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EAA Model IZH35M .22 LR Target Pistol
By Mike Venturino, Classic Arms Editor, Shooting Times.

alk about a change of pace! When the editor asked if I would do a test report for the Handgun Buyer’s Guide 2001 on European American Armory’s IZH35M .22 LR pistol, I said, “Sure.” But I honestly had no idea what sort of handgun an IZH35M was. I was a bit surprised when it arrived to discover that it is a high-quality .22 semiauto intended for formal bullseye-style target shooting. Even more surprising to me was that it’s manufactured in Russia by Baikal.

In its basic form, the IZH35M does not look greatly different from many other autoloaders. The operating bolt and six-inch barrel are contained in a square-looking housing. When the gun is operated, however, one sees immediately that the slide is actually under the barrel, and the barrel itself is rigidly fixed. The ejection port sets farther back in the receiver than those on most autoloading .22 pistols of my experience. The very large rear sight assembly sets rearward and hangs well back over the web of one’s shooting hand. The trigger guard is also very large.

The most distinctive thing about the IZH35M, however, is its immense walnut-stained hardwood grip. This gun is designed for one purpose: offhand target shooting. The grips are engineered to lock the gun in one’s shooting hand as steadily as possible. A large wooden flange sets between the shooting hand’s trigger and second finger for support. The trigger finger rests in a large groove cut into the wood, and there is a second large groove on the gun’s left side to support the thumb. Also placed on the left side is another large flange that bears against the heel of the shooting hand; this also is meant for support. And there is an adjustable and detachable ledge on the bottom right side of the grip to help lock the shooting hand in place.

Factory Load
Winchester HV 37-gr. HP
CCI Standard Vel. 40-gr. HP
Federal Match 40-gr.
Lapua Multi-Match 40-gr.
Remington Target 40-gr.
NOTES: Accuracy is the average of three five-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest at 50 feet. Velocity is the average of 10 rounds measured six feet from the gun’s muzzle.

Instead of just picking up this pistol, it is better to take it in the off hand and place it firmly into the shooting hand. This is an old target shooter’s maneuver and helps keep the grip exactly the same every time. Take note: This is a pistol for right-handed shooters only. There is no way for the left hand to fire it.

Now let’s look at the functioning of this target pistol. Just as with conventional autoloading pistols, rounds are loaded into a detachable magazine that slides into the grip. The capacity of the magazine supplied with the IZH35M is only five rounds; two magazines are included. A large knurled button on the bottom of the left grip releases the magazine for reloading. What is different from most other autoloaders, however, is the manner in which the first round is fed into the chamber. Instead of pulling back the slide and releasing it, the IZH35M uses a bolt with grooves cut into tabs on either side. To load the first round into the chamber, point the pistol in a safe direction, grasp the grooved tabs with the thumb and index finger of the left hand, pull backwards fully, and release. This pushes the bolt rearwards so that it picks up the first round in the magazine; when released, the pistol is ready to fire. Following rounds are fired simply by pulling the trigger as with any other semiautomatic pistol.

Page Two - Specs, Performance, Conclusion

This article was originally published in Shooting Times Handgun Buyer's Guide 2001.

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