When the Volquartsen pistol arrived for review, it was accompanied by a card that said, “Your Volquartsen firearm was designed and engineered to the highest standards using only the best materials and technologies. It was assembled by hand, with great attention to detail, and is intended to last for generations.” The card was signed by the gunsmith who built the pistol.
Lasting for generations? That seems like a difficult task for a rimfire pistol, particularly one that is going to get shot often. My gun safe contains a whole handful of used up, worn out rimfire pistols. The quest to find a reliable rimfire pistol has always been arduous. Finding a rimfire pistol that runs well and lasts seems akin to asking for peace in the Middle East.
I appreciated the well thought-out features of this pistol. The grip has some girth that looks and feels like a double stack pistol. It fills the hand nicely, and the finger grooves make a very positive grip easy to acquire. The back strap of the grip is textured metal and the other three surfaces are covered by a rubber grip. The magazine release is circular in shape and protrudes enough to make pressing the release simple and easy. The location of the release was at the rear and bottom of the trigger guard. It was possible to press the magazine release without breaking the grip on the pistol, and yet with a two-hand grip on the gun the magazine release was not pressing against the hand.
The safety is ambidextrous, as it should be, and is located at the back of the grip where the thumb can ride on top of it, with a proper grip preventing accidental engagement of the safety during shooting. The rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation, which would make John Wayne and Mrs. Langdon both happy. The front sight is fiber optic. There is a rail for mounting optics running the length of the gun between the sights for mounting optics; there is a section of rail underneath the barrel as well. The pistol comes with a compensator that features one large port. The reciprocating slide is completely internal, which prevents any slide riding malfunctions that are common with rimfire pistols. The slide has a large knob at the rear for racking the slide.
As for the trigger, it has a unique look about it. The curve of the trigger is higher than traditional, and this puts the trigger itself well to the rear of the trigger guard—which is a good thing, because it can be reached by short fingers or small hands easily. The trigger is not flat, but the curve being so high gives this trigger a flat appearance and feel. The trigger does not have very much creep at all, and it breaks crisply, like the proverbial glass rod. This is a very sweet gun overall and the trigger is the best part. The trigger is in a class by itself.
Disassembly is easy and clean; simply engage the thumb safety, press the takedown button on the rear of the pistol which is just below the slide racking knob, and the barrel pivots up and then comes off the frame. The slide and barrel can be easily cleaned from that point, and reassembly is just as easy.
Testing and Drills
Jake, Royce and I managed to get to the range at the Riley Conservation Club and put this pistol through its paces. Royce and I arrived quite a bit earlier than Jake because we wanted to get warmed up, and we were eager to shoot this Volquartsen. My notes do not mention how many rounds we shot through the pistol, but we were out of ammunition before Jake arrived. We shot at least 1,000 rounds through the gun at various steel plates and paper targets and even bottles of water, using an assortment of ammunition. We had the best time and made a big mess in the bay. There were six cases’ worth of Vitamin Water lying around that had been shot. Jake arrived with a fresh supply of ammunition, and he brought the good stuff, the new official ammunition of Steel Challenge by CCI.
We shot some irregular Steel Challenge stages that tested the gun and the shooter’s accuracy from 10 to 25 yards. The steel was ringing and the gun was running like a sewing machine. We burnt through quite a bit of ammunition—and enjoyed every minute of it. Subsequently, we decided to do some first shots from the low ready. The target was a 10-inch plate at 10 yards. Royce pulled off five decent attempts with times of 0.64, 0.60, 0.56, 0.54 and 0.50 seconds. (If his draw was as fast as his mouth, we would have something.) Jake’s times were 0.44, 0.38, 0.28, 0.39 and 0.45 seconds. My times were 0.50, 0.46, 0.50, 0.30, 0.44 and 0.46 seconds and my eyes were open for all of them except one.
We decided to do Smoke and Hope for time as well. Royce led off with five runs that were solid and timed at 4.75, 4.03, 3.79, 4.08, 3.64 and 3.65 seconds. Jake’s five runs came in at 2.13, 2.80, 2.02, 1.63 and 2.45 seconds, and my notes do not show a miss on any of those runs. My times were 2.23, 3.28, 2.16, 2.14, and 2.11 seconds. If the shooter can go fast, this gun will keep up without a problem. Everyone was very impressed with the gun’s performance that day.
My plan was to shoot several Steel Challenge club matches over the next couple of months, and then the Area 5 Steel Challenge. That did not happen due to a variety of reasons. However, the Volquartsen would see plenty more action that would test its durability and reliability. My notes show that in several informal plinking and blasting session between Jake, Royce and I, this pistol was fired roughly 3,000 times.
I decided to take the pistol to the Putnam County 4-H practice session one evening and let the kids use the gun for the evening. This 4-H group shoots steel targets and uses Steel Challenge rules. There are two flights of shooters each practice, so the pistol was being worked like a borrowed mule. The very first young lady had a malfunction with her very first magazine. I was sitting in a chair in the shade and observed it happen. There was no bang on the trigger press, the slide was racked and a round came out and was lost in the grass. It was never located. I am confident that ammo was to blame. Overall, somewhere between 700 to 1,000 rounds went down the pipe that night with a lone hiccup. The pistol had not been cleaned since it arrived.
Every single shooter was impressed with the pistol. One young lady was adamant that she wanted to buy this pistol on the spot. She hounded me for the rest of practice and stayed around for the second practice trying to make a deal. This pistol was turning heads and developed a following that evening.
The next outing for the Volquartsen was with a group of family in an informal setting in my cousin’s barnyard. A group of Bright kids put several rimfire guns to good use for a few hours. The Volquartsen pistol stole the show. The boys ran a couple of bricks of ammunition through the guns on a summer evening and had a great time. We had things set up so that two shooters could be shooting at the same time. The Volquartsen was always in someone’s hand. If the shooter lines up the sights and presses the trigger straight back, the gun hits the mark no matter the target. A great trigger also made this pistol popular in every setting.
Later while training novices, I used the Volquartsen. Both of these ladies had taken an introductory course but did not feel completely comfortable with a gun in their hand and needed some trigger time to build confidence, so each was scheduled for some range time and a couple hundred rounds of trigger time. The Volquartsen was a good fit for both shooters’ hands, and no external slide was also a nice feature for this setting. The novice shooters were working hard to develop strong fundamental skills and the pistol performed as it should for each of them. So in both cases, confidence was built up by strong range performances.
The first weekend of October was the next test for the Volquartsen. My favorite two kids were going to attend the Dan Ireland Memorial Steel Challenge Match at the Riley Conservation Club. They were going to both shoot the Volquartsen in Rimfire Pistol Irons division. The pistol was cleaned and lubed for the first time in preparation of this match. Alyssa and Royce shared the pistol and ran through the Federal ammunition that I sent along and finished running Remington Thunderbolt in the latter stages. The gun ran without flaw for the both of them. Alyssa is a full time nursing student who never has time to practice her shooting, but she managed to finish second in the division. A gun that runs reliably and is accurate is a serious advantage.
I have lost track of how many rounds were shot through this gun over the course of the summer and early fall but it was a large number. I have a feeling that if this gun could talk it would ask, “When are we going to the range?” There is no excuse to miss, and you can proceed with confidence with this pistol in your hands. If you are looking to compete at a serious level in Steel Challenge then Volquartsen is the investment that you should make.
Article from the November/December 2019 issue of USPSA’s FrontSight magazine.
See more: All About Volquartsen