MR Baby Eagle or Armalite AR-24


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wbwanzer
June 9, 2012, 11:00 AM
OK guys. A few days ago I had a thread about wanting a 9mm pistol that was a little out of the ordinary. Not really rare, but not a SIG or S&W or Ruger, etc.... Got many good suggestions and am sort of settled on either a Magnum Research Baby Eagle in either 3.9 or 4.5 barrel, or the Armalite AR-24 in the the same sizes. The Baby Eagle does come in Polymer but I'm looking at all steel. Both seem like tanks and are heavy (based on what I've read, I haven't held either). My purpose is for range use and possibly HD. I can't carry in Maryland and I have a S&W 3913 for the rare occasion when I can carry.

I'm looking for the best SA trigger pull (lightest and crispest). Are there any Pros or Cons that I need to be aware of? I realize that aftermarket support is about nil. Any input about these two pistols is welcomed. Thanks.

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Devonai
June 9, 2012, 11:15 AM
I can only comment on the Baby Eagle, but I've owned both the 9x19mm and .45 versions. Both were 100% reliable. The DA pull is pretty awful, but the SA pull is one of the best I've ever encountered. The .45 also had an extremely stiff safety, so much so that until I worked it in a bit I carried with the safety off.

I sold the 9mm version because the magazines rattled too much. Perhaps a silly reason, but they rattled even when seated and holstered. It was annoying to hear it with every step.

I sold the .45 version because I'm an idiot. I tried to order another one earlier this year, but nobody could find one for me. I ended up with a S&W 4566, which is essentially the same thing but minus two rounds in the mag (and a bit more shiny).

So, I would recommend one, despite the minor complaints I had. The .45 version carried particularly well, as it's only available in 3.9" trim, though I understand that's not your priority.

TimboKhan
June 9, 2012, 11:17 AM
I honestly can't tell you much about either from personal experience, but I can say that the baby eagles typically get pretty favorable reviews. I shot one years ago, and I found it pleasant.

The Armalitess are CZ clones, if I am not mistaken. I don't truthfully know that I have ever read a review on them except in a gun magazine, and that review was pretty glowing, which isn't all that rare! I guess if it is a well-made clone, there really shouldn't be any surprises or issues to be expected, as the CZ is obviously a pretty popular and well regarded gun.

Honestly, the only real reason I responded, since I have been no help at all, is so I can more easily track this thread. I am kind of curious to see if anyone has had any first hand experience with the Armalite.

MachIVshooter
June 9, 2012, 12:23 PM
The Baby Eagle is made by Tanfoglio of Italy and finished by IWI in Israel, then imported here by MRI. It differs from other CZ based guns primarily in having a slide-mounted safety/decocker and, unless something has changed, a polygonally rifled barrel. The beveled snout and full-length dust cover are it's aesthetic hallmarks. Very good quality, MRI was a pleasant company to deal with before they were bought by Kahr, probably still is.

The AR-24 is a CZ clone, made by Sarsilmaz in Turkey and imported by Armalite. Conventional frame-mounted safety (no decock function). It's a little more contoured than a standard CZ-75, but otherwise not really different. High quality gun, and Armalite is a good company to deal with.

In summary, you really can't go wrong with either. See if you can find a place to handle both, as they do feel slightly different, and then decide which safety system you prefer.

wbwanzer
June 9, 2012, 01:09 PM
I'm the OP here. Just went to a gunshop to see the AR-24. It felt really nice. The grip felt much like the CZ P-01 that I had. I liked it. Just need to find a Baby Eagle now.

Ash
June 9, 2012, 01:25 PM
The Sarsilmaz is also Tanfoglio-based. While all parts are made in Turkey, they are based on original Tanfoglio-licensed parts. They AR-24, then, is related more to the Witness than the CZ. The triggers will be about the same for either pistol.

Personally, I might go with the Baby Eagle because I'm not even sure the AR-24 is production any more. Of course, if you want that SIG 210 look, the AR is the way to go.

daferg2
June 9, 2012, 04:56 PM
I've owned both and still have the AR-24. Both were/are great. Pick the one you like best in your hand and run with it.

TimboKhan
June 9, 2012, 05:56 PM
The Armalites are still on the website, and it looks like they have even expanded the line.

wbwanzer
June 9, 2012, 09:00 PM
Right now I'm leaning heavily towards the AR-24, but that might be because I haven't found a Baby Eagle yet :D But I really did like the feel of it. And I haven't read anything negative about it.

Dr.Rob
June 9, 2012, 09:24 PM
So the AR 24 is the equivalent of a Turkish ATI pistol? You're paying a lot for the Armalite name.

Rampant_Colt
June 9, 2012, 09:34 PM
It looks like they're both roughly the same price. I'd find a source that has either one for a lower price and go with that..

Ash
June 9, 2012, 10:15 PM
If only Armalite offered a 45acp version. Sarsilmaz makes one.

Okiegunner
June 9, 2012, 11:56 PM
I think it would be hard to go wrong with either pistol. I own a Tanfoglio made .40 and a Turk made Beretta 92 clone. I like both very much.

Dr. Rob, no offense intended, but, have you ever fired the ATI imported MKEK Girsan Yavuz 16? It is the Turkish made Beretta 92f clone. You would swear you were shooting a Beretta pistol. Very well made, and a great value purchase.

Gunner

MachIVshooter
June 10, 2012, 12:20 AM
If only Armalite offered a 45acp version. Sarsilmaz makes one.

The 16-round K-2 .45 is available here. About $450

http://www.gunlistings.org/uploads/l1_pistols_eaa_sarsilmaz_k2_45_acp_pistol_59947.jpg

Stringfellow
June 10, 2012, 02:37 AM
The Armalites are still on the website, and it looks like they have even expanded the line.

Those are the same models that have been on their site for years. I don't know if they are still being imported or not.

However, I am pulling for them in a big way. I have studied them pretty closely, and unfortunately they are currently in no-man's land; not selling well because they are asking a premium over the original, when its hard to even compete at the same price with the original CZ75. This is the difficult part for many new businesses--trying to earn a price premium when their brand name does not yet have the cache. I hope they make it.

I am a big fan of the CZ75-pattern pistol--as I am about the 1911 and the BHP. I hope that over the decades, the '75 design stands among the all-time classic pistols (arguably they are already there). Certainly it is already copied relatively frequently, but I hope to see more and more upscale versions. ~25-30 years ago who would have wanted to pay a premium for unknown 1911 brands, when you could a real Colt for less (e.g., Brown, Baer, etc.)?

Unfortunately, all steel pistols are becoming relegated to niche status due to the predominance of polymer, in terms of the overall mass firearms market. I am not saying steel will go away, but that manufacturers of steel pistols will be pushed into a smaller and smaller sized market. So I guess it all boils down to Sarsilmaz's expectations. If they continue to do well over the rest of the world, hopefully they can afford to give Armalite the time to develop a loyal following for the AR24 model. Hopefully Armalite will have the same patience--others like Springfield did not. Ironically, perhaps Armalite will succeed by giving the brand an "anglo" spin as Springfield did with their Croation XD pistols.

The AR24 is not a Sphinx, but from everything I have read/heard, it is a quality pistol that is likely a notch or two above CZ in quality. Hopefully the market will begin to reward them for that...

Stringfellow
June 10, 2012, 02:56 AM
Wow--that K-2 is a good looking pistol. It actually looks more and more like a SIG 210 from other angles.

Looking on their website, they have some others good stuff. http://www.sarsilmaz.com.tr/en/Liste/tabanca

How about that Franchi SPAS12 shotgun knockoff?

Or their STEEL HK USP knockoff?

Or the more modern rectangular breech lock up on their CZ75 clones (as in what is used by SIG, Glock, etc.)...

I also see heavy SIG X5 influences...

Good stuff.

Dr.Rob
June 10, 2012, 06:12 AM
Dr. Rob, no offense intended, but, have you ever fired the ATI imported MKEK Girsan Yavuz 16? It is the Turkish made Beretta 92f clone. You would swear you were shooting a Beretta pistol. Very well made, and a great value purchase.

Gunner

I'm not arguing the quality of the Turkish build, that pistol runs $300 from CDNN. The re-branded as Armalite pistol sells for $200 more.

You're paying for the Armalite name. Remember back when The Croation HS2000 came to market? It was a steal and a bargain.. when Springfield slapped the XD label on it the price jumped $200 or so. Same thing.

Ash
June 10, 2012, 08:41 AM
Yeah. For me, the problem with the K2 is the EAA import mark. I like Tanfoglio, but I prefer to have a 45acp CZ that actually fits my hand without EAA, and their tawdry stale-cigarette cheap hotel image. My Springfield P9 in 45 already fits that bill, ditto for a Tanfoglio P45 (not poly, but steel) and others. But the K2 looks like a good pistol.

Havok7416
June 10, 2012, 09:26 AM
Baby Eagles seem to be hard to come by but they are worth it in my opinion. I have no experience with the AR-24 but my .45 ACP Baby Eagle (steel) is a fantastic pistol. Just my two cents...

hangovur
June 10, 2012, 05:12 PM
I've never owned the Baby Eagle (worst name for a pistol EVER) but I've put thousands of rounds through an Armalite.

The AR-24 can be had brand new for 350-400 easily if you look around a bit, which is an absolute steal. If you buy one, buy the "tactical" version for the adjustable sights.

The AR is my favorite pistol, but unfortunately it sits in my safe now and most of my shooting is done with an M&P.

Some things you should know...

It is an iteration of a witness, not a CZ clone. You can use Mec-Gar 16 round mags that work just as well as factory Armalite mags for a fraction of the cost. Most parts for a witness will work, though not all. I replaced all my springs with lightened Witness springs with great results.

The pistol fits my hand better then any other pistol I've held except for the HK45/P30 grip systems. The trigger on mine was great from the factory and with a lightened main spring it feels like a tuned CZ trigger, though I have had some light strikes with harder primers (I use federal exclusively).

The fit and finish is significantly better than any CZ or clone on the market IMO. The tolerances are very tight, which makes for a very accurate pistol, but caused some reliability issues for the first ~500 rounds until it broke in. I also used Mobil 1 Synthetic grease to lube the rails with excellent results.


Why I don't use it for competition any more:

I can't find sights for it and Armalite can't/won't tell me the dimensions of the sight cut. They have told me it is a unique cut and not compatible with any other mass production pistol. I wasn't willing to keep buying sights until I found one that could be filed down to match.

I can't find spare parts for it. The spring detend on my adjustable rear sight broke and I called Armalite to get it replaced. At first they told me it wasn't covered, then they told me they didn't have replacement detents. After some back and forth I finally convinced them to just pull a rear sight off a floor model and mail it to me. Moreover, I inquired about purchasing spare parts and was told I could call the factory... in Turkey. :banghead:

This brings me to the next problem.

Armalite only warranties the pistol for 5 years, which is unheard of in this market. I'm approaching the five year mark and I just can't believe the pistol will be out of warranty with no available parts in the U.S.

Holsters are nearly impossible to find. There is a Fobus paddle holster that fits well and a leather holster sold by Armalite. For competition I lucked out and a friend made me a DOH out of kydex.

The chamber on the barrel is really tight for reloading. I have to load my ammo to a really tight COAL and bullets heavier than 124 are pretty difficult to make work.


If you don't plan on putting a lot of rounds through it (many thousands) and don't need any aftermarket parts (holsters, sights, etc.) it is an outstanding pistol. I just wish Armalite would support it a little bit.

Okiegunner
June 11, 2012, 01:12 AM
Dr. Rob

My bad, I understand what you were getting at now.

Also (curious) is there maybe anyway that Sarsilmaz would or can support the AR-24? I am not saying to ship the pistol halfway around the world. However, most of these Turkish companies seem to be very proud of their firearms.

If Sarsilmaz could be contacted, they may actually send some replacement parts as needed. They do have a website.

Dr.Rob
June 11, 2012, 05:54 AM
Not being able to buy parts from Armalite is a BIG deal. That's not really 'supporting' their product line.

wbwanzer
June 11, 2012, 11:26 AM
I'm the OP. I'll probably make a decision this week about the AR-24. If I get the AR-24, unless it had problems right out of the box, the service concerns won't be much of a factor for me. I get to shoot maybe every three weeks during the nice weather. And I've got about six other handguns that I like to exercise also. So in reality, after the initial honeymoon, the AR-24 would likely see about 300 rounds a year through it. I'm not likely to wear it out in my lifetime at that rate.

I don't NEED this pistol. I've just got a bug up my butt for something a little different. And this might very well be it.

wbwanzer
June 12, 2012, 01:40 PM
I'm the OP. I just found a Baby Eage in the 3.9 size to try to compare with the AR-24 in 4.5 that I saw last Saturday. It's a little difficult to compare two guns when they're in two different stores and seen on different days. That being said, I think I like the AR-24 a little better. The rubber grips on the AR really make the grip feel good. And I like the frame mounted safety better also. Even though the the AR is a 4.5 and the BE was a 3.9, the AR is about $80 cheaper. Gun prices are very high here in Maryland.

I guess I'll visit the AR-24 one more time and make a decision.

HorseSoldier
June 12, 2012, 03:17 PM
However, I am pulling for them in a big way. I have studied them pretty closely, and unfortunately they are currently in no-man's land; not selling well because they are asking a premium over the original, when its hard to even compete at the same price with the original CZ75. This is the difficult part for many new businesses--trying to earn a price premium when their brand name does not yet have the cache. I hope they make it.

Throwing their hat into a saturated ring wasn't a super idea (though I suppose they may have borrowed a page from the 1911 market on that concept). CZ pistols are pretty ubiquitous in American gun stores, at a price point below the Armalite pistols, and Tanfoglio/Witness guns not only cover a cheaper price point but also provide CZ pattern pistols in calibers and configurations CZ doesn't. Magnum Research further clutters the CZ-pattern pistol market with additional options.

To make a go of that market, Armalite needed to bring something new to the table, but really did not, aside from the name. By reputation they're not badly made guns or anything like that, but they also weren't game changers in the CZ-style market.

wbwanzer
June 12, 2012, 03:54 PM
I just visited the AR-24 again. I like it very much, and moreso than the Baby Eagle. The gun shop that has it is looking for full price. I'm trying to find it at a better price, if possible.

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