In the world of the modern combat handgun, there are some reigning big boys out there who go by names like Glock, Smith and Wesson, SIG Sauer and Beretta. These companies rule the market in civilian, law enforcement and military sales around the world. The simple fact of the matter is some great guns often go overlooked in the shadow of these giants.
One of these guns goes by many names. Perhaps that is the reason for its lack of success. You can’t have success without a recognizable brand name. The weapon has been called the Baby Desert Eagle, the Uzi Eagle and the Jericho 941. If you can’t tell by now, this is an Israeli-made weapon from Israeli Military Industries, the same company that produced the original Desert Eagle. The name Baby Desert Eagle was attached to the weapon due to the popularity of the full size Desert Eagle. In fact, the only relationship the Jericho has with the Desert eagle is some vague resemblance.
The Jericho was developed by a nation who has been constantly at war. The Israeli people have scrapped and duked it out with the Arab world for decades. The weapons they develop are built to function. In my opinion, Israeli weapons are second to only Russian weapons in reliability. However, Israeli weapons are much more refined, more user friendly, and more accurate.
The Jericho is what I know it by and I developed a small gun crush on it when I was younger. When you mix teenage rebellion with a love of guns, you don’t get violence—you get a teenager who wants a gun outside of the mainstream. I love the Jericho and it’s right up there with the Browning Hi Power on my list of wonder nines I love.
The Jericho is what I called it then and what I call it now, by the way. The Jericho comes chambered in the more popular calibers (9mm, 40 S&W, and the 45 ACP). I own the 9mm variant and would love to get a .45 ACP variant. I have to mention the ill-fated .41 AE. The original Jericho had the number 941 attached because it was convertible from 9mm to the unique .41 AE.
The .41 AE was an experiment in being the middle ground between the 9mm and the .45 ACP, with the intention of it combining the best of both worlds as a compromise. You would have increased lethality and stopping power like the .45 and increased capacity like the 9mm. Is this starting to sound familiar, kind of like the .40 S&W? The .41 AE was more powerful than the .40 S&W, with its ballistics falling between the .40 S&W and the full powered 10mm round.
Unfortunately for the .41 AE, more ammunition and gun manufacturers backed the .40 S&W and the .41 AE died a quick death. The conversions are quite collectible today, but the ammo is also pretty rare and very expensive.
The Jericho is based off the well-known and much renowned CZ-75 pistol. IMI chose a well-tested design to cut risk, time, and money when designing a firearm. The two major changes from the design were a safety and de-cocker combined, whereas the CZ only had a de-cocker. The rifling is also unique. It’s polygonal instead of a traditional right or left-handed twist. The polygonal rifling is said to improve accuracy, and provide tight and consistent groups.
The Jericho handles very well and features some comfortable ergonomics. The Jericho’s grip is quite slim for a double stack magazine and the weapon points very well. The grip is very comfortable and has an excellent grip angle. The newer models feature finger grooves that make the weapon even more comfortable. The grip angle and natural pointing is a competitor to even the 1911’s wonderful grip. The pistol is very accurate, and this is aided by the large combat sights. The double-action trigger has a long pull and is designed for combat, not for competition. The single-action trigger is a delight, very light weight, with a distinct snap.
The Jericho continues to be the unique pistol that is offered in both steel frame and a polymer composite frame. As far as I know, they are the only gun and gun maker to offer this. You can literally please both crowds in the gun world. The polymer frame shaves off about four ounces from the full size 9mm variant with a steel frame.
It’s offered in three sizes—the full size with a 4.4 inch barrel, the semi-compact with a 3.8 inch barrel, and a compact with a 3.5 inch barrel. Now semi-compact may have caught your eye, and you’re probably thinking I meant sub-compact. Semi-compact is another curve ball the Jericho offers.
The semi-compact is a shorter barrel on a full-sized frame. This is a great cross between a more compact weapon, while at the same time, featuring the more ergonomic full-sized frame. This is an interesting concept that is a best of both words kind of thing.
The Jericho is a fine pistol that has adapted with the times. The modern Jericho models feature a full length picatinny rail on the dust cover, in front of the trigger guard. The sights are large and adjustable on newer models and present a great sight picture.
I’ve mentioned more than once the reliability of the pistol. I’ve run thousands of rounds through my Jericho and have experienced failures with only reloads. Even with reloads that fail to fire, fail to feed, and fail to eject, incidents were rare. Factory rounds function flawlessly, with little lube required. I never suggest running a weapon dry, but the Jericho seems to function fine without it.
The Jericho is an excellent combat pistol, designed to be carried in some of the worst environments in the world. The weapons shoots straight and functions well, and at the end of the day, all we can do is pray to be as fortunate. The Jericho is a fighting weapon designed by a people used to fighting. If you’ve never fired or even held a Jericho, you are truly missing out.