My wife has a new gun. She wanted something metal. She wanted something that would be fun to shoot. She wanted something that would be interesting. We hunted interesting down, watched some Cowboy Bebop, and hopped on the internet. The Jericho was being re-imported once again by IWI, and after discussing the particulars of the Jericho with her, she was sold. She wanted Israeli Steel. I just hoped that when we plunked down the cash, the Israeli wunder nine would function and give her enough of a smile to enjoy shooting.
Let’s break it down: Fit and Finish
The Jericho 941 is steel meets steel. It’s a heavy, big service pistol. It’s the type of gun you would want to hit someone with after exhausting all your ammo. Clean lines, excellent (or rather, peerless) machine work give us a pistol with incredibly smooth contours and lines. There are no machining marks, or rough edges. I am really impressed by the work in this piece. After researching the Jericho 941 and ordering sight unseen… I was a wee bit worried. Not so much anymore. The action is based on the CZ75 with an Israeli twist. It bears a familial resemblance, but the lines of the Jericho are much more industrial and flat. Like its relative, the action and slide of the Jericho sit tight inside the frame and as a side effect, reveal little of the slide itself for weapon manipulation. Unlike say, my square Glock which gives me lots of real estate for racking and manipulation, the Jericho gives much less purchase. Consider this a negative if forced to manipulate the weapon when wet or in slippery conditions. Oil carefully so that you don’t coat the slide in excessive slippery oil. Overall, the slide serrations work fine and once you have a normal grip on the piece, it slides back to the rear with little effort.
Once you do get the slide back, you might also notice how smooth it is. Coming from the Tupperware generation of Glocks, I recall the first time I racked a Glock and was met by the scratchy, gritty feel of Gaston’s masterpiece. Once we got the Jericho home and I racked it back, I was jealous. The slide came back so buttery smooth that I instantly realized that IWI had quality in mind with the piece. There is no grit, no crunch, just a smooth resistance until the barrel drops, which then is increased ever so slightly as the slide pushes the hammer down into the cocked position. Fantastic quality here folks, especially at $549 dollars.
The controls are ergonomic, but not ambidextrous. We have right handed controls incorporating a slide lever and safety made for a right handed shooter. A beavertail sticks out the rear to discourage slide bite. The full size service pistol frame fits my hands well, and I am a small-medium glove wearer. Smalls feel a bit tight, mediums a bit roomy. The Jericho’s controls were all reachable and capable of being activated with my hand size.
The trigger is a double / single action without a decocker. Meaning if you want this pistol in condition one, you have two options: drop the hammer with your thumb while pulling the trigger and hope you don’t slip, or option two: hammer back, round in chamber, safety on. Trigger pull itself is heavy and stiff much like every other double action I owned, but since the pistol will be primarily in single action mode (I am not willing to drop that little hammer on a live round, I like having a thumb) the single action mode was good to go. Single action is light, perhaps 3-4 lbs of trigger with a very short pull distance to the wall, and a smooth rolling break to the rear completes the hammer drop. A short reset with a tactile snap of sear engagement rounds out the single action package. Not quite as snappy a reset as a G19, but tactile. I believe this gun permits you to run it fast based on the single action trigger characteristics.
The sights are standard, front and rear drift-able three dot sights. Night sights are available from Meprolight for upgrades down the road.
In action, the gun had no major concerns from me. The heavy frame kept recoil down to a minimum and my wife, a first time pistol owner, had no trouble or fear from this gun’s recoil. It simply shoots without much fanfare. We cycled a 50 round box of Winchester 124 grain 9mm without issue. I was relieved that my wife’s new pistol was functioning properly.
I had lots of my favorite brand of malfunctioning reloads handy, freedom munitions, to test as well. Having bought this stuff a year ago, I found that my G19 ate it like candy, while my G17 jammed like crazy with it. In my opinion, it is a weakly loaded ammo that I believe had difficulty cycling the heavier slide and new recoil spring of my G17. We threw some of this 115 grain 9mm through the Jericho and my Glock and both pistols choked at least once or twice a magazine… which gave me a chance to teach my wife how to clear malfunctions. At this time, another quirk became apparent; the flat, flush floorplate give us nothing to grab in order to strip a mag to clear a malfunction. Consider CZ75 magazine extensions to assist in clearance drills since the CZ75 and Jericho magazines are the compatible.
Past the crappy reloaded ammo, the gun started to loosen up, and was taken out again for a separate range session with one malfunction during my wife’s CCW course. She stripped the magazine and cleared the pistol, and had it back online for the next target rotation without issue. This singular malfunction was with factory new Winchester 115 grain white box. The ammo breakdown was thus: 50 rounds of 124 grain ammo without malfunction. 100 rounds of underpowered reloads which choked both the IWI and my G17, 25 rounds of aluminum cased budget ammo with no malfunctions, and 100 + – rounds of new 115 grain Winchester white box with one malfunction during a CCW course.
The pistol handled well, points well, and shoots well. Thus far it slings lead with precision and ejects brass consistently to the right. I believe the malfunctions at this point are ammo related. Most problems were failure to eject, telling me that the ammo just didn’t have the power to rock the slide back all the way to the rear. This gun likes ammo with a decent power factor, otherwise plinker ammo and weaker stuff is likely going to have a hard time cycling the heavy steel slide and stiff (new) recoil spring.
I took the Jericho out to do a video review, and happy to report the performance is still sublime. The pistol spat out steel and 124 grain Nato loads with nary an issue.
With a gun like the Jericho, expect less in the way of accessories than standard common sidearms, but luckily this pistol has been around for decades, and importers bring a variety of holsters and components over from Israel… but ultimately the options are somewhat limited in comparison to more common products.
Final impression: A little more testing is warranted to examine the pistol and different ammo types. Defensive quality ammo seems like it will be the hot ticket for reliability, and the overall weight and heft of this steel service pistol will keep the recoil impulse down. The controls are ergonomic for a right handed shooter, and the second stage of the trigger is light and clean. The first stage is long and hard to reach if you have small hands. The gun must be carried cocked and locked. This gun would be a excellent piece for home defense with some night sights and a light. A little big / heavy for carry (2.3 lbs) but if your a OWB carry guy / gal and want a old fashioned steel piece, give it a try. I will report back on Looserounds if the pistol has any problems past the break in period, but I will be cycling 124 grain or higher 9mm through this pistol for the foreseeable future.