Gun Review: FIE Titan .25 ACP Pistol

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(This is a reader-submitted review as part of our gun review contest. See details here.)

By Brendan Nadeau

There are some guns that gun lovers pine after; a Wilson 1911, a coveted Colt Python, a highly tuned M1 Garand…maybe even a SIG SAUER Legion P229? Then there are guns that are our workhorses; a DPMS AR-15, a boring, yet reliable GLOCK 17, a Mossberg 500 shotgun.

Then there are the guns that are for the people with little money; the oft mocked, yet hefty Hi-Point pistols and carbines, a cosmoline filled Mosin-Nagant, a Bersa Thunder.

Then there’s this gun.

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This is a Firearms Import Export (FIE) Titan, an import from Italy made from Tanfoglio GT27 parts and slapped onto cheap Zamak frames, due to the Gun Control Act limiting the import of compact pistols. A classic “Saturday Night Special”, this gun is cheap and concealable, though out of production for some time now. My interest was sparked in this gun after watching a review done by Scootch00 (you know, the guy who shot his own truck), and I put it on my “to pick up” list in case I ran across it sometime down the road.

I finally picked one up at a gun show for about $100 and didn’t even have to pay sales tax as the vendor was relieved to see that I had a concealed carry license. After handing over some twenties, I slipped it into my pocket and was good to go.

After taking it home, I had a better opportunity to examine it more closely. This gun has had an interesting life, that’s for sure. There’s a bit of wear on the gun, probably from being taken in and out of holsters and/or being thrown at attackers after the .25 ACP round failed to stop them (just kidding about the last part…maybe). Overall though, the gun was in pretty decent shape, and I headed out to the range to test it out.

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Over the course of owning this particular firearm, I’ve run about 200 plus rounds through it, mostly Remington UMC, since I can really only find that or Aguila brand in my local Academy store. .25 ACP is not exactly the greatest self-defense round, and might piss off an attacker even more after you’ve unloaded all seven rounds into them. They might bleed out later, but not before they’ve killed you first.

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.25 ACP second from left

However, people also knock the .22 LR for being useless for killing things, yet there are strangely empty lines for people willing to be shot by these “weak” calibers. .25 ACP rounds are also made in JHPs as well, but from my research, it’s probably better to have full FMJs for penetration. .25 ACP is pretty expensive in comparison to other calibers, running at about $20 per box.

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The trigger on this gun isn’t as bad as you would think. The blocky, single action trigger takes up pretty well, with kind of a mushy break at the end when you fire the gun. Shooting the gun was pretty decent, though it’s nothing like shooting a GLOCK or a Browning Hi-Power, and I could see a person with larger hands getting slide bite, due to the fact that it’s a small pocket gun.

I shot the gun at one of my local ranges, at about 10 feet away. This is probably stretching the range of the Titan a little bit, as the small 2.5 inch barrel doesn’t give too much in terms of accuracy. Even then, the gun did pretty well accuracy wise; I fired twelve rounds at the target and managed to get seven of them inside the ten ring.

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Not exactly the best shooting out there, but then again, this is a very up close and personal weapon.  I did have a problem loading the single stack magazine as one of the rounds that I loaded in did dip down and refuse to align properly; it took some fussing around with the round and finally managed to get it seated.  Other than that, I surprisingly did not have any issues firing the gun.

Sights on the Titan exist, and nothing else. Consisting of a simple blade in the front and notch in the back, this isn’t meant to run in IDPA matches. I’m surprised that it even has sights for the ranges it’s supposed to be used.

Titan Sights-1

Disassembly and cleaning is simple: remove magazine, flip the safety to safe, pull back on slide, lift up, remove slide and recoil spring, and that’s it.  Hit it with some Ballistol and you’re good to go again.  For being a cheap gun, it’s at least got the decency of being simple and easy to maintain.  That’s probably my second favorite thing about this gun, as there are few things that can possibly get lost in the process of cleaning it.

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Which arrives at my favorite part of this gun; it’s concealable to a fault. This gun is smaller than most mobile phones on the market today, and pocket carry is so easy with this particular firearm that you can forget at times that you have it on your person. It would make for a good “deep concealment” type of weapon if you’re going that route, though there’s plenty of other options out there now that offer just as good concealment and in a much more effective caliber.

I’ve also heard that carrying the gun with a round chambered is also a bad idea, even if the safety is on. There are small holsters out for it, though from a quick Google search, options are sparse-ish. You can get different types of grips for the Titan as well, but considering that this a Saturday Night Special, customizing options are quite limited.

Overall, this gun might be good for concealed carry, if you’re willing to put your life on the line with a really small .25 ACP pistol that might make an attacker even angrier at you. However, despite me ribbing on it a little bit, this was a very fun little gun to shoot, and even my friends have enjoyed shooting it as well. I just wouldn’t (wholly) trust this gun in a defensive gun use situation, as the weak cartridge and limited accuracy make it backup weapon at most, and an expensive paperweight as the worst.

Specifications: FIE Titan

Caliber: .25 ACP (6.35 Browning)
Capacity: 7+1
Barrel Length: 2.48in
Overall Length: 4.72 in
Weight: 0.77 lbs
Price: Blue Book puts it about $77 dollars

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style: * * *
Looks cool enough. Better aesthetics than a Hi-Point, that’s for sure.

Ergonomics (carry) * * * * *
You can definitely hide this thing away in a pocket, small holster, or anywhere else that can fit a tiny little gun.

Ergonomics (shooting): * * *
It’s a small, snubby little pistol that fires a weak, underpowered cartridge. You can fire it for awhile, but the compact nature does kind of grind after some time.

Reliability: * * * *
Surprisingly, despite one malfunction in loading the firearm, this gun has gone bang every single time I’ve shot the pistol.

Customization: *
You can change out the grips, and that’s about it. Maybe a spare magazine as well. It does come in other finishes, but why bother?

Overall: * * *
I’m surprised myself, but this gun just works. I know that this rating might be a bit controversial, but this firearm is kind of fun. Just don’t expect too much out of it.

comments

  1. avatar jwm says:

    Pretty much mirrors my experience with my Titan 35+ years ago. Reliable as hell. I always carried mine hammer down on an empty chamber.

    I had it in my pocket for many a woods ramble and I carried it in my pocket when I worked the late shift at the gas station.

    Having a gun is rule number one. I’ve proven that rule to my satisfaction on several occasions.

  2. avatar Anner says:

    Nice review

  3. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Cartridges? Not a pro, but Imma take a shot (Heh.) for the practice…

    .22, .25 ACP, 9 x 19, .38, .357, the other .38 w/ more bang, n std 12 guage

    1. avatar tsbhoA.P.jr says:

      i’m thinkin’ you skipped the .380, no?

  4. avatar Hank says:

    FMJs and aim for the head.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Cop in Dayton many years ago told me about a guy who answered the door and took 7 .25 ACP rounds from his girlfriend’s ex. The seventh round entered his mouth, hit his jaw, and knocked him out. He recovered fully even though all 7 rounds hit him above the waist in his torso (and mouth).

  5. avatar gs650g says:

    The .25 should be a better cartridge. If it was rim fire it would work better. I’d like to see what could be done with a longer barrel and maybe hand loads.

    1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      Why?

      Rim fire is less reliable than centerfire.

    2. avatar Dick says:

      You do relize the .25acp was made because they JMB wanted a more reliable bullet similiar to the .22lr that was centerfire

      1. avatar gs650g says:

        Yes to you both however a rim fire would allow more powder due to a larger case volume. I think we all agree .22 ammo is pretty reliable these days.
        If the hmr17 in various flavors was developed maybe a company could take a look at the .25 as a new load.

        1. avatar Hoplopfheil says:

          There’s basically no difference in performance between hot .22 and hot .25 Auto. So you might as well go .25 for the reliability.

        2. avatar Peter Charles says:

          I have never has a misfire with any ammo except some that were in excess of 50 years old. I’d like to have back my hi standard .22 nine shot revolver w/ 3 in. bbl. . That was a easily concealable revolver that could be emptied very quickly, and, if you had a misfire, go to the next chamber in the cyl..

    3. avatar alexander says:

      The Titan has a decent steel frame and can take hot hand loads. I’ve tested it with 10% extra over a factory load and it handles it fine. I wouldn’t recommend putting hundreds of rounds of hot loads through it, but that;s not what its designed for, anyway. The hot load makes it about the same as a .32ACP, while in an incredibly small package.

  6. avatar Al says:

    Nothing wrong with a Titan 25, it’s a slightly simplified copy of the unbreakable 1934 Beretta – easily one of the best designed pocket autos from WW2.

  7. avatar former water walker says:

    Nice review. It LOOKS cool…

  8. avatar Crowbar says:

    Good review.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    Nice review. And while I would not choose a .25 cal as a primary, it would not be unreasonable as a backup which is likely to be deployed at point-blank range.

  10. avatar CdCarpeti says:

    There is more BS than review in this review.

    Even for a Troll, this guy is an uneducated douchebag.

    To wit:

    Quote: “There’s a bit of wear on the gun, probably from being taken in and out of holsters and/or being thrown at attackers after the .25 ACP round failed to stop them (just kidding about the last part…maybe).

    .25 ACP is not exactly the greatest self-defense round, and might piss off an attacker even more after you’ve unloaded all seven rounds into them. They might bleed out later, but not before they’ve killed you first.

    Overall, this gun might be good for concealed carry, if you’re willing to put your life on the line with a really small .25 ACP pistol that might make an attacker even angrier at you.

    . . . as the weak cartridge and limited accuracy make it backup weapon at most, and an expensive paperweight as the worst.”

    1. avatar gs650g says:

      I fail to see how the first two sentences were necessary. Try a bit more civility.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Lighten up francis.

    3. avatar Matt in Tx says:

      Dude, it’s called humor! Learn to I.D. it.

  11. avatar Gregolas says:

    Good review. My second case as an expert witness involved a drug deal gone bad. The defendant was grabbed from behind while the second attacker tried to brain him with a ball bat. He pulled a Raven .25 and emptied all 6 rounds in the bat man, who fell right there and was dead before medics arrived. The discouraged rear attacker fled. The .25 saved the defendant’s life and the jury found him “not guilty by self defense”.
    Would I carry one ? Never, considering all the small, good .380’s out there that are virtually the same size for a “go anywhere” defensive piece. But nobody wants to be shot, even by a .25.

  12. avatar Specialist38 says:

    The small 380 has harshly obsoleted the 25 acp. I have owned a Bauer and Browning Baby in 25. Tiny and easy to conceal but we didn’t have the plethora or pocket holsters back then.

    Also played with Jennings, Iver Johnson, and Walther 22s. The IJ and Walther were DA/DA but the Jennings was a fully cocked striker. None were reliable enough for defense in my opinion.

    We would have loved an LCP or Kahr for easy cocnealability back in the day. Most 380 were either crap or as big or bigger than a J frame Smith.

    These small 25s are interesting but not what I would prefer for Pocket carry. Since I can pick up a new LCP for around 200, I’ll relegate the 25 for fun shooting once in a blue moon.

    1. avatar junkman says:

      I agree–fun gun to own, but not to carry–when you can pick up a Ruger LCP for only 2 bills, why bother with 25 ACP–my LCP is accurate enough to blow up water filled beverage cans at all of the common self defense distances–the LCP is the modern definition of a Derringer refined and perfected

  13. avatar Stinkeye says:

    This review reads to me like the author actually like the gun quite a bit, but feels like he has to trash it a little every time he praises it to keep the peanut gallery from making fun of him… Hey, if it works, there ain’t no shame in enjoying a cheap gun. It actually looks like a neat little gun, except for that awkward safety.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Liking it is one thing- as a cool thing to have and take to the range, sure. But if you’re talking about it as a potential defensive firearm, as the review does, it’s worth considering that there is a whole category of firearms (380, maybe even 32acp) that do what this gun does, except better.

    2. avatar alexander says:

      Having a Titan for some time, I can attest that once you get used to the safety, flipping it becomes very natural and easy.

  14. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    I know that I’m one of the old time POTG here, but remember that back in the day .25 autos or maybe a High Standard .22 mag derringer (would somebody do a review of that pistol?) were all that we had. Turn a 1970’s cop over and shake him and a High Standard o/u derringer or a Beretta .25 auto was going to fall out. I carried a Beretta 21A as a hide out when I started sheriffing in 1991. I remember many gun writers singing the praise of Seecamp .32s but they were so expensive that no working men could afford them and they were back ordered about 20 years in advance. So the rest of us bought Berettas or AMT Backup .380’s (another truly vile firearm which couldn’t fire two rounds without jamming). These days I carry a Ruger .380 LCP. It feeds everything I run through it and rides well in my left side cargo pocket. I still have the Beretta .25 but I don’t think that I’ve put 20 rounds through it in the past 10 years.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Back in the 1920s, many “evening” or “vest pocket” guns were .25, .32 or .380, principally because they were so concealable. And if they were being made and sold in large numbers, they must have been up to the task for which they were intended.

    2. avatar Hoplopfheil says:

      Hey now, my AMT Backup 380 works very well!

      But seriously, you are not wrong. I’ve babied mine and used it with new production magazines, and it mostly works. From what I’ve read the real issue was inconsistent quality control. I must have got one of the good ones.

  15. avatar LHW says:

    Know a guy who carries one of these every day. Better than nothing.

    1. avatar MintMar says:

      Yep. The best way to go unarmed. I have 1906 reasons for some FuN.

  16. avatar cisco kid says:

    I would suggest the Author simply push the firing pin forward till it is flush with the back of the slide to find out if it is an inertia firing pin or not. Its been so long since I had these guns I forget if they did or did not. The gun was reliable although it did break firing pins if dry fired too much. It was an amazing value for the money and very reliable. Several Friends of mine who bought them still have them 30 some years later and carry them every day.

    As far as bad mouthing the .25 acp or .22 lr. I suggest you look at the President Reagan attempted assassination as 3 big men went down as if hit by lightening and they were shot with a .22 rim fire. Reagan would have died if the bullet had not been off by more than a 1/16 of an inch when it penetrated his body. Brady was incapacitated for life and one of Reagans Body Guards spun half away around and hit the cement as though as if hit by a bolt of lightening. That’s plenty lethal enough for a very small compact pistol that most people always carry as opposed to those who leave their bigger guns home or in the car because they are comfortable to carry or un-concealable in very hot weather which means a .25 acp in the hand is better than having nothing more than your penius in your hand on a dark night in a blind alley.

    The .25acp guns are getting harder and harder to find as most U.S. manufactures just do not make them anymore and the low priced European Imports have been banned since the infamous 68 Gun Ban Act by the Stalinist and former Secretary of the American Communist Party Howard Metzenbaum drafted and passed the Stalinist Act. Bad gun laws last forever and are never rescinded.

    Legal carry Handguns are now irrelevant and soon to become extinct since the lower courts in California just ruled that “concealed carry is not a right” as it is a threat to themselves and the “power elite” and they deliberately let stand the former bans on “open carry” as well thus making an end run around the Second Amendment and totally destroying it as far as self protection on the street is concerned.

    The Supreme Court recently ruled the ban on assault rifles passed after the Sandy Hook massacre are legal to ban in any style or configuration by any State wishing to destroy all Second Amendment Rights in regards to owning modern semi-auto weapons.

    So as far as the big looming fight over appointing a Conservative Justice to the Supreme Court, its all ready too late the Second Amendment is already history.

    1. avatar miforest says:

      john henkley carried a 19.95 RG 14 pot metal 22lr revolver. according to trial records, none of the “exploding ” bullets he used expanded. watch that video and you will get a visceral sense of why laughing at a 22,25 or 32 is foolish.
      the 380 is better, but the older stuff works. personally, in a emergency , I would shoot center mass with 22 or 25. only hits matter, but all hits matter. nobody like to be shot. only extreme crazy will not stop when shot with anything. if you are up against extreme crazy wit adrenelin too. 25 or 45, it’s gonna be a bad night.

    2. avatar tdiinva (Now in Wisconsin) says:

      The 9th Circuit ruling is contradicted by the 5th Circuit. And all those rulings due is leave it to the states. Even an overturning of Heller and McDonald just leaves it to the states.

  17. avatar Adub says:

    Nice review. It told me something new about an old gun I knew nothing about, and showed that even beat-up cheap guns still sometimes work like you’d expect.

  18. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    Thanks for the review!

  19. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    A very close friend of mine, about 6’3 350lbs at the time, took an FMJ .25acp to the gut point blank.

    He didn’t realize he had actually been shot in the bar scuffle (thought the guy missed) until a few days later when his stomach started bothering him.

    The bullet never made it passed his belly fat, but, in all fairness, he had quite a bit.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Nature’s body armor. Provided by mickeyd’s and little debbie.

  20. avatar Dave says:

    Had one for years, actually. No need to mock it or the caliber. By the standards of the day when it was designed it did what it was supposed to do.
    Compact .25 acp pistols are obsolete now, but they’d certainly still work.

  21. avatar Eric M says:

    Bought my FIE Titan in 1969 when with local police dept. Cost new 37.50 for a nickel piece… Never failed to work with regular FNJ ammo.. In. 1977 got a AMT Backup and haven’t shot the Titan much over last 35 yrs, but when I do get it out for a few rounds it still functions. Enjoyed the review and comments.

  22. avatar Greatgeezer says:

    A great bear gun. Just shoot your buddy in the knee, and walk away at a leisurely pace.

  23. avatar No name old man says:

    I have a new in box never fired Titan Bought years ago just to have for my collection of 25 autos Now I carry as a back up some times a Beretta model 20. They were made in states for 3 years. Its really a 950 Beretta made DA/SA . Lot better than the 21A smaller, thinner, better trigger and takes 950 mags I also have 2 950 Beretta 1 again new in box That one has no silly USA thumb safety.

    I drew Beretta 950 one night in a parking garage. Little punk want my money and had a knife. At sight of pistol was gone . Like the road runner just no beep beep . Now that we have legal CC . I carry a 9 or 45 mostly 25 tucked away as a deep back up.

  24. avatar Captain O says:

    I have two of the little pistols one works consistently, and the second one has trigger reset problems. I like the little pistols and wouldn’t hesitate to drop one in my jacket pocket when I take out the trash. I can empty the pistol’s magazine in a heartbeat, and have a group just like the one shown on the author’s target.

    I prefer my Chezh. single-action in .32 acp. I prefer it over any .380 acp because I can consistently hit my target at “bad breath” distances. The little .32 rod in a European cop’s holster for many years. I couldn’t give a moon and six pence less about “obsolesence”. The little .32 does a darned fine job. I can group the little .312″ 73-grain Fiocchi FMJ bullets precisely where I want. Penetration is more than ample and I can almost guarantee that I’ll walk away from the encounter alive. That’s what counts.

    Jon Moses Browning was no fool.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      Amen brother

  25. avatar Bob G says:

    Was at a trout fishing camp long ago and we put our weapons on the table. One big guy scoffed at my Titan 25 and asked me what I was going to do with that toy. I replied I would stick it under his chin and pull the trigger six times. He stood there, looked at me awhile and responded, that will work.

  26. avatar steve frey says:

    For years I assumed these were junk, but found a nice one with satin chrome finish last weekend, for $100. It is similar to a Beretta, with fixed barrel, so it is more accurate than the Browning type .25s. I got 2 groups from one mag, 2″ & 2.5″, low, from 10M!

    Functioned perfectly, but the trigger was hard. My hands are too large for this gun. If you have malfunctions with .25acp’s, get Fiocchi ammo which has a heavy roll crimp. The case mouths can hang up. That happened in my Walther 9.

    Also, I was surprised to find that the Titan is 50% heavier than my P-32(acp) Kel-Tec, 12oz vs 8oz.

  27. avatar Bob says:

    With all due respect, you fired it at ten FEET? C’mon! I shot a similar group at 21 feet first time out, and I’m no marksman.

    I think you meant to say, if only by implication, that its one of those guns you are actually quite happy to have, a) for the price (its just kinda cool and fun), b) when even a small .380 seems too bulky for the occasion, c) because its so tiny and yet it still works, and d) as with any firearm, having it could potentially save your life vs having no gun at all.

  28. avatar Mark Schmidt says:

    Long ago, I sort of collected .25 pistols for a few years…several of them were very reliable, which is what you want with a caliber that makes people either laugh at you or get mad for carrying it…
    The FIE Titan is one of those that works…but I recommend hunting for an OLDER Italian-made example – they were far better made and featured steel frames rather than the crap made in Florida…(The Miami model still seems to work, so maybe I’m being a snob…)
    The Armi Galesi worked, too, as did the German Erma, Dreyse, and the Spanish Astra. I was just looking at a list of those little poppers for sale, thinking of buying one, even though my S&W .380 is near that size…but the prices on them now will get your attention.
    FWIW, us old hippies carried them, too…

  29. avatar Mark D. says:

    I picked up one of these for $60 at a show about a year ago. A simple, well designed, reliable pistol. Found a parts gun for $13 at another show and gained a spare mag, plus all the parts except the frame. Yes, the pot-metal frames are a weak spot, but I’m not putting thousands of rounds through mine. As for a defense gun – well, maybe. It might even scare someone off without firing a shot.
    But as some have said “Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”

    Happy Motoring, Mark

  30. avatar zebradun says:

    Vasily Mikhailovich Blokhin 7,000 Kills, one shot stops, one kill every three minutes for ten hrs a night over 28 days. Used a briefcase full of Walther model 2 in .25 acp. Spring of 1940 these little pistols can kill you, if used the right way.

  31. avatar JTS says:

    Does anyone have any experience with this gun going off either “accidentally” (assuming one in the chamber, of course) or, going off when being slapped at (say, in a defensive situation), or when hitting or bumping up against something? How easy or difficult is it for the safety to get into the “off” position accidentally (like when pulling it out of your pocket? Thanks for any replies

  32. avatar Mark D says:

    I’ve been thinking about making a ‘test’ cartridge – removing the bullet and powder from a .25 case – leaving just the primer to see if my Titan can actually fire ‘unintentionally’ with the hammer down on a loaded chamber – with the safety on or off.

    Happy Motoring, Mark

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