Why the Weihrauch HW40 PCA deserves more of our attention

Box fresh.

Box fresh. - Credit: Archant

Praise where its due, Tim Finley believes the Weihrauch HW40 PCA deserves more of our attention


ALL CAPS WITH EDIT - Credit: Archant

There is a pistol in the Weihrauch stable that does not get the praise, or indeed the press, it deserves. It's the HW40, and it marked a change in direction by Weihrauch, going from the all-metal, robust and famous, spring-powered HW45 to a single-stroke, pneumatic, ultra-modern, synthetic material pistol that is the HW40.

From the outset, the HW40 PCA - 'Pistol Compressed Air' - looks and feels very modern indeed. To start with, it comes in three calibres; .177, .20 and .22 - 4.5mm or .177 being the most popular.

It is very modern in design and looks like a combination of an IMI Desert Eagle in the frame, and a Walther CP99 about the grips - both fantastic designs. It's constructed in tough space-age polymers, with metal rigid inserts for added strength. To cock the pistol the faux silver hammer at the rear of the action is first pulled back with the thumb. This allows the top section of the action to be pulled up/forward and open to a full 160-degree swing. The metal cylinder revealed can be heard sucking in a volume of air, and a pellet can then be loaded directly into the end of the barrel.

It is a tad fiddly to load at first.

It is a tad fiddly to load at first. - Credit: Archant

Automatic safety

The rifled barrel is held in the top section of the action by a steel plate that fits over a turned down section of the 10mm diameter steel barrel. The front of the barrel is held in the top section by sliding into a moulded section of the frame. I found loading the pistol hard at first, with my Yorkshire sausage fingers, but with practice it did become a lot easier.

The air initially sucked in by the cylinder now has to be compressed by closing the action/lever and locking it down into its starting position. It takes 27lbs of pressure to do this, according to information supplied by HW. This is a very safe pistol because the safety catch comes on automatically when the action is opened; the silver safety catch is on the left-hand side of the action, right above the trigger blade position. It can has to be pushed forward manually, to reveal a red dot, so it is ready to fire. This is easy to operate if you're a right-handed shooter by using the classic two-handed grip; the thumb of the left hand wrapping around the right has easy access to the sliding catch. The safety catch can also be reset to 'safe' at any time by pulling it backwards toward the shooter.

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The safety catch cannot really be operated by the trigger hand for a right-handed shooter, but a lefty can do so without any problems, by using their trigger finger. The trigger itself is billed as two-stage, but from what I can ascertain, it is not a true example, where the travel on the first stage moves the sears. It's just a pre-tensioning spring on the trigger to act a pseudo first stage. Saying that, the trigger is very good indeed, with a let-off weight of less than 900 grams and is very predictable in use.

There's a red fibre-optic rod on the front.

There's a red fibre-optic rod on the front. - Credit: Archant

Fibre-optic sights

I tested the pistol initially over a chronograph with the 7.9 grain pellets and it gave very consistent readings at 2.62 ft.lbs. at 388 fps. Moving on to my six-yard loft range for accuracy testing, the design of the grips came into their own. It is a truly ambidextrous grip, and as I said before, it seems to be styled on the CP99. There are three finger groves on the front of the grip, a palm swell at the back, and thumb grooves, too. The ridges on the front of the angular trigger guard seem a bit superfluous, as does the fake empty-case ejection ports on both sides of the frame. You can see the blued steel barrel through the holes.

The sight picture for the open sights is 186mm long with an adjustable rear sight. This rear sight has to be adjusted with a slot-headed screw driver, for windage and elevation.

The fibre-optic sights are very good indeed; two green dots at the rear and a single red dot on the front post. I zeroed the gun at 6 yards and set about accuracy testing it - sub-10mm groups were the norm.

It has a superb trigger.

It has a superb trigger. - Credit: Archant

Recoilless and self-contained

On firing, the pistol is totally recoilless, it also has three forward-facing, slotted muzzle brakes in front of the barrel, but I could not discern any appreciable blast of air coming out of these upon firing.

You can fit an optical sight on the 120mm, 11mm wide scope rail. A red-dot sight would be good, but not too near the back of the rail, to give you room for your palm to close the action. There are no expensive CO2 bulbs to keep buying, and it can be shot for long periods of time, and it's accuracy and ease of use make it a stand-out gun for the money.

The green fibre-optic 'U' on the rear sight certainly works.

The green fibre-optic 'U' on the rear sight certainly works. - Credit: Archant


Manufacturer: Weihrauch

Distributor: Hull Cartridge / 01482 342756

Model: HW40 PCA

Type: Single-stroke pneumatic pistol

Barrel length: 172mm

Calibre: .177 (tested), .20 and .22

Action: Over-lever

Sights: Fully adjustable, fibre-optic open, with 11mm scope rail

Trigger: Two-stage

Trigger weight: 0.84kg

Safety: Automatic

Overall length: 235mm

Weight: 0.780kg

RRP: £156


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