Inside Arsenal’s Strike One Pistol

Before this years SHOT show my list of questions was fairly short and at the top of that list was, will the Arsenal AF-1 Strike One be imported into the United States? They had a decent display at the show, so optimism is high.


04Starting with the obvious features, the one that stands out is the low-profile slide. These photos show how low to the hand the AF-1 slide is, yet the frame provides enough space to avoid slide-bite.

This allows for a more positive control of the recoil and will help eliminate muzzle-flip so the shooter can put the sights back on target faster. Arsenal even claims this to be the lowest barrel axle-to-hand grip in the history of pistols. It appears to be a rapid shooter’s handgun.

This isn’t where it ends though, the firearm isn’t a common tilt-breech and has minimal travel during firing. We’ll come back to this.

Note the hollow peep sites, the front sight is also a short tunnel. Some future Sport editions will be shipped with adjustable sights.


Below you will see the ambidextrous magazine release, which is a nice feature, but I found it to stick out too far. The ambi release is one of the new patents on this sidearm and I am reserving further opinion until I have the opportunity to fire the weapon. I may find it is inconsequential but the trend has been, for some decades, to shave and burn anything “sticking out” to avoid snags on draw.

Asking to disassemble a firearm doesn’t always go well at booths but an Italian gentleman was pleased and enthusiastic to do so. note the take-down is being pulled to the opposite side than we are used to.


The encapsulated guide ride removes as normal.


This part is very simple but it is difficult to show in images. The barrel lock is a recoil operated drop, known as an in-line barrel locking system, from this angle the “drop” would be upwards towards us. We can see the block at the rear of the barrel.


The block pictured, in the photos above and below, slides up and down. Once it slides down, into the frame, the system is unlocked and the slide moves rearward.

More technical explanations are hypothesized and debated in the comments of Steve’s post on this same firearm last March. I cannot speak for a system I have not used, but I am intrigued.


The block is removed in the photo below.


In this photo the barrel is pushed forward.


The firearm will come in the olive green seen here as well as desert tan and what they call Ordnance Black. There will also be some stainless slide finishes as standard and a light Ergal alloy frame (which is just a trade name for 7075 aluminum).

With the barrel placed on the frame and the magazine inserted we can see why the barrel doesn’t need a tongue-like feed ramp.


The three patents they mention are the ambi-magazine release, the in-line locking system, and the automatic safety trigger. This firearm is hammerless single-action so they made a better passive trigger safety. Unfortunately they don’t show us the patent on it, but it doesn’t look unrelated to other striker-fired trigger safeties.

Their site lists the sights as easily changeable and the weapon is micro-dot ready.

 Strike One lineup

The Strike One is considered the first of many Strike models by the Italian and Russian combined effort. The first strike, the AF-1, is currently manufactured in 9x19mm Parabellum (with a magazine capacity of 17 rounds), 9x21mm IWI, .40SW, & .357SIG. There was no word on the importation numbers of each caliber, and I’m fairly certain there will be zero 9x21mm models imported into the US, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we only see 9mm models at first.

This is truly the most interesting modern pistol I’ve seen since the Five-seveN was released.

Arsenal Firearms are optimistic and report that importation of this pistol will happen this year. M12068

Ethan M

Ethan’s firearm interests are mostly with Cold War era select-fire weapons and their semi-auto counterparts.


  • Another polymer wonder 9. Who’d a thunk?

    • Esh325

      If you read the post, it’s clearly not another “polymer wonder 9”,

    • Komrad

      Polymer and Wondernine are mutually exclusive terms. Wondernines are hammer fired metal framed 9mms, at least in the original meaning of the term.

  • Esh325

    In an industry with rather low innovations, it’s nice to see something new. Would like to see a compact and/or DA/SA version.

    • Komrad

      DA/SA would require a hammer and probably negate the low bore axis.

      • Esh325

        DA/SA doesn’t need a hammer. Look at the Walther P99. Taurus also makes one.

  • GeoffH

    The grip stippling doesn’t look very comfortable to me. Can you comment on that?

    • Max Popenker

      I fired a tad over 200 rounds from Russian-made version of the Strike One and I’d say that grip is quite comfortable for my average size palms

  • Max Popenker

    You can find a detailed description of the Strike One at my website here:

    • Thanks Max, your site has a great photo of the removed locking piece.

  • ZeCatnip

    I will reserve judgement until I’ve handled one, but that slide looks like it could be prone to biting if you’re not careful. I can’t say I’m all that impressed, it looks so ‘cheap’.

  • I saw many new products at the Shot Show this year, and this is the only pistol that got my attention. To me, this is the most innovative design of all the pistols I have seen in Vegas, it is a lot more than just a changeable back strap or new sights or different frame colors or covertable calibers, it offers a lot more than that.

  • Keith K.

    it appears that the rear sight is fully integrated into the back panel of the slide, is that correct?

    • Chadd

      I thought so at first too but it looks like you can remove the back plate on the slide and then take the rear sight off.
      I’m basing this purely off of the picture with the three colorways(the stainless and grey framed model has sights that are the same color as the frame, not the slide) and the third and fourth pictures.

  • Mikhail Blyakher

    Finally some updates about his pistol. Looking forward to trying one out. Any idea who is going to import them?

  • billrok

    Their website shows a price of over $4000 for this firearm??? I must have misread the price list!!

    • ZeCatnip

      I believe that is the price for their ‘Double .45’ pistol monstrosity…

  • bigbear

    How is it red dot ready it would be awesome if the lowered channel on the front half of the slide was made to mount a rmr or doctor

  • billrok

    Could somebody address the MSRP for this gun? Check the website!!!

    • I emailed Amanda from APEX International, the importers for the Arsenal Firearms lineup, and she wrote back, “The Strike is most likely a 2014 gun.” My other questions, including MSRP were not answered.

    • Andrew

      Yep. 4,000 dollars

  • steel for me kthanks

    looks like glock married tanfailio.

  • bsnighteye

    There is anybody Russian in post writers? There are a lot of russian gun articles but it seems that they are just passing by. Something like this:

    or this

    • Max Popenker

      Unfortunately, the guy behind that k-a-r-d-e-n blog is far more proficient with AK-74 than English language. He’s a real nice guy, an officer in SWAT-like outfit chasing Muslim terrorists across southern parts of the Russia, an writing excellent gun and gear reviews during his free time

      • bsnighteye

        At least, if only there could be someone who could translate all this stuff and put it here.

    • No not at this time

  • Max

    If its barrel has a non tilt locking mechanism (as it appears to have) that would mean that it would be extremely easy to put longer barrels (and stocks with 16″ barrels) as well as suppressors as a Nielson device would be unecessary.


    • Max Popenker

      exactly. the 16″-barreled version was shown last year at IWA-2012 show. I also seen prototypes with extended threaded barrels to host QD supressors

  • RDW

    I have shot this pistol as well as my tiny wife, and all I can say is that it is VERY controllable and feels great in the hands. The trigger mech on the one I fired felt like a Swiss timepiece.

  • well whatever it is, its huge looking…. wheres the compact for concealed carry?

  • Here is a good video that discusses the pistols features.

  • RickH

    It just looks really…….oversized.

  • John

    I guess the Ruso-American voluntary trade restriction is really gone now, because Strike One isn’t on the approved list of pistols in the 1998 trade agreement.

    • the guns comming here will be made in italy.

  • steveday72

    Very interested ín this gun, or at least I was until I found out the price (close to $700).

    Still, it could be a good carry gun, providing we can get it with full-capacity magazines, otherwise there’s no point.

    I’m normally a “strictly .45acp” guy, but seeing how this shot +P+ 9mm through 1/4″ mild steel plate was very impressive.

    • Andrew

      $700? lol try $4,000

  • Gary Lockley

    The Mig-15 of the handgun world.

  • Chtistine

    Bigfoot is seen more often than information about when Americans can buy it!