Folks who have read this blog for even a little while realize pretty quickly that Your Humble Correspondent has hardly ever met a pneumatic projectile launcher that he didn’t like. The new Air Force TalonP .25 caliber pistol is no exception. I like this diminutive powerhouse, but I will admit to not knowing entirely what to make of it.
Air Force says the TalonP is “for the serious hunter wanting a compact yet powerful hunting tool” and adds that it “sets a new standard in air pistol power levels.” It truly is astonishingly powerful. The sample I tested was launching 31 grain Barracuda pellets at 862 fps, generating nearly 52 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. That’s enough power, with proper shot placement, to kill almost anything you might reasonably want to kill with an airgun.
The TalonP stretches 23.25 inches from the end of the air reservoir to the muzzle (with the air tank unscrewed, the main receiver stretches just 18 inches from end to end). It weighs just 3 lbs. 10.5 oz. without a scope or red dot. At the extreme aft end of the TalonP, you’ll find a matte black metal air reservoir with a volume of 213 cc (by comparison, the Talon rifle has an air tank volume of 490 cc).
Moving forward, you’ll find a matte black metal receiver that houses a .25 caliber Lothar Walther barrel. Above the breech is a long dovetail rail for mounting a scope, red dot, or accessories. Below the breech is the pistol grip which had nubbly plastic grips. Forward of the grips is the trigger guard which surrounds the trigger and a red push-pull safety.
About three inches forward of the trigger guard is a matte black plastic forearm. Above that on the left side is the power adjustment wheel and forward of that is the muzzle. Above and below the barrel are rails that can be used for mounting accessories.
When I started setting up the TalonP is when life started to get interesting. At nearly two feet long and over three-and-half pounds, I didn’t want to hold the pistol in front of me, Weaver-style, because I thought that might be too ungainly. As a result, I didn’t want to mount a pistol scope. At the same time, the air tank doesn’t reach back far enough to provide a buttstock for my lanky 6’1” frame, so I didn’t want to mount a rifle scope.
So I mounted a red dot scope on the top rail and held the TalonP with two hands while using the air reservoir as a kind of cheek piece with no buttstock.
It’s easy enough to get the TalonP ready for shooting. After charging the air tank to 3,000 psi and re-attaching it to the receiver, push the cocking knob on top of the bolt all the way forward until it latches. Next, push a pellet all the way into the breech with your thumb or a pellet seating tool. Pull the bolt back to its original position and rotate it into either notch at the rear of the cocking slot (this indicates that the bolt is all the way back).
Take aim, push the red safety lever forward until it clicks off and squeeze the trigger. Just 1 lb. of pressure takes the first stage out of the trigger. At 1 lb., 10.5 oz. the shot goes down range with a loud BOOM. As a shooter, I could feel the recoil and the tug of the muzzle as it wanted to lift. This is one powerful air pistol, and it lets you know it. The TalonP manual says you’ll get about 10 shots per fill at full power. You need to count those shots, because there is no gauge to tell you how much air is left.
Shooting from a casual rest with the red dot, I was able to shoot groups with Benjamin .25 caliber pellets that were roughly 1 inch edge to edge at 13 yards. I strongly suspect that a shooter with a bipod and a rifle scope could do substantially better at longer ranges.
So, in the end, what is the TalonP? The airgun equivalent of an elephant gun for short people? A funky hunting pistol? An ultra-carbine? I think it may find its greatest acceptance among two groups: hunters who want a powerful airgun that can fit in a backpack and farmers and ranchers who want a powerful pest control tool they can slip behind the seats of their pickup trucks.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
- Jock Elliott