Gun Review: Arsenal Firearms Strike One

strike-one-2013-2

A while back I made a comment in one of the Disqus threads about wanting to test the Strike One pistol, much to my surprise a few weeks ago Lorri from Sooner State Arsenal contacted me and asked if I would like to review the Strike One. I jumped at the chance, I would have been foolish to say no. I have been drooling over the chance to get behind one of these guns as soon as I saw a photo of one. I seem to have a thing for strange looking pistols, the Arsenal Firearms Strike One certainly fits the bill, it is rather unconventional looking.P1020089

 

Before we get too far into things, here are the specs from the Sooner State Arsenal website.

Type Geometric Lock, Semiautomatic Hammerless Pistol
Action Short Recoil, In Line Barrel, Patented Locking Block System
Calibers 9mm
Trigger Automatic Safety, Safe Action Only
Safeties Single Arc Trigger Safety, With Firing Pin Automatic Safety And Disconnector
Magazine With Ambidextrous Push-Button Release, 17 or 10 Rounds (9mm), 13 or 10 Rounds (.40S&W)
Frame Reinforced Polymer Cerakote in Jungle Green or Desert Earth Tan
Slide With Front And Rear Cocking Panels, Rebated Ceiling Cerakote in Jungle Green or Desert Earth Tan
Sights Fixed Back Plate/Sight, Adjustable Front Sights
Total Length 8.27 Inches
Barrel Length 5 Inches
Total Height 5.63 Inches
Total Width 2 Inches
Total Weight 1.94 Lbs
Special Features Frame bears 360 degree integral beveled magazine well, underbarrel integral Picatinny rail. The pistol comes with dedicated security lock contoured foam case, double magazine, with gun oil and complete kit, User’s Manual and international 1 year Warranty.

To expand a bit more about why it is so unconventional looking I should probably mention the locking system that the designer used. Instead of the Browning tilting barrel locking system that you know and love, it is based around the Bergmann system, a system that hasn’t been used in almost a hundred years. The designer of the pistol used a Y shaped block that slides over the barrel. When the pistol is fired both the barrel and the locking block recoils with the slide for about the first 1/4 inch, then the locking block falls and allows the slide to finish its rearward travel.

By using the Bergmann system it allows the entire slide assembly to remain compact, keeping the bore axis low. Before any naysayers jump in with their “bore axis doesn’t matter” rhetoric, we will dive into that later. I am rather excited about a pistol that refuses to toe to the John Moses Browning line and still remains a viable choice.P1020094

As you might expect with a polymer pistol in today’s market, it is striker fired. No real surprises there right? Wrong.

The Strike one even has a slightly different take on the striker system. Instead of the normal chunky engagement surface found on your average striker fired wonder nine, the Strike One uses a unique rotating striker/sear arrangement. The striker has a much smaller and triangle shaped engagement surface that allow it to slide into the swinging/rotating sear. You can see the sear on the right side of the frame, nestled into the rail. The unique striker arrangement provides for a very strange trigger pull that is reminiscent of a double action revolver but with a lot of grit. Looking at how the trigger works I think with some polishing this could be fixed to make it feel more like the pull on a fine revolver, minus the stacking of course. Sooner State Arsenal does offer a trigger job that I declined. I felt the $125 was a bit on the stiff side for something that should be done at Tanfoglio when the gun is being put together.

Something that many reviewers forget is that this pistol wasn’t designed as a range toy, it was designed to be a military pistol for the Russian Federation. For a combat gun the trigger is pretty darned acceptable. I did find the reset to be rather long feeling, that may just be a byproduct of the striker design.P1020096

Something that I wish that Arsenal Firearms had imported it with the Russian “Strizh” markings. The gun is pretty cool as it sits, but the hat tip to the pistol’s intended purpose as a Russian military firearm would have put it over the top. I really hope that Arsenal Firearms brings out a special edition Russian trials gun.

Photo credit: VitalyKuzmin

Photo credit: VitalyKuzmin

The Strike One ships with 2 – 17 round magazines (provided you live in a “free” state) that are reminiscent of a Beretta 92FS, but with the magazine catch cut much higher on the mag body as a result of the low bore axis. I noticed that the walls of the grip were a bit thick and could have been made a touch thinner in order to accommodate a wider magazine. While I wouldn’t feel under gunned going into a fight with 17 in the mag, I sure would have loved to see this gun touting a 20 round capacity given it’s massive grip length.

You can also see the full length rail located at the bottom of the Strike One’s frame. Due to the size of the gun it seems as though you have a full mile of mounting space for lights, lasers, bayonets, a second handgun, or even a small tank. In reality it allows you to mount a full size light onto the Strike One without it protruding in front of the muzzle.P1020091

Taking the pistol down is accomplished by clearing the pistol, pushing the captive pin out to the left of the firearm, pulling the trigger, then sliding the slide assembly off the front of the pistol. You can see here that the full length slide rails are paper thin in an effort to keep the amount of bulk at the top of the pistol to a minimum. The slide rails are nicely machined and provide a glass smooth surface for the slide to ride on.P1020093

Another gripe I have about the Strike one is the dainty (there really is no other word for it) slide stop. Seeing as this isn’t a concealed carry piece I don’t understand why they didn’t include one that was a bit chunkier that would be more accessible with gloves or under stress. I feel that the controls on the Strike One were a bit understated for the guns intended purpose.P1020097

The magazine release suffers from the same fate. The frame of the pistol has a protrusion that prevents the user from unintentionally dropping the magazine. It does get in the way of hitting the mag release though. Strike One does include an ambi mag button and the stock one is also reversible so all you wrong handed people can rejoice. Unfortunately the Strike One manual doesn’t include any instructions on how to change it out but it isn’t hard to figure out.

Ian from Forgotten Weapons ran into an issue as a result of how the magazine catch is retained. While shooting a match with the Strike One he pushed the mag release with such vigor that he pushed it through the frame of the gun. I was able to replicate the failure without much issue but didn’t find it to be a problem during normal shooting. I imagine that if I were running against a clock it is something that might be a long term issue. The mag button problem is easily fixed by pushing it the opposite way.P1020098

I figured I would field strip the gun before it got too dirty. You can really get a feel for how the Bergmann locking piece slides over the barrel in this photo. The pistol comes apart almost like a Glock would, except it has one extra piece wrapped around the barrel. I really appreciated the stainless finish on the barrel and locking piece as it made the Strike One very easy to clean. P1020095

Something that really impressed me was the nicely crowned muzzle. I don’t know how much of a difference this makes when compared to a typical pistol muzzle, but it sure does look nice. (Forgive the dark photo, my cell phone isn’t near as good as the DSLR I normally use.)IMG_3668

Using my trigger pull gauge the Strike One measured out to be just over a 5 pound trigger. I touched a bit earlier about the gripes I have with the trigger. As I said, the trigger is gritty and strangely long. It isn’t exactly the feel that one might expect when picking up a polymer striker fired pistol (I admit, I may be a bit ruined by the typical ‘Glock’ type trigger). I do have to say that after even two range trips I found myself quickly acclimating to the Strike One trigger, every mag I loaded up I found myself to be slightly faster and more competent than the last one.  IMG_3667

The Strike One is nicely presented in a well made lockable Negrini case. The pistol that I received shipped with a spare magazine, a bottle of “wonder oil” that I want to talk about more in a minute, and a basic cleaning kit.

There was a note stuck into the Strike One owners manual that detailed the break in process. More or less that process consisted of taking the Strike One to the range without cleaning the factory lube off, shooting 100 rounds, removing the slide, placing a drop of wonder oil on each rail, reassembling the gun, then shooting another 400 rounds. I thought that a polymer pistol having a break in was a little ludicrous, I am a used to a poly framed gun just working without fussing with itP1020101

 

One feature about the case that I really liked was that it is a lockable case. I don’t know that it is airline compliant, but for those that want to be able to secure the pistol without threading a plastic covered cable through their gun will surely put it to good use. P1020102

I mentioned earlier that the Strike One arrived with a cleaning kit, I must admit that it is more comprehensive than your standard poly brush on a stick that many other polymer pistols ship with *cough* Glock *cough*. As much as I appreciate Arsenal Firearms including this in the case, I would have rather they left it out in favor of a second spare mag even if they had to bump the price of the pistol up a touch. P1020103

At about 10 – 12 yards the Strike One grouped quite nicely. I am admittedly not one of the greatest pistol shots on the planet and was able to replicate this stellar group a couple times, if I am honest I was so taken aback by the group that I thought it was a fluke and tried a couple more times to be sure. P1020338

On to the shooting impressions.

I love it.

Seriously, it shot like a dream. I am going to admit right now that I bought the review gun (without talking to my wife so she couldn’t say no). The pistol does feel like it has about a third less muzzle flip and a third less felt recoil like Sooner State Arsenal claims. The camera footage told another story though.SO1

Now the photo taken during full recoil looks exactly like every other pistol I have tested in the past. I felt less recoil, I was faster with the pistol, but the photos show the same amount or a touch less muzzle flip at the start of my testing period. SO2

I asked Alex C. to perform his super limp wrist test because he has weaker wrists than I. The results were two full mags fired from the sissy position with exactly zero failures.SO3

You can see exactly how limp of a wrist is required for the super limp wrist test. The amount that lets the pistol recoil is pretty significant. Thankfully the Strike One continued to perform flawlessly.SO4

After Alex had his fun I grabbed the pistol and decided to film some double taps to see if Sooner State Arsenal’s claims held any water and the result was surprising. I took screen grabs of the frame right before the primer was struck and another frame that showed the pistol in full recoil. You can see that either I was doing an amazing job of controlling the recoil or Sooner State wasn’t full of it. As I said earlier, after each mag that I put through the Strike One I felt like I was getting faster and faster as well as more accurate.

I must admit that the pistol feels like it melts into your hand. When I picked it up for the first time it felt like no other pistol I had ever held. It is strangely thin in all the right areas and has bulk only where required. When I try to explain how the Strike One feels I can only repeat the phrase “it feels like it sits inside your hand”. Sounds insane right? SO5 SO6

Another shot of the pistol going from just before the primer strike to full recoil. I was hammering the heck out of my Grizzly ar500 target in this photo as I was in most photos. Landing hit after hit on the IPSC ABC target was very easy from 15-20 yards. after the second range outing I was able to dump mag after mag into the torso target without a miss. Even hitting the little “bad guy” swinger was starting to get pretty easy from 15-20 yards.SO7 SO8

After spending quite a lot of quality time with the Arsenal Firearms Strike One I have fallen in love. The pistol carries a rather hefty MSRP of $823. But I guess when compared to a new Glock that has a MSRP of about $600 the price isn’t that insane. You get a nicely machined and reliable pistol for the extra money.

I put north of 800 rounds through the Strike One over the several range trips that it made with me and experienced one malfunction, an honest to goodness dead primer with a good strike. My take away is this, I have to have it. Others may not feel the same way, but I need the Strike One in my life.

I have to admit, when I was contacted to do this review I had spent several months drooling over photos of the Strike One like I have over photos of the Russian GSh-18 pistol. When I was waiting for it to ship from Sooner State Arsenal I felt a sinking feeling once I realized that the Strike One might not live up to all the hype in my head and I may be sending the gun back with a bitter taste in my mouth. The Strike One disappointed me at first due to what I felt was a terrible trigger on a gun that boasts a price that is damned near a thousand dollars. After spending some time bonding with the gun the Strike One is currently my favorite pistol, beating out my Sphinx SDP Alpha and the rest of my ever growing pistol collection.

You can learn more about the Strike One from the Arsenal Firearms website here, you can purchase the Strike One from the sole importer of the Strike One, Sooner State Arsenal by clicking here. Arsenal Firearms Strike One carries a MSRP of $823 as tested.



Patrick R

Patrick is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and works in the shooting sports industry. He is an avid recreational shooter and a verified gun nerd. With a lifelong passion for shooting, he has a love for all types of firearms, especially handguns and the AR-15 platform. Patrick may be contacted at tfbpatrick@gmail.com.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • MB

    Another $800 gun with crappy trigger and NO aftermarket support, awsome

    • Vitsaus

      REALLY crappy trigger. I think this is just a novelty. its a new design, its from an exotic origin (to American shooters) there will be hype for a year or two, then it’ll be another one of those guns you see in the used shelf 10 years from now and say with a chuckle “Oh yeah, I remember that thing.”

      • Patrick R.

        Have you shot one? I would say it has a better trigger than the CZ 75 I have in for T&E, it is about on par with the M&P, and it is only lightly worse than a Glock.

        I think people are forgetting that it is a service pistol design, not a match gun.

        • MrEllis

          You need to have your CZ looked at then. That being said I do not mind having a long or heavier pull on a defensive weapon.

          • Patrick R.

            The pull on the Strike one is almost 5 pounds even and honestly not as long as other reviews have claimed. There is a bit of grit in there and the reset is pretty long.

          • MrEllis

            None of that is bad for a defensive weapon designed to be used by a lot of people. But it was all SA and DA/SA when I started, the only striker firing involved scabs, so I may be set in my way. The most important thing is you like the trigger and you shoot the gun well. That’s more important than internet opine. I’m about to get a CZ P09 soon, which is obviously the superior weapon.

            OPINION ALERT! OPINION ALERT! BATTLE STATIONS!

          • iksnilol

            BATTER THE HATCHES, WE HAVE A SMARTYPANTS WITH AN OPINION INCOMING!

    • Patrick R.

      I liked it enough to spend my hard earned money on one. It will never have much of an after market, but that doesn’t make it worthless.

      • G0rdon_Fr33man

        It already has a decent following in Europe. Buddy of mine just got the Strike One Speed, the IPSC version. Better trigger, shorter reset, much better sights, lighted slide. Even a tad better finish. The first one I tried was nr 25 out of the factory and lacked a finishing touch.

    • KestrelBike

      What kind of aftermarket support are you looking for in a pistol? Holsters will undoubtedly be made eventually, and someone’s going to come out with a trigger kit. If someone misses the bajillion “aftermarket support” pieces they can put on/in/around their glock, then they should probably just stick with their glock. Doesn’t mean the pistol market is forever closed to new additions….

      • MB

        Rear sight on this gun is integrated with slide plate ( why its beyond me) so it will be difficult to produce after market rear sights . Holsters, magazines, basepads makers will take a long while to catch up. And what about warranty? Im not saying this gun doesn’t have its place on the market ,but $800 for this is too much. Just IMHO

        PS. Im far from glock fan, most of my pistols are Tanfoglios or CZs

        • Giolli Joker

          The Speed model (1,111$) has removable sights, but apparently even the coyote tan “All Weather” model (899$) has them; so getting a version with replaceable rear sight is not impossible.
          Sooner State Arsenal already offers quite a few holsters and few accessories.

      • Just reading this review, I’d like the aftermarket to come up with a fixed mag release and a larger slide stop. I felt like the author was really generous towards a gun that had a serious, reproducible malfunction problem in the mag release.

        • Patrick R.

          I was only able to replicate the problem when trying to. During actual shooting I never experienced the failure, if I had I would have focused more on the shortcoming.

    • Mrninjatoes

      Get some seed money and start making accessories. This is still America, the land of opportunity.

  • hami

    Thanks for the review. My favorite handgun, the Mark 23, is evidence that I’ll spend the big bucks when the gun is worth the premium. I look forward to seeing one of these in person.

    • Patrick R.

      They are for sale now through Sooner State Arsenal.

  • Lance

    Russia rips of a G-17 pistol. Yet like its Ferber the Yarigan PY-A it fales to dismount the tried and true Soviet Makarov as prime pistol. They keep trying but many in Russian security prefer the small tried and true PM pistol.

    • Patrick R.

      How is it a rip off of the Glock 17? Because it is black and uses plastic?

      • Bill

        Because when I first glanced at it I thought it was another hot-rodded GLOCK. Like looking at the Buran space shuttle or the old Soviet SST.

        Granted, other than appearances it’s totally different. And the Buran never flew.

        • Iggy

          The Buran actually flew once unmanned, and is notable because it was the first automated space shuttle flight.

          • Bill

            I did not know that. I’ve only seen photos of the one that’s dry-rotting in the weeds at some airfield.

    • G0rdon_Fr33man

      You have no idea what you are talking about. This is an Italian production and design, allthough a Russian was part of designing it. They hoped it would be a replacement of a russian service pistol, which did not happen. It uses a Bermann locking design, and the striker is cocked by a very different mechanism… It is not even close to a Glock. It is miles beyond. Especially the Speed version.

  • thedonn007

    It uses the same mags as the CZ-75. So you should be able to use the 19 round mags from Mcgar, and the 18 round SP-01 mags.

    • Giolli Joker

      They are likely to be Tanfoglio magazines, therefore probably compatible with the CZ ones that you mention.

    • Patrick R.

      The mag catch is cut too low on the CZ mags.

      • thedonn007

        Hmm, another guy tried the CZ mags and they worked. If the mag catch is too low on the CZ mags, then the EAA witness mags will work, or as mentioned by Giolli Joker, Tanfoglio mags. The EAA witness is made by Tanfoglio.

        Oh, and thanks for checking.

  • thedonn007

    Also, nice review. Just one small nitpick. A striker fired 9mm pistol is not considered a wonder nine. It would have to be DA/SA to be considered a wonder nine.

    • Eh? Says who?

      Granted most of the wonder nines from the era when the term was invented were TDA. But the Glock 17 is widely considered to be a wonder nine as it came out right in the middle of the wonder nine era.

      • thedonn007

        Hmm, yea, looks like I might be the interpreting the definition of a wonder nine incorrectly. When I hear the term wonder nine I think of the double stack 9mm DA/SA pistols that were out in the 80’s, such as the CZ-75, Beretta, 92 FS, Sig, P226, etc…

  • Darkpr0

    Great review, but you forgot the most supreme advantage and the most damning disadvantage any gun can have in the US commercial market. It’s not a Glock. 🙂

  • Mrninjatoes

    I love that beavertail. My glock eats up my giant Sasquatch hands. That gun looks like a lot of fun to shoot. Great review!

  • Bill

    When are these going to be sale for the mass public? I look forward to owning my very own. Thanks for the great review.

    • Patrick M.

      They are available at a small number of retailers. Due to the smaller size of the company I wouldn’t expect to see them at Gander Mountain or any big box retailer any time soon.

  • Patrick M.

    Is it worth the money? Probably not when you compare it to other available options especially and when you start to think about parts and aftermarket support. But with the cool factor? Totally.

  • Giolli Joker

    Great review!

    It’s a shame that the Ergal framed model has 5 times the price tag… I would love it.

    “I am rather excited about a pistol that refuses to toe to the John Moses Browning line and still remains a viable choice.”

    Definitely!

  • Strongarm

    Thanks for the review. Will you please clear some terms to prevent confusement;
    – What is “Geometric Lock”?. Is it a trademark or shall we call the others as “Arithmetic”?.
    – What is the description of “Safe Action”?. Is it another name for “Long Pull Single Action” clearing the passive safeties through activation?.
    – What is “Rotating Sear”?. Most of sears and even trigger bar integrated sears rotate through activation. Or is it another name of “Non-Vertically Moving Release Element”?.
    – Which feature of “Bayard System” gives the “Base” of this pistol?. As known, Bayard has a barrel extention and vertically sliding hollow Locking Block located within that extention and working in and out of a breechbolt crossing through it. This gun has a slide and open top Locking Block working in and out under he barrel. Does the similarity come from solely “Sliding” motion?…

  • Tassiebush

    Poor Alex has had his wrists slandered!

    • kipy

      The “Limp Wrist Test” is crucial for good science. Alex is doing us proud 🙂

    • Patrick R.

      Not my fault his wrists were limper than mine.

  • NewMan

    I’m a bit concern about the ‘paper thin’ slide rail though.. Wonder if that will cause any durability issue in the long run (bending, cracking etc..)

  • Giolli Joker

    Is that an SBR with a SI Cookie Cutter under the Arsenal Box?
    Did you review the muzzle device?

    • Patrick R.

      It is and I did. Look for my review soon.

  • randomswede

    It’s quite amusing reading the comments, from what mostly sounds like Glock advocates, echoing the criticism of the Glock when that was new on the market.
    It begs the question, would we still be chucking spears if it wasn’t for “idiots” willing to waste time and money on a bow with arrows while enduring the petty comments of those with nothing vested. But then again, why use spears when rocks are so readily available and affordable.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    I knew I shouldn’t have read this. I hate strikers and somehow I keep getting more striker-fired pistols and NOW I feel like I need to get one of these. Thanks a lot!

    I would also love to have the Russian marked and if/when I do pick one up, I may try to fill in the roll marks and etch them myself. Also, I like the cleaning kit personally. The FiveSeven has one just like it and I was, admittedly, one of the few people who seemed to use it.

    Have you shot a Steyr M-series or the VP9? Those are the two best strikers I’ve owned and I’d like to know how it compares overall.

    • Patrick R.

      I have not shot the Styer M series yet but I have spent a lot of time on the VP9. I would say the VP9 is very Glock like and nothing like the Strike One.

      • Nicks87

        I picked up a Styer M9-A1 on the cheap at cabelas. I like it a lot, the trigger is very nice for a “gasp” striker fired pistol and feels much different than a glock or the strike one. I don’t really like the triangle/trapezoid sights on it so I don’t carry it but it is a fun range gun. It’s a gun you can run really fast but a pure target pistol it is not.

        • Patrick R.

          Interesting. I am going to have to check one out now.

          • Nicks87

            I’m not sure what the price is on them now but like 2 years ago cabelas had them for right around 400+ tax. Definitely worth picking one up.

        • BrandonAKsALot

          I feel like the M9 and VP9 are very similar, but the M9 has what feels closer to a hammer break to me. I love the sights personally, because I suck with 3-dots. I feel like it gives me a more precise point of aim. Shooting it side by side with my P226 is a very interesting comparison. The 226 is a lot less controllable after a few shots in quick sucession. The M9 slide is way has way less mass and the bore axis is very low.

          • Nicks87

            I love the grip angle and the low bore axis as well. But yeah I just haven’t spent a lot of time learning to use the sights so maybe I just need to put more rounds through it.

  • Ryan Roark

    Good review. However, I own two of these, and I am baffled by the trigger hate. These things have darn good trigger IMHO. Like the review said I was also blown away at control and my accuracy right out of the box.

  • anomad101

    If I see one lying around, I’ll pick it up.

  • sean

    Love the pic of the limp wrist!