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Budget Gun Review: Raven MP-25
Budget gun review:
Raven Arms MP-25
Type: Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin: United States
Designer: George Jennings
Manufacturer: Raven Arms
Cartridge: .25 ACP
Feed system: 6-round detachable box magazine
I debated reviewing this particular weapon. It has a tumultuous history and remains a controversial piece of the American firearms scene. But it fits a budget, and it is a gun; ergo I must review it. It was designed by the (in)famous George Jennings, and is the original, quintessential, “Saturday night special.” Reviled by journalists and anti-crime activists for its extreme popularity with criminals, this weapon suffered a smear campaign unrivaled until the concept of the “scary black rifle” reared its ugly head in the nineties. While it is true that criminals employed this weapon heavily through the seventies (count how many you see in the movies “Dolemite” or “Black Caesar”), it was the same things that attracted the weapon to criminals that attracted it to everyone else. For twenty years, this pocket stinger ruled the streets of Miami, Memphis, and Harlem. It was designed to be small, light and disposable. In the end, like any weapon, it has good points and bad, and the end user must ultimately make the decision for their own reasons, not mine.
You will have no issues concealing this weapon, folks. It is TINY. Slim, lightweight, and eminently concealable, you could hide this thing in a thong bikini. It will slip into your front pocket perfectly, or ride on your ankle with nary a problem. It won’t drag your pants down if worn at the waist, and you don’t really even need a belt. This was a key consideration when the weapon was originally designed, and remains it’s one, great, redeeming feature.
Keep bitching, I’m reloading!-
This weapon only had one competitor in its class when it came out: the Colt .38 Detective special. In the sixties, the snub-nosed .38 ruled the concealed weapon scene. Small, comparatively powerful, and reliable, every cop had one on the ankle and every detective had one on the hip. When the MP-25 hit, you now had access to a weapon that could shoot six rounds and then reload in the blink of an eye. Like all detachable magazine automatics, reloading is as simple as dropping the mag, and sliding in another. While the mag release his actually on the butt of the MP-25, it was still faster than wrestling a speed-loader into a revolver, or worse, feeding individual rounds into the cylinder.
marginally faster than this
There is not a lot to say here. $60-100.00 is all you should ever pay for one of these. This makes it easily the most affordable handgun you will ever hope to get. It is, in fact, a real honest-to-goodness, shoot-the-badguy, bang-bang gun. For 60 bucks, that’s all you can expect.
This may be the least consistent, least accurate handgun I’ve ever used. Short barrel, bad sights, and terrible ergonomics all work together to make consistent groups at any range nearly impossible for the average shooter. It is a true “belly gun.” Basically you shove it in the bad guy’s gut and pull the trigger over and over until it goes click. For example, this is a typical transcript of me explaining this weapon to a novice shooter at the range:
ME: OK. Stand in front of the target with your feet solidly braced shoulder width apart.
SHOOTER: Got it.
ME: Now when you are ready, grip the weapon firmly in your right hand, and strike the target firmly across the face in first a forehand, and then a backhand motion (Demonstrates standard bitch-slap combo). It is acceptable to yell "Where's my money?" or "Why ain't you workin' ho?" as you do this.
SHOOTER: (Stares blankly at me)
ME: Now if she doesn't have your money, you will have to make an example of her to the other girls; or conversely, if a John doesn't want to pay up or roughs up a girl, you are gonna have to make an example out of him. Try to be as close as possible for this. The best way to ensure a decent wound is to shove the gun into the guy's belly and keep shooting until the gun jams (and it will) or until the jerk drops. Got it?
SHOOTER: Uhm...maybe I can just shoot the .454 again?
.25 ACP does not strike fear into the hearts of men. Basically, it deposits just enough kinetic energy to piss off a large male human. As much fun as it is to make fun of this gun, here is a little factoid for you. In CT, there have been six self-defense shootings employing the MP-25 over the last 20 years. All six have been fatal for the attacker. At 100% fatality rate, this weapon exceeds both the .45ACP and .357 magnum for lethality. Obviously the sample is too small to draw any real conclusions, but it is important to note that 6 rounds of .25 at close range means a lot of blood lost for the bad guy. But this certainly will NOT reliably stop a determined assailant in time to prevent a crime. This is the sort of gun that kills the guy with blood loss and organ failure several hours after being shot; making it a poor first choice for self-defense.
Without going into a long and intricate history of the Jennings family tree and the “Ring of Fire” family of gun manufacturers, suffice it to say that your weapon will vary in quality depending on the year it was produced. Much like fine wines, the older ones were generally produced with more attention to detail than later ones. It should be noted, the NONE of these are all that high quality by industry standards. It’s just that the ones produced in the eighties are somewhat famously prone to general mechanical failure. This is not to say that they are unsafe, just unreliable.
Remember the seventies? Big hair, big cars, and big pimps ruled the streets. And nothing said "badass pimp" like a tiny little gun! Bryco Jennings developed these little monsters for the secret agents and James Bond wannabes of the world in the 60's; and later morphed into Raven Arms. For twenty years, this pocket stinger ruled the streets of Miami, Memphis, and Harlem. It was designed to be small, light and disposable: it is the original "Saturday Night Special." It is a fun drinking game to rent seventies blacksploitation movies and cop dramas and do a shot everytime a MP-25 pops up. Don't try this with "Black Caesar" though; you will end up with alcohol poisoning.
I don't care how shitty a shooter this thing is, if Lynard Skynard writes a song about it, it's badass.
Don’t Give a Damn about my Bad Reputation…
Universally considered a throwaway gun for pimps and drug dealers, having one of these will get you many a sideways scowl from the tactical crowd. Normally I hate the tactical crowd, but they sorta have a point, here. This is not a particularly awesome weapon. Most people would save their money a little bit longer and get something better, rather than carry one of these if they could. As a bit of memorabilia, it holds a unique place in the American firearms lexicon. As a real-world tool, you could do much better.
Whattaya want for 60 bucks??
As cool as you can get with this one
You get two finishes, and two choices of grip. That’s it. You’d think the weapon associated with the extravagant and ostentatious pimps and hustlers of the seventies would be more flamboyant. Sadly, it is not. A firearm that offers very little tangibly, should at least offer something visceral to remember it by!
There. I reviewed it. Happy now? I hate to say it, but this piece WILL SHOOT BADGUYS. It may not stop them, but it has a comparable deterrent effect to any other mouse gun. Don’t underestimate that. But otherwise, don’t count on this thing to do anything other than generate a few laughs at the range, and some late night storytelling. If you need a carry piece, save up 300 bucks and get a Taurus 605. You will be happier.