Gamo Compact Pneumatic Air Pistol
Pete Wadeson tests the Gamo Compact pneumatic air pistol and discovers a very high quality match target pistol…
The Gamo Compact is a match standard mechanically operated pneumatic powered pistol that uses an integrated single-stroke over lever ‘pump’ for drawing air into the cylinder. The over lever is formed by the whole top frame of the pistol, which also houses the barrel. The top frame can be swung open to almost a full 180-degrees allowing the barrel to be ‘direct loaded’ by thumbing a pellet into the exposed breech. The return (or ‘closing’) stroke of the over lever compresses the air therefore filling the pistol with enough ‘power’ for one shot. This return action of the lever also cocks the pistol’s action, ready for firing.
The barrel is obviously steel but the square-section top frame is made of high impact moulded ABS; the majority of the mainframe is also manufactured from ABS. All pivot points and pins are made from steel, as is the retaining catch for the lock down of the pistol and there are two slim metal side plates running the length of either side of the lower part of the pistol frame to give extra strength.
You’ve only one sighting option and that’s to use the fitted open sights as there’s no grooving for a pistol scope or red dot unit. However, the sights like the pistol are suitably up-market, albeit on first inspection rather basic.
The top frame is fitted with a fixed open post foresight and a fully adjustable square notch rearsight. Separate cross head adjusters are used for adjusting the rearsight for windage and elevation. These operate very precisely and are solidly held in position by sprung circlips, so they can’t be accidentally moved. Further into the test you’ll realise the accuracy achievable just using these open sights - quite simply staggering considering the price. It’s also the reason that I’d recommend you stick with Gamo Match .177 pellets which are supplied with the pistol.
Many target pistols offer a variety of grips, but anatomical walnut grips are fitted as standard on the Compact and are quite frankly the best you’ll find on a pistol of this class and price. On the right side the grip is heavily stippled so that your hand simply falls around it to hold with effortless ease and comfort. On the left the grips outwardly are bare and flat as a pancake but the heavily stippled theme continues approximately half an inch around the forward corner of the leading edge of the grip. Combined with a wide thumb rest along the top and a useful adjustable palm shelf at the bottom, this is one pistol that’s full of grip.
To unlatch the over-lever for loading you need to depress and push upwards on the grey coloured plastic retaining catch sited just below the rearsight at the very back of the action. This is ideally positioned for operating with the thumb of your shooting hand while still holding the grip. On operating the release catch the over-lever flips up slightly as it unlocks but there’s no resistance as you take the over-lever up and forward ‘drawing’ air into its ‘reservoir’. As you complete the operation by returning the lever it does take progressively more effort to ‘close’ as the pressure in the reservoir builds up as the air is compressed. At the end of this compression stroke the over ever locks down solidly into the original closed position. Keep your fingers away from the trigger at this point as there’s no auto or manual safety - just you!
The match grade trigger is another superb feature of the Compact and enables even a pistol novice such as myself to attain what I perceive as stunningly accurate groups at 10-yds. The trigger is adjustable for position, pull weight and the trigger’s ridged ‘shoe’ can even be rotated around the vertical spindle (that it sits on) to be angled to suit your preferred hold.
Not so Compact
Though named ‘Compact’ the pistol measures a not so small 12.5-inches in overall length and weighs in at a tad over 2lb. The pistol is pneumatic and therefore recoilless, and after much practising and adjustment of open sights and trigger release I finally managed the most accurate groupings I’ve ever achieved with a pneumatic air pistol.
Using the recommended Gamo Match ammo I experienced no flyers – hence my previous comments - while certain other brands didn’t produce results as good as Gamo’s own. If I’d only shot a string of three I’d have been looking at one ragged calibre size hole but firing the usual five shot group saw me make a spread that was less than a ¼” from first to last shot at my set zero.
Quite frankly the Gamo Compact is incredible. It’s performance far exceeded my expectations and if you’re ever looking for an introductory or even intermediate level match target pistol then I’d say do not overlook this value for money, robustly built, and amazingly accurate performer. As an added incentive, it also comes in a dedicated ABS carry case with a padded ‘eggshell’ foam lining and a tin of the recommended .177 Gamo Match pellets.
|Type||Manual (over-lever cocking) single-shot pneumatic pistol|
|Grips||Walnut ergonomic right handed (left hand available at no extra cost)|
|Sights||Adjustable open sights, not grooved for scope mounting|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates