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In 1958 Colt contracted the Astra firm in Spain to make the Colt Junior. It was a small frame handgun designed for personal defense and chambered in either .22 Short or .25 ACP. The one used in review is in 25 ACP. Very much an updated version of the striker fired 25 caliber Model 1908 Vest Pocket Colt which soldiered into production for years and saw limited action in World War II. The Gun Control Act of 1968 ended the import of the gun to Colt in America though the gun continued as the Astra Cub in Europe for some time afterward.
Specs and Features
The Colt Junior was of similar size to its predecessor but featured an exposed single action hammer, blued finish, and wood grips. There is a safety lever on the right side of the gun that when pushed up parallel to the slide renders the gun unable to fire even with the hammer cocked back. Lowering the safety down to perpendicular with the slide allows for the gun to be fired. The safety lever can also be used as a means to hold the slide open as well. It also features a six shot magazine that is depressed by a button on the right side of the grip and without the magazine the gun cannot be fired with the magazine out of the gun.
As mentioned before the gun is chambered for the 25 ACP/ 6.35 Browning cartridges. While the European variety of ammunition is loaded to higher velocity on the whole the 25 ACP is very under-powered for personal protection with a 50 grain jacketed bullet traveling at about 750 feet per second. Hand-loaded ammunition can generate higher velocities but this is negligible. Hollow-pointed defensive ammunition also achieves higher velocities with lighter bullets but the general consensus is that these bullets provide even less penetration needed to stop a determined threat. The rimfire .22 LR is considered slightly more powerful but lacks the reliable ignition of the 25. But in the past the 25 ACP was esteemed in its role as a light defensive round and it continues to soldier on today in numerous pistol designs and continues to save lives.
Shooting the 25 ACP Colt Junior was an enjoyable experience. The general lines feel the same like Colts 1911 service pistol with a thin profile and exposed single action hammer. The hammer must be cocked in order for the gun to fire whether it is kept cocked with the safety on or otherwise.
I used two different types of ammunition in the Junior. Both using 50 grain FMJ rounds being that some older guns do not function well with hollow-points and that said FMJ rounds would fare better for defense in this diminutive caliber.
The Junior can be loaded with six shots in the magazine and one in the chamber and it can be emptied as fast as one could pull the trigger. Recoil is not there and despite that my pinky was left hanging off the grip it was easy to get off accurate shots even outside close range where pocket 25s excel. Groups at seven yards amounted to several inches but with rapid firing and about thirty rounds of ammunition down range. The only beef is that the magazine in the gun is at least forty five years old and I am not aware of any newly manufactured magazines for the Junior and hence sometimes a bullet noses down into the magazine and fails to feed into the gun. Restricting the magazine capacity to five rounds plus one in the chamber eliminated that problem.
In conclusion, Colt’s Junior is a nice handgun that does not get a lot of attention compared to other Colt models but I find the gun to be absolutely cute in size but more than deadly enough to warrant respect. It makes a great collectible for an inexpensive price of about 400 USD. It shoots well for days at the range having fun and if need be can be pressed into defensive service as it is small, easy to carry, easy to shoot, and powerful enough to do the job with good marksmanship.