The Mysterious Jericho-B

jerichob

One of the least-known modern pistols made by IWI is the Jericho-B, announced in 2010, discontinued in 2012. The Jericho-B appears to be an updated version of the IMI Barak pistol, the main difference being an updated slide design, removing the Barak’s characteristic (and unflattering) “rear sight hump” and making the slide more rectangular rather than cylindrical.

Want to know more? After the break!

The specs, which I pulled from an old version of the IWI website, looked like this:

  • Has a very reliable mechanism.
  • Designed for military and police operations.
  • Comes in 3 calibers: 9mm, 0.40 S&W, and 0.45 ACP.
  • Complies to military standards (MILSTD).
  • It is durable and robust, yet  lightweight.
  • Has an integral de-cocking mechanism.
  • Has an ergonomic pistol grip which is grooved to prevent slipping.
  • Comes with an integral accessory rail for mounting electro optics such as flashlights and lasers.
  • Its trigger comes in a single or traditional double action.
  • Available also with a polygonal barrel.
  • Has an ambidextrous external safety catch and three mechanical safeties:
    o Safety hook on the hammer- this mechanism prevents accidental firing when the weapon is dropped.
    o Firing pin block- this mechanism verifies release of the firing pin only by squeezing of the trigger.
    o Slide-barrel locking- this mechanism ensures firing only after locking is complete. The Jericho B has an integral locking mechanism (child proof).
  • Has an ambidextrous magazine release button.
  • Can come with an integral compensator (“c” model).
  • There is an option to implant tritium night sight.
  • Has the option of chrome slides.

You can see from the description that the features are nearly identical to the older Barak pistol. I have never seen a photo of a non-airsoft Jericho B, so I’ve assumed that it was never produced.

A couple months ago, however, a new wrinkle was introduced: a transitional Barak to Jericho B model that no one seemed to have heard about. Mine is still in Maryland handgun roster hell, but here’s a photo from Gunbroker:

barak v2

Unlike the Jericho-B, the slide still has a cylindrical front section. But the rest of the gun looks pretty similar to the Jericho-B. These guns were Israeli police trade-ins, which in and of itself is not unusual – I’ve seen a lot of strange guns in Israeli police hands.

Rumor has it that the IDF had considered the Barak as their new standard sidearm. But the Barak was also a weird looking gun, and it would not shock me if the Jericho-B was some sort of response to internal testing or IDF design comments. I think it is possible that this transitional model Barak was some sort of step in that direction during testing, and that it entered limited production for a short time. Presumably, the IDF turned it down in favor of a more advanced handgun (perhaps something like we’re seeing in the American MHS program), and IWI decided it wasn’t worth investing in compared to the polymer Jerichos.

The Jericho B existed in some form, though… the Polish website Altair has a couple of excellent photos from Europoltech 2011 showing the Jericho B in assembled and disassembled form (essentially identical to the Barak, as predicted). I also came across this photo showing the Jericho B in real life glory:

jericho bI don’t think it ever made it to series production, and I’m also not sure the above picture is even a firing gun. This is a shame, because the Barak was still a better pistol than the Jericho:

  • Significantly reduced weight (1.6lbs unloaded)
  • Excellent ergonomic features (convenient ambi-safety, thumb shelf, finger shelves)
  • Decocking button, which gives a lot of flexibility to carrying condition
  • Easier field stripping (captive springs!)

I really think that IWI would have been smart to re-introduce the Barak in the transitional form or in Jericho B format. The original form factor really put off the US market, but the newer versions are really quite competitive, and has features that the US market would very much like.

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