I had to grin the other day. Somebody had posted on the Forum, asking the denizens of the forum their opinion on three single-stroke pneumatic target pistols. One of them was the Baikal IZH-46M. The chorus of response to the posting was almost unanimous: Buy the Izzy!
When I mentioned this to Greg at Airguns of Arizona, he wasn’t surprised in the least; the IZH-46M is the most popular air pistol AoA sells, by a wide margin. So what is it about this Russian-built air pistol that makes it so popular?
It certainly doesn’t have the swoopy good looks of some of the high-buck
European match pistols . . . so what is it? I think it is simply that the Izzy hits a very sweet spot in the price/performance curve.
For less than $400, you get a wickedly accurate, self-contained match pistol that does a lot of things well, including 10-meter air pistol competition (that’s what it was designed for), pistol field target, air pistol silhouette, and I even heard of one fellow who shoots bench rest with one. In addition, if the forums are any indication, a number of Izzy shooters use them to control small pest animals at close range in the back yard.
The first thing you notice about the Izzy is that it has a very purpose-built air about it. If a part doesn’t need to be polished to function well, then it isn’t. Every part is designed with just one purpose in mind: to launch pellets down range as accurately as possible.
At stern of the 46M is a wooden ergonomic right hand grip that I found quite comfortable in my hand. (If you are a lefty, or you simply want dress up your 46M, custom laminate right or left hand grips and cocking handle are available from Airguns of Arizona.) At the bottom of the grip is an adjustable palm shelf. On top of the grip is the rear sight, which can bed micro-adjusted for windage and elevation. If you want a different width notch on the rear sight, the back plate of the sight can be unscrewed and flipped to give you a choice of notch widths.
In front of the rear sight is the bolt, which flips up to allow you to load a pellet into the rear of the barrel. There is a sliding assembly on top of the barrel that allows the bolt to be unlatched without cocking the gun and pressurizing the action. The barrel extends forward to a clamp that connects the barrel with the pump tube beneath. At the muzzle there is an assembly that holds the removable front sight blade and protects the barrel crown.
The pump tube is underneath the barrel. Beneath it, the cocking handle extends toward the trigger then angles away to the bottom of the palm shelf. At the end of the cocking handle is a small wooden block that cushions the hand while pumping the action. Together with a small metal shelf, the cocking handle encloses the two-stage adjustable trigger.
That’s all there is to the IZH-46M – a simple, unassuming, but highly functional air pistol.
Next time we’ll look at shooting it.
Til then, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott