Gun Review: ArmaLite AR 24-15C

Back in the day, stoners contemplated life’s mysteries from a tetrahydrocannabinol-enhanced perspective. So enabled, they’d confront cosmic karma with a simple statement: “that’s heavy.” Heavy was deep. Heavy was good. Even when it wasn’t. “Dude, your landlord’s here to throw you out.” “Whoa. That’s heavy.” Heavy was important. And then Japanese products invaded the America. Suddenly, small was beautiful. The Sony Walkman was infinitely better than the ‘rents entertainment center and the Honda Accord could run circles around a Buick. But something important was lost. Stuff became insubstantial. Cheap. Disposable. I first experienced the unbearable lightness of being when the computer guy threw out my Apple II’s motherboard, shoved in another one and called it good. Thank God for the AR 24-15C. In a world of cheap plastic guns (now including revolvers), it’s heavy, man.

An unladen AR 24-15C tips the scales at a Biggest Loser early episode-like 34.9 ounces. That’s 2.18125 pounds or 989.398357 grams. Now I could compare the AR 24′s poundage to another, infinitely more popular full-size 9mm gun, like, say, the Glock 17L. That wouldn’t be fair. Glock’s largest polymer pistol is a bantamweight ballistic bruiser at just 23.6 ounces. But the contrast would highlight the fact that the AR 24 is as much of a concealed carry weapon as a Louisville Slugger, which weighs some 3.9 ounces less than ArmaLite’s imported pistol.

But before I do the right thing and compare the AR 24′s heft to the gun whose design inspired it (the CZ 75) let’s switch to the world of “Health Optimizers.”

Vega is a Complete Wholefood Health Optimizer – an all-in-one, natural plant-based formula that provides 100% RDI of vitamins & minerals per serving . . .

Over the past 50 years, our Western culture has managed to complicate matters concerning diet and its relation to health. Obesity and malnourishment exist simultaneously while the over-consumption of calorie-rich but nutrient-poor foods drain our energy. To make matters worse, we treat obesity with drugs and fad diets and combat fatigue with refined carbohydrates, sugar and caffeine. These are short-term solutions that eventually render us energy depleted, over-stimulated, chronically stressed and vulnerable to illness and premature aging.

A $57.69 bottle of Vega weighs exactly the same as the AR 24-15C: 34.9 ounces. Question: which one of these products is more likely to save your life? Despite its mental association with the worst car ever built this side of the Iron Curtain, I’m thinking Vega. Unless someone other than the fast food industry is trying to kill you. Of course, you could use both. Pop a Vega to combat combat fatigue and shoot a life-or-death attacker with the ArmaLite AR 24-15C. In the reverse order, obviously.

I digress. But only slightly. The point I’m making here: the AR 24 is a gun. Yes, it’s heavy. But it’s a gun. Which is a whole better than a bottle of really expensive vitamins or a baseball bat when you need a gun. If you live in a place where you can open carry a small boat anchor in a hip holster, you’re good to stow. OK, you’d probably want a .45 in that case. And yet . . . 15 rounds of 9mm is pretty damn helpful when push comes to shove.

Bottom line: the AR 24 may be (i.e., is) too heavy for daily carry, but it’s an extremely useful thing to have as a home defense weapon. And it’s feels right at home, home on the range.

Where was I? Right. The handgun manufactured by the artist formerly known as the Czech Republic, the CZ 75, weighs an incredibly hefty 39.52 ounces, beze projektil. That’s 4.62 ounces heavier than the ArmaLite (by name, not by nature). So is it Czech mate for the AR 24? I’m going with yes. The CZ’s some heavy shit. But Mark Westrom’s AR 24 is some seriously heavy shit.

Why wouldn’t it be? ArmaLite’s CEO is OCD, in a good way. The AR 24 traces its roots to Mark Westrom’s visit to gun maker Sarsilmaz Silah Sanayi in Istambul (no you can’t go back to Constantinople). When the American AR-meister had a close encounter of the Turkish Army-spec 9mm kind, and clocked the corporate cleanliness of the company’s factory, Westrom thought “what the hell’s a croissant got to do with the Turks?”

No wait; it was something about “the last one to tool-up gets the best machines.” Bonus! The proto-AR 24 was made from forged steel, baby. Cast aside your preconceptions: forged steel may be old-fashioned, but it’s completely  bad ass. If you want a handgun that takes a lickin’ and keeps on shootin’, I say forge ahead.

Sure, the result is a heavy gun (did I mention that?). But Westrom grooved on the firearm’s silky smooth action and the fact that it’s a perfect pistol for pistol-whipping. I mean, it makes the AR 24 an incredibly stable, reliable weapon. Needless to say, Mark modified the Turkish design. He added a new grip and some obscure bits and pieces and a non-legend was born. For reasons that have nothing to do with quality and everything to do with image.

Not to make light of the Geneseo gunmaker’s marketing mavens, ArmaLite is known for its “modern sporting rifles.” Stretching the brand to include pistols was, well, a stretch. To really light a fire in the market, the light arms maker needed to create a handgun with as much of a kick-ass Unique Selling Point (USP) as their AR 15-based weaponry, whose stap-line is “the style of technology.” In keeping with the motto’s mantra, Westrom told me the AR 24′s USP is “elegant design.” It’s a beaut all right, but I respectfully disagree.

The really cool thing about the AR 24 is . . . its weight. More weight = less recoil = muzzle flip = more accuracy + faster target re-acquisition. In other words, wIth so much gun in your hand, the AR 24′s barrel doesn’t leap about like a freshly landed marlin. Follow-up shots are plenty damn quick. That’s a good thing when you’re trying to hit something/someone more than once (highly recommended), and have so many bullets at your disposal. Accuracy makes each bullet that much more useful.

It’s worth repeating: whether it’s a polymer pistol or a Howitzer, hitting what you’re aiming at is the name of the game. The shooters who sampled the AR 24 at the American Firearms School all managed to achieve nice tight groupings—and they placed the bullets close to each other (ba-doom-BOOM).

About that grip. I love it. It feels as good in my hand as, uh, things that feel good in my hand. The AR 24-15C adds 20 lpi checkering on the forestrap and backstrap. One of the American Firearm dudes was not a fan of the grip or the special effects, but Wayne’s got huge mitts. One of my non-pro cohorts also frowned at the AR 24′s love handle, but Alex has tiny hands. Everyone else struggled to express their pleasure without deploying ye olde glove fit analogy. As I indicated above, I’m not going there. Cough. Condom. Cough.

Also on the positive side, you can [barely] carry the AR 24 1911-style: “cocked and locked.” Unlike the 1911, you can retract the slide and extract the bullets with the hammer cocked and the safety engaged. In case you were wondering. Meanwhile, there’s another consideration: trigger reset.

There’s a lot of slack in the AR 24′s go button. And it’s not the world’s smoothest trigger. Westrom made a conscious decision in this regard. He views “instant on” guns like the Glock as inherently dangerous, and offers a YouTube link to an accidental police discharge to prove his point. But the AR 24′s trigger reset adds another mental element to the firing process. Your friendly neighborhood gunsmith awaits.

Suffice it to say, make sure the AR 24′s grip and trigger action feel right to you before plunking down $631. Yes, there is that. The AR 24 may “only” be a hundred bucks or so more than the CZ 75 (which is not nearly as well made), but it’s still a pricey piece in a market with a farrago of more useful (i.e. smaller, lighter, cheaper) 9mm guns. Customizability? Nada. If you did want to throw your hip out by dropping this bad boy into an existing, custom-fit holster, you’re SOL.

ArmaLite reports that the shorter-barreled, slightly lighter versions (the AR 24K-13 and 13C) are outselling the full-size AR 24-15s. The customer is always right. Sacrificing a couple of bullets shouldn’t significantly degrade the gun’s aesthetic appeal, accuracy or feel—even as it vastly increases the weapon’s utility.

At the same time, it’s worth noting that ArmaLite’s having another go. By the end of the year, the Illinois importer will be selling a Westrom-designed .45. After that, expect a scaled-down .40 caliber variant. Both in full-size and short-barreled iterations.

Go short. A compact ArmaLite 40-cal AR somethingorother will provide its owners with a tankelegant design (those .40 bullets can be pretty spicy), hand-happy heft, ballistic stopping power, concealed carry compatibility and a lowish cost of operation. As for the AR 24-15C, it’s a firearm that hearkens back to the days when weight indicated solidity and, equally important, long-term durability. It’s a quality that seems to have been lost in a world birthed by a single word: “plastics.”

I reckon the weight’s been worth the wait. Or vice versa. In any case, the AR 24 is a welcome addition to the ArmaLite canon. So to speak.

Model: AR-24 Full Size Pistol with serrations on front & rear strap, fixed sights
Caliber: 9mm
Barrel: 4.671″ Machined from Alloy Steel Forging
Rifling Twist: 6 Groove, RH 1:16″ Cut Rifling
Rear Sight: Fixed, 3 Dot Luminous
Trigger: 12 lbs Double Action, 5.5 lbs Single Action
Overall Length: 8.27″
Weight: 34.9 oz
Finish: Manganese Phosphate, Heat-Cured Epoxy

RATINGS
(Out of five stars)

Style * * * * *

If you like this sort of thing, you’ll love this design.

Ergonomics (carry)

Only Turkish soldiers need apply.

Ergonomics (firing)  * * * * *

Smooth as a baby’s arm holding an apple. Wait, I mean, a baby’s butt. Extremely easy to achieve accuracy.

Reliability * * * * *

Built like a brick shit house by a company that knows the meaning of the word quality.

Customize This

Nope.

OVERALL RATING * * * *

Not sure what the AR 24′s for, exactly. Your go-to nostalgia piece? A Harley-Davidson-like deal (only it doesn’t break down all the time). But I wouldn’t begrudge anyone who’s carrying one.

[Click here to link to ArmaLite's AR 24-15C page]

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

34 Responses to Gun Review: ArmaLite AR 24-15C

  1. avatarBrett Solomon says:

    Great review. There is something to be said about heavy steel. There could be some customization on the trigger if you loved the gun- there are a few 'yoda'like CZ gunsmiths that could tune it smoother. You may wind up carrying this often as much as you like it. Might be worthwhile to seek out a competent 'smith who can break out the polishing stones and tune it to your liking.

  2. avatarPeter Edwards says:

    I stumbled across this site by accident…….

    Ive got to say that who ever allowed the accountants to developed this gun with no ambidextrous safety/mag release needs a slap,i expected more to be honest,get it sorted……

  3. I weep for all the delicate creatures who cavil at two and a half pounds of solid accuracy. I've sold all my "1911"s – every CZ-75 and copy thereof I've bought has been dead nuts straight from the box. Inverse rails are what we need, whether in a Swiss gun, a Czech gun, an Italian gun, an Israeli gun, a Filipino gun – or a Turkish gun! I'm 5'8" tall, tip in at 18-stone-plus and spent 30 years at a computer keyboard (i.e. I am no Hercules) and I have no trouble packing – well, the .38 Super Witness that rides my hip at this moment. (Of course, now that Jim Burke has passed, getting one of his matchless slides is, shall we say, a challenge.) Or even a CZ-97 (40 oz dry). I collect inverse-rail guns, so I'm thinking I'm going to need an AR-15-et caetera, real soon. I'm thinking about a (new production) Bren Ten, too – and that ain't Tinker Bell either, pals. Get serious, heavy metal is the TRVTH.

  4. avatarSteve Harvey says:

    I had a AT 84 (a Swiss copy of CZ) years ago, and loved it. Somebody broke into my apartment and stole it. I plan on buying one. It seems noticeably better made than a CZ 75 . Next to the 1911, was my favorite pistol . Some features, like the grip and take down I liked even better than the 1911. I an 53 and just never really learn to like polymer pistols, especially when I shoot them next to something like this gun.

  5. avatarjamesBurbage says:

    I can’t wait until I get one, Armalite to me is the best at making, design and craftsman ship. Armalite surpasses any other gun maker in my book. I own their AR50A1. And it is very accurate up to 1500 meters with the factory barrel, so the accuracy of the AR24 is probably the same. Not out to 1500 meters of course but in its range.

    Loyal owner and fan

    James

  6. avatarnot just another mini says:

    there is a possibility that EAA Witness/Tanfoglio conversion barrels will fit this gun, like the .38 super becasue it use’s the same breech diameter as the 9mm, all you d need if it fits and functions, is a Witness .38 super small frame mag.

    possible that the conversion slides for the WITNESS/TANFOGLIO conversion slides would work also, just a matter of a owner of both trying them out on each other.

  7. avatarChuck Hotze III says:

    Well thought out comments and most entertaining reading. Thank you.

    Please tell me your thoughts on the ONE-PRO that for a short while was sold by I.M.I. in U.S.

    Thanks,

    Chuck

  8. avatarSteve Harvey says:

    This is a good place to get a trigger job and the price is reasonable. It is just a fact of life now that lots of consumer products today need some customization. I just remind myself that I would much rather gunsmiths make more money than lawyers.

    http://www.triggerwork.net/crown.html

  9. avatarjoe says:

    i own a ar-24 compact and have jamming isssues, was wondering if anyone is having the same. i first thought it was the ammo (remmington) switched but got same result. Love the gun just need to shoot a clip without the jam.

    • avatarWalter says:

      I am interested in the compact version. I am wondering if you ever contacted Armalite to address your problems with your gun’s reliability. Also, do you have the fixed sites or adjustable? If fixed, how well are they regulated. Bud’s Gun Shop has the compact fixed for a great price of $440.00 and free shipping and I want one but have questions about reliability and site regulation of the fixed site versions since the gun’s sights are not upgradable.

  10. avatarCaligula says:

    I love CZ’s and their clones. Personally, I don’t understand the current 1911 craze; the design does not fit my hand as good as the CZ 75, it holds almost half the ammo of a CZ, and I think the .45 cartridge doesn’t live up to its mythical status. (Modern 9mm self-defense ammo is completely bad-ass, and stopping power comes down to shot placement, shot placement, shot placement.

    If I’ve got to double tap a target, I’d rather do it with a CZ-75 or AR-24 9mm than a 1911 .45. The 9mm is easier to keep on target for follow up shots, and if the bad guy doesn’t stop, just keep firing. You’ve got 15 9mm bullets instead of eight .45 bullets. I enjoyed the review and like your writing style.

  11. avatarTaco Picasso says:

    You lost me on the complaints about the AR24 being heavy. It weighs 34.9 ounces. The aluminum frame Beretta 92 and the aluminum frame Sig P226 each weigh 34.0 ounces. The Armalite is 0.9 ounces heavy. What’s the big deal?

  12. avatarRey says:

    I’ve had my CZ-75 since the 80′s, and like my Browning Hi-Power, I don’t think I’ll let go of these guns. Even my Frankenstein CZ-40P, with it’s sometimes reliability issues(no complaints here). I’ve shot a lot of differing weapons and caliber(s), and I still go back to my CZ-75. Why? Own one and you will understand, much like it’s clones. If weight is an issue, then get a Kahr PM9 to carry in your pants, but leave the CZ in your car(JIC).

  13. avatarTaco Picasso says:

    People think the Armalite is heavy ’cause it’s got a steel frame. It’s less than an ounce heavier than the aluminum frame Sig 226 and Beretta 92. And it’s more compact and probably has a longer service life.

  14. avatarclay says:

    I love the smoooothness of this gun,very well machined,plastic Sucks!!!!

  15. avatarCliff says:

    Weight equates to accuracy and controlability! If you can’t handle the heft of
    a good pistol, buy a .22.

  16. avatarDave says:

    Nice gun, but not a sexy classic like the CZ-75.
    I think a CZ would have better resale value and parts availability.

  17. avatarchad haire says:

    well let’s see: we can get a “real ” CZ-75 for about $475, or this Armalite “copy” for about $475? Do we really need to think about this??

  18. avatarG. Packard Willoughby says:

    “The AR 24 traces its roots to Mark Westrom’s visit to gun maker Sarsilmaz Silah Sanayi in Istambul (no you can’t go back to Constantinople) . . .”

    Cudos on the 1950s musical reference.

  19. avatarChris says:

    UMMM….. ” The AR 24 may “only” be a hundred bucks or so more than the CZ 75 (which is not nearly as well made)” SERIOUSLY????????? Armalite has nothing on my CZ spo1 Tactical!!

  20. avatarShane says:

    A note on grips: The soft rubber grips are easy to hold onto, but if you are looking to update, check out the Hogue grips made for the TZ75, EAA, and Springfield P9. They fit my AR-24 like they were made for it (which they kind of are), but they just haven’t marketed them toward the AR-24 community yet. I got the Extreme Series checkered aluminum anodize matte black grips and they end up being about 1/8 narrower than the factory grips.

    Also, the AR-24 has come down a lot in price since this article was written.

  21. avatarJustin says:

    The AR-24 was not based off of the CZ-75, but rather the older Sig P210. This pistol has been heralded as one of the most accurate pistols ever produced and was widely copied by other companies who introduced in-frame designs. The great thing that armalite did was produce this pistol at a lower cost and with an upgraded capacity from the original 9 rounds.

  22. avatarchad haire says:

    Hey Justin, the Turkish factory says this is copied from the CZ75. Think they might know more about it than you. So I look at my CZ75 and SIG P-210 and only the CZ has any simularity to the Armalite. If this is based on the Sig P-210 back it up with facts other than some off the wall statement, cause it looks like a CZ copy to me. We will be looking to your reply — with some facts??

    • avatarRobby says:

      He’s right, Justin. A little crass, but right nonetheless.

      Had you said “similar in design to the Browning Hi Power”, you’d have been on the right track.

  23. avatarJan Pierce says:

    Nice write up. Fun and and informative.

    With regard to a holster for this gun: I’ve become very fond of the Galco Side Snap Scabbard for a number of my guns. While not as concealable as an inside the waistband holster, it keeps the gun close to the body, its position is easily adjustable while you’re wearing it, and you can put it on and take it off very quickly. The Glock 17 version fits this gun, and other CZ clones, very nicely. The weight becomes much less of an issue and it conceals well under a sportcoat or sweatshirt.

  24. avatarmwallace says:

    It is a well made, accurate, reliable pistol offered by Armalite who has always stood behind their products. It is also a 9mm which is a poor choice for a carry pistol even with 15 shots. I have been in many gunfights and there is no magic bullet. The fight that sticks in my mind is the night I watched two young men square off with hi-cap 9mm pistols. They both emptied their mags in the center mass of the other. One then proceeded to start to load another mag while the other went back to their apartment for more ammo. They both died but it took 15 minutes. I will buy one of these pistols when they are available in .357 Sig or .40 S&W. or even old slow short range .45 ACP.

    • avatarjsumrow says:

      Ok, I’ll bite. The previous comments are begging for attention so I’ll cave.
      Not to be argumentative, but could we please have a reality check? The average citizen is never “in many gunfights”.
      Police officers, military, and gang bangers….different story.
      That said, without body armor, one can not absorb a magazine of 9mm and remain standing unless they are drugged out….period. Also, impossible to empty ones gun into another person “center body mass” after absorbing several bullets. The wounds you sustain PLUS the adrenaline of the experience make 15 round accuracy simply impossible…unless you’re the terminator. LOL

      • avatarjsumrow says:

        On a serious note actually related to the AR in question, does anyone know of a link to actual side by side accuracy tests with a CZ? They are pretty damn accurate and very reliable and I would like to find real side by side comparisons, not just fan boy opinions like
        “my 10/22 is the best gun ever”
        “Glock or nothing!!!”
        “if it ain’t a .45 it’s crap!” (ok, that one’s kinda true…lol)

  25. avatarLivingston Longstocking says:

    The arguments above about whether this gun is based on Sig 210 or CZ 75 may both be correct.
    Look at a picture of the Sig and note how the AR slide looks almost identical. So does the rounded trigger guard.
    Looking at the grips and controls the gun looks like a CZ75.
    Either way, I am intrigued because this gun looks pretty awesome. I have a CZ75 and the gun is of course great.

  26. avatarLarry says:

    …And this is why I just purchased a Baby Desert Eagle II…(Jericho 941)
    It weighs in at 38.6oz. Not only is recoil/muzzle flip extremely mitigated, its the first handgun that I have been able to put rounds thru the same hole and/or have holes touching center to center on a target. And that was the beat up range rental I shot before I purchased mine. Point-ability for me was stellar. Nothing I have ever held feels as natural. I never knew I was such a good pistol shot! And I thought I shot Sig’s well. If I could conceal carry (Illinois is still working on this) I’d probably opt for something lighter. G19, S&W Shield..etc..etc. Or, I’d get myself a nice maxpedition “murse” (man purse) and stow the Eagle not on my persons. If you have a chance to shoot a CZ75 or a relative of the latter, I would highly suggest it. This style of firearm may change your perception of how a handgun should shoot.

    Cheers.

  27. avatarRyan says:

    I have owned my sarsilmaz b6, same as the ar 24, for a year now and have gotten several combat style hand guns an this thing takes the cake an looks nicer then the armalite. Great review.

  28. avatarKW Greenwood says:

    I own the AR 24 as well. I really like the way it fits in my hand and I don’t mind the weight. I started carrying a firearm in the US Army in 1973 and I started with the 1911 which weights almost the same and only holds 7 rounds. I own 2 Glocks and they have their place but I’m not afraid of a steel gun with a thumb safety. Mine digests Tula 115 grain ammo without a hitch so shooting it is relatively cheap and the recoil is negligible.

    I see Armalite has changed hands and discontinued the AR24′s. That’s too bad. Maybe the new Armalite can build the 24 out of aluminum something like the Lightweight Commander. Not everyone wants a plastic gun. They want one that feels like a gun in their hand and not a toy. It’s too bad this pistol did not find it’s niche. All in all it’s a great gun regardless of the weight. kwg

  29. avatarjames says:

    Hello:

    I feel like an asshole. Maybe writing, is not your strongest skill. This essay was hard to read. Focus.

  30. avatarJohn Doe says:

    Jesus, RF! It’s not even as heavy as a 1911! I don’t get what your complaining about…

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