the hammer for each shot, the trigger is still very long and heavy.

The first-stage pull runs about 4 lbs., and stage 2 breaks at 9 lbs., 9 oz. every time. Pull the trigger slowly, though, and stage 1 becomes creepy, plus stage 2 increases by a full pound. This will be an interesting handgun to shoot for accuracy!

Evaluation thus far
I like how the 84 FS holds. It’s small, but not tiny. It fills the hand with its wide grip frame. But that trigger will be something to contend with. The trigger on my Micro Desert Eagle .380 firearm pistol is also DAO and also challenges me when I shoot farther than 20 feet; but it’s smoother near the end of the pull. This trigger stacks up a lot at the end of the pull. We’ll see!