Gun Review: Archon Type B 9mm Pistol

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Archon Type B 9mm Pistol
Graham Baates for TTAG

The Archon Type B brought us the intriguing design, innovative action, and low bore axis of the famed Arsenal Strike One, but in an enhanced, more compact, and slightly more affordable price. Yet for some reason, we’ve seen little of it in the news. Back in 2018 we teased of the gun in this article. Now it’s time for a full going over.

Archon Type B 9mm Pistol
The Archon Type B’s “AF Speedlock” action eliminates the need for the barrel to tilt.

“What Is It?” — something a lot of Archon shooters hear — is a question both simple and complicated to answer. On the surface it’s a 4.3″-barreled, striker-fired, polymer-frame 9mm pistol with 15-round capacity. Underneath, it features an innovative “AF-Speedlock” action type that effectively reduces felt recoil by eliminating the shifting and tilting mass the typical (and less expensive) Browning action has.

Adding further mystique to the Archon Type B is that it appeared about the same time that the Arsenal Strike One disappeared. Also, Type B’s have been seen in the wild with slides and frames that come from Hungary or Germany and barrels made in Maryland, apparently coming from RUAG production facilities.

RECOIL has an explanation of the complicated path this pistol has been through to be available in the US today.

Archon Type B 9mm Pistol
AF Speedlock. The author replaced the factory recoil system with a DPM System look-alike from RAIN6.

Archon Type B 9mm Pistol

If the external appearance of the Archon Type B doesn’t look different enough for you, wait until you see the insides. It features a finely-machined internal chassis with full-length rails. This pistol is truly different. For a closer look at this uncommon pistol and what all comes in the box, see the tabletop video below.

The Archon Type B made a big splash when it was first announced, and then faded away as many new things can once the media gets wind something newer. Four years later I had seen so little about the Type B that I called and emailed Archon to make sure they were even still around.

With the COVID sales crunch and all the other ways the industry has been turned upside down since 2018, it was good to hear that Archon is still in business and the Type B is still available.

Archon Type B 9mm Pistol
Angled Squares provide traction under recoil without being abrasive during carry. Note this sample’s frame was made in Germany, the slide in Hungary, and the barrel in Maryland.

How Does it Shoot? 

In short, incredibly well. The combination of an innovative action type, high hold, low bore axis, reduced reciprocating mass, and smartly-oriented traction points on the gun make it feel unlike any other pistol (of the few hundred I’ve tried) aside from the Arsenal Strike One. In some ways I like it more than the Strike One, in others the Strike One has an advantage.

If you’re familiar with the Strike One and want to see just how the two stack up, we have a comparison video here.

As our readers know from my article on the Grand Power P40L I greatly appreciate it when companies aren’t afraid to try a different action type besides the Browning venerable system. The Type B doesn’t disappoint. There’s less muzzle flip, and the recoil impulse feels more like it’s traveling straight back into your arm rather than trying to roll the gun over the top of your hand.

Archon Type B 9mm Pistol
The Archon Type B also features traction points for the support thumb.

Curious how the Archon Type B’s action and a European-designed pistol would handle the various types of ammunition we have in the US, it of course had to go through the “What’s For Dinner” test to see what the pistol would eat. The video link below includes more than ten loads tested as well as some other basic shooting evaluations.

That video is a couple of years old and since that time I’ve come to appreciate the Archon Type B more and more. The only thing I haven’t appreciated is how it seemed to disappear from retailers.

For one reason or another firearms folks seem almost afraid of things that are different. That, combined with complicated logistics and an MSRP of $892.45 (soft case and four magazines included) seems to have relegated the Archon Type B to obscurity.

That’s a shame as it’s an outstanding pistol and very-well thought-out and designed. Archon even did what many new gun makers don’t and lined up holsters to make the gun ready for training or carry use.

Specifications: Archon Type B Pistol

Caliber: 9mm
Trigger mechanism: Striker
Standard magazine capacity: 15
Length: 7.75″
Barrel length: 4.3″
Weight:  18.5oz
Price: $892.45

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability * * * * *
With 11 loads tested of various various projectile shapes and weights, not one of them malfunctioned. In the years since the original testing the pistol has remained flawless, even with the RAIN6 recoil assembly.

Ergonomics * * * * *
The Archon Type B’s size fits comfortably in most hands. The clever texturing provides traction under recoil, but isn’t abrasive during carry or handling.

Accuracy * * * * *
I have no doubt this pistol can out-shoot its user.

Concealability * * * *
Slightly larger than today’s carry-size trend, but with the right holster and clothing mid-to-larger folks shouldn’t have an issue concealing the Archon Type B.

Overall: * * * * *
For me the pistol is nearly perfect. It’s a bit unnerving to consider carrying a pistol without any human-controlled safeties (such as a trigger safety or manual safety), but that eases with time, training, and experience. The pistol shoots very flat, and is very comfortable to shoot, with the included four magazines I could see it as a sleeper at a local competition, or the gun you bring to a training course so you’ll know the gun won’t be holding you back.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. Nicely packaged innovative handgun. Video mentions slide fit and other details not often heard. With no Safety it is not a handgun to put in a bag and fish around for, etc. There is room for installing a plug behind the trigger which for me it would have one. MSRP is high however if the out of the box accuracy and performance matches what has been reported there is value in that.

  2. Yet for some reason, we’ve seen little of it in the news.

    Hmm. Why could that possibly be? Let me think about that for a while…

    Got it: it is a polymer body striker-fired semi-auto pistol chambered in 9mm Luger. Just like the 10 gillion other polymer body striker-fired semi-auto pistols already on the market.

    When a company introduces a product that looks the same as all the other models in a saturated market and slaps an exorbitant price tag on it, there won’t be very much buzz–nor sales.

  3. Thanx for the review. The videos helped alot.

    TTAG – the “return to the top” feature on articles is greately appreciated.

  4. The locking system is really nothing new as it dates back the early 1900’s Bergman system. The system is known for its accuracy and low muzzle flip but unlike the Bergman that was made of forgings and had fantastic workmanship this pistol is a modern design with a low budget gut wrenching plasticky frame and of course no manual safety which will result in a lot of accidental discharges mirroring that of the Glock.

    Since the original Bergman pistols are way out of the price range of most people and really to valuable to shoot much anymore I have been interested in this pistol. I was waiting for a smaller more compact one and one with a manual safety. Still if none of this comes to pass I may eventually get one just for the novelty of owning one and using it for a range and test gun but certainly in no way as a carry gun because of its large size and lack of a manual safety.

    If your tired of the colt/browning system and less than thrilled with gas pistols and their problems or rotating barrel pistols and their unwanted excess recoil this pistol may be of interest to you.

    Perhaps if the people who make this pistol had brain one they would have had it produced completely in East Europe or in say Turkey at a more affordable price.

    I would like to see a honest accuracy test at 25 yards of the pistol

    Users. Russia: The Strike One (or Strizh in Russian) was not adopted as the service pistol in the Russian Federation, even though Spetsnaz troops have been seen wielding them.

  5. Does this pistol require a suppressor with a recoil booster like tilting barrel actions do?
    Do rotating barrel actions like The Grand Power and Beretta PX4 require a mechanism like a recoil booster?
    Are those pistols able to function with suppressors?

    • No, and no, because very much no. KAC experimented with a mount for a suppressed rotating barrel when the .45 PX4 was attempting to get adopted by USSOCOM. It didn’t work, due to the barrel violently turning both directions upon the action moving. It is the only un-suppressable action I know of besides a revolver.

  6. It’s cool it comes with 4 mags. Honestly if I were making a pistol or rifle and didn’t have a technical reason not to it would use some sort of standard magazine past or present. Something readily made, preferably by multiple sources that there are gajillions out there for. I think it’s probably something that people get the most apprehensive about when buying an oddball gun. Yeah there are other parts that can break but you always hear people grumbling about mags for certain stuff being unobtanium.

    • It’s compatible with CZ 75 type mags, so not finding mags in the future won’t be a problem for this gun.

  7. Nice article that complements your videos. It’s just a bit pricey, but aren’t any others as well that fail to meet your standards. Well done again
    Wish more subs would 📚 read your articles.
    My trademark 🤓👍👍👍😎🙏

  8. I have heard because the trigger is metal and the chamber is so close to the trigger mechanism, there is some thermal leaching. When the pistol is ran hard the trigger heats up. Is that still an issue?
    Also I have found a corellation between my guns going off and me trigger pulling the trigger. No better safety than training and muscle memory. Though learned recently engaging a guns external safety if the weapon is taken from you has saved dozens of lives when taught to those in the line of fire. Interesting tidbit

  9. I like that trigger. I wouldn’t mind trying that as a drop in replacement in other firearms. If S&W and FN semiauto’s had this as an option then I might be more inclined to buy them.

    • APEX Tactical Solutions has trigger/sear upgrades for M&P and FN. The M&P forward reset trigger is the best aftermarket trigger I have ever felt. Their Glock triggers are ok but then I have yet to feel an aftermarket Glock trigger that’s better than just ok. Just something with how their parts play together.

  10. randomly picked up one of these a few years back because it looked neat and hey, i like to collect random 9mms. it’s a nice little pistol.

  11. I like mine. Everyone is curious when they see it at the range. Very flat shooter. Had it since a couple years before the cooffening. Paid atlanticfirearms a cool 780 for it. Would recommend but if you want to mount optics you’re gonna have to send the slide away cause I don’t think there’s much after market support.

  12. Had one. Sold it during the pandemic frenzy of 2020.
    Doesn’t shoot any better than a G34 with $15 worth of Taran Tactical springs in it.

    • They’re optics ready versions. They just need to catch up with production.

      For what is worth I own two both with an sro on them and I love them. I heard roomers off a gen 2 coming.

  13. That’s why I say we have no hope for change except by force. This country has been taken over by corrupt politicians for over 45 years. Everyone one that in government from the past 45 years has baggage. They all need to be put on trial and investigated.i do home work ….. 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐬𝐜𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐤.𝐜𝐨𝐦

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