Affordables: The Ubiquitous Raven

This Vintage .25 Is Almost Off The Radar — But Should It Be?

Raven .25 ACP, the original version. Later safeties move vertically.

While most sneer at production quality, J.B. says he’s never had to repair one.

The idea for this little series began in a phone conversation with His Eminence Roy, in which it was mentioned we get letters asking to see some “affordable” guns, classics, most no longer in production, but still on the market and useable. Those guns gracing the lower shelf in the used gun cabinet at your local gun store. This first entry in our group of affordables is a pistol no longer made, but is very much available at gun shops everywhere. Usually priced in the “pocket-change” category, it’s the Raven .25 Auto.

Between 1970 and 1991, around two million of them were made. Production ended with the death of owner George Jennings and a disastrous fire at the original factory. In the next year 1992 it was made again by a new company, Phoenix Arms but was discontinued in 1998. The number produced by Phoenix is not known. Either way you look at it though, there are a lot of them out there.

The original model, field-stripped. Note the unique solid striker, later copied by just about everyone!

If you get really lucky, maybe your gun-store treasure find will have the original box too.
Increasing the “collectibility” value by, oh, the princely sum of about $5.

That Caliber

To those who might sneer at the .25 ACP for personal protection, I will repeat what I tell my big-bore acquaintances: It matters less what you hit them with. It matters where you hit them. An attorney friend told me of a case in which a woman was menaced in her home by a large fellow. When he started toward her, she fired one shot from — you guessed it — a Raven .25, cancelling his ticket, permanently. Is it perfect? Of course not. But if it’s what you have, you can likely make it work.

One of the reasons we selected the Raven for this first entry was its eerie reliability. Around 40 years ago, I was handling repairs for a number of gun shops in a two-state area. Over several years, how many Raven pistols did I repair? Exactly none. They just keep working.

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