Airguns and spring powered airsoft replicas
Canadian World of Replica Air Pistols reader R-Gun Pete has a vast collection of replica pistols. Here he continues the story of how he built up his collection.
After the law banning replicas was passed in Canada in December 1998, the future of airsoft was looking very bleak.
I continued to explore what was available in the metal BB (4.5mm) and pellet airguns world and came across some models that had some interest. According to the law, replicas were either non shooting guns or guns that were so low power that they couldn’t cause an injury and at the same time were looking near exactly like firearms.
The actual airguns available on the market (legal in Canada because they were lower than 500 fps) were not deemed firearms. As they were powerful enough to cause injury, even if they look near exactly like firearms, they were not considered replicas.
So over a number of years, I acquired several Daisy and a lot of Umarex Models.
Here is a list of the air pistols that had a strong resemblance to existing handgun models. This is in the order I purchased them.
From Daisy: Model 93 (S&W 59), Daisy Powerline 400 (Desert Eagle), Daisy Powerline 45 (S&W 745-ISPC). From Umarex: Colt 1911 A1, Walther CP-99, Beretta 92S, Sig 225, Walther CP-88, Walther PPK and Smith & Wesson Model 586. From Crosman: Walther P-99 Compact. From Palco: Beretta M-84.
After a while airsofts started to reappear but they were not too exciting as the only ones allowed in the country were made of clear transparent plastic. Nevertheless, I was always on the lookout for models I didn’t have in my collection (at this point I knew that I wanted to recreate the timeline of firearms using only non-firearm examples).
I saw the Sig P230 in a store and, being an inexpensive spring airsoft pistol, I purchased it. This pistol was very low power but it just made me realized that it could be fun too. My kids were still young so I thought that it would be a good time to start working on firearm safety with them.
Real Steel Background
The Sig P230, designed in 1977, is a competitor of the Walther PPK. It is a fixed barrel blowback pistol chambered in .32 ACP (8+1 rounds) or .380 Auto (7+1 rounds). Its relatively narrow slide and frame make it easy to conceal. It can shoot in double action for the first shot and in single action for the subsequent. In single action the trigger has a very short travel.
If it was not for the fact that it is transparent, it would be a fairly close replica since it came with trademark on it. It also seems that the dimensions are close to what they should be. Unfortunately the fact that it is transparent cannot be overlooked and it is not very satisfying.
That being said, there is some interest to be able to see the internal mechanism.
The pistol worked exactly as expected considering that it is low velocity spring handgun that requires recocking between each shot. It should be noted that all the controls are molded in the plastic and the hammer is non-functional. It has to be kept in mind that it was very inexpensive not to say cheap pistol.
As mentioned before in the first part, the easiest way to avoid frustration is to adjust distance and target size until the same score level average normally obtained with higher quality airguns is achieved.
Quality and reliability
For the price it is really good and it is still shooting. I was wondering if the small rubbery cup would dry out after a while but it seems that it is still working.
If you have other options, I would say take them. Transparent airsofts are for desperate people.
Interesting to see the internals (from a mechanical point of view).
Annoying to see the internals (from a collector point of view).
For some reason during that time of prohibition, I came across a very nice airsoft that was not transparent and was displayed in the airguns section of our Canadian Tire Store (some sort of large surface hardware store). I am not sure if it was some sort of mistake and they shouldn’t have been there but since they were, I bought three of them so I could shoot with my sons. They were made by Crosman and they came in a kit with a sticky reusable target.
Real Steel Background
The Walther P99 was introduced in 1997. It is a polymer framed pistol having a 16 rounds capacity in 9×19 mm. The police in Germany, Poland and Finland use the Walther P99 and, more recently, also the Dutch and Estonian police. Its action is a short recoil locked breech and it has a barrel with a cam lock system inspired from the Browning HP. The Walther P99 doesn’t have an external hammer but a striker which tip is visible as a red painted ball at the rear of the slide when it is cocked. The original version was modified in 2004, the bump in the trigger guard was eliminated and an optional ambidextrous slide release was offered. At the same time, several trigger system variants (double action/single action, double action only and quick action) were introduced and a compact version became available.
Good replica with trademark and markings. The polymer frame looks a bit too “plasticky” and shiny but, since it is not transparent, I am more than happy with its overall appearance. The shape and dimensions seems right on and not all the controls are molded in. I was glad to find that replica because it happened around the same time I decided to retire my Tokyo Marui models. This Walther 99 became my current working airsoft and it’s up to the job.
Again this is a spring powered replica so it has limitations. Let’s just say that within these limitations it is a very satisfying replica because this time the “slide lock” is not just a decoration. As it can be seen in the picture below, it even replicates the browning tilting barrel when the slide is locked back.
The same as the Tokyo Marui models, the light weight could be a source of complaint but from an all-plastic replica it is to be expected.
Once the pistol is cocked there is even the red dot indicator to warn that it is live and ready to shoot. The decocker is not functional but the fact that the slide can lock open makes a good practice tool to learn handgun safety.
All three pistols made similar grouping so they were perfect for friendly competitions with my sons when they were young.
The Walther P99 by Crosman is more powerful than the Sig P230 that was seen previously and is about the same as the spring powered Tokyo Marui replicas covered in an earlier article.
A very nice feature of this replica is that the slide will lock open on the shot before the last. This is the warning that there is still one to go before reloading. At this point the thumb can activate the slide release to take the last shot. This means that unnecessary dry-firing can be avoided.
Quality and reliability
These are very good, all of them have been extensively used and except for some wear on the paint finish at the front and the back of the slide, they are still in good condition. This is due to handling during recocking, otherwise the guns are in excellent shape.
This is another of my airsoft replicas that I like very much.
Slide can be locked open and the pistol can be used for safety training.
It is not necessary to count shots to avoid dry-firing as on the shot before last there is a warning.
The red dot to indicate that the pistol is cocked is a nice touch and is working as on the firearm.
It is a bit lightweight but it can be forgiven.
It has to be recocked for each shot but again it is to be expected.
Crosman Stinger P9
This is another spring airsoft. This is some sort of Walther P99 inspired replica. Basically, if placed chronologically, it should have appeared before the previous model (Crosman Walther P99) because it was bought before I discovered the non-transparent model. I wanted the “Real Steel Background” text to be associated with the more realistic replica but the same info would be applicable to the Stinger P9.
For appearance and functionality, I think that some of the comments made for the Crosman Walther P99 could be applicable to this model but the main point is that the slide locks back on this model too.
If your interest is in realistic replicas, I would not recommend any transparent airsoft if there are other options available.