By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
Image(s) Credit: Arsenal Firearms (Strike One Photos) and Russia's official facebook page (Makarov pistol comparison chart).
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June 22, 2012
Last updated on 10/16/12.
A number of Russian military sites, and The Firearm Blog, are reporting that the Russian Armed Forces will be replacing the ubiquitous (and ancient) Makarov 9x18mm Russian-caliber pistol with the brand new, come-out-of-nowhere Strike One Pistol System ("Strizh Pistol"), or "Strike Pistol", a Glock-like ultra-low-bore-axis, striker-fired polymer-frame semi-auto 9mm Parabellum/9x19mm NATO tactical/combat pistol made by upstart Arsenal Firearms. If true, and assuming the Strike One lives up to the hype, Russian military general infantry soldiers will have a superior, more modern and more advanced tactical/combat pistol at their disposal than their American counterparts carrying the Beretta M9/92F pistol.
The Strike One, an Italian/Russian joint project with manufacturing facilities in Europe and Russia, is "Glock-like" in the sense that the slide and upper portion of the gripframe look similar to the same portion of the Gen3/Gen4 Glock 17 (G17) pistol, it utilizes a polymer frame, the 9mm Parabellum variant sports a 17-round magazine (just like the G17), and everyone knows what Glock pistols look like. So, the Glock pistols work as a good frame of reference, here.
However, that's pretty much where the similarity ends, as the Strike One "Strizh" pistol utilizes a significantly different locking system (barrel/slide/frame lock-up) that appears to be both unique and quite possibly innovative. The Strike One's ejection port is also very different from the Glock's ejection port, and is more of a HK P7 (HK P7M13/P7M8)-type side-ejection-type port. The new pistol's nicely shaped and comfortable-looking textured/texturized grip is quite Italian looking, and the Strike One is even more visually reminiscent of the IC Technology M11 Merc pistol. The new pistol features an ambidextrous magazine release button and forward/front cocking serrations on the slide. The Arsenal Strike One Pistol is also available in multiple calibers (9×19 Para, 9×21 IMI, .357 SIG, .40 S&W), but DR is most interested in the plain-Jane 9mm Parabellum (9x19mm NATO) variant.
While DefenseReview (DR) hasn't handled it yet, let alone test-fired it, the Arsenal Strike Pistol's grip angle looks like it may have been modeled on the 1911 pistol (unconfirmed/unverified), which has the perfect grip angle for natural pointing. The 1911's grip angle makes point-shooting as intuitive as possible and giving snap-shooting using just a flash sight picture (where you fire as soon as you place your front site on the target) the highest chance of success. Now, if you were to combine the 1911 pistol's grip angle with the Strike One's ultra-low bore axis, you'd have that absolute optimum pistol package for fast, accurate shooting, provided the barrel's manufacturing quality, metallurgy and barrel/slide/frame lock-up/tolerances measure up to the task. This, of course, remains to be seen.
Mr. Bandini described the barrel lockup as a "a "single degree of liberty dropping cradle over in line barrel," (whatever that means). Defense Review is curious how this unique locking system compares to the Heckler & Koch HK P7 (HK P7 M8/M13) pistol's fixed barrel and Beretta Px4 Storm pistol's rotating barrel with regard to accuracy, strength, and firing characteristics, including felt-recoil.
Aside from the barrel locking system, the following three claimed Strike One pistol attributes interest us, in particular: "Lowest barrel center line over hand grip in history (12 mm), "lowest vertical mass movement on operating pin (locking block only and not the whole barrel)", and "fastest locking-unlocking time".
The following is an edited and redacted/sanitized copy Mr. Bandini's reply to our initial RFI (Request For Information) on the Strike Pistol:
"from: INFOARSENAL [email protected]
to: David Crane
subject: Re: Information Request…Re: Arsenal Strike One Pistol…Re: DefenseReview.com (DR)
Thank you for the kind email.
To answer the technical question: this system is radically new, a true revolution in the known 6-7 geometric locking systems panorama since about 120 years, as you will find out yourself. This is our main Patent, pending since about 8 months now, along with 2 more Patents still regarding the Strike One magazine catch system and single arch trigger automatic safety system.
Basically, this lock can be defined as a "single degree of liberty dropping cradle over in line barrel". This intuition, produces actually the lowest barrel axle-to-hand grip [lowest bore axis] in the history of handguns, with consequent amazing control of the firearms under rapid, aimed fire, along with extreme accuracy of the barrel to the slide, thanks to the entirely rail-guided back system, and finally the incedible reliability in feeding, due to the highest level of cartridge feeding into the rampless barrel.
Price will be competitive to any other EU high quality hammerless, polymer frame pistols by H&K, Walther or Glock.
Please do not hesitate to be in touch with me at any given time if you require more information.
Believe me, once you have studied the matter more, you will be convinced this is the greatest pistol innovation in 60 years (since CZ52).
Thank you again for you kind support, all the best.
Nicola Bandini – Arsenal Firearms/CEO."
Bandini seems like a really nice guy. In fact, he would appear to be a real gentleman. DR is still awaiting some details on the Strike One pistol's trigger action (trigger weight, first-trigger-pull length/travel distance and trigger-reset length/distance, specifically), as we're curious to know how it compares to the Glock 17 (G17) and Glock 19 (G19) pistols' trigger actions.
DefenseReview doesn't yet know whether the Arsenal Firearms Strike One Pistol System is being manufactured in Italy or Russia, but we'll try to find out ASAP. What we do know is that Arsenal Firearms was formed in 2010 and the Strike One pistol officially debuted at IWA 2012 on March 9, 2012, but Steve over at The Firearm Blog actually got a tip on the "Strizh" from some guy named "Zarko" (sounds like a European movie crime villain) back in February (2012). Looks like we need to get our own "Zarko" over here at DR.
Anyway, DR can't wait to get our hands on one of these for a full range T&E. Personally, I'm hoping that the Strike One is as reliable as my primary carry gun, a G19 (Glock 19). "Trust, but verify." Ronald Reagan
In the meantime, enjoy the embedded Arsenal Strike pistol ("Strizh pistol") video clips:
The following Strike One pistol info comes directly from the Arsenal Firearms website:
"The Strike One semi-automatic pistol comes to the world scene in 2012 as a completely new and revolutionary gun. The Strike One semiautomatic pistol comes as the fastest, most controllable, most accurate and hard hitting service pistol available today on the world market. A full 5 inches cold-hammered barrel, along with a 75 Hrc surface Nitrite treatment for barrel, locking block, slide and operating pin industrial production standard, warrant safe and flawless use of the pistol in excess of 50.000 rounds.
The frame of the Strike One was also engineered with exacting and unprecedented standards: the operating frame block, again made of the best 42CrMo4 steel, features long rails for total axial and torque control of all the moving parts, pins and springs. The frame itself, with it’s unique and true 3D hand grip (and not just “millings” on a flat surface) comes today as the only service pistol with a full fledged IPSC standard magazine insert “miniskirt”, allowing Special Operation and SWAT teams to work as if they were using a competition pistol.
The trigger system of the Strike One, again like no other before, operates mainly on the horizontal plain, without raisers with variable and long, rubbery trigger pull, but with a crisp and short firing pin release: this is the secret, along with a lighting fast locking mechanism, behind the unbelievable semiautomatic firing speed of our pistol.
Finally, thanks to the in-line barrel operation, the Strike One allows the development of a number of extremely innovative accessories, which base the designing and operative criteria on the “carrying in-line barrel”, such as for instance the LRC (Long Range Conversion).
Strike One Pistol System Specs:
TYPE: Geometric lock, semiatutomatic hammerless pistol
ACTION: Short recoil, in-line barrel, patented locking block system
CALIBERS: 9×19 Para, 9×21 IMI, .357 SIG, .40 S&W
TRIGGER: Sutomatic safety, Single-Action-Only
SAFETIES: Single arc trigger safety, with firing pin automatic safety
MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 17 rounds (staggered), ambidextrous push-button release
FRAME: Reinforced polymer or Ergal light alloy
SLIDE: With front and rear cocking panels, rebated ceiling
SIGHTS: Interchangeable back plate/sight, fixed or adjustable, or Micro-Dot ready
TOTAL LENGTH: 210 mm (Combat version 190 mm)
BARREL LENGTH: 128 mm (Combat version 110 mm)
TOTAL HEIGHT: 143 mm (Combat version 120 mm)
TOTAL WIDTH: 33 mm (all versions)
TOTAL WEIGHT (POLYMER): 750 Grs. (Combat version 700 Grs.)
TOTAL WEIGHT (ERGAL): 890 Grs. (Combat version 790 Grs.)
SPECIAL FEATURES: Frame bears 360° integral mini- skirt, underbarrel integral Picatinny rail. The pistol comes with dedicated security lock contoured foam case, double magazine, with gun oil and complete cleaning kit, User’s Manual and internatio- nal 1 year Warranty.
HIGHLIGHTS With the launch of the Strike One, 3 separate patents have been already filed for:
THE LOCKING SYSTEM
The Strike Locking System has no equal in the history of semiautomatic weapons. It is based on the "1 degree of liberty mechanical law" of the main components (Barrel, Locking Block and Bolt-slide). The major benefits of the invention are:
- In line barrel operation with very tight tolerances with the slide – Lowest barrel center line over hand grip in history (12 mm) – Lowest vertical mass movement on operating pin (locking block only and not the whole barrel) – Fastest locking-unlocking time – Fully rail-guided barrel inside the slide, for tremendous accuracy coupling with the aiming devices – Highest ammunition feed level into the barrel, for trouble-free use of any type of bullet, with no deformation upon chambering – Shortest unlocking-locking action travel (4mm diameter operating pin) – Totally sealed barrel-to-slide ejection port area, for safest operations of the gun in mud, dirt, dust – Strongest slide at ejection port area, due to minimal open profile of the same
THE AMBIDEXTROUS MAGAZINE RELEASE
For the first time a traditional two-sided female notch magazine can be used with a totally ambidextrous, lateral operation (conventional push button) latch. This has been possible thanks to the Arsenal Firearms new patented design, made of only 2 parts: latch and spring-stop. The system is entirely taken down by hand with no tools and features also the engagement of both magazine notches contemporarily for maximum safety of retention during extreme use of the pistol and will prevent accidental magazine loss as the gun drops on a hard surface.
THE TRIGGER SAFETY
Unlike other competitor’s trigger safety systems, where the trigger is split into 2 parts making the shooter often uncomfortable with trigger feel and release predictability, the Arsenal Firearms single trigger safety system comes as another true patented innovation: the trigger in fact cannot be accidentally pulled for the top portion of the arch (i.e. by a foreign object) as the special shoulder and rotation-travel of the trigger body will prevent it. The result is a safety trigger, with single arch and a competition pistol feel and performance, for maximum first-shot trustable placement."
The following information comes directly from the Arsenal Firearms IWA 2012 press release:
"Press Release – For Immediate Release Nurnberg – Friday, March the 9th – IWA 2012
Arsenal Firearms launches the new Strike One pistol
Arsenal Firearms, the brand new group of companies established during 2010 and officially debuting at IWA 2012 on March the 9th, proudly announces the production of a revolutionary, brand new semiautomatic pistol, designed for full-fledged Military and Law Enforcement service, civilian self-defence and sport performance alike.
Named AF-1 “Strike One” as the first of a number of “strikes” that the company is forecasting for the international market, the pistol has already filed 3 independent and revolutionary International Patents: the in-line barrel Locking System, the single trigger arch Automatic Trigger Safety and the Ambidextrous Magazine Release. The new semiautomatic pistol introduces and claims for a number of innovations and practical use advantages: it actually comes as the lowest barrel axle-to-hand grip value in history (12mm) unprecedented terminal ballistic accuracy due to the fully guided, non-tilting barrel locking system, extraordinary semiautomatic rate of fire, due to the lightning-fast locking time and single action short travel trigger system and finally an equally unprecedented operational control, thanks to the miniskirt magazine well, the high hand grip feature and the expansion of the gun system through the implementation of a family of accessories, such as the LRC (Long Range Conversion).
The Strike One will be manufactured with a reinforced polymer frame and with an Ergal (light alloy) frame, both offered in Ordnance Black, Desert Tan and Olive Drab colours as standard. A number of high durability Electrocolours will also be made available for the Ergal framed Strike One Sport Edition, targeting the Production IPSC international shooting category. The Strike One Sport Edition will also be offered with LPA adjustable rear sight.
Later in the year, the Strike Combat will also be launched, a compact, shorter version of the full size pistol, holding 13 rounds in the magazine instead of 17 (9mm). Currently, the Strike One is offered in the calibres 9×19 Parabellum, 9×21 IMI, .40 Smith & Wesson and .357 SIG. For a full chart of the technical specification, the LRC Short and Long conversions and finishes available and the Hi-Res image bank, please go to the corporate website http://www.arsenalfirearms.
For more information and a full catalogue, please contact: [email protected] End/All."
Hat Tip: The Firearm Blog
Company Contact Info:
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