Ba­sic Crosman?

John Milewski tests the ver­sa­tile Crosman PDM9B

Airgun World - - Contents -

Or is it? John Milewski tests the Crosman PDM9B for su­pe­rior per­for­mance

Many CO2 air pis­tol de­signs are a com­pro­mise be­tween per­for­mance and authen­tic­ity, so you might have a pis­tol authen­tic down to the last de­tail, but low on power, or only ca­pa­ble of shoot­ing BBs through an un­ri­fled bar­rel. Al­ter­na­tively, there are slightly less authen­tic-look­ing pistols that of­fer su­pe­rior per­for­mance lev­els and the PDM9B falls into the lat­ter cat­e­gory.

“The Beretta was a solid re­place­ment and saw ser­vice all around the world”


This of­fer­ing from Crosman ex­ter­nally re­sem­bles the Beretta 92, or M9 as it is termed in U.S. mil­i­tary ser­vice. The M9 (9 for its 9 mm cal­i­bre) re­placed the ven­er­a­ble .45 cal­i­bre M1911 dur­ing the mid 1980s and was the U.S. army’s ser­vice pis­tol un­til 2017. Af­ter more than 70 years in ser­vice, the 1911s in U.S. ser­vice were show­ing their age by the 1980s and the army was look­ing for a lower pow­ered pis­tol with a higher ca­pac­ity mag­a­zine. Granted, the .45 cal­i­bre of the 1911 re­quired a greater level of skill from its op­er­a­tor to get the best from it, but the round had a solid rep­u­ta­tion for stop­ping an ad­ver­sary sooner than any other ser­vice cal­i­bre. The Beretta was a solid re­place­ment and saw ser­vice all around the world dur­ing its three decades in ser­vice be­fore be­ing it­self re­placed by the M17 Sig Sauer P320 in, you guessed it, 2017.


The mark­ings on the PDM9B are not as authen­tic as those on some other CO2 pistols, but the Crosman does have a blow-back ac­tion and is ca­pa­ble of fir­ing pel­lets as well as ball. The slide-mounted safety catch is a non­op­er­a­ble mould­ing and the ac­tual safety is built into what would be the slide re­lease catch on the orig­i­nal. The PDM9B scores points over its con­tem­po­raries with its abil­ity to shoot pel­lets through a ri­fled bar­rel, and the pis­tol I tested was ca­pa­ble of groups smaller than those pro­duced by BB-only CO2 pistols. Muz­zle ve­loc­ity was around 400 FPS, which is sig­nif­i­cantly higher than the av­er­age 300 – 320 FPS most BB fir­ing blow-backs pro­duce.


In fact, the PDM9B is a very ver­sa­tile pis­tol. Its mag­a­zine houses the CO2 cap­sule and an 8-shot mag­a­zine along with three spare 8-shot mag­a­zines. One of the mag’s is

in­tended for 4.4 mm ball, whilst the oth­ers are ca­pa­ble of ac­cept­ing pel­lets. The mag’s can­not be stored loaded in situ, but it is a pleas­ant change to find a pis­tol com­ing with four mag­a­zines as stan­dard.

Once a fresh mag­a­zine has been loaded, the first shot may be fired dou­ble or sin­gle ac­tion if the slide is racked back and re­leased. The ham­mer may also be cocked man­u­ally at any time. The slide does not hold back once the last shot in a mag­a­zine has been fired and con­tin­ues to cock the ham­mer, so it is worth count­ing your shots to avoid wast­ing gas. I was able to dis­charge nine mag­a­zines be­fore the power was re­duced to the ex­tent when the blow-back ac­tion would no longer cock the ham­mer.


This is a full-sized pis­tol with an am­ple-sized grip. I found a two-handed grip to be more prac­ti­cal than a sin­gle-handed hold be­cause it was eas­ier to con­trol the re­coil cre­ated by the slide re-cock­ing the ham­mer. The dou­ble-ac­tion pull was long but pre­dictable, whilst the sin­gle ac­tion broke with a small amount of creep.

The sights are both fixed on the PDM9B and this means you will have to aim off if the pis­tol

does not shoot to the point of aim, which was the case with the test example. How­ever, the high vis­i­bil­ity, white dot sights were easy to ac­quire and rather than aim­ing off, I placed the fore­sight’s dot im­me­di­ately next to and al­most touch­ing the right dot. This was to over­come the pis­tol’s ten­dency to shoot left by sev­eral inches. El­e­va­tion was fine and once I ad­justed my aim lat­er­ally, I was able to ob­tain some tight groups as well as mul­ti­ple hits when dis­mem­ber­ing tin cans with pel­lets.

I used a two-handed Weaver-type stance to get the best from this pis­tol’s in­her­ent ac­cu­racy.

The PDM9B seen here with an orig­i­nal U.S. army hol­ster in­tended for the Beretta.

Rack­ing the slide back cocks the ham­mer for the first shot. The blow-back ac­tion does this au­to­mat­i­cally for the re­main­der.

The slide mounted safety catch is a non-op­er­a­ble mould­ing. The ac­tual safety is the catch un­der the slide, which moves hor­i­zon­tally. Move the catch for­ward to lock the trig­ger. The hi-viz white dots help with ac­quir­ing a fast sight pic­ture. I placed the front white dot right next to the rear right dot to over­come the pis­tol’s ten­dency to shoot left. Do we re­ally need words of warn­ing moulded into the pis­tol’s frame? At least they are not bright white!

The clev­erly de­signed mag­a­zine holds the CO2 cylin­der and a loaded ro­tary mag­a­zine. Three fur­ther spare mag­a­zines are re­tained lower down the mag’ through a fric­tion fit.

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