Design flaw: to check air pistol pressure, point it at your face

Discuss

93 Responses to “Design flaw: to check air pistol pressure, point it at your face”

  1. Neil says:

    Aside from the fact you check the pressure before screwing the thing onto the pistol, the main image totally contradicts the headline – the barrel is nowhere near straight onto the camera but still the gauge is clearly readable.

    So he is perfectly illustrating how important domain knowledge is, by incorrectly criticising something he clearly doesn’t understand…

    • mwiik says:

      Now son, don’t just point this straight at your face to read the gauge. Instead, turn it slowly towards your field of view, and you can read it at an angle, see?

      • retepslluerb says:

        The claim that you have to point it at your face to read it is still wrong, though.

        It might make sense to make it unreadable while installed, though.

        • frifrofrizzum says:

          Think of it this way: If this system were to be installed on every gun on earth, think of how little crime would be done with guns. You’d have to put your own life at risk to commit a crime in the first place.

          • Stephen Rice says:

            Most gun crimes involve a single shot so an “ammo gauge” you have to check mid-use by looking down the barrel is going to affect only a very small number of criminals. 

    • mtdna says:

      A major goal in industrial design is to keep people from doing something stupid. This design not only fails at preventing people from doing something stupid, it encourages it.

      • invictus says:

        According to a pretty detailed reply on the original post, the user has no reason to look at the readout while the canister is mounted on the gun.

        • Then why make it visible when it’s installed?

          Argue what you will, it’s a bad design.

          • Stephen Rice says:

            Well, it’s visible when installed in terms of being:

            1) as far from the user as possible
            2) mounted on the side facing away from the user
            3) next to where the pellets come flying out.

            I mean, isn’t this just going for two bites at the cherry here? It’s wrong because people will look at it and it’s wrong because no one will look at it.

    • Marko Raos says:

      I’m sure Darwin would approve of this product.

    • LogrusZed says:

       While you’re correct on a technicality, pointing it anywhere but towards “downrange” is still an obvious no-no. Once you break the roughly 108deg field of fire in front of the firing-line you’re pointing it wring.

  2. coryf says:

    So, software 101 with a REALLY catchy image.  I think this would have been better with just the image….

  3. Bubba73 says:

    Yup, this was mentioned in the comments from the linked article.

    “You see, that’s an ISSF pistol. It’s stored disassembled to save wear and tear on the regulator. You check the manometer when you take the cylinder out of the case to screw it into the pistol, and you check it when filling the cylinder off a dive bottle. In neither case is the cylinder attached to a pistol at the time, so you never wind up looking down the barrel of the pistol.And since that’s the first rule anyone who ever picks up a firearm in target shooting is taught, and since it’s in every rulebook in every shooting sport, and since ISSF has a better safety record than, well, just about every sport out there (in Ireland, we’ve been doing this since 1840-odd with no injuries in formal target shooting), it’s not really as big a problem as it seems.”

    • koko szanel says:

      “so you never wind up looking down the barrel of the pistol.And since that’s the first rule anyone who ever picks up a firearm in target shooting is taught”

      Funny, someone looks down the barrel in every second “sons of guns” episode.

    • EH says:

      I guess the user will never want to check how much pressure is remaining?

      • Bubba73 says:

        They might but if they point it directly at their face they’d be an idiot. I’ve only handled firearms a handful of times and not once have I been stupid enough to look down the barrel regardless of what was on show. My experience is more on the lawnmower side of things, no matter how shiny or attractive those  lug-nuts or shiny blades get my finger loss remains at zero.

      • invictus says:

        OK, let’s go with that notion. What’s your use case? What reason would the user have for checking the pressure on the tank?

        • I don’t know, curiosity?

          You don’t understand people.  Honestly, I totally appreciate the intended use and the fact you shouldn’t be looking at it when it’s assembled, but come on, I can’t believe there are people arguing this isn’t a stupid design.  Robots, the lot of you.

        • EH says:

          I don’t know this gun, but my imaginary use case is to fill up the bottle to known-full, attach it to the gun, use the gun for a little while, then wonder how much more gun-fun can be had. After a little while.

          I suppose the use case for guns like this is for them to work at full strength until they’re empty or something, but I would just figure that along the shooting-line people might want to know how much gun-fun time they have left.

    • Stephen Rice says:

      I’m quite impressed about just how much the Mark Shead guy is refusing to back down to the Olympic air pistol target shooter about the design of the target shooting air pistol, especially in a blog post about the value of domain knowledge. That’s just big brass ones.

      There’s a great comparison to checking the gauge on your air bottle while shooting to checking your oil level while driving further down. http://blog.markwshead.com/1148/design-problem/#comment-1371

  4. irksome says:

    Strangely, this works for me…

  5. tyger11 says:

    The solution is simple: point it at someone else and have them read it for you. And if you don’t like the answer…

  6. Daniel Smith says:

    Stupidity should be painful, after all…

  7. emo hex says:

    “Hey, does the pressure look right to you?”

  8. lava says:

    you’ll put your eye out with that

  9. Michael Best says:

    elegantly, I’m not sure where else this gauge can go on the physical object, without a major change to the design.  I suppose they could always leave it off.

    • Ito Kagehisa says:

      In the article’s comment’s a possibly better design, composed of a truly miniscule change, is explained – with enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.

      Hilariously, the airgun people refuse to accept the idea that this design could be improved.  They literally call it “the best possible design”!

      Attachment is sorrow, quoth the Buddha.

      • Stephen Rice says:

        They say to stick the gauge on the side. Which is great unless it was a finely balanced target pistol.

        • Clevername says:

          Then stick it on the bottom.

        • Ito Kagehisa says:

          You didn’t find the design recommendation I was referring to.  “Sticking the gauge on the side” is not a minuscule change.

          Imagine the bezel surrounding the gauge is transparent, like the face of the gauge, instead of opaque steel.  Now extend the end of the needle so that it can be seen through the bezel – perhaps by putting a small ninety degree bend at the tip.  Now place calibration markings in a ring around the cylinder.  Get it?  Achievable with no change in balance whatsoever.

          But as soon as you become convinced that you have achieved perfection, you lose perspective, and fall into error.  I am sure there are a great many designs still in our future, that will make this gun look very silly to the professional shooters of tomorrow.

    • Easiest way to fix it would be to put a plate in front of the gauge.

      If you’re not supposed to read it when loaded, then don’t make it readable.  Simple.  And that way it manages to cater for basic human psychology.

      • DewiMorgan says:

         That was my immediate thought, too. But if this thing is meant to be screwed or bayonetted in, then the plate would be in the way of doing that.

        • Good point, I suggested further down some kind of cap – but admittedly an issue with that is that requires the user to consciously blinker themselves, which is unlikely to happen; it’d feel overly safe, and that’s not really the point I’m going for.

          But I’m no gun designer, and I’d expect to ponder on the conundrum for more than a few minutes on a message board – so I’m still confident there’s a workable solution somewhere in that area :)

  10. inkfumes says:

    As a person that owns and shoots airguns let me clarify a few things about this design. 

    Airguns are much safer than firearms… these type of airguns are for competition and are single shot. When there is no pellet in the breech the gun is safe. If you are spending $1500 dollars on a gun of this type you are probably intending to compete with it. This isn’t a $50 crosman that you can buy at walmart, it’s not for kids. Suffice to say if you own this gun you already are quite competent with airguns. 

    To harm yourself with this gun you would have to be incredibly stupid and probably deserve to shoot your eye out. At least you would be blinded by fine german engineering.

    • Saltine says:

      Other elements of the design that would make it dangerous as a sporting pistol: the open trigger guard and the very low pull-weight on the trigger. But, within the domain that an expert would inhabit, those are features not flaws.

  11. MichaelWalsh says:

    “Do not look into laser with remaining eye.”

  12. Steve Taylor says:

    From the comments on the article:

    “The end point I’m trying to make is that the example you’ve chosen as an example of bad design because of poor domain knowledge, is actually an example of a highly evolved design which is the best possible design when you have that domain knowledge”

    …which doesn’t hurt the authors assertion that domain knowledge is vital. It just turns out that he is himself an example of that principle.

  13. Eddie Perkins says:

    While not completely on topic, why are there no hilarious review of this gun on Amazon? 

    • chrisgroppi says:

      There’s no review of a Feinwerkbau P44 on Amazon. Amazon does not sell $2000 target air pistols for Olympic competition. This pistol is for experts who compete at the highest levels of shooting competition, not for dopes who don’t know better than to point it at their face to check the cylinder pressure.

  14. Andrew Wray says:

    This has the makings of a great 1st year physics test question.  “Dirty Harry has an air pistol to your head, and the pressure reads 50% (100 barr).  You know the maximum muzzle velocity of the gun is 300m/s, and the bullets have rounded tips with a 5mm radius of curvature.  Your skull has previously demonstrated impact resistance to a 30m/s baseball.  Question:  Do you feel lucky?  Do you?”

  15. Saltine says:

    “Why you need to have domain knowledge”? How about to not make a fool of yourself. As  many have pointed out already, the air cylinder is charged off the pistol. Additionally, one does not consult the guage while firing the pistol. That would be too inaccurate. Instead one only fires the pistol for a set number of shots at a certain point in the discharge curve of the pistol/tank. PCP-Air pistols like this one are more “stable” than CO2 charged ones, but the same principle applies: you use the number of discharges, not the gauge.

    Anyway, all these Malcolm-Gladwelly, gotcha, woo-woo-I’m-clever speeches are irritating/disappointing because they’re often vapid or riddled with bad thinking or just far behind the knowledge of actual experts. I sincerely wish that more actual scientists, engineers, philosophers, etc. were as charismatic and interesting in public speaking as are the talking heads we end up seeing/hearing.

    • Saltine says:

      I mean “t costs somewhere around $1,500 and looks like it is mainly designed for people doing competition.” Aagh! Why not just Google the thing and find out that, yes, it’s only for 10m competition…. It would take 10 minutes to learn enough to send one off for a better straw man.

    • jere7my says:

      Instead one only fires the pistol for a set number of shots at a certain point in the discharge curve of the pistol/tank. PCP-Air pistols like this one are more “stable” than CO2 charged ones, but the same principle applies: you use the number of discharges, not the gauge.

      Nobody has ever lost track of how many shots they’ve taken, Dirty Harry-style, and glanced at the gauge to see how much pressure is left? Nobody ever hands it off to someone else, then answers their cell phone before they can tell them how many shots are left? Design should answer to the way actual people use things, not the way ideal people should use them, because in the real world things will be used in suboptimal ways. Rotating the gauge 90°, so it points to the side, would be a trivial and useful fix.

      • awjt says:

        Why not go for broke and do the whole 180°?

      • Stephen Rice says:

        This is a target pistol. Sticking the gauge out on the side is going to affect the balance.

        I can see you’re thinking of literal Dirty Harry counting his shots scenarios and that would totally work there. This is just not that kind of gun. This is highly concentrated competition shooting at a 30 foot range when all you’re doing is pulling the trigger. If you’re forgetting how many shots you’ve just made in that scenario you’re probably not cogent enough to be safely shooting at stuff.

        • jere7my says:

          No — I was picturing a transparent hemispherical dome where the current gauge is, with a display that can be read from either side. I also saw a nice suggestion in the original comments for a display with a longer needle that could be read from the back as well.

          And I understand that the pistol is designed to be used in optimal situations like the one you describe, but even expensive pieces of sporting equipment aren’t always used in optimal ways. Surely you can envision situations that would call for a quick check of the air pressure while the canister is mounted? “This isn’t firing — did I lose pressure?” Sometimes people use them in training situations, no? “Everyone who uses this device must be as rigidly methodical as an Olympic athlete at all times” seems like a poor design strategy.

          • Alpacaman says:

            A longer needle that could be read from behind may pose problems for unscrewing a canister, and a transparent hemisphere with sideways facing dials in it adds more weight to the front of the pistol.

            And as for if the gun stops working, no, you simply would not look down the barrel. You may remove the pellet from the chamber, unscrew the canister and then look at it, if for some reason it isn’t a simple misfire.

            A training situation makes no difference. Honestly, if you are not being methodical there is no point in using this gun.  It is practically useless for anything outside of competition shooting, which is at all levels entirely about methodology. Specialization is not a poor design strategy.

          • jere7my says:

            Alpacaman: If you’re concerned about weight on the front, here is the #1 no-fail winning solution: Instead of having the gauge inset, as it is now, with a transparent cover, make a 1/4″-thick cap that’s transparent along the edge, print your scale on the perimeter, and bend the tip of the needle 90° so it can be read from the side. Problem solved! (This is, in fact, similar to the design of the gauge on my light-weight travel bike pump.)

            Honestly, if you are not being methodical there is no point in using this gun.

            Yeah, see, that’s where you lose me. Nothing is ever, ever, ever always used the way it was designed to be used. (Though, for that matter, this gauge was designed to be used while mounted to the gun — one of its selling points is that the gauge can be read from “up to 80° off-axis” so as to not shoot your eye out.) Really, do you think everyone will “remove the pellet from the chamber, unscrew the canister and then look at it” instead of looking at the pretty candy-colored dial? A minute of futzing instead of a second of glancing? The world doesn’t work like that.

            People look at gauges. It’s what they do. Even if there’s no useful information to be gained, if there’s a gauge there, people will look at it. Imagine, instead of a gauge, they printed a naked lady on the end of the canister, then said “The naked lady should only be admired when the canister is removed for pumping. This is not a problem, because nobody will ever look at the naked lady while the gun is in use; everyone who uses it is so rigid and Teutonic that they can control their base urges and will never be tempted to peek at the naked lady. We promise this is not a design flaw — it’s how the naked lady is intended to be used. If you shoot yourself in the face while peeking at the naked lady, that’s your own fault for being a fool.” Wouldn’t you start thinking of other places to put the naked lady?

          • Stephen Rice says:

            I think it’s ok to assume a decent amount of technical ability in high end products. If it was a $10 BB gun aimed at kids then it’s absolutely the most dangerous thing that man has created but it’s genuinely designed for serious athletes to shoot targets very accurately.  

            Assuming that people using a $1,500 competition level air pistol know what they’re doing seems a bit like assuming that everyone using a 1960s supercomputer had a computer science degree. They should probably check that assumption at sale, though.

            @ jere7my: No, the 80° viewing angle is so that you don’t have to point the canister at yourself to check its pressure. The canister itself is more dangerous than the gun (obvious, if you think about it — the canister contains energy for many shots, whereas the gun fires one shot at a time).

  16. awjt says:

    It’s a feature not a bug.

  17. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Any design can be improved.

  18. From the article…..”Empty and safe for airline travel”. That old chestnut. Taking pressurized canisters and bike tyres to altitude does not present a hazard. Even if you took them into outer space, the relative pressure only increases by 1 atmosphere. These things have an engineered safety factor that makes this trivial. But travel safety administrators and their front-line staff aren’t typically engineers, so we still get instructed to let the air out of our bike tyres.

    More concerning is the effect of altitude on your shampoo bottle, causing it leak all over your clothes.

  19. This photograph has been mirror imaged. If the they got the picture right you would see that the writing on the dial is backwards. The gun is shipped with a little mirror to check pressure.

    OK, I just made that up. 

  20. chrisgroppi says:

    As one of the other posters has said, this is a prime example of someone without “Domain knowledge” spouting off. The pistol in question is a Feinwerkbau P11. It is made for ISSF and Olympic target shooting, and for no other purpose.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10_metre_air_pistol

    The P11 costs $1500, and is built solely for expert target shooters competing in international target events.

    http://www.feinwerkbau.de/ceasy/modules/cms/main.php5?cPageId=311

    This is not a unique design. All of Feinwerkbau’s other air pistols have the same gauge configuration. I shoot a Morini 162EI. It has the manometer in the same location:

    http://www.morini.ch/product_det.php?id=1

    The Styer LP10 (the pistol used by the current men’s 10m air pistol world record holder and 2008 Olympic champion Jin Jong-oh (South Korea) uses this pistol. The manometer is in  the same location.

    http://www.steyr-sportwaffen.at/index.php/en/air-pistols/19-die-pistolen-der-lp-10-favorite-line

    Every other air pistol currently in production and capable of winning an Olympic gold medal (Matchguns MG-1, Gehmann GP-1, Pardini K-10 etc) also has the manometer in the same spot as the P11. This is not an accident. It is there on purpose because it results in the best balance for the pistol. Since this is a tool for target shooting at the highest level, the performance of the gun (meaning accuracy) is the dominant consideration. If Mr. Doctorow had spent the effort to obtain some “Domain knowledge”, he’d know this.

  21. Petzl says:

    I’d be interested in hearing from a competitive air pistol user how he’s operate it. Specifically, if it’s possible that he’d never at any time check the pressure while it was installed in the gun. The rest of us kibitzers are just guessing.

    • chrisgroppi says:

      I’m a competitive air pistol shooter. I have a Morini 162ei, which has exactly the same manometer setup as the FWB above (every modern target air pistol I know of has the pressure gauge on the end of the cylinder just like this).

      No, you typically don’t check the pressure while shooting. A full cylinder is enough to shoot 2 or 3 full international matches (60 shots plus sighting shots). If you decide you do need to check the pressure, you either remove the cylinder, or safe the gun by opening the loading lever. With the loading lever open, the gun’s trigger is disconnected and the air path that pushes the pellet out is disconnected from the barrel making it impossible to fire. Then, the manometer can be checked by looking at it from the side.

      Even this ls largely unnecessary since all these pistols have a mechanism that won’t allow the gun to fire when the pressure drops below some predetermined level. Most shooters do try to change the cylinder before this system kicks in, since accuracy suffers when the pressure gets on the low side.

      As some have said before, the gun in question (and others like it) is a precision tool for high level competitive shooting. They’re not built for yokels to shoot tin cans. Just like a race car might have some features that might seem crazy for getting groceries at the Safeway, these guns have features that make them unsuitable (or even dangerous) for the untrained user. Eventually, a post will appear from me with some more details. I tried to edit it, and this caused it to go for moderator review for some reason.

  22. Mister44 says:

    Nice gun – but could have better placement. As other pointed out, if you own this gun you spent a lot of money and probably know what you are doing with it.

    I bet it puts my Ruger Mark II to shame accuracy wise. Nice gun!

  23. nunya says:

    Seems made to tell your opponent that your weapon soon will be or is nonfunctional.

  24. Non-designers are funny creatures.  They seem to think that because you’re supposed to use something one way, that no one will ever use it the wrong way.  This is one of the fundamentals of design.  You plan for errors, you account for them at every step.

    This is fundamentally bad design.  It encourages dangerous behavior, irrelevant of your knowledge of shooting and how much you spend on air-pistols.  Of course any gun is dangerous, and we don’t expect them to be designed to be toddler proof; but this is just BEGGING for someone to shoot themselves in the face with it. It’s the gauge equivalent of putting a big red ‘don’t press me’ button on something and then scoffing when people push the button.

    People keep exclaiming that you don’t need to read the dial when the canister is loaded – simple solution then, don’t make it readable when loaded.  Design problem solved.

    • chrisgroppi says:

      You seem to believe you know something about this subject. You don’t. Just because you’re a “Designer” doesn’t mean you know even the tiniest thing about the design of Olympic style air pistols. There are other reasons the manometer is on the end of the cylinder. Those reasons are more important than the safety concern you raise. They are more important because every last detail of pistols like these is aimed at achieving one goal: maximum accuracy so the user can win the next gold medal or set the next world record in a very particular type of international competition where the pistol is used in one and only one way. Every other concern is secondary.

      Any sort of finely tuned piece of equipment designed for experts and not the general public has similar issues. Look at any piece of equipment in a machine shop (milling machine, lathe, band saw etc). All of these machines will happily kill you in a heartbeat if misused, and in a large number of possible ways. Race cars are completely impractical. They have no airbags, no stability control, rarely have anti-lock brakes or any of the other modern “safety” features. They have suspensions tuned in a way that make them very likely to spin. They are meant to do a job. That job was the primary design driver, and no compromises were made that get in the way.  They are also all very easily criticized by non-experts who don’t understand their purpose.

      • No need for the air quotes, I am, in fact a designer.

        I don’t need to know anything about Olympic weaponry to recognise bad design practice, and actually I do consider myself very well informed when it comes to user interaction and behavioural psychology; and there’s a big difference between something being unsafe, and badly designed.

        Things that are inherently dangerous aren’t badly designed.  In the same way that a normal handgun isn’t badly designed (as an instrument of death, it’s rubbish for target practice); but can you seriously not recognise that by fitting a visual gauge in a place that requires (or at least encourages) you to look at the business end of a gun isn’t badly designed?  If so then we might as well agree to disagree.

        EDIT: An important note, that I realised I hadn’t added anywhere – I’m not asserting that it’s going to cause hundreds of deaths or lawsuits for the maker – but just because it’s specialist equipment used by a niche group doesn’t mean this isn’t a design flaw, it’s just a relatively inconsequential design flaw. Maybe some folks are mixing up ‘doesn’t matter’ with ‘not a design flaw’? Because I’m happy to accept it probably doesn’t really matter, and I think that means we can all go home.

      • EH says:

        There are other reasons the manometer is on the end of the cylinder. Those reasons are more important than the safety concern you raise. They are more important because every last detail of pistols like these is aimed at achieving one goal: maximum accuracy so the user can win the next gold medal or set the next world record in a very particular type of international competition where the pistol is used in one and only one way. Every other concern is secondary.

        Seems like this thread could be managed better by supplying some of those reasons. I haven’t seen any in the thread so far, just people spouting off about how dum dum we are and we don’t know anything and if we did then we wouldn’t think this was so funny. Teach, dude, don’t lecture.

        • Apparently fixing the problem has to require sacrifice – amazing considering that seems to cover any solution, proposed or otherwise.

          • chrisgroppi says:

            Yes, I believe this to be true. I provided an extensive and (mostly) complete list of all the currently produced target air pistols used for high level international competition. They all have the manometer located on the end of the cylinder. All but one (the Pardini K10) have manometers readable only from the front. Do you honestly believe that every single one of the world’s most highly regarded and accomplished target pistol firms would make the same seemingly profound engineering error? No, they didn’t. The reasons are 1) “fixing” it would compromise performance and/or cost and 2) the “problem” is irrelevant because the gun is not used by the intended users in the way you have assumed it is.

        • chrisgroppi says:

          The reasons are the following:

          1. Moving the gauge to the side would add off-center mass, making the left-right balance of the pistol poor.

          2. Adding a complicated lockout system would add overall mass, particularly mass to the end of the pistol. This is undesirable.

          3. Lockout mechanisms will reduce reliability. Failure during a match would be very bad. Note: these guns do not even have safetys.

          4. A safe procedure for checking the manometer on the gun during use exists.

          5. (probably the least valid, but still exists): The end mounted manometers are standard, low cost parts. A different solution would require a custom gauge, which would significantly increase cost in an area not considered of note to the users of these pistols.

          One of the pistols I mentioned earlier does have a slightly different design. The Pardini K10 does have a gauge at the end of the cylinder, but the needle is visible from the side. This pistol is not particularly popular, because the manometer position is not considered an issue by those of us that actually buy and use these pistols.

          http://www.pardini.it/immagini/testata_k10-ing.jpg

          • EH says:

            I’m no DIY engineer, but aren’t there equally standard and low-cost linear manometers, say that could be a line along the bottom of the bottle? That would alleviate the side-balance problems.

          • chrisgroppi says:

            I’ve never seen one, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. The cylinders are very skinny, only about 30mm in diameter. This is done to keep the mass on the center line of the pistol. I would guess a side mounted linear manometer would take up lots of internal volume. In addition, a side mounted gauge would disrupt the circular symmetry of the cylinder, making it weaker. This would have to be made up with thicker metal, making it heavier.

            In addition, any side mount manometer (as you describe, or the Pardini K10 version on the end) makes filling the cylinders MORE dangerous. As someone mentioned earlier, the energy stored in a full cylinder is way more dangerous than the airgun itself. It is very important to fill the cylinder while watching the gauge to avoid over-pressurizing (from a higher pressure scuba tank, and/or from the heating caused by the fill). A side mount gauge may end up at an awkward angle when attached to the fill tank. This could result in accidental but still dangerous over-pressurization of the cylinder.

      • jere7my says:

        All of these machines will happily kill you in a heartbeat if misused, and in a large number of possible ways.

        Yes, but they don’t require you to reach through whirling blades to access the off switch.

        • chrisgroppi says:

          …and checking the manometer on a target air pistol does not require that you point the loaded and ready to fire pistol at your face.

    • DewiMorgan says:

       What’s your suggested implementation of the “simple solution”, then, that retains the balance of the gun (doesn’t add more weight, nor put the dial off-centre, nor get in the way when screwing in the canister), and yet prohibits viewing?

      • Some kind of cap?  If the extra 0.1 gram of weight is an issue I’m sure it can be balanced, some how.

      • chrisgroppi says:

        Yes, I agree. I can think of three ways in which Mr. Hornby’s proposed solution would negatively impact the primary design goal of the pistol.

      • jere7my says:

        As I mentioned above, in more detail:

        Imagine a 1/4″-wide transparent strip running around the circumference of the cylinder, flush with the surface, with a gauge visible beneath it. The needle would be parallel to the axis of the cylinder. You could read the gauge from the side — and, if you put one on each side, it would actually have better balance than the current design, in which the weight of the tip of the needle swinging from one side to the other has doubtless cost many an Olympic hopeful their gold.

        • Admittedly there might be a reason the gauge is on the ‘top’ of the cylinder – I’d assumed this necessary for augments sake.

        • chrisgroppi says:

          This is how the Pardini K10 has its gauge. It is not the dominant pistol at the Olympics and world championships. The Styer LP-10 and Morini 162 are. These two have the gauge at the end of the cylinder just like the FWB shown above. How could this be the case? It’s because the “Gigantic Design Error” being discussed here is irrelevant.

  25. Bloodboiler says:

    It’s a Murphy’s affordance people. If something is possible, then by god people will do it, no matter how stupid doing that is and how much they’ve trained not do that stupid thing.

    If that thing was properly designed, the gauge would be unreadable while attached to the pistol.

    • chrisgroppi says:

      This is the kind of thing that cheeses me off to the point that I bothered to make an account on this site just to respond to this post and its comments.

      The author of the original blog post, Mr. Doctorow who re-posted it, and the vast majority of the commenters here are endowed with almost complete ignorance about target air pistols. They don’t know what the pistol is, what it is used for, how it is used, who uses it, or why it was designed the way it was. Yet, they insist on making strong statements on its design, using it as an example of lack of “domain knowledge” on the part of the designers. In the process, they unwittingly reveal their own lack of said “domain knowledge.”

      When informed of the purpose and use of the pistol and the reasons behind the design choice by people who actually use the pistols for competition, they still “stick to their guns,” so to speak. This is more than just a lack of knowledge, it’s the apex of arrogance.

  26. Neil says:

    Going back to why we might comment on this blog rather than the author’s (how Cory and co have represented this article) can we agree that this design is not exactly ‘Terrifying’, nor do you have to point it at your own face? And maybe the post here was a bit sensationalist?

    “Mark W Shead uses the terrifying design of this air pistol (you have to point is straight at your face to check the pressure)”
    Also,for those of you that are so passionate about this, perhaps it would be worth sending any suggestions to the manufacturer at info@feinwerkbau.de? 

  27. dustbuster7000 says:

    I’m probably a bit late to the party here, but I agree its a poor design, human nature being what it is.  All of the defenders of the design seem to be saying that you don’t read the gauge while its attached to the gun, so this isn’t an issue.

    Why, then, is there a gauge on the cylinder at all?

    You could have a gauge on outlet of the supply cylinder to tell you what the pressure is during filling and then a handheld gauge to check pressure after you remove the cylinder for transport or whatever.

    I like to know what the pressure of my bicycle tires is from time to time, but I don’t expect there to be a permanent pressure gauge on each tire valve.

    • chrisgroppi says:

      20 years ago, some of the very first PCP air pistols and rifles did just this. The users hated it, because it was too easy to put an almost empty cylinder on your gun by mistake and run out during a competition, or forget your gauge and be unable to tell what’s going on etc. It turned out to be much easier to make any of these mistakes then shoot yourself in the face. So when cylinders with gauges were introduced, everyone liked them and all the manufacturers adopted the idea. Since that time, there was not a marked increase in face shootings.

  28. Blaine Higgy says:

     Damn designer of my car placed the radiator right in the front so that whenever I want to check the level of coolant I am in danger of being run over by my car!! Stupid designers.

    Where’s Ralph Nader when you need him!!

  29. TomTomA says:

    Perhaps all the people who own this type of air pistol are simply smarter than you, and smarter than you give them credit for being.  I imagine that if you tallied up all the instances where people injured themselves as a result of this “design flaw” you might find the number to be right around zero.  If this is a “design flaw” then not having a “dead man’s” switch in a car is a design flaw, since getting out while it is running might result in you running over yourself, if you happened to leave it in “Drive” and ran in front of it.  Similarly, I’ve noticed a disturbing lack of “do not drink; not for human consumption” signs on gas pumps.  There’s not even a provision to keep gas pump nozzles from being inserted into mugs or cups!  Perhaps you should come up with some bright suggestions for them next.

  30. chrisgroppi says:

    I just got back from an air pistol competition (where I shot a personal best score, yay!).

    The night before, I filled both cylinders for the pistol with my scuba tank and adapter, using the gauge on the end of the cylinder to measure the pressure. This has to be done twice for each cylinder, because they heat up when filled, and the pressure drops some when they’ve cooled.

    When I arrived at the competition the next day, I checked the pressure of the cylinder when I removed the pistol from the case. On my pistol, you store one cylinder detached from the gun, the other attached. I managed to look at the gauge without pointing the muzzle at my face. Phew! I then competed in the match, firing 60 record shots, and about 10 sighter shots. I checked the air pressure again as I put the pistol away. Again, I managed not to shoot myself in the face.

    Several other people were there too. One had a Morini 162ei like mine. Two people had Styer LP-10s, plus several more models. All of them had the pressure gauge on the end of the cylinder. No one shot themselves in the face.

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