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IWI (formerly IMI)

IMI / Jericho Write-up and brief history lesson

Israel Weapons Industries (IWI), formerly known as Israel Military Industries (IMI). Headquartered in Ramat HaSharon, Israel.

IMI / Jericho Write-up and brief history lesson

Postby wickersham » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:15 pm

Found this on another site:

Baby Eagles and Jericho Pistols
I have been on a mission, looking for a practical pistol that is unique. I have custom 1911’s, the world’s largest production revolver, and a variety of normal guns in unique chambering, but I wanted something different. My criteria: Steel frames, .45 ACP, cocked and locked carry option, minimum of 10 rounds capacity, and great ergonomics. Oh and lest I forget… military issue. It was a tall bill to fill until I rediscovered the Jericho.
The Jericho pistol is a collaborative effort between Israeli Military Industries (I.M.I.) and FRATELLI TANFOGLIO S.N.C. (Tanfoglio). Tanfoglio had developed the basic design of their “Combat” handgun as the chassis of their line of firearms. It was based on the popular CZ-75 internal rail frame, which in turn was loosely based on the Sig P210. Tanfoglio pistols feature a high sweeping beavertail and mimics a grip style of a 1911 with a “high arch” main spring housing. This forces the hand up and into a better shooting position. Also like the Sig P210, the bore axis is extremely low to the angle of the arm minimizing felt recoil with larger calibers. However, they were most often sold in 9x19mm (A.K.A 9mm Luger, 9mm parabellum, and 9mm NATO).
However, like the CZ-75 there were a few issues still to be refined in the Tanfoglio pistol line. The slide is reminiscent of a Browning P-35 (Hi-Power). The slim and recessed area near the muzzle does make a slender feeling gun and aids with a quicker draw since a holster releases the slide quicker than a slab sided 1911, but it also decreases weight where it is most needed at the muzzle. In addition, the Tanfoglio has a pinned in front sight like a cheaper production 1911. The front sight on my Colt 1991A1 flew off at the 3,000 round mark never to be seen again. Now, I am a firm believer in the benefits of a dovetail installation. I take an extremely forward grip on my pistols in shooting and a trigger guard that is checkered or textured is much preferred over a rounded one for serious situations.

Enter I.M.I., in the early 1990’s they were designing a new fighting pistol of the Israeli Defense Force (I.D.F.). The wanted something which was inherently accurate, double action, with an exposed hammer, and the ability to be carried in a variety of conditions with options for cocked and locked carry or de-cockers. However, they also wanted something more. They wanted to use the .41 magnum. Long advocated by Elmer Keith and Bill Jordan as an intermediate step between the .357 and the .44, the .41 magnum was introduced in 1963. It was a cartridge ahead of its time and yet just behind the curve. We now are deploying the 40S&W in a variety of platforms, but the revolver in law enforcement had run its course in the mid to late sixties. The .41 AE was the perfect cartridge for their new platform.

I.M.I. decided to take the best features of the .41 Rem Mag and make it into an autoloading cartridge, which would be useable in both a pistol and the UZI submachine gun. The UZI was ideally suited for caliber conversions and in the U.S. is often seen with 22 long rifle conversion as well as .45 ACP conversions. However, the most commonly encountered is the 9x19mm. I.M.I. decided it’s new round would have a rebated rim to match the 9x19mm case head, thus allowing the same bolt and magazine to be used for both cartridges. The design requirements were met in the .41 Action Express developed at Action Arms Inc. by general manager Evan Whildin a former ATF agent. (AA has a long history of association with I.M.I. including having employed Uzi Gal in the late 1970’s. Unfortunately, the AWB effectively killed this innovative company which closed its doors in 1995) I.M.I. took the design a step further in 1988 when they took the .41 AE case and necked it down to accept a 9mm bullet creating what would be the “first” .357 Sig. The .357 Sig was introduced in 1994. The first commercially available .41 AE was manufactured by I.M.I. (sometimes-marked Samson) in Israel. The loading are an exact replica of the .41 magnum police loadings with noticeably less recoil then the 45 ACP.

Armed with this new cartridge, I.M.I. introduced the Jericho 941. The numeric designation reflecting the calibers the gun was designed for. Unlike most guns, which began life paired with the 9x19mm, the Jericho was from the start intended to use the much stouter .41 AE. Original commercial guns shipped with two barrels allowing easy interchangeability between the two cartridges. In order to help with the recoil and control, the frame was extended to the end of the barrel and significantly thickened. A polygonal rifling pattern was chosen and the front sight was dovetailed in. Unlike other manufacturer’s products, the Jericho is able to be used with lead bullets as well as jacketed bullets.

The .41 AE was not destined for a long life. How many times have you seen the American Rifleman TV show sponsored proudly by Sampson? Smith and Wesson with their marketing power and friends pushed forward the 40 S&W. With the so-called “experts” fighting to kill the 10mm for being too powerful and the marketing pressure to switch, it is easy to see why the .41 AE suffered from the same curse as its revolver rimmed brother.

In the mean time, I.M.I. sought to market its baby further then their national borders. First brought to the U.S. by Mossberg who dubbed the gun the “Uzi Eagle”, it has been imported by KBI Inc. as the Jericho and by Magnum Research as the “Baby Eagle” and the “Baby Desert Eagle” and for a brief time as just the “Desert Eagle” in an attempt to boost sales. The Tanfoglio is imported by EAA as the “Witness” and the magazines are interchangeable with the Jericho/Baby Eagle. Except for the aforementioned differences in the Tanfoglio/Witness, all are the same gun save for the rollmarks; so chose by your preference and price point.

The Jericho has been available in 9x19mm, 9x21mm, 9x23mm, 9 AE, .40 S&W, .41 AE, and .45 ACP. One would imagine a conversion to .357 Sig would be relatively easy to accomplish with a custom barrel. It is made in many varieties, which is a testament to the adaptability of the design. The double action / single action (DA/SA) trigger can be found with either a frame-mounted safety that provides for safe cocked and locked carry or hammer down carry, or a slide mounted “Walther style” de-cocker safety that can also lock the gun. Either configuration will lock the gun so it cannot be fired with the safety so engaged unlike a Sig de-cocker. Three basic frames are available in either steel or polymer: Full Sized, Semi-Compact, and Compact. The .45 ACP is only available in Semi-compact. For comparison a traditional 1911 weighs 39 ounces and is 8.25 inches long.

....................................Standard...... ..................Semi-compact..........................Compact

Barrel Length................4.5 inches..........................3.9 inches...........................3.6 inches
Length...........................8.2 inches........................7.75 inches..........................7.2 inches
Weight.........................38.5 oz..........................37 (poly 29) oz...................33 (poly 26) oz
Caliber...........9x19mm, 40 S&W, .41 AE.......9x19mm, 40, 41, 45.................9x19mm, 40, 41,45
Mag capacity ........15-9mm, 12-.40................15-9mm, 12-.40, 10-.45..............10 rounds all

I was fortunate enough to find a Jericho marked Semi-compact in 45 ACP with the cocked and locked frame safety at Tucker gun for a reasonable price. Baby Eagles have a MSRP of $560. Jericho models in used condition generally retail for $600. Magnum Research offers every finish that is available for the Desert Eagle for the Baby Eagle including the purple titanium nitride (TiN) and gold plated. These exotic finished drive up the price dramatically. This summer, the Robar Companies Inc. is offering a discount on their premium finish dropping the cost to two hundred and fifty dollars per gun. A NP3 finish or a Roguard finish would compliment a Jericho nicely at less cost than a hard to find factory example.

Grips, holsters, and magazines are hard to find for this little gem stateside. Fortunately, the EAA Witness magazines are plentiful in all calibers and usually only run $20 per magazine. Custom grips are available as are Hogue wrap-around’s with finger groves, but I honestly prefer the look and feel of the originals. Holsters are available from Blade-tech but as with all plastic/kydex/PVC holsters excessive wear is a concern. Galco makes a Yaqui speed scabbard which is adjustable to fit “any” gun. If you want a holster specifically designed for the Jericho, you will need to look for either Fobus, or Frontline. Frontline is an Israeli company that makes holsters for the Israeli Police Force, which issues Jericho pistols. They have all materials including leather, kydex, nylon and N.G., which is a proprietary material.

I had an opportunity to run two boxes of ammo through the Jericho. I found the recoil control to be simply amazing. The low bore axis, high grip and serrated and squared trigger guard combine to allow extremely rapid firing on target at reasonable ranges. Felt recoil was less than a five-inch government model 1911 as well.

One of the most impressive things about the Jericho is the sights. While they are not by any means “low profile” their geometry attracts the eye easily for precision work and the three white dots allows for quick acquisition during rapid fire. Often tritium night sights are chosen, but these dots are hard to pick up in sunlight when most shooting is done.

I am proud to report that in the entire 100 rounds that were fired there was not a single failure. No failure to feed, no failure to fire, and every shot worked perfectly. Accuracy was above average with offhand 7-yard groups averaging three inches. I expect greater accuracy is possible with a proper rest or less sweat running in my eyes.

The Jericho/Baby Eagle platform is a solid steel modern fighting handgun with superior round capacity coupled with fantastic ergonomics. This should be on the short list for consideration for a primary defensive handgun.
(C) 2008 M. Douglas KingII

אוי אל רשע! זה יהיה חולה איתו: עבור גמול של ידיו תינתן לו.
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Re: IMI / Jericho Write-up and brief history lesson

Postby alaska94145 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:37 pm

In regards to the holster suggestion you made may I also offer up holsters.org is a great place to get holsters for the jericho/baby eagle. They are leather holsters and of fine quality as well.
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Re: IMI / Jericho Write-up and brief history lesson

Postby kikon » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:43 pm

Hi All,

This is the latest version of IWI's Jericho Pistol Catalog. So I suppose it also should be here.

Link: http://www.israel-weapon.com/files/broc ... ERICHO.pdf

Vive la Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité!
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