Crosman were well-known for their CO2 pistol and rifles, as well as multi-pump plinkers and in recent years, they have embraced other forms of power plants for their guns. With that commitment to unstainable power plants, they have been smashing it with both spring- and gas-ram-powered, break-barrelled rifles for some time now. 

I was very happy to get my hands on the new Crosman Vital Shot, an ultra-modern, break-barrel air rifle. It’s a cool name, to be fair, and a cool-looking gun, and I was struck by just how black it looked, from the deep bluing on the steel barrel to the stock. It’s also a sturdy gun, steady in the hand, well-made and strong. Crosman Vital Shot air rifleThe Vital’s lines are deceptively sleek, as soon as you handle it, you connect with the stippled grip that envelops the raised fore end and the pistol grip. The pistol grip is wonderful, and I know I’m mentioning it very early in a review, but forgive me because it really is worthy of the mention. There’s a manual safety catch in front of the curved trigger blade, and this type of safety is commonplace now, but the one on the Vital just works better for me because it has a positive, spring-loaded operation when swinging it backward and forward – it gives me confidence that it’s doing its job, if you know what I mean. Crosman Vital Shot air rifle


Back to the Vital’s design features. Crosman still see a need for open sights on a break-barrel, and righty so – there is no better way to learn how to shoot from scratch than with an open-sighted rifle. The sights on the Vital are first-class and the rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation, with handy L and R, U and D arrows to help the user zero-in the Vital’s sights. It has red fibre-optic rods forming dots on each side of the aiming notch. The front post has a massive 20mm long, 1mm diameter green rod, so it really does stand out, and with a sight base of 364mm that’s enough for accurate aiming and shooting. Of course, it comes with an 11mm scope/optic sight rail machined into the top of the metal cylinder, which is 172mm long with a 4mm recoil mount arrestor hole situated at the rear of it. 

Crosman Vital Shot air rifleCocking the rifle gives you a massive 140-degree swing to the barrel, more than most, and the safety catch is a curved steel blade that swings back to align perfectly with the curved cast steel trigger blade. Make a habit of putting it on before cocking the Crosman, though, because the safety on the Vital is not automatic.

Crosman Vital Shot air rifleANGULAR DESIGN

There are letters under the integral trigger guard, a double-ended arrow telling the operator it’s forward position for ‘Fire’, and rearwards for ‘Safe’. The integral trigger guard is wider than commonly found, but it doesn’t interfere with functional use of the Vital. The safety being where it is means it’s ambidextrous, of course, and there’s an anti-bear trap device upon cocking, so the action cannot be tripped, unless the barrel is closed and locked into its firing position. 

The synthetic stock design is quite angular at the rear, but that’s not to say it’s not comfortable. Did I mention I liked the palm swell … a lot? Let’s not forget that the stock is rugged, immensely strong and light, and not only that, but it’s weatherproof, to boot, and it’s totally ambidextrous, good for left- or right-handed shooters. 

Crosman Vital Shot air rifleHOW DOES IT SHOOT?

Finally, I went outdoors and fitted a Simmons 3.5-10 x 40 Whitetail Classic scope, making use of the arrestor screw hole at the rear of the scope rail. In my opinion, these are absolutely necessary for recoiling air rifles – it’s clear Crosman are a competent airgun manufacturer. Over the chronograph, the Crosman was amazing; the actual figures of a 10-shot string were 601, 595, 599, 591, 598, 595, 600, 596, 593 and finally 597 feet per second. Power-wise, with 14.2 grain pellets, that’s around 11.2 ft.lbs.

The Vital Shot gave me 25mm groups at 25m with .22 14.2 grain Crosman Premier pellets, and that was from the classic FT sitting position – the snappy recoil was easy to manage. The trigger on the Vital is brilliant, predictable and light at 1.4kg – much lighter than I expected, to be honest. As I was using it, I appreciated even more the solid clicks of the safety catch; many of the front of trigger safetys we find nowadays are wishy-washy, but not the one on the Vital, and the light trigger made shooting the Vital Shot easy. 

Crosman Vital Shot air rifleOne thing I haven’t mentioned is the muzzle; Crosman have threaded the barrel with the airgun standard ½ UNF thread, and fitted a grooved collar to protect the threads, so you can screw on a muzzle brake, or moderator should you wish to do so. For the money, the Crosman Vital ticks all of the boxes and in these days of tight budgets, it really does live up to the title of ‘Top Value Gun’.

Thanks to Gill at Range Right Ltd for help in the production of this article. 

Crosman Vital Shot air rifleTECH SPECS

Manufacturer: Crosman
Country of origin: USA
Distributor: Range Right Ltd
Model: Vital Shot
Type: Break-barrel
Power source: Spring
Calibre: .22 (5.5mm)
Sights: Open fibre-optic rods, rear adjustable 
Sight base: 364mm
Safety: Manual
Overall length: 1076mm
Pull length: 368mm
Barrel length: 426mm 
Weight: 3kg (6.6lbs)
Trigger weight: 1.4kg
RRP: £125