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Franklin Armory Providence: Non-Semi-Auto Semi-Auto? (2020)

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The Franklin Armory Providence fires a round each time the trigger is depressed, but according to the company it's not a semi-automatic. What gives?

A Look at the Unique Providence from Franklin Armory

— Updated —

Franklin Armory has announced a new prototype firearm called Providence.

According to its maker, the Franklin Armory Providence “is a whole new action type that fires one round every time the trigger is pulled, but this action is not semiautomatic”.

I took a look at the following video showing some brief glimpses of the Providence in action.

The maker is being quiet about the Franklin Armory Providence and unlike last year's release of the Reformation, I did not have an opportunity to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). So I unfortunately don't have much of a scoop on this one.

But let's see what we can deduce from the above video.

It looks to me as if the trigger is manually cocking the hammer (or possibly a striker), extracting the spent case and resetting the bolt for the next shot after a round is fired. For lack of a better comparison, it's similar to the concept of squeezing the trigger on a double-action revolver as opposed to using a gas system for cycling.

So the Franklin Armory Providence could be using a completely manual action in that regard. All operation is based on the user and not the gas from a fired round.

The Franklin Armory Providence uses a new type of action, but it's not semi-auto.

The Franklin Armory Providence uses a new type of action, but it's not semi-auto.

The initial caliber offerings look to be 9mm and appears to take Glock magazines. This should have a broad appeal for most people.

My inner gun geek thinks, “That's pretty cool from a design perspective.”

However, the pragmatic side of my brain thinks, “Why would I need or even want something like that?”

The Providence Concept

Franklin's CEO, Jay Jacobson, says: “Providence was inspired by the demand for a non-semiautomatic carbine in international markets. In my opinion, what we created was the safest, quietest, and cleanest running design ever conceived”.

The Providence be a viable alternative for US citizens who live in certain states with restrictions on semiautomatic firearms. To me, that's never a bad thing.

A closed action like that would be similar to other firearm types like a bolt-action, lever-action, falling block, rolling-block, etc. for one important purpose to someone like myself living in a (for now) free state: ease of suppression.

With no gas to cycle the action, this could make for an extremely quiet shooting platform when coupled with a suppressor. For my own purposes, that is the only need I would have for a non-NFA pistol caliber carbine of any type. If I need a long gun for any serious purpose, I want it chambered in a rifle caliber.

Foldin' Stocks OK on the Franklin Armory

Another draw to the Providence for some would be the lack of a buffer tube to allow different types of folding stocks like they show in their pictures. It might be interesting to see a pistol version offered with a side-folding brace, as well.

At this point, without having played with a Franklin Armory Providence, the only real downside that I can see is that the trigger pull has the potential to be horrendous. Unless, of course, the guys at Franklin really put in the work on making this a shooter.

Another consideration might be how the rifle handles extraction of the spent case. Maybe this is not too bad on the initial pistol caliber offerings but could come into play if they decide to step up to a true rifle caliber.


Providence 2020 Update:

As of mid-March 2020, the company website still lists the Providence as “Coming Soon.” No models were available for sale on

Exact specs were also not available, but the following info from Franklin is listed:

Imagine a whole new action type that fires one round every time the trigger is pulled, but this action is not semiautomatic. Safest, quietest, cleanest, non-semiautomatic ever designed.

•Providence® was created to be the Safest Firearm in the World! There is absolutely no way for the firearm to accidentally fire until the trigger is pulled. This quality makes Providence® an ideal firearm for civilian and law enforcement use.

•Providence® is an ideal action for use in suppressed applications because the action is much quieter and cleaner than any semiautomatic action.

•Since the bolt remains locked after the gun is fired until the trigger is pulled again, Providence® runs cleaner than typical semiautomatic designs. It lacks an open breech to allow carbon and debris to accumulate.

•This action fires EVERY time the trigger is pulled but is NOT semi-automatic

To stay abreast of new developments on the Franklin Armory Providence, visit

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