Double test: Beeman P17 and Gamo PR-45 air pistols

At first glance, the Beeman P17 and the Gamo PR-45 appear to be quite similar in technical terms, but at second glance, they appear to be a rather dissimilar duo for testing: the P17 comes to the recreational shooter for a price of 79.95 euros, while the PR-45 costs almost twice as much, at 139.95 euros.

This raises a few questions: what does the buyer get for his money with both guns? What do the air pistols have in common, and what distinguishes them? First, of course, we'll take a look at the technical details:

Technology: the similarities between the Beeman P17 and Gamo PR-45

Beeman P17 and Gamo PR-45 with the "slide" 
Beeman P17 and Gamo PR-45 with the "slide" folded forward before air compression.

Both air pistols work with a so-called recoilless, pre-compressed system. In most air guns with a charging mechanism, the shooter cocks a spring with a piston in front of it by tilting the barrel. On release, this spring then accelerates the piston in the direction of the barrel, and the compressed air in front of it then gives the pellet its energy. In this system, however, the cocking process directly compresses air.

This has several advantages: first, this way there is no piston bounce, which is the acceleration and subsequent impact of the piston at the end of the compression chamber. For another, it also makes the system quieter and is said to provide a more consistent pressure buildup. To compress the air inside the gun and thus make the pistols ready to fire, the shooter follows the same procedure for both models. First, the upper section, or "slide" of the gun, is unlocked. In the case of the Beeman P17, this is done by pulling back the chrome-colored hammer.

In the case of the Gamo PR-45, a button on the back is pushed in. The upper part is then folded completely forward to place the pellet into the barrel in this position. Now the actual process of introducing energy into the system takes place: the upper part of the receiver must now be returned to its original position with a relatively large amount of force. With all components now in a securely locked condition, the shot can be released.

Technology: the differences between the Beeman P17 and Gamo PR-45

the locking button and the sights of the Gamo PR-45 (left) and Beeman P17 (right)
Both the locking button and the sights of the Gamo PR-45 (left) and Beeman P17 (right) differ significantly.

Probably, the most striking difference between the two guns is in the design: the Beeman P17 has an almost futuristic appearance. The exterior is made of plastic, except for the hammer, trigger and safety. The grip has finger grooves and fits well in the hand. Front and back serrations are placed on the upper part for manipulation, although these point in the wrong direction for grip during cocking.

The shooter operates the automatic trigger safety in the form of a chrome slide above the trigger. Furthermore, the Beeman P17 comes with ejection ports on both sides and a muzzle port. Additionally, Beeman has added a slide catch, a magazine release, and an "inserted" magazine on the underside of the grip. The latter three parts are a bit too much of a good thing in the tester's opinion. It would have been better to do without them, since this is not a toy. However, a shooter with large hands can rest his thumb on the mentioned slide catch. 

The Gamo P-45, on the other hand, is much more sober. Externally, it is reminiscent of old-school match guns. Grips are attached to the lower frame, which make the Gamo air pistol feel good in the hand. Externally, there is also a lot of plastic here. Annoyingly, the controls seem wobbly, and the trigger in particular shows noticeable play in all directions.

The Beeman P17 and Gamo PR-45 air pistols in the shooting test

Both pistols were pleasantly quiet when fired. The difference between the two pistols is immediately apparent in the sights: in accordance with the described orientation of the pistols, the Gamo's sights are similar to match pistols, while the Beeman's sights are more dynamic with fiber optic rods.

As mentioned, cocking both guns requires some effort, but did not pose a problem for the testers. Of course, the accuracy of both air pistols did not necessarily prove to be match-ready, but they were certainly sufficient for cans or the target at ten meters.

Beeman P17 and Gamo PR-45 air pistols specs and prices

Beeman P17GAMO PR-45
79,95 euro 
139,95 euro
.177 (4.5 mm) pellet 
.177 (4.5 mm) pellet
1 shot 
1 shot
Dimensions (L x W x H):
240 x 36 x 160
280 x 35 x 145
Barrel length:
6.3”/160 mm 
7.8”/200 mm
Sight Radius:
7.5”/190 mm 
9.6”/245 mm
7.5 joules max.
7.5 joules max.
Pre-compressed air 
Pre-compressed air
27.4 oz/777 g 
28.1 oz/798 g
Left/Right Version:Can be operated from both sides 
Can be operated from both sides
Recoilless, adjustable sights 
Recoilless, adjustable sights

Beeman P17 and Gamo PR-45 air pistols: wrap-up

The Beeman P17 and the Gamo PR-45
The Beeman P17 and the Gamo PR-45 are two air pistols in different price and quality classes – fun comes with both.

Both guns belong to the category of fun and recreational guns. The PR-45 is a bit more match-oriented. This is also reflected in the build quality, where Gamo has worked more carefully than Beeman with the P17. However, this does not mean that the latter should be avoided. Because, as mentioned at the beginning, it only costs about half as much as the Gamo.

The recommendation is clear: if you're looking for a particularly inexpensive introduction to shooting and plinking, you've found it with the Beeman P17. If you want to go a bit higher and are willing to invest the money, you can go straight for the Gamo PR-45. 

Neither of them reaches match level, but they don't have to, because the two air pistols are always fun to shoot.

For more information on Beeman air guns please visit the Beeman website.

For more information on Gamo's air guns please visit the Gamo website.

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