New Umarex replica pistols for 2014

As regular readers of this site will know, I’m a big fan of Umarex replicas.  So, I’m delighted that at the IWA Outdoor Classics Show at Nuremberg on 7th March, Umarex have announced several new replica pistols which will be available over the next few months.

4.5mm BB pistols

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2½”, 4″ and 6″ versions of the Python .357.  4″ version is also available in polished silver

The new model I’m probably most excited about is the Python .357 revolver, a replica of the Colt Python, arguably one of the best revolvers ever made.  These CO2 powered replicas will be available as 2½”,  4″ and 6″ versions with black (2½”and  4″ only) or polished (4″ and 6″ only) finish.  The overall shape looks close to the original (though it doesn’t quite replicate the hump-backed rear frame of the original) and these will feature fully moving cylinders, vented barrels, removable shell casings, a manual safety catch, speed loader and fully adjustable rear sights.  The 4″ version weighs around 2.2 pounds, the 2½” version slightly less and the 6″ a little more.  I really like revolver replicas and if these even come close to the quality and accuracy of the Umarex TRR8, they’ll be worth waiting for.  Even if they do look very similar to the recently announced Swiss Arms .357 from Cybergun, I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these!

umpress2The new Walther PPS also look very interesting and this one will almost certainly be unique to Umarex.  Based on the concealed-carry Walther Polizei-Pistole Schmal , this replica is a CO2 powered, blowback BB shooter featuring an “Enhanced Blowback System“, which is claimed to give a more powerful blowback without increasing CO2 usage.  It features a metal slide, polymer frame and grip and a drop-out magazine which holds up to 18 BBs.  The specification also notes an “integrated allen wrench in the backstrap for exchange of CO2 capsule” – so it sounds as if this may have a new CO2 tightening/piercing system.  It’s a very compact pistol at just over 6″ in length, but still weighs a reasonable 1.3 pounds.  If this is as much fun as the Umarex Walther CP99 Compact, it could be very special indeed.

umpress6The Colt M45 CQBP is a replica of a development of the venerable Colt 1911 produced as a Close Quarter Battle Pistol for the US Marine Corps.  It’s an all-metal, CO2 powered, blowback BB shooter with a 19 round drop-out magazine.  I don’t know if it features a working grip safety, but it is single action only and will be available in black or dark earth finish.   Also featuring an under-barrel accessory rail, ambidextrous safety and grooved, memory beavertail.  Another hefty replica at around 2 pounds in weight.

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If you want one of the new Colt 1911 WWII Commemorative editions (and, let’s face it, you can never have too many 1911 replicas!), you’ll have to be quick – only 1000 will be produced.  This an all-metal, CO2 powered, blowback replica of the Colt M1911A1 with a 19 round drop-out magazine and wood grips and is single action only.

It looks like a very similar to the KWC 1911, in which case it will be a very good replica indeed.  The black finish has been aged to make it look like a survivor from World War Two, it weighs just over 2 pounds and each pistol will feature a unique serial number.  I hope Umarex will also produce a non-aged version in larger quantities.

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The IWI Jericho B is the first Umarex CO2 replica of a pistol from Israel Weapon Industries.  It’s based on the IWI 9mm service pistol and features a movable metal slide (but no blowback), a working safety-catch, 23 round magazine and a double action trigger.

The Jericho B is a fairly new pistol, and as far as I’m aware, this is the first licensed replica, though I have also seen a similar looking Swiss-Arms Jericho from Cybergun.

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Although it’s not mentioned in the Umarex IWA press release, another new Umarex BB replica was announced at the Shooting, Hunting Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show at Las Vegas in January.  This is the PM Ultra Blowback Makarov pistol.  It’s a CO2 powered, 4.5mm BB shooting blowback replica of the Makarov pistol with a drop-out 18 round magazine.

I believe this will be sold as part of the Umarex Legends series.  I don’t know much about it other than that Umarex are claiming 400fps, which is impressive for a blowback Bb pistol.  It does look very similar to the Gun Heaven Model 59 reviewed on this site, and I’m looking forward to trying one of these.

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Also mentioned at SHOT was the Umarex Legends Mauser C96.  This one seems to have been under development for some time, and I hope it will be available soon.  It’s another CO2 powered, 4.5mm BB shooter with blowback and a 19 round drop-out magazine.  Early pictures seemed to show an ugly extended plastic tip to the barrel, but more recent pics suggest something that looks a lot more like the original.   Another one that I’m really looking forward to…

Pellet shooters

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No new releases for fans of Umarex pellet shooters were announced, just a couple of cosmetic updates to existing models.  The Beretta 92FS Sniper Grey looks to be identical to the existing Umarex 92FS, but comes in a matt dark grey finish.  The Heckler & Koch P30 ODG is a replica of the H&K service pistol and appears to be identical to the existing Umarex HK P30, but features a frame and grip finished in olive drab.

6mm BB pistols

The new CO2 powered 6mm Legends .357 looks identical to the 4.5mm Colt Python, but only seems to be available in 2½” and 4″ form in black finish.   The CO2 6mm IWI Jericho B appears to be identical to its 4.5mm counterpart other than for a reduced magazine capacity of 16 BBs.  One interesting new 6mm arrival is the AEG Beretta M92 A1 Tactical.  With a rechargeable battery concealed in the frame, this non-blowback electric replica features a (non-functioning) suppressor and single and full-auto fire modes.  Mind you, with just 30 rounds in the magazine, you won’t be shooting for long in full-auto!

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It’s a pity that there aren’t any new pellet shooters forecast for 2014, but some of the new BB replicas look very nice indeed.  It’s particularly nice to see some additions to the Legends range and I hope to review some of these new products in the near future.

All pictures courtesy of Umarex Sportwaffen GmbH & Co. KG

Related pages:

Umarex Walther CP99 Compact review

Umarex HK P30 review

Gun Heaven Model 59 review

Links

No details yet of when the new pistols will be available to buy, but information about all new products will be released on the Umarex website:

http://www.umarex.com/de/airguns/co/pistolen.html

What makes a great replica pistol?

What makes a good replica pistol?  A good shooter?  Something that replicates the function of the original?  Something that looks and feels like the original?  There isn’t any “right” answer of course, but this article looks as some of the elements that you may want to consider.  It also explains the philosophy used when reviewing pistols on this site.

Look and feel

The moment you first pick up a pistol, I think you immediately have an idea of how good a replica it is.  Does it feel like a real pistol?  The first issue is weight – I don’t care for plastic pistols simply because they generally feel much too light.  Metal replicas come much closer, though it’s rare for a replica to match the actual weight of the real weapon.

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Tokyo Marui Glock 17 – nicely made, a good visual replica and a great shooter, but all plastic construction means it’s very light indeed.  Picture from eHobby Asia.

Finish is the next thing.  Classic pistols tend to be made of blued carbon steel or polished stainless steel.  Both have a very distinctive look, and very few replicas get this right.  Of the replica pistols I have handled, only Tanaka revolvers which feature the midnight gold finish actually look like blued steel.

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Tanaka Smith & Wesson M29 in Midnight Gold finish – about as close to the look of blued carbon steel as it’s possible to get.  Picture from eHobby Asia.

And very few pellet or BB shooting replicas come close to resembling polished stainless steel – most settle for a dull, painted silver, though again, some Tanaka revolvers with their Jupiter finish come close.

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Tanaka Smith & Wesson M66 in Jupiter finish.  Almost indistinguishable from real stainless steel.  Picture from eHobby Asia.

Modern pistols tend to use a variety of protective coatings, which generally results in a matt or semi matt black or very dark grey finish.  This is generally easier for a painted “pot metal” replica to reproduce and many replicas of modern pistols have realistic looking finishes.  However, a pet hate of mine is mismatched finish on the slide and frame of a modern semi-auto pistol.

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WE P226.  Nice replica, but black frame with grey slide and controls.  Why?  Picture from eHobby Asia.

Function

To me, an important aspect of any replica is its ability to replicate not just the look but the function of the original weapon.  For this reason I don’t particularly care for fixed slides on semi-autos and non-rotating cylinders on revolvers.  I also prefer full size drop-out magazines in semi-autos and removable shell casings on revolvers.  I also like to see safety catches, magazine/crane releases and slide catches which look and operate like their real-world counterparts.

px45WE Bulldog (Beretta PX4 Storm replica) – a very functionally accurate semi-auto replica.

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Gun Heaven Nagant M1895 – a functionally accurate revolver replica.

 Shooting

Another thing that is very important to me in a replica is the ability to shoot.  These are supposed to be guns, after all.  For that reason I don’t care for deactivated weapons or blank firers.  I don’t skirmish or hunt, so any comments in reviews about shooting are entirely related to target shooting.  Power and accuracy are obviously both important to shooting, but sound is as well.  A replica which produces a weedy “phut” when fired (unless it’s a replica of a silenced weapon!) just doesn’t hit the spot for me.  Realistic feeling recoil movement is also good, though this is really only attainable on blowback replica semi-autos.  Reliability is also an issue – I have owned some wonderful looking replicas where the internals appear to have all the strength and longevity of over-ripe cheese.

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An early Umarex Smith & Wesson 586 – a great shooter and beautifully made and finished, but with its non-rotating cylinder not such a good functional replica

Conclusion

I don’t suppose there will ever be such a thing as a prefect replica.  Commercial considerations alone ensure that all air and airsoft pistols involve some level of compromise.  Some are great replicas, but not so good at shooting (for example, I have owned two Tanaka revolvers – both looked wonderful and handled well, but neither shot with any real power or accuracy and both produced only a restrained “pop” when fired).  Some are great shooters, but not such good replicas (for example, any of the Umarex pellet firing semi auto replicas – all shoot very well, but they’re revolvers dressed up to look like automatics).  Having said that, some modern airsoft pistols are getting close.  Airsoft pistols have always been great functional replicas, but new technology is allowing the production of some very fine shooters too.

What matters is to decide what’s important to you, and I hope that the reviews on this site will help you to decide what replica pistol will meet your needs.

Happy shooting!

Related pages:

WE Bulldog (Beretta PX4 Storm replica) review

Gun Heaven Nagant M1895 revolver review

Umarex “Legends” P08

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Umarex have recently released a CO2 replica of the iconic P08 “Luger”, as part of their growing Legends series.

Specifications

  • Weight: 1.79 lbs (0.81 kilos)
  • Length: 8.86 in (22.5 cm)
  • Material(s): Full Metal (plastic grips)
  • Power Source: 12 g CO2 cartridge (non-blowback)
  • Calibre: 4.5 mm steel BB
  • Capacity: 21 shots
  • Barrel Design: Smooth-bore steel
  • Trigger: Double Action Only (strike fire)
  • Safety: Thumb (left-side)
  • Sights: Fixed front (post) and rear (v-notch)
  • Velocity: Up to 410 fps

Real Steel Background

Popularly (though incorrectly) referred to as the Luger, the Pistole Parabellum 1908 is a toggle-locked recoil-operated semi-automatic pistol.  The design was patented by Georg J. Luger in 1898 and produced by German arms manufacturer Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) starting in 1900.  It was an evolution of the 1893 Hugo Borchardt designed C-93. The first Parabellum pistol was adopted by the Swiss army in May 1900.  In German Army service, it was succeeded and partly replaced by the Walther P38 in caliber 9mm Parabellum.
po03The Luger is well known from its use by Germans during World War I and World War II, along with the interwar Weimar Republic and the post war East German Volkspolizei.  Although the P.08 was introduced in 7.65mm Parabellum, it is notable for being the pistol for which the 9mmP (also incorrectly known as the 9mm Luger) cartridge was developed.  Original examples are still sought after by collectors both for its sleek design and accuracy.  Thousands were taken home by returning Allied soldiers during both wars, and are still in circulation today.

The actual brand name “Luger” has been owned by Stoeger since 1924.   They imported/produced .22LR and 9mm real steel versions.

Replica Background

Given its popularity it’s not surprising that there have been many airgun replicas of the P08.  The most noteworthy would be the Schimel P-22/GP-22 produced between 1949 and 1954 and the America Luger produced between 1956 and 1958.

po04Schimel P-22
po05American Luger

More recently, KWC in Taiwan have produced anumber of versions.  Their 2013 catalogue lists two models currently available : The KMB-41DHN 4.5mm CO2-powered non-blowback airgun with 21 shot capacity, i.e. the Umarex Legends P08.

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And the KCB-41DHN 6mm gas-powered blowback with a 15 shot capacity.  The KCB-41DHN has a full-size drop-out magazine as it doesn’t have to accommodate a 12g CO2 powerlet.

The 21 shot 4.5mm non-blowback version is also marketed by ASG as the P08 Luger and by Umarex as the Legends 08 Para.

po07Umarex “Legends” P08

po08ASG P08 Luger

Packaging & Presentation 3/5

The P08 comes in a cardboard box with the standard format Umarex multi-language owner’s manual.

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There are no additional accessories. The magazine is already in place, within the pistol grip.  The packaging is nothing especially fancy but it does the job. If you are planning to display the pistol you might want to consider using a holster or case.

Visual Accuracy 8/10

The overall external appearance of the pistol is very faithful to the original, with a lot of attention to detail.  The plastic grips are black which is not period correct but they still look good.  There is even a lanyard bar moulded into the frame at the back of the pistol.

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It’s worth considering ageing the paint finish to give the P08 a more vintage look, as demonstrated in this video … http://airgun-explorer.tumblr.com/post/59482637026

Functional Accuracy 6/15

The lack of a working toggle and blowback functionality is without question the most disappointing aspect of this replica.  After all, these are the most defining features of this pistol.  The toggle itself is a separate piece and not moulded into the frame, but it doesn’t retract at all.

Also, the 21-shot drop-out magazine is not full-size.  This is quite common on CO2 pistols but definitely detracts from the authenticity of the replica.  The field strip lever is non-functional and just moulded into the frame.  There is a working thumb safety with two positions: safe and fire.

po012jpgWorking thumb-safety on the left side.

po013The field strip lever is non-functional and just moulded into the frame.

po014CO2 access is via the right-side grip; the screw tab is plastic.  The magazine has a cut-out for the follower (to aid loading).

Shooting 22/40

The P08 feels nicely balanced in the hand and easy to point on target. It weighs slightly less than the real steel.  CO2 is loaded via the left-side grip and the tightening screw is covered by the magazine butt-plate, a welcome feature that gives a more authentic look.

The absence of blowback means that the pistol has decent performance, coming close to the advertised 410 fps.  And the moving barrel design means that the CO2 usage is efficient, providing well over a hundred shots from a single 12g CO2 cartridge.  The moving barrel design, however, is also one of the biggest drawbacks of the pistol. The double action only trigger pull is moderately heavy due to the strike fire (moving barrel) mechanism and this can affect accuracy.  Care is needed to keep the pistol on target and find a rhythm that keeps your shots as consistent as possible.

po015As you pull the trigger, the barrel moves forward from its starting position…

po016…allowing another BB to be loaded.

 The fixed sights also limit your options and you will need to correct your point of aim to adjust for distance and/or wind.

po017po018Rear sight – note lanyard loop below.

Quality & Reliability 12/15

As a replica the detailing is good and the full metal design gives the pistol a solid feel with decent weight.  I’d compare the build quality to other KWC items such as the GSR, Jericho, SP2022, M84; perhaps slightly better.  Though some of the seams from the casting moulds are a little too noticeable for my liking.  The moving barrel design is CO2 efficient and reliable in operation.

Overall Impression 8/15

As much as I like the Umarex Legends P08 it’s not going to be one I shoot all that often.  I think it works as much as a desktop/presentation case model as it does an actual plinker.

General Summary 59/100

Although this model ticks many boxes, the lack of blowback is its biggest shortcoming as the toggle/slide is the defining feature of this particular firearm.

However, given that I only paid €80 (£67) posted, I think the price is fair for what you get (the airsoft 6mm ‘Legends 08 Para’ retails for around double this).  So I’d be happy to recommend it at this price point. If not for a shooting pistol, then just as a classic WW2 era ornament.

Best Features

  • Authentic looking replica of a WWI/II classic
  • Good performance and CO2 usage
  • High shot capacity
  • Full metal construction
  • Good value for money

Worst Features

  • Non-blowback (non-functioning toggle/slide)
  • Moderately heavy trigger (due to moving barrel)
  • Non-adjustable sights
  • Magazine isn’t full-size

Review by Vyand

Related pages:

Umarex Walther PPK/S review

Umarex Walther P99 Compact review

Links

Umarex web site