At first glance, these classic European pistols seem like highly detailed, .177-caliber reproductions of the cartridge-firing models they are based upon—but then you’ll notice their select-fire switches. These are not your everyday air guns.
In the world of military firearms, select-fire weapons are pretty standard, but they are forbidden to civilians without a Class III license or special application, a tax stamp and local law enforcement approval. Owning one or more of the originals requires a lot of paperwork. These three superb Umarex reproductions are identical in size, weight, construction and operation to the famed Mauser Model 712, the Beretta 92 (modified to the 93R’s burst-fire operation) and the Mini Uzi machine pistol, with one difference: They don’t fire bullets.
These unique examples have full-metal construction, functioning blowback actions, authentic full-sized magazines, and full-auto or burst-fire selector switches. And they all have interesting histories, with the Uzi, perhaps, being the most recognizable machine pistol in the world.
The Umarex Uzi BB Carbine is as close in measurements and fundamental operation as possible to an original version of the Mini Uzi. The correct-style charging handle is mounted on top of the receiver and reciprocates with each shot, and the ejection port on the right side of the receiver opens as if an empty shell case were being extracted. The .177-caliber (4.5mm) Uzi BB Carbine has the authentic look and feel of the 9mm version with a metal receiver, a rear sight with two flip-up apertures, original-style plastic grip panels and forend, and the “MINI UZI” and “IWI” imprint on the back of the receiver.
Perfectly duplicating the original, a functioning selector switch with safe (“S”), semi-auto (“R”) and full-auto (“A”) positions is located at the top of the grip, and the grip safety needs to be depressed in order for the Uzi BB Carbine to fire. The magazine release at the bottom center of the grip is also a carbon copy of the cartridge-firing version. For even greater authenticity, the steel magazine holds both the CO2 capsule and 25 steel BBs, so even a reload is authentic in action and operation. And you can purchase extra magazines.
Last is a folding shoulder stock, one of those things you can’t have with a real Uzi pistol. The metal stock swings around into place and locks solidly under spring tension. To fold it away, simply apply downward pressure and rotate the stock around to the right side of the receiver. The gun has a 5.6-inch barrel and a weight (including magazine) of 4.8 pounds. With the shoulder stock open, it measures 23.5 inches long, while it’s only 13.4 inches long with the stock folded. It just doesn’t get any closer to the real deal than this.
At a distance of 7 yards, the average range for consistent accuracy with blowback-action BB pistols, the Uzi BB Carbine put 20 Hornady Black Diamond steel BBs into an area measuring 0.75 inches. With a suggested retail price of just $198, you don’t have to think twice; this is one BB gun you just have to own.
The select-fire Mauser Model 712 wrote the book on full-auto operation. The semi-automatic Broomhandle design was developed at Mauser in the late 19th century and patented on December 11, 1895. The magazine-fed pistols used a locked-breech design with a rectangular bolt housed inside an extended square section of the barrel. While it looks like the slide, it is part of the barrel with the bolt moving inside of it. The bolt comes back after each shot, extracting the spent shell, cocking the hammer and loading the next round as it returns. Among several unprecedented features, the 712 introduced a device to keep the bolt locked back after the last shot had been fired, thus indicating an empty magazine and automatically preparing the gun for quick reloading. It also introduced a manual safety mounted at the rear of the frame on the left side and actuated by pushing the lever into a notch that either locked the hammer so that it could not be cocked, or if cocked, blocked the hammer so it could not drop. This is the original “cocked and locked.”
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The Model 712 was introduced in 1932 and was the first Mauser Broomhandle to use a removable box magazine for faster reloading, necessary because on full-auto, 20 rounds would be gone in a little over two seconds unless one mastered feathering the trigger. The same is true of the Umarex Legends M712 air gun, which is correct in every detail down to the select-fire control switch on the left side of the frame, elevation-adjustable rear sight, blowback action and thumb safety operation. The all-metal air gun is so exact in weight, operation and dimensions that it can mount to an original Mauser wooden shoulder stock/holster, and with the magazine removed, it will even fit inside. It currently has an MSRP of $132, and extra magazines are $40.
The third member of our select-fire trio is the new Beretta M92A1 with a variation of the Model 93R’s select-fire mechanism. With the 93R, the “R” stood for Raffica (Italian for “burst,” as in burst of fire), and the guns were only produced for the Italian military and Italian law enforcement from 1979 to 1993. The selective burst-fire mechanism counted shots, after three rounds in rapid succession, the trigger had to be pulled again, thus eliminating the tendency to empty a full magazine with one pull of the trigger. This same type of device is used in the latest Umarex Beretta M92A1, only the selector has been moved to the right side of the slide, and the 93R’s folding foregrip and extended 20-round capacity have been eliminated. The minor changes take nothing away from the excitement of firing this accurate, all-metal copy of the Beretta 92A1.
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For handling, the Umarex Beretta M92A1 provides the exact feel and operating controls for firearms familiarization; you can draw it, thumb the safety release and fire just like a centerfire 92A1, reload and perform similar malfunction drills. It even has the latest Beretta white-dot sights and rounded triggerguard corresponding to the Model 92A1. The double-action/single-action (DA/SA) trigger works identically, with the first round fired in DA and the slide cycling back to cock the hammer and chamber the next BB. You can also cock and decock the gun manually. The air gun uses a Beretta-style magazine that contains both the BBs and CO2 capsule for the most authentic handling and reloading. All current holsters for the 92FS will also fit the air gun. For remedial training on the Beretta 92 platform, you could not ask for a more accurate copy of the cartridge-firing pistol. The suggested retail price Umarex Beretta M92A1 is only $143.