Tempting teenagers to leave their hi-tech gaming world is no easy task – but this new junior’s multi-pump pneumatic from Umarex should do the trick nicely. Joe Guest looks at the BB and pellet-firing NXG APX…
If modern styling is what’s needed to make a teenager turn away from his gaming console, then Umarex’s new NXG APX model has got what it takes. It’s stacked out with enough features to not only keep a teenager interested, but to get him (or her) fully ensconced into shooting sports. What’s more, it’s affordable – just £79.95.
When it comes to serving a junior audience, as well as offering lightweight handling, the NXG – Umarex’s acronym for Next Generation – APX is suitably dimensioned for the smaller frame. Built from hardwearing materials to withstand the rigours of overenthusiastic use, it provides variable (and sensible) power options with a choice of firing BB or pellets, fuss-free sighting and a foolproof safety mechanism. It all adds up to a very well considered ‘first gun’ indeed.
While all the hold points provide a good grip courtesy of the roughened texture, Umarex has made the APX’s ambidextrous cheek rest from a soft material that’s pleasant to lean into. With no recoil to speak of from the rifle’s pneumatic action, even the smallest of young guns will find it a very manageable rifle. That said, while the thickness and angle of the grip are good for small hands, the trigger reach will better suit the long-fingered.
The APX’s non-adjustable trigger has an easy first stage, with the final pull pressure being conducive to training; it’s not too heavy and has little creep to speak of. What’s more, by cocking the side bolt without priming the underlever pump, the cadet can hone his or her trigger technique by ‘dry firing’ the gun.
The resettable safety catch – Umarex dub it the Safe-T-Matic – is automatically applied when the pump lever is swung out. Its design ensures the gun’s status is obvious – it protrudes deep into the guard when ‘on’ and renders the trigger inoperable.
As for the pumping effort, even the smallest of youngsters should be able to cope with it. Once the bolt has been pulled back (to cock it), the pump arm swings out about 120 degrees and only needs any effort for the last 30 degrees or so of the return stroke. The handle is well-proportioned, providing a good grip and protection during the scissor-action pumping process – and the APX can be primed between one and 10 strokes.
For the complete novice, I’d recommend about two pumps per shot – though when they’re able to graduate to more power (a maximum of 650fps with steel BBs), the good news is that there’s little stroke-effort difference whether they’re actuating the lever two or 10 strokes. A blow-off valve ensures the rifle can’t be over-pumped, too – though the very comprehensive manual stresses that repeated attempts to do this will damage the APX’s firing mechanism and invalidate the warranty.
While there is an 11mm dovetail ramp along the top of the breech, the APX comes equipped with opens – perfect for introducing a shooting newcomer to sighting. Aligning with a well-protected fibre-optic foresight is a rearsight that’s height-adjustable via a simple sliding ramp system. Side-to-side adjustment is also possible by using a cross-head screwdriver to slide the ‘U’ leaf to the left or right.
What particularly impresses me about the NXG APX is its ability to shoot both 4.5mm steel BBs and .177 calibre pellets through its 520mm-long, smoothbore barrel – meaning the young gun can enjoy both informal fun-gunning with BBs as well as more concentrated practice with diabolos.
The BBs load into a shuttered side-port, with one getting ‘fed’ into the gun during the pumping process (which requires the gun’s barrel to point upwards). The BB compartment can take up to 250 rounds, but I’d suggest fewer are loaded as over-filling leads to the potential of putting the gun away ‘loaded’.
Although there’s much plastic used in the APX’s construction, it’s a hi-tech, impact-resistant composite that will withstand responsible handling and, with a bit of occasional general maintenance, keep the gun shooting well enough until its trainee is ready to graduate to something bigger. At a time when gun shops are reporting good interest from parents wanting their kids to try airgunning, Umarex’s new NXG APX is an excellent starter to consider.