Part II – Shooting the IZH-46M

Monday, March 30, 2009

The IZH-46M.

To ready the 46M for shooting, grasp the grip in your right hand and grab the end of the cocking handles with your left. Pull the cocking handle away from the grip until it extends well in front of the muzzle. When the cocking handle reaches the limit of its travel, the bolt will pop open. Next, return the cocking handle to its original position. This pressurizes the action.

The IZH-46M with the pump lever fully extended.

The breech ready for loading.

Slide a pellet into the rear of the barrel and press the bolt down until it snaps into place. The 46M is now ready to fire. Raise the pistol, alight the sights, take the first stage out of the trigger, and squeeze. With a pop, the pellet goes downrange. Velocities with light pellets are nearly 500 fps. An earlier model, the IZH 46 (no M), had a shorter pump tube and typically produced velocities 50 fps slower with pellets of the same weight.

The best part of the Izzy is the trigger. It is crisp, clean, and adjustable to below a pound. For the price, I know of no other air pistol that delivers a trigger as good, and I believe you’d have to spend much more to do better.

To get ready for the next shot, pump the action again and go through the same routine. I shot a season of 10-meter air pistol competition with a 46M and never had a mechanical problem or failure of any sort.

This is Steve Ware's IZH-46M configured for Unlimited Standing Silhouette. Photo courtesy of Steve.

But as I indicated in Part I, there is a lot more you can do with an IZH-46M beyond 10-meter air pistol. Steve Ware has twice won the IHMSA Unlimited International Championship with an IZH-46M, and once he won the Pan American Unlimited Standing Championship with an IZH. He likes it because it is economical, accurate, not dependent on SCUBA tanks or CO2 caplets, and can be adjusted to a sub-one-pound match trigger with just a screwdriver.

Charles Cammack uses his IZH-46 for air pistol benchrest competition in the New Mexico Senior Olympics Dona Anna County. For the last four years, he as qualified to shoot in the state summer games and has won several gold and silver medals in both the county and state games.

Larry Bowne uses this IZH for silhouette and pistol field target. Photo courtesy of Larry.

Larry Bowne uses his IZH-46M for both air pistol silhouette and field target competition. It’s quite a treat to seen him dropping field targets at the Easter Field Target Competitors Club in Wappingers Falls, NY, with the same model pistol that I used for 10-meter competition.

Bowne uses a custom scope mount made by Fenton Sandlin, an experienced silhouette shooter. Sandlin’s custom intermounts for the IZH have built-in droop that compensates for the height of the scope and the trajectory of a low velocity pistol. (Another way to mount a scope or red dot on the Izzy is to use the B-Square #17900 IZH-46 Weaver Adaptor Rail.)

After trying a lower power scope, Bowne mounted a Bushnell Trophy 6-18 scope with a scope knob that is calibrated out to 55 yards. His IZH-46M shoots JSB 8.4 grain exacts at 440-450 fps. He experimented with lighter JSB Express pellets, but found the heavier 8.4 grain pellets more stable for shooting groups at longer distances. Using this setup, Bowne has knocked down field targets with a 1.5 inch kill zone at 40 yards, which is impressive indeed. (This is not hearsay, either; I have personally seen him do it.)

If it seems like I am very keen on the IZH-46M, you’re right – I am. It is darned-near a do-it-all air pistol. The trigger is excellent. The accuracy is superb. You don’t have to worry about recharging it with air or CO2. It’s extremely easy to shoot well. You can compete in multiple disciplines with it and even control small pests at close range. It’s very difficult to think of any other pistol that offers so much at such a reasonable price.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott


  1. Richard Storms says:

    Amused by your description of the loading procedure…

    ” Pull the cocking handle away from the grip until it extends well in front of the muzzle. When the cocking handle reaches the limit of its travel, the bolt will pop open. Next, return the cocking handle to its original position. This pressurizes the action.”

    You missed the step where the shooter raises the “loading gate” to “cock” the action. Yours’ doesn’t include that… which means the pistol will NOT be charged as the lever will close w/o “storing” the air.


    1. Jock Elliott says:

      RS, the loading gate pops open all by itself when the cocking handle is fully extended in front of the muzzle. No kidding.

  2. Kevin Chin says:

    On some of the IZH-46M/MP46M pistols, the loading gate does not pop up by itself, but with continuous usage the parts eventually wear in and applying some moly grease will increase the smoothness of the action.

  3. kennert says:

    which pellets are the best in this gun if I want to shoot birds and plinking,

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      You will have to test to determine which pellet works best in your pistol. Make sure you observe local hunting laws.

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