Official sidearm of the IDF is...?


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Tearlachblair
March 26, 2008, 04:31 AM
This came up during a convo I was having with a friend. What are the issued sidearms of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)?

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Silvanus
March 26, 2008, 04:44 AM
I think it's the Jericho/Baby Eagle. Not 100% sure though.

edit : Found this on another site, so maybe they have changed in the meantime.

http://i40.servimg.com/u/f40/11/50/35/28/barak10.jpg (http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=105&u=11503528)

The "Barak" ("Lightning" in Hebrew) pistol was developed by famous IMI (Israel Military Industries, now IWI - Israeli Weapon Industries Ltd) company by the 2002. Originally intended as a military pistol for Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the "Barak" was apparently supposed to replace in Israeli service the older Jericho pistols of domestic origins, as well as Glock pistols, quite popular in Israel. So far the future of "Barak" as an IDF service pistol is uncertain, and in the meanwhile IMI decided to bring this pistol to international market. It became available in Europe early in 2003, and in USA by the late 2003. In Europe it is still known as "Barak", and in USA it is known as Magnum Research SP-21 (Magnum Research Inc is currently a sole importer of IMI / IWI firearms in the USA). "Barak" SP-21 pistol is not the best looking handgun, but it is definitely a practical and business-like pistol, available in most popular calibers: 9mm Luger, .40S&W and .45ACP. It is also flexible in functioning, because of double action trigger, separated ambidextrous safety which allowed for "cocked & locked" carry, and a separate decocker button, located at the top of the slide, just ahead of the rear sight. Additional "modern" features are polymer frame and accessory rail under the barrel. As a result, this gun is, at least for all practical purposes, a strong rival to such pistols as a Glock or Walther P99. However, it is still to be seen if this gun will succeed both in Israel or on international market. The "Barak" SP-21 pistol is a short recoil operated, locked breech pistol. While the rounded shape of the slide can suggest the rotating barrel lockup, in fact the SP-21 features a Browning High Power type tilting barrel locking. The pistol is hammer fired, with true double action trigger, ambidextrous frame-mounted safety lever and separate slide-mounted decocker button (at the top of the slide). Civilian models, offered in USA, also feature an internal key lock as an additional safety feature. While the slide itself is made of steel, the rear part with cocking serrations and fixed rear sights, is made from polymer. The frame is also made from polymer. For improved accuracy and durability, the barrels on all SP-21 pistols have polygonal rifling. Front sight is dovetailed into the slide, rear sight is integral to the polymer slide "hump".

Autolycus
March 26, 2008, 04:59 AM
I thought it was a Glock 19.

Mad Magyar
March 26, 2008, 08:53 AM
Anything they get their hands on.....

Macpherson
March 26, 2008, 08:54 AM
I had the opportunity to visit Israel last year, and noticed that there didn't seem to be a consistent sidearm among the various security and military forces. There were a lot of Browning High Powers, and a few Glocks. Some even carried what appeared to be select-fire Jericho pistols with shoulder stocks. The M4 was the common rifle, but I saw more than a few reservists toting M1 carbines...they really get their money's worth from their weapons :D

jonnyc
March 26, 2008, 05:55 PM
The IDF doesn't really have an "issue" pistol that anyone would be carrying on a daily basis, they are only used by special units, on "special" occasions. Anyone you say out-and-about with a pistol was police, border guard, or civilian. Also, no reservist would have an M1 Carbine, they were never IDF issue. Only Civil Guard (Mishmar Ezrachi) would have them. They are old guys, or people who live in small towns or kibbutzim with their own armories who get those. Hey, they might even have been school teachers!

esq_stu
March 26, 2008, 06:05 PM
Anything they get their hands on.....

That seems to be correct. It seems very few in the IDF are issued handguns.

I'm there twice a year. I've seen all kinds - mainly steel IMI Jericho, Glock 17, and Sig (not sure which), all 9mm. I'll look again in May.

Cliff47
March 27, 2008, 09:42 AM
If memory serves, the Israelis manufactured their own version of the Browning/FN Hi-Power. Believe the model name was Kareen, sor something like that...

BBroadside
March 27, 2008, 02:19 PM
Yes, Gun Digest 1997 says the Kareen Mk. II was imported from Israel by J.O. Arms and ammunition. Looks like a Browning Hi-Power. There is also a Gal (copied from the 1911, I think) and a Golan (copied from ...?) It doesn't say who made them, and I don't know if they were used by any agencies.

The Israelis do seem to have a unique attitude toward handguns. A few decades ago they used a lot of Beretta 951s, and I read somewhere they bought the first-generation Rugers. They seem not to care too much for conventional pistols, while making a lot of copies (the Jericho 941 / Baby Eagle line seems quite well-regarded as a copy of the CZ 75). Then there are the thoroughly unconventional designs like the Desert Eagle and the small Uzis, but again I don't know which agencies/units use them. I'd love to see a book on the topic, "IDF handgun development strategy" which would explain this sort of thing.

buzz_knox
March 27, 2008, 02:24 PM
Then there are the thoroughly unconventional designs like the Desert Eagle and the small Uzis,

The Desert Eagle was designed by an American who couldn't find a buyer in the US. IMI produced it for the civilian market. I don't believe it was ever intended or procured for IDF use.

As for the micro-Uzi (I suppose that's what you mean by small Uzi, as the mini-Uzi is quite conventional), the select-fire version was intended to fill the perceived need for a rapid fire weapon for close quarters work and for some personnel. It serves the same purpose as the Sterling machine pistol variant (used by some armored crews as the lack of a stock made it handier inside), the MP5K, or the MAC-10. The semi-automatic version was for the civilian market.

BBroadside
March 28, 2008, 04:53 AM
I think you're right, I can't find any evidence that any army was interested in the Desert Eagle. It weighs a whole pound less than the CAR-15 ... and is undoubtedly harder to shoot and more expensive, and less powerful, and more prone to failure. It seems a little out of place that IMI would make a pistol mainly designed for competition and elk hunting, but I guess if it was profitable it made sense just as it would have for a business. (Oddly enough, checking around on the web just now, I found people trashing the DE for some pretty weird reasons ... like the ammo being "almost impossible to find". Funny, I see 357 and 44 Magnum in lots of places....)

Looking at pictures at israelmilitary.net, I wasn't surprised that I didn't see any handguns, but I was surprised that I didn't see any Galils! I pretty much only saw M4/CAR-15s, although there were a few that I wasn't sure about. I kind of thought the Galil, as an AK-derived design, would be cheaper and thus more numerous than M16 derivatives.

I've been trying to find a source I dimly remember about the IDF using early Ruger 9mms, but no such luck.

strangelittleman
March 28, 2008, 12:30 PM
It seems there is some leeway from command to command, brigade to brigade, unit to unit, both in the military and the various police & security forces.
There have been pics of IDF troopers & police/secutiry forces w/ Hi-Powers, sigP226-228s, Glock 17-19s, Jerichos, CZ-75s & P01s, H&K USP & USPc, Beretta M1951 & M92s, even some w/ Yugo CZ99s variants & the Steyr M1 series.
The early Rugers were purportedly issued to a small number of IDF air force personnel, not sure who or how well they were received....
I'd say there's no real brand loyalty aka "Ford vs. Chevy" nonsense, just well-trained troops using what works......and all of the above mentioned work very well.

buzz_knox
March 28, 2008, 01:05 PM
I wasn't surprised that I didn't see any handguns, but I was surprised that I didn't see any Galils! I pretty much only saw M4/CAR-15s, although there were a few that I wasn't sure about. I kind of thought the Galil, as an AK-derived design, would be cheaper and thus more numerous than M16 derivatives.

The IDF has plenty of Galils, but they are largely in storage. The weapon was found to be too heavy for infantry use, and had some other issues (microfractures being one). So, they put the Galils in storage and broke out/purchased M16s, many of which have been converted to the M4 or Commando styles.

BBroadside
March 28, 2008, 02:36 PM
My curiosity having been piqued by buzz_knox, I looked it up. If anyone is curious:

Comparing the carbines, the 14.5" M4 weighs 2.52 kg empty. The 13" Galil SAR weight 3.75 kg empty ... almost 50% heavier with a shorter barrel, and probably (my speculation) less options for accesssory attachment.

So it's no mystery why the IDF chooses the M4s to lug around....

ravencon
March 28, 2008, 03:07 PM
Don't know, don't care. But, as a U.S. taxpayer I'm pretty sure that I helped pay for it.

BlindJustice
March 28, 2008, 03:39 PM
Don't know but it seems if they copied the CZ and produce the
Jericho domestically they'd use them since it is similiar ergos to the
Browning Hi-Powers they have - I read someplace the Israelis in the
military went to a draw and cok for the BHP. Practice, Practice Practice.

The Gallil had reliability issues I think.

strangelittleman
March 28, 2008, 04:59 PM
No reliability problems w/ the Galil, but when it takes around $465 to make one domestically and the raw materials could be used in other things and the U.S. gov't is offeing a virtually unlimited supply of AR rifles plus complete spare parts/ armorer kits & full set of mags for around $150 it only makes sense to go w/ the AR. By the way the 13.5"bbl Galils are still in use w/ the tank crews and yes, we U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill as a part of a foreign internal defense program.

pete f
March 28, 2008, 09:57 PM
They carry M4's because we pay them to carry them. Thru Foreign Aid to Israel, we "donate" money to them, which is used to buy US made weapons. which more or less means we buy them and give them to them, as well as buying an awful lot of IMI 5.56 ammo to feed them.

I would like to see support for that cost of 465 USD for a Galil, My information was putting that cost at well under 200 USD, The SA R4 version was costing them less than 125 USD in the late 90's.

Shadow1198
March 28, 2008, 10:37 PM
I think it's the Jericho/Baby Eagle. Not 100% sure though.

edit : Found this on another site, so maybe they have changed in the meantime. http://i40.servimg.com/u/f40/11/50/35/28/barak10.jpg

Wow, that is a horribly, god-awful, butt-ugly handgun! ;)

Matt-J2
March 28, 2008, 11:41 PM
Shadow1198, that's it's good side. ;)

You should see that thing in person(if you haven't) and at more angles. It gets even worse.


I suppose ugly don't mater much if it works...but still, it be ugly, yo.

Trebor
March 29, 2008, 12:47 AM
I have an ex-Isreali FN manufactured Browning High Power. It still has the yellow "Don't shoot me" ID tape on the side.

The Isrealies have always used a mix of handguns, pretty much whatever they could get their hands on.

I think that's why they developed the "Isreali Draw" using an empty chamber. With that many different gun designs, they needed a training technique that would work with ANY pistol. Hence, empty chamber carry. Just draw, rack the slide, and shoot. No need to worry about the condition of the safety, etc.

Remember that the next time someone goes on and on about how great the Isreali pistol techniques are. They developed that to meet a specific need, not because it was "tactially superior."

jonnyc
March 29, 2008, 09:21 AM
"They carry M4's because we pay them to carry them. Thru Foreign Aid to Israel, we "donate" money to them, which is used to buy US made weapons. which more or less means we buy them and give them to them, as well as buying an awful lot of IMI 5.56 ammo to feed them."

This does benefit Israel greatly, unless financial factors force them to field an inferior weapon. But the money actually stays in the US providing/maintaining jobs for thousands of Americans.
The ugly pistol posted a couple above is a Barak/Lightening I believe, not a Jericho.

armoredman
March 29, 2008, 10:51 AM
(the Jericho 941 / Baby Eagle line seems quite well-regarded as a copy of the CZ 75).
Jericho 941 and Baby Eagle were a co-operative effort between Tanfoglio of Italy, who made the frames and slides, and IMI, who assembled everything in Israel.

As for the Barak, (Shhh, don't tell Obama...), that is one huge and clumsy looking thing. Gah.

Silvanus
March 29, 2008, 12:17 PM
Remember that the next time someone goes on and on about how great the Isreali pistol techniques are. They developed that to meet a specific need, not because it was "tactially superior."

It's not better than having a loaded chamber, but it can be done very fast so that it's not that big of a disadvantage.

JHansenAK47
March 30, 2008, 09:52 AM
This does benefit Israel greatly, unless financial factors force them to field an inferior weapon. They are starting to field Tavor rifles but it seems they don't have the money to replace the M4s any time soon.

jonnyc
March 30, 2008, 07:14 PM
Can't recall where, but I think I have seen info that they are going to license production to a US company.
That would be interesting.

TestPilot
March 31, 2008, 09:06 PM
My guess is that they try to keep their small arms industry up and running, for strategic reasons, and make continuous attmpes to make companies like IMI to be the main supplier for IDF, but the troops were never quite satisfied with what those Israili companies came up with. Every arms producing countries worth mentioning usually has a company of that country producing small arms for that country. Most vigorously pushed arms being the rifles soldiers use. HK for German, FN for Belgium, even UK did it with their troublesome L85 from Royal Ordnance. If IMI even fails to be the main supplier for rifles for IDF, them being the standard issue pistol supplier is even more unlikely, espacially when pistol such as Jericho 941 is not particularly better than what is made out side of Israel. And, juding from the Israel's strategic situation, and nationalistic characteristic, it is highly unlikely they will adopt a standard issue pistol of foreign origin.

Only small arm made by Israili industry that I can think of which was widely embraced was the UZI. Appearantly soldiers were not happy with Galil. Jericho 941 may not be a bad pistol, but if various security, military departments have their own procurement channel and have access to pistols like SIG, Glock, USP, etc. I can easily understand why they would embrace the chaos of all kinds of pistol being mixed, instead of dealing with being forced to use pistols like Jericho 941 or Barak only. To make matters worse, companies like IMI keeps comming up with something not conventional, especially when that unconventional features does not seem to be so helpful.

jonnyc
April 1, 2008, 06:19 AM
"it is highly unlikely they will adopt a standard issue pistol of foreign origin"

They have adopted FNs, Berettas, Sigs, and Glocks.

"Only small arm made by Israili industry that I can think of which was widely embraced was the UZI"

Uzi, Maag58, FAL, Galil.

"Appearantly soldiers were not happy with Galil"

Very few were unhappy, it was a matter of economics.

"To make matters worse, companies like IMI keeps comming up with something not conventional, especially when that unconventional features does not seem to be so helpful."

When you're surrounded by 50 million people who want to kill you, and your industries are competing on world markets, unconventional is good.

TestPilot
April 1, 2008, 11:41 PM
"it is highly unlikely they will adopt a standard issue pistol of foreign origin"

They have adopted FNs, Berettas, Sigs, and Glocks.

As IDF's standard issue pistol?

"Only small arm made by Israili industry that I can think of which was widely embraced was the UZI"

Uzi, Maag58, FAL, Galil.
I mentioned Uzi. Galil? When its pushed out by M16? FAL is not an Israeli design. And, what's a Maag58? If you're talking about FN-MAG, that's not an Israeli design either.

"Appearantly soldiers were not happy with Galil"

Very few were unhappy, it was a matter of economics.

"To make matters worse, companies like IMI keeps comming up with something not conventional, especially when that unconventional features does not seem to be so helpful."

When you're surrounded by 50 million people who want to kill you, and your industries are competing on world markets, unconventional is good.
So, Israelis being surrounded by 50 million people who wants to kill them was not enough for them to support their own rifles? Galil's manufacture cost is significantly higher than an alloy frame M16?

Unconventional is good? Unconventional that helps, or unconventional just for the sake of it?

jonnyc
April 2, 2008, 10:55 PM
1. No Israeli-made pistol has ever been IDF standard issue. Special forces get and use what they want. The only non-SF issue pistols I ever saw in IDF service (for some MPs and some officers) were Beretta 951s and Enfield revolvers. Neither is Israeli-made.

2. "made by Israili industry" - That's your miss-spelled quote. The Uzi, Galil, Maag58, and FAL were all made in Israel...and widely embraced.

3. Priorities. An expensive rifle, even if it's better, will lose-out to an acceptable, cheaper rifle almost every time. That will hold true for most weapon systems.

4. When your advantages are limited, unconventionality is always an option.

I'm done, enjoy.

TestPilot
April 3, 2008, 03:50 AM
1. No Israeli-made pistol has ever been IDF standard issue. Special forces get and use what they want. The only non-SF issue pistols I ever saw in IDF service (for some MPs and some officers) were Beretta 951s and Enfield revolvers. Neither is Israeli-made.
I did acknowlede foreign pistol use in Israel in my first post.
If I use your method, I can argue that SIG SP2022 is U.S. army standard issue, because one of its subdivision adopted it. That would not be so meanignful when discussing "official sidearm of the U.S. army is..." would it?

2. "made by Israili industry" - That's your miss-spelled quote. The Uzi, Galil, Maag58, and FAL were all made in Israel...and widely embraced.
Okay, then let me rephrase it to "made by Israeli industry other than direct copy of FN or other foreign companies" That does not leave so many does it?

3. Priorities. An expensive rifle, even if it's better, will lose-out to an acceptable, cheaper rifle almost every time. That will hold true for most weapon systems.
If Galil is "better" than why are the ones still in use by IDF handed to units like reserve than IDF special forces?

4. When your advantages are limited, unconventionality is always an option.

I'm done, enjoy.
Let's look at Barak for example. It uses humps on the back of the slide as rearsight, like a snub revolver. Unconventional? Yes. But, how does that help? And, if things like that help, why is it not taking over the pistol market like a storm?

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