THE PP1 PISTOL

After winning the BFTA Championship in 1987, Air Arms sales manager Bill Saunders presented shooter Nick Jenkinson was presented with a prototype of the soon to be released Shamal – the first PCP rifle produced by Air Arms.

This was start of a long-standing friendship between Bill & Nick – and a relationship with Air Arms that remains to this day.

In 1989 there was a growing desire among field target shooters for full powered PCP pistol to use in pistol side-shoots at field target competitions.

Nick saw the potential to create such a pistol using the action from one of his Shamals. Nick shortened the barrel & then also reduced the diameter to lighten the pistol. He then added an alloy shroud with a length that lined up nicely with the end of the filler cap as well as reducing the rapport.  

To complete his creation Nick created an ergonomic walnut grip.

When he saw Nick’s creation Bill loved it & asked Nick to design a version to sit alongside the new series of rifles being developed at the time – the 100 Series.

In July 1989 the first incarnation of the pistol was on show at the CLA Game Gair. At the time it was still undergoing final trials with the assistance of leading authorities such as Nick Dawes. A few months later it featured in the October 1989 edition of Airgun World.

The final version of the pistol named the PP1, short Pneumatic Pistol 1, was with retailers in November 1989, with an initial price tag of £322.

Air Arms are unsure exactly how many PP1's were made but have confirmed the figure is around 100 with production ceasing mid 1991.

PP1 with upgraded filler & cover, swan knecked bolt & optional silencer

PP1 with optional sights

Available in .177 and .22 it was essentially a shortened version of the 100 series action with a 9in Walther barrel. It had a total length of 15.5in.

The stock was made of walnut. I have only seen right hand versions but there was reportedly an ambidextrous version.

The standard offering had a knob type loading bolt, 1/8th bsp thread filling valve with plastic cover and a 2 stage, fully adjustable trigger with a straight brass blade.

Optional upgrades were offered in the form of a lever bolt, aluminium filler cap, sound moderator, open sights and, from around August 1990, the Olympic Trigger.              

1990 Advert Featuring The PP1

The optional front open sight mounting block & shroud were produced by Air Arms with Williams supplying the bead, as well as the rear sight.

Later examples were also offered with quick-fill and/or the 100 series Mk2 aluminium filler cap.

As with the 100 series rifles, the alloy bolt housing on the prototype PP1’s had the same gloss finish bolt housing as the Shamal. Production models had a new housing with a grey/silver satin chrome finish.

2 cylinder lengths were used over the production period, with the later one being 33mm shorter. The shorter cylinder reduced the weight and provided better balance – the downside being the shot count dropped from around 50 good shots to around 40.​

PP1 Review - Airgun Worls December 1990

My verdict:

The PP1 is quite a lump of a pistol but never the less feels quite balanced, especially the shorter cylinder version. With grip it sits well in my hand.

Due to its weight Ii find that it is not long before I need to put the pistol down for a rest. I suppose this is one of the downsides of the quality build from strong materials.

My version has the lever bolt and cocking is smooth and positive but not stiff.

The trigger is excellent. I have it set with a short first stage, minimal second stage and a very crisp, light release. Very nice!

Accuracy wise, the pistol provides tight groups off the bench as i would expect from a Walther barrel on such a solidly built pistol.

It’s not the prettiest pistol I’ve seen but has its own charm and shooting it does put a smile on my face

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