Review: Clerke 1st
If you don’t recognize the Clerke 1st pistol don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. Manufactured by Clerke Technicorp in Santa Monica California in the early 1970’s, it is not a widely recognized gun or manufacturer for that matter.
This particular Clerke is chambered in .22 Long Rifle, wears chrome plating and plastic grips. One of the things that would have caught your attention back in 1971 would have been the price tag. The Clerke sold in the ballpark of $20. I questioned that number at first but it was confirmed by the owner who purchased it new in the early 70’s, who also happens to be my dad.
If you are thinking that this little .22 won’t hit the broad side of a barn, think again. With the rather simple v-notch on top of the back strap and front lug lined up you can get on target quickly and proved quite pleasurable to shoot. When you are shooting the Clerke you have the option of single action or double action but be warned, there is no half-cock on it. The only things that I found that I did not care for were the process for dropping the cylinder and the lack of a pushrod to ease unloading. The Clerke uses a friction retained pin to drop the cylinder which can prove hard to get a grip on at times.
Now for story time about the ability of this little Clerke. Many years ago when I was only knee high to a grasshopper my mom proved without a doubt how accurate the gun is (Warning, this might take a little bit but is worth it).
One day my mom got a call from the lady that lived behind us asking if my dad was home. My told her that he wasn’t home and asked if she needed help with something. She stated that there was a rabbit in her garden and was hoping that dad could shoot it for her, without hesitation mom grabbed the little revolver and told our neighbor that she would be right over. Running across the back yard she arrived at the neighbors’ house and quickly spotted the rabbit. While still at a quick pace and about 30 yards away she threw the gun up and shot and grazed the rabbit. The cottontail took a few hops and then made its fatal mistake and looked back. By this time mom had closed the gap to about 20 to 25 yards, and while still moving, shot again and hit the rabbit right between the eyes. Now ask yourself this; Could you make that shot while on the move?
If you ever run across one of these little known gems, grab it. It might not be a large caliber but it is a fun gun to shoot.
Happy shooting and God bless America and God bless you and yours.