While the blog has certainly… evolved from its original intent, I still personally enjoy collecting and shooting Israeli-manufactured firearms. One that I bought long ago, but never quite got around to reviewing, was the Tanfoglio Mossad Compact. Well, the long-promised review has arrived…Continue reading Tanfoglio Mossad Compact Review
Tag Archives: tanfoglio
BUL Cherokee Gen1
I’ve previously reviewed the BUL Cherokee Compact “2nd gen” handgun. Spoiler alert: I liked it a lot.
But before the 2nd gen gun, there was the original “Gen1” BUL Cherokee. The 2nd gen gun has very distinctive looks – an elongated dust cover, finger swells and a rail. The first gen gun, however, looks very much like a Tanfoglio Force 99 copy.
But that’s OK, because I’ve never owned a Tanfoglio Force 99 before, so it’s all new to me. I recently bought a Cherokee Gen1; read on for my thoughts.
BUL Cherokee Mini
For the longest time, I was convinced that the BUL Cherokee Mini (which is to say, the Cherokee variant that has a smaller frame ala the Storm Compact) was never put into production, either as generation 1 or generation 2.
Imagine my surprise when someone at BUL corrected me, told me it was in current production, and sent me a picture! You can see it above. The interesting thing about the Cherokee Mini is that it’s chambered in .380ACP. I’m guessing that it might be selling well with the current events in Israel.
I also have a picture of a gen 1 Cherokee Mini (9mm), but I don’t know if that ever made it out the door.
Deal Alert: BUL Storm Compact on Gunbroker
A relatively new seller on Gunbroker has offered up a pair of BUL Storm Compact handguns. I bought one of them, but there’s still at least one more up for sale. The seller appears to be affiliated with Century in some fashion. (Pro-tip: if you see Fairfax, VT as the seller’s location on Gunbroker, the seller is probably some sort of Century Arms affiliate).
There were supposedly only 300 of these guns made, and it is even less clear how many made it to the USA, since they appear to have been imported piecemeal by Century Arms. The Storm Compact is essentially a TA-90 “Combat Compact” clone (technically, it’s just “Compact”, but I add “Combat” because it has a frame safety). This gets you a small frame and a 3.75″ barrel – about the same as a compact Jericho, but a quarter inch longer. This is nothing terribly special from a design standpoint, but the rarity factor makes it worthy of consideration. (Remember that the Mossad Compact was not made in Israel!)
I assume the BUL Storm Compact will have the same magazine incompatibility issues that plagued the BUL Storm that I reviewed, but I’ll keep you posted once I’ve had a chance to look over mine.
The BUL Storm
Historically, BUL Transmark’s third pistol line was the BUL Storm. Arguably, it’s the least known line of their pistols in the US, excepting perhaps the new SAS line (which hasn’t gotten very much play in the US yet). The Storm is a straight-out Tanfoglio TZ-75 clone, which is a slightly modified clone of the CZ-75.
Clever readers will note that this is pretty much the same situation as the Jericho, which is a clone of the Tanfoglio as well. What do I think of the Storm versus the Jericho? Read on.
IMI 945 Compact / “Black Horse”
Just to be clear: all images in this post are from Modern Gun magazine, August1994. I use them without permission, and will remove the images if requested by the rightful copyright holder.
There are many mysterious Israeli handguns out there, but besides the semi-infamous 9mm IMI revolver, another difficult one to track down is the “Black Horse”. There’s a grand total of one reference to it online, and a somewhat grainy picture that seems to have been taken from a visit to the IDF History Museum in Tel Aviv. (My need for a trip to Israel grows and grows…)
But, thanks to a tip from a helpful commenter, Daniel Watters at TheGunZone, I’ve finally hunted up some more information on the gun, and it’s not what I was expecting…
The BUL Cherokee
While BUL Transmark is best known for their exceptional 1911 handgun lines, they’ve had extensive experience dabbling in Tanfoglio derivatives, too. The BUL Impact leveraged the magazines of their M-5 double-stack 1911 line; the BUL Storm was a well-made Tanfoglio copy that had some success in IPSC.
The BUL Cherokee was introduced in 2000 to replace the BUL Impact and provide a full-frame polymer pistol to the commercial market. It was updated a few years later with a newer frame (recognizable by its finger swells). Read on for my thoughts.
The BUL Impact
One of the real oddball guns made in Israel is the BUL Impact. Everyone loves a double stack 1911. Everyone loves the CZ-75. So what if you took a compact polymer CZ-75 and grafted a 1911 double stack magwell on it?
Well, you’d have a BUL Impact. Read on for more.
Magnum Research announces the Baby Desert Eagle III
Magnum Research has announced the new Baby Desert Eagle III line of pistols. It took me a few seconds to realize it, but this appears to be the BUL Cherokee with a full length dust cover and a slide safety. It’s not so obvious with the steel version pictured above, but take a look at these two guns:
There are clearly some changes to the frame and slide (probably to more closely mimic the old BDE II), but I’m unaware of any other existing Tanfoglio clone that has a similar frame. The steel version is also using a frame that looks suspiciously like that of the old BUL Storm.
UPDATE 4/3/2015: all4shooters confirmed a couple months ago at SHOT that the BDE III is being made by BUL Transmark. Given the changes over the Cherokee, which appear substantial, I think this qualifies as a completely new model of Israeli-manufactured handgun.
The IMI/IWI Barak
The least-known handgun made by IMI/IWI is probably the Barak. It was imported ever so briefly by Magnum Research as the SP-21, and then dumped after poor sales. Eventually, it was also removed from the IWI sales catalog as well.
I think this is a tragedy, because the Barak is one of the best polymer hammer-fired handguns ever made.