SMK S3 Pistol
Mark Camoccio tries the spring powered SMKS3 – one of the most uncomplicated air pistols money can buy
We all remember how we got into airguns; and I for one, began my shooting career with none other than the good old Harrington Gat. This inexpensive classic pop-out pistol has put a smile on many a school boys face over the years, and for that reason alone, deserves recognition. I was over the moon with my second hand purchase for 50p many moons ago, and it serves as a reminder that beginners ‘starter kit’ has an important part to play in encouraging the next generation.
Under the spotlight here is the SMKS3 pistol from Sportsmarketing (SMK), and it’s a spring /piston powered break barrel model, aimed fairly and squarely at the lower end of the market. SMK kindly sent over two versions of the pistol, one in .177 and the other in .22.
Take a break
Power is of little consequence with this type of beginners pistol, but for the record, it produces around 1.5ft/lbs of muzzle energy. These pistols come fi tted with stippled, high impact ABS resin grips, which I have to say, are not only very precisely moulded, but extremely comfortably in the aim.
A good start then, and despite a fairly short 7inch barrel, more good news comes with the fact that the SMKS3 is fairly easy to cock. As with any break barrel springer, just snap the barrel down, chamber a pellet, snap the barrel back up, and away you go.
The barrel lock-up is nice and solid incidentally, and there’s even an adjustable breech nut, which is not a feature you would expect on such an inexpensive product.
Given the low power output, it does pay to select pellets that aren’t a tight fi t in the breech, and I used Marksman pellets in.22 calibre, and Edgar Brothers pellets in the .177, which seemed fi ne.
Fibre optic sights
Open sights come as standard here, and they’re even of the fully adjustable fi bre optic variety, whereby brightly coloured fi laments create the rearsight notch, and fore-sight post. The image is a fl uorescent pink dot sitting within two green dots, and in practise, it looks good, managing to stay bright in dim conditions. For the more adventurous, scope rails are cut into the receiver too.
Having had two identical models sent through, bar the calibre difference, gave me the opportunity for a comparison, yet in my experience, this grade of equipment can vary quite a lot from one example to the next. A good example was the trigger, being slightly lighter on one than the other. The trigger is rather crude, which is a shame, since the blade is nicely shaped, sporting a pleasantly wide, fl at surface. Yet the mechanism really does take some tugging before releasing, which is less than conducive to precise grouping. That said, and with a gloved trigger hand, I managed some surprisingly good groups with the .22 version (1inch groups at 10yds!), whilst the .177 was nearer 2.5inches at the same distance.
Interestingly, the SMK catalogue lists the .22 as a smoothbore, and the .177 rifl ed, yet both my test candidates clearly had rifl ed barrels, with the .22, as I say, proving the point and shooting particularly well.
When all’s said and done, to expect too much from these pistols is to miss the point, and at this price bracket, whilst a slightly lighter trigger would be nice, they represent a lot of fun for the money. GM
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates