Jennings Firearms was started in 1978 by Bruce Jennings with the production under Jennings Firearms at its Irvine, Ca facility and as Bryco at its Carson City, Nevada and Costa Mesa, California facilities.
Bryco Arms has been labeled as one of the “Ring of Fire” Saturday Nite Special producers in and around Los Angeles – selling the inexpensive guns mostly to the inner city market.
Bryco Arms declared bankruptcy in 2003 after losing a 24 million dollar lawsuit in Oakland, Ca stemming from an injury to a 7 year old when an accidental discharge of the 380 ACP Bryco Arms Model 38 paralyzed him from the neck down.
The plaintiffs claimed that due to a design defect, the gun had a cartridge feed problem, made evident when the safety was on and the user pulled back the slide to check the chamber or load a cartridge into the chamber. Rather than re-design the gun to correct the problem, the design of the gun was altered to require that the safety be placed in the fire position when checking the chamber or chambering a cartridge, which was stated to have simply hidden the problem from the user.
Bryco’s former foreman, Paul Jimenez, bought the bankrupt Bryco Arms for $510,000 in August 2004, and renamed the company Jimenez Arms resuming operations in Costa Mesa, CA. The former Bryco Model 380 (renamed the JA-380) was produced with the same Bryco design along with three other models: the JA-NINE, former Jennings J-22 (renamed the JA-22 LR), and the Jennings J-25 (renamed the JA-25).
Due to California law requiring California-manufactured guns to pass safety tests, Jimenez Arms submitted the new guns to the state, but the guns failed subsequent additional independent tests. The law required that upon failure, the manufacturer must correct the problem and resubmit for additional testing. Rather than complete the process, Jimenez Arms ceased California operations and established itself in Nevada, which has virtually no safety testing requirements for firearms.
Lawsuits were brought forth in 2004, claiming that Jimenez Arms was again selling an unsafe, inferior firearm to the public, as had been claimed of the Bryco Arms Model 380. Jimenez Arms was thus forced into bankruptcy in January 2005.
A business license was granted on August 30, 2006 for Jimenez Arms to commence operation in Henderson, Nevada, and production has resumed there. Since their relocation the company began production of the JA-32 (.32 ACP pistol based on the frame of the JA-380) and the LC380 (.380 ACP pistol based on the frame of the JA-NINE).
Well what does all of this mean?
In my research of information on the Jennings/Bryco /Jimenez Arms – whether that be via Forums , gun dealers, You-Tubers, internet overviewers , reviewers and shooters – I have never seen more negative and troublesome comments about a production line of guns.
Failure rates noted and documented with these guns are almost too numerous to discuss – from things as simple as firing pin failures to failures resulting in catastrophic injuries , as in California, or as in 2009 in Florida where 3 were seriously injured due to a possible negligent discharge at an indoor range.
These guns (at a sale price of 100-150 dollars) are a noted production line for the inner city poor. The Bryco / Jennings / Lorcin / Raven forum insinuates that even the inner city poor need the ability to buy a gun for protection. I do not disagree with a protection for all mentality – but I do disagree with a cheap and possibly dangerous firearm being the production line touted for them. There are definitely other options out there to get a decent and safe inexpensive used or even new gun for protection – even for those with limited funds.
Even if a small percentage of the negative press about this production line of guns is true, then that is enough for me. I never forget that when I fire a gun – I’m holding a controlled explosion in my hands – directly in front of my face and eyes. Each to their own; but as for me, I’ll continue to buy my guns from more reputable manufacturers.
Click on the below link to check out our RGR video “Bryco Arms Jennings Nine / Jimenez Arms – Overview / Review” for more details: