Hands-On with Arsenal Firearms’ New “Strike One” Handgun

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Arsenal Firearms (not to be confused with Arsenal Inc, makers of the AK-style firearms imported into the US) is probably best known for their double-barreled 1911 they came out with a couple years ago. And while we’ve pretty much written that off as a gimmicky publicity stunt, they were back at IWA this year showing off their brand new Strike One handguns. And when I say “new,” I mean “new to the US market” . . .

The Strike One has been out since 2012, and it’s seen as the top choice for the next service handgun of the Russian armed forces. Heck, it’s even featured in that insane video Robert posted a couple days ago. And there’s a good reason: the ergonomics are better than a Glock. The gun isn’t exactly tiny, but the svelte styling and extremely low bore axis makes it an appealing option for those looking to take multiple shots very quickly. And thanks to the fairly unique locking system I’ve been informed that the accuracy and reliability should be superb.

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On this handgun, the barrel doesn’t tilt. The gun uses a separate locking mechanism that slides down to allow the barrel and slide to unlock, and while the barrel still moves backwards a bit there’s no vertical movement. That allows Arsenal to design a feeding system where the next round glides cleanly into the chamber instead of being manhandled up a feed ramp and possibly jamming along the way. According to Arsenal, the bullet is already far enough inside the chamber by the time it clears the feed lips on the magazine that malfunctions are practically nonexistent.

The low bore axis permitted by this system means that there’s less felt recoil and it will be faster to get back on target after firing a round, something highly prized by competition shooters.

The only downside at the moment is the trigger. It’s nice and crisp, but a touch heavy and lacking a good solid reset. The guys at the booth said that the guns they had were R&D versions, and the finished products will be much improved. Rest assured we’ve been promised a couple guns to test and confirm these claims as soon as they clear customs.

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While the gun is only available in the black polymer in Russia, the guns being designed for the US market include an all-aluminum frame version (the blue one above) as well as other colors and materials. They’re marketing these guns specifically to compete against Glock and other competition handguns, and if all of their claims are accurate then they might give the Plastic Fantastic a run for its money.

I like the way it feels. But the proof will be in the way it runs. Stay tuned.

comments

  1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Sweet! Finally.

    1. avatar Jeremy S says:

      Seriously. I’m VERY excited to get my hands on a Strike One!!! They are still awaiting BATFE import approval, though. It isn’t exactly new to the U.S. market yet as they still can’t import ’em. No ETA or update on the process. They’re supposed to be close but that’s all I know.

    2. avatar le sir says:

      I’ll believe it when I see it, as far as an actual hitting the market date. The last shot show they said they were on the verge of shipping, year before that the same thing. But I sure would take a hard look at one when and if they become available.

    3. Hi Tom. We’re pretty excited about this pistol ourselves. We’re the only distributor here in the US and are taking preorders on it as we speak. We’re also going to be the warranty and service center on record as well for them. Give us a call or come by the website.

  2. avatar DP.Science says:

    I can’t wait… but, important, does it come in .45?

    1. avatar Steve in MD says:

      Wait… are you saying they make calibers other than .45?

      1. avatar Timbo says:

        And more important, why would someone make a caliber other than .45? Has someone finally introduced a .46??

        1. avatar joe l says:

          a .46 cal is on my wish list lol

        2. avatar mrvco says:

          .46… .47, whatever it takes.

        3. avatar Tommycat says:

          .50 DE says Hi

        4. avatar Able Adams says:

          I’m really disappointed my XDs 4.0″ 9mm wont chamber a .45 …I had to return it due to the malfunction

      2. avatar joe l says:

        why would they make other calibers, that makes no sense

    2. avatar Mark E.B. says:

      Whats a .45? JK I carry a p220 😉

  3. avatar Roll says:

    Would love to give these a try. I’m very interested in the threaded barrel.

    Also why make a working firearm blue? Blue means training….

    1. avatar KCK says:

      I wondered the same thing.
      It might be just for the show. Meaning this gun is not a working model, thus safe demo gun????

  4. I saw Larry Vickers put it through its paces on TAC TV and he was noticeably surprised and impressed, particularly by the very low bore axis

    I am looking forward to reading reviews of this handgun when it makes it over here.

    1. avatar Gene says:

      Kinda reminds me of the Caracal.

  5. avatar Pulatso says:

    Interesting. Will they be competing at the same price point as GLOCK brand GLOCKS?

    1. avatar ErrantVenture11 says:

      I give up…is specifying “GLOCK brand GLOCK” a running joke of some sort? Are there inferior GLUCKs, GLVCKs, QLOCKs, or CLOCKs on sale in China Town that I must be aware of?

      1. avatar Pulatso says:

        Yes. It’s a not so subtle poke at the news media and public consciousness that refers to all pistols as Glocks (thus requiring labeling an actual Glock as a GLOCK brand GLOCK), even as the silhoutte is invariably a Barretta.

        1. avatar Alpo says:

          No kidding:
          I went shooting with a non gun-guy friend of mine (owns one gun, shoots 1-2x a year).

          At the range, he says, looking at my Ruger P95 “How’s the recoil on that compared to my Glock?”

          He owns a S&W 6906. Doh!

    2. The pricing varies on them: $799 – $899 (for the grey/stainless steel). And we’re getting it in 9mm / .40sw / .357sig.

  6. avatar Wyfaggro says:

    Is that rear sight integral to the frame? If so, that would be a big problem.

    1. avatar caffeinated says:

      Looks like the rear sight is integral to what Glock calls the slide cover plate.

      1. avatar Wyfaggro says:

        ugh that isn’t much better

  7. avatar Delbert Grady says:

    Would like to know the weight diff between the aluminum frame and polymer. And if it will be offered in a midsize version.

  8. avatar Fug says:

    It looks cool, but I want a GSh-18… half the parts of a Glock 17 and one really weird looking barrel.

  9. avatar bontai Joe says:

    I’m imagining that with the current political mess in Ukraine with Russia, that we won’t be seeing these any time soon due to the proposed sanctions against Russia. That is IF the POTUS actually does what he is saying he is going to do.

    1. avatar Timbo says:

      Why would he start now???

    2. avatar Bill says:

      The pistols in the pics on there website are marked “Made in Italy” so if they shipped direct from Italy, I can’t see why their import would be banned.

    3. avatar tw says:

      Arsenal Firearms is an Italian company. They do have a branch in Russia, but the company is Italian.

    4. avatar mrvco says:

      By “do”, you must mean waving around flaccid sanctions in an attempt to fabricate an international tough guy facade while not tarnishing his middling economic legacy.

      Barry needs to declare victory (Ukraine minus Crimea) and move on before he digs his dumb little $5B Ukranian hole any deeper.

    5. We’re getting them all in actually in September of this year.

  10. avatar lolinski says:

    Oh no, does this mean there is a pistol better than the CZ-75

    :I

    Going to have to rethink some things.

    1. avatar RacerX says:

      Yes, it’s called the CZ-75 SP01. Although the classic CZ-75 is still amazing.

      1. avatar lolinski says:

        Except that one.

        I am thinking Strike One vs. SP-01.

        1. avatar watson says:

          my money is still on the SP-01

        2. avatar Jeremy S says:

          Triggers are not going to be comparable. I’m excited to get my hands on a Strike One as soon as humanely possible though and it will go back-to-back against my modified SP-01. I’ll take ’em both through an IPSC course a few times and see which one I score better with.

        3. avatar lolinski says:

          Thank you.

          If that doesn’t pan out, I will just dual wield.

  11. avatar Whacker-15 says:

    Made in Italy…no need to sweat sanctions!

  12. avatar Nine says:

    This isn’t going to go the way of the Caracal is it?

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      We would have to be able to buy them first. Don’t put the cart before the horse.

  13. avatar Scott Wilson says:

    A redesigned Glock is still a Glock clone.

    Pass.

    1. avatar David Casaceli says:

      If by glock clone you mean polymer framed pistol. The similarities, mechanical aesthetics and otherwise, appear to end there.

      Enjoy your Glock, they are good guns; but really, a Glock Clone? Come on?

      By that standard a Blaser is a Mauser Clone, and the AR is a Kalishnikov or M1 Clone.

      1. avatar mrvco says:

        As a Glock owner, I’m definitely looking forward to trying the Strike One.

        1. avatar lolinski says:

          Glad someone keeps an open mind. I feel sorry for people like Scott who can’t see innovation.

          BTW: Tried Glocks, uncomfortable but I would use them if I didn’t have other options (as long as it doesn’t blow up :D).

  14. avatar MadLarkin says:

    Very neat, but am I crazy or did I remember reading that the MSRP on these is eye-wateringly high for a polymer wonder?

    1. avatar Tommycat says:

      Kinda high for a Kimber 1911.
      $4000

      1. avatar Jeremy S says:

        The press release RE $4,000 refers to the limited aluminum frame versions. The polymer frame is *supposed* to be competitively priced with other poly guns. No idea if that means closer to Glock pricing or closer to H&K pricing though. http://www.arsenalfirearms.com/news/7

        1. avatar Tommycat says:

          I heard around $800-900 which is more reasonable, but still pretty darn high. I would have to see what they feel like to make any determination one way or another.
          I still don’t like the flat top. What’s the reason for that? Why not give it a nice curve instead of the Glock Box slide?

  15. avatar Mrbadnews says:

    Monkey Pee on .45 ACP. Does it come in 10mm??

    1. avatar Steve in MD says:

      HERESY!!!

    2. avatar Paladin says:

      If it did it would cause me great joy

  16. avatar Richard says:

    Is this a striker fired gun?

    1. avatar lolinski says:

      That is what I heard.

      Not to sound like a “noob” but can someone please explain the difference between a striker and “regular” mechanism?

      1. avatar Jeremy S says:

        Yes, it’s a striker fired gun. Basically this just means there’s no hammer. The firing pin (“striker”) has its own spring that pushes it forwards into the primer. The striker is cocked back against this spring and it’s released by the trigger. Versus your “traditional” firearm that has a hammer where the hammer is cocked back against a spring and the trigger releases the hammer, which impacts the back of the firing pin, which then impacts the primer.

        Just different ways of doing the same thing (slamming a firing pin into a primer).

      2. avatar Armchair Command'oh says:

        Put another way, the firing pin on a striker fired gun works like the plunger on a pin ball machine. The firing pin is pulled straight back against spring tension and then released.

        The “regular” mechanism (as you called it) would be a traditional hammer, like what you would see on a revolver. The hammer hits the firing pin (or on a modern revolver, the transfer bar), which is driven forward into the primer.

        1. avatar Jim says:

          WHAT THE HECK is a pin ball machine? Bowling? Now I have to google something else. I’ll know in a min

  17. avatar TCBA_Joe says:

    MSRP?

    I’ll definitely keep an eye on these. Hopefully it proves durable and reliable over the long-term. Wouldn’t be the first gun that was long on unique features and short on function.

    1. Hi Joe. The MSRP varies from $799 – $899. We’ve got more details on it on our website. And if you’re interested, we’re taking pre-orders on them for delivery in September.

  18. avatar Model66 says:

    Looks like a slender Glock.

    Will the ladies prefer a skinny Glock or a fat Glock?

    1. avatar ShaunL. says:

      That might depend on the length.

  19. avatar Accur81 says:

    I’d love to see a striker fired pistol without a feed ramp. I’m a Glock guy (and an M&P, XD, 1911 fan), and anything that works well has a place in my collection. If it outperforms a Glock 35 I’ll get one as a carry or competition gun.

  20. avatar Drifting Fate says:

    I can dispense with the man calibers. I’d be happy to have one of those puppies in 9mm. The system looks like it works, and Ruskie stuff is usually overbuilt. I volunteer to be a beta tester.

  21. avatar Steve D. says:

    I don’t see how they can expect to compete with Glock’s (or Smith & Wesson M&P pistols) when they’re pitching an MSRP around 70% higher. ($500 vs $800).

    I’d like one, but not at that price.

    1. avatar Adam says:

      For the aluminum framed version, I’d pay that all day long.

      1. avatar Steve D. says:

        Hah, I wish… They want $4000 for the ergal (aluminum) framed version.

        Ridiculous!

        1. avatar Adam says:

          If I remember correctly, that’s for the limited edition run for those in Europe, not the U.S. market. I’ve e-mailed Arsenal Firearms about the availability and pricing, and the president of the company, Nicola Bandini, replied to me saying that they’re waiting on approval from the BATFE, and after that they will announce pricing. This was back on the 27th of January, which is after that post on their website, which was posted on 14th.

          “The Ergal Strike One will be available to the world markets from fall 2014 in limited quantities”

          By that, I think they’re referring to markets outside of the US. I say this, because it doesn’t seem like they’re marketing the Aluminum framed model to the US as a limited run, and instead as a standard model.
          Like it says in this article, “While the gun is only available in the black polymer in Russia, the guns being designed for the US market include an all-aluminum frame version (the blue one above) as well as other colors and materials.”
          I think that price is for foreign countries, where they’re making them a limited run.

        2. avatar Steve D. says:

          Being that the manufacturer (Arsenal Firearms) is an Italian company with zero manufacturing facilities inside the U.S., I read it as the U.S. being part of those “World Markets”, not separate from it.

          If they were an American company, then I would have interpreted their statement as the Ergal versions being readily available in the U.S. but on a limited availability in the rest of the world, but from their point-of-view WE are the ‘rest of the world’ (one of those “World Markets”).

          I get the impression that because they are Italian they deem themselves to be the Ferrari or Gucci of firearms manufacturers. They will have to learn the hard way that it’s the market that sets their prestige, not self-appointment.

        3. avatar Steve D. says:

          I read the above TTAG article as being 1) ONLY the black polymer version is available in Russia & 2) the U.S. models will INCLUDE the ergal models – not that the American market would be exclusively aluminum framed, but have polymer AND aluminum models in the U.S. market.

          The prices that I noted ($800 polymer and $4000 ergal frames) were direct quotes from Arsenal reps that I have read in other articles.

  22. avatar Frank says:

    The first samples have arrived in South Africa. All polymer,but in a range of colours. http://www.gunsite.co.za/forums/showthread.php?47049-Arsenal-Strike-One-Pistol-See-it-at-Huntex-2014

  23. avatar Dmitry Kaminsky says:

    It is NOT a glock clone. Only an ignoramus with NO knowledge of firearms will call it a glock clone. Glock -> Browning tilting barrel design. Strike One – Bergmann design, dating back to early 20th century The barrel does NOT tilt, rotates. It just slides backwards. The locking is done by a completely separate detail. It is Y- shaped. Barrel and bolt move back together, than this Y shaped part drops and separates them – bolt flies back, barrel stops, as barrel begins to return it lifts that Y-shaped locker up and when bolt slides back after picking up another round it locks onto it. It is NOT Glock design. Not at all. Whoever says it is a glock clone – is an ignoramus, who understands as much in firearms as pig understands in balet dancing

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