The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle


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Photos by AZPhotoMan

It’s a black … 9mm … compact … striker-fired pistol. Yes, we thought the same thing. This industry needs one more striker-fired pistol like it needs one more ATF ruling on pistol braces or another guy shooting fast on Instagram. But this one got our attention for its brazen but, frankly, well-executed attempt to combine the best features of a number of higher-priced competitors.

Enter SAR USA and the conveniently named SAR 9 pistol. SAR USA is an import partner with Sarsilmaz, the Turkish company that manufactures the pistol. In addition to being amusingly difficult to pronounce, Sarsilmaz produces a number of firearms in Turkey, including a full line of semi-auto pistols and revolvers, shotguns, and AR-style subguns and rifles for military and law enforcement. Their website says they started as a small shotgun builder in 1880 and are the only privately owned company in Turkey capable of producing firearms for civilians, military, and law enforcement. They are also the sole pistol supplier for the Turkish National Police and Turkish Armed Forces.

Sarsilmaz pistols are imported through SAR USA based in Des Plaines, Illinois. Their website is somewhat skeletonized right now, with just a contact form, an old press release for a hammer-fired pistol, and a link-back to the English version of the full Sarsilmaz home page. But they tell us they’re working to bring a full line of Sarsilmaz firearms and ammunition into the U.S., with plans to open a U.S.-based manufacturing plant as early as 2020.

Once you get past the initial ho-hum of another polymer striker pistol, the SAR 9 is an intriguing remix of features that we cannot, in good conscience, call wholly original.

Once you get past the initial ho-hum of another polymer striker pistol, the SAR 9 is an intriguing remix of features that we cannot, in good conscience, call wholly original.

On the surface, the SAR 9 doesn’t leave much to write home about. But what we think makes it noteworthy is that the pistol seems to have collected some of the best features of other striker guns currently on the shelf and condensed them into a package that is priced competitively in the current striker pistol market. Its overall footprint and frame rail are standard fare across the weight class. The sights are three-dot white, nonluminescent. The slide also includes the oft-lamented forward cocking serrations still prominently missing on some similarly appointed striker-fired pistols. Said serrations are square-cut and slanted towards the muzzle, sinking into the skin with minimal pressure for swift, easy manipulation of the slide.

The frame includes a number of rapidly recognizable features from some top-name polymer striker guns. The U-shaped takedown is ambidextrous and more than vaguely reminiscent of that from a Walther PPQ. The shape and texture of the grip, as well as the pre-undercut trigger guard, are essentially clones of HK’s VP9, down to the modularity of both backstrap and side grip panels. The magazine release button is swappable from left to right side. The takedown lever and manual safety … yes, we said manual safety … are both ambidextrous by design. All this adds up to make the SAR 9 notably southpaw friendly. The slide catch cannot be moved, but is large enough, and easily enough depressed, to be hit with the trigger finger by lefties.

If you can break down any striker-fired pistol, you can break down the SAR 9.

If you can break down any striker-fired pistol, you can break down the SAR 9.

This brings us to the master control button — the bang switch. If the trigger-inside-a-trigger safety design isn’t a dead giveaway, you only have to strip off the slide. The SAR 9’s internals are close enough to a Glock’s as to be chuckle-inducing. At least, that was our initial reaction. After that, we had to break out the digital calipers and take some internal measurements for comparison.

Our measuring stick was a Gen 3 Glock 19. The distance from the back of the slide (not including back plate) to the back of the striker is approximately 11.5 mm, vice 10.6 mm on the SAR. Pinching the striker and plunger between the calipers gave us 51.9 mm on the Glock and 52.5 mm on the SAR. The locking block and side rails are so similar, in fact, that we were able to fit a Glock slide almost entirely onto the SAR 9’s frame. We didn’t attempt to fire it in this configuration but, in another lifetime, it’d be interesting to try.

All in all, the SAR 9 clearly takes a number of not-so-subtle cues from some tried-and-true striker guns already in the marketplace. So what kind of performance do you get when you take a bunch of different duty pistol designs and throw them in a blender …


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