Jimenez Arms JA-22 Review
So, one guy at the gun show had a bunch of Jimenez Arms laying out, with a sign saying $89! How can you beat that? For $89, he was offering brand-new .22LR and .25ACP JAs in blue, stainless, and chrome. I couldn't pass it up.
I chose the .22 because I already have that cartridge in my arsenal, and because it's super cheap ammo for just-for-fun shooting.
A little history for ya... Jimenez Arms is the phoenix from the ashes of the defunct Bryco, which was sued into non-existence a while back. Bryco had some safety issues, according to the State of California, as well as a death from an ND. One of the employees bought the remains, renamed (and later relocated) the company, and started stamping out the same weapons as before.
Stamp out, indeed. These are all-steel constructed frames with a fixed barrel. The aesthetic is pure flea market. I got the blued version, as I have a personal aversion to shiny weapons. Two cheap plastic grips round out the package that makes my PF-9 look like a monster gun.
Beauty and the beast.
Despite being so small, it has a real nice feel in the hand. It's a breeze to carry, I actually golfed with it in a belly band on Sunday (you know, in case of snakes or alligators or a truly bad lie).
And, wow, this gun is really fun to shoot! Too much fun for the 6+1 capacity. At least it comes with two magazines, and more are just an internet away (http://jimenezarmsinc.com/). I put 50 rounds of cheap Federal American Eagle through it.
Here's where I include the bad parts of this review. I had three fail-to-fires. I'm willing to write two of these off to crap ammo, but on one round, it looks as though the firing pin barely kissed the rim. I neglected to grab a spent round for comparison.
Crap ammo, crap gun, or crap operator? Perhaps a combination?
I had two jams because of fail-to-eject. Both of these occurred because I started to grip a little too tight, which interfered with the proper travel of the slide. There's not enough blowback in the .22 cartridge to move the slide if you're interfering with it.
It has occurred to me that the FTFs were also because of slide interference. Next time out, I'll try to remember and report back on this. I have read that there is a break-in period for this gun, but I have doubts - I think it more likely that this gun breaks the user in, not the other way around.
Accuracy? Who cares? Just kidding... for such a tiny gun, the full 4-inch sight radius seems luxurious. The fixed sights seem right on, I put all but two or three strays into an 8-inch circle at 5 yards, but I really wasn't concentrating on marksmanship - like I said, this gun is so fun to just shoot. I was squeezing off 2, 3, 6 at a clip for much of my introductory session. Recoil was almost non-existent; it was about on par with an earnest fist-bump from one of your buddies.
Trigger travel is measured in millimeters, thankfully so because your finger is already in sort of a weird configuration because of the small grip. At the center of the trigger, there's about 4mm of slack, then there is about a 3mm travel to release the firing pin. The trigger is single action. The firing pin doubles as a cocked indicator, as a bright orange tail sticks out of the break-down button on the rear of the slide.
Four crazy inches of pure fun.
This is my first experience with a break-down button. The manual was no help, as it didn't have any pictures besides the parts explosion. Internet to the rescue. The break-down button is the aluminum thing at the back of the slide through which the firing pin pokes its orange rubber tail. A spent 22 cartridge works well to push this down, but - warning - the firing pin spring will eject this thing well into the shooting lanes. I knew that before I went to the range, and still ended up sifting through spent brass to recover the button and spring. Dis-assembly is otherwise very easy; depress the button, lift the slide away from the receiver. Putting it back together is essentially the reverse, but you have to find the sweet spot to get the slide to go back over the barrel.
Try finding this on a floor covered in 9mm casings.
A nice shot of the innards.
Inside, the design is so simple, it just has to work, right? Well, not so quick. Inspect your weapon well. Last time I reassembled before I went to the range, I apparently slipped the linkage that holds the firing pin in the cocked position. As such, I couldn't initially ready the gun, which is why I had to break it down at the range. Again, this is a beginner error, and you will hopefully benefit from my red face.
Make sure it looks like this before you attach the slide.
The trigger lock is a really neat design. Custom molded for this gun, it snugly and securely wraps the trigger guard and fills the space inside. The star key locks into place in the open configuration, and full operation of the lock takes less than 1/4 turn. It's truly easy and quick to operate, so there's no good excuse to not lock this weapon when it's stored.
Snug as a bug in a rug.
If the other JAs are as fun as this one, I might end up with one of each.