Britain's biggest-selling airgun magazine
John Milewski tests a rather exciting little blow-back Gamo MP9 on recommendation from a reader
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This blow-back, pellet-firing offering from Gamo was never on my testing shortlist. Possibly, due to its plastic construction, light weight and obscure design, it didn’t catch my eye as perhaps an Uzi or Kalashnikov derivative might. However, I was prompted to try one when Ian Copse took the time to write in and recommend the MP9 to me in the July issue.
Initially, I bought a used MP9 Carbine from Protek Supplies, which impressed me from the get go when eight shots from the first magazine made a ragged hole in a paper target, six yards away. A chrono’ test was next, and I recorded velocities in the 490fps range with Excite flatheads. Then disaster struck – nothing. The MP9 stopped working and would not discharge any more shots. I took a peek inside, and noticed that a cast link had cracked, but I was unable to source a replacement.
In the dim and distant past, when Britain lead the world in airgun manufacture, spares were plentiful and available from a number of different sources, as well as from the various manufacturers themselves. Today, very few airguns are made here, which means the majority are imported, and spares back up is non-existent in some cases, as I found out to my cost with the MP9. I get that importers and distributors would find it uneconomical to store spare parts of every kind, but perhaps offering a service where spares can be ordered from the manufacturer by importers would save many an airgun from the scrap heap, or being broken up for spares.
Okay, rant over. When Vic at Protek found out that the MP9 had died, he couldn’t do enough to try to put it right, even looking at the possibility of having the broken link 3D printed. Vic also offered me a great deal on a new standard MP9, to which I could not say no, and that is the model I ended up testing. I’ve been a customer of Protek for decades and it is service like this that retains my loyalty, as well as the incredible range of old and new airguns the shop stocks. If you are in the Bognor Regis area, this Aladdin’s cave is well worth visiting or they have a website for those too far away to visit personally.
The Gamo MP9 is based on the B&T MP9, which itself is an updated version of the Austrian Steyr TMP (Tactical Machine Pistol). Steyr will be familiar to users of the company’s high-end PCPs, but they also developed the TMP during the early 1990s as a Personal Defence Weapon. Its features include a polymer construction and weight that comes in at under 3lbs on the scales, so the synthetic finish Gamo; at 2.62lbs is not as far off the Steyr as my preconceptions suggested.
The Steyr TMP was updated in around 2004 by Swiss company, Brugger & Thornet (B&T) with the addition of a side-folding wire stock, Picatinny rail and Glock-style trigger safety. Gamo’s MP9 is a fairly close replica of the B&T firearm, boasting all of these updated features within a CO2-powered frame.
Taking a close look at the Gamo, the action is cocked by means of an AR-15 style cocking handle consisting of two ears at the rear of the frame, just under the rear sight. This enables the MP9’s blow-back action to come into play, albeit the feeding mechanism is actually a revolver internally, as we shall see shortly. The transverse safety on the firearm is also the fire selector, and the safety works like the original on the Gamo with the exception of a full auto sear! Naturally, the side-folding stock engages in the same way as the one on the firearm and stick magazines are used to feed the airgun, although they are smaller and thinner out of necessity.
Charging is a little unusual in that a plastic magazine base is firstly removed to reveal the CO2 unit. A small lever at the rear of the unit allows it to be removed from the pistol grip for a standard CO2 cartridge to be inserted. I found it best to place a new cartridge into the unit, but not to pierce it by means of its screw in tab until after the unit has been placed back into the pistol grip.
Each end of the pistol’s stick magazine has a fixed rotating 8-shot magazine for pellets or BBs, allowing a quick-change facility after the first eight shots have been fired. To release the magazine, move a serrated catch located at the lower front of the pistol grip from left to right. Take care because the magazine will shoot out of the base of the pistol grip under spring pressure, making quick reloads possible.
Sadly, the open sights are not the best, consisting of a ‘U’ notch rear, and blade fore sight. When used with the stock extended, the rear sight is way too close to the aiming eye to see clearly, but it does work well enough to hit tin cans up to 15 yards away. Although not advertised, the rear sight block can be adjusted laterally by means of a screw on the right side of the block, with a clockwise turn moving the block to the right. Hunching up against the stock, I found myself putting too much pressure on the stock with my cheek and aiming cross-eyed, which was not conducive to an enjoyable session.
The Gamo cries out to have an optic fitted and I mounted a PAO that I obtained from The Shooting Party. It took me a single magazine of eight shots to zero this red/green dot, and then pellets landed on top of each other at six yards. The Gamo MP9 has a reputation as an accurate performer and I didn’t realise quite how accurate they were until I finally tried one. I extended the range to 15 yards, and hit a tin can with virtually every shot, so I moved it to 20 yards and was still able to connect with Excite flatheads as well as Gamo’s own Match and Pistol Pro pellets. Using the green dot on the MP9 was a lot more comfortable than open sights because the stock suddenly felt more natural when aiming, suggesting that the MP9 works best with an optic such as a red dot. Target acquisition was quicker than open sights, too, and muzzle velocity hovered around 400fps with a shot count of 64 on a warm June morning, before the power dropped.
The trigger safety is a useful feature and consists of a spring-loaded ‘trigger’ in front of the actual trigger that must be pressed before the trigger can move. The spring pressure is barely noticeable and the feature is designed to prevent the pistol from operating unless the trigger is intentionally pulled by a finger. The magazine rotating between shots causes an annoying click, which is a minor niggle and remember, there is no last round, hold-open facility due to the revolving magazine.
All in all, I am grateful to Ian Copse for suggesting that I try the Gamo MP9 because it performs way better than I thought it would. They can be found for under £100 – try it; you won’t be disappointed. Just ask Ian.
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