Olympic style competitive shooting is in many ways the pinnacle of shooting sports. It involves hyper-concentration, physical and mental endurance, and precise execution of the fundamentals of shooting mechanics. As such the guns that are used for these types of matches are often times expensive, custom pieces that are tailor fit to the shooters to give the shooter every advantage to edge out the competition. But what about the new shooter? What about someone wanting to dip their toe into the competitive shooting world? Luckily there are a few guns out there designed just for that and in today’s head to head matchup, we are going to take a look at two pistols that make getting into the 10-meter pistol game a little more affordable.
In the red corner, weighing in at a svelte 1.98 lbs, a gun that comes to us from Spain. It’s a familiar face with a new name, the Air Venturi V10. The V10 was originally imported as the Gamo Compact and after a short hiatus it’s back, and now being imported by Air Venturi with some subtle changes. This gun historically has seen quite a bit of use with 4H clubs, scouting units, and other youth shooting organizations. But that doesn’t mean this is a youth sized gun. This pistol has been around for quite some time and has helped numerous shooters develop their skills and their love of the sport. Can this sport pistol hold up to some stiff competition? Or has it become a little long in the tooth for its age?
In the blue corner, weighing in at 2.04 lbs, a target pistol with a strong pedigree. The Italian made FAS 6004 is an updated version of the FAS AP604. The handmade 604’s were originally brought into the country in the mid to early 2000’s and had a stout following among air gunners. These nicely appointed pistols have seen duty as both a backyard plinker and as serious target pistols in the competition world. The FAS 6004 has quickly become one of the best-selling single stroke pneumatic pistols on the market. Let’s see if it has what it takes to pull off a win against its closely matched competitor.
Round One: Build Quality
Both of these guns ship in hard plastic cases, and both, on the first inspection, are very impressive looking pistols. Starting with the V10, the first thing that really jumps out at you is the aggressive grip style and texturing that the V10 features. The grip is made of precision-milled, dark hardwood that is finished in a light oil finish to provide protection from both the elements and years of shooting use. The grip, available only in a right-handed configuration, is very comfortable right out of the box. But wood has been left in key areas of the grips structure so that the end user can fit the pistol to their hand with sandpaper. We found that the grip shape really forces the shooter into a locked wrist position that is favored by target shooters.
While the important parts of the V10 are made out of metal, one can’t help but notice the very liberal use of plastics throughout its construction. This does not necessarily mean it feels cheap. The lack of full metal parts does drive the cost down a bit; helping to reinforce the pistols place as an entry level target gun. The top of the slide/cocking lever, the sights, and the trigger guard and trigger shoe are all polymer. The V10 overall is a nice gun in many respects but in other ways feels like only just a step above a Beeman P17 rather than a serious target gun.
The FAS 6004 comes from the factory in one of 5 grip setups. The Match version comes in a fitted target style grip, much like the V10. It comes in both right and left handed versions, as well as a large left hand and a large right-hand version of the FAS 6004. Thus allowing the shooter to select what works best for them. The 5th variation is an ambidextrous sport style grip (which costs less than the more expensive match versions). For this match up, we are using the ambidextrous model as it is the closest in price to the V10, and they are both intended to fill the same role as a starter gun for someone experimenting with competition air pistols.
The FAS’s hardwood grip appears to be made of Beach or a similar light wood and is fully stippled to provide a positive grip texture. The ambi grip of the FAS 6004 is cut to accommodate a wide range of shooters hands and as such does not “lock” the shooters wrist into the gun like on the V10. When shooting the pistol this requires just a bit of extra concentration on the shooters part to ensure that they are practicing the proper fundamentals of shooting mechanics to achieve the best shot possible.
The biggest difference between the V10 and the 6004 is the complete lack of plastic in the 6004’s construction. Everything on this gun from the frame down to the sights is constructed of metal. One would think that this makes a big difference in the felt weight of the two guns, but with the 6004 weighing in at only .6 lbs more than the 1.98 lbs of the V10, the difference is almost unnoticeable. The biggest factor affected by the construction differences in these two guns is the price as at the time of this head to head write up the 6004 comes in at approximately $150 more than the V10.
Winner: Based on pure quality alone we are awarding this round to the 6004. The all metal construction and the defined detail work on the FAS make it outclass the V10 in many ways, however, there is a slight caveat here as the price difference may ultimately make or break the 6004 for some buyers. The lack of a left handed version on the Air Venturi V10 also takes it down a notch.
Round Two: Trigger
Both of these guns feature 2 stage, fully adjustable triggers. They also both come with instructions that provide some guidance on how to correctly make adjustments to the triggers. However, we wanted to compare these two triggers on a baseline level to give the best representation of what a shooter can expect right out of the box. Using our Lyman digital trigger gauge we made 10 test pulls on each gun and then averaged out the pulls to get our final weight. We will also comment on the feel of each stage as well as the break and overtravel and any other observations we make on each trigger.
The V10 pulled at an average of 2 lbs 11 oz. This type of trigger pull is what I have come to expect from factory competition style airguns. Around a 2lb pull seems to be the industry standard for a good factory trigger. I found that the first stage was heavier than expected which made staging the trigger a little bit more challenging, however, this does help to eliminate some of the finer motor skills involved in staging a shot. This makes the V10 a great trigger for training newer shooters who may be a little less deliberate in their trigger squeeze. The break of the V10’s trigger was positive though there was definitely some grittiness and a slight amount of take-up as the trigger was pulled through the second stage break. The one thing I disliked most about V10’s factory trigger pull was a significant amount of overtravel that was present after the sear released. Though this can be adjusted out I would prefer a hard stop after the break to help improve follow through. These factors should not be a deterrent from the overall quality of the trigger, I tend to be very nitpicky about triggers, and overall I would rate this trigger as good to very good with the need for a few slight tweaks.
The FAS, on the other hand, pulled at an average of just 1 lb 2 oz straight out of the box. The first stage is very, very light with a nice definitive “wall” or stopping point where the first stage ends and the second begins. The second stage break is immediate with little to no creep. However, like the V10, the FAS when set from the factory also suffers from a bit of overtravel. I did not notice the same grit in the trigger in the FAS that I felt in the V10 trigger. The metal trigger blade has a wide flat face with some nice texturing to help keep your finger square on the blade. While the FAS trigger does not have an adjustable shoe like the V10, I would rate the FAS trigger as very good with only some fine adjustment needed.
Winner: The FAS takes the round again, its lighter pull and smooth feel really make it a joy to shoot. We do like however that the V10 has an easily accessed trigger pull weight adjustment at the back of the handle. So if you like a lighter trigger, you can easily get one on the V10 as well!
Round Three: Velocity and Consistency
You may be thinking that if these two guns are for punching holes in paper why does velocity even matter? To some degree that is true, you’re not going be using these pistols for hunting so why even test for velocity? Well, we have found that velocity plays a role in how well a particular gun will punch holes, which directly relates to how easy a target is to score. So even though foot pounds and big power numbers won’t be found here, we still like to test this aspect of these pistols. Plus if you have a wide discrepancy of velocity between shots, even at 10m that can affect accuracy. For this test, we fired 10 shots across our chrony using 8.02-grain JSB Yellow Match Middle Weight Pellets and compared the results.
Winner: The V10 wins this one pretty handily. It makes more power and does so in a more consistent fashion. With a standard deviation of only 2.3 fps and a higher average power by 27 fps the V10 takes the round and should provide cleaner holes to score. Keep in mind, cleaner scoring holes are obtained using wadcutter pellets which are the standard for 10m matches.
Round Four: Accuracy:
Shooting for accuracy with a pistol is easier said than done, so we decided that to best show how capable these pistols are we would do things a little different. We set up a fixed rest using a vice and sandbags to anchor the pistol to the table and thus allow for a consistent point of aim shot for shot. We tested a few varieties of pellets in the accuracy round and saw the best results with both pistols using JSB Match 8.02 grain wadcutters and RWS Meisterkugeln 8.2 grain wadcutters. After a few shots to get each gun’s adjustable sights dialed in, we fired 5 shot groups at 10 meters for accuracy.
The V10 really seemed to prefer the JSB pellets over the RWS, they seemed to have a slightly tighter barrel fit when loaded into the pistol and this may have played a factor in our results. Our 5 shot group dropped into about a half inch with several shots touching on the paper. Just for the sake of being thorough and after noticing that gun was sighted in a tad low I fired 3 additional shots with the JSB’s out of the v10 after some readjustment. All 3 shots landed basically in the same hole just to the right of the bullseye. I was really impressed with how this gun shot. I re-adjusted the vice once more before moving on to the RWS pellets, once again firing the same 5 shots. The RWS pellets fit looser in the barrel when loading and though I didn’t notice any major defects in the pellets the way that they grouped made me think there was some variance in the sizing of the RWS pellets. The first shot fired just low of the bullseye, the second was higher and to the right about an inch apart. The third shot landed right on top of the second. I thought that maybe the first shot had been a fluke and the rest would continue to land where the second and third had…not so. The 4th and 5th shots landed back in the same area as the first creating two, very neat groups. The total spread was a little over an inch apart, I would definitely say that if you are going to pick up a V10 make sure you are shooting JSB’s.
The FAS 6004 was definitely less picky when it came to pellet selection. It shot both the JSB’s and the RWS pellets about the same. We set the FAS in the same manner as the V10 and started punching paper. Out of the gate, the FAS was looking good putting the first few shots using JSB pellets into a nice half inch group just low of the bullseye. The last 2 shots started to string a little and came in a bit high. For good measure I fired 2 more shots just to make sure that my sights were good and lined up, sure enough, they both dropped just a tad higher than the main group. Overall the group was about an inch and a half showing some signs of obvious stringing. Time to try the RWS pellets and see if there was any difference. The Meisterkugelns shot really well out of this gun, I was really impressed. My first 2 shots landed in just about the same hole, just a tad low and left of center and the third dropped just low of that by about a quarter inch. I was looking at a really nice group here. However shots 4 and 5 again strung high and really opened up the group, again about an inch and a half center to center. The FAS’ other shortcoming, its lower power, was also starting to manifest itself a little. With the v10, scoring each target was easy, I had no problem picking out each individual shot but with the FAS, holes in the paper where more or less just jagged tears making scoring each target a challenge.
Winner: As close as this round was the V10 really did shine over the FAS. Tighter groups and more consistent patterns mean better scores in competitions. The V10 takes the round as far as accuracy from the bench, but what can it do in the hands of a shooter? For our next round, we did just that!
Round Five: Accuracy in Hand
The idea of accuracy in hand is to see how the shape, trigger and build quality all come together to provide the best in hand accuracy of the gun. As mentioned above each gun has some nice advantages and disadvantages. Does the V10 grip that forces the locked wrist and proper shooting angle effect things more than the better trigger of the FAS? How would both guns perform in the hand of a novice shooter wanting to get into 10m? This was tricky to test as I’m a left handed shooter, and the right hand only V10 won’t work for me. The only option was to get a stand in shooter! We wanted to test this with one shooter shooting multiple shots to see which would come out on top.
Sure not the most scientific method since one gun might work better for one shooter than the other. But we just couldn’t walk away from this fight just yet. We needed to get some more evidence to help you considering which 10m pistol might be the right fit for you. Two rounds of 10 shots were fired at official 10m targets. All scored to competition standards to see which comes out on top in this experimental test round.
Winner: For our novice shooter, it looks like he favored the FAS 6004. The second round of 10 shots showed a narrowing grouping as the shooter stated that he really liked the trigger of the FAS, found the sights easier to use, and generally found less wobble as he aimed with the FAS. He did say that he thought with more practice the V10 could really tighten up. The shots were either dead on, or due to the wobble the shooter was experiencing, he threw the shots way off target.
Round Six: Open Sights
Both of these guns are really quite excellent, and after spending quite a bit of time with each of them I have to say that I think they really are great guns, however, one of the areas that I think they both will see some criticism is the sights. Both of these guns feature fixed front and fully adjustable rear sights. Adjusting the sights on both guns was easy enough and I was able to sight both guns in fairly easily. The real shortcoming on these guns is the front sight post and the actual notch in the rear sight. The front sights are so wide that they cover almost the entire target at 10 meters. This makes is very hard to precisely aim or make adjustments to your sight picture. The rear notches are also so narrow on both guns that there is little daylight on each side of the post to make sure that your sights are well aligned. Some shooters may find that some filing may be in order to truly hone in their pistol, especially if they plan on competing. Again, neither of these sights is “bad” per se, but they could be better.
Winner: This round is a draw, neither is perfect and both could use a little work but both will get you shooting and on target until you can fine tune your setup.
Head to Head Winner:
This was a really close match up. Both guns performed well and both are great options for getting into competitive shooting but ultimately, when the score is tallied up the FAS 6004 remains our champion! The V10 is not far behind though and with the lower cost, it is sure to be an attractive option for many shooters. If this head to head matchup has sparked your interest in 10 Meter shooting, be sure to check out the Definitive Guide to 10 Meter Shooting that we put together for more information. We love when we have a close matchup between two great guns. What other Head to Head matchups do you want to see? Make sure to leave us any questions or comments in the section below!