Every persons definition of a collectable air weapon may differ and many will probably disagree with my assessment of such weapons. The first impression of appearance is all important in combination with the replication accuracy in relation to the design of the original firearm. Of course, I would like an air weapon to offer excellent handling and firing .177 or .22 pellets with 398 feet per second (FPS) or more velocity through a rifled barrel, but very often, one cannot have all of these wishes in an collectable air weapon - we have to make allowances. Many firearm replicas fire steel ball bearings which invariably are not as accurate as .177 pellets and tend to ricochet on impact but surprisingly these BB weapons offer incredible replication of the real firearm.

However, you can purchase alternatives to steel, such as dust devils, lead, and copper coated lead BBs, which are less prone to ricocheting. The dust devils live up to their name and completely disintegrate to dust on impact BUT may not be suitable for some BB guns. Andy explains in this video -


Semi-automatic pistols w
ith realistic blow back slides are too many to mention but only a few could be considered as collectable. Many of the collectable replicas come in steel BB variants. A pistol with a blowback slide is cocked by pulling back the slide along the top of the gun to load the first round. When you pull the trigger, the firing makes the blow back slide recoil backwards and the hammer is cocked for the next trigger pull. To finish the experience, you want a magazine that loads like the original firearm. So, snap in the magazine, pull the top slide back to load, flick up the safety to red for fire and pull the trigger, pull the trigger and so on until the magazine is empty; fantastic realistic blowback recoil, the gun is great fun. To decock, just flick the safety on and the hammer clicks back without firing the weapon.

To ultimate blowback pistol is one that allows you to field strip the gun by removing the top slide and the slide locks back when the last round is fired. The Glock 17 Gen 4 is a beautiful firearm and the following video overviews the real weapon -



You cannot have it all in a replica, but the one air pistol that offers as near 100% replica realism as possible is a BB version and not a .177 pellet. The Umarex Glock 17 Gen 4 has it all, realistic blowback with last shot slide lock back, field strippable and a great magazine that looks and feels like the real thing - how cool is that?

There is probably no better replica than the Umarex Glock GEN4 and I am seriously tempted to purchase one - just because of the way it performs like the real firearm.

As always, there are downsides and poor accuracy on the target is one of them. The main Glock weakness is the lack of firepower which propels 5.37grm steel BBs at around 320 FPS BUT by purchasing a couple of spare magazines the Glock delivers an enormous fun factor. You rapid fire the 19 rounds with blowback slide re-cocking recoil, eject the spent magazine (CO2 capsule still reusable when reloaded with BBs) and pop in another. No need to worry about loss of power as the new magazine also has a new CO2 capsule alongside the BBs section. The magazine is about as authentic as you can get and is made of metal. The Glock GEN4 is likely to eat CO2 capsules and probably you will have to be nearer a tin can to hit it, but the fun factor makes up for the extra costs - be sure to wear proper safety glasses when you are firing steel BBs.

The German Mauser C96 is an exceptional semi-auto and full auto machine pistol. The following video is a great overview of the real firearm -



A neat CO2 air replica is the KWC C96 M712 Pistol with full blowback but due to UK law, it can only be purchased in the UK as a semi-automatic variant. It fires 19 steel BBs at 400 FPS and the BBs are stored in the magazine along with a CO2 capsule. It makes for a nice addition to a historic gun collection without having to apply for a Part 1 Firearms Certificate.


Everyone has heard of James Bond so a Walther PPK/S is a very collectable firearm and the following video overviews the real weapon -



A CO2 Air Powered BB Umarex Walther PPK/S Pistol (3rd Generation) is a realistic replica of the PPK/S with blowback and last shot fired slide lock back. It is field strippable if you punch out the pin at the above/front of the trigger guard but of course by doing so you will invalidate any warranty. The CO2 cartridge is now screwed into the 3rd generation of the PPK/S by an Allen key which is now a fixed/hinged internal part of the removable grip. In the older variants of the PPK/S it was first a horrible wing key sticking permanently out of the bottom of the butt and later in the 2nd generation a separate wing key that you could lose. This video shows the separate key variant of the 2nd generation PPK/S -


One collectable World War II pistol has to be the German P08 Luger. Made by Mauser, this video overviews the real weapon -



It features in most of the war movies and there is a great CO2 Air BB replica version available that matches the looks and the actions of the original. The KWC Luger P08 has the full blowback action, last shot fired slide lock back and is field strippable. The only downside that I can see is that horrible white writing on both sides, especially the 'Made in Taiwan' lettering which I guess could be blackened to remove the eye from it.


One firearm which is replicated in many forms is the Colt M1911 pistol which is still in production today, and below is a video of the real weapon -


One of the finest replicas is the CO2 Air BB Springfield Mil-Spec 1911 Pistol with its black finish and brown faux wood grips. It is manufactured by KWC to the specifications of Springfield Arms. It has full blowback, last shot fired slide lock back and completely field strippable - just like the real firearm. I am not a fan of white writing on the gun but it is not a deal breaker.


Another M1911 replica which is well worth considering is the CO2 Air BB Swiss Arms 1911 Pistol which is also manufactured by KWC and operates the same as the Springfield Arms variant.


Swiss Arms also supply stainless variants of their 1911 which all have brown faux wooden grips - see video below.


The Beretta 92 is a beautiful gun and Hickok45 overviews the real firearm in this video -

Swiss Arms badge a very nice replica, the CO2 air powered BB Swiss Arms KWC Beretta M92 in black which features slide blowback, last shot fired and is field strippable. There is also a beautiful Silver Swiss Arms Beretta 92 with brown faux wooden grips available. Both the Beretta 92 variants are manufactured by KWC with full blowback, last shot fired slide lock back and are fully field strippable. Check out this great review on a black Swiss Arms Beretta 92 Pistol. -


I have always been a Beretta fan and the Beretta M9A3 is one sweet gun. Hickok45 does a great overview of the real weapon -



The Umarex Beretta M9A3 BB CO2 air pistol makes for a very nice replica of the real firearm. It has full blowback with last shot fired slide lock back and is field strippable.



The Umarex Beretta M9A3 FM (FULL METAL) BB CO2 air pistol makes for a very nice replica of the real firearm. It has full blowback with last shot fired slide lock back and is field strippable.



Beretta manufactures a great pistol, the Beretta M84FS - below in a video which outlines the real firearm -


A Beretta CO2 air BB pistol which is well worth considering for its replication accuracy of the M84FS is the Umarex Beretta M84FS with its realistic blowback and last shot slide back lock. Although not shown in the video the gun is field strippable by pressing the pin on the left side (above and forward of the trigger) and locking it using the switch (above the trigger) on the right side - you can then remove the slide.


If you want to keep your CO2 air pistol in pristine showroom condition, do not use a holster because as sure as night follows day, the gun coating will wear off. Best keep the gun in a sturdy case with foam inlays for the gun and any accessories.

There are literally dozens of air rifles to choose from and they come in many shapes and sizes. The following video is an overview of the real M1 Carbine -


If you are seeking a very close replication of a Part 1 Firearm rifle, perhaps even one which dates back to the 1900s, then invariable to achieve the same look and action, the air rifle will be one like the Springfield Armoury M1 Carbine a CO2 rifle which fires 4.5mm steel BBs at 425 FPS and offers reasonable accuracy. However, the real fun comes from the look and the handling of the gun. I sourced an International Military Antiques WWII M1 Carbine Web Sling & Oiler in America but as yet, I have not found a UK supplier. If anyone has fired a rifle with its sling swung around the arm to steady the gun, they will know that it adds very much to the realism. The M1 comes in two variants, one with a realistic stock made of plastic but looks like wood and for an extra £100, you can order a proper wooden stock version. Of course for true realism you require a spare magazine as swopping out magazines is half the fun.

I must admit that after watching Andy's review of the M1, I was smitten and it is definitely a rifle worth considering.


Check out this written review from Hard Air Magazine which comes across as very positive for the Springfield M1 Carbine with only a couple of wrinkles which in my opinion are not deal breakers.

Another M1 is the Thomson variant, the Thomson M1A1 Sub Machine Gun which was used extensively in World War II, and here is a video of the real firearm in action -


Umarex have produced a CO2 Air BB replica of this gun in two variants. One offers full auto for the American market and here in the UK there is the Umarex Legends M1A1 Semi-Auto Gun which fires a single shot on each press of the trigger but it fires as fast as you can pull the trigger. It holds two CO2 capsules in its magazine along with 30 BB rounds. The cocking is the same as the real firearm and there is realistic recoil between each round being fired. It fires the BBs at around 425 FPS and is fairly accurate even with a smooth bore barrel.

The two videos below feature the Umarex 'full auto' American version BUT the Umarex M1A1 Semi-Automatic for the UK market is identical except for the full auto function. Andy, in the third video below, covers the UK version of the Umarex M1A1 -


This video of the Umarex M1A1 includes the mechanics of loading the gun as well as a speed test of the shots (FPS) as well as single and full auto firing. Again it is an American video so please remember the UK version of this gun does not fire full auto -



Andy covers the UK version of the Umarex M1A1 replica -


The M4 Carbine is an exceptional gun and in this video, you can see the real firearm in action -


Crosman have produced as near as a 'like for like' CO2 powered version of the M4 that fires BBs. In the UK and as per the law the Crosman DPMS SBR M4 Carbine is supplied in semi-automatic only. The gun uses 2 x CO2 capsules stored in the magazine and fires 25 steel BBs at 430 FPS. A spare magazine is a must for swopping out and each magazine can fire up to 200 rounds from the 2 x CO2 capsules.

Check out the following videos -


This video of the Crosman M4 includes the loading of the BBs in the magazine, near the end at 3:10 -



The German army in World War II made good use of the MP40 Automatic Submachine Pistol and Hickok45 reviews the real weapon -


A very nice replica which can also be purchased in battlefield worn condition is the Umarex MP40 German Legacy (semi-automatic for the UK) machine pistol. It uses two CO2 cartridges in the magazine which also holds 50 rounds of 4.5mm steel BBs. It has authentic blowback with a folding stock but it is not field strippable. The Umarex MP40 machine pistol is a terrific replica and if you want the gun in pristine factory finish, Umarex provides that variant as well -


The following video is an overview of the real Lee Enfield bolt action rifle -


When it comes to an exceptional replica, it has to be the Lee Enfield SMLE Air Rifle. It is a carbon copy of the original Lee Enfield bolt action 303 calibre rifle that was used during the 1st World War but the replica fires BBs and is CO2 gas powered. It has a wooden stock and steel mechanics. You can purchase spare magazines and each one holds its own CO2 capsule and 15 BBs. Another cracking accessory is a sling which clips to the swivels which are standard fittings on the gun. If you want realism, purchase the optional sling and fire the gun with the sling wrapped around your left arm (right hand trigger shooters) to hold the gun stock still.

Check out this video and the Lee Enfield section begins at 3:09 -



This video covers the history of the real Russian Gletcher Mosin Nagant carbine variants, including the M44 with the bayonet and which is well discussed at 16:10secs -



If you fancy a replica of the Russian M44, then there is the Gletcher Mosin Nagant M1944 Carbine which is powered by a CO2 capsule and fires 16 BBs at 430 FPS from a slick magazine. It has a plastic stock that closely resembles wood and has all steel mechanics including a beautiful bolt action loading mechanism and a wicked retractable steel bayonet that is dangerous in the extreme. It includes a reproduction strap to add that final touch of realism.


The iconic gun is the AK47 Assault Rifle which is well known and well used by terrorists and security forces alike. Here are a couple of videos relating to the real weapon -




There is a air weapon replica, the Cybergun AK47 which is CO2 gas powered and comes with a real wooden stock, all metal mechanics with a plastic covered magazine holding a steel frame inside that contains the CO2 cartridge and 18 steel BBs. It fires at 380 FPS, is accurate but the downside: there is no recoil blowback or strip down. Andy reviews it in the following video -


If I take a step back to the 1800s then the gun of choice has to be the 1873 Winchester Rifle. The following videos provide a nice overview of the real firearm -



For those who are seeking a replica that matches the real gun then Umarex have produced a CO2 air version, the Umarex Winchester Rifle. There are two types but my favourite is the 2020 variant that shoots steel BBs and also .177 pellets.
It boasts shell loading from the side port, just like the real firearm and ejection of the spent cartridge from the top port when cocking the under lever.

I will let Andy cover the two variants of the Umarex Winchester in the following video -



Warning: Be sure to wear proper safety glasses when you are firing steel BBs as they are prone to ricocheting.

Air powered replicas of guns from the 1800s are proving very popular, especially in the UK where owning the real weapon is virtually impossible. If ever there was a gun which merited an air powered replica it is the Springfield 1873 'Trapdoor' Rifle. It was a gun that was
designed to accept a hinged breech loaded single cartridge. One lives in hope that Umarex or KWC might manufacture a .177 pellet version based on a rear pellet/cartridge shell design similar to the Umarex CO2 air powered Colt 'Peacemaker'. I reckon a realistic replica with a wooden butt and mechanics matching the original firearm would prove a very popular seller, especially if the FPS and accuracy were high. Hickok45 provides a great review of the real weapon -




If you have enjoyed this article - please donate to my charity of choice  -  The Sick Kids

Richard Lawrence
United Kingdom