Tuesday, May 24, 2022
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Gun Review: Archon Type B 9mm Pistol


Archon Type B 9mm Pistol
Graham Baates for TTAG

The Archon Type B brought us the intriguing design, innovative action, and low bore axis of the famed Arsenal Strike One, but in an enhanced, more compact, and slightly more affordable price. Yet for some reason, we’ve seen little of it in the news. Back in 2018 we teased of the gun in this article. Now it’s time for a full going over.

Archon Type B 9mm Pistol
The Archon Type B’s “AF Speedlock” action eliminates the need for the barrel to tilt.

“What Is It?” — something a lot of Archon shooters hear — is a question both simple and complicated to answer. On the surface it’s a 4.3″-barreled, striker-fired, polymer-frame 9mm pistol with 15-round capacity. Underneath, it features an innovative “AF-Speedlock” action type that effectively reduces felt recoil by eliminating the shifting and tilting mass the typical (and less expensive) Browning action has.

Adding further mystique to the Archon Type B is that it appeared about the same time that the Arsenal Strike One disappeared. Also, Type B’s have been seen in the wild with slides and frames that come from Hungary or Germany and barrels made in Maryland, apparently coming from RUAG production facilities.

RECOIL has an explanation of the complicated path this pistol has been through to be available in the US today.

Archon Type B 9mm Pistol
AF Speedlock. The author replaced the factory recoil system with a DPM System look-alike from RAIN6.

Archon Type B 9mm Pistol

If the external appearance of the Archon Type B doesn’t look different enough for you, wait until you see the insides. It features a finely-machined internal chassis with full-length rails. This pistol is truly different. For a closer look at this uncommon pistol and what all comes in the box, see the tabletop video below.

The Archon Type B made a big splash when it was first announced, and then faded away as many new things can once the media gets wind something newer. Four years later I had seen so little about the Type B that I called and emailed Archon to make sure they were even still around.

With the COVID sales crunch and all the other ways the industry has been turned upside down since 2018, it was good to hear that Archon is still in business and the Type B is still available.

Archon Type B 9mm Pistol
Angled Squares provide traction under recoil without being abrasive during carry. Note this sample’s frame was made in Germany, the slide in Hungary, and the barrel in Maryland.

How Does it Shoot? 

In short, incredibly well. The combination of an innovative action type, high hold, low bore axis, reduced reciprocating mass, and smartly-oriented traction points on the gun make it feel unlike any other pistol (of the few hundred I’ve tried) aside from the Arsenal Strike One. In some ways I like it more than the Strike One, in others the Strike One has an advantage.

If you’re familiar with the Strike One and want to see just how the two stack up, we have a comparison video here.

As our readers know from my article on the Grand Power P40L I greatly appreciate it when companies aren’t afraid to try a different action type besides the Browning venerable system. The Type B doesn’t disappoint. There’s less muzzle flip, and the recoil impulse feels more like it’s traveling straight back into your arm rather than trying to roll the gun over the top of your hand.

Archon Type B 9mm Pistol
The Archon Type B also features traction points for the support thumb.

Curious how the Archon Type B’s action and a European-designed pistol would handle the various types of ammunition we have in the US, it of course had to go through the “What’s For Dinner” test to see what the pistol would eat. The video link below includes more than ten loads tested as well as some other basic shooting evaluations.

That video is a couple of years old and since that time I’ve come to appreciate the Archon Type B more and more. The only thing I haven’t appreciated is how it seemed to disappear from retailers.

For one reason or another firearms folks seem almost afraid of things that are different. That, combined with complicated logistics and an MSRP of $892.45 (soft case and four magazines included) seems to have relegated the Archon Type B to obscurity.

That’s a shame as it’s an outstanding pistol and very-well thought-out and designed. Archon even did what many new gun makers don’t and lined up holsters to make the gun ready for training or carry use.

Specifications: Archon Type B Pistol

Caliber: 9mm
Trigger mechanism: Striker
Standard magazine capacity: 15
Length: 7.75″
Barrel length: 4.3″
Weight:  18.5oz
Price: $892.45

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability * * * * *
With 11 loads tested of various various projectile shapes and weights, not one of them malfunctioned. In the years since the original testing the pistol has remained flawless, even with the RAIN6 recoil assembly.

Ergonomics * * * * *
The Archon Type B’s size fits comfortably in most hands. The clever texturing provides traction under recoil, but isn’t abrasive during carry or handling.

Accuracy * * * * *
I have no doubt this pistol can out-shoot its user.

Concealability * * * *
Slightly larger than today’s carry-size trend, but with the right holster and clothing mid-to-larger folks shouldn’t have an issue concealing the Archon Type B.

Overall: * * * * *
For me the pistol is nearly perfect. It’s a bit unnerving to consider carrying a pistol without any human-controlled safeties (such as a trigger safety or manual safety), but that eases with time, training, and experience. The pistol shoots very flat, and is very comfortable to shoot, with the included four magazines I could see it as a sleeper at a local competition, or the gun you bring to a training course so you’ll know the gun won’t be holding you back.



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