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The IMI SP-21 pistol.


Was it ever issued to some units of the Israeli military or perhaps the Mossad? I don't know. My calls to the Military Attache at the Embassy were not returned. The SP-21 was a marvelous design, produced about 15 years ago by Israel Military Industries (now IWI). It was briefly known as the "Barak" to honor Prime-Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001). Supposedly, the SP-21 was also offered in .40 S&W and .45 Auto, but I have never seen any that weren't regular 9mm. Also, the manual lists the 9mm magazine capacity at 16 rounds, but my magazines take only 10. Ah, that was an oppressive era.

The SP-21 is a full-sized gun, not a compact. Length over-all is 7.4", height 5.4" and width 1.3". The barrel length is 3.9". It has a polymer frame, and the weight empty is 29.2 ounces. The locking system is classic falling-barrel, and there is one relation to another IMI-made pistol, that beautiful monster the Desert Eagle. There are two lateral recoil springs, joined by a cross-piece.


The sear-blocking manual safety has levers on both sides and there is an external slide latch on the left side. All three of these are recessed for minimal protrusion. The firing system is selective DA/SA, with an external hammer. Pushing down a pad on top of the slide safely lowers a cocked hammer. Internally, there's an automatic firing pin block.

The sights are square-picture, with three white dots and the front sight is laterally moveable in its dovetail. The grip-frame is very comfortable, with a front-strap having three finger-recesses. At the front, there's a standard rail for a light or laser. The magazine release, also recessed, is reversible.

All-in-all, a great pistol and very pleasant to shoot. Back between 2003 and 2005, Magnum Research imported exactly 770 of them. It's not often seen at gun shows or in shops. If you find one, grab it, it's quite good and yes, seems to have been an "almost" in popularity.

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Title Annotation:ALMOSTS ...
Author:Wood, J.B.
Publication:American Handgunner
Date:Nov 1, 2016
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