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IWI Jericho 941 Review: Better than the CZ 75?

We take a look at the IWI Jericho 941 -- an all-metal pistol based on the CZ 75 design. But is this Israeli gun better than the CZ? Come find out.

It is no secret that the CZ-75 is one of the world’s most influential pistols, having spawned many clones and imitators over the decades.

What is a bit of a secret, though, is just how good some of those CZ-75 derivatives are.

IWI Jericho FB

Cue the IWI Jericho. On the surface, it may seem like just another traditional DA/SA metal-framed pistol, but if you get some trigger time behind one, you will realize exactly why that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Aside from being used by the protagonist of one of the best anime shows (you knew it was coming), it just has that “it” factor for me.

Spike Jericho
Whether you love Cowboy Bebop or hate it, Spike Spiegel and his Jericho are one of the most iconic duos out there.

Please note that this review will be covering the steel-framed Jericho only. Polymer-framed versions change the characteristics of the gun enough that I feel a separate future review would be necessary.

So let’s take a look at some of the specs, features, and other things that set the Jericho apart from the competition.

Table of Contents

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IWI Jericho At a Glance

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Extremely low recoil
  • Accurate

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Lack of aftermarket

The Bottom Line

The Jericho 941 is one of my all-time favorite pistols. It is affordable, soft-shooting, accurate, and fun. They are built on a reliable design from a reputable company and are a reminder that quality all-steel pistols don’t have to break the bank.

IWI Jericho FB

Specs & Features

Specs

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 16+1
  • Action: Semi-automatic double-action/single-action (hammer fired)
  • Length: 8.2” (F9, R9), 7.6″ (FS9, RS9)
  • Barrel Length: 4.4” (F9, R9), 3.8″ (FS9, RS9)
  • Height: 5.5”
  • Width: 1.4”
  • Weight: 2.3 lbs (F9), 1.95 lbs (FS9)
  • Comes With: Two 16-round magazines, owner’s manual, cleaning brush, gun lock

Features

  • Steel frame
  • Inverted slide rails
  • Full-length dust cover with accessory rail
  • Cold hammer-forged barrel

Source: IWI

549
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Background

In 1990, Israeli Military Industries (IMI) sought to make a new pistol for domestic security and police use, as well as commercial export.

Instead of creating a brand new pistol from scratch, IMI reached out to the Italian manufacturer Tanfoglio, who were already known for their high-quality CZ-75 clones.

Pre-rail IMI Jerichos
The older, pre-rail Jerichos look especially nice to me. So nice that I bought three of them.

Using supplied parts from Tanfoglio helped circumvent a long design and testing process, allowing IMI to quickly design their own version and produce the gun we know today as the Jericho 941.

The U.S. market saw the introduction of the Jericho in 1990. Various companies have imported the gun under various naming schemes and rollmarks.

Jericho 941, Uzi Eagle, Desert Eagle Pistol, Baby Eagle – these are some of the trade names that the pistol has gone by throughout its time.

In 2005, IMI was privatized and rebranded as Israeli Weapons Industries (IWI), who still produces and imports the Jericho 941 today.

Honestly, there is enough history and minor model variations of the Jericho for an entire article, but I will spare everyone the boring history lesson and get into the nitty-gritty.

Who Is It For?

This is a true shooter’s gun, plain and simple. It can function as a duty gun, home defense gun, or just a fun range toy. It covers just about every base, although people looking to concealed carry one might consider a lighter gun.

I find that the Jericho is consistently one of the easiest guns for new shooters to learn on due to its ergonomics and low recoil. These guns really make for a pleasant and rewarding shooting experience regardless of skill level.

Fit & Feel

Being based on the CZ-75 has its benefits, and one of those is outstanding ergonomics.

Like its progenitor, the Jericho’s slide rides inside the frame. This gives the gun a very low bore axis. Combined with a solid beavertail and a slightly undercut trigger guard, it allows for a nice, high grip.

Jericho 941 rear
The slide riding inside of the frame helps bring the bore axis down. The beavertail allows you to choke up on the grip without feeling cramped.

For me, it feels like my hand “locks in” naturally.

Unfortunately, the factory plastic grip panels are a bit lackluster when it comes to texture and feel. Additionally, there are vertical serrations on the front and backstraps, but they are not very aggressive.

The grip can feel slightly slippery at times as a result, but the shape of the grip and the beavertail prevent your hand from moving around too much.

Older models featured polygonal barrel rifling, but current models have traditional lands and grooves rifling.

Parts fitment is fantastic. I feel like the Jericho 941 has better tolerances than the current base model CZ-75 B pistols. The frame-to-slide fit is excellent, the barrel lockup is great, and everything feels solid.

As with most CZ-style guns, the smaller slide gives you less purchase. A more trapezoidal-shaped slide and a lack of front serrations are noticeable here, but still, the Jericho takes very little force to rack.

The movement of the slide has been exceedingly smooth on every Jericho I have ever handled.

Jericho Safety
The frame-mounted safety has a nice ledge that makes actuation easy and doubles as a good thumb rest.

Barrel lengths are available in 4.4-inch or 3.8-inch configurations. Both options still utilize the same full-sized 16+1 capacity grip.

Customers also have the choice between frame safety and slide-mounted safety models. The slide-mounted safety also functions as a decocker, while the frame safety allows you to carry the gun “cocked and locked” in single-action mode.

You have a somewhat long, heavier double-action trigger pull that clocks in around 10 pounds. There is a bit of resistance at first, but the rest of the pull is fairly smooth. In single action, there is some take-up to a wall, then a very tiny amount of creep before a pretty crisp break right around the 5-pound mark.

The slide safety/decocker may be an attractive option for those wanting to keep the gun ready for double-action.

I personally prefer the frame safety for the ability to carry safely in single-action and due to the fact that the slide safety covers a good portion of the rear cocking serrations.

One thing I find noteworthy that doesn’t get mentioned often is how ridiculously easy the slide release is to use. Applying the slightest pressure will send the slide home, which is nice for those who prefer using a slide release.

If you really want the exact Bebop gun, expect to overpay for an older pre-rail full-size Jericho marked 941 with a slide safety.

Current model Jerichos all come with Picatinny rails standard. But if you want to larp as Spike Spiegel, you will have to hunt down an older pre-rail model.

Sights are a pretty standard 3-dot affair, and I find them to be functional without being too large or too small. Older model Jerichos had taller sights, which tend to shoot to a bit higher point-of-impact for me at closer distances (7-10 yards).

They aren’t precision target sights, but they will get the job done. Aftermarket night sights are also available.

A selling point for some is the Jericho’s ability to use standard small-frame CZ/EAA 16-round magazines. In my experience, the Mec-Gar CZ/EAA mags function well but require a fair amount of force to seat.

As you can see in the picture below, the IWI-branded magazines stick out a little more and require little effort to seat. The Mec-Gar magazines sit completely flush, and if you don’t slam them in, there is a higher risk of not completely seating the magazine and having it fall out during shooting.

Jericho Magazines
The factory IWI-branded magazines (left) stick out slightly. The Mec-Gar small-frame CZ/EAA magazines (right) are a bit shorter and require more force to insert.

How Does It Shoot?

Finally, we are to the good part.

How is it? It is damn awesome. I admit that I have a soft spot for CZ-style guns and the Jericho in particular, but these things are such sweet shooters that most people feel the same way I do after shooting one.

In a nutshell, it is accurate, soft-shooting, and oh-so smooooooooth.

Insert a mag, drop the slide, and let some rounds off. The whole operation is as smooth as a stick of butter sliding across ice covered in olive oil.

The grip, weight, and bore axis all work together to produce a soft and flat-shooting pistol that tracks well.

Below are a few of my groups at 10 yards. The left and right targets were shot with a newer 3.8-inch railed Jericho 941 using PMC 115 gr FMJ ammo (left) and Hornady 124 gr XTP hollowpoints (right). The middle target was shot with my older 4.4-inch Uzi Eagle using 124 gr Norma FMJ ammo.

Accuracy is relatively consistent regardless of which specific Jericho I use or which ammo I shoot.

The far left group, minus the flyer, is much more indicative of what these guns can achieve. With a better shooter behind the trigger, you can really squeeze some great accuracy out of these guns.

Regardless of what configuration you opt for, it will deliver the goods. There isn’t much else to say other than that they are easy and fun to shoot and reward good marksmanship.

I will also note that I have never experienced a stoppage of any kind when shooting any Jericho, whether it be brand new, old, or even surplus Israeli police trade-ins.

100% of the time, it works every time. Jokes aside, stoppages and malfunctions would likely be few and far between in my limited experience.

What Sets it Apart?

Price to performance is where the Jericho shines. Coming in at anywhere between $450 and $650, it punches well above its class. Everything feels smooth and robust, and it gives the impression that hardly any corners were cut.

Uzi Eagle
For me, the Jericho is a great-looking gun, especially the older ones.

By the Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

As mentioned, I have yet to experience any malfunctions of any kind across roughly ten different Jericho pistols of varying ages and configurations.

Ergonomics: 4/5

The grip shape is very comfortable, and the controls are intuitive. I have to knock off a star due to sub-par grip serrations, the grip texture, and a lack of forward slide serrations.

Accuracy: 4.5/5

With a steady hand, you can squeeze some great groups out of these guns thanks to the CZ-inspired design.

Customization: 3/5

Unfortunately, this is where the gun falls short. Aside from grip panels, sights, and potential trigger work, there isn’t much out there for these guns. Holsters for the newer models are available, but choices may be limited.

Value: 4.5/5

Getting a pistol that feels this solid and shoots this well at a reasonable price is honestly one of the biggest draws. It feels like it shoots somewhere between CZ 75B and a CZ 75 SP-01 while costing much closer to the former.

Overall: 4.5/5

549
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

An empty mag does you no good, so don’t forget to stock up on ammo!

9mm Ammo in Stock

Deal
Grain
Cost Per Round
Notes
115gr
$0.26
124gr
$0.26
115gr
$0.29
Free shipping & only FL tax
108gr
$0.35
147gr
$0.48
Free shipping & only FL tax
115gr
$0.29
115gr
$0.30

Final Verdict

It is a bit heavy for those looking for an everyday carry gun, but man is it pretty darned good at everything else. Whether you are newer to the game, or a seasoned shooter, you can have a lot of fun with these guns.

Regardless of the barrel length you choose, or whether you hunt down an older model, performance will be consistent across the board.

If you are looking for a classic hammer-fired DA/SA gun or are even mildly interested in a CZ-style gun, I highly recommend checking the Jericho out.

Do you have any experience with the Jericho 941? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Interested in other hefty guns? Check out our article on the 7 Best Metal Framed Semi-Automatic Pistols!

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20 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Joseph Williams

    You've shown a light on my secret. I've bought 3 original IMI. Under $500 for each of them. Super cheap, already beat up so carrying while fishing streams in the mountains doesn't matter. I'm a 1911 guy who loves the Jericho. Plus getting the Isreali markings is just cool.

    January 1, 2023 10:08 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Wyatt Sloan

      I had to reveal the secret at some point, haha. I was fortunate enough to snag my 3 older IMI guns in all three of the different sizes they offered. They are just such great all-around guns that it is hard to only have one!

      January 3, 2023 10:12 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    IDF

    Jericho F9 Full size Steel Frame, 4.4" barrel, a work horse that never fails.

    I replaced both sights with a Meprolight MicroRDS and its Quick Detach (QD) Adaptor and Backup Day/Night Sights. Works very well for me.

    On the bottom rail I have mounted a Streamlight TLR 8 (white light & green laser).

    To enhance the grip panels texture, I attached to the panels an anti slip tread strips. Sanded it down to my level of comfort and there you go, the Jericho stays still & firm. Bare sweaty hands in a hot summer day, with or without gloves, it just wont move.

    For me weight is not an issue, it is a handgun simply irreplaceable.

    December 31, 2022 5:09 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mark

      I just picked up a used Jericho 941 today and I’m loving it! How easy or difficult was it for you to install the Meprolight kit?

      January 21, 2023 10:41 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    David Drury

    I bought a Baby Eagle in 45ACP in 2002. It's the smoothest shooting 45 you will come across. 1000s of rounds through it and maybe a handful of hiccups, and I would put those on the cheap ammo. Best $300 I ever spent, and my grandkids will get to know the pleasure of shooting this handgun whenever they are ready to learn(don't have any yet, and told my son I'm in no hurry to be grandpa). The price has increased, but if you see 1 and are in the market for a 45, I can't think of a better option.

    December 30, 2022 8:21 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Wyatt Sloan

      At 300 dollars, that was a hell of a buy, even in 2002. I wish IWI still produced the Jericho in .45 ACP, but they dropped it a while back. Fortunately, Magnum Research still makes the Baby Desert Eagle in .45, but covering all the "almost a Jericho" pistols in this article would have made for a long read. You have a really neat pistol there; she is definitely a keeper.

      December 30, 2022 2:14 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Chris Sewell

    You didn't mention the original model IWI 941, came packaged with both 9mm & .41 Action Express barrels, and mags! (The .41 AE. Rounds never caught on inthe USA) It was still a cool combo gun kit.
    My brushed nickel 941 fits my hand like a glove! The only guns with a better grip are the Walther guns!

    December 30, 2022 5:35 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Wyatt Sloan

      Chris, those KBI imported kits with the barrels and included ammo were so cool, but sadly, they are near unobtanium now. I had thought about elaborating more on the .41 AE cartridge, but that could take up a whole article in and of itself. "Fits like a glove" is something I hear a lot from Jericho owners. Glad you like yours!

      December 30, 2022 2:10 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Gerald Parker

    Probably one of the few guns I keep in constant rotation on range days. Had a P226 Mk25, which in my oversight I unfortunately sold for a Glock.

    Resolved that issue with a purchase of an import 941. Best CZ that never was.

    December 30, 2022 5:26 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    John Gaddis

    The Jericho is far from a CZ, but is one of the better clones.

    I've been shooting CZ 7b - through the TS 9mm since 1986. IWI did a decent job but it is a heavy, fat, clunky pistol in comparison.

    December 30, 2022 2:05 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    ShiningSea

    Thanks Wyatt. Was very excited when i saw your writeup on the Jericho 941 F9 (the first one i've come across when not seeking it out). It was my first firearm purchase, made at a large venue gun show where i literally went through every vendor table trying out pistol after pistol and not finding anything that felt right in my hand. Closing time was approaching and it was looking like i'd be going home still looking for that first handgun. Then the lines of this dark brown pistol caught my eye and my heartbeat literally quickened. I had tried about twenty or so pistols that day, with one or two of them being 'maybes'. When i wrapped my hand around that Jericho i knew i'd found the handgun i was looking for. That was a little over five years ago. No problems, very reliable, it's still more accurate than i am. Though the low profile slide makes brass checks a little more challenging, it is still the pistol i choose to rely in a defense or combat situation. Godspeed

    December 29, 2022 9:14 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Wyatt Sloan

      I always love stories like these. The Jericho really seems to be "that gun" for a lot of people who end up handling them. It is an amazing gun to rely on when you need it; I am glad you enjoy yours so much!

      December 30, 2022 2:05 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Chris

    Can u get 10 round mags for this gun?

    December 29, 2022 8:02 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Wyatt Sloan

      Hi, Chris. You can indeed get 10-round magazines for this gun. They are available directly from IWI and also a number other online retailers.

      December 29, 2022 8:40 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ken Tipton

    I have a Jericho 941 FS9 and I completely agree with you on the reliability and ease of shooting. I replaced the rear sight with a MEPRO Bullseye FT and target acquisition is faster and spot on. I recommend using this new type of sight (you only need to replace the rear sight as the front sight is no longer used) for faster acquisition and simpler sight picture. The only downside that I have found is not being able to find a .40 S&W barrel, recoil spring, and magazines for it. If I could find these, then it just might become the perfect EDC (I don't mind the extra weight as my other carry is a Sig 1911 RCS compact in .45). I also carry SOB which also helps with weight reduction. I had both SOB holsters (Jericho and Sig) made for me by Rudy at Black Hill Leather in Laredo, Texas. Rudy does excellent work and molds each holster to the specific gun.

    December 29, 2022 5:28 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Wyatt Sloan

      I am glad you enjoy your Jericho as much as I do. Awesome shoutout on the holsters; I might have to see if I can get one made for my pre-rail models!

      December 29, 2022 8:42 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mikial

    Great article, Wyatt. I have an older Israeli police trade-in Jericho. It's a polymer frame marked 'Israeli Military Industries' and 'Made in Israel'. I love that gun. I can't think of a single instance when it has malfunctioned on me. It goes everywhere I do and rests by my bed at night.

    December 29, 2022 4:40 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Wyatt Sloan

      Thanks, Mikial! A buddy of mine bought one of the older pre-rail SAO stainless Israeli police trade-ins. It had a fair amount of external wear, but it was still very reliable and an absolute tack driver. I've yet to have one let me down yet.

      December 29, 2022 8:44 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Master Sarge

    I took an advanced pistol course this fall and shot my IWI Jericho… 3 days on the range, over 1000 rounds. My Jericho shot flawlessly, and accuracy from 2 to 25 yards was great for a combat pistol (as long as I did my part). We even got to shoot in the rain, and the Jericho ran perfectly. This is my preferred CCW pistol (reliability and accuracy), which I carry in an IWI security holster.

    December 29, 2022 4:11 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Wyatt Sloan

      That is about as good of an endorsement as it gets! If the weight isn't a big deal for you, they make damn fine carry guns.

      December 29, 2022 8:46 pm
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