Arsenal Strike One Review

The Arsenal Strike One

Innovative Challenge to the Pistol Status Quo




Pistol Reviewed By Denny Ducet Channel
In one word, IMPRESSIVE.  Would I carry the Strike One?  Yes.  I could leave the review there, and then just show you the videos of the Strike One in action, however some of you enjoy a bit more thorough information than just a one or two word answer. Often times, reviews beat around the bush for pages, when all I want to know is if the respected individual I am reading would carry the platform or not.  

I first became aware of the Arsenal Strike One when the media rumors of its existence began to circulate on the gun forums circa 2012. The low bore axis, in line barrel operation, as well as reported fast cyclic rate immediately perked my interests as a tactical shooter and firearm enthusiast.

Heading To The Range
Fast forward to SHOT show 2014, where our crew was able to meet the Arsenal Firearms Corp. personnel and handle the Strike One in both its polymer and alloy framed configurations.  The Denny Ducet Channel covered the Strike One at SHOT 2014, and as a crew decided that this may have been the most innovative design present at the show.  

Several weeks ago, International Firearms Corporation, the sole importer of Arsenal Firearms, sent the Denny Ducet Channel an Arsenal Strike One pistol chambered in 9x19 for testing and review.

RANGE DAYS

Testing of the Strike One spanned 3 different range days.  On range day 1, we gathered several other striker fired pistols for comparison, over a thousand rounds of 9mm ammunition from a myriad of manufacturers, a PACT timer, some paper and steel targets, two active SWAT members as well as another firearms industry individual and shooter. Days 2 and 3 consisted of similar shooting and tests, generating a higher round count and critique of certain areas.

No shooters had any trigger time on the Strike One prior to shooting this pistol, nor had we seen it fired, outside of internet videos.  I was the first to load a magazine, rack the slide and go to work.  

The first target was a 3x5 index card box located on a FAST target drill while I stood on the 7 yard line.  After 15 rounds fired only slow enough to allow a good trigger reset to analyze the trigger attributes, I was smirking at what seem like easy and surgical shot placement with a pistol I had never handled until that moment.  It was pretty much a jagged half dollar sized hole where 15 rounds of 9mm just tore through.  

The next 3 hours consisted of magazine after magazine, and over 700 rounds fired through the Arsenal Strike One, with an additional 450 rounds fired through the same pistol in 2 following days.  With a recommended break in of 500 rounds, the Strike One ran like a champion in our presence and surpassed the break in period, reaching over 1000 rounds fired prior to cleaning. 

One drill we put the pistol through was a 6 plate steel target rack at 10 yards.  Each shooter went through this drill a number of times with the Strike One, Glock 17, 19, and HK VP9.  The Strike One being the pistol we had the least amount of experience and time with, easily kept pace and quite often surpassed the other pistols in allowing us the ability to rapidly and accurately execute this particular exercise.  Sub 4 second times from low ready, became the standard to meet (no Strike One holster was available to us at the time).  

The recoil impulse was similar to any polymer framed 9x19, however the big difference we took in was the decreased muzzle rise compared to other 9mm pistols.  As expected and initially reported regarding this platform, the muzzle rise was dramatically reduced, allowing for much faster shot to shot times. This decrease in time to re-acquire the sights and come back on target was reflected not only in all 3 shooters perceived experiences but also in the unbiased and scientific readings we call numbers displayed on the screen of the PACT shot timer.  As stated by the other SWAT member there, "I can shoot that thing way faster than I have ever been able to shoot my 17."  Some split times between shots were recorded in the .12-.15 second range. 

After 3 days of shooting, handling, testing, running the gun on paper and steel, chewing through nearly a thousand rounds of every brand of 9mm we had on hand the shooters here on the Channel walked away with an air of confidence in this new addition to the Striker fired world of handguns.  Being "impressed" with the pistols ability would be an understatement.  

OBSERVATIONS

ACCURACY

Accuracy, Speed, Power - Diligencia, Vis, Celeritous.  First we will discuss the accuracy element, which is one of the most critical elements in discussing any firearm.  The design of the Strike One, incorporating the cold hammer forged barrel, precision full length frame rails and machined slide, combined with an above average trigger (see trigger statements below), and adequate stock sights, resulted in a satisfyingly accurate pistol.

With the accuracy adding to our confidence with the pistol, we performed numerous drills utilizing steel hostage targets from distances of 10 and 15 yards.  The Strike One allowed shooters to execute precision head shots repeatedly as well as consistently tear one ragged hole in paper targets as well as maintain tight shot groupings under stress.    

RELIABILITY

Over the course of the 1000 rounds, the pistol performed very well.  On day one we fired 750 rounds of various 9mm loads including hollow point defense loads, FMJ ball, NATO, Lawman, Winchester, Speer, Hornady, HSM, Federal, 115 to 147 grain.  We ran the gun hot, and fast.  What was also impressive was its ability to eat some 1980s, military surplus, NATO 9mm that was in pretty rough shape as far as case corrosion.  We thought for sure we would get some FTE or FTF malfunctions out of this ammo, yet nothing happened.  Day two, resulted in similar findings with repeated mixes of ammunition.  

Overall the pistol fed consistently and reliably for an impressive array of ammunition types.  With the pistol chewing through target and defense loads, ball and hollow point, all made from different manufacturers and with some being of questionable age, we will mark a check in the reliable column.

Strike One on a bed of brass.  Some of the Ammo used in testing.
GRIP

The grip, and grip angle are natural and comfortable.  Offering a high tang grip combined with its already low bore height, produces a very natural pointing pistol.  There was little to no noticeable need to shift our natural shooting stances and grips while handling the Strike One.  The stock dimples on the grip, provide a positive grip acquisition where the shooter is able to maintain a solid and firm handle on initial grip placement.

The railed section will accept a wide range of weapon mounted lighting options, with the Surefire X300 that happened to be in a buddies range bag on the day of shooting, fitting nicely on the Strike One.    

TRIGGER

The trigger is a broad, metallic, single piece curved trigger with vertical serrations that offer shooters a place to index in repeating consistent finger placement (these serrations may not be found on all models).  As a striker fired pistol, the stock trigger is crisp, consistent and has a comfortable take up and reset.  As one of the evaluators put it: 

"The trigger has a consistent roll with a soft wall and break rather than the traditional pre-travel, hard wall, break. I feel this type of trigger increases accuracy while providing less jerk or trigger slap due to the soft wall and also the consistency of travel and overall smoothness and reset." -JM


One key difference between the Strike One trigger and many other striker fired pistols (where the trigger is split into two parts on competitors guns) is the design of the safety function.  The Strike One changed the way the trigger has an incorporated safety mechanism by preventing the trigger from being able to release the striker unless pulled in the center with what would be a proper trigger squeeze or pull.  The trigger cannot be activated by a foreign activation where only the top portion of the trigger is manipulated.  This creates a trigger safety similar to the striker fired family of weapons we have seen in the past, however loses what some consider an uncomfortable and unnatural trigger where there are two parts and even "pinch points".  Having a natural, wide, single piece trigger is definitely a plus in the Strike One column.  There are competition triggers already available for the platform, and I would be interested to see their enhanced performance.

CONTROLS

Aside from the trigger, the simplicity of the design includes only two external controls for shooters to consider in operating the pistol; the slide lock/release and the mag release.  The pistol comes with the option of incorporating an ambidextrous magazine release, for those shooters who desire the option.  

The overall slick, "controls free" profile and design of the Strike One, gives the shooter a pistol that is unlikely to snag on clothing and gear while being operated as well as simple and straightforward to utilized in high stress, dynamic situations.  

MAGAZINES

The magazines for the Strike One are of superb quality.  Metallic, double stacked 9mm, robustly constructed, with 17 rounds of capacity, they were able to take a beating with repeated drops on the deck and zero feeding issues noted.  

The magazines have a larger than normal base plate that incorporates into the bottom of the pistol frame when inserted into the pistol.  Some shooters saw this as a positive attribute for acquiring the magazines under stress.  The magazine well on the pistol, comes with a factory bevel, allowing for easier insertion of magazines.  This too was seen as a plus. 

Performing tactical and speed reloads with the Strike One came naturally.  The Strike One merged seamlessly with the shooters using this unfamiliar pistol during multiple drill scenarios which incorporated magazine changes.  

TAKE DOWN & MAINTENANCE

Between days two and three, after a 1000 rounds, the Strike One deserved a good maintenance check and cleaning.  

The  Strike One disassembly and assembly is simple and straightforward.  The pistol quickly takes down into 5 key parts once the pressure is relieved on the captured slide retaining pin:
Photo courtesy of Arsenal Firearms

  1. Slide
  2. Frame
  3. Capture recoil spring & guide rod
  4. Barrel
  5. Locking Block
Photos of the tested Strike One after first 1000 rounds







Inspection of the pistol revealed expected carbon build up on a firearm that had just been through a thousand rounds of various and questionable ammunition types.  The bore and chamber (upper left) remained bright with some powder residue present.  The breech and feed ramp had carbon build up present.  The pistol showed no signs of damage, or excessive wear on key points such as the rails, slide and frame contact points, recoil spring and rod, extractor, barrel, hood, firing pin points of contact, locking cam and cam track. 

Cleaning was easy and fast.  I typically perform minimal cleaning to the polymer lower of any Striker fired pistol.  The lower was dry wiped down, rails lightly oiled and set aside.  While performing the cleaning on other parts, the bore sat with some CLP soaking inside to help break up the carbon and buildup.  The slide and cam were wiped down and oiled and wiped clean again.  The recoil spring/guide rod were wiped down.  The bore was then ready for a few passes of a polymer brush, followed by several patches.  The bore was then coated with a fine coat of oil, and patched two more times until dry.  The pistol reassembly was straightforward followed by a function check and set aside.  

Strike One After Re-assembly

SUMMARY

The Arsenal Strike One presents as a groundbreaking challenge to the other pistol manufacturers in its genre.  The Strike One is different not only in appearance, but in design, function and shoot-ability   The innovative design utilized, breaks from the traditional Browning, "tilting barrel" design used by nearly every handgun producer, instead incorporating an in-line recoil action such as the Bergmann System.  With the cam-lock system locking and unlocking using only 4.5 mm of movement, the barrel of the Strike One is able to stay in-line with the shooters grip and point of aim during the entire cycling of the weapon.  

The results of this new design are immediately perceived by shooters.  As stated earlier, the Low bore height/axis combined with the in-line recoil design, results in reduced felt recoil, reduced muzzle rise, quicker cyclic rate, faster follow up shots, faster transitions from target to target, executed with a modern, finely crafted, accurate and ergonomic platform.

Shooting one handed, whether weak hand unsupported or dominate hand unsupported, the Strike Ones reduced muzzle rise and in-line action shined with a display of one handed shooting that manifested with an unnatural ease.  During multiple drills, shooting alongside what is widely considered some of the finest Striker Fired pistols in the world, the Strike One held its own, and proved itself as a staunch competitor in the world of polymer pistols.    

The Strike One proved itself as a fast, accurate and reliable sidearm, that will grow in popularity as more shooters discover the attributes of this fine pistol.  

Denny Ducet video production/range review on the Arsenal Strike One:





About the Author: A.A.S NREMT-Paramedic, P.O.S.T. Certified SWAT Paramedic, TCCC/TEMS, Active SRT Member since 2006, 25 years of experience and training with M4/AR-15 variants with tens of thousands of  rounds sent down range out of Colt 1911, Glock 17,19,26,21, Colt 6933, 6920, MK18 without a hiccup.