John Crump reviews the ATI GSG Firefly pistol, but finds it not up to the basic task of go-bang, disappointment follows…
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- I am always in the market for new handguns. I am a collector as well as an avid shooter. Every pistol I own has something that makes them unique for me. This uniqueness could be the way it looks, or it could be how it feels in my hand. The thing I look most for in a gun (other than my home defense or carry guns) is how fun they are to shoot.
While checking out a few gun retailers on the web to see what is new, I ran across the German Sports Guns Firefly that is imported by American Tactical Imports. I liked the way it looked. I kept browsing, but I always ended back at the Firefly.
I have had good luck with both GSG and ATI in the past, so I decided to go ahead and pick up the Firefly. It wasn’t going to break the bank ($199.00 online), and I might have a fun little plinker that I could suppress.
The size of the pistol would also aid me in teaching other people how to shoot.
The GSG Firefly pistol is a full size .22LR pistol. If you are familiar with the Sig Sauer Mosquito, then you already know the Firefly. You would know it because Sig did not make the Mosquito. The manufacturer for the Mosquito was GSG, and Sig just rebranded the pistol with their markings. In 2015 Sig decided to terminate the contract with GSG freeing ATI to import the gun at a reduced price.
The ATI GSG Firefly is about 85% the size on the Sig P226, and it has a lot of the same feel to it. It feels more substantial than most rimfire pistols such as the Walther P22 or the Ruger SR22, so it makes a good trainer for handling the bigger centerfire pistols. I do like the look and feel of the gun.
The Firefly comes with an ambidextrous thumb safety as well as a de-cocker. GSG also added adjustable rear sights to the gun which allows the shooter to make this pistol very accurate. While shooting, I found that I didn’t need to adjust the sights at all. The gun was a tack driver.
The 4″ steel barrel of the Firefly is threaded (M9 x .75 pitch) although to use most suppressors you would need to use an adaptor to attach it to the gun. The frame of the handgun is made of polymer with a front rail that allows the end user to connect different accessories such as a rail mountable flashlight or a laser.
The GSG Firefly comes with a 10 round magazine. Since this is a rebranding of the Sig Mosquito, those magazines will also work in this gun. I would have liked to see the Firefly come with two magazines like some of the other .22LR pistols I have purchased in the past, but the handgun only came with a single magazine.
The ATI GSG Firefly comes in at a hefty 24.6 ounces. This gun weighs around seven more ounces than the Ruger SR22, and nine more ounces than the Walther P22. When holding the Firefly, it feels more like a 9mm than a .22LR which is why this would be good for a new shooter or a child to get used to the feel of a centerfire pistol.
The double action/single action of the Firefly breaks cleanly, but that is where the good about the trigger stops.
The trigger pull weight is incredibly heavy at 14 pounds in double action and 7 pounds when using the pistol in single action. The trigger reset is very long. This long reset affected the speed at to which I could put shots on the target. GSG needs to put a lot more work into this trigger.
GSG notes that the Firefly requires high velocity (HV) rounds with a minimum speed of 1250 Feet Per Second (FPS). In keeping with the recommendations, I purchased some Remington 22 Golden Bullets which is a 40-grain bullet that has a speed of 1255 FPS which lines up perfectly with what GSG says to use in their pistol.
When I took it to the range straight out of the box, I was getting on average one failure to feed per magazine through the first 100 rounds. This failure was usually the second to last round. I suspected that the magazine was at fault, so I replaced the magazine with a Sig Mosquito magazine.
I fired another 100 rounds through the Firefly, and I was still getting the failure to feeds, but I also was now getting failures to extract. At this point, I decided to take home the pistol, break it apart, clean it, and then take it back to the range.
I love my Ruger SR22 because it will eat any ammunition, but not all rimfire pistols are like that. My thinking was with a clean GSG Firefly maybe I should change the ammo as well. I went with 200 rounds RWS High-Velocity Ammo .22LR ammo. The reason why I went with this round is that it is a 40-grain bullet that travels at 1,263 FPS. This over 100 FPS more than what GSG recommends the speed of the round should be to use in the Firefly.
The first two magazines ran through the GSG Firefly without any issues. I thought I had found the problem. Then I started having the same issues again. I was getting the same failure to extract and failure to feed with the pistol. Through the first 100 rounds, I had seven failures. The failure rate on the second 100 rounds was even higher. I had nine failures for a total of 16 failures through 200 rounds.
I changed the magazine on the Firefly. I broke down the pistol and cleaned every part of it. I changed ammunitions. I was still getting failures, it was frustrating me and I never found the gun’s sweet spot so it could run consistently. This took all of the fun out of shooting the gun.
I love GSG products, but this one misses the mark.
The ATI GSG Firefly handgun has a lot of potential with its design, and I love the way it looks. With that said this pistol fails too much to be fun. The trigger is too heavy, and it has a terrible reset. Even though this gun is relatively cheap there are better alternatives on the market. I think I understand why Sig canceled their contract with GSG to build the Mosquito.
The ATI GSG Firefly has an MSRP of $269.95. Information on the pistol can be found online at www.americantactical.us/5453/detail.html
About John Crump
John is an NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot-News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at www.crumpy.com.