Weihrauch HW40

Monday, September 20, 2010

The HW40 looks like a tactical pistol but it shoots like a match pistol.

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.

Pulling the silver hammer back at the rear of the HW40 releases the "slide" for cocking and loading the pistol.

The HW40, ready for loading.

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.)

The right side of the HW40.

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


  1. M. Albrecht, MD. says:

    My own experience with the Hw 40 is that this pistol has a superb trigger and and its accuracy with RWS R10 pellets is excellent. Another important feature is its reliability which sets it apart from less expensive copies manufactured in China!
    M. Albrecht

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      M. Albrecht,

      I agree entirely. In my opinion, the HW40 is lightyears ahead of the Chinese clone. I tried one of those and didn’t have a happy experience with it.

  2. S. Odom says:

    I agree totally with your assessment of the HW 40. I have the Beeman model with the iron, or the non-fiber optic sights. It is a dandy to shoot and the trigger makes it even better. You mentioned using an Oehler chronograph. What model do you use ?
    I recently bought an old Model 33.

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Mine is a Model 35. Thanks for your comments!

  3. Patrick Miller says:

    How does this trigger compare to that of a Beeman P-1 and an IZH-46M?

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      I am drawing on memory here, but the trigger is much lighter than any P-1 that I have shot and comparable to the IZH-46M.

  4. Joel says:

    Thanks for the review, Jock.

    I have a great, early HW-40PCA (with non-fiberoptic sights). These are outstanding, match-quality pistols, except for the sights, which are adequate but not great 🙂

    I tried two of the early production Beeman P-17/Marksman 2004 clones first, and had non-stop problems with “receiver humping”, leaking, valve misperformance, failure to fire, failure to latch… Maybe they are made better NOW, but not then.

    My HW-40 has never had a hiccup, and, like you said, is “lightyears ahead” of the clones.
    The trigger is light and crisp and adjustable 🙂
    There is a little muzzle flip, but it doesn’t affect accuracy (pellet is already downrange by the time the muzzle moves).

    Great informal target gun, and simply a superior plinker.

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Thanks for the kind words and your perspective!

  5. Jack Easley says:

    After much study, I ordered a new hw 40 from A o A.
    I was torn between wanting a rifle that I could hunt small game and yet still shoot targets in my back yard.
    The fact that I will probably use it for plinking at home over 75% of the time, it makes sense to me,

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      I think you are going to enjoy that HW40 a whole lot.

  6. Don says:

    Love mine. I added extra barrel length to mine by turning up an identical copy of the barrel but 17 mm longer through the compensator void right upto the true muzzle. I decided to not extend beyond the muzzle as it might ruin the appearance. Used a nice piece of Walther blank. Got an extra 20fps and the little bit of extra barrel weight inside the void seems to do more for the muzzle flip than the void compensator does at these low gas levels.
    Ive benched the gun from soft bean bag into a 20mm group at 22 yds and produced a few enlarged one holers at 10.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Thanks, Don. It’s a fun gun.

  7. Don says:

    Pleasure Jock.
    For everyone else, its great just as it is but im born to tinker lol.
    I had minor success tackling the issue of compression, namely increasing it but you have to be careful to not ruin the gun. I started by machining a spot face into the front of the piston of approx 20mm in diameter x 2mm deep. Then drove in a bung i machined up from aluminium which was 0.05mm above the dia of the hole and approx 3mm long. This left a protrusion of 1mm.
    It turned out to be too much and was in danger of forcing the muzzle pivot pin before the top strap had closed. I eventually found an increase of 0.4mm worked, with the top strap completely closing. Removing the dead space with this slight build up of the piston returned 17 fps.
    I have found that Hobby pellets give the best accuracy save for JSB match but are cheaper and much easier to obtain than the JSBs so go with these.
    Im getting 440fps with the 2 mods i perfomed. Added Hawke red dot which i use with the green 3 M.O.A dot. Very hard to beat it in a pistol, even my 2240 Crosman not quite matching it for accuracy or consistancy.

    1. Brendan says:

      Cannot do machine work but built my Hw40 front face of piston up with a bit of epoxy 2 part glue. Etched the front face of the piston with a bit of emery cloth….a nail file would do, then smeared across a 0.5mm layer of the glue. I let it set for 24hrs and it held really fast. Chrono gave 15 fps. Not sure its worth it and not sure how long it will last but no pellets shooting below 400fps in mine now.

      1. Jock Elliott says:


        Thanks for your comments. Remember, any modifications could void your warranty.

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