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Definitive Guide to Ataman AP16

The Ataman AP16 air pistol family boasts some impressive performance and accuracy. The Ataman line of airguns is a premium airgun brand. Their rifle build quality, performance, and accuracy are right up there with any of the top airgun makers. Although Ataman is a premium brand that makes exceptional small bore and big bore rifles, does that carry forward into their pistol offerings? That's exactly what we'll dive into in this definitive guide of the Ataman AP16 pellet pistol
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Detailed Review

The Ataman AP16 air pistol comes in various configurations. There are three colors, black, silver, and titanium and two different lengths, standard and compact. Our testing platform today is the silver compact.

The AP16 compact model weighs in at 1.75 pounds. It has a front cylinder with a max fill pressure of 300 bar. The overall length is 12 inches, with 6.69 inches being the precision match barrel. The grips are textured walnut.

The standard model has all the same mechanics, which we will get to shortly, but is longer and weighs slightly more. The weight of the AP16 pistol standard comes in at 2.2 pounds, and the length stretches to 14.37 inches. In addition, the barrel is longer at 8.98 inches.

The longer version will deliver more shots and more power for the added weight and length. Unfortunately, we don't have one for testing right now, but the basic information and statistics are listed on our site under AP16's product variations.

Setup and Operation

If you've been looking around for pistols, you'll know that, outside of the co2 replica offerings, many are simply too big. There are some reasonably sized options for target shooting and plinking, but if you are looking for something with more power, possibly as a pesting pistol, then you're almost out of luck. Products like the Benjamin Marauder provide an option, but nearly everyone adds the included skeleton stock, which turns it into a carbine versus a pistol.

The size and weight of the AP16 are more like your typical Colt 1911. The angle of the grip and sight picture is very similar to the 1911 as well. The overall construction is exceptional, and it feels like a serious precision-built air pistol. This is not a toy whatsoever.

As we wrap up our look at the aesthetics, we need to talk about the sights. Ataman shines here as well. While simple, they are exceptional. They deliver a very clear sight picture. The rear sight is adjustable for windage, and the front sight is adjustable for elevation. If you prefer to run an optic, the top rail is set up to take 11mm dovetail mounts. We did a little testing with a red dot and found it, at least for us, to throw off the balance too much. We got better accuracy results with open sights.

The compact and standard AP16 are filled via a small probe inserted into the air cylinder. As mentioned above, it has a max fill pressure of 300 bar. The AP16 models are equipped with a tuned regulator designed to deliver the best overall balance and shot count. Our compact model pushes about 12 foot-pounds with the right pellet, where the standard may reach up to 18 foot-pounds. The longer barrel really helps it get that extra power in the longer, standard model.

The Ataman AP16 compact air pistol is supposed to get about 15 shots according to the manufacturers' specifications. However, our test model far surpassed that number, pushing easily to 28 shots before falling off the regulator. We consider this to be an ideal hunting pistol, so we used the JSB Hades pellets for our chrony testing. Across 28 shots, we saw an average velocity of 546 FPS with an extreme spread of only 17 FPS and a standard deviation of 4. There's really no other way to say it; that's very impressive out of such a small airgun. Using the .22 caliber 15.89-grain JSB Hades pellets, we topped out at 10.87 foot-pounds. Our low was 10.22 foot-pounds. That's more than enough energy for hunting small game in the backyard.

The AP16 pellet pistol is offered in .22 caliber. Each model uses a seven-shot rotary magazine. The action is cycled by a left-hand facing, rearward pulling cocking handle that performs several tasks during the cocking cycle. When you cock the AP16, the handle pulls back the pellet pusher while at the same time rotating the magazine and pulling back the hammer. Pushing the cocking handle forward pushes the pellet pusher forward and seats the pellet into the breach.

Here's where you get a chance to feel the quality of the Ataman engineering mechanics. The action is very positive and tight. You feel the pellet pass over the o-rings and seat into the breach. There's zero grit or slop in the action. It's very smooth and secure. We've shot this pistol a lot, and it's been 100% reliable.

So far, everything has been stellar on the AP16, and the trend is going to continue as we start to talk about the trigger. While we'd prefer a two-stage trigger, the single-stage trigger on the AP16 is truly a match-grade trigger. It breaks at about 8oz out of the box and is adjustable, should you want to make any changes. Although, we can't imagine why anyone would.

Performance

Our test groups were shot from a rest at 10 yards. We shot a full seven-shot magazine for each group and made sure that we stayed above the regulator. Everything comes together when you start shooting groups. The action is smooth, and the trigger is precise and crisp. The sights provide a very usable sight picture that lines up instinctively. Generally, we prefer to run an optic for best results, but the Ataman AP16 is one of the exceptions to that rule.

We shot a variety of pellets for this guide. We started with the JSB Hades, followed by the H&N Baracuda Hunter Extreme pellets, then the Crosman Premier Hollow Points, and lastly, the JSB Slugs. We would not recommend the JSB slugs for this airgun, but we wanted to test them just in case they proved us wrong. The Crosman Premier Hollow Points are readily available and deliver decent accuracy for backyard target practice and plinking. Most of the groups were larger than what we shot for our official card.

If you are thinking about hunting with the AP16, then the JSB Hades delivered the best of our test groups. TheH&N Baracuda Hunter Extreme pellets did ok, and in other tests, matched the Hades for accuracy, but as you can see in our final shot card, the Hades came out on top.

Summing Up

The AP16 is unique in many ways. Where other hunting air pistols are simply too large to be effective and easy to use as a pistol, the Ataman AP16 line is compact, lightweight, and easy to manage. It has seven shots at the ready and is able to deliver them with small game hunting power and accuracy. It comes with a higher than average price tag, but it delivers the expected quality and shooting experience to match.

If you would like to know more about the Ataman AP16 line of pistols or any other airguns from Ataman, please don't hesitate to give us a call at Airgun Depot. We'll be happy to talk to you.

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