With so much attention paid to Arsenal's double-barreled 1911, a much less novel and much more practical pistol may be getting overlooked. Also by Arsenal, the Стриж—Strike One for the Western market (actual translation is "swift" after the bird)—is a very interesting new striker-fired gun from Russia.
Like many interesting things of Russian design, some elements are copies of great designs and other elements are completely new. And it looks funny, a little bit. The Strike One is being developed in two sizes, full and compact, in four calibers, 9mm Parabellum, 9x21mm IMI, .357 SIG and .40 S&W, and in two different frame materials, polymer and 7075 aluminum (Ergal by its trade name).
The frame material is largely a matter of preference, as the Strike One uses a single steel frame insert, like Caracal pistols or the Rock River Arms Poly. This single-piece insert is both the rails and the fire control group housing. The grip is just a shell that houses it and the magazine. The length of the rails is very impressive; they run two-thirds of the length of the handgun and ride millimeters above the tang of the Strike One.
That's going to be this gun's major selling point. It has an extremely-low bore axis. Video shows so little muzzle flip it almost looks like airsoft. In order to accomplish this, the barrel assembly is very different from the Browning-style cam lock used in so many self-loading handguns. The barrel assembly uses a separate locking lug that disconnects from the barrel during the cycle of operations.
The locking system is being touted as the fastest-cycling operation of any handgun. Given the amount of slide-lightening done at the factory, we'll at the very least admit that it looks pretty fast.
This original system is called the Strike Locking System. Not only does this allow for an extremely low-slung barrel, the barrel doesn't appear to actuate up and down by much if at all as the slide cycles back and forth. The low amount of barrel movement combined with the long single-piece rails makes us think that so long as the trigger isn't terrible, this is going to be an extremely accurate shooter. And if the trigger is good...
Arsenal is already gearing up to play this one up with the competition shooting crowd. Not only are they touting its compatibility with IPSC shooting, the magazine well is flared to make reloading quick. Although uncommon, the rear sight is also the striker retainer plate. The front sight uses a standard dovetail.
Full specs aren't public just yet, and neither are the prices. Arsenal does have a website up with more photos and some details. It looks like they hold 17 rounds in 9mm, but we won't know for sure until Arsenal makes more concrete announcements. We also don't know when this pistol will be released at home and when it will be exported, but for us, it can't start fast enough.
It's not every day someone rethinks how handguns should operate, and we cannot wait to get our hands on one of these.