Thursday, June 22, 2017

El Malo - First Impressions

The Cimarron El Mal came in yesterday, and I picked it up from the FFL at about 3:30 pm after training.  After we did the paperwork, I went over to my buddy Bill's office to show it off.

Cimarron, as you may know, if an outfit out of Fredricksburg, TX, that imports Pietta revolvers, re-works them, and sells them under their brand.  Cimmarron has a great reputation among cowboy shooters and I wanted to see an El Malo, up close and personal.

My buddy Bill is a brand-new Cowboy Fast Draw shooter and I wanted him to see it, out of the box.  Bill recently bought a Ruger New Vaquero, a fine gun for CFDA work, but I wanted to show off the new revolver and let him see some options.

It is a pretty gun.  Nice bluing, nice color case hardening.  Bill (who is a big fellow, with big hands) commented on how nicely it fit his hand.  He checked it for clear, then pointed it in a safe direction and thumbed the hammer.  His eyes widened.  "That's smooth!" He commented, then passed the revolver across the desk.

I checked for clear, then thumbed the hammer.  I had to agree, it was very smooth and light.

Many out-of-the box revolvers come with heavy springs and many CFDA shooters lighten their springs to reduce the amount of force needed to cock the revolver.  That's a standard modification, and both of Belle's Pietta revolvers have lightened springs.  Reduced-power springs are very common on CFDA revolvers.  Yet, here was a Pietta that didn't seem to need spring work.  The mainspring was light enough out of the box.

By this time it was quitting time at Bill's place, so we boxed the revolver, and I took it home to show it to Belle.  When she got in from work, she noticed the Cimmaron box on the table and took the revolver out of the box.  She also remarked that it fit her hand nicely.  So, while I poured her a glass of wine, she strapped up her belt/holster rig and stepped into the hall, where we have a laser range set up.  She began drawing and shooting and remarked that the revolver was very smooth, that the hammer was easy to cock and that the grips fit her hand nicely.

I admit I was perplexed.  Bill has big hands and Belle has small hands, the both remarked how well the revolver fit their hands.Evidently, Cimmaron has found the perfect grip size for a wide range of hands..  I admit that the El Malo feels good i my hands, medium-sized by many standards.

For some reason, Pietta trigger guards seem to be (and no, I haven't put a micrometer on them) smaller than Uberti or Ruger trigger guards.  Belle commented that this Pietta seemed to have the small trigger guard, and I have to agree.  It feels smaller than my Ubertis and my Rugers.  If you have big hands, and have to get on the trigger quickly (as in CFDA shooting) you might find that the Pietta trigger guard is a bit small.

Belle shoots Piettas and has done well with them.  She prefers them over both Uberti and Ruger revolvers.  Both of her Peittas are marketed by Traditions, an outfit from Florida.  And, they both have transfer-bar ignition, which is familiar to Ruger shooters.  But, one of the first things I noted about the El Malo is that it has a hammer-mounted firing pin.

Plain as day, that firing pin is mounted on the hammer, just like the Colt Peacemaker.  The hammer gives us the four clicks of a standard Colt, and I suspect that if I disassembled the El Malo, I'd find that the innards closely resemble the standard Colt mechanism.

What do I like about the El Malo?  It's a nice revolver, very nice, and seems to be a pretty good copy of the old Colt design.  It is marketed at a very appealing price point, and the grips seem to fit a wide variety of hand sizes.  It seems to come right out of the box ready for CFDA competition, with a nice hammer and trigger.  The octagon barrel certainly isn't historically accurate, but it is cool.

The question of whether it will end up in Belle's bag or mine, really doesn't matter.    I bought it because I was intrigues by it, and the fact that Belle likes it is just lagniappe.  It's probably destined to ride on one bag or the other as a spare, or a loaner.  Either of us might shoot it if our competition guns break down during a shoot.

If you're looking for a cooler-than-hell little cowboy revolver, you could do a lot worse than the Cimmaron El Malo.