Guns & Patriots

Gun Review: Arsenal Firearms AF2011-A1

The most radical pistol design of 2012 wasn’t at the SHOT Show; it was at the 2012 IWA & Outdoor Classics show in Nuremberg, Germany earlier this month.  What was this new pistol?  The double-barrel 1911 from Arsenal Firearms.

The striking new handgun, the AF2011-A1, is a 1911-style handgun that fires two rounds with each stroke of the trigger(s).  While the AF2011-A1 looks like someone welded two 1911 pistols together, the manufacturing process is much more involved than that.  The net result, however, is essentially the same.

The pistol can be configured with either dual triggers that work independently, or with two triggers that are permanently attached to each other.  The independent trigger option will have a single sear group set up for either right- or left-handed operation.  The joined trigger option can be had with a single sear group or with two sear groups.

The magazine is configured with dual, single-stack columns attached to a single floorplate.  The column bodies, springs and followers are standard 1911 magazines, while the custom floorplate hold them together at the correct distance to be inserted as one unit.

Interestingly, Arsenal Firearms states on their website that the entire development time of this pistol was only six months.  While not impossible, it is impressive.

The AF2011-A1 clearly has many custom parts (the slide and frame, for example), but many of the internal parts are interchangeable with any off-the-shelf 1911 parts.  Arsenal Firearms states the following are some of the standard 1911 parts which can be swapped and used in their gun:

•    firing pins
•    sear groups
•    inner parts of the mainspring housings
•    recoil springs and recoil springs rods
•    magazine bodies and inner parts
•    sights
•    grips and grips screws
•    bushings

Arsenal Firearms claims the accuracy of the AF2011-A1 is very good.  According to company literature, the pistol will group all 16 rounds (eight double-shots) into “…the size of an orange at 15 yards…” and into “…a watermelon at 25 [yards].”  While not a tack driver, it would seem adequate for self defense work.

The AF2011 will be available with a “mirror finish Deep Blue” or with a “White Ash Nitrite” finish that claims a surface hardness of 3400 HV (Vickers scale.)  By way of comparison, tungsten carbide has a hardness of about 2200 HV.

AF2011 Future Models

Currently, the double barrel pistol is being made for the .45 ACP, although Arsenal Firearms expects to ship a .38 Super version later in 2012.

One of the even odder caliber variations is the “mix-calibre” version that the company is working on.  In this model, one half of the gun would be chambered in .45 ACP, while the second half would be chambered in .38 Super.  According to the company, the two-caliber pistol will “…break new barriers and offer to the self defence shooter or the hunter an unprecedented opportunity of a high penetrating and powerful stopper at each pull of the trigger.”

Arsenal Firearms is also working on a long slide version of the AF2011.  This variant is expected to be introduced in 2013 and will likely not carry the “-A1” designator.  According to the company, the long slide pistol is being designed for the sport shooter and hunter.

Arsenal Firearms

Arsenal Firearms Srl may not be familiar to many gun owners.  Arsenal Firearms Srl is part of the larger group of companies called Arsenal Firearms Group that has companies based in Italy, Austria, Russia and other countries.

Arsenal Firearms Srl is an Italian company and is the main manufacturing facility for the Arsenal Firearms Group.  Arsenal Firearms Srl partnered with Fratello Tanfoglio to produce the AF2011-A1.

Another of the company’s pistols, the AF-1 Strike One, will be manufactured at the Arsenal Firearms Slr plant.  However, a Russian variant of the AF-1, the Strizh, will be manufactured in an Arsenal Firearms Group plant in Russia.

Breaking Old Paradigms

There are so many questions that come up with a radically different pistol design.  For example, would such a gun be allowed in competition shooting?  Will the gun be reliable?  How accurate can the pistol be?  How will the ATF classify such a pistol when Arsenal Firearms submits it for importation into the US?

While I can’t speak to the effectiveness of the multi-barrel pistol for hunting, competition and self-defense, I can say it is stepping way outside of the current pistol paradigm.  Frankly, I’m happy to see there are companies that are willing to invest in non-traditional designs.

Improving old designs incrementally moves the industry forward.  But real innovation frequently comes only from people with crazy ideas and the willingness to try.  The AF2011-A1 isn’t likely to revolutionize the firearms world, but the thinking, engineering and manufacturing processes used to produce this pistol just might.

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  • Michel_T

    Why not!

    maybe this ‘new’ way of thinking will get other firms to try to produce ‘different’ gun…

  • John Stein

    Where’s the pictures?  We need pictures!

  • TomW

    Go to Arsenals’ website to see this. It is frickin’ awesome.

  • Old Rotorhead

    The only fitting accessory for the AF2011-A1 would be a lampshade.  Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.  My money will go elsewhere.

  • mdbonjr

    While it’s an impressive looking piece, I’m with rotorhead. This will be a functional novelty item for the majority that choose to purchase one. It’s obviously very bulky and you will need rather large hands to handle it comfortably. I’d put my precision with 8 shots up against the lack thereof with 16.

  • brit303

    Less practical than a boat anchor.  You could inflict more damage with a Taurus Judge loaded with 410 buck shot.  Pleeezzzee.

  • paperpushermj

    in your pocket

  • Thomas Clarke

    This is the type of article that the anti-gunners love to see.  Old Rotorhead is right when he says in part, “just because you can does not mean that you should.”  What a terrible thing to do to the memory of John Browning.    

  • Old_Phart

    Marvelous!  Two stray shots in the time that it takes to fire one.   I qualified US NAVY expert (silver E) with my S&W Chief Special 5-shot 38 snubby.  The only thing I have ever killed with it was a rattlesnake, but that only took one round.  Does this thing come with a mono-pod?  

  • apache6

     It seems like a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist !!

  • sugarbear78


  • Joseph Halbrooks

    Tactically speaking is the accuracy could be improved it would be perfect 1 trigger pull for a double tap to the head.I would like to see it developed further ,however  it does sound very interesting.If it does not catch on it could also be very valuable in the future as a rare firearm.
     Until the accuracy problems are solved I will stick with my Italian made Beretta 92f that I have carried for over 20 years.It is the number one tack driver out there.

  • johnw

    if you saw the recent picture, ” the green hornet”, the bad guy had one or something like it. mis-fired alot.

  • Ricky Gotskills

    I Love it! For those naysayers that posted….GET OVER YOURSELVES.  The world needs more guns. Really?! Did you stop buying weapons because you have one of every caliber? No ~ you all probably have multiples of different calibers.  Good on them for taking a flawless design and multiplying it times 2!  It may be a novelty, but I’d put one in my night stand “just in case”.  I bet all the negative posts are from liberal gun-haters. 

  • AKgunguy

    i want one!

  • Mac

    Sounds like a Novelty item to me. Not practical for much of anything. You would need meat hooks for hands to grip a 2″ wide grip. Maybe a collectors item, but I see no use in it. Someone has too much time on thier hands. It ruins everything good about the 1911.

  • Rick_Sebastian

    Terrible thing? Why is it terrible to attempt to improve a design that’s been working great for over 100 years? Whether this thing is a great success or a huge flop, it STILL brings credit to John Browning. People will say that it took 100 years for someone to improve his design; or; they will say that in 100 years, people STILL can’t imrpove on his design!

    It’s a win win for Browning either way.

  • Rick_Sebastian

    When the Taurus Judge came out people said the same thing. “This is dumb!” “What the heck is that for?” “It’s just a fad” etc. and so on.

    The Judge is probably the most popular Taurus firearm out there right now!

    People don’t like change. But eventually, they get over it. This too will pass…. 

  • Mike Gengarelly

    xxxx xxxx

  • donfb

    So why doesn’t some diligent aficianado put the price of the gun in these comments?

  • Bob Powell

    Rich man’s toy.Better guns out there for ccw and home defence.

  • Ned Parslow

    I like it. It’s interesting… but I have others ahead of it on my wish list.

  • utimmer43

     Not sure if you’re being serious or not, but how do you figure that two .45 cal hollow points (we’ll assume HPs, since you’re talking about inflicting damage.) will inflict less damage than 4 or 5 buck shot pellets fired from a 3″ barrel? 

  • utimmer43

    I like it.  Is it practical?  Maybe not.  But I’ll always give credit to a company who is willing to try something new.  Just about every company makes a 1911.  Lot’s of polymer frames out there.  Subtle differences between each, but over-all they’re all very similar in function.  If someone wants to try something new, more power to them.

    BTW, I don’t care for the judge as a defensive weapon because .410s fired through a 3″ barrel just don’t have the desired penetration for a defensive round. This is were the 2011 obviously has the upper hand.  None-the-less, I applaud Taurus for trying. Likewise, I applaud Arsenal for the 2011.

  • bryant

    I carry a 1911 for my CCW,or my 226 but this would be a fun toy. While it may not have the accruacy or the smothness of some others, the problem is what with this weapon, really. Those of you complaining about it stop and think if you don’t like it fine but someone might like it . Your arguement is really kind of riddiculous..

  • Ryan1044

    You really don’t have to buy it, Look at it, or Like it.  This is just Like the Mauser Broomhandle,  or the Neighbors wife, just Leave it alone, and Let Us nut jobs admire the Development….


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  • Daniel Taylor

    How much and who is going to carry them?