Umarex Smith & Wesson M&P 327 TRR8 revolver

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The Umarex Smith & Wesson M&P TRR8 revolver doesn’t seem to be particularly well known compared to the more popular Umarex replicas.  It’s an all-metal, 4.5mm BB shooter which internally looks to be very similar to the Umarex Ruger Superhawk and the Dan Wesson/WinGun series of revolvers.  Like them, it features removable shell casings into which BBs are loaded.  Unlike these other revolver replicas, this one shoots like a laser.  It’s one of the most accurate air pistols I have ever used, and that includes a number of pellet shooters with rifled barrels.  How can a BB shooter be so accurate?  Honestly, I have no idea but this is a pistol worthy of attention from anyone who values precision shooting.

Real steel background

A detailed look at the background to Smith & Wesson and the development of the .327 cartridge is provided in the Umarex S&W 586/686 review.  Link at the bottom of this article.

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S&W TRR8

The Smith and Wesson M&P 327 TRR8 (Tactical Rail Revolver, eight-shot capacity) is an eight-shot revolver intended for military and law enforcement use (thus M&P).  To keep weight down, the N series frame is made of a scandium alloy while the cylinder and five inch barrel are stainless steel (though the barrel is enclosed within an alloy shroud).  The pistol is chambered for .327 Magnum and .38 special rounds and features adjustable V-notch rear sights and a replaceable foresight.  Unusually for a revolver, the TRR8 features an under-barrel accessory rail and can be fitted with an upper rail.  It’s a reliable, rugged and accurate handgun which has proved very popular since its introduction in 2006.

The Umarex Smith & Wesson M&P 327 TRR8

The Umarex Smith & Wesson M&P 327 TRR8 (Snappy title, eh?  To save my typing finger, I’ll just call it the TRR8 from now on) is a six shot, CO2 powered revolver with removable shell casings.  CO2 is stored in the grip, the rear part of which hinges backward to give access.  This is a licensed replica which features S&W markings and an S&W logo on the grips.  The rear sight features windage and elevation adjustment and both front and rear sights have fibre-optic inserts in place of dots.  The TRR8 is available in black or polished steel finish.  In some markets this pistol is sold as the “Umarex S&W Dominant Trait“.

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The pistol features removable shell casings into which BBs are loaded and which shoot through a light alloy inner barrel which is sprung to provide sealing with the cylinder face.  The replica is mostly metal other than for the grips.  As far as I’m aware, no 6mm version of this pistol is available.

I purchased my TRR8 in as-new second-hand condition.  However (and I didn’t notice this until it was pointed out to me later) the base of the shell casings are marked “Dan Wesson”.  Other TRR8s seem to come with shell casings which are marked “S&W”.  So, I presume the seller of my pistol got the shell casings mixed up, though I suppose it’s possible that some TRR8s come with Dan Wesson casings?  Whatever the reason, it shoots very well using these shell casings.

Spec;

Calibre: 4.5mm

Capacity: 6 round cylinder

Propellant: CO2

Barrel length: 5.4″

Weight: 2.0 pounds

Length: 12″

Sights: Fully adjustable rear, front and rear feature fibre-optic inserts.

Action: SA/DA

Packaging and presentation  2.5/5

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The Umarex TRR8 comes in a serviceable cardboard box which features the S&W logo.  It is provided with a brief user manual, six shell casings, a speedloader, an upper picatinny rail (in addition to the fixed lower rail) and an allen key for rail fixing/removal.  Overall, packaging and presentation are adequate but nothing special.

Visual accuracy  5/10

The original TRR8 has a 5″ barrel.  Umarex claim that the replica comes with a slightly longer 5.4″ inner barrel, but for some reason the replica is 1½” longer overall than the original and visually the difference looks even greater.  Just look at the pictures below – even allowing that the inner barrel is recessed from the muzzle, the replica really doesn’t look as if it has a barrel that’s just 0.4″ longer.  The TRR8 is actually longer than an Umarex 586/686 with a 6″ barrel.

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S&W TRR8 (left) and Umarex S&W TRR8 (right)

The cylinder is longer, smaller diameter and mounted about ½” further forward on the replica.  The overall effect is slightly odd, as if a TRR8 has been stretched horizontally.  Unless the Umarex TRR8 is based on some variant of the original that I’m unaware of, the profile here isn’t particularly close to the original.

The hammer, trigger guard and cylinder all look different on the replica though  the grips and safety/cylinder release do closely match the original.

Overall, this seems a slightly disappointing visual replica (though I’m open to input on this – does anyone know if the Umarex replica based on some other variant of the TRR8?).

Functional accuracy  13/15

Given that this replica features removable shell casings, the Umarex TRR8 very closely replicates the function of shooting with a real revolver.  The hammer, trigger, safety and cylinder release all work on the replica as per the original.  The weight of this replica is also good, being within a few ounces of the weight of the original.

Loading CO2 is done by hinging back the rear part of the grip and inserting the cartridge.  Piercing is done by twisting the plastic piercing tab.  Loading happens cleanly with no major loss of gas.  The rear part of the grip is then rotated forward, which also hides the piercing tab.  The rear part of the grip has slight movement when it’s closed, and the plastic piercing tab looks and feels a bit flimsy though I didn’t have any problems with it.

tr6BBs are loaded by operating the cylinder release, which allows the cylinder to swing out on a crane on the left side of the frame.  Shell casings are then removed and BBs are pressed firmly into the nose of each casing.  Shells are then reloaded into the cylinder either individually or using the supplied speedloader.  The cylinder is then swung closed, and you’re good to shoot in single or double action.

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One disappointment functionally is that this doesn’t replicate the eight-shot cylinder on the original.  You would imagine that if S&W can fit eight of the mighty .327 cartridges in this cylinder, Umarex might have found room for eight replica shells!  I’m guessing that this is for reason of parts commonality – the cylinder here looks very similar to that used on the Umarex Ruger Superhawk and is smaller diameter compared to the distinctive short, squat cylinder on the original weapon.

Shooting  39/40

The sights on the Umarex TRR8 are particularly fine.  The rear and foresights incorporate small fibre-optic rods which provide bright dots at front and rear.  I was sceptical at first, but these really do improve target acquisition.  Perhaps they’re just well suited to my ageing eyesight, but I found them bright, clear and very easy to use.  Even better, the rear sight incorporates windage and elevation adjustment, so it’s possible to align the point of aim and point of impact precisely.

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Six shots, 6yds, Blaster steel BBs.

Accuracy is where the TRR8 really stands out.  This pistol will place BBs precisely where you want them.  The light weight and decent sights help, but the TRR8 seems to have inherent accuracy that’s way ahead of most comparable pistols.  This is one of the few air pistols which could benefit from a laser or red-dot sight.  Or, if you want the “big game” look, what about a telescopic sight mounted on the upper rail?

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Real TRR8 fitted with telescopic sight

Even though it’s a fairly long pistol, the TRR8 feels well balanced and light.  The double action trigger pull is fairly long and slightly clunky but with a consistent and clean break point.  The single action pull is light and crisp.  The pistol fires with a satisfying bang though of course there is next to no recoil.  I had no misfires or failures to fire with my TRR8 and I got around 60 full-power shots from one CO2 cartridge.

The claimed fps for the TRR8 is 400, which sounds about right.  On a chilly autumn day and using fresh CO2 and Blaster steel BBs I saw an average velocity across the chrono of 388fps (with a high of 403 and a low of 380).

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Six shots, 6yds, Blaster steel BBs, cowboy shooting target downloaded from UBC site (see link at the end of this review).  Note the head shot.  The head on this target is just over 1″ across.  I can not only hit it at 6yds, I can place a BB precisely within the area.  I can’t do this with any other replica air pistol I own.

I admit that I’m at a loss trying to explain the accuracy of my Umarex TRR8.  The easy-to-see sights certainly help, but the BB comes from the shell casing into a light alloy, movable, smoothbore barrel which is held in place only by a light spring.  Allowing for inevitable machining tolerances in the shell casing, cylinder, barrel shroud, barrel and indexing system, this just can’t be particularly accurate.  And yet somehow it is.  It’s the same system seen on the Dan Wesson/WinGun revolvers and on the Umarex Ruger SuperHawk, none of which (in my experience) are especially accurate (though I notice that the inner barrel on the TRR8 seems to be made from heavier gauge material than seen on these other pistols).  But this isn’t just the most consistently accurate BB shooter I have ever tried, it’s also more precise than most of my pellet shooters which have rifled barrels.  With the TRR8 I can place a BB precisely where I want, shot after shotDoesn’t make any kind of sense, but that’s how it is.  Have I just been lucky that a particular conjunction of assembled parts have made my TRR8 especially accurate?  Is it something to do with using the Dan Wesson shell casings?  Does the heavier inner barrel help?  I can’t say for certain – I can only report honestly on the performance of my TRR8.

The only downside to shooting the TRR8 is the need to re-load every six shots.  I suppose you just have to accept that this is part of the revolver experience, though I can’t help wishing that Umarex had replicated the eight shots of the original.  Spare shell casings are easily obtainable (and Dan Wesson shells obviously fit) so at least it’s possible to have pre-loaded shells standing by.

Quality and reliability  13/15

The finish on the black TRR8 looks durable and well applied.  My pistol suffered from no chipping or rubbing problems.  The grip fit isn’t fantastic and the CO2 piercing tab is flimsy, but apart from this, the TRR8 looks and feels well made and put together.  I am not aware of any particular problems with this model.

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Overall Impression  13/15

When you pick up the Umarex TRR8, it feels like a nice replica.  Good weight and balance, durable looking finish and a general feeling of quality are all notable.  Then you start shooting.  And you realise it’s something quite exceptional.  This a better shooter than any BB gun has a right to be, and it’s better than many pellet shooting replicas.  If you have any interest in air pistol target shooting, you really need to try one of these.

Conclusion

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The Umarex TRR8 is well made and finished, a fair functional replica and it’s relatively cheap.  Shame it doesn’t look more like the original and doesn’t hold eight shots.  However, it is the best shooting replica airgun I own.  And I own (or have owned) a lot of replica pistols.  It’s well balanced, has a reasonable trigger action and very clear sights but most of all, it’s just phenomenally accurate.  In fact, my TRR8 was so uncannily accurate that I hesitate to suggest that all TRR8s will be the same.  But I do recommend that you urgently get hold of one of these and give it a try.  If it’s anything like mine, you won’t be disappointed!

Total score: 85.5/100

Buy:

You can buy this replica at Pyramid Air here.

Related pages:

Umarex S&W 586/686 revolver review

Gun Heaven Nagant M1895 revolver review

ASG Dan Wesson revolvers

Links:

Cowboy target downloaded from Umarex Boys Club forum

Umarex web site

Umarex Walther CP99 Compact

The Umarex Walther CP99 Compact was launched in 2006 and is a replica of the Walther P99c.  This was the second Umarex blowback BB gun, launched  after the success of the Walther PPK/S (see review link at bottom of this post).  These two pistols would certainly make an interesting addition to any collection as they perfectly illustrate advances in handgun design and technology.  Both are blowback, BB shooting replicas of concealed-carry pistols produced by the same company, but designed more than seventy years apart.

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Real steel background

The Walther P-99 is a short-recoil operated, locked breech, semi-automatic pistol manufactured by Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen in Ulm, Germany. It uses a glassfibre-reinforced polymer grip frame and steel slide. The P-99 was designed as a sidearm for law enforcement and security forces as well as for civilian use and was a direct replacement for the Walther P5 and P 88 pistols. It has an internal striker rather than the traditional hammer, and the striker tip protrudes from the back of the slide to indicate that the pistol is cocked. It has a 4″ barrel with an accessory rail beneath.  It was launched in 1997 and is currently used by law enforcement and security forces in Europe, Asia and North America.

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P99c

A concealed carry, compact version of the P99, the P99c was introduced in 2004.  This version has a 3.5″ barrel and a 1″ shorter grip and is often used as a back-up weapon by special forces.

The Umarex Walther CP99 Compact

The CO2 powered CP99 Compact has a metal slide, polymer frame, blowback action and is single action only.  It weighs 1.6 pounds, has a 3.25″ smoothbore barrel, fixed sights and a metal drop-out magazine that holds up to eighteen steel BBs.  CO2 is stored inside the grip and accessed by removing the rear part of the grip.  At some point after initial release the design of the CP99 Compact slide was modified by Umarex; initial models had moulded plastic over the slide ejection port while later models featured a fully cut-out ejection port.  There are no other obvious visual differences between earlier and later models.

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Early model CP99 Compact with covered slide ejection port (left) and late model with open ejection port (right)

Umarex also offer spare magazines and a laser sight specifically intended for this model.

Packaging and presentation  2.5/5

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The CP99 Compact comes in a small and not especially impressive cardboard box containing the pistol, one magazine and a short user manual.

Visual accuracy  8/10

Visually, this is a pretty close.  One of the most noticeable features of the real P99c is its shortened grip.  However, the grip on the CP99 Compact has to be much longer to allow the CO2 cartridge to fit inside (the same thing applies to the Umarex Walther PPK/S, which also has a longer grip than the original).  So, this replica is modelled on a P99c fitted with a grip extension – a commonly fitted optional extra which allows the real pistol to use full-size magazines.

Other visual differences include the lack of a de-cocker on top of the slide, non-adjustable rear sights and an external safety catch/decocker on the right side of the frame on the replica.

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P99c with grip extension (left), CP99 Compact (right)

As noted earlier, later versions of the CP99 Compact have a fully cut-out slide ejection port, which I think looks better.  However, the earlier models with the plastic covered ejection port are actually a closer match to the profile of the original weapon.

However, overall, this is a very good visual replica of the P99c which includes autherntic Walther markings.

Functional accuracy  12/15

This a blowback replica with a drop-out (though not full size) metal magazine.  It operates in single action only and the slide locks back after the last round is fired.  The slide catch and ambidextrous magazine release work as per the original weapon.

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On the real P99c, a cocking indicator is provided in the form of the rear of the striker pin which projects through an aperture in the rear of the slide when the pistol is cocked.  This functionality is replicated on the CP99 Compact by the appearance of a red dot in a cut-out at the rear of the slide to show that the pistol is cocked.

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Cocking indicator

There are several variants of the real P99c which feature a number of safety configurations.  None are accurately replicated on the CP99 Compact.  The real weapon also features a decocking button set into the top of the slide (similar to the P99).  Neither of these features are replicated here and instead, a rather odd combined safety catch/decocker lever/button is mounted on the right side of the frame, just below the slide.

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Decocker/safety catch

The drop-out magazine isn’t full size and incorporates the lower front part of the grip.  The main body of the magazine is made of metal, unlike the Umarex Walther PPK/S where the magazine is all plastic.  The CP99 Compact cannot be field stripped.

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CP99 Compact magazine

Shooting  30/40

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Up to eighteen BBs are loaded into the metal drop-out magazine.  The magazine clicks positively into place and the bottom of the magazine incorporates the little finger part of the grip.  CO2 is loaded by removing the rear part of the grip and inserting the CO2.  Piercing is done by twisting the moveable bottom part of the grip.  The gun feels well balanced and very pointable.  The rear sight has a rather wide aperture, making lining up the sights a little imprecise.

There is a distinct first and second stage to the trigger pull, but both are light and precise.  The gun fires with a sharp crack and the blowback is positive and strong.  The strong blowback provides a distinct recoil effect, making it necessary to re-sight the gun after each shot.  I was able to get more than 90 full power shots from a single CO2.

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Eight shots, 6yds, freestanding

Power is reasonable at around 310 – 330 fps dependent on weather conditions (though I have seen other reviews quoting much higher fps, so it’s possible my CP99 Compact was underperforming).  Accuracy is also fair for a steel BB shooter – I saw groups of around 2″ firing freestanding at 6yds.  The rear sight opening is very wide, which does make lining up the sights a little more difficult.

This is a nice replica to shoot.  Like the PPK/S, the strong blowback and loud bang make it feel more powerful than it is, but it is significantly more powerful and accurate than that pistol.  It’s no target pistol, but this replica is accurate enough to be fun and challenging.

The only thing which lets down the shooting experience is the fiddly safety catch which also looks rather cheap and nasty.  It’s a fingernail shredder, especially moving from “Fire” to “Safe” as this also decocks the gun.

Quality and reliability  13/15

I’m not aware of any known reliability issues with this pistol.  Indeed, some owners have reported firing thousands of rounds through the CP99 Compact without any problems at all.  That’s pretty outstanding for a fairly low cost BB shooter, but it won’t come as any surprise when you pick up this pistol – this gun has a very substantial feel to it.  In fact the whole gun has that indefinable feeling of quality that is also found in the best of the other Umarex replicas.

It is finished in an attractive semi-matt finish and the paint on the metal slide precisely matches the finish on the polymer frame and grips, making both elements look as if they belong together.  The slide racks, locks and releases with a precise and satisfying action and there are no rattles or looseness.  Overall fit and finish are outstanding.

Overall Impression  14/15

I like the CP99 Compact.  A lot.  It feels good to handle and it’s just powerful and accurate enough to be fun to shoot.  In this respect it’s notably better than the similar PPK/S.  It’s also fairly frugal with CO2, makes a satisfying bang and the kick from the blow back is strong.  The only think that lets it down is the fiddly safety catch/decocker.

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Conclusion

Straight out of the box, the CP99 Compact feels well balanced and superbly finished and constructed.  It isn’t outstandingly accurate, but then no short-barreled BB gun ever will be.  It’s satisfying to shoot and this is enhanced by the strong blowback and light, smooth and consistent trigger pull.

This is a logical successor to the venerable Umarex Walther PPK/S, but in my opinion the CP99 Compact is a better made, more accurate and more powerful gun.  Overall I’d recommend this without reservation to anyone looking for a well-made, durable and fun BB gun.

Total score: 79.5/100

Related pages:

Umarex Walther PPK/S review

Umarex Beretta PX4 Storm review

Umarex Walther CP99 review

Lubrication of air pistols

Links

Umarex web site

Buy

You can buy the Umarex Walther CP99 Compact at Pyramid Air here.