I recently attended the IWA 2012 Show in Nuremberg, Germany — the biggest gun show in Europe for the past 40 years. Think of it as the American SHOT Show, only with beer, wine, hunting dogs and people with funny accents. Oh, and Lederhosen too. You meet a lot of old friends from all over the world, talk about guns and the gun world, celebrate this wonderful industry we are in — and maybe have one beer too many at dinner!
So, after a hard evening “consulting” with beer steins, the next morning I stumbled into the booth of a young Italian company called Arsenal Firearms. My first impression was maybe I was suffering from double vision and really needed to be more careful with that beer. There, right in front of me, sat a 1911 with two barrels in one slide! I rubbed my eyes, looked again, and it was still there. I had to learn more.
The Arsenal Firearms AF2011-A1 (in .45 ACP or .38 Super) is the first production 1911 double-barreled pistol in the world. This beast weighs 65.2 ounces unloaded, and the 1-piece frame and slide are machined out of solid blocks of 39NiCrMo steel. The frame actually has two separate magazine wells and two single-stack magazines, for a total of 16 rounds of .45 ACP — both paired with a single-floor plate.
The handling characteristics of the fat AF2011-A1 are, shall we say — unusual. But it is possible to control the gun when firing, according to Arsenal staffers. They also have a video on their website showing it firing. Besides the single frame for two mags and single slide for two 5″ barrels, there are other specialized parts. The single-spur, double hammer; single-body, double mainspring housing and wide grip safety (all with extra-wide dimensions) are unique to this gun.
When you disassemble the AF2011 you’ll notice the special barrel bushings as well as the slide catch lever and thumb safety with extra long pins. On the other hand, the Italian double features pretty standard 1911 parts like the recoil spring rods and recoil springs, firing pins and firing pin plates, leaf springs with three arms and the sears of the trigger system. Also the grip scales, screws, bushings and sights — mounted between the barrels on the top of the slide — are regular components, so you can use every aftermarket part you wish.
It will be an amazing experience to pull the trigger one time and send two 230-gr. bullets (460 grains) down range. When you use the AF2011-A1 in condition one, cocked and locked, with 16 rounds in the magazines and the chambers loaded, you can theoretically deliver 18 rounds, or over 4,100 grains of bullet weight to the target. That’s about 9.5 ounces, ladies and gentlemen, or more than a half-pound of lead into a target in a few seconds. According to representatives of the company, the two bullets fired in one trigger pull will impact the target 1″ to 2″ apart at typical distances of 15 to 25 yards.
The AF2011-A1 will be available with a deep blue finish or a nitrite coating, delivered in a dedicated alloy presentation case with security lock. The extraordinary pistol also can be ordered with special engraving, gold inlays, initials and monograms according to whatever you wish.
Do we need this gun? Um, maybe I do? But even if you don’t need one, it is a remarkable engineering feat. And like sports or racing cars, maybe some of the technology used to create the AF2011 will eventually turn up in other designs.
By Stefan Perev
For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/arsenal-inc or (708) 643-2220
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