Turkey is producing some outstanding firearms, at great prices. I think they are making some of the best shotguns, and the prices are crazy low for these quality firearms. Make no mistake, I’m no fan of the dictator Erdogan, who is the president of Turkey. He is a “Mad Turk” if you ask me – so save the hate mail, please. Over the years, I’ve owned several shotguns and handguns produced in Turkey, and have zero problems with them. They are well-made and priced “oh-so-right”.
I’ve been attempting to add a few more firearms to my meager gun collection now that Sleepy Joe Biden is in the White House. Biden has vowed to do away with all manner of firearms and magazines holding more than 10-rounds of ammo. And if you own any modern sporting rifle, like an AR-15 or AK-47, he wants you to be required to register them and pay a $200 federal transfer tax, so prepare as best you can. Biden also wants to do a taxpayer-funded “voluntary” gun “buyback” of black rifles. I don’t know how that works, since the government never owned my guns to start with. My wife and I are semi-retired, so we live on a very limited income. I supplement my social security pay, by writing articles. So, I can’t get all the firearms I’d like to get, as a hedge on Biden’s planned policies. So, I shop carefully – very carefully for the most gun for the least amount of money – but the guns still have to be 100% reliable.
A lot of people are totally unaware of SAR USA – they are the distributor in the USA, for SAR firearms (Sarsilmaz) out of Turkey. SAR isn’t very well-known in the USA for some reason – and that’s strange – guess SAR USA doesn’t have a good marketing executive, but those in the “know” about firearms, know about SAR. My experience with Turkish-made firearms has been a good one – never had any problems at all, with any of them.
Our local small box store here in the Pacific Northwest, called Bi-Mart, sold handguns and long guns for many years, and stopped selling handguns many years ago for some reason. In the past half dozen years or so, they started selling handguns once again, and at prices always below retail – by quite a bit. So, I purchase brand-new firearms through them when no other FFL dealer can meet or beat their prices. Bi-Mart is my favorite store to shop at. However, since the pandemic and mask mandate, I don’t enter their stores any longer. With that said, Bi-Mart, started carrying the SAR 9, and this is an outstanding pistol, chambered in 9mm.
SAR USA claims on their web site, that the SAR 9 is possibly the most rigorously-tested pistol ever developed. SAR baked these guns at 130-degrees, to simulate desert conditions, and at minus 50-degrees to arctic conditions, and exposed them to salt fog, and 24-hours of rain, exposure to solar radiation, drop tests, and a 150,000 (yes, you read that right) round tests of live fire at the factory. Police later ran a 50,000 round live-fire test of their own. And, lastly, NATO tests against major manufacturers from Austria and Germany. The US ran a 90,000 round test with the SAR 9. However, it wasn’t accepted as the new US military sidearm — losing out to the SIG P320. So the SAR 9 has been tested, and tested again, and again. The Turkish police adopted it as their official sidearm, as have a few NATO military units – that says a lot.
Now, if you take a close look at the SAR 9, you will probably notice that the slide is very Glock-ish in looks, other than a longer and tougher extractor – if you turn the slide over, it sure looks 100% Glock to my mind. We have a two-dot (white) on the rear sight, and a single white dot on the front sight – both are polymer. We have angled (forward) slide serrations on the front (sides) and rear (sides) of the slide.
Moving down to the black polymer frame, it looks all the world just like the HK VP9 pistol. There is a manual safety on the frame – ambidextrous – and not needed if you ask me. Now, we look at the grip frame itself, and it has a backstrap and side panels that can be swapped out. The gun comes with the medium backstrap and side panels installed – and they fit my hand perfectly. However, SAR also includes two more back straps, one in small and another in large. Plus, the side panels – two are needed, one for either side of the grip…and once again, you can swap them out for two small or two large panels. I tried them all, and the medium-sized grip panels and back strap fit me perfectly – as it did my wife’s hand.
The frame has the slide release/stop, and it is very easy to manipulate – left side only. The rectangular-shaped magazine release is also easy to reach – and it can be switched from side to side – another nice touch if you ask me. The trigger guard is a little bit “square-ish” and the front of the trigger guard has serrations on it. The trigger itself is a little bit wide – and it feels great, and has the almost obligatory blade in the center of it – which must be depressed or the gun won’t fire.
In the center of the trigger is a red triangle and when it is seen, it means the gun is “cocked” – and it is striker-fired, BTW. We also have Picatinny rails for mounting lights or lasers – another nice touch, with three positions you can pick from. The front of the grip frame has shallow finger grooves – as a rule, I don’t like these things. However, they are very shallow and allow proper finger placement.
The SAR 9 points naturally and is a real pleasure to shoot – the grip angle is 20-degrees, but it changes with different back straps. The low bore (barrel) axis to the frame makes this gun a pleasure to shoot, too. There is not a lot of felt recoil. This is a full-sized duty pistol, with a 17-round magazine, and the gun comes with two of them – well-made. The barrel is 4.40-inches long.
There are also “grooves” molded int the grip, just above the trigger, and when you grasp the gun, your trigger finger naturally falls into this slight grove placing it just behind the trigger and you are ready to fire this pistol – just that simple, but an excellent touch. The trigger pull is no worse nor better than some other striker-fired pistols. I had a hard time gauging the trigger pull, but I suspect it is right at 6-lbs, and a bit “mushy” as you take-up the slack. However, once the slack is taken up, there is a very crisp break and the gun fires.
The slide itself is black coated – but they also have one that is stainless steel – and I suspect the black-coated slide is stainless steel under the coating. I couldn’t’ get anyone at SAR to tell me what the coating is, but I suspect it is something akin to Melonite or a similar tough coating to keep the slide from rusting.
The gun – empty – only weighs 21-ounces, so it is right in there with many other polymer-framed handguns. I wanted to talk about the magazines – they are metal with a polymer base on them, and extremely well-made. It was a little tough getting that last round or two loaded into the mag…but very do-able.
One minor complaint is the recoil spring set-up, it is a dual recoil spring (captive) set-up, however, it is a very stout recoil spring. Many 9mm handguns have a recoil spring between 11-15 pounds. I believe this SAR 9 has a recoil spring that is about 18+ pounds – so it takes some real effort to chamber a round. I believe SAR installed this heavy recoil spring because many of their customers are military – and they shoot a lot of 9mm NATO ammo – and as a rule, 9mm NATO ammo is running at least in the +P range – and the heavier recoil spring helps extend the service life of the gun, and dampens perceived recoil as well.
We are in a serious ammo drought these days, and I’m guessing it will probably last for years and years…and Joe Biden and his cronies want to limit us on the amount of ammo we can purchase at any given time, or the amount that we keep on hand via “arsenal registration”. So, buy all you, while you can – if you can find any. For my testing, I had some Black Hills Ammunition but not my usual selection – they are selling everything they make, every single day. I had their 115-gr FMJ, 124-gr JHP, and a little bit of their 100-gr HoneyBadger +P ammo on-hand. I also dug into my personal ammo supply, and found some Blazer 9mm FMJ brass-cased ammo for my testing.
With a target at 25-yards, I did my accuracy portion of the test. However prior to that, I unleased some rounds downrange at targets of opportunity. In the first two magazines I had two failures to fully eject a fired round – after that, no further problems. If you know anything about inexpensive Blazer ammo, you will now it is a target round, and a bit underpowered, so I wasn’t surprised with a couple of failures to fully eject an empty case. However after that, no other problems with the SAR 9 and Blazer – other than you could tell it wasn’t a totally full-powered load when you pulled the trigger – the empty brass fell as my feet – just barely clearing the ejection port. All the Black Hills ammo – no problems at all, and the SAR 9 really loved the 100-grain HoneyBadger +P load – the gun felt like it was running smoother – however, no problems with the other Black Hills loads, either.
Resting the pistol on a rolled-up sleeping bag, over the hood of my pick-up, I was getting most groups right at 3-inches – give or take a little bit…I don’t measure my groups down to the ten thousandths of an inch – like many gun writers do. The 115-gr FMJ Black Hills load was the most accurate and it was the winner – if there was one – like I said, all the ammo shot quite accurately.
As a rule, the SAR 9 retails for around $450 – if you can even find th. My sample was only $300 and if I had another $300 I’d buy another one – if I could find it at that price. This is a lot of gun, with a lot of features – check it out.