by B. Gil Horman - Tuesday, September 25, 2012
This full-size 9 mm Luger pistol is based on the venerable Czech-designed CZ-75. The CZ has been referred to as the M1911 of Europe. It is an apt description since, like the M1911, the design has inspired a variety of clones from several different manufacturers. In 1990, Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) introduced its take on the CZ design as the Jericho 941. Initially, the pistol was imported to the U.S. market by KBI, Inc. of Harrisburg, Pa.
Soon it became a part of the Magnum Research catalog and was relabeled the Baby Eagle. During the next few years, the options for the Baby Eagle line grew to include models chambered in .40 S&W and .45 ACP, semi-compact and compact sizes, polymer-frame models, and the addition of tactical accessory rails. In 2008, when Magnum Research chose to start building the Desert Eagle in the United States, IWI ended its distribution agreement and went back to distributing the pistol with KBI under the original Jericho name. When KBI closed its doors, the supply of Jericho 941 pistols in this country dried up. Once Kahr purchased Magnum Research in 2010, IWI approached the firm to see if it would take the Baby Eagle back under the Magnum Research wing. Kahr agreed, so today the several configurations of this semi-automatic pistol are once again available as the Baby Eagle II.
The full-size, all-steel 9 mm Luger with a milled-in tactical rail for laser modules and similar accessories was selected for testing. The full-contact internal slide rails and full-length steel guide rod are properly fitted to give the movement of the slide a smooth feel. The pistol features metallic three-dot sights, polymer grip panels with the IWI logo, and an ambidextrous safety and de-cocker lever.
With all of the emphasis lately placed on polymer-frame handguns and 9 mm pocket pistols, one might think that guns like this one are somehow old-fashioned. Although this particular Baby Eagle may be a little too large or heavy for concealed carry, it is exceptionally pleasant to shoot. The weight and balance of the all-steel pistol during free-hand shooting successfully reduces felt recoil, especially with stout defensive ammunition. The ergonomics of the grip frame are among the best I have shot, and shooters with small hands should find that, despite the gun’s capacity, it is quite comfortable. The 12-pound double-action trigger feels heavy, but it presents a smooth pull similar to a quality double-action revolver. The single-action trigger measured 4 pounds, 6 ounces with a short trigger reset for quick follow-up shots. Shooting defense-grade hollow points from the bench at 25 yards produced a best single five-shot group of 2 inches, with the largest three groups opening up to 3 inches in size. Most groups hovered right around the 2.5-inch mark, which is a better level of accuracy than is usually found in production self-defense handguns.
Model: Baby Eagle II (BE9915R)
Caliber: 9 mm Luger (tested),.40 S&W, .45 ACP
Action Type: recoil-operated, semi-automatic center-fire pistol
Frame: black oxide carbon steel
Barrel: 4.52 "
Rifling: polygonal: six-groove, 1:10" RH twist
Magazine: 10- or 15-round-capacity detachable box
Sights: fixed, three-dot
Trigger: double-action/single-action: double-action, 12-lb., 8-oz. pull; single-action, 4-lb., 12-oz. pull
Overall Length: 8.25"
Weight: 39 ozs., unloaded
Accessories: hard case, lock, spare magazine, manual
Suggested Retail Price: $630
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