Weihrauch’s Black Polymer Pistol
At the beginning of 2017 Weihrauch announced that they were launching the HW44 full power PCP air pistol and it would be unveiled to the world at IWA Outdoor Classics. When I arrived in Nuremberg the Weihrauch booth was right up there on my list of where I wanted to go first.
The only information I could get on a release date was “later in the year”, which as we all know is the same as saying how long is a piece of string. It was going to simply be a case of watch this space.
The HW44 finally landed in the UK right at the tail end of 2017 and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one to see how it would perform. There were clearly a lot of other people who thought like me and it’s taken until now, the end of 2018, for Hull Cartridge to have one available for me to test.
Whenever I do a write up like this it generally follows quite a standard format, i.e., give information about the product before giving the RRP, but the price of the HW44 is something that immediately jumps out at you. The HW44 is retailing between £650 and £700, which, in anyone’s book is a lot of money for a pistol. So what is it that puts this price tag on the HW44?
I’m already the owner of a Weihrauch HW110 rifle and as soon as you open the HW44’s box you can see the similarities straight away. Weihrauch were the first to incorporate very strong and very tough ballistic polymer into the design of an air rifle and they have done the same with the HW44. The entire frame, action and outer barrel is ballistic polymer which has resulted in the weight coming in at under 3lb and taking into consideration the size of the HW44 that is a very big plus point; the HW44 is a monster of a pistol with a total length of 337 mm.
Weihrauch have done an incredible job with the pistol grip and the ergonomics of it. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that there are “ergonomic” grips and then there’s the grip on the HW44. The grip looks as if someone has squeezed a lump of plasticine, or something along those lines, before the frame mould was made. All the contours on the grip make it very comfortable to hold and it fitted my hand almost like it was moulded from my own palm print. Although it doesn’t look like it at first glance the grip is fully ambidextrous.
The trigger guard is a nice size with plenty of room is you were shooting with a glove on and in front of the trigger guard, on the underside of the frame is a nice long picatinny rail for light or laser accessories.
Moving to the back of the pistol everything is very familiar if, like me you already shoot a HW110. The side lever cocking arm, the magazine release lever and the ambidextrous safety catch are all exactly the same. As with the rifle, the safety catch can only be engaged if the pistol is cocked. The cocking lever and magazine release lever can be switched out depending on whether you’re left or right handed. The 10 shot magazine is also exactly the same as the HW110 and the HW44 comes with two magazines in the box.
The sights are fully adjustable for windage and elevation. I was, however, slightly disappointed with the sights. Nothing to do with the quality of them at all, but shooting pistols with tri- white-dot sights or fibre optic sights is much easier for target acquisition. I find lining up solid black sights on a black bullseye much more tricky! However, there is a very generous top picatinny rail for a pistol optic.
The barrel length is 247 mm and Weihrauch also make a moderator for the HW44. Weihrauch moderators are very efficient indeed. My HW110 is very quiet and the 110K that I recently tested was also very quiet. The un-moderated HW44 on the other hand is far from quiet in comparison and when I was shooting the two together it was very noticeable just how efficient Weihrauch moderators are.
Moving onto the trigger – Weihrauch are renowned for their excellent triggers and this is exactly what you get on the HW44. The trigger is fully adjustable and two stage meaning that you can perfectly set this pistol up to your desired pull and travel.
The 200 bar cylinder give she shooter around 125 shots in .22 or 105 in .177, which for the size of the cylinder is very impressive. The charging probe charging port and dust cover are exactly as you will find on the HW110. Internally, the HW44 is fitted with a regulator ensuring that every single shot fired from the first to the last before refilling the cylinder is absolutely consistent.
The HW44 is a full power air pistol that butts right up to the UK legal limit of 6 ft.lbs making it powerful enough for some close range farm yard pest control from a rested position in order to give the most accuracy, and as you would expect from a Weihrauch, the HW44 is very accurate. As always, I like to test pistols out to eight metres, which I’m sure is well within the capabilities of this pistol, but if I was looking to shoot rats effectively with this I wouldn’t want to do it at any further than that to ensure a clean kill. My accuracy test was from a fully rested position and the combination of the regulator, two stage match trigger and a vibration free shot release produced some very impressive 10 shot, one-hole groups.
A feature that I really like is on the right hand side of the pistol just in front of the safety catch and at the rear of the cylinder is a small port that houses a valve to empty the cylinder which means that if, for some reason the pistol needed to be worked on by a gunsmith or if it had to go back to Hull Cartridge for some reason the cylinder can be emptied without cocking and dry firing, or putting a dose of pellets through it. Nice touch!
So, after handling it, firing it and scrutinising the HW44 thoroughly does it live up to its price tag? For me that is still a tough one, but I think it does! There is no questioning the fact that this is an expensive gun when you think that you can buy PCP rifles for almost, if not the same money, but this is a Weihrauch and we all know that the “W” word and extreme quality combined with excellent accuracy go hand in hand. Another thing to look at is what else are we comparing it to? What else is out there on the market like the HW44? The answer is nothing at the moment. It’s a full power multi-shot PCP pistol. It’s very comfortable to hold because of the extremely ergonomic grip for such a big pistol. It’s very light because of the full ballistic polymer frame. The trigger mechanism is absolutely on point. The regulator ensures shot consistency and there are top and bottom rails for optics and accessories. The only thing that’s left me scratching my head would be the sights. I really do think that a pistol in this price bracket would have been fitted with fibre optic or white tri-dot sights. Overall, the HW44 PCP pistol is another winner from Weihrauch!
A massive thank you to Hull Cartridge for supplying the Weihrauch HW44 PCP air pistol for test and review.