Gun Review: Sarsilmaz SAR 9

SAR 9

Gun manufacturers are in love with the Walther PPQ M2. Remington’s RP9 is basically a photocopy, offering the same ergonomics and overall design. Heckler & Koch may hate you but they love the M2; the HK VP9 bears more than a passing resemblance to PPQ. The Sarsilmaz SAR 9 falls into the same category of top-heavy, striker-fired handguns. But at least there are some design choices that on the surface which make the SAR 9 more interesting.

Sarsilmaz SAR 9

Picking up the SAR 9 for the first time, the ergonomics are spot-on. While the SAR 9’s finger grooves are GLOCKish, they’re understated and smooth in the great Waltherian tradition. The Turk’s grip provides just the right balance of purchase and comfort, semi-customizable with a replaceable backstrap.

Also appreciated: the grooves at the base of the grip. Even though the SAR 9’s magazine drops free at the press of a button, the grooves are great for malfunction clearing. You can rip a mag out of the gun in partial seconds.

Less well designed: the SAR 9’s frame-mounted safety.

Sarsilmaz SAR 9

When it comes to preventing a negligent discharge, frame-mounted safeties are an extra protection, welcomed by many. When it comes to armed self-defense, shooters need to be able to switch off a frame-mounted safety quickly and efficiently. Instinctively. Imagine being attacked by a large person with a machete; an angry pile of carbon advancing towards you that needs to assume room temperature ASAP. Now imagine fumbling with your handgun’s safety.

This SAR 9’s safety’s slim profile makes the gun great for sliding in and out of holsters. The low-profile switch also makes it extremely difficult to apply enough pressure to switch it on or off. If I had to guess, I’d say It takes roughly half the weight of a fully loaded 747 to move the safety from the “safe” to “fire” position. In short, when you really need to disengage the SAR 9’s safety it will be nearly impossible to move.

The SAR 9’s recalcitrant frame-mounted safety pretty much excludes the gun from competition consideration. Typically, competitors must engage the safety when discarding the handgun for another firearm. On a GLOCK or GLOCK-like handgun with a trigger safety, competitors simply put the gun down. The SAR 9’s safety would lead to a solid thirty seconds of fumbling at the dump box. No bueno.

What’s up with that? Federal law requires certain safety features on imported handguns.To satisfy these requirements, Turkey’s sole official supplier to the police and military slapped a safety on an otherwise striker fired-only handgun with the expectation that no one would ever actually flip it on. And yet, here we are.

Sarsilmaz SAR 9

The SAR 9 uses a typical split trigger striker-fired design. The trigger functions as it should, with a reasonably clean break and a Walther-like quick reset. But it feels like a cheap imitation of a good trigger — wobbly, gritty, and generally displeasing. It’s the GoBots to GLOCK’s Transformers: a poorly made imitation that feels flimsy and rough on the edges.

Speaking of poorly made items with holes in the quality control process that rival the plot holes in terrible movies

Sarsilmaz SAR 9

The gun ships with a set of three dot sights. Well, two dots and what appears to be a sperm.

Some quality control issues I can overlook. In this case I literally can’t — I’m forced to see SAR’s lack of quality control every time I fire the gun. Gritty triggers and extra flashing on internal components I can understand. There’s no excuse for shipping a gun with defective sights.

If extremely obvious problems can fall through the cracks, I start to question what else might have slipped through.

Sarsilmaz SAR 9

The SAR 9 takes down just like a GLOCK (and every other non-GLOCK GLOCK). That said, the takedown levers on either side of the SAR 9’s frame are easier to manipulate than Gaston’s gear. So there is that.

target

Out on the range the gun performs admirably. The trigger feels a bit gritty, but otherwise it’s acceptable. The pistol actually shoots rather soft for firearms of its size and weight in my opinion — I was able to get the gun back on target quickly and without a whole lot of effort. Accuracy is good, and the gun feeds reliably using both steel and brass ammunition. The one note I will put here is that Blazer steel cased ammunition has an interesting quirk in this gun where the spent cases will tend to fly directly into your face. So be warned, and wear your eye protection.

Sarsilmaz SAR 9

Overall the SAR 9 is a good not great gun, further hobbled by a safety switch that needs immediate rectification. If the Turkish import was priced in the Hi-Point price range, fair enough. At an MSRP of $449, with less troubled firearms like the Remington RP9 retailing for $170, it’s a non-starter. These days there’s not enough room in the market for a poorly made firearm, at any price.

SPECIFICATIONS

Sarsilmaz SAR 9

  • Finish: Blued steel
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Trigger: Striker fired
  • Magazine Capacity: 17
  • Sights: Fixed three(ish) dot
  • MSRP: $449

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Fit and Finish *
Gritty, wobbly, and with some extra paint thrown in on the sights for no additional charge.

Function * * * *
It works fine.

Accuracy * * * *
It works fine.

Overall Rating *
Over twice as expensive as a better quality firearm and shipping with a mandatory, yet almost unusable safety. This doesn’t sound like a winning combination to me.

comments

  1. avatar Mmmtacos says:

    Looks like a poor man’s VP9.

    Also look for their ST-9, a poor man’s Walther P99 and their ST-10, a poor man’s USP albeit with a metal frame which is kind of neat. I think y’all even reviewed that one and liked it…

    1. avatar TheUnspoken says:

      Yeah the grips have the current HK “Batman” look but slide looks more Walter like to me. Doesn’t sound like a winner though, might as well go VP9, PPQ, or glock, m&p, CZ, Steyr, etc or even tp9sa.

      1. avatar Jack Bissette says:

        ….comical! ….TP SA9 and Steyr are made in one of two of the very same plants. ….and Turkish handguns have had far fewer issues than Walther or HK of late. …please study, own and shoot these firearms before racing off in the land of la-la.

  2. avatar former water walker says:

    I have never fired a Sar. But it sure gets a lot of love on FB. It’s a no go for me supporting a Muslim dictatorship…

  3. avatar WI Patriot says:

    Looking more and more like Hi-Points everyday…

  4. avatar Setarip says:

    Looks like they even copied HK’s grip inserts. I wonder if that’s a patent infringement (I think HK has a patent for the grip). For that price of $449, why wouldn’t you just get a Glock or a VP9?

    1. avatar OMIe says:

      There is so many ignorant gullible Americans lose in society this is a fact…
      Turkiye is NATO ally country .Make sure you write somewhere corner into your little brain ( Remember Cuba crisis, Korean war, Incirlik air base..)
      Some nations cannot digest that Turkish economy getting stronger every day Lockheed Martin has plant in Turkiye making YES all the JSF planes and satellite defense systems as well as other projects
      Some of your narrow-minded comments will not tackle it down Turkish goals.
      For the Turkish guns, they are the BEST guns and seriously treat the major brand name guns in the market. Customers look three things price, dependable and accuracy and all the Turkish guns offer more than that.
      So if you looking all the quality you should NOT buy just try out these guns then you will understand and make decisions whatever fits you best.

      1. avatar Larry Folds says:

        I have several SARs and I can’t wait to trade or sell them. Only one of them is worth what I paid. Junk.

    2. These guns are selling under 400 dollars some places for 330 dollars watched someone use one at a match and was not disappointed in the performance and I prefer a manual safety on a firearm review said it was hard to manipulate but may need oiled and worked to loosen up

    3. …..because these firearms will shoot circles around a Glock and are better made than the VP 9! I have (98) handguns. Ranging from $229.00 CZ 82’s to $5,000 Custom 1911’s. Carried a Glock for (26) years in uniform and taught another 6,000 as a instructor. This firearm which I own one is nothing less than spectacular! Glock’s. Which I’ve been around many. Have had many catastrophic failures and issues. Fan-boys make this info near impossible to get out to the public. HK (like SIG) have had a plentiful issues from sights flying off to the 9mm being under-sprung. As a matter of fact. HK has recommended to many customers to find a 40 cal. spring and install it! I have approx. (5) Turkish handguns and almost all will shoot circles around their clones. So….before you opine on ignorance on a particular handgun or manufacture…..know the product and the history. For example. All Turkish handguns have barrels made in the world’s oldest barrel manufacturing plant. In the 1700’s they were making cannons. And now….they produce all cold hammered forged barrels! Also……all Turkish handguns leave their respective plants 2X exceeding NATO standards on handgun performance. Not once. No matching. Twice exceeding! I’ll shoot pistol for pistol against anybody with any firearm!

  5. avatar J.T. says:

    “Federal law requires certain safety features on imported handguns.To satisfy these requirements, Turkey’s sole official supplier to the police and military slapped a safety on an otherwise striker fired-only handgun with the expectation that no one would ever actually flip it on.”

    It seems like every other manufacture doesn’t need to add an extra safety. The trigger tab should satisfy that requirement.

  6. avatar GS650G says:

    I’ll take my PPQ out and fire the real thing instead of a knockoff.

    1. avatar Jack Bissette says:

      ….comical. …..if you knew half as much as you think you do…..then you’d know that PPQ are absolute JUNK! …they (Walther) use a (2) pc barrel where the chamber is a MIM’d part! …..MIM’d components are a safety issue and can shatter like glass! ….take a MIM’d slide stop and a forged. ….lay them on a Anvil and hit them both with a hammer. ….you’ll see your Walther crap fly everywhere. ….and I won’t bother to mention barrel axis, ergonomics, or the fact that all Turkish handgun barrels are made in the world’s oldest barrel (1700’s where they made cannon’s) manufacturing plant on the planet. …all cold hammered forged and have a 50,000 rnd (+) count. …..they are by most accounts……far superior to western made firearms.

  7. avatar JoeBaja says:

    Kinda dirty pool comparing street price to msrp – though the Remy does have a $100 rebate. CDNN sells the SARGUN for the same money as the RP9 pre-rebate. Bummer about the QC on this one though. I have K2-45 and an ST-10 and they are both flawless. But a safety that isn’t unconscious to operate is a nonstarter.

  8. avatar PeterK says:

    Wow. Yeah that gun at that price is… not enticing.

  9. avatar Higgs says:

    I have looked at the SAR product line for a while. There bp6 line looks better than some of there other products, but that’s a low bar. When handling they just feel off compared to many other guns.

    Frankly if I am buying a Turkish handgun I will get something from Canik. I own a tp9 any have fired several of their Cz clones. All are solid guns a decent prices.

    1. avatar Joel says:

      Caniks are good pistols. I’ve shot a few as well.

    2. avatar Jack Bissette says:

      ….ordering a SAR 9 tonight! ….these Turkish handguns are far superior than most western firearms manufactures. …..and this is coming from a (26) year uniform professional and prior Firearms Instructor for the State of GA. ……the influence is far more CZ than HK. …just look at the barrel axis. …not to mention their prior Military firearm was a CZ-75 clone. ….they are (and so am I) huge CZ fans. ……but I’m going to let someone’s narrow minded review deter me.

    3. avatar HITMAN says:

      I HAVE A TRI-STAR CANIK-55 9MM.MAN IT’S A QUALITY PISTOL,FUNCTIONED FLAWLESSLY AT THE RANGE JUST A ALL A ROUND RELIABLE PISTOL.

  10. avatar Defens says:

    It’s interesting that the one you reviewed has a manual safety. In this month’s Firearms News (issue 25) there’s a full page ad for this handgun on the inside front cover – same specs and MSRP, this photo doesn’t show a safety.

    I somewhat question the assertion that the thumb safety was required to meet import requirements. I bought a Girsan MC-28 last year around this time – striker-fired M&P Turkish clone, basically. It shoots great, and doesn’t have a thumb safety, either.

  11. avatar joetast says:

    Steel gets rusty, plastic cracks. ” Didn’t grandpa have any guns?” Dad says ” Well he did, but they were plastic “

  12. avatar charles martel says:

    support the jihadist country of Turkey

  13. avatar Big Al says:

    Steel-cased Blazer??? Last I looked, they were either aluminum or brass cased.? Not into Turk/Russian/Chinese guns and/or ammo.

    1. avatar Matt o says:

      Yes! I too wish to know more about this mythical ammo!

  14. avatar Mark D says:

    Sperm!

  15. avatar Jeremy J says:

    If a ppq/vp9/m&p/glock had an orgy this is what you would get. Sars innovation seems to be copying every mainstream handgun made. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but I typically go for the real thing. I would like to see someone do a 5000 round review on this gun

  16. avatar DrRJP says:

    First of all the RP9 like its Remington predecessors, is a piece of junk.

    Secondly, call me old-fashioned, but I cannot, in good conscience, buy a weapon made by a repressive, West-hating Islamic dictatorship whose leader envisions himself as the next Caliph of a revived Ottoman Empire.

    There are too many guns made here in America and by our allies than to help finance our enemies.

    1. avatar TG says:

      This is a private company that has no affliation with the Government of Turkey…They do business with NATO Countries and that includes the USA…who has been buying off them for decades…do your homework

  17. avatar TG says:

    The mis painting can happen to quality firearms as was my glock 26 when i got it….Sar makes some of the best firearms there is….I would put my Sar K2 45 against any 45 and that includes Sig as well. I also own a Sarsilmaz Mega 2000 (cz75 clone..which is of higher quality then the cz75) fit and finish are excellent…I would not rate a whole company on one firearm. Further those who are whing about it being a Muslim Country…This company is a Private company who has been in business since 1880 and does business with Nato Countries. The US Government buys from them as well….so get over yourselves!!

    1. Don’t let these people rattle you l own a sar b6p compact cost 230 dollars under 260 dollars with tax and call in l also have a Springfield XDM 5.25 and a Walther ppq navy for the money spent l have absolutely no complaints about the sar remember old school gun guys didn’t like glock when they first hit the market now it’s the most popular with the most aftermarket support of any handgun I’m not a big glock fan but I’ve seen this sar9 well under 400 dollars and I’m liking it more and more like the manual safety also like the sar CM9 gen 2 9mm for under 350 dollars it’s similar to my RIA mapp TCM9r compact l like to be different rather lead than follow

  18. avatar Oldbaldguy says:

    The political comments about Sar supporting terrorism are just ignorant, so I won’t go any further about it.
    The super stiff safety thing seems common on Turkish guns for some reason. Get a little exercise and flip the thing on and off a hundred times and problem solved. A friend’s Tristar P-100 took about 200 flips to loosen up. The “sperm” on one of my guns, (Made in the USA, BTW) was resolved by taking my thumbnail and scraping off the “tail”. It took about 3 seconds. I haven’s shot a Sar 9, I’m kind of a hammer and TDA guy, but the one I dry fired seemed OK, like a lot of “split” or bladed triggers. Another thing I don’t like.

  19. avatar Paul says:

    Sounds like the writer had an axe to grind before he wrote the article. I own two Turkish-made handguns, a SAR B6P and a CM9 Gen 2, a Canik TP9SA, and a Tristar P-100, and I’d put them up against any other guns I own. Flimsy they are not. Cheap they are not. In fact, the fit and finish of the SAR barrels and inside of the slide are better than my Glocks, S&Ws, and Rugers. No, SAR doesn’t have the brand-name cachet of the big boys, but they shoot great and are reliable. Not to mention, they cost a fraction of what the big boys charge. Give up your Glock or H&K for a SAR? Probably not. But at least give these guns credit. I’ll add a SAR9 to my collection soon.

  20. avatar Dave Jones says:

    Funny, Sweeney just gave it a glowing review in my latest Guns and Ammo. I’ve heard nothing but crap about the RP9.

  21. avatar Byron Rainer says:

    The Sar9 looks exactly like the Ruger American minus the finger grooves. Makes me say hmmmm. All these gun makers are copying each other.

  22. avatar Jeff Harkins says:

    I own two Glocks. They both say Made in Austria on them. I assume this means they are imported, yet I can locate no frame safety on them. What gives?

    1. I think they are made in Georgia at least newer one are

  23. avatar Scott says:

    Ii have owned an SAR 9 for about 3 months. Paid $359 plus shipping, $376 out the door.
    I really like the gun. It feels good, is very accurate, and has been 100% reliable at about 700 rounds. The trigger was a tiny bit gritty at first but that has smoothed out over time. Fit and finish on my gun was very nice. my only complaint was that one of the magazines didn’t drop free. I called the distributer and had a new one sent out free of charge within a week. However my favorite part of the gun is it’s soft recoil. I’m getting up there in years and notice things like this more and more. I really recommend it!

  24. avatar Hank says:

    Have had mine for 2 months. Only been able to shoot about 150 rounds so far. But the trigger is smooth, the accuracy excellent, and function, flawless. I don’t know where the other issues are coming from with his SAR. Also, most issues with this pistol have been attributed to user error.

  25. avatar Tyler Marshall says:

    I own 5 different models (B6P, B6Pc, CM9, ST9, K2 45) of Sar pistols and every single one has been excellent. None have ever had any sort of failure and are exceptionally accurate. It is always amazing how inexpensive they are and how much they out perform my expensive pistols.

    Since this is one of the Sar line I have not purchased yet, I do not have anything to add about this one and will not be as ignorant as most of the other posters that recommend buying something else in place without any experience. This is one of a few handguns to receive a NSN and it surpassed all the other big names in durability. Walthers, Remingtons, HK VP9 and the S&W M&P line could never even dream of receiving a NSN so touting those as superior is a reflection of ignorance.

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