Caracal C goes boom (courtesy pakguns.com)

The correct title for this post: Total Recall. Sigh. The World’s Best Carry Gun [sic] is now the subject of not one but two recalls. Caracal issued the first due to drop-safe issues; in response to two incidences where a dropped handgun fired. The most recent recall: “Caracal International LLC has been informed about an incident [in Pakistan] in which the slide of a Caracal Model C pistol malfunctioned and broke during firing causing personal injury. We are thoroughly investigating this incident to determine the cause(s) and are initiating this voluntary recall to protect the safety of our customers.” Caracal-goes-boom pics have been on the net since late last year. Now, suddenly, they’re a big deal . . .

Caracal aims to conclude its investigations as quickly as possible. Updates will be posted on Caracal’s website to include further information on the limited number of defected Caracal Model C pistols.

Defected? Is that even a word? I rang the U.S. distributor yesterday.

If you recall (so to speak), thirty-five days ago, Caracal said they had 450 replacement Model C’s in hand. A U.S. gunsmith was checking them one-at-a-time to make sure the trigger pull was still totally freakin’ awesome. Apparently, he’s also checking the slide.

Hmmm. If Caracal hasn’t concluded their investigation, how would he know what to check for? If the ka-boom problem is related to materials issues, what good would a visual inspection do?

The kind lady at the end of the phone said they’d be sending out the guns in a couple of weeks. Or so.

Needless to say, I’m not optimistic about receiving a replacement Caracal C anytime soon—even though I played the TTAG card to jump the queue (this was my EDC.). And here’s [another reason] why I’ve got the Caracal blues:

Step 3: We will replace your pistol and return it to you free of charge as quickly as reasonably possible.

Reasonably. I don’t think that means what I want it to mean.

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61 Responses to Caracal Held Hostage: Day 167

  1. “Caracal-goes-boom pics have been on the net since late last year.”

    Pictures and a story showed up on The Firearm Blog which means everyone knows about it now. That’s probably why it went from not a big deal to A Big Deal.

    Guns don’t blow up unless there is a problem with either the gun or ammo. So I hope you’re not going to shoot your Caracal anytime soon. It could be dangerous. The TFB story had someone who almost lost an eye.

    • I’ll give it a few years before I try a Caracal. I was considering getting one but I see now that my hesitation to buy a newly designed and untested gun was entirely justified. Besides, you can spend less than $10 to replace 3 springs on a Glock and you’ll have a great trigger pull.

  2. Call me insensitive, but I fail to understand that after reviewing hundreds of guns you would find this Caracal to be the ONLY one that is worthy of obsessing over. And now that there’s questions about reliability? I think the term “absence makes the heart grow fonder” has warped your sensibilities. How do you even know if your replacement will have as perfect of a trigger as the recalled one? Can’t you take a different brand (which I shant name) of gun to a top notch gunsmith and end up with a fabulous trigger on a fabulous gun?

    Oh, and if per chance you thought that regular updates on this fiasco would endear us to Caracal, you thought wrong. I wouldn’t touch one with a ten foot pole, good trigger or not! Plus, it wouldn’t surprise me if all their stock is getting prioritized to support Arab Spring. Hence your wait. And regular complaining.

    Fortunately your site does great gun reviews on non-Caracals!

      • Walter PPQ.

        Perfect trigger, perfect reliability. You can even get it with a standard (though, in my opinion, inferior) mag release button.

        Ditch the Caracal pipe dream and give that silky smooth German a try. Insert supermodel pictures here.

        • Perfect trigger? My friend bought a PPQ and raves about it’s “perfect trigger”, but after owning a Steyr M9-A1 for the past year and experiencing it’s magnificent trigger, the PPQ trigger feels like mush – kind of like the crappy trigger on a Glock.

      • You do make a valid point, Robert. I have not tried one. I retract my “ten foot pole” statement and will try one out with open mind at my first opportunity. My priorities for perfect concealed carry piece are reliability first, several other things, then decent trigger far down the list. If I have to use it, I don’t think I’ll be noticing the feel of the trigger pull. To each his own. But I can’t complain if I haven’t even tried it.

        I apologize if I was being a little harsh.

        • I hope you try one, too! The Caracal is a wonderful product and I bet you enjoy it.

    • You said, “….but I fail to understand that after reviewing hundreds of guns you would find this Caracal to be the ONLY one that is worthy of obsessing over.”

      Think about it.

      Do the math.

      Hundreds of guns reviewed, and the Caracal is the one he chooses to carry.

      MUST be a reason, no?

  3. Can you actually get another? You live in Providence, right? Didn’t they ban all semi-autos recently?

    • It was Kabuki theater. The ordinance lacks the force of law as State gun law is preemptive. But the bad shit is coming on that level.

    • Why? Should he be wearing a snazzy western business suit instead? That IS Arab business attire. No one’s made you wear one. They’re not part of western civilization, but others are equally valid.

      What you said makes you sound ignorant and intolerant of customs not your own. You’re not REALLY like that, right?

      • William, have you been to any Arabic countries? Have you observed their manufacturing facilities?

        I don’t give a fig about customs, I’m talking about what their performance record is, and it’s been reinforced by the specific instance here.

        I stand on my claim that one should be especially wary of anything manufactured in an Arabic country. They do not have a good reputation for good reason. And one should be especially wary of anything that involves explosive forces held close to one’s face.

        Take your faux sense of outrage to someone who doesn’t know any better.

        • What Skyler said. Arabic culture takes the phrase “things fall apart” and elevates it to a passively accepted and *expected* norm. You can observe your surroundings and see that for many, many things, “maintenance” is viewed as a busy-work waste of time that will ultimately have no effect – so “why bother?”

        • Skyler, as someone who actually has seen manufacturing in the UAE, I can tell you that it can be absolutely first rate — or not. I’ve not been to the Caracal facility, so I can’t state which one it is.

        • Sorta like Chinese manufacturing. Honest to golly, they have all the modern tools and workers that are trained well enough.

          Remove the wild-west levels of corruption and chicanery and they really can make almost anything – provided one is willing to pay for it. Right now, that isn’t the predominant metric.

          But, being foolish enough to trust the ChiComs out of some naive PC sense of right and wrong has done nothing but hasten our demise. From gov-sponsored theft of IP, to constant gov-run cyber espionage of our companies, to back-doors being hardwired into all sorts of chips and devices, they are out to conquer us, one way or another.

        • Ralph, there are exceptions to every rule.

          Flasbanger, I would suggest that buying state of the art machines is consistent with the Arabic reputation. They do tend to have a lot of money. But quality control is about more than expensive machinery. You also need discipline and a managerial mindset to maintain standards.

          I would suggest that caracl’s results are consistent with not keeping good standards. Sure, bad things can happen to any manufacturer, but there’s a trend here worth noting.

    • Why the racist remarks? You are obviously ignorant about the UAE and who know what else. Admins should delete these types useless input and attacks.

      • “Race” is not “culture”.

        They are two very distinct and separate things. Our gov and businesses do things in a particular way, one that it not always in concurrence with others’ business and social cultures.

        Those people ‘hating’ on our ‘cultural imperialism’ are not necessarily making an invalid argument. It also doesn’t mean we shouldn’t see ourselves as “right” when it comes to debating primitives about their female circumcision habits, or lousy quality control.

      • There’s nothing worse than someone crying racism when there is no racism. The fact is: Caracal has invested a ton of money into R&D and marketing and came up with an amazing product line that is customer oriented. They have shown innovation where all the rest will soon follow. Maybe they will change Glock’s mind about creating a more well rounded product line. All I see is a dozen almost the same handguns. Caracal is listening to the consumer. The US has had a pretty bad reputation of doing the same thing (ei Chevy, Ford and Dodge). Now they are playing catch up.

  4. Looking for a good carry pistol.. try the new Shield.. American company, Lifetime warranty, and goes bang every time without you having to give up an eye.

  5. Try any of the new Steyr pistols if you like the Caracal for the grip angle… I have the S-model and love it.

    • I just bought a Steyr M9 on GunsAmerica and am waiting for it. I really want a Caracal C and CC10 but I don’t know if they will ever be available. They are no where to be found and no word from ANYONE. I’m going to have to assume that is not good news. The CC10 was supposed to be available the first quarter and no updates. How embarrassing. They should be updating people. They are going to get a reputation of not being reliable.

    • I have an Apex trigger on my M&P40c. It’s a very good trigger — hey, it’s an Apex, and I apply the Apex treatment to every S&W model for which they make a kit — but not the best trigger I’ve ever shot.

  6. I had a fabulous time testing the Caracal, and just like RF I think the sights are absolutely brilliant. But first the safety recall, and then a six-month wait with no fix and now another safety recall? I think this gun has flatlined.

    The Caracal could be resuscitated (resurrected might be a better word) by an *immediate* fix, lots of customer service TLC like free magazines, and a truly massive PR campaign to build trust and goodwill. For now, however, the Caracal brand isn’t even on life support. It’s just dead, and Caracal’s repeatedly-broken promises of a ‘reasonably immediate’ fix will only bury it deeper and colder.

    Sorry, RF. I know you loved her, but she’s gone. She’s got a hot Austrian cousin you might want to meet, after a respectable period of mourning.

  7. I do like me the Bersa BP9CC. No issues with mine, the trigger is every bit as smooth as my Caracal C. I have night sights on it and a hogue wraparound that makes it fit my hand like a glove. Not as many bullets available to shoot, but 8+1 is decent and with a good IWB holster it sits unnoticed all day (Old Faithful stage 3). If I want more ammo on me can can fit a double carrier in my back pocket. That will give me 24 + 1.

    I actually like it better than my shield and love to shoot it.

  8. Any company can make a lemon. How the company deals with that situation determines if the company is worth doing business with. And if the company has slipshod customer service what does that say about the rest of their operation?

    My son just took delivery on a new Savage Axis .308. On his first trip to the range he discovered the rifle is a tack driver and apparently it has a burr in the chamber. It cycles unfired ammo perfectly but once fired the brass is very difficult to extract and the brass has what looks like a large scratch in it.

    My son contacted Savage and less than 2 days later the brown truck showed up to take the rifle back to Savage. That was yesterday. Now we’ll see if Savage, unlike Caracal, is a company worth doing business with.

  9. This sucks. I’ve been on my LGS’s waiting list for a Caracal F for a while now and all these problems with the C aren’t going to help with the delay. While I’m unhappy about the issues and not impressed with how it sounds like the company is handling it, I really want my Caracal…

  10. The sort of slide failure would lead me to believe that there’s a metallurgical problem there. Either they chose the wrong type of steel, or the steel is too hard in the heat treatment.

  11. I found out with a Beretta 92 knock off made in Egypt NEVER NEVER buy gun made in Middle Eastern Cesspools.

  12. I feel for you Robert. I’m sitting here with my C in front of me eyeballing it suspiciously and thinking about my F sitting in the gunvault by the bed.

    I haven’t sent either of mine in because the drop safety issue doesn’t worry me very much, and I’ve been waiting to see what happens with the ones people have sent back for replacement. I know several people who’ve gotten their checks, so I know that will be available if I really feel the need to go another way, but quite frankly, I really like the Caracal…for several reasons.

    First…nothing matches the low bore axis. Between that and one of the best stock triggers I’ve ever felt on this type of weapon, makes it my favorite striker fired weapon that I’ve had the opportunity to fire. I can shoot faster and more accurately than I can with my XDm, my H&K p2000sk (yes, i know it’s not striker fired), or any of the M&Ps and Glocks I’ve fired.

    Second…I have a small, stubby hand. The short trigger reach is perfect.

    Third…the Caracal passed the German Federal Police Standard and the German Federal Armed Forces Technical Purchasing requirements testing. It’s pretty stringent, and one of the reasons why I think these recalls may be kneejerk reactions by a risk averse corporate office. Given 5 minutes I can find links to pictures of catastrophic slide failures by Glocks, M&Ps and XDs on the web. 1 failure of a single weapon firing Chinese ammo in Pakistan isn’t enough to freak me out enough to throw in the towel just yet.

    Lastly…the price was right. I bought the C and the F for $50 more total than my H&K.

    I’m going to wait it out. Between the issues with a new start up in the US, the Newtown shootings and the attendant legislative fallout from them, and the issues associated with a general recall of an imported firearm, I’m willing to give a good deal of leeway. I’d prefer they be slow and careful than quick and careless just to look good for quick customer service. And considering the lack of availability of anything imported right now, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to think that Caracal is having difficulty getting product into the states.

    • Not only did Caracal initiate the recalls voluntarily, Caracal has also stepped up like no other manufacturer has by offering replacements, refunds, free magazines and a 15% rebate on any new Caracal purchase.

  13. I am hesitant for similar reasons to buy a brand new model from manufacturers i’ve heard of, let alone a make with which i have no experience.

  14. Dammit man, I was hoping for better news! I want (ed) one based on the reviews.You guys have mentioned some interesting replacements….is a Ruger worth considering?

    BTW, I’d expect more problem guns to be in the pipeline now, factories running all-out with no end has to wear down the workers and impact maintenance. Same with ammo makers I am sure. So be careful gang…

  15. I tend to avoid getting overly judgmental about one’s choice of gun, but if they’re proving to be this unreliable I’m not sure you can call it the “ultimate concealed carry gun”. I get that the author likes the ergonomics, but a safety and reliability pretty much overrides anything else.

  16. I bought a Bersa Thunder 380CC, worst piece of sh.t ever made. I sold this faster than a drop dead gorgeous broad turning me down at the nightclub. I think I managed to get off 4 shots without a jam, one time. I’d send the Caracal packin, Randy

  17. Hands down the BEST carry pistol is the one from ANY manufacturer that feels like it is part of your own body when you us it. Find a gun that fits you and you can use naturally and carry it. Are Glocks great pistols? Yes, but I don’t feel comfortable with one. They just don’t fit my hand or style of shooting. I’m partial to Sig 226’s, 1911 .45’s. CZ-75’s and Hi-powers (P-35). But if someone else likes and feels good with a PPK or a Ruger or Broom handle Mauser or a 10″ S&W .44 mag or .25 cal pocket pistol then that’s what they should carry. The first rule in a gunfight is “have a gun”.

  18. I have never handled or shot one of these, and after reading of your “adventures” in owning one, I have ZERO desire to even look at one. Not when I have Colt, Glock, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Dan Wesson, SIG, Springfield Armory, Browning, Auto Ordnance, Taurus, Remington, etc to chose from. There are too many other choices out there to fixate on one with known quality and severe customer service issues like this handgun.

  19. I wouldn’t buy a Muslim gun if it was the last piece on earth. I will not knowingly spend one sent to help them in their efforts to appease the demon ‘god’ Allah’s lust for blood. There are more than enough American and Western European firearms to take care of our desires and needs without helping Islam spread death and terror.

  20. It passed the German D-14 tests so one bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch. Glocks have gone kaboom as well……It is a great ergonomic handgun that over time via 1st and 2nd Generation guns will get better and better….Slide went Kaboom in Pakistan where they were probably using reloads in 9×21…Who knows…Great design on par with Steyr and Glock…..What,what,what. After all the same guy had input in all three designs and he’s not from Dubai. they just offered enough capital to buy the Bubbit’s designs.

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