- By Graham Allen
- 2 Comments
- Last updated: 04/03/2020
I’ve reviewed quite a few air pistols lately and I thought that it was about time I revisited Weihrauch’s HW40. Power to propel a pellet from an air weapon is usually accomplished by either a spring or highpressure air reservoir. However, the HW 40 is different from the vast-majority of air pistols, in that it’s a single stroke pneumatic. This makes it completely self-contained, requiring the shooter to pump it up to perform. Weihrauch have been making another single stroke pneumatic, in the shape of the HW 75, for many years but that is made from alloy and wood and is considerably more expensive than this lovely little pistol that I have here. It follows the generic, modern pistol shape and shows a polymer build, less the mechanical train.
One of the main reasons for the HW 40’s affordable price is that it is almost entirely made from polymer; however, that’s not to say that it’s a cheap and nasty ‘plastic gun’! Far from it, as it’s well designed and made from quality materials often seen in the firearms field. Incidentally, it’s the same sort of synthetic that Weihrauch use for the action of their popular HW 110 pre-charged rifle. The high-stress parts, such as the compression cylinder, pivots and trigger are all made from steel or alloy and there’s one of the company’s own, high-quality rifled barrels fitted.
The HW 40 consists of two main components, the lower frame that houses the grip, trigger, trigger guard and safety catch etc. and the upper that looks rather like the slide on a semi-auto pistol; it doesn’t slide however, as the top part hinges at the front and houses the quality barrel that I mentioned earlier. The blued barrel can be seen through slots either side of the polymer housing.
Starting with the lower, the grip frame is ergonomic and ambidextrous, with eight slim slots around the back strap and three deep finger grooves in front to give a secure hold. This is added to by the larger integral trigger guard that has a near vertical front face, again slotted with five small grooves, it provides added support for the weak hand’s index finger. So, in either an isosceles or Weaver, twin-handed hold you gain maximum support, always useful when shooting something as challenging as a handgun.
There is what looks like a magazine release catch behind the trigger guard on the left, but the ‘40’ is a single-shot pistol, so it’s just window dressing. The safety catch is real enough though and it’s a sliding, serrated alloy unit above the trigger. It sets automatically but can be re-applied at any time if it has been disengaged. Rear is SAFE and forward is FIRE, when a red dot is revealed. I found it best to slide it forward with the thumb of the weak hand.
That’s the lower then but I do think that Weihrauch have missed a trick here, as there’s plenty of room underneath the forward part of the lower for a length of Picatinny rail; this would be absolutely perfect for mounting a laser! At the rear of the pistol, there is what appears to be an alloy hammer, but it is in fact a release catch and, when pressed, allows the ‘cocking lever’ (hinged top section containing the barrel) to be lifted.
As soon as you lift the cocking lever, the safety catch automatically sets to SAFE mode, which is a great and in my opinion necessary feature. As it rises, you will then see the blued steel compression cylinder that is attached, via a pivot, to the lower grip assembly. At the rear of this, there is an alloy transfer port that mates with the rear of the barrel in the closed position; a small O-ring is fitted around the chamber end, to form an air-tight seal when the pistol is fired.
To ready the pistol, the cocking lever is lifted and pulled forward; at about 45° you will hear the trigger set. If the lever is returned at this point you can ‘dry fire’, which is great for practice, do not load a pellet though! In the fully open position, at about 170°, a hiss is heard, as air is sucked into the compression cylinder. A pellet is loaded directly into the barrel in this position and the lever pushed back to compress the air inside the tube via the alloy piston. It might sound dangerous to be pushing the lever down with a pellet loaded, but the auto safety makes it a very safe system. Once cocked, the shot can be taken by first sliding the safety catch forward and pressing the sweet trigger, which releases the stored, high pressure air; you then realise the benefits of this system, as the shot is totally recoil-free!
The open sights fitted are very good, as there’s a ramped foresight moulded into the top of the ‘slide’, with a red fibre optic style insert in the centre, which matches up with the similar, green dots either side of the rear notch. The rear can be adjusted for elevation and left/right, but everything lined up perfectly for me from the box. With the pistol rested on an FT beanbag, the pellets went pretty much through the same hole at seven yards and, when shot two-handed, I was able to hit a 40mm spinner pretty much every time. There are grooves on the top of the cocking lever, so a scope could be fitted but I personally think that it would make cocking the action a little tricky.
As for cocking and loading, a certain amount of effort is clearly required to compress the air into the cylinder, but I soon developed a knack where I braced the pistol against my thighs when closing the two parts together. Pellets drop easily into the bore and the sights allowed for great accuracy and I’m sure a better shot could achieve really great results. Power is around 2¾ ft/ lbs, which is just about perfect for this type of pistol. Overall, a really high-class air pistol and I’ve really enjoyed shooting it and, at £155, its great value for money too with good accuracy potential.