Rating the Handguns

A rundown of how Gun Tests magazine rated handguns manufactured by companies in southern California. (Gun Tests calls itself "the consumer resource for the serious shooter" and is considered the Consumer Reports of firearms products. The magazine is published monthly by Belvoir Publications, Inc., Greenwich, CT.)

Bryco Arms J-22:

"Considering this Bryco Arms' low price, we weren't expecting the J-22 to be much of a performer. However, we did expect it to function much better than it did. Due to the large number of malfunctions we encountered with this pistol, we cannot recommend it."
May 1996

Lorcin L-22:

"Some of our shooters liked the way the Lorcin L-22 felt in the hand, but we wouldn't pay any amount of money for a gun that self-destructs in a couple of hundred rounds. Stay away from this one."
May 1996

Phoenix Arms HP-22:

"Our shooters didn't like that Phoenix Arms HP-22's magazine interlock, and it was a pain in the butt to reassemble. But, due to its steel construction and reliable functioning, we do think it is worth considering as an inexpensive plinker."
May 1996

Jennings Bryco Model 59:

"Lackluster accuracy is not exactly unexpected from a pistol that barely costs $100, so we won't quibble about the Jennings/Bryco pistol's performance in that area. A somewhat reliable performance isn't too much to ask, however, and we didn't get that. Jennings needs to refine its magazines before we would even consider recommending this 9mm."
September 1994

Lorcin L-9mm:

"A marginal finish isn't enough to disqualify a $160 gun. A magazine that doesn't work correctly from the start and a sear that breaks after 37 rounds is more than enough. Stay away from this one."
September 1994

Lorcin L-25:

"The Lorcin L-25's best attribute was that it didn't bite the shooter's hand. Though adequate in most areas, feeding problems and inferior accuracy prevents us from recommending it."
June 1993

Phoenix Arms Raven:

"For a gun of this type, the Phoenix Arms Raven isn't bad. The malfunctions we encountered were well within a pistol's normal break-in period, and its overall performance was acceptable for its intended use. Its durability will be limited due to its alloy construction, but for less than $75 that's to be expected."
February 1993

Sundance Model A-25:

"The Model A-25 was comparatively accurate and we like the location of its magazine release. However, we don't think those are enough to offset such an inconsistent trigger and blood-letting ergonomics."
June 1993

Sundance BOA:

"From a practical standpoint, the BOA had far too many malfunctions, a trigger that needed considerable improvement and only marginal ergonomics. From a theoretical standpoint, the grip safety could lead the uninitiated in the wrong direction. Sundance should take this one back to the drawing board."
June 1993

Davis P-380:

"Discriminating shooters won't like the Davis P-380's alloy construction and rudimentary features. However, it met our number-one requirement -- it functioned reliably. If you're on a tight budget, this pistol should meet your basic shooting needs."
May 1993

Lorcin L-22:

"Lorcin's L-22 has the makings of a decent pocket plinker. However, until the slide bite and functioning problems are fixed, we aren't going to recommend it."
December 1993

Bryco .32:

"The Bryco performed as well, and is made as well, as anyone could expect of a gun in this price range, and we were pleasantly surprised to note that it digested hollowpoint ammunition reliably. If we were going to choose an inexpensive .32 ACP pocket pistol, we'd pick the Bryco."
March 1992


"The Davis .32 is reliable to the extent that the manufacturer says it will be. They recommend using Federal ammunition, and if you are in a state that has good distribution of that brand (not all of us are; even Federal admits that), then the gun will serve its purpose. If you're in a location where Federal ammo is hard to buy, don't buy this gun."
March 1992

Bryco Model 48:

"Removing a sharp edge or two and improving the trigger would go a long way toward making the Jennings/Bryco Model 48 pistol better. As it is, we find it just acceptable, primarily because of its low price."
November 1992

Lorcin L-380:

"The failures to feed a couple of rounds per magazine of hollowpoints defeats the purpose of a gun made for personal defense. Some internal smoothing is in order before we can recommend the Lorcin L380, despite its accuracy and low price."
November 1992

Jennings Model 25:

"Magazine problems are often the only things we find wrong with some of the budget guns, and here, the Jennings Model 25 is no exception. Some improvements in this area would eliminate the feeding difficulties and probably wouldn't add that much to the cost. In any event, the price is low enough to make us consider purchasing this pistol."
July 1990

Lorcin L-25:

"If the primary reason for purchasing a .25 is security, and the buyer does not expect to do much serious shooting; the price, appearance, and manufacturer's warranty may be attractive. Those factors aside, there are enough reasons (the trigger, ejection, and accuracy) to warrant shopping around a little before coming back to the Lorcin L-25."
July 1990

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