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Caracal Redux

Our Favorite UAE Pistol Gets a Green Card and a Face-Lift

Photos by Kenda Lenseigne

Way back in RECOIL Issue 5, we gave you a first look at the Caracal F — a duty pistol born and bred in the UAE, brought to America with a couple of pretty impressive features. Then, they suffered what, for most companies, would be a catastrophe. In light of the discovery of potential safety issues, every single Caracal pistol ever made was recalled with an alacrity rarely seen in this industry. That was the end of the story for quite some time. Or so it would seem. Underneath everyone’s radar, Caracal has been busy planning their renaissance. And once again, we’re here with an inside track nearly five years in the making.

Before we even discuss the next-gen Caracal blaster — the Enhanced F — the company itself has made some significant changes. As we write this, they’re in the process of moving all materials sourcing and production to the United States. That puts more Americans to work, which we love. It also puts more American-made guns on the market, which we also love. It’s our firm opinion that this awesome country needs to get back to building sh*t and, even after all the changes our economy has been through, guns are one of the few things we still make — and make better than anybody else. ’Merica.

As for Caracal, the Enhanced F and CAR series rifles will be coming to us from the Granite State. We’ll talk about the carbines in just a bit. (It’s New Hampshire, by the way. In case you failed your states’ trivia class.)

Tale of the Phoenix
Caracal sent us two test samples of what they call the Enhanced F — Limited Edition. One came with standard sights and one with their Quick Sight system, a feature retained from the original models. The samples we were received were initially introduced to us as preproduction hybrids. In both cases, the polymer frames came from Caracal International in the UAE, with everything else domestically produced. Assembly is also performed at the Caracal USA plant.

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These were originally intended as “bridge” guns strictly for us to evaluate until they could get their U.S.-based supply chain 100 percent online. However, before completion of this article Caracal revealed to us that they would, in fact, be selling the hybrid guns in a limited-edition run to be released on July 4. There’s only a handful in the stable, and once they’re gone, no more limited-edition hybrids will be produced. Fully American-made Caracals are expected to show up at distributors in October and will be officially unveiled at this year’s NASGW show.

The Enhanced F is a polymer-framed pistol that holds 17 rounds of 9mm in a well-balanced package, with a couple of features that made us raise our eyebrows. The first — our favorite — is the lower-than-average bore axis. This makes your Enhanced F much more comfortable to shoot, with potential for less sight disturbance and faster shot-to-shot recovery. The slide rides on near full-length framerails. This is a feature that’s not too common on mass-market guns, but we’re quite fond of.

This does lead to our one gripe about the pre-pro guns we received. The finish on the slides is a uniform deep silky black. We use the word “silky” not just as a metaphor. The metal is literally slick to the touch. While it lends a pretty awesome aesthetic quality, it goes a long way to inhibit rapid manipulation. The cocking serrations in the back are short, shallow scallops, which … again … look very sleek.

But they don’t afford positive purchase, especially on our slim side. We repeatedly had the issue of gripping the slide and our hand just sort of gliding along the scallops and dropping off the back without actually being able to chamber a round — particularly when shooting in the desert, where palms have been known to sweat a little bit. We let the good folks at Caracal know about our problem and made a couple suggestions about how to fix it. Whether or not they tweak the production design will be revealed when they start popping up in glass counters around the country.

In the case of the sighting systems, the standard sights are now dovetailed, not the case on original Caracal F’s. While the dovetails are proprietary to Caracal, we’ve been assured that they’re working with a handful of companies to make the design available for some popular aftermarket sights. Additionally, Caracal will eventually produce both standard and night sights in-house as OEM options.

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For the rest of this article, subscribe here: Concealment 6


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