The Double Barrel 1911?

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The new company of Arsenal Firearms in Italy has something on its mind.

Yes that is right, a double-barreled 1911 .45ACP.

The Double Barrel 1911? - christophereger - double2-338.jpg
- Here's looking at you kid, (photo by Arsenal Arms)

Formed by gun writer and designer Nicola Bandini and gun miniature master Dimitry Streshinskiy in 2011, Arsenal is the parent company for Zanotti 1625 shotguns and Miniature Arsenal scale firearms. This month they have decided to opt for something completely different and debuted a double-barrel semi-automatic pistol.

Their line of side by side shotguns trace their lineage back almost for hundred years, and John Moses Browning's famous 1911 style .45 ACP long slide is a century old this year, but this newest flash in the pan is something altogether different.

Dubbed the AF2011-A1 "Second Century," Arsenal bills it as the very first commercially built double barrel semiautomatic pistol of all time. They credit Swiss armorer Vivian Mueller who in the 1990s produced a double-barreled 9mm Sig P220 firearm from two stock weapons, some creative milling, and a host of custom made parts.

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(photo by Arsenal Arms)

Instead of modifying already produced weapons, Arsenal reverse engineered the M1911 back to the drawing board with state of the art CAD/3-D design processes, stereo lithographic modeling, and parts machining to mold a double-barreled 1911 from the ground up.
Although the frame, spur double hammer, magazine latch, hold open lever, and side lever safety are custom and unique to the firearm, most of the internals of the AF2011A1 are commercial 1911 parts to aid in aftermarket fine tuning and customization. According to their site these parts include, "firing pins, the firing pins plates, the sears groups, the triple springs, the inner parts of the mainspring housings, the recoil springs and recoil springs rods, the magazine bodies and inner parts, the sights (including aftermarket adjustable sights) the grips and grips screws and bushings." This also helps obviously with repair work as most gunsmiths with a basic knowledge of 1911 functionality can tinker with it.

With the background, that the company has in making finely detailed side by side shotguns and top tier miniature firearms (which are hugely popular with collectors). The fit and finish of the piece appear superb in the company's media releases.

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(photo by Arsenal Arms)

Specs as released by Arsenal
TYPE: geometric lock, semiautomatic double barrel hammer pistol

ACTION: short recoil, Colt 1911-A1 system

CALIBERS: .45 ACP, .38 Super Auto

TRIGGER: double hammer with single spur, double independent or single trigger.

SAFETIES: left lever safety (Colt 1911) with half cock hammer safety and grip safety

MAGAZINE: 2 single magazines, paired with single floor plate, 8+8 rounds

FRAME: 39NiCrMo steel machined from solid

SLIDE: 39NiCrMo steel machined from solid

SIGHTS: interchangeable back, fixed or adjustable

TOTAL LENGTH: 8.69-inches (220 mm)

BARREL LENGTH: 5-inches 125 mm

TOTAL HEIGHT: 145 mm 5.73-inches

TOTAL WIDTH: 1.97inches 50 mm

TOTAL WEIGHT: 4.07-pounds (that's 65-ounces!) 1.850 KG. unloaded

SPECIAL FEATURES: the pistol comes with dedicated security lock Ergal case, 1 year Warranty. Most internal components come as standard Colt 1911 replacement

OPTIONS: can be ordered either with 2 independent triggers and one sear group (left or right, with user-interchangeability for right or left operations) or with 2 triggers permanently joined and the choice of 1 or 2 sear groups. The AF2011-A1 is available in mirror finish Deep Blue or with a 3400 Vickers surface hardness White Ash Nitrite coating.

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Either in 45ACP or 38 Super, blued or ash... (photo by Arsenal Arms)

Arsenal claims the firearms to be well balanced and shootable, stating that the gun can be handled by any shooter who could manipulate a normal 1911. In their literature, they claim it able to group all the on-board rounds in both magazines (16 shots) into a target of the size of an orange at 15 yards and of a watermelon at 25, with each round impacting within an inch of each other.

I must say, looking at it objectively the fact that the firearm is 65-ounces (unloaded) or about as much as a light carbine, is rather off-putting. The shock value of the firearm is tremendous, and I am sure the Walter Mitty set is salivating over the mere hint that this is not an early April Fool's Joke. However, on the bright side, I've never seen a firearm set up to deliver a perfect double tap with the single pull of the trigger. Nine trigger pulls gets you 18 rounds of .45 ACP (about 4140-grains of lead) on target in about 9 seconds. Although this can be duplicated with a Glock 22, your trigger work will undoubtedly be more involved.

For more information you can email Arsenal at or visit their website

Jeff Cooper and John Browning are no doubt looking down with an eyebrow raised on this one.

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- With its older brother above it, the AF2011A1 is something very different... (photo by Arsenal Arms)

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March 17, 2012  •  04:15 PM
March 25, 2012  •  04:34 PM
Talk about a solution in search of a problem...
It appears to be well executed, but a serious weapon, no.
April 27, 2012  •  07:04 PM
Great conversation piece, definately. Practical firearm...not really. Wonder what the recoil is like on that thing?