First look – new guns from Caracal
Caracal has some new weapons under production, a sniper rifle, an AR frame rifle and two semi-auto handguns. They include the model 660 full size 9mm pistol, which is the evolution of the “F” Model that was recalled and discontinued, and the 661, which will replace the “C” model. They are also releasing the CS308, a Caracal built and designed .308 caliber sniper rifle with an adjustable comb, rake, length of pull and trigger. It is an aluminum (7075) action with an AR style safety and two stage trigger. The proprietary muzzle brake can be removed for suppressor use. The CAR 816 is a piston style AR. Though shipping on the latter is yet to be determined, the pistols and the bolt gun are due in the US in the first quarter of 2014.
If you are a previous Caracal owner and have not heard, all “C” Models should be turned in for refund. The F models are subject to a recall for an upgrade to the Trigger Safety Lever. The new models have a slightly higher slide, but retain the original frame assembly completely. The new slide features a traditional vertical “plunger” drop safety, which replaces the horizontal “leaf spring” type that was featured in both the F and C models. The new slide also features dovetailed rear sights with a wider notch than the integral rear sight on the older models and much deeper and larger slide serrations for manipulations. Despite being slightly larger, the new slide weighs the same as the old one because of the serrations and other design changes.
Firearms instructors Rob Pincus and Wes Doss were invited (along with freelance writer Dave Bahde) to the UAE to tour the Caracal Manufacturing Facility. If I am not mistaken they were the first Americans to do shoot the new models.
Says Pincus, “The guns shot very well. The CAR 816 is a high quality piston AR, the pistols are as comfortable to shoot as the models that they replace (which I was a big fan of…). The surprise of the day was the very high quality bolt gun. Despite the fact that the pistols we shot are still prototypes and the full size model was a little finicky (the compact ran flawlessly for me), I have high expectations for the production models when they hit the US next year.”
Pincus was a strong advocate of the F Model Caracal after taking it on the 2012 PDN tour, during which it was tested extensively by instructors and students.
“I’m not ready to add the 660 or 661 to the short list of guns that I.C.E. Training Company recommends,” he told me, “but I am looking forward to another round of long term testing and seeing them in student hands as soon as production models are available.”
Caracal apparently takes the US personal defense market very seriously. More to follow when it becomes available or when we can get our hands on one or more of the new guns. Many people are understandably leery of Caracal after the problems they’ve had in the past – hopefully we will know soon if they’ve corrected the issues.
I will post a review of any and all models when one is available.