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.