Barra Airguns The 45 BB Pistol Review

Overview

Testers: Doug Wall, Stephen Archer

Caliber: .177 cal. BB

Model Number: 4122

Test Date: Sept 13, 2023

Serial Numbers: 23D100165

Source of Supply: Supplied by Barra Airguns

Condition: New.

We Like

Very high shot count.

Strong muzzle velocity.

Open sights.

We Don't Like

Trigger pull.

Shoots high.

CO2 loading screw.

HAM RATING

  • Value for Money
    100%
  • Comparison to Makers Claims:
    90%
  • Consistency
    100%
  • Appearance and Finish
    50%
  • Buying and Owning
    70%
  • Realism, Look & Feel
    30%
  • Realism, Trigger Action
    20%
  • Accuracy & Point of Aim
    70%
  • Shot Count
    100%
  • Muzzle Velocity
    100%

66%

HARD AIR MAGAZINE TEST CONCLUSIONS

At a price of $34.99, The 45 BB Pistol is outstanding value for money. It delivers the highest shot count from one 12 Gram CO2 cartridge of any BB gun tested tested by HAM.

It also gives strong FPS numbers that have the potential to far exceed the (already high) manufacturer’s claims. There were no mis-feeds during HAM testing and it has a long (for replica BB guns) warranty period of 12 months.

The Standard Deviation – shot-to-shot consistency of FPS – was outstanding, too.

So why only a Silver Award and no Gold?

Well the same manufacturer’s Barra Boa BB pistol gave us better accuracy and is – currently a massive $1.99 less with the same 12 month warranty ;-)

That JUST pushed The 45 out of a Gold Award. Hey, HAM is firm but fair! But make no mistake, the The 45 BB Pistol is still a great little gun for the money.

VALUE FOR MONEY

So let’s be clear about this. The 45 BB pistol from Barra Airguns sells for just $34.99 on the Pyramyd website at the time of writing.

Barra Airguns The 45 BB Pistol Review

That price definitely makes it a firm contender in the “bargain basement” sector of the BB gun market. Yes, you CAN buy a cheaper BB pistol, but there’s not very many of them to choose from.

Note that the previous “cheapest ever” BB pistol tested by HAM was the Bear River Boa. That was just $26.81 (including NY Sales Tax) when we tested it back in 2016. The Boa is still available and is selling for $33.00 plus tax at Pyramyd today.

So The 45 BB pistol is competitively-priced to the Boa. So it’s cheap. But it it any good?

Well, the answer is – amazingly – yes! You’ll read the details below in this comprehensive HAM Test review, but the key point is that this BB pistol is outstanding value for money!

One other point to note is that The 45 BB pistol is provided with a one year warranty. Given that the majority of higher-priced replica BB pistols carry just 90-day warranty coverage, that another strong indication of value for this product.

Barra Airguns The 45 BB Pistol Review

BUY FROM PYRAMYD
Barra BR45 CO2 BB Pistol 0.177

UTG Sub-Compact Red Laser, Solid Dot/Strobe Modes, Integral Picatinny Mount

 

REALISM – LOOK AND FEEL

The 45 BB pistol is a “generic”, black CO2-powered airgun. It’s not a replica of any specific firearm.

Judging from the name, I would expect it to look something like a Colt 45 or 1911-type pistol. But in fact there’s really no resemblance. Below we see the Barra on the left, an accurate Colt Commander 1911-type replica on the right.

But HAM Tester Doug Wall commented, “Look, it’s an inexpensive plastic gun. You shouldn’t expect too much.” And at a range of anything more than about 10 Feet, it’s doubtful that anyone would be able to tell that the Boa was not a replica of a modern semi-auto pistol.

Close-up, you see that there’s no cartridge ejection port. You also see that the sliding safety looks unlike anything you would expect on a firearm. Then you see that the “hammer” is actually molded into the slide and will never, ever operate. The slide itself is fixed, too.

Then there’s the feel. Not so good. In a word: “plastic”. Heft is rather lightweight. Once you pick up The 45, you know it’s not a realistic representation of any firearm currently known to man.

The gun tested by HAM weighed just 15 Ounces, including the CO2 cartridge and BBs. However, to be fair, the manufacturer is explicit that The 45 “is made with an impact-resistant plastic frame around a metal trigger and internals” and that it is “lightweight”.

Can you field strip The 45 BB pistol like a firearm? No!

So the realism score for the The 45 BB pistol has to be low, particularly compared to some of the highly sophisticated, superbly-accurate replica BB pistols that are widely available.

But remember the price. Thirty-five Bucks! At that price it’s probably realistic enough for most people.

 

ACCURACY AND POINT OF IMPACT

The 45 BB pistol is equipped with clear, sharp front and rear sights. The high-contrast white spots combine with the “square” sights to create a good sight picture. HAM Tester Doug Wall described them as “decent” in his test notes.

However, there was a problem with the gun tested by HAM. The open sights caused the gun to shoot high. Make that a lot high: 2 1/2 Inches at 6 Yards – and to the right: 3/4 Inch at 6 Yards.

You’ll see that HAM Tester Doug Wall marked his aim point on the test targets below.

Sadly the open sights are not adjustable. So, aiming-off is required at all times. Or, the front sight could be filed-down appropriately. But that will void your warranty and HAM takes no responsibility for the results, should you decide to do this yourself!

There is also a cool, additional-cost way to overcome this. Fit a sub-compact laser sight.

We attached a Leapers UTG LS200 laser sight. This provides both elevation and windage adjustments, enabling the Point of Impact to match the Point of Aim if you use the laser for sighting.

The LS200 is a great little laser, however there’s a downside for using it with The 45 BB pistol.  The laser costs a very reasonable $39.97, yet that’s more than the gun itself!

Overall, accuracy was acceptable for a BB pistol. At 6 Yards, all the BBs fired in this test were within “a minute of soda can”.

The most accurate BBs with this particular gun were Avanti Precision Ground Shot, however the group opened-up rather too much for really useful shooting to be done at 10 Yards range.

 

COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS

Barra Airguns claims a maximum muzzle velocity of 410 FPS for The 45. Given that the sample tested by HAM produced average muzzle velocities between 411 and 424 FPS in a cool, 67 degree, range, it’s clear that this specification is fully met!

In fact – given that the Muzzle Velocity of CO2-powered airguns changes at a rate of 2 FPS per degree Farenheit change of temperature, the potential velocity of The 45 BB gun at higher ambient temperatures is higher – much higher.

Taking the maximum 424 FPS at 67 degrees from this test, The 45 BB pistol tested by HAM would produce a Muzzle Velocity of no less than 470 FPS!

That increase of 46 FPS will be due entirely to shooting the gun in a hotter environment.

There’s no claim made by Barra Airguns for the number of good shots from one CO2 cartridge. But the actual performance is so good that they really should do so…

On the down side, Barra Airguns claims that The 45 BB pistol has the “look, weight and feel of a real 45” – at least they do on the Pyramyd website. Unfortunately this is definitely not true, as explained above.

 

CONSISTENCY

Consistency of muzzle velocity for The 45 BB pistol tested by HAM was close to the best we’ve ever seen from a BB pistol!

The average Standard Deviation (measure of shot-to-shot variation) for the 5 test targets shot at 6 Yards was just 3.33 FPS. This is more typical of the consistency we expect from a $1,000 PCP air rifle, not a $35 CO2 pistol.

In fact, the consistency was so outstanding that we’re publishing Doug’s shootdown test results in the “Shot Count” section of this review, below.

 

REALISM – TRIGGER AND ACTION

The double action trigger is representative of that on many semi-automatic pistols. However the average pull weight of 7 Lbs 9 Oz is definitely on the high side. The trigger pull is long but quite smooth.

HAM Tester Doug Wall also noted another feature of the The 45 BB pistol’s trigger…

As the trigger is pulled back – just before the firing point – the trigger “clicks”. If you can hold your pull right there, this allows a final adjustment of aim before pulling through to fire the BB.

But there’s no functioning slide, no blowback, no operating hammer and a very “non-firearms realistic” manual sliding safety. You’ll need to push the safety button in first, in order for it to engage or disengage.

Beyond the trigger and safety, the only other functioning control is the magazine release. This works very well, however.

There were zero jams or failures to feed during HAM’s testing of The 45 BB pistol.

 

SHOT COUNT

In a word: outstanding!

HAM tester Doug Wall recorded 190 shots from one 12 Gram CO2 cartridge before the muzzle velocity fell to 200 FPS. And The 45 BB pistol tested by HAM was still firing beyond that point, just slower…

And this test was run at a range temperature of 67 degrees F which, of course, is low for any CO2 gun.

Barra Airguns The 45 BB Pistol Review

This is not a blowback pistol, so we expected a good shot count. But it’s possible that users in warmer temperatures wanting to squeeze the absolute last drop out of a CO2 cartridge could see 200 shots before running out of gas!

Combined with the very low Standard Deviation (variation in shot-to-shot FPS), this has to indicate that The 45 BB pistol has a very efficiently-designed valve and action.

Barra Airguns The 45 BB Pistol Review

Above, the pistol grip slides back to allow access for loading a 12 Gram CO2 cartridge.

 

MUZZLE VELOCITY

The 45 BB pistol pistol tested by HAM gave excellent muzzle velocity, exceeding the claimed 410 FPS with all the standard HAM test BBs at a range temperature of 67 degrees F.

BBsAverage Muzzle VelocityAverage Muzzle EnergyAccuracy
Crosman Copperhead 5.13 Grain411 FPS1.92 Ft/LbsVery Good.
Umarex Steel 5.29 Grain422 FPS2.10 Ft/LbsVery Good.
ASG Blaster 5.32 Grain423 FPS2.12 Ft/LbsVery Good.
Hornady Black Diamond 5.36 Grain424 FPS2.14 Ft/LbsExcellent.
Daisy Avanti 5.44 Grain424 FPS2.17 Ft/LbsExcellent. Best Tested.

Surprisingly, the lowest Muzzle Velocity was recorded by the lightest BBs. It’s normally the other way round!

Presumably the lighter – smaller diameter – Crosman BBs were suffering from just a little CO2 “blow by” in the barrel of the test gun.

 

APPEARANCE AND FINISH

We’ve already established that The 45 BB pistol is not an accurate replica of any existing firearm. Overall appearance is “plasticky” with all visible parts having the same unrelieved black color.

Compared to some BB-firing firearms replica pistols, this is obviously a low-cost product. But, judged alone, the finish is not at all bad. The plastic moldings are quite well done. The mold lines and seams are present but not too objectionable. And the finish of the magazine – the only accessible metal part – is also quite good.

The sliding pistol grip cover is well-conceived. It works well and also hides the CO2 cartridge piercing knob completely.

 

BUYING AND OWNING

The 45 BB pistol is available both onlie and in physical stores. However, note that some sales outlets – including Pyramyd – name the product as the “Barra BR45” pistol, so you may need to make multiple searches to find it.

The magazine appears to be the same as that for the Bear River Boa. That means that it’s easy to load and there’s a simple clip that holds the BB follower in place while you do so.

This clip is released by bushing the little knob at the end once you’ve loaded the BBs. Easy!

Barra Airguns The 45 BB Pistol Review

With most BB pistols the gun’s report is the same whether a BB is being fired, or you’re firing blanks. The 45 BB pistol tested by HAM gave a distinctly different audible report between firing a BB and firing a blank.

This made it easy to know when the magazine is empty and saved the inevitable waste of gas that occurs with other BB pistols because you keep firing even when the magazine is empty. Another useful feature.

The instruction manual is good, too. It’s well illustrated, and covers all the important points, although in English only.

Now for a downside…

The CO2 screw, or key is spring-loaded. This doubtless seemed like a good idea to stop the key from hanging down in normal use.

However do NOT let go of this key when loading a CO2 cartridge!

If you do, it’s very likely that you will have the entire contents of the CO2 cartridge leak out before you are able to grab hold of the key again and rotate it. We’ve done that!

SAFETY FIRST. As with all BB-firing airguns, it’s necessary to wear shooting glasses when firing this airgun. Also do not shoot at hard surfaces or water. BBs tend to bounce off these surfaces and may hit you, or something other than what you intended. If in doubt, don’t pull the trigger! Due to the realistic appearance of this product, handle it as you would a firearm. Do not display it in public or in any place where it could be mistaken for a cartridge firearm.

 

6 YARD TEST TARGETS

Barra Airguns The 45 BB Pistol Review

Barra Airguns The 45 BB Pistol Review

Barra Airguns The 45 BB Pistol Review

Barra Airguns The 45 BB Pistol Review

 

10 YARD TEST TARGET

BUY FROM PYRAMYD
Barra BR45 CO2 BB Pistol 0.177

UTG Sub-Compact Red Laser, Solid Dot/Strobe Modes, Integral Picatinny Mount

This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.