The annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, the cornucopia of things gun, is held every January in Las Vegas. Contrary to the “stays in Vegas” advertising, we all come here to let you know what happened in Vegas. The new handgun that caught my eye is the Archon Type B. It is a high-capacity, 9 mm, polymer-frame, striker-fired pistol. Ho-hum, you say? Don’t be fooled.
I had a chance to fire it on range day, and I was impressed. No 9 mm pistol is going to kick much, but the Type B cycled briskly and the front sight snapped back down into the rear notch after every shot. The grip angle is proper for those who are accustomed to a 1911, the frame sports a profusion of square non-slip traction nubs. There are even nubs for where your trigger finger goes when it is out of the trigger guard. The rear of the frame is just what we’ve wanted for control and speed. Ever wished your polymer pistol had more of a tang, to keep it from rising up in recoil? The Type B has a large overhang. Underneath it is a reinforcing rib that is there to control how it rides in your hand, a rib designed to work with the actual shape of the web of your hand.
The takedown process is just as clever. Unload. Press the slide back just enough to take the tension out of the locking pin. Press the pin across the frame. It is captured, it will stay attached. Run the slide off the frame. No dry-firing, no levers, no wrench, no hassle.
All that is nice, but the really clever part is the lockup. I can’t describe it in the space available, but it is one of those beyond-clever ideas, that once you see it you have to slap your forehead and ask “Why didn’t I think of that?” (Well, at least, I did.) Simply put: the barrel doesn’t tilt down and up to unlock and lock. It doesn’t rotate, and it doesn’t enter a fourth dimension, either. The clever part, in a nutshell, is: why have the entire barrel tilt, and move, when you can design a system where only the part that does the locking moves?
The benefit of the design is twofold. One, the non-tilting barrel allows the bore axis to be lower to your hand, reducing leverage for recoil and muzzle rise. And second, the feed angle out of the magazine is much better controlled, potentially increasing reliability. I say “potentially” because we now have very, very reliable pistols, but if there’s one thing you can’t have too much of, it is reliability.
Everybody who makes a high-capacity 9 mm pistol is here. You can’t walk 50 feet without encountering a display of poly/striker high-capacity carry guns, and the vast majority of them use the same system for a locked breech that John Moses Browning came up with well over a century ago.
I’m not known for my modesty. I’ve come up with a lot of ideas, and I wish I had thought of this. Clever? You have to get a Type B apart and see, because it is that clever.