Against many people’s expectations, the Arsenal Firearms AF-2011 double barrel 1911 pistols were at the SHOT Show. I was able to put my hands on them on the show floor and believe they are nothing more than a very limited, very expensive run of handguns that are (at best) merely an attention-getting campaign for the company.
The guns are unwieldy, very heavy and definitely lack any useful purpose. I’ll be the first to say that you don’t need a purpose to buy a gun (other than “I want it,”) but I just can’t imagine anyone buying one of these for anything more than as a purely speculative investment.
The grip is, of course, way too big around, which causes problems with properly addressing either, much less both, triggers. Did I mention these things are expensive?
The plain, blued double 1911 carries an MSRP of $4400. That comes with walnut grips and fixed sights. If you step up to the satin stainless steel gun with rubber grips and adjustable sights, the retail climbs to $4950. I just don’t know how many “stocking dealers” there will be at these prices.
If you want one, you might have to wait, though. The blued guns are shipping to dealers now, but in what numbers I don’t know. Arsenal Firearms states that all of the initial shipments are spoken for (presumably by distributors,) and September will be the earliest guns not already sold show up. The stainless steel guns won’t ship until fall 2013 anyway.
Well, I guess anyone who is willing to invest that much money into the AF-2011 is also willing to drop $550 for the clear security case with the Arsenal Firearms logo. Of course, big spenders will go for the Satin Gold edition of the case, which comes in at $1750.
A standard black leather holster sets you back a mere $125, while “The Texan” rig (wide brown belt, brown holster, and loops for individual cartridges) is $410. A single (or is it technically a double?) brown leather mag pouch is $72.
Presumably the pistols would bring a great deal of attention, and they have, but if the company planned on capitalizing on the AF-2011 attention to push their other product, the Strike One pistols, they seem to have failed miserably. If I put together a major (read: expensive) publicity campaign to get noticed, I would make sure that everyone who showed up at my display would get pitched the real money maker. But, I never saw the Strike One pistols pitched to anyone.
In my opinion, Arsenal Firearms was poorly represented by their floor staff. I went to their booth on two different days in an attempt to engage the staff in a conversation about their products. The people I spoke to generally weren’t interested in talking guns, and seemed to have little actual knowledge of the guns anyway.
On the first occasion I stopped by, I tried to introduce myself and was handed a couple of paper flyers in a folder. They didn’t tell me anything new, and the person I tried to talk to didn’t seem to have a good grasp on the english language. That’s ok, I figured, I’ll talk to someone else. Only there was no one else. Sure, there were other people on scene, but when I tried to make eye contact with them, they would purposefully move away. (And for those interested – I HAD bathed that morning. I was even wearing a black suit, thank you very much.)
The second time I stopped by, I tried several times to get information only to be ignored by a young woman and young man who were arguing whether she as a Brit had more fashion style than he as an Italian. Frankly, I didn’t think either of them was dressed particularly well, and they were certainly not in what I would call professional attire. Their self-absorbed, and rather loud, argument certainly wasn’t helping the company sell any guns.
There is undoubtably a niche in the US for the AF-2011, but Arsenal Firearms could have shown up with two dunces in sweatpants and made a better impression on me.