Raven Arms

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Raven Arms
Industry firearms
Founded 1970 (1970)
Founder George Jennings
Defunct 1991
Headquarters Carson City, Nevada, Irvine, California and Costa Mesa, California, U.S.
Area served
Key people
Paul Jimenez
Products weapons, Semi-automatic pistols

Raven Arms was a firearms manufacturer established in 1970 by firearms designer George Jennings. The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibiting the importation of inexpensive handguns prompted Jennings to design the MP-25, a .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol, and enter the firearms business. Raven has been referred to as the original "Ring of Fire" company; the Ring of Fire companies were those known for producing inexpensive Saturday night special handguns.[1]

Raven kept manufacturing costs to a minimum by building their guns from injection-molded Zamak, a zinc alloy.


MP25 1.jpg
MP-25 with blued finish
Type Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin  United States
Production history
Designer George Jennings
Designed 1960s
Manufacturer Raven Arms
Produced 1970-1991
No. built 3 million[2]
Variants P-25
Cartridge .25 ACP
Action Blowback
Feed system 6-round detachable box magazine
Sights Post and rear notch

Before Jennings developed the MP-25, a friend who owned a pawn shop that sold firearms complained to Jennings that his supply of inexpensive imported handguns (typically made by Röhm Gesellschaft) had been cut off due to the Gun Control Act of 1968, resulting in a significant loss of sales. At the time, Jennings operated a machine shop that made parts for Southern California aerospace companies. Jennings established Raven Arms to produce the MP-25 for his friend, and over the next 20 years, the company sold approximately 2 million pistols.[3] In parallel with this growth, gun-control advocates started pushing legislation in Washington, in state capitals, and in city councils to ban inexpensive weapons.

In November 1991, a fire destroyed the Raven Arms factory. Jennings retired and sold his designs to Phoenix Arms.[3] Phoenix was owned in equal shares by George's ex wife, his children, four of his grandchildren, and by Raven's former general manager. Phoenix continued to produce the MP-25,[3] and under the management of George's son Bruce, developed additional .22 and .25-caliber pistols, called the HP22 or HP25.

MP-25 details[edit]

There are conflicting views on the MP-25. Critics refer to it by the pejorative term "Saturday night special", as it is both easily concealed and affordable enough that the poor can afford to purchase it.[1] However, according to Roy Innis, president of the activist group Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), "To make inexpensive guns impossible to get is to say that you're putting a money test on getting a gun. It's racism in its worst form."[4] Some advocates of the pistol say that it is reliable, despite its low cost.[5] A 1998 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives publication warned that the pistol may discharge unintentionally when the safety is released.[6]

The MP-25 can hold six .25 ACP rounds in the magazine, plus one in the chamber, and is finished in chrome, satin nickel or black. The grips can be either wood or imitation mother-of-pearl handles. There is a similar model called the Raven Arms P-25. Both have similar blowback and envelope designs and are essentially identical firearms.[7]

Early models have a sliding bar safety that will not allow the pistol to chamber a round or cock the striker if the safety is not in the fire position when the slide is pulled back. Later models have a push up safety that will not allow the action to be cycled at all when engaged.[7]


  1. ^ a b Freudenberg, Nicholas (21 January 2014). Lethal But Legal: Corporations, Consumption, and Protecting Public Health. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 48–52. ISBN 978-0-19-993720-2. 
  2. ^ PBS. "frontline: hot guns: Interview with Bruce Jennings". Retrieved 2014-09-24. 
  3. ^ a b c Brown, Peter Harry; Abel, Daniel G. (15 June 2010). Outgunned: Up Against the NRA-- The First Complete Insider Account of the Battle Over Gun Control. New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 57, 157. ISBN 978-1-4516-0353-8. 
  4. ^ Harrison, Geoffrey (July 2, 2013). Lethal Weapons (Great Debates: Tough Questions / Smart History). Norwood House Press. ISBN 1599535920. 
  5. ^ Wood, J.B. (October 22, 2007). Automatic Pistols Assembly/Disassembly. Gun Digest Books. 
  6. ^ Raven 25 "Firearm Recalls & Warnings Index" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2015-07-06. 
  7. ^ a b Wood, J B (21 October 2007). Automatic Pistols Assembly/Disassembly. Iola, Wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. p. 535. ISBN 1-4402-2401-3.