In my previous blogs I have already admitted my fondness for single-stroke pneumatic pistols. The have a lot to offer: they require only one stroke for cocking; they exhibit negligible recoil, and they generally deliver excellent accuracy. That makes them “just what the doctor ordered” for an afternoon of easy-going, high-accuracy plinking. About the only downside to an SSP pistol is that none of them generate much in the way of power or velocity.
The Weihrauch HW40 is a single-stroke pneumatic pistol that stretches about 9.5 inches long and weighs about a pound and three-quarters. The entire frame appears to be molded out of some sort of matte black engineering polymer. Overall, I was well pleased with the fit and finish of the HW40. At the rear of the pistol is a silver “hammer,” the function of which we’ll discuss in just a bit. Below that is an ambidextrous pistol grip molded with finger grooves. I found that it fit my hand very comfortably.
Forward of the pistol grip, the polymer trigger guard encloses a silver-colored metal two-stage trigger. Above the trigger, on the left hand side of the pistol is a silver metal slide safety. Push it toward the muzzle to release the trigger for firing.
At the muzzle end of the pistol, just about the muzzle, is compensator that vents extra air as the pellet exits the barrel. Just aft of that is a red fiber optic front sight. Moving back along the top of the pistol is a dovetail to which a red dot or scope can be attached. Below the dovetail and above the trigger guard on either side of the HW40, you’ll find an “ejection port” through which you can actually see a portion of the HW40’s barrel. Moving aft again, at the top rear of the pistol, you discover a micro-adjustable green fiber optic rear sight. That’s all there is to the HW40.
To get the HW40 ready for shooting, pull back the silver hammer at the rear of the pistol. This unlatches the rear upper half of the pistol – the “slide” if this were a firearms automatic. Next, grasp the rear of the slide and pull it up and forward as far as it will go. This open the action for the compression stroke and activates the automatic safety. Insert a .177 pellet into the aft end of the barrel and return the “slide” to its original position, making sure that the hammer snaps shut. (Although I have no good way of quantifying it, the last 1.5 inches of the compression stroke are fair stiff, so this is not the air pistol I would recommend for a youngster.)
Next, take aim, slide the safety off, and squeeze the trigger. It takes just a hair less than 11 oz to pull the first stage out of the trigger, and at 1 lb 0.6 oz, the shot goes off. The HW40 has one of the nicest triggers you’ll find anywhere in a single-stroke pneumatic pistol, short of an Olympic-quality match pistol.
My Oehler chronograph tells me that the sample of HW40 that I tested launches Crosman Premier 7.9 pellets at 365 fps average. That’s just 2.3 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The HW40 is satisfyingly accurate as well. With the right pellet (and presuming you are doing your job properly), the HW40 will shoot 3/8 inch edge to edge groups. At 10 meters.
In the end, I really liked the HW40. It’s an attractive SSP pistol that is easy to shoot well, has an excellent trigger, and is accurate enough to satisfy most pistoleros. It saddened me to box it up and send it back.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott