I have a serious weakness involving air pistols. I like them all, but there are some days when a single-stroke pneumatic pistol is just the right thing for shooting casually at 10 meter pistol targets, knocking a bagful of dollar store dinosaurs off a fence rail, or chasing a wiffle golf ball around the yard.
Single stroke pneumatic pistols have a lot to offer. They are self-contained, so you don’t have to fuss with CO2 cartridges, pumps or air tanks. Only one cocking stroke is required for each time you shoot it, so the effort per shot is agreeably low. Accuracy is typically superb. Triggers are usually good to excellent, and the report is generally pretty low. The downside of any SSP pistol, if you can call it that, is that they don’t generate much power. You certainly wouldn’t want to use one for hunting anything bigger than a mouse or maybe even a hornet. But even that is an advantage when you realize that you don’t need a tremendously strong target backing to stop pellets from an SSP pistol.
So when Airguns of Arizona told me that they would be importing the FAS line of pistols, I couldn’t wait to try one. A few days later, an FAS 604 standard pistol showed up in its foam-lined plastic case, and it makes a really good first impression. Stretching just under a foot long and weighing a smidge less than two pounds. The 604 is lovingly crafted out of metal and wood. I surmise that plastic must be some sort of dirty word at the FAS factory, because I certainly couldn’t detect any on this pistol.
The grip appears to be carved out of a single piece of hardwood and is fully ambidextrous. Grooves on either side of the top of the grip help to position the thumb and forefinger, and stippling helps the other three fingers to stay in position. Forward of the grip is a metal trigger guard which is integral to the metal receiver and houses an adjustable metal trigger.
At the forward end of the receiver is a pivot that allows the entire top of the receiver to rotate for the cocking stroke. The front sight, naturally, is located at the front end of the receiver, and the micro-adjustable rear sight is located at the extreme aft end. The whole thing is solidly built yet retains a certain amount of rakish style.
To ready the 604 for shooting, you press a small metal lever located on the left side of the receiver just about the pistol grip. This releases the rear end of the top receiver half so that it can pivot upward and forward. This pulls the piston back to the beginning of the compression stroke and exposes the aft end of the barrel so you can load a pellet in the breech.
Once a pellet has been loaded, grab it near the rear sight and return it to its original position. This pressures the action. The website says this takes about six pounds of effort, but I suspect it is a bit more.
There is no safety, so all you have to do now is take aim and shoot. Squeeze the trigger, and on the sample that I tested, the first stage came out of the trigger at about one pound, two ounces. Squeeze a bit more, and shot goes down range at 1 lb. 9.5 oz. The trigger is crisp and highly predictable, and the FAS 604 launched Beeman .177 Laser pellets at around 380 fps and RWS Meisterkugeln 8.2 grain wadcutters at about 345 fps.
In all, I found the FAS 604 standard to be fun, accurate, and built to last a lifetime or two. It saddened me to send it back.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
- Jock Elliott