I’ve never owned a GAT pistol, though I do have an almost identical pistol I wrote up a while ago. And the very first air pistol I ever owned was a cheap, cast metal, German-made GAT-type pistol I bnought from a magazine ad back around 1973. All share a common design: You cock them by pushing the barrel backwards against a spring until it engages the trigger sear. Next, you unscew a plug at the rear of the barrel, insert a pellet or dart, and replace the plug. On firing, the barrel moves forward, compressing air contained in a sleeve surrounding the barrel. This air passes into a port at the rear of the barrel, propelling the pellet out with remarkably little force.
The guns are smoothbore, which means that accuracy isn’t fantastic, but it means that darts can be fired without damaging the bore. There’s also a collar at the barrel in which a cork can be inserted, turning the GAT into a cork gun, and, as you can see in the illustration, a fly swatter projectile!
My GAT also had a rhyme printed on the side of the receiver:
Never let your little gun
Pointed be at anyone
Good advice. When I was in England in 1990, a gentleman at a gun shop in Durham informed me that this is actually a variation on a poem well known to British Sportsmen:
“A Father’s Advice” by Carl Kauba
If a sportsman true you’d be
Listen carefully to me:
Never, never let your gun
Pointed be at anyone.
That it may unloaded be
Matters not the least to me.
When a hedge or fence you cross
Though of time it cause a loss
From your gun the cartridge take
For the greater safety’s sake.
If twixt you and neighboring gun
Bird shall fly or beast may run
Let this maxim ere be thine
“Follow not across the line.”
Stops and beaters oft unseen
Lurk behind some leafy screen.
Calm and steady always be
“Never shoot where you can’t see.”
You may kill or you may miss
But at all times think this:
“All the pheasants ever bred
Won’t repay for one man dead.”