Turkish delight: the armalite AR-24.
You may recall when the original CZ-75 was unavailable in this country due to Iron Curtain trade embargoes. Reviews out of Europe always praised the pistol and a few were circuitously imported through Canada and brought high prices. Since there was a demand, clones, often from Italy, began to appear almost at once. Scarcity doubtless made the CZ-75 more desirable and the Canadian imports were probably surpassed by guns coming here as personal property of servicemen returning home from assignments in Europe.
That's how it was for Mark Westrom, president of ArmaLite, who served as an ordnance officer in Germany and really liked the one he brought home. Fast forward a bit now and we find many of the clones have come and gone, but the real ones are still popular and, with the dissolution of the Iron Curtain, available here as well as the rest of the world. In fact, a version known as the Kilinc (Turkish for sword) is the issue sidearm of the Turkish military. It is made in Turkey by giant armsmaker Sarsilmaz whose name may not be known here but some guns they make carry very familiar names. Their headquarters is in Istanbul and the plant in Duzce.
ArmaLite wanted to update the gun a little cosmetically and bring it back to the US market, so they worked with Sarsilmaz to develop the pistol you see here. The final product's slide might be familiar to fans of the Sig P210. One feature lots of people loved was the fact it could be carried "cocked and locked" like the 1911 although I always wondered why someone would buy a double-action and then not take advantage of the system. One advantage it does have over the 1911 is with the hammer cocked and the safety engaged it is still possible to retract the slide and unload without disengaging the safety. When the hammer is down, engaging the safety effectively secures the action since it prevents the hammer from moving, thus locking the slide. There is also a passive firing pin safety, but it is missing the magazine disconnect or mechanical lock everyone seems to love to hate. The extractor serves as a loaded chamber indicator.
The three main components of the AR-24, barrel, flame and slide, are all machined on modern CNC equipment from solid forgings rather than castings as were used on some clones. ArmaLite reports the raw forging for the flame weighs over 3 1/2 pounds before it is machined. The finished frame, complete with guts and grips, weighs only a tad over a pound. A generous beaver-tail spreads recoil nicely and both front and backstraps have 20 lpi checkering. Some variations will have serrations instead of checkering. Grips on this test gun are wood with cut checkering, but later versions will have plastic grips The grip has a pronounced-and very comfortable palm swell on both sides and they extend outside the frame a little, which provides a great place for your thumb.
Mechanically there does not seem to be any differences from other CZs and fieldstripping is exactly the same. It is worth mentioning because it is a bit different from more common designs. On the left side of both frame and slide are a pair of witness marks just forward of the hammer. To fieldstrip the unloaded pistol, all you have to do is draw the slide back about 1/4" to align the two witness marks and then push the slide stop pm out from the right. The recoil spring and guide are not a captive unit so a bit of care is needed when removing it.
Shooting the AR-24 was properly uneventful and it shot without protest a wide variety of 9mm ammo including some less than stellar handloads I found in the junk box. The CZ-75 has a great reputation for reliability and the AR-24 does nothing to sully that. At around 500 rounds through the test gun there have been no stoppages or malfunctions of any kind.
In fact. I shot the ArmaLite for fun over and above the obligatory function and accuracy test because of the combination of good sights and nice trigger. The test gun has adjustable sights with the typical three dot pattern. but fixed and tritium illuminated sights are also available. My custom is to weigh triggers when I first get a gun and the initial 5 1/2 pound reading for the single-action was about what you'd hope for in a service pistol, but it was quite smooth and was no detriment to accuracy. Neither the single-action nor double-action pull weight changed with use.
Accuracy was impressive, too. In my experience, stock 9ram service pistols average 3" to 4" 25-yard groups, but as you can see from the table the worst single group was only 3.04" and the average considerably better. Most of us are going to plink with guns like this, too, and good accuracy never hurts.
This is but the first in a line of pistols from ArmaLite. There is already a compact version of the 9mm and plans are well under way for both .40 S&W and .45 ACP models in the future.
ARMALITE AR-24 ACCURACY RESULTS Load Velocity Group Size (inches) (brand and bullet weight, (fps) 1 2 3 Average type) CORBON 115 DPX +P 1,277 3.04 2.89 2.49 2.81 FEDERAL 124 HYDRA-SHOK 1,087 2.36 2.12 2.66 2.38 BLACK HILLS 124 FMJ 1,101 2.45 3.44 2.84 2.91 REMINGTON 147 GOLDEN SABER 1,990 2.72 2.49 2.26 2.49 WINCHESTER 147 TCMC 959 2.23 2.92 2.30 2.48 Average of all groups: 2.61" Notes: Accuracy results are of 5-shot groups from a benchrest. Velocity is the instrumental average of 10 shots at 15'.
MANUFACTURER: Sarsilmaz Is Merkezi
Nargileci Sk., No: 4, Mercan, 34116
Eminona Istanbul, Turkey
IMPORTER: Armalite Inc.
P.O. Box 299, Geneseo, IL 61254
(309) 944-6939, www.armalite.com
ACTION: Short recoil, locked breech MATERIAL: Carbon steel, FINISH: Heat cured epoxy CALIBER: 9mm Luger OVERALL LENGTH: 8.27" BARREL LENGTH: 4.67" WEIGHT: 35 ounces CAPACITY: 15+1 TRIGGER: 12 pounds DA, 5.5 pounds SA SIGHTS: Adjustable GRIPS: Checkered wood PRICE: $629.95
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|Author:||Petty, Charles E.|
|Article Type:||Cover story|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2007|
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