Bauer 25 - Bauer Firearms Corp. Automatic .25 ACP pistol.
This little beauty has a stainless frame and slide, plastic pearl grips, 2 1/8" barrel, 6 round magazine capacity and fixed sights. It is 4” x 2 13/16” in size and weighs a mere 10.2 oz fully loaded. Some of these have sold at auctions recently for around $200. SMALL!! This is smaller than the 22 lr and .380 pistols we have reviewed. The slide does not lock open except for the small amount used for disassembly. There is a cocking indicator on the back where a small pin will stick out when cocked. Since pictures are worth a thousand words and its size is everything, here are a few thousand words
Bauer 25 under a standard sized Post-it notepad,
Walther PPS, Sig-Sauer P238, Bauer 25
A brief history:
This style of pistol (the Browning “Baby” 25) started out life in Belgium in 1931 as a joint venture with “Fabrique Nationale” (FN) and Browning. Then came U.S. Gun Control Act of 1968 (passed in the emotion-charged atmosphere resulting from the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and the Reverend Martin Luther King). The law made it illegal to import small, personal handguns which could not meet a point system imposed by the Treasury Department. Shortly after the legislation there appeared on the American market, an exact “copy” of the FN BABY made by Bauer Firearms of Fraser, Michigan. Nothing in the 1968 law prohibited U.S. manufacture of the same kind of handgun which was prohibited from import. Essentially, the Bauer was a stainless-steel copy of the Browning/FN "Baby" pistol, and most parts will interchange. After the Bauer Company closed, the actual manufacturer of the pistol located in Fraser, Michigan, continued production as the "Fraser" for a few years. Around 1983, Precision Small Parts of Charlottesville, Virginia made the pistol under an agreement with FN when it shut down the European production plant. The pistol was briefly marketed as the PSP-25 by KBI, Inc. of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. More recently, it has been sold by Precision Small Arms of California, and called the PSA-25. Guns like these can still be purchased from http://www.precisionsmallarms.com/.
Disassembly: Being relatively new at handguns, I just never cease to become surprised at how various ones come apart. In this case, you lock the slide slightly back using the combination safety/slide lock lever. Then you turn the barrel a quarter turn clockwise (as you look at the muzzle). This turns the notches of the barrel away from the frame and you can now remove the slide by releasing the safety/slide lock lever. Once the slide is off the body, you can rotate the barrel again to remove it from the slide. The firing pin and spring can be removed from the back. Reassemble in the reverse order.
Shooting the Bauer 25 is quite a challenge. Gripping this is in your hand gives you one finger on the trigger and one finger on the grip… no more. Although the tolerance is close, there were no problems keeping our hands below the slide travel. The sights are a standard 3 point system although it was impossible to see the sights when aiming at a dark background. I lined up the sight against the white backdrop and then moved over to our target for scoring. That might account for some of the poor results. Although there is very little kick in the .25 caliber round, there is still a noticeable jump against the bottom of your trigger finger with each shot.
The bad: I did have several FTL (failure to load) where the next round would be stuck at an angle and jam the gun. It might have been a bit of limp-wristing because you just can’t get a grip on the gun. I also felt uncomfortable handling this gun as it seemed so much more like a toy than a weapon. I was constantly guarding my movements to ensure safety. Similar to the difference between holding a knife with a razor blade IN it and holding a razor blade by itself. That feeling would probably go away if I actually owned and handled one of these regularly.
Overall impression is good. Carrying a gun like this is certainly as a LAST line of defense, but it can be concealed anywhere. It would travel well while jogging and give you six chances to place a good shot on a mugger. I would consider this mostly a grown-up toy to get oooh’s and aaaah’s from my fellow shooters. “Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” It just so happens to be a GUN.