top of page
Wave

Archon Type B, Too Good for U.S. ?


The Archon Firearms Type B in foreground and Arsenal Firearms Strike One in background

In September of 2019 we were fortunate enough to get our hands on an Archon Type B. I was very excited about this pistol as it offered many of the advancements of nearly mythical Arsenal Firearms Strike One had, plus further refinements and downsized to America's favorite ~4" barrel and 15-rounds of 9mm. (Fans of these two platforms can seen them compared head-to-head here)

Just like when the Strike One was announced, there was a flash of fanfare and media coverage, most of which missed the finer points of the gun that made it not only unique, but an honest improvement over the standard striker-fired, polymer-framed compact pistols everyone was accustomed to. Arsenal Firearms priced their Strike One a bit high for most, and when that company fell apart Archon seemed to come to the rescue with a lower-priced, right-sized, modernized alternative. Highlights from Archon's own description include:

  • AF-Speedlock locking mechanism.

  • Match-grade traditionally rifled barrel coated in black nitride.

  • Three stage recoil rod with uncaptured main spring (for ease of service and tuning)

  • Inner-frame milled from billet steel featuring full length rails.

  • Integrated beavertail with featured contour to activate tendon in hand for better grip.

  • Metal magazine release that is easily reversible for left-handed shooters.

  • Innovative Grip Mapping texture designed to actively fight the direction the gun wants to rotate during recoil.

  • Integrated magwell.

  • Full metal magazine with baseplate designed for ergonomic loading with grid pattern for ease of marking.

For the non-gun-geek, but curious I'll break some of those down. If you'd like to see the tabletop video again it's linked here and offers a better look at the internals.

The AF-Speedlock means the barrel doesn't have to tilt
  • AF-Speedlock: This is a different system than the classic Browning tilting barrel you're used to in Glocks and 90%+ of the common pistols out there. Unlike the Bronwing system, the AF Speedlock only moves the barrel rearward and forward. There is no drop or tilt to the barrel. As a result, weight shifts in the hand only straight rearward and forward, producing a much smoother recoil impulse. Additionally, since the barrel does not drop or tilt it must sit lower in the hand to receive ammunition (why the Browning system tilts). The AF-Speedlock produces a TRUE lower bore axis in the hand which means recoil is felt more through the firing hand and arm and less over them. It likely sounds like a tiny detail, but the combination of less shifting of weight in the gun and less leverage for those forces to act on the shooter makes for a MUCH smoother shooting experience.

  • Three-stage recoil rod: If you've ever seen any of our excited rants about the DPM spring system this is the same concept, but included instead of aftermarket. You've likely seen two-stage recoil systems on pistols before, adding a third stage only enhances the effect. Each stage is progressive, making it easy to start racking the slide, and stiffening as the slide nears the end of its travel. This also dampens the recoil sensation, once again making for a flatter shooting experience.

Archon's Innovative Grip Mapping; textured to grip against recoil
  • Innovative Grip Mapping: At first glance it looks like simple cubes, but they are angled differently to grip your hand against the directions a firearm tries to recoil. The front strap bites against upward, backstrap against downward.


SEE ARCHON TYPE B LISTINGS HERE.

SEE ARSENAL STRIKE ONE LISTINGS HERE.


These pistols really a step above the rest as a complete system. So much so that they warranted a video in our Wonderfully Different series.


So what happened to them? There was a media blitz of both the paid and unpaid media and then they vanished. Little has been said about them since. Who is Archon Firearms and how did a pistol like this just appear out of no where? I have theories that may answer some of those questions, or at least give us some understanding.

I believe the base of the answer comes from who Archon Firearms is. The pistol is produced by RUAG. Chances are you've heard that name before, or used some of their products. RUAG is a massive joint-stock defense company headquartered in Switzerland, but with manufacturing facilities in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, Sweden, and the United States. Their ammunition brands include RWS, Norma, and Geco. The Archon firearms are known to be comprised of parts from multiple countries. Our example has a German frame, Hungarian slide, and US barrel while others seen on the internet have a German slide and Hungarian frame. Regardless of which country made which part, the guns are being assembled with parts from multiple countries, each of which have had their own regulatory changes both before and certainly during Controlavirus (thank you Kit Badger for that term). Factory shut downs, labor shortages, union laws, and of course shipping have all been on a rollercoaster since the 2018 US launch of the Archon Type B.

One the topic of getting guns built and moved, distribution seems to be a problem with major distributors (who your local shop orders gun from) don't seem to carry the gun, and a Google search doesn't offer a vendor until page three! Online vendors like KYGunCo, Bud's, and Classic Firearms list them, but as out of stock, so maybe the problem is the guns just aren't being made. I'd like to think that if demand was there Archon and RUAG would find a way to meet demand.

Too Good for the U.S.? So how is it that an evolved firearm like the Archon Type B isn't in demand, especially after a year like 2020 when anything with a trigger was selling? The media certainly did its job of letting us know about the guns, do the people really prefer simpler, higher-recoiling, less-advanced firearms? Possibly. One major drawback to not only European manufacturing, but multiple nations' involvement in the manufacturing is cost. Combine that with the cost of excellent packaging, the pistol case included, four magazines, and parts that required truly new tooling and the Archon Type B was not an inexpensive pistol. Initial pricing had the gun around $899 which even through the chaos of 2020 was more than most pistols. Is the price too high? The pistol seems fairly valued to me in the way that a Porsche costs more than a Volkswagen. Both will do their job, one just does it faster and in a more enjoyable way.

What Do You Think? Let us know in the comment section what your theories are, what rumors you've heard, or simply what you opinion on these amazing pistols is. Despite all the media noise from 2018 there really hasn't been much about these guns, even Archon's own website lacks basic specifications and the company "About Us" page was blank as of the date this was written.

1,761 views15 comments

Recent Posts

See All

15 comentários


Agree 100%, for some odd reason that definitely seems to be their SOP and it's killing them slowly...have you seen their Instagram page where they run a training cadre @ArchonReadyGroup ? It's a mobile Force on Force and building clearing course for civilians... I am all for diversification but I kind of don't get that either, but maybe I'm slow:

Curtir
Respondendo a

Right on, home field advantage can definitely help make up for a lot of those "flies in the ointment" in crazy situations like that...

Curtir

You are very welcome:) I got into my Google Maps Sleuth Mode one day and ended up getting in contact with the fella in their storefront now-he didn't have any follow-on details for them setting up somewhere else so I thought they were gone for good...it's good to hear they are maintaining an online presence and still chugging along;)

One other thing I forgot to mention(you may already know, apologies if so:)...Archon is now doing mill work for slides and I believe some trigger work as well(the options and lead times are live on their website now)so that may have cut into Rain 6' business some if they aren't the people doing it but I can't get any information out…

Curtir
Graham Baates
Graham Baates
16 de set. de 2021
Respondendo a

I hadn't seen the mill work but have seen that a lack of information is how they do things. "About us" is a blank page, the specs sheet lacks basic information. Lots of mystery that can't be helping the company.

Curtir

My apologies Graham, I didn't consider their online presence since their physical storefront was sold and their phone number is inactive-thanks for the correction:)

Curtir
Graham Baates
Graham Baates
16 de set. de 2021
Respondendo a

I didn't know their storefront and phone were gone. Though Utah isn't too far away for me, I just ordered online. Thanks for the extra details!

Curtir

I managed to find one a few months back and really do enjoy the pistol-it's quality-made, solid, and shoots well...part of the problem-aside from lack of inventory and virtually any media presence unless you are already looking for it specifically-is the Archon website is a mess...some of the accessories are farmed out to other companies(which is fine) but are listed as available on the website when they aren't(along with the actual pistols and branded ammo), there are ZERO parts available, customer service(via email or phone)seems to be run by one dude who may or may not get back to you for pretty simple questions, and it looks like most of the main aftermarket custom guys that do internal work for…

Curtir
Graham Baates
Graham Baates
16 de set. de 2021
Respondendo a

I think Rain6 is still in business. I ordered some parts form them last week and they shipped the next day.

Curtir

fmchavesmd
fmchavesmd
14 de set. de 2021

I would love to have one and have not bought one, but I likely will at some point. They seem like great pistols. I think the problem is price and branding. There is no history or brand recognition. An example was the BB Techs BB6. That pistol had an MSRP of $729 and retailed for $642. In the end they were clearance priced for about $250. Fast forward to this year and we have the new Kimber R7 Mako, MSRP $599 and $799 with red dot. It seems to be making quite a splash, and the Kimber name seems to be a prominent part of that. Many reviewers go on about the features they have "never seen before". It's…

Curtir
fmchavesmd
fmchavesmd
14 de set. de 2021
Respondendo a

LOL! I inherited my dad's guns long ago. If a rich old man wants to adopt me at my age and he has guns I am game! I definitely am getting the Kimber, I really like what I see in that one. I'm not sure how much might have been Kimber's own R&D versus licensing or purchasing patents or contracting design. Nothing about it resembles any of their work and 100% of it is exactly like someone else's.

Curtir
bottom of page