The FAS 604 Standard Pistol

Monday, February 22, 2010


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

m4s0n501

38 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    What an elegant looking pistol. I love the P2 and foolishly sold one I had a few years ago. When I saw this one on the AOA site, I knew I wanted one.

    Thanks for covering this pistol!

  2. Jock Elliott says:

    Anonymous,

    That is a darned good single-word description of the FAS 604: elegant.

    It is indeed. It's solidly built and feels great in the hand.

    Thanks for the kind words.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ohhhhh…I love my Gamo Compact (and as I recall you like them too).
    The only complaint I've ever had is how perfect it would be if there was little less plastic.
    Damn!!
    Now I gotta have the FAS Match!

  4. Jock Elliott says:

    Anonymous,

    Yes, the FAS 604 is very similar in concept to the Gamo Compact.

    The Gamo is a better choice if you want to mount a red dot and it has a continuously variable rear sight notch, but the FAS, as a previous poster put it, is just plain elegant.

  5. peter zimmerman says:

    How does the FAS compare to the IZH-46M? Accuracy, construction, elegance, and ease of cocking?

    -pz

  6. Jock Elliott says:

    PZ,

    The IZH shoots faster than the FAS (on the order of 100fps faster). The fit and finish on the FAS is much nicer than the IZH. The IZH has a kind of agricultural feel to it, but that takes away nothing from its performance. A lot of people are big fans of the IZH.

    Both have good triggers.

    I haven't done a head-to-head comparison of accuracy, but I think both will deliver pretty similar accuracy under calm conditions and with the right pellet, but the nod would have to go to the faster pistol if wind is a factor.

    I haven't compared the cocking effort of the two pistols, and I don't have any measurements of the cocking effort, but I have shot both and my impression is that the IZH is somewhat stiffer. Both are very manageable by an adult and no where near as stiff as, say, the Browning 800 springer pistol. Bear in mind that the IZH is an underlever design and the FAS is an overlever design.

    The IZH can also been fitted with a scope or red dot using an adaptor. I don't any way to put a scope or red dot on the FAS short of drilling and tapping holes for some sort of mount.

    I hope this helps.

  7. peter zimmerman says:

    Jock,

    Helps an enormous amount. I'll get the Izzy ordered on Monday. The match grip, even if I have to carve it, means something. The price difference means a fair amount too. I'm sure the IZH is more accurate than I, but I didn't know about the FAS's capability in comparison. 10 meter pistol is an indoor event, so I don't think the velocity matters much as long as it's fast enough to break paper.

    This is to be a second gun, one I can legally put in my baggage when I fly on vacation without worrying about whether some TSAer wants to quibble about the pressure in a CO2 cylinder for an old FWB C20. And one I can still shoot when I run out of gas on Friday evening and the gas store doesn't open until Monday morning. ;-)

    Again, thanks very much!

    – pete z

  8. Anonymous says:

    Fwiw…
    I bought an FAS 604 back in the early 80's for league competition. Many other pneumatics have come and gone, but I've kept that 604 and still shoot it. Charging is easy, velocity and trigger release are consistent and precise, the rear sight is superb, ergonomics could not be better, and it will shoot 10's alongside any other air or gas match pistol. Its size, weight, and handling also make the 604 an excellent trainer for 22 rimfire pistols. It is simply a gem with no bad manners or irritating quirks.

    Jon
    Seattle

  9. DeHouser says:

    Great to see a North American importer picking up FAS again. I thought that we’d seen the last of them when Don Nygord passed on. I love my 604, and shoot it nearly daily. Thanks much for the review.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Yup, they’re a great pistol. Thanks for the kind words.

  10. Paul says:

    Finally, someone produced a quality air pistol that doesn’t look like some cobbled up plastic monster. The FAS is high on my want list.

  11. colin (animal Povey says:

    i have 4 fas 604′s i shoot at bisley in surrey uk in the national pistol comp and more luck than ever have been placed all last 6 years at 10 mtr and 50 mtr which i truely belive the fas was made for
    i have custom formed the handles with red plastic wood just pressing my hand around it while wet.
    it pays well to strip them down every six months and grease and oil them i have 2 one kilo bags of silica in each gun case
    colin uk

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Thanks Colin for your comments.

  12. Steve says:

    Its a fine pistol and maybe the best looking air pistol ever but on the downside FAS is a cottage industry….a family run outfit with small turn over. Getting one is near impossible.
    After sales spares even harder.
    England does not get them at all now.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Steve,

      I checked with Airguns of Arizona, and they have both the FAS 604 and 609 in stock, al with spare grips in both left and right, as well as complete rebuld kits for both models.

      Perhaps the problem with the the UK importer rather than the FAS factory.

    2. Raffaele Mencarelli says:

      Hello there,

      all dealers are mentioned on FAS website.

      http://www.dominoguns.it/fas/?dealers,49

      All spares are available. In UK you can find spares to:
      http://www.bisleysports.com

      all the best
      Raffaele Mencarelli
      DOMINO Guns Import & Export

      1. Jock Elliott says:

        Raffaele,

        Thanks for the info!

  13. Bill Morrison says:

    Owned a 604 many years ago but quit shooting and sold it along with two fwb 65s I just bought a izh 46.i would be interested in a used 604.i had forgotton how good they shot till reading the reviews. Bill @256-764-6109

  14. Ralph Winman says:

    There is a real issue with the purchase of this pistol which i must point out.
    It is a fine piece but you just do not know what you are going to get in terms of the specific model. There appears to be as many as 5 variants which you can cut down to 3 by nominating standard, match grip, or adjustable match grip but there are 3 trigger arrangement versions. The type shown on this post is much improved over the 2nd model with shiny trigger blade. The first model triggers were the best but you do not know what is going to arrive in the post. My local shop actually had 4 variants which were all considered (by him) to be geniune brand new items for full asking price and even he seemed confused regarding the trigger variants. Apparently (according to him) even FAS still had a raft of variants at their factory and he was confused when dealing with them. He also asked for a certain model and even had a green grip version arrive which was not requested. To add to the confusion, there is even an angled trigger blade version. It looks really good but FAS did not know what i was talking about when i mailed them lol

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Ralph,

      While it is true that the trigger changed over time, right now you can only purchase the latest trigger version of Airguns of Arizona and the only choice you have are the grip.

      So if you want to purchase an FAS 604, AoA will send you the latest version with your choice of grips.

  15. Ralph says:

    Thanks buddy its helpful to get some consistancy. Out of interest are you aware of the angled trigger Guard version. Very few have seen it. I think it was introduced into the casting of the grip and body frame about 5 years ago but then dropped.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Ralph,

      No, I was unaware of that version.

  16. Ralph says:

    If you do a search in Italian (Try FAS 604 pistola) and do a full image search, you will eventually see the model available 2004. Clearly with a slant trigger guard.
    I tried to link it for you but seems to be failing. Try http://www.archivio.aria.compressa.org/index.php
    A friend of mine found only 2 chrome trigger blade versions with the adjustment on the blade itself. It does not work anything like as well as the first model so i hope they have gone back to the original spec on the new model you tested. I may get one with the sports grip for more informal shooting.

  17. David Harrison says:

    Im in agreement with the above poster. I have just received one from Surrey guns. It has the shiny trigger blade and large blocky laminated grip completely unlike the model shown here. Our club pistol has a blacked trigger blade with stop position. I am considering returning to the shop to argue the case for this latest version. The gun has a lovely action to it though.

  18. David Harrison says:

    In addition to my email above, i have since phoned the shop owner regarding the model i have just received off him. He has agreed to change it for an early Blacked trigger model with trigger blade stop and anatomical non adj grip. His brief explanation is that due to very small demand (apparently due to exceedingly high unit cost for single stroke system)most shops will still be carrying older stock. He insisted my laminate grip and silver trigger blade model was less than 2 years on his shelves but was a bit suprised when i enthusiastically agreed to take a much older shop soiled model.I am collecting the gun on thursday and will report more when i get it.
    He apparently has had loads of requests for a cheaper plastic grip version which he believes would completely out sell the Gamo Compact, Daisy and HW40 offerings and think FAS is missing a trick when pricing it at over £500

  19. David Harrison says:

    In addition to my email above, i have since phoned the shop owner regarding the model i have just received off him. He has agreed to change it for an early Blacked trigger model with trigger blade stop and anatomical non adj grip. His brief explanation is that due to very small demand (apparently due to exceedingly high unit cost for single stroke system)most shops will still be carrying older stock. He insisted my laminate grip and silver trigger blade model was less than 2 years on his shelves but was a bit suprised when i enthusiastically agreed to take a much older shop soiled model.I am collecting the gun on thursday and will report more when i get it.
    He apparently has had loads of requests for a cheaper plastic grip version which he believes would completely out sell the Gamo Compact, Daisy and HW40 offerings and think FAS is missing a trick when pricing it at over £500

  20. Bob says:

    Hi, I own a very early model FAS604 and I need a set of 6 o-rings (seals)
    to make it working again. Can anyone tell me where and how can get them.
    Thanks for your expert advice.
    bob

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Bob,

      I suggest contacting http://www.airgunsofarizona.com

  21. Bill says:

    I really love the look of the FAS in this article but always felt the price far too high for what is single stroke system like that of the HW40, Gamo Compact etc but decided to get one second hand. Its got a shiny blade trigger without the trigger distance stop pin and horrid laminate grip which im planning on swapping out. It is very acurate.

  22. Steve says:

    Hi, we have 4 versions currently in use at my club. One lady uses an early version with pin stop behind trigger. Mine is a shiny blade version. A junior shooter is using a black plastic socked version with shiny trigger and knee to the trigger blade with grey finish to the main frame. I also have an early version like the lady shooters which i am re-furbing. They do do 405 fps though. This is slightly higher than other guns of this type, probably due to the rlatively long barrel

  23. Aussie Bill says:

    These a very popular air pistols down under, most clubs have at least one or more as training guns. They are very underrated as a match gun, seems many think if it doesn’t have a air cylinder and long barrel then it can’t be a ‘real’ match gun…truth is as an ISSF ‘A’ Grade shooter, I can pull 570 plus scores with my AP604 Match just as easily as I can with my Morini 162MI.

    Bottom line the little FAS AP604 is as good as any of the very expensive Euro branded air pistols. My only negative about FAS is parts can be difficult to get, and FAS don’t document minor changes to model variations that well, which makes part number difficult to identify.

    Well done for a great article.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Aussie Bill,

      Thanks for your comments and the kind words.

  24. Aussie Bill says:

    Jock

    Wonder if you could advise if AOA still import to the USA.

    As we don’t currently have a FAS agent here in Australia, I emailed AOA to purchase an AP604 match grip for a new junior in our pistol club.

    I received a pretty bland response saying they don’t have them anymore….I couldn’t work out if they don’t stock FAS any longer, or have no stocks of parts like grips.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Aussie Bill,

      Sorry, I don’t know. Contact AOA again and insist on an answer!

  25. Richard Ericson says:

    Just to add to the confusion FAS have just released a newer version called the FAS 6004 with white etching to the side of the action. Stock is ambidextrous and looks very nice.
    Hope its got a bit more power and not so high cost.
    incidentally a guy at my club uses a first variant. He trimmed the valve head infront of the tiny O ring for increased flow and added 20fps to his.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Interesting . . . thanks, Richard!

  26. Pete says:

    Richard do you know where this new 6004 version is available. Your information appears to be correct after contact with Checkmate guns but apparently this new model no longer made by Domino but a private Italian company which purchased the rights to produce and re-name the gun.
    The owner of the shop didn’t think the gaudy white print would go down quite so well. Its very large and bold lettering.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Pete,

      Stay tuned for availability on the 6004.

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