by Bob Lesmeister
It seems that capitalism really works and what it produces in terms of hard goods supersedes anything a state run outfit can muster. Just last month, on Russian television the Grach pistol (See TheGunMag July 2012) was getting the razz berry from pundits and some government officials.
The Grach, produced at the state controlled Izhevsk Mechanical plant was slated to be the replacement for the Makarov pistol and some have already been in use by Russian troops.
The pistol has been years in development but just recently available for the military.
As history has proven, most goods made by state-run not-for-profit manufacturers are inferior in quality.
When there’s no profit involved and when you pay a worker “each according to his abilities and each according to his needs” the end product is nothing like the one produced by a company that works for profits and earns return customers by building quality products at competitive prices. Perhaps this is why a private company is producing a pistol that very well may be the long term replacement for the Makarov.
The Strizh, more commonly known as the Strike One, is a product that has been developed by a joint venture of Italian Nicola Bandini and Russian Dimitry Streshinskiy via their company Arsenal Firearms Group which was founded in 2011. Patents have been filed under both the names of Bandini and Streshinskiy. The Strike One made its public debut at IWA 2012 in Nuremberg, Germany, in March of this year.
The Strike One will be produced in both Italy and Russia. The pistols for the European market and probably the US will be designated as the AF-1 Strike One and the Russian-made pistol will be the Strizh. The Strizh, in addition to being picked up by the Russian military, will also be available to the commercial and law enforcement market in Eastern Europe, Far East, Middle East and Central Asia. The Strike One for the Western market will be produced at the company’s location in Gardone Val Trompia, Brecsia, Italy.
The plant is co-located with well-known arms producer Tanfoglio. The Russian pistol will be produced in a new plant located in Moscow. According to Bandini, each manufacturing plant will have its own R&D department.
Those who surveyed the Strike One at IWA mentioned how it resembled the Glock, but actually the polymer frame is about all it has in common with the Austrian pistol. It also has a much lower bore axis than most polymer frame guns. It’s a 17-round (9mm Para) semi-auto single-action that weighs 1.6 pounds. Entire length is 8.2 inches with a 5-inch barrel. The military model may also have a select fire switch on the left side of the frame for burst or full auto.
The barrel recoils straight back instead of tilting up or twisting. With a change of slide and barrel kit, the pistol can fire 9×19 Para, 9×21 IMI, .357 SIG, and .40 S&W. The Picatinny-style rail under the frame allows for attachment of any variety of accessories.
On June 13, Vice-Premier Dmitriy Rogozin stated on Russian television channel Rossiya 24 that at present certification of the testing of the new Strizh, which will replace the Makarov pistol, is going on. He declared, “The Strizh after several months will be accepted into the inventory. This pistol, which exceeds such models as the Austrian Glock, with a caliber of 9 x 19, and 18 rounds in the magazine, is satisfying even to hold it in one’s hand,” Rogozin also tweeted to Strizh’s developers, “Chew it over, test it, sleep with it after all and use your brains to understand how this weapon can be brought to a commercial level.”
Arsenal Firearms also produces a double-barrel semi-auto M1911 style pistol that shoots two rounds of .45 ACP at once. This, too, was introduced at IWA 2012. This pistol is offered either with two independent triggers and one sear group or with two triggers permanently joined and the choice of one or two-sear groups. It uses a short recoil, Colt 1911-A1 system and is also offered in .38 Super Auto caliber. Other interesting features include a double hammer with single spur, left lever safety with half-cock hammer safety and grip safety, machined steel frame and machined steel slide. The magazine well is filled with two single magazines joined by a single floor place. Each holds 8 rounds.
2013 will be the year that will tell if the Strike One and the double-barrel .45 ACP will make any inroads in the American market as Arsenal Firearms Group will have product available for display at the 2013 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.