Gun Review: IWI US Jericho 941 Pistol

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IWI US Jericho 941 review - 2The 3.8-inch barreled IWI US Jericho 941 is a rugged little pistol that's perfect for tactical and concealed carry applications.

IWI has a long-standing history of firearms manufacturing and development, dating back to 1933 when it was first known solely as Israel Military Industries (IMI). Working closely with the Israel Defense Forces, it created legendary weapons such as the Uzi and Galil, and more recently the Tavor, and of course the Jericho 941.

The firearms it turned out were designed to withstand the type of rough urban combat that the Israelis were constantly encountering. In 2005, the firearms side of the company was sold and renamed Israel Weapons Industries, or simply IWI, and began commercial sales of these classic firearms. Later in 2012, the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania based IWI US brought out the first civilian versions of the Tavor, and of course the modern Jericho 941 that we bring you today.

A Rocky Start

Originally released in 1990, the Jericho 941 had a rough start. The pistol gets its numerical designation from the two calibers that it could readily fire.

The end user had the choice of using standard 9mm, or the then-new .41 Action Express (AE) with a simple field conversion. Of course, with the commercial success and acceptance of .40 S&W, the .41 AE went the way of the dodo.

Ammo and conversion barrels for .41 AE eventually became next to impossible to find. With half the reason to buy this pistol being more than an arm’s length away, most believe this lead to its unpopularity.

IWI US Jericho 941 review 1Classic Roots

The pistol itself was a masterpiece. The Jericho’s design was based off the venerable CZ-75.

This gave way to perfect function and ergonomics. Aesthetics were certainly slick, with the gun having a resemblance to a scaled down Desert Eagle.

This eventually earned it the nickname “Baby Eagle,” even though they had nothing to do with each other. The all-steel design was also very pleasing to purists who have had to endure the rapid emergence of the polymer-framed pistol market.

Today’s Jericho 941

Today, IWI US brings us its most updated series of the Jericho pistols. The pistol is available in both its original steel-framed version as well as a modernized polymer frame.

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Abandoning the now obsolete .41 AE, each version is available in either 9mm or .40 S&W. The mid-sized steel pistol also gives an option of .45 ACP for a little extra kick from the waistband.

Both the steel and the polymer-framed pistols are available in either a full-sized version sporting a 4.4-inch barrel or a mid-sized version with a reduced barrel length of 3.8 inches. For testing, we were loaned a polymer mid-sized gun in 9mm ($559 MSRP).

The Jericho still retains the original double-action/single-action configuration it was introduced with. Along the slide, you will find a cross block safety in lieu of a de-cocking lever.

I found this desirable, as it gives you the option of carrying it locked and cocked or hammer down. Without getting into the debate over the two, I thought it was nice to see both schools of thought taken care of on the same platform.

IWI US Jericho 941 - 3Trigger squeeze broke in single action at 5 pounds, 2 ounces, while in double action, it required 11 pounds, 6 ounces of force to make it go bang. This is no doubt to reduce the chance of accidental discharge should you have a threat at gunpoint. The NYPD actually uses a trigger of nearly the same weight on their officers’ Glocks for the same reason.

A Lyman digital trigger pull scale (LymanProducts.com; $74.99) was used to determine these values. Although the double-action trigger was stiff, it’s fair to point out that there’s almost no reason to ever have to take a double-action shot as long as you are carrying with the hammer cocked and the safety on. If you are of the hammer down school of thought, all it takes is practice to get accurate.

The grip of the pistol is also very different from anything else on the market. The 941 has a very sharp grip angle that will appeal to Glock shooters.

However, it has a palm swell that is very low to meet the heel of your hand, making it very comfortable to shoot. The finger grooves also are a nice addition as long as your hand fills them correctly.

Range Day

The much anticipated range day brought us mist and periodic showers…weather that is never desirable for a plinking session but always makes for good data when testing. We weren’t gentle on the Jericho 941; we left it in the downpours to really test the durability of the Israeli pistol and see how a little moisture affected our grip. In other words, we wanted to see what it was made of!

Shooting the Jericho was very effortless. Even damp, it was easy to keep a firm grip during recoil and place controlled pairs on our Shootsteel.com full-sized IPSC target (ShootSteel.com; $207).

Although it has a high bore axis, the 941 comes back on target relatively fast with little effort. All rounds cycled perfectly without a single hang up all day, no matter how bad the elements were to it.

IWI US Jericho 941 - 4We collected data using a defensive load, a practice load and a competition load. We chose HPR’s new Black Ops OTF 85-grain round as our defensive test load, Freedom Munitions’ new 115-grain RN American Steel Round, and built our competition loads up with Hodgdon Titegroup Powder, X-Treme 124-grain RN bullets and Wolf WPA Small Pistol Primers.

The HPR OTF rounds (Open Tipped Frangible) are designed to shatter, yet remain straight through soft barriers such as glass and dry wall. This round gave us groups hovering right around 3.5 inches at 15 yards.

Freedom Munitions American Steel ammo provides the shooter economical steel-cased rounds that forgo the polymer coating. To solve the functioning issues that sometimes arise with steel ammo, the cases have been brass plated.

This round brought in consistent groups right around the 4-inch mark at the same distance. Our handload was made from competitors’ go-to components, providing a light round that brought in accuracy in the 3-inch neighborhood at that same 15 yards.

The pistol provided serviceable accuracy with all loads. At 15 yards, we didn’t have any groups break the 5-inch mark. This level of accuracy will be sufficient for most defensive carry situations.

IWI US Jericho 941 - 6Back on the Bench

Getting the pistol back to the bench, we took it down for a thorough cleaning. It had a rough day in the rain, so it certainly was called for.

To accomplish fieldstripping, simply align the mark on the slide with the mark on the frame, and then remove the takedown lever. Once the lever is removed, the slide will ride the rails straight off of the frame.

After they are separated, the recoil spring guide slips off of the barrel and the spring off of that. The barrel can now be lifted out of the slide with no effort.

In other words, pretty standard takedown. It was noted that the recoil spring system consisted of two springs, attenuating the recoil pulse and giving us that fast repeatability in our controlled pair drills.

We cleaned the pistol with Hoppe’s new foaming bore cleaner (Hoppes.com), then wiped it dry and lubricated it. It really was that simple.

Final Analysis

The new polymer 3.8-inch Jericho 941 provided lightweight, controllable firepower with a variety of carry options. This gun would be most at home in the defensive and tactical market, as it digests all types of ammo in even less-than-perfect weather conditions.

Accuracy is less than match grade, so you may want to stick to the 4.4-inch barreled version if you plan on running it in USPSA or IDPA, although the accuracy with the little guy will certainly have you competitive in steel challenge. Overall, I like the new lightweight version of the classic IWI service pistol.

For more information be sure to check out www.iwi.us.

Specifications:

IWI US Jericho 941
Type: Short Recoil Semi-Auto
Caliber: 9mm or .40 S&W
Composition: Polymer frame, Steel Slide
Capacity: 17rd 9mm / 13rd .40 S&W
Barrel: 3.8 in. Cold Hammer Forged
Overall length: 7.6 in.
Weight: 1.6 lbs.
Sights: Adjustable – Black w/ White dot
Safety: Cross Block /  non decocking
MSRP: $559
Manufacturer: IWI USA, (717) 695-2081, www.iwi.us

This article is an excerpt from the Fall 2016 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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