The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Friday Night Gun Porn – Salient Arms Guns

Take one look at a Salient Arms International (SAI) gun and you will be intrigued. Shoot one and you will be hooked. I was hooked myself after a recent road trip to California, when I had the opportunity to shoot Top Shot Season 4 champion Chris Cheng’s Salient guns.

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Says Cheng,

“I first of heard of Salient while watching season 3 of Top Shot, Salient guns were featured in an elimination challenge, and I remember thinking they were aesthetically pleasing. After winning Top Shot season 4, I reached out to Salient and they ended up becoming a sponsor.”

Cheng uses the Salient Benelli M2 in competitions around the country and also owns a Tier-1 Glock 34 and Glock 26 for personal carry.

He was kind enough to let me shoot his Salient modified M2 and Glock 34 so that I could experience them first hand. Both of his Salient guns had extremely smooth actions. Fit and finish were top notch all the way around and the gun felt very good in my hands.

“I have countless rounds through my M2 and a few thousand through my Tier-1 34 without any hiccups,” said Cheng.

After shooting Cheng’s Salient guns and hearing him speak so fondly of them, I could see a Salient ending up in my safe in the near future.

Cheng is among a very long list of gun celebrities who not only use Salient guns everyday, but also endorse them. Among them are trainer Chris Costa, Patrick McNamara and Viking Tactics founder Kyle Lamb.

I can tell you first hand that Salient guns are not for everyone. It takes someone who appreciates the countless hours it takes to produce such a masterpiece and the design aspects that have been incorporated that make it first and foremost functional, not just pretty.

So what does spending nearly $2,000 grand get you? To find out, I decided to pay a visit to the Salient factory in Oxnard California.

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Co-founder Adrian Chavez was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to give me a personal tour and interview. While waiting in the lobby I couldn’t help but notice all of the framed gun magazines featuring articles about Salient guns. They adorned the walls everywhere the eye could see as tokens of Salient’s success.

Near the entrance was a montage commemorating Salient Security, the parent company to Salient Arms International (SAI). Before there was SAI, there was Salient Security (SS). SS specializes is worldwide celebrity, dignitary and high profile corporate private security. SS has a long and proven background for the better part of 20 years protecting “A-listers” such as Lady Gaga, Hugh Heffner, the Rolling Stones, and Saudi Arabian diplomatic persons. Aside from the standard training most private security forces receive, their teams are trained in counter-terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Salient understands the impacts and dynamics of weight and the functionality needed for the person who lives a lifestyle that demands things a stock gun made for the everyday Joe cannot provide. They are a think tank for innovation where it matters most and they have put a lot of thought, design and innovation into their guns.

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I had no idea exactly what improvements were done until I began to dig deep into the company. From an outsider’s perspective, the gun looks cool, but according to Salient, “every modification has a purpose,” said Chavez.

The first complaint I hear from people is the price. Let me just say, Salient is not for everyone. Neither is a Ferrari. If you want the best, it is going to cost you. That is a tall statement to make, but I am a believer after seeing firsthand the amount of care and craftsmanship that goes into these guns.

Taking design elements that have been built on a solid foundation of knowledge and years of experience, each gun salient builds starts out as a stock firearms, such as a S&W M&P. Salient puts its touch on everything. In the case of the Tier 1 option, the slide is lightened with various cuts and the removal of material from several locations. Salient tells me that they didn’t just start chopping the slide up to look cool, they actually spent years developing the optimum changes needed to achieve a well balanced gun slide that has less felt recoil and snap all while achieving a lighter gun.

In addition to the slide cuts, press check serrations are added to various points on the slide to improve manipulation in many different scenarios, whether one-handed or otherwise. Salient tops off the gun with a fiber optic front sight and Warne Tactical rear sight. The slides internals and extractor are all tuned and hand fit as well.

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The barrel on the Tier 1 comes unfinished from KKM as a special order and is hand fit and chambered to extremely tight tolerances. The test gun we received required close to 200 rounds of break-in to seat the barrel lockup perfectly. The barrel can be TiN coated or bead blasted and fluting is optional. SAI also laser etches their name on the frame and barrel after the DLC ION Bonded finish is applied. In the case of the M&P Pro, an angled cut is machined to the front lug of the slide.

Salient adds their custom 3.5lb flat trigger and tunes it for carry. I found the trigger to be clean, crisp with little creep and the reset is ultra tight and minimal. The rest of the frame gets the customary stipple with some mods to allow for a higher grip on the firearm and easier mag changes.

At the range, the Salient does not disappoint. As mentioned earlier, the custom barrel sourced from KKM is cut to each gun and therefore there is a break-in period where the barrel will work its fit in. The first 100 or so rounds, we experienced 2 failure-to-fire because the gun was out of battery. Some might see this as a problem, but when you understand how tight the tolerances are, you get it. Once we reached the 200 round mark that issue was gone. We have since sent 1000 pieces of lead down range with 100% success.

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I want to address something that I hear often from the Internet commandos and that is why doesn’t Salient have a website? I asked Chavez that very question. His quick and dirty answer at the time was that they are so busy trying to keep up with existing demand, that managing yet another media outlet was counter-productive and too time-consuming. He did show me a website on the backend that was near completion but had not been rolled out yet because they simply are too picky to launch it. Much like their products, they only want the best.

Salient and company are available via Facebook and the good ole telephone. If you need to get a hold of them, pick up the phone and give them a ring, I did!


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