This is part of our new Used Gun Series which is a spin off from Shooting History. In this series we will review some guns that are older, but not really historic or highly collected. Most of these will be what could be described as “poor man’s collectibles’, guns that are cheap in price but not necessarily cheaply made. They’re the type of gun you might find languishing on the shelf at your local FFL, or by digging deep into GunsAmerica.
The example for this article is a neat little Italian mouse gun. These diminutive pistols can be found in good, shooting condition for under 200 bucks. You can find some listed here at GunsAmerica.
Colt? Walther? Galesi
Industria Armi Galesi was an Italian arms maker that started in 1910. They are mostly known for making inexpensive, yet well made, pistols. Most of their pistols were small and chambered for .22, .25 and .32. Many of these pistols were imported into the US and are still around today. The Model 503 used in this article was found in a local gun shop for about $200.
When I first came across this little gun, I immediately thought of a Colt Vest Pocket without the grip safety. That is how the back half of the pistol looks. After closer inspection I noticed it had a fixed barrel. That is not something the old Colts have. But a Walther PPK does. I have come to the conclusion that this little Galesi could be the product from a marriage between a PPK and a Vest Pocket. Those are some pretty good genes from both sides of the family.
- 6.35/.25 ACP
- 6 Round Magazine
- Thumb Safety
- 2 1/4 Inch Barrel
- 4 1/2 Inch Length
- 3 1/4 Inch Tall
- 1 Inch Wide
- Striker Fired
- Fixed Barrel
The Mouse Gun and The Lowly .25
Yes, .25 ACP is a piss ant round. It especially is when you look at the size of modern pistols that are chambered for .380 and 9mm. This little Galesi is not all that much smaller than the new Glock 43, and the 43 packs a hell of a lot more fire power into its diminutive size.
However, the .25 isn’t a spit ball shooter either. A 50 grain pill out of a 2 1/4″ barrel will be moving around 850 fts or so. That is around 80 Ft. Lb. of energy at the muzzle. That isn’t much, but it will sure get someone attention and make them rethink their life choices.
We can all agree that for sheer power a small .380 or, better yet, 9mm pistol is going to be above and beyond a lowly .25. But have you spent much time behind the trigger on a majority of the little polymer 9mm?
I have and let me tell you they hurt. They sting, slap and pinch and are far from a fun range gun in all aspects. I am a grown man and I cringe when I have to shoot tiny 9mm pistols. I do not consider myself to be recoil sensitive either. I had my wife shoot a Kel-Tec P-3AT once. That is exactly how many times she shot it, once, and she said NOPE. I was hoping she would like it, as it would be a nice carry gun for her. But it is hard for shooters with small, recoil sensitive (or arthritic) hands to shoot and control the larger caliber mouse guns. That is where the .25 can be a viable option.
Excluding the grips, the Galesi is an all metal pistol. It makes it heavier and that is not always a bad thing when it comes to little mouse guns.
Back to the recoil issue, the heavier the pistol the less felt recoil. Couple the weight with a .25 and you have a very easy shooting pistol that most any shooter can use comfortably. That is unless you have huge hands. Any little pistol and huge hands are going to have a bad time and battle with slide bite.
1968 Gun Control Act
The Gun Control Act of 1968 killed Galesi. When the Act went into effect, these pistols could no longer be imported into the US. Since we were their biggest market, it didn’t take long for them to go out of business.
The idea, at least what was sold to the public, was the Act would stop the importation of cheap and poorly made foreign arms. It is true there were some very poor quality arms being imported into the US prior to 1968, but the Galesi do not fall into this category. These are well made pistols.
The action on the Galesi Model 503 is a simple blow back. It is striker fired with the same basic trigger group design of the Colt Vest Pocket. The magazine release is also reminiscent of the old Colts, being the European style on the bottom of the grip. I am usually not a big fan of this style magazine release but it really is the best to handle the task on pistols this size. If it had a magazine release button in the usual spot, it would be in contact with your hand or fingers on the small grip surface.
We put over 150 round through the review gun. Three different shooters had a go with it at the range. There were no failures. The Galesi ate FMJ and some hollow points without issue.
When it comes to testing the accuracy of little mouse guns I like to keep it pretty simple. The sights on the Galesi are tiny. If you have handled a Colt Vest Pocket then you have a good idea what the sights are like on this pistol. This is not, nor meant to be a range gun or nail driver. But it is more than capable of doing what it is designed for–hitting a human sized target at 15 feet or closer. I like to drill with small pistols like this, drawing them from concealment and backing away from the target while point shooting for the chest.
Is the little Galesi relevant today? Yes, if you are looking for a .25 steel framed pistol they are. Especially for the price and quality. There are very few new production all steel mouse guns being made today and the ones that are tend to be rather pricey.
The Galesi would not be my first choice for a carry gun. But that has nothing to do with the quality or the function of the gun. I would want at least a .380 for EDC. If you are recoil sensitive and need a small, easy shooting pistol the Galesi would be worth a serious look, especially when factoring in the price.