Thread: Jimenez Arms JA-22 Review
11/29/2011 9:40pm, #1
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.
1/19/2012 3:29pm, #2
Put around 100 rounds through this guy, today. Had maybe 6 feed problems, and a dozen fail-to-fires. I put all the fail-to-fires back through the gun, and they all went (yeah, I know, bad idea, not safe, blah blah).
Long story short, the spring is just borderline stiff enough to fire the round while still being soft enough to operate the slide during the .22's weak blowback. I think any stiffer and the slide won't cycle; any weaker and the primer won't light off. I'll try some high-velocity rounds next time out and report back. If I get good action with the high-velocity rounds, I'll maybe put a stiffer spring in, as well, hopefully correcting both of these problems.
1/19/2012 3:40pm, #3
The ring of fire guns just won't go away, will they?And lo, Kano looked down upon the field and saw the multitudes. Amongst them were the disciples of Uesheba who were greatly vexed at his sayings. And Kano spake: "Do not be concerned with the mote in thy neighbor's eye, when verily thou hast a massive stick in thine ass".
--Scrolls of Bujutsu: Chapter 5 vs 10-14.
12/29/2012 7:25pm, #4
- Join Date
- Dec 2012
I appreciate your review greatly. I just recently became aware of this gun manufacturer. I'm in Lake Havasu City, AZ, and am considering this JA22 for my purse gun (I'm a girl. I like to keep a gun in my purse). As much as I would love, love, love a higher caliber bullet, I'm very little and have strength issues with the slides and loading bullets.
Every man is pushing me for a 9 mm. I'm sorry, I'm just not comfortable with it. The recoil is too much and hurts my very little wrists. I handled the Ruger LCP .380 at the gun show today and could not pull the slide back - and caught a piece of my skin in the slide upon retraction. Unacceptable. If I can't handle my gun because of strength issues there's no point in having that type of gun. I had a Walther P22 that, when it fired, was so much fun, but it's a total piece of **** and has been returned to S&W and replaced two times now. After 2 new P22's, FTF is still a huge issue (even the reps at S&W couldn't believe the issues with their own guns).
So, my question is, is this weapon a decent weapon or should I look at something else? I have my bigger guns. I'm solely looking for small, compact, and light. I have a .380, and I have to ask people to load the clips for me because I can't push the bullets down. We also had to put grippy stuff on the slide so I could pull the slide back. I barely shoot this gun because it's too difficult for me. I have a .20 gauge shotgun and I love it, but it doesn't fit into my purse.
Your thoughts on my situation are greatly appreciated.
And by the way, the gun retailer is a good, honest guy. He's a great gunsmith and was honest with me when he said he's had to make a few adjustments here and there on these Jimenez guns. I'm assuming it might have to do with the firing issue noted above. He told me that if I did have any issues he could tweak appropriately. So... that's something to consider also.
Last edited by bonbuttercup; 12/29/2012 7:30pm at .
12/29/2012 9:16pm, #5
If you want to buy a 22 caliber pistol for self defense I would suggest a more reliable firearm then this one, Berretta used to make some of its models in 22 lr I'd probably start there.
12/29/2012 9:30pm, #6
- Join Date
- Dec 2012
Disappointingly, Beretta comes with a whopping 1 year warranty. That's unacceptable. I'm looking at Taurus and Phoenix Arms, both come with lifetime warranties. And at least I'm not gun-less; I do have a North American Arms 22 Long Rifle mini revolver that I just found some nifty accessories for so this will get me by for now until I find the right gun. I've definitely decided to stay away from Jimenez. Too many bad reviews. But I appreciate everyone's insight and posts.
12/29/2012 9:44pm, #7
The conventional wisdom is to not go with any caliber smaller than .380 for self defense. Then again, more people are apparently killed by .22LR (outside of armed conflicts) than any other round.
I mainly just wanted to post on this thread because it's cool.
12/30/2012 11:37am, #8
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
bonbuttercup - please don't settle on a .22 for self defense. It just doesn't cut the mustard. There are other solutions if strength is an issue.
I'm not clear on your level of experience with various pistols based on your post. Are you sure you can't operate the slide on a larger semiauto pistol? I ask because I also have a Ruger LCP .380 and it's much harder to operate the slide on that than my larger pistols because you have so little to grip.
Also, you mentioned recoil as an issue. Be aware that those small pistols are very snappy. With any given caliber you'll experience less felt recoil when shooting it in a larger gun.
I'm not making any assumptions about your level of experience. But in my opinion tiny pocket pistols should only be used by more experienced shooters. They're harder to handle, harder to hit the target with and shot placement is more of an issue because you're probably shooting a lighter grain bullet.
What about revolvers? Maybe a .38 Special. You'll find a lot of revolvers with very slim grips that may suit you well. I have a hard time believing you or any other adult is too weak to handle a real pistol of some sort. My 8 year old daughter can do it with proper guidance. I would suggest more experimentation.
I've looked at the NAA .22s you mentioned many times. I've considered buying one for occasions when I absolutely can't conceal anything substantial, like in dress pants. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that I'd rather fight with my pocket knife than a tiny little single action .22 revolver.
There's a reason everyone has recommended a 9mm for you. Magazine loading will be a non-issue in a self defense situation. You'll most likely never have to work the slide in a self defense situation. 15 rounds of 9mm should be plenty to get the job done. If you can't handle a 9mm you probably can't handle any pistol properly. It sounds like more training may be the real need.
12/30/2012 12:21pm, #9
Look into a 5 shot 38 snubnose. Tiny, no slide to operate, negligible recoil. 38 is a proven self defense round and costs pennies.
Otherwise, a 25 Cal Taurus is better than no gun at all. Just not a lot better.And lo, Kano looked down upon the field and saw the multitudes. Amongst them were the disciples of Uesheba who were greatly vexed at his sayings. And Kano spake: "Do not be concerned with the mote in thy neighbor's eye, when verily thou hast a massive stick in thine ass".
--Scrolls of Bujutsu: Chapter 5 vs 10-14.
12/30/2012 8:08pm, #10
Everything above... I didn't get a chance to chime in earlier, but this is NOT the gun you want for self-defense (nor any of the Jiminez Saturday-Night-Specials). It is not reliable. It is fun, and cheap, but it's a truly a piece of crap. My post #2 above is all you need to know - there's a 1 in 5 chance that this gun will not fire when you need it to, and that's probably being generous.
(edit) The P22's are nice guns, but they are really picky. You need to use a hotter, cleaner load.
Last edited by submessenger; 12/30/2012 8:31pm at .