The Umarex Tornado Revolver
I can only look back nostalgically to the many happy days spent on the range pistol shooting. Whether it was speed and adrenaline of the IPSC competitions or police and service with a .38 special/.357 mag revolver there was nothing like the noise, smell, bullets, brass and camaraderie with the pistol boys from my local club.
Unfortunately, that’s all a thing of the past, but there is a vast array of pistols available on the market, all be it, powered by CO2 measured in grams rather than cartridges measured in grains.
Umarex have a wide range of air pistols and Airsoft pistols. The Umarex Tornado, or as it’s called in the USA and Canada the Brodax is a CO2 air pistol that fires 4.5 steel BBs at 375 fps. The frame is an all polymer construction although the internals are metal, including the 5.5” smooth bore barrel, trigger and hammer. Just to the rear of the hammer is a safety catch. Once the hammer is down the safety can be engaged to stop the Tornado being cocked into the single action condition or being fired in double action. It is also supplied with three 10 shot disk style rotary magazines.
The Tornado is a fictional design and isn’t a true replica of any revolver out there, but if I had to try and aesthetically compare it to anything then maybe the MP-412 Rex revolver from Russia, if I squint and look out of the corner of my eye.
Umarex give you plenty of opportunity to add accessories with a picatinny rail on the top and below the barrel. The 12 g CO2 capsule is housed inside the substantial and very well proportioned grip. The finger indentations make it an extremely comfortable pistol to hold. To load a CO2 capsule the left hand side of the grip needs to be removed. There is a small notch in the underside that you need to push outwards. It’s a very snug fit and quite stiff to get off, but I didn’t mind that too much because this ensures that there is no movement in the grip once fitted and in place. Something that’s very useful is the built in allen key on the inside of the grip – no need to keep one in your pocket for capsule changes, it’s right there already inside the grip.
This pistol can be fired either single or double action and I was pleasantly surprised with the trigger. Let’s take into consideration that the Tornado is available for around the £50 mark, which is very inexpensive and my first assumption was that the trigger would be a bit wobbly and not great, but that isn’t the case at all. It was tight, responsive and didn’t have much creep at all in double action. In single action there was no creep at all and the trigger broke crisply.
I’ve actually had the gun for a little longer than originally planned and the reason why I asked Armex for an extension was because the outside temperatures have been very low and this can have a significant impact on the performance of the CO2 capsules. Pistols of this nature are not built for precision; they’re not built to group shots in thumbnail size groups, but on the other hand, you do want them to be able to work to the best of their ability, so I felt it was important to give the Tornado its best chance and that meant waiting for the weather to warm up a bit.
The rotary magazine is locked in place by what would be the extraction rod. To remove the magazine push the rod forward and up; this small 90° movement will lock the rod in place and the magazine can be taken out. There is only one way that the magazine can be loaded and that is with the BBs up against the dummy cylinder. The cylinder is fixed and when the pistol is fired it’s only the magazine that rotates to index the next BB rather than the whole cylinder, as it would on an actual firearm.
OK, we’re now ready to see what the Tornado can do. I placed my target out and retreated to a distance of 6 m. Initially, my intention was to have my sight picture as I would have done back in my IPSC days, i.e., centre mass, point of aim should equate to point of impact, in theory, and if you’re reading this and thinking “you’re taking this all a bit serious” I realise I’m trying to be as accurate as I can be with a low powered pistol that has a smooth bore, but I was having just as much fun with trying to get the Tornado to group ten shots as I was as pinging over tin cans between 6 m – 8 m and the Tornado was very capable at doing that all day long.
Anyway, getting back to the sight picture – there is one thing that the Tornado doesn’t have that it would really benefit from and that’s a 3-dot sight. I was trying to line up solid black sights against a black target and it was quite difficult to maintain a consistent sight picture. To combat this, I changed my sight picture to the 6 o’clock hold, or what I used to call lolly-popping, which is what I used to do on the .22 target range and this made life much easier.
Now, my objective was not the impossible task of a thumbnail group, but to simply try and place all ten shots within the black area of the target – which, after five targets, I was beginning to think would be a bit of a tall order – but, on the seventh target I managed to do this, and the shot in the bottom right has broken the line of the eight section, so, unload, show clear, hammer down and holster, thanks for coming!
I did my very best to push the Umarex Tornado to its very limit and I’d like to think that my best target was all down to my shooting ability, but let’s be honest, there was definitely a degree of good fortune to get all ten rounds within the black.
To conclude, the Umarex Tornado is great fun for some back garden tin can plinking before they go into the recycling and if you want to do what I did and try to get it to hit a target in a way that it’s not really intended, you’ll have great fun doing that too. Price wise, it’s very much at the lower end, but as I mentioned earlier the trigger and action is much better than the price tag might lead you to believe.