It might be understandable for the run-of-the-mill North American shooter (a.k.a., yours truly) to be only slightly aware of the name, Janz. On the other hand, it would be more surprising if anyone (including this author) was unaware of the name, Korth and their high end revolvers. But, in a very real sense, Korth begat Janz.
A Brief History
According to the owners of Janz Präzisionstechnik GmbH, the genesis of their revolvers occurred because of serial insolvencies at Korth. The first insolvency resulted in Korth losing all of their equipment etc; Janz thus became the supplier of all the parts necessary to produce the Korth handguns. The second insolvency decimated Korth even further, leaving Janz with a stockpile of parts and no buyer.
Along with the stack of revolver components, the Janz owners and staff had accumulated a wealth of knowledge. It was easy to see why they asked themselves, “Should we design and build a unique revolver using our own parts and know-how?” Heading to the blackboard/scratch pad, they came up with this product description:
- A revolver with a caliber similar, but not identical, to Korth revolvers – they chose .44 Magnum
- The best available trigger system (more about that later)
- Grips to accommodate either the Smith & Wesson N or L frame
- Robust, but beautiful surface treatments using the best German technology
- All metal parts made from hammer-forged, high-carbon stainless steel
Their choice of steel is indicative of the extremely high quality materials and manufacturing demanded by the Janz family. Thus, the Janz revolvers possess barrels with steel hardened to a Rockwell C value of 54.
For comparison, “Steel makers offer special ‘ordnance-grade’ steel alloys for the manufacture of gun barrels. Ordnance-grade alloys are subjected to special handling, careful heat treatment and rigorous analysis to assure quality and consistency…Most barrel steels have a hardness of around 25 to 32 on Rockwell C scale.”
- With the highest-quality materials and craftsmanship, the pricing was planned to be similar to Korth revolvers, but based on the production of approximately 100 revolvers/year.
The year 1997 marked the establishment of the team of artisans who would produce the Janz revolver; the team included Rene Gantz, the last apprentice of Willi Korth. The first prototype appeared in 1998 in .44 Magnum. Because of a demand for very very powerful cartridges, a larger-framed prototype was produced in 1999 chambered to .454 Casull.
Though the prototypes were instantly hailed for the quality of their craftsmanship, the premier of the Janz claim-to-fame occurred in 2000 – a unique modular system based on a single frame, but with interchangeable barrels and cylinders in calibers ranging from .22LR to .454 Casull. The transformation from one caliber to another is said to take a matter of seconds and requires no tools.
“Would you be interested in reviewing another ‘unique’ firearm?” Those were pretty much the first words I uttered after answering a call from Ken Buch, owner of Kebco LLC. Ken is the North American importer of Verney-Carron rifles and shotguns and Manurhin revolvers.
Once I managed to answer his question in the affirmative, he asked, “Have you ever heard of Janz revolvers?” My answer: “I have a vague recollection of hearing the name.” It seemed that Ken and the North American importer of Janz revolvers, Till Hezel, were interested in having a Type EM in .357 Magnum put through its paces.
This particular handgun — the Type EM — is a fixed-caliber model, but is constructed from the same high-quality materials and with all of the mechanical attributes, found in the interchangeable caliber models: high-carbon stainless steel, a hammer-forged barrel . . .
…grips made from German walnut, and adjustable front and rear sights. The Janz Type EM is designed for both competitive shooting and hunting.
The revolver’s trigger pull can be adjusted by the screw located in the bottom of the grip and the scale on the frame.
About that trigger pull…. Knowing that I was planning to use the EM at the range and not for hunting, Till Hezel set the pull weight to 2.5 lbs (the weight can be adjusted as high as 5-6 lbs).
The crispness of the trigger break was impressive when firing the Janz single-action, but it was the double-action mode that frankly astounded me. The term smooth-as-silk doesn’t really do it justice.
To test to see if others might come to the same conclusion, I accosted two guys who were firing rifles on the range next to the pistol stand. I let them handle the Janz and provided them with the information I had collected before receiving the revolver. When they were about to head back to their rifles, I asked them to dry-fire the revolver without cocking the hammer.
The looks on their faces were noteworthy. One of them declared that he owned a number of double-action revolvers, but the only way he could get close to that smooth a trigger pull would be to fire them in single-action mode.
I used three types of ammunition for my rangework: Hornady Critical Defense 125 gr FTX; Hornady Leverevolution 140 gr FTX; and Remington UMC 125 gr SJHP.
The mean muzzle velocities (as estimated using a LabRadar unit) for these three ammunition types were very similar: 125gr FTX = 1443 ± 21 f.p.s.; 140gr FTX = 1407 ± 15 f.p.s.; and 125gr SJHP = 1444 ± 9 f.p.s.
For the competitive shooters out there, the power factors generated from the Janz 4-inch barrel and these three cartridges were 175, 191 and 175, respectively. The velocity and PF values reflect well on the inherent power of the cartridges and the sufficiency of the 4” barrel to provide efficient propellant combustion.
Given the muzzle velocities and power factors, I should comment on what I usually refer to as the ‘shootability factor’. In the extreme, a particular firearm and cartridge combination might make me want to curl into a fetal position each time I pull the trigger. My long-since-sold .338 Winchester Magnum rifle was in that category.
On the other hand, a very powerful rifle/cartridge combination might produce more of a ‘hold-my-beer-and-watch-this’ response from me. The Blaser .458 Lott I reviewed not too long ago comes to mind.
So, what about the Janz and the three cartridge types tested? First, this is a relatively short barreled .357 Magnum revolver. That means it is noticeable when the trigger breaks. However, this particular revolver weighs 3 lbs 3 oz. That weight provides definite dampening over a ‘normal’ .357 Magnum revolver that’s a pound and change lighter.
The Janz Type EM in .357 Magnum is wonderfully shootable in terms of felt recoil. And, its extra weight provides a balance that isn’t present in lighter and less well-constructed handguns that I have encountered (two of my own .38 Caliber revolvers included).
As mentioned earlier, this double-action revolver possessed the most amazing trigger pull I have ever encountered. Though I fired for accuracy estimates using the single-action mode, I had a wonderful time using the Janz EM in double-action.
As always, I first fired from the 42 yard mark. I finally acquiesced and thus carried a portable table to the range so that I could also fire from the regulation 25 yards for which my NRA targets were designed.
The photograph of the target illustrates the size of groups obtained at 42 yards. Ignoring the one shot I yanked out of the black, the group is slightly less than 4 inches in diameter. I think that’s excellent for the combination of new handgun + 4” barrel + iron sights + my eyes.
This group was obtained using the Remington ammunition, but the two Hornady cartridges gave similarly-sized groupings.
As expected, when I moved to 25 yards the groups were approximately 2 inches in diameter for all the ammunition types.
I realize that many readers of The Truth About Guns firearm reviews are more interested in handguns designed for personal defense. The Janz line of revolvers are ‘sport’ models. Hence, they’re designed for the competitive shooter and/or hunter who wants the very best equipment available.
In terms of my analysis design, shooting at the ‘extreme’ distance of 42 yards demonstrated that even an average shooter such as myself could accomplish groups that should be reasonable for competitive shooting. Also, these groups would provide the opportunity to ethically and efficiently harvest game at distances of 50 yards or less.
The Janz EM in .357 Magnum is a truly wonderful handgun. It’s another example of a firearm that when held and fired radiates quality. For those who know, it is at least equivalent to the quality of a “Korth-from-before.” If there is a higher-quality – in terms of materials, manufacturing, appearance and performance – sport revolver on the market, I would love to find it.
I can’t comment on the ‘interchangeable’ Janz models, not having seen one except in photographs. However, the ‘fixed’ caliber Janz reviewed here makes me certain that all of the Janz products will prove to be phenomenal.
As an aside, with the lower price tag (relative to other Janz models), I consider this fixed-caliber Janz EM as a ‘gateway Janz’.
Specifications: Janz Type EM Revolver
Caliber: Fixed, .357 Magnum
Barrel Length: 4″
Overall Length: 10.5″
Weight: 3lbs, 3oz
Grips: German Walnut manufactured by Karl Nill GmbH
Finish: Matte Blue
Capacity: 6 rounds
Ratings (out of Five Stars):
Style: * * * * *
This is a classic revolver, but built to the highest standards of German design and manufacturing. The quality of appearance of this handgun is seen in only the finest of firearms.
Fit and Finish: * * * * *
The design of the Janz Type EM frame and grips produced a hand-in-glove feel for me. The finish was impeccable. This was reflected not only in the bluing and woodwork, but also in the exacting fit of the metal and wood components.
Accuracy * * * * *
Iron sights + three different cartridge types + 4” barrel + old eyes = ~four-inch groups at 42 yards. Enough said.
Reliability: * * * * *
Not only were there no mechanical issues, this revolver was amazing in terms of the smoothness of trigger and cylinder mechanisms.
Customize This * * *
There isn’t a thing you’d likely want to change on the Type EM and if you find yourself thinking about it, don’t. There are no commercial holsters made for it, but if you’re spending this much on a revolver, a few hundred extra for a custom holster from El Paso Saddlery shouldn’t be a problem.
Overall * * * * *
I often encounter firearms that I would like to own. Less frequently do I encounter a firearm for which I would sell organs (even my own) to purchase. A Janz revolver is in the latter category. The look, fit and accuracy of the Type EM is truly special. I hated to put it into the UPS box for shipment.
All of the photographs, except those from the range analysis (taken by the author), were provided by Till Hezel.
Mike Arnold writes about firearms and hunting at his blog Mike Arnold, Outdoor Writer.
A note of thanks to the following people for providing materials and support: Ken Buch, Till Hezel, Tom McElwayne (owner of Shooters Den) and Neal Emery (Hornady).
It’s a wheel gun. Great if you’re concerned about bear attacks. About as useful for self defense as a tactical wheel-lock. It’s a nice looking anachronism, I’ll give it that.
Generally, I wouldn’t use a ten thousand dollar gun for my self defense gun but hey that’s just me.
If I’m paying $10k for a gun, it better have a giggle switch or be chambered in .50BMG.
Yep. Pretty but not nearly enough gun for the money.
Well don’t break into my house, I’m likely to mistake you for a bear. Those .44 slugs leave big holes in bipeds as well.
Some of us actually shoot revolvers regularly in ICORE.
That said, I’ll keep my pencil-barrel 64 no-dash.
Don’t see much use for a $10,000 revolver.
Me reading this review…
I was OK with the article until I spit coffee all over my monitor when I saw the price.
I was thinking $2500, and I can’t (won’t) afford that either. I don’t think my ENTIRE collection (tragically lost in a recent boating accident) is worth $10k.
Geez. If you got the money, have a ball.
And you wonder why Korth had financial troubles.
Oh gee look an $8,000 roller delayed 1911.
Just what everyone needs!
So if the fixed caliber is $10K, the kit must be pushing $20K? I mean, that’s the coolest revolver I’ve ever seen, but that is so far out of my league it isn’t funny.
Good review and very nice looking revolver. I was actually intrigued until I saw an MSRP of $9800! For that price, it god damn better be the best revolver ever produced. You know it’s expensive when for the same price you could buy a matched pair of Wilson Combat pistols with money left over for a case of ammo.
Maybe it’s a typo and they added an extra zero?
When I hit the Publishers Clearing House I might be interested.
Honestly I’d probably spend the money on a couple of pristine Pythons.
I like your idea better, Gov.
Let’s see. For $9800 I can buy almost 12 GP-100s. No way in hell!
Love the revolver. If I ever get to own one I’ll know I made it in this world because I’ll have a bunch of stuff before it. If you get a chance to at least get some stuff on an interchangable barrel model. I want to see how they do it in seconds.
There is no way I am paying $9800 for a gun that cannot focus. I mean look at those photos, this gun is constantly soft and fuzzy. If I didn’t know better I’d say it’s been imbibing alcoholic beverages.
Maybe it’s just jet lag? I mean if that gun came all the way from Germany, maybe it’s just exhausted and needs some rest?
That would explain the size of the groups…
shoulda stuck w/ .44mag.
They should really mention the price in the first paragraph so I’m not disappointed so badly at the end… 🙁
Or be really cruel and say. “if you have to ask you can’t afford it”.
Arm and a leg works too.
And half a torso.
Headed straight for the MSRP and quickly learned I have no need to read the review. I guess when all your friends have Korths you need to up the ante to stand out at the range.
If I am going to spend some serious dough on a handgun its gonna be for the Mateba Autorevolver/Unica-6, something unique.
I’m not normally one to bitch about price and suggest buying a case of hi points but, 10 grand for a revolver. Really. That’s absurd. You can’t argue quality either. You could buy three pythons for that price.
Hank – I had the same thought – depending on where/when and which model ya might be able to buy at least 4 of the snakes – and I doubt this critter is that much better. I’d be willing to be proven wrong if some charitable person were to provide me with one for extensive long term testing. 😉
Hank, I know you jest, but to even suggest a case of Hi-Points rather than this revolver? I do a bit of deep sea fishing. I guess a case of Hi-Points would make a decent boat anchor. If they weren’t made of zinc.
“I guess a case of Hi-Points would make a decent boat anchor. If they weren’t made of zinc.”
Zinc makes a dandy sacrificial anode for a boat in salt water…
But, not an anchor.
I knew from the start of the review it was going to be expensive but this is one gun you need to be a CEO of a successful company to afford. Especially the multi caliber kit, that’s got to be in the tens of thousands.
But it looks very worth it. You will get you money’s worth from it.
Now if only I could get those 7 winning numbers .
Me like…but 10000bucks?!? Yeow😫
I can’t afford a Lamborghini either, but I’ll still read an old copy of Car & Driver in the doctor’s office. Good review and learned a few things. More knowledge about anything is a good thing. But especially when it’s about a subject I’m already interested in.
Don’t bother. Responding to “the poors” makes them think they’re people.
I collect 70’s DW pistol pacs, so I’ll fully admit that I’m just being jealous here. Wonder how the resale is, maybe the buy in is high, but the actual cost of ownership isn’t that bad? My wife would beat me to death with it if she ever found out though. They would have to recover it at autopsy most likely…
“Responding to “the poors” makes them think they’re people.”
What a surprise, someone with multiple gun safes and over 200 guns makes a dick comment like that…
Quit being poor. I don’t have a gun safe. I have a gun floor.
Definitely on the “to do” list. Buying a $9,800 revolver. Not so much.
You be rich for long spending your money like that 😉
When I look at the shit bluing job it leads me to believe they probably skimped on the internal workmanship as well.
Vlad, it’s not necessarily a “shit bluing job.” One of the most handsome pistols I own is a Wayne Novak built Browning Hi-Power. His blue wasn’t exactly matte, but it isn’t high gloss either. Never had anyone look at it, that knew what he was looking at, that didn’t offer to buy it. It’s still in my safe.
It is not 10 times better than a Smith or Ruger. It’s not even gold plated and studded with precious stones! I’d rather have a performance center Smith than a Janz.
Just saw a video of Jerry Miculek shooting the new run S&W 610 in 10 mm hitting groups at 50 (sight in), 100 (for effect) and 200 yards (for the kill). He did have a red dot attached. Price of the revolver, $834.00 Buds. Get Some!!
I bought a Smith&Wesson .357 Tr8 8 shot Performance Center revolver for $1,200 just because I wanted one and it is a great shooter. Can’t imagine that something for $10,000 is that much better and only a six shooter.
Had me right up until the MSRP…
I might be alone in this but…I’m not wild about the looks of it. I love the grips (square butt revolver FTW), but the flat sided barrel looks funky to me, and I don’t care for the unfluted cylinder.
I’ll still happily take one if anyone wants to gift it to me, though. 🙂
Cool story, and nice trigger, but $9800 buys multiple custom S&W revolvers.
Yikes! The price made me say bad words at the poor screen.
Interesting trigger adjustment but I’m not following how it works….from the looks you stick some kind of pin or punch tool in the very small hole and rotate?? That can’t be right as I think lots of scratches would result….Scratching a $$$$$ pistol would send me into a coma.
Coming from Germany I’ll bet the grips are sourced from Nil Griffe.. They make some nice grips for a lot of models.Worth the coin IMO.
Kind of like the post about the super duper shoots from any angle rifle.
Good article, but the bottom line was absurd.
Most of us can’t afford to go out for a meal with the spouse very often. Much less dump 3 months pay for a gun.
If you have the money, and want it, go for it.
Excellent review! I’m not sure what the point of a 357 Magnum Janz is, though. You buy a Janz to get a Korth-style in bores that start with 4!
I’m usually not much of a critic for high value, high cost guns but this thing better come with 2 good hookers and a bunch of blow.
My thoughts exactly!!!
The phrase “it’s a gateway Janz” cracked me up for some reason.
Me too!! LOL
It’s an interesting design but you could go out and buy four or five complete Dan Wesson’s pistol pacs or an entire brace of SuperMags for the price of this thing. I didn’t even pay a tenth of that price for my ETG SuperMag Silhouette and in rarity terms it’s right up there. Neat idea but the price doesn’t reflect what you get.
damn i’d love to have one
I’m concerned with the touted barrel hardness, barrel steel is soft for a reason. A hard barrel would be more prone to cracking or shattering I would think.
So this the revolver equivalent of a Cabot Guns 1911?
I wonder if the design is compatible with higher production demands and CNC equipment?
A Freedom Arms 83 is the highest quality handgun I’ve ever handled. Obviously the DA/SA cannot be compared to the SAO. But I would like to hear qualified comments that compare the overall quality of the Janz EM and the Freedom Arms 83.
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