ATI GSG Firefly Pistol in 22LR Misses the Mark – Gun Review

John Crump reviews the ATI GSG Firefly pistol, but finds it not up to the basic task of go-bang, disappointment follows…

ATI GSG Firefly Pistol in 22LR & Threaded Barrel Review
ATI GSG Firefly Pistol in 22LR & Threaded Barrel Review
John Crump
John Crump

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.

ATI GSG Firefly Pistol

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 GSG Firefly is a full size .22LR pistol. If you are familiar with the Sig Sauer Mosquito, then you already know the Firefly.
The GSG Firefly is a full size .22LR pistol. If you are familiar with the Sig Sauer Mosquito, then you already know the Firefly.

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 ATI GSG Firefly comes with an ambidextrous thumb safety as well as a de-cocker.
The ATI GSG Firefly comes with an ambidextrous thumb safety as well as a de-cocker.
GSG also added adjustable rear sights to the American Tactical GSG Firefly Pistol which allows the shooter to make this pistol very accurate.
GSG also added adjustable rear sights to the American Tactical GSG Firefly Pistol which allows the shooter to make this pistol very accurate.

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 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 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 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 the ATI GSG Firefly to the range straight out of the box, I was getting on average one failure to feed per magazine through the first 100 rounds.
When I took the ATI GSG Firefly to the range straight out of the box, I was getting on average one failure to feed per magazine through the first 100 rounds.

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.

The ATI GSG Firefly pistol 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 ATI GSG Firefly psitol 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.

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.

  • 43 thoughts on “ATI GSG Firefly Pistol in 22LR Misses the Mark – Gun Review

    1. I bought this gun. One of the main problems is people trying to shoot Standard Velocity with the High Velocity spring that comes pre-installed with the gun. People need to install the other shorter spring that is in the case of the gun for Standard Velocity. The gun was designed for High Velocity ammo, use ammo that has a jacketed/plated round nose like CCI Mini mags. In regards to Standard Velocity ,after switching the recoil spring out, use “match” ammo with eley primers. Bulk Standard Velocity, is ok for the range if that is the only stuff you can get, but expect issues.

      With good quality ammo, I can fire my GSG Firefly without issues. A lot of people really need to get out there and find what ammo works the best.

    2. Not sure what everyones problem is. This is a semi auto .22 pistol that is less than $200. Most other brands cost $100-$200 more.

      For those savings all you need to do is polish the feed ramp, slide, and hammer. The gun will run absolutely any ammo with no problems. I had problems till i polished mine. I have put 4000 rounds through it in the last 2 months with no problems. Mostly shooting thunderbolts. But even remington golden bullets run fine.

      As far as trigger pull, quit being babies. A child could pull that trigger what is the excuse for grown men?

      Save some money and buy this gun. For the price it is a great little plinker.

      1. I have the gag 1911 and did the same you did to your fire fly it runs like a champ the accuracy on mine is ridiculous

    3. Ive got 2 of these weapons..friends got one and his brother has one…cci minimags is what we shoot…love these pistols..no problem at all!!!

    4. I own a pile of 22 semi autos including the Firefly and 1911-22 from GSG. I normally shoot suppressed so I try all types of ammo. I bought from a major supplier for about $189.00. Absolutely great little gun, It is a fools errand to write a review on any “new” gun until you run a couple hundred rounds thru it. Duh? Long before I became a CCW instructor decades ago, I recall purchasing a new Satin Nickel Combat Commander for carry in law enforcement. The manual with the gun and Colt stated that no gun should be relied upon until 200 rounds of ammo had been passed thru it. Secondly, 22 LR is dirty ammo, all of it and by design, all blowback guns will get crud in the chamber. Simply stated, every semi auto 22 should have the chamber polished and rimfires should have silicone or WD 40 or something similar sprayed thru the chamber every couple hundred rounds. Sig relied on GSG for this and the 1911 version for many years and put their logo on the gun. Now, I like the little Walther because it is smaller, and the 1911 because of the longer barrel and a little better accuracy. I like the Walther PK 22 because it is much cooler. Others have their neat features but for a plinking gun this one is great. If I were forced to rely on a 22 for defense, I would not balk at this one, but I am retired law enforcement, so do not prefer 22s for anything like that. If you are having reliability issues, then unless it is the mag, the ejector, or rough chamber—all of which you can fix, then you are probably limp wristing this gun. I see people do it all the time. Even people who shoot bigger calibers seem to think you can just hold the little 22 like it is a feather. Great little gun. Buy it and shoot it a lot.
      FWIW

    5. I purchased my Firefly before I read all of the bad reviews so after I got it I read them before going to pick up the gun a my FFL which is range. I took an assortment of 22 ammo w/ me and the usual stuff I fire in my Ruger’s and Marlin’s and Savage rifles. I was very surprised w/ the trigger pull because most articles said it was very stiff, which I did not notice at all. I ran 150 rds through the gun and had no problems w/ it at all, ran them fast, slow partial mag then pulled the mag reset and reloaded the same mag and still no problems. The next week I took my little bro out w/ me to shoot our 9mm’s and I brought this pistol again after a good cleaning to see if I had the same good luck. Yes we both ran 4 mags full of ammo through the pistol w/ no problems again. So I don’t know if I just got lucky and go a good gun or what but I am extremely happy w/ this gun and can’t wait to have my wife use it to aid in trigger jerk w her revolver.

      1. Hi…. I like this guy myself. May I ask what velocity and brand bullets you used? I believe the better views for based on not using a high velocity 1400 n up would recommend from what I’ve been reading

    6. really like my firefly but too much trigger pull on my finger.. how can I lighten it? it seems like the slide does not fully engage d/a mode into single action .slide seems to be fully back.If I put A little pressure on the hammer,trigger works fine.somethings not right eternally,I would think. .

    7. Use better ammo, Remington Ammo sucks ass on all platforms, from build quality to use, all Remington ammo must be made by blind people, its terrible quality, possibly the worst ammunition I have ever seen, from .22LR to .223, .308, .243 etc, the list goes on, Remington = SHITE

    8. I just bought 2 of these (his and hers). We took them apart as soon as we got home. Wiped out all the grease, cleaned and relubricated them. I have only tried one type of ammo so far, Aguila super extra high velocity. Had 0 failures. I’m satisfied.

      1. FYI. I was reading some owners comments and repeatedly they say READ THE MANUAL. you can change out the springs for higher and lower velocity ammo.

      2. Aguila super extra high velocity is the ticket! I’m very impressed with this ammo Bill.
        Only about $2.00/50 at Sportsman’s warehouse here in AZ.

    9. Did you contact ATI and see if they would fix it?

      I traded peer to peer for a GSG 1911. I knew from the beginning I was getting a used gun, so minor blemishes didn’t bother me, but it wouldn’t shoot. It was light striking and would only fire a round if I manually pulled the hammer back and released it an extra time or two. Admittedly, ATI was NOT easy to get a hold of (I left a lot of messages), but I eventually got a hold of a customer service agent who promptly emailed me a shipping label to send the 1911 back to ATI. Should be at least a few weeks before I get it back.

      So I am understandably curious as to how well their warranty department works! (I’ll find out soon) Perhaps they could fix your firefly and you could give us an updated review covering both their customer service and the gun after it’s been fixed! Thanks!

    10. I just ordered a brand new Firefly GSG G22! $189.00 delivered! …..plus a free extra magazine included! I would like YOU, to tell ME, what I should expect, now that I have ordered one, and it is on the way! Start with HANK……. I think you made a great choice OR Hank you made a very bad choice……. Buy purchasing a GMG Fire Fly,…. And tell me WHY (?) You feel that way? Thank you in advance…… Hank.

    11. I have had one for over a year now and love it, I only run CCI mini mags through it, I will have occasional feeding / eject issues but very minimal and not bad for a .22lr semi auto. I tried most other HV rounds and got at least one failure per mag like the author did. I will say always research your purchase before buying, I knew this gun only runs OK on CCI mini mags and I’m OK with that. I would recommend this gun to anyone wanting a cheap neat little .22lr pistol

    12. Great Review. I’m looking at different 22’s for range plinking. From what I have seen here and other sites and reviews it appears to me that the quality control on the gun is not consistent. I do not know but would guess that different guns of the same model were made at different locations and or at different times. Material differences used, etc. it sounds like the entire process deteriorated at some point. Some got great guns others crap guns. Bad bore size? come on. How can they not keep a consistent bore size, even in multiple manufacturing locations. Its like they decided to stop making them and used parts that were out of spec just to finish them up and get they out the door to make what money they could. Number of unit completed and shipped makes money. They don’t care about returns or who they rip off.

      I will be looking at other brands.

      Thanks

      – Mike

    13. Tengo una me funciona bien, pero me pasa mucho la 9 bala se atasca cuando la revista tiene 10..por lo demas buena…

    14. Love mine, thousands of rounds thru it.won’t handle low velocity loads, but very few misfires if using correct ammo. I would recommend to any friend, all my friends love shooting it.

    15. Bought the Firefly last year. Ran about 500 rds CCI mini mag through it in a week. Got extra magazines. Shot flawlessly every round. Great little pistol. If ya run junk ammo ya might get crappy results – Don’t blame the gun.

    16. That Remington Gold crap turns 984 fps in a Mosquito. It will work in mine, but just barely, with the ejected brass falling directly below the gun. Aguila Interceptor 40g runs VERY well in the Mosquito at 1253 fps average velocity (1459 in a rifle). In my Mosquito, CCI Stinger 32g does 1226 fps, Aguila SuperMaximum Hyper-Velocity 30g does 1205 fps (1589 in a rifle), CCI Mini-Mag 40g does 1023 fps, Aguila 38g Super Extra HP does 1034 fps, CCI Velocitor 40g does 1066 fps, Aguila Super Extra 40g RN does 1001 fps. Those all work very well in the Mosquito with the ejected brass falling 4-8 feet away. The Aguila Sniper 60g (yeah, 60 grains) also runs very well at only 763 fps from the Mosquito and is VERY quiet even unsuppressed. Oddly, the Winchester 45g Subsonic M-22 at 820 fps will not run a Mosquito reliably and the M-22 40 grain not at all. I’ve found very few 22LR pistols that will run whatever cheapo junk ammo you can scrounge up to stuff in them. They are all a bit picky. Find out what your 22 pistol likes and use that. Leave the cheapo crap to the bolt-action, pump, and lever-action rifles. When it says “1250 fps” on the box it’s referring to RIFLE length barrel velocity, not pistols.

    17. I have over 1000 rounds through my firefly. I tried a couple different types of ammo. The American eagle by federal was terrible, but I can shoot the Remington golden bullets all day long. I get a couple duds per box, but zero malfunctions. I love this gun!!! Remember, it does come with different recoil springs.

    18. Bought the Firefly and had the FTF and FTE problems. I tried Winchester, Remington and Aquila and all had the same problems. I remembered I had a thousand rounds of Fderal and CCI 40 grain and 1200 FPS. No more problems. I shot 200 rounds through it and it worked like a dream. The trigger was a little tight at first, but got easier as I shot more rounds. I like the play at the first shot as it serves as a mild safety to make sure you mean to shoot. Subsequent trigger pulls were smooth and predictable.

    19. Bought a Firefly couple weeks ago, gave it initial cleaning as recomended, took to range with an assortment of ammo. Found it does not like winchester, but no failure at all with Rem golden bullets, or Federal stingers, does not like Federal Target. Found it is reasonably accurate, and very comfortable fit for me. Overall, very happy with this pistol, so I guess I am one of the lucky ones.

    20. The observations are correct. I have a Sig Mosquito and it has been a real pain but here are some of the things I have observed. The gun eats golden bullets the best. Winchester, Aquila, CCI are no bueno. I believe that the knurling on the bullets themselves used to hold grease are to blame. I went back to the gun store where I bought the gun and their smiths did some bore work to loosen it up. It’s much better now but needs another round of bore work. I’m going to getf my smith to polish up the feed ramp too.
      Note: The steel magazines are great. The plastic ones Sig marketed later are junk. I imagine that’s why GSG went back to the steel mags.
      The tight bore is what gives it it’s fantastic accuracy. I can put all the rounds in an 8″ target @ 60 yards with iron sights) but If the ammo won’t extract well….
      The gun likes to run dirty. The gun likes synthetic oil. The adjustable rear sight is garbage. It’s plastic and can be stripped out easily when trying to make a simple adjustment. The replacement part took months to arrive.

      Because of its weight, size & feel his would be a fantastic trainer if it just ran right.

    21. I would have to agree with Sam about the Sig/GSG chamber tolerance & extractor, though I have found mine is best (FTE OR FTF’S least often) with slides lubed & everything aside from the bore dirty, using only CCI Mini-Mag ammo. No complaints on the DA/SA trigger, though coming from Sig 245 with similar trigger setuo. Fun little hand cannon, but can be picky little b____. SIG FAQ page indicates small end of recoil spring should face the rear (of the pistol) to minimize issues as well. BTW the wife refuses to even look at this pistol, she’s disgusted with the hassles, but also newer shooter.

    22. john crump is just a big cry baby. The GSG Firefly is a great little gun I would recommend to all.

      naples, fl

      1. mine won’t eject i shot 10 rounds yesterday an only 2 would eject an 7 didn’t the gun is clean never seen a gun hang up so much waste of money

    23. Never buy from GSG. German Sourced Garbage. My 1911-22 Sig was made by GSG. It is absolutely awful. Since Sig Sauer allowed there name on the gun I will never bay a Sig anything as the name can not be trusted.

    24. John is right on the money about the trigger pull. It is the WORST trigger pull of any gun that I have ever shot (and that includes a LOT of guns..!!)……there is GOOD news though……..other than the trigger the gun is excellent. Fit and finish are good and the weight is not out of line for a .22.
      I like mine and will be talking it into a gunsmith for trigger work as soon as possible.
      I have shot 500+ rounds through mine and did not experience any feeding problems using Winchester and CCI plated ammo. …also some LRN as well.
      Once the trigger is sorted out this will be an excellent gun….and the price is right…..so don’t be afraid of buying one.

    25. There is a reason that Sig discontinued the Mosquito and it’s the same reason so many gun stores finally refused to carry it; it’s one of the biggest pieces of crap ever produced. I have a Walter P22 and Ruger MK1 that eat everything with no complaints. When I asked my local gun store in Manassas, VA about the Mosquito they looked as though I’d asked them to order the bubonic plague, then said they had to send every single one they sold back to Sig for constant repairs and finally just gave up. Rebranded, renamed, whatever, it’s not a gun, it’s a rock that occasionally will detonate the primer on a 22.

      1. well i have a Fire Fly , 22lr i have had it for two years bought it brand new,i have many other guns , and have zero troubles with mine, i have ran over 5000 rounds thru it all Remington, as the gun shop owner told me to run. i have not polished any thing in it as of yet, have not had any mis fires, and failure to eject. i think if everyone is having so much trouble with them , its because the ammo. all rim fire ammo is pretty dirty stuff, and if you think you can run thru a ton with out doing any cleaning you are nuts. i am a old school Marine for way back, when i went in the pounded it in to our heads always keep you weapon clean its your life line. i clean mine all the time even when it has been sitting for a while, i get it out take it apart, clean every thing and oil it. and before i fire it i wipe it down, i guess i have been a lucky guy with mine, i have had the PK2, Now that one did suck, i traded it in on this one, i had the Rugger sr22 was not much better, bought it for my wife to target shoot, even cleaning as i do , it jammed a lot.! i think its about quality control. ! my friend said he has to of the same guns. they are rugger’s he is a machinist by trade, over 25 years, he checked out both guns and the tolerances were very different between both guns bought from to different gun lots. i think some people that are having troubles with the gun’s they have should talk to the M.F.G Company’s bitch to them,try to give them the same info you are putting on here, that will help them fix the troubles, in today’s times they cannot spend the time researching, things and remain profitable,on these low end gun’s as they do on the more higher end ones. It’s just a target pistol just have fun with ,or sell it and find some thing that make’s you happy. Happy Plinking everyone

    26. Took a lot of work to get my Mosquito to shoot every time. Every time need a cleaning every range trip and only one specific type of HV ammo. Love the gun hate how reliable it is. SR22 pistol i have is the best thing in a 22 handgun. That little guy will shoot every time. Clean or dirty. Expensive or cheap ammo.

    27. The chamber is too tight and the extractor does not exert enough pressure on the cartridge case/rim area and easily overrides the rim contour. GSG has done nothing to fix the Mosquito/Firefly. I have run a chambering reamer for 22LR semi-auto into the Mosquito chamber and loosened up the tolerance somewhat then I removed the extractor and filed away material behind the extractor hook so the extractor spring exerts more pressure on the cartridge case rim. These mods made Mosquitos more reliable. I have talked with the SIG people at the SHOT Show several times about my mods they just responded there wasn’t a problem with Mosquitos. (Austrian Engineering arrogance.)

      1. sam did you get it to shoot every time i need info to fix my nice looking gun trash to shoot hope i never need it for protection might hang up

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