Well, I broke down in the Fun store today, happened to have a cleaning kit with me, and bought a AR-24. I put 150 rounds downrange after cleaning it and lubing the freshly machined slide channels.
If all you care about is whether the thing had any malfunctions, the answer is no, none, with Magtech 115gr, my reloaded 124gr FMJ, 115gr WWB, 147 gr JHP WWB, and 124 gr FMJ Speer Lawman.
I had handled/fondled one before, and its other contemporaries - the CZ-75, CZ-85, the TZ-75 (made by Tanfoglio, imported through a now-defunct importer in Florida), and a used Baby Eagle. I liked the sight picture on this one the best in spite of the lack of Testor's glow paint on the dots (sorry CZ), liked the fact that I could put the safety on with the hammer down (not all IDPA SO's are familiar with the CZ-75 and the fact that you can only put on the safety with the hammer back on those). Another thing I liked were the Hogue-ish grips and the way the bulges on it fit my hand.
Although the manual stated that a couple of hundred rounds were needed for the pistol to break in, everything felt quite smooth. I had not bothered to get rid of the factory grease on the sear (in the manual it said things would be smoother anyways), and I guess there was enough CLP on the slide to frame mating surfaces.
The pistol fit quite well into my Bianchi holster that usually houses a Ruger P89, but then, this holster seems to hold a Glock 19 and a PPK better than the same series of holster made for those, with no slop, and covering the trigger completely.
Magazine 1 (Magtech 115 gr): Initial group at 5m/15': 2" low, and the rest of the mag was spent getting used to the trigger, feel, and so on. The next mags' 3 shot groups (draw, 1st shot DA, two SA shots, hold and scan, decock, safety on, reholster) landed within 3-4 inches of each other.
Next up were 50 rounds of my reloads. They're mid-powered loads loaded with Tite-Group (some call them hot, but there are other loads I find much hotter, like Fiocchi Italy 115 gr and even WWB 115's seem hotter). Draw and shoot came in at sub-three inches consistently, and slow-fire groups could be made quite tight.
WWB 115 gr seemed the hottest in terms of flash and noise. Since the AR-24 is relatively heavy and well centered getting back on target was trivial in all cases. The flash did open the group up some.
The magazine full of 147's also cycled with by now boring precision, and grouped as well as the Magtech, which is fine for a cheap defensive round. I think the WWB 147 JHP is the most troublesome projectile shape - it has a sharp and narrow tip perfectly suited to locking up within magazines and getting caught up on feed ramps, and since it's inexpensive, it's the first hollow point I test new magazines with.
Lastly, the Speer Lawman 124gr FMJ. A nice, hot 124 grain load that in this pistol seemed to have less flash than WWB, and better consistency, at about 3 inches.
Why so many rounds? I respected friend of mine used to shoot a lot of CZ-75 in IDPA matches, and for whatever reason complained that his pistol would crud up in the firing pin channel or something and start malfunctioning after a hundred rounds or so. I respect the guy, but I also think the Internet would be rife with people complaining about this if it were a common problem, so I suspect his issues were maintenance related. But I did want to confirm for myself that even with grease all over the place on the AR-24, that it would work and give every impression that it would continue to do so.
- Grip angle is nice, much like a 1911 or browning hi-power, so it points well. I generally shoot Glock, but the transition back and forth isn't hard. YMMV on that point.
- The grip panels feel like Hogue grips, are nicely sculpted, and fit my hand nicely.
- DA trigger is actually suprisingly good. Even my girlfriend could work the DA trigger.
- Recoil management is made easy by the weight and balance of the pistol. I think if I had to introduce someone new to shooting with an automatic, this would go a long way to reduce the flinch factor new shooters suffer from.
- Ability to put on safety at half-cock or de-cock is nice, if only to appease range masters and safety officers.
- Rumor has it it takes EAA Witness and Baby Eagle mags (makes sense, Sarsilmaz competes with Tanfoglio for military and police contracts in that area of the world).
- The finish is a nice satin black, and I don't know how, they made it "look" durable. No other way to put it.
- The precision of the machining, and the overall fit and finish exude quality, which for me inspires confidence that this little machine will do the job when called upon.
- The hands in the manual showing operation of the pistol are female, which I think is excellent subliminal messaging should a girlfriend (or her super liberal best friend) happen to browse through the manual.
- A safe(r) way to decock the pistol would be great. You need to take the safety off, put a thumb on the hammer, pull the trigger, and gently(!) place the hammer at half-cock or de-cock position. This means the lawyers on any police department in the USA or Canada will not permit one of these to be issued, which is too bad.
- Engaging the safety locks the slide. Not the best way to prove a firearm safe.
- It's heavy. Not as heavy as it looks, but still a beefy firearm, and not something to Mexican carry in your Bermuda shorts. A good pancake holster seems like the only practical way. Obviously, the original manufacturer's target market is police and military, and so concealment wasn't a design consideration.
- Grease on the sear seems like the ideal way to attract dirt to the most sensitive part of the firearm. (I'll be taking it to shoots in dusty conditions this summer, so I'll see whether this is justified).Sight fitment is not documented. It would be nice to be able to get night sights for it knowing what existing pistol's sight dimensions fit this one.
I like it because it's beefy and feels really strong. Should sand be able to mess it up I'll be disappointed, but it's still a nice improvement on the CZ lineage overall. Updates to follow.