SAR 9mm Subcompact Gen 2
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There’s a handful of major manufacturers that we’re all familiar with, making variations of the same handguns they’ve been making for a while. They’re big because they’re a known quality. Every now and then I love to take a crack at smaller companies to see if they’re making the next handgun that will upend the old guard, the next Glock-in waiting.  It’s with that mindset I’m approaching the SAR9 Subcompact Gen 2 in 9mm.

SAR 9mm Subcompact Gen 2
Look familiar?

As a lesser known company to most, here’s background on SAR from their own website.

SAR Firearms is the new identity of SAR USA Corp. Founded in 2017 based in Miami, FL, brought the Turkish Sarsilmaz handguns to the US market with innovation and advancement. As the exclusive U.S. importer for all firearms and ammunition products produced by Sarsilmaz Silah Sanayi, a renowned firearms manufacturer based in Istanbul, Turkey, will continue the innovation of the brand. Sarsilmaz Silah Sanayi has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1880, Sarsilmaz has emerged as one of the largest and most respected firearms manufacturers in the world. SAR Firearms collaborated with Sarsilmaz to develop the third generation of the SAR9, a proven and reliable handgun. As an independent and sovereign company, SAR Firearms is committed to enhancing and updating the legacy of the SAR9 handgun line.

Features

Here’s the tech specs on the SAR9 Subcompact Gen 2:

  • Polymer Frame
  • 3.3-in. Barrel
  • 6.4-in. Overall Length
  • 22.2-oz. Weight
  • Forged Steel Barrel & Slide
  • Cerakote Finish
  • Striker & Trigger Safety
  • Tritium Sights (Bright Green On The Front)
  • 10-, 12- and 15-round capacities available
  • Shield RMSc Optic Cut, with Cover Plate
The tritium sights on the SAR Subcompact Gen 2 9mm were extremely vivid and eye-catching.

So, the SAR9 Gen 2 is very similar to Glocks and the many other similar striker-fired handguns like Sig, Walther and CZ among others. When I pulled the SAR out of the box, I had to do a quick web search to see if it was dimensionally a clone of those, much as PSA’s Dagger is. It isn’t. The SAR9 Gen 2 9mm is definitely its own gun. This means it uses its own holsters, which thankfully SAR offers for sale so there’s an easy option if you don’t want to go chase one down. The test and evaluation SAR came with two mags, one 10-rounder and a 15-rounder.

My first impressions of SAR’s Gen2 9mm were extremely favorable. Excellent grip shape, impeccable texturing, I loved the slide cutouts for their grip, the tritium sights were extremely vivid and eye-catching. There was a lot of oohing and aahing. It’s been a while since a gun has impressed me this much out of the box.

So, the SAR Gen 2 is very similar to Glocks and the many other similar striker-fired handguns like Sig, Walther and CZ among others.

So I started some dry fire and manipulation drills. I like the slide stop and mag release, both are positioned well for me, which isn’t super common. The trigger is pretty much on par with the rest of the factory striker fired guns of late. Operating the gun felt crisp and snappy.

I ran into my first snag with the extended 15-round mag. The additional length of magazine is covered by a bit of plastic that extends the lines of the grip frame downwards.  This bit of plastic simply slides down over the top of the mag. The problem I had was there was no way to get the mag to easily drop free when released with this extra bit on it, the grip segment pressed a little too far back into my palm. The shorter mag dropped free with no problem. So, either one mag is drop free and the other isn’t, or I have to remove that section of grip and leave an ugly, snag-prone, naked section where the extended mag sticks down.

SAR 9mm Subcompact Gen 2
The grip extension on the 15-round mag snagged me.

Where Bullets Meet the Steel

On to shooting. I really like the SAR 9’s recoil impulse, and the grip texture is very effective at keeping the gun in position.

The author liked the SAR 9’s recoil impulse, and the grip texture was effective at keeping the gun in position.

The trigger and sights are both better than an OEM Glock, providing a little more “hot rod” and a little less “pickup truck.”  Despite having a bit of creep, I felt like the trigger was always doing what I wanted, when I wanted. The sights really grabbed my attention, and lined up quick.

Target acquisition was quick and clear with the bright tritium sights.

So far, absolutely every component has continued to WOW me. Which is why it was so baffling when my groups were not what I expected. Not just groups, even individual shots weren’t landing predictably. Slow trigger pulls for “target” shooting, quick shots, nothing hit where I wanted. This was the case with the first four different types of ammo I tried, from 80 grain to 115 grain.

The author tested a variety of ammo with the SAR.

I figured “this is a new gun, might just need a break in.” Maybe a stray burr on the barrel?  None were visible to me, but still I ran another 250 rounds through to check if this is a one-off machining oopsie, which does happen in production from time to time. So, I kept shooting. I spent this time practicing reflexive shooting drills and contact distance holster draws. Thankfully, Federal sent a good amount of their Syntech Training Match ammo.

The Federal Syntech Training Match ammo worked great in the SAR Subcompact Gen 2.

Did the accuracy improve?

Yes it did! Quite thankfully, accuracy is now on (my) par for subcompact guns. Initially, I was shooting groups almost 3x the size of what I normally drop with my Glock 43x. Near the end of my final shooting session my reflexive fire was almost comparable with the G43x, and slow aimed fire exceeded my usual performance with the Glock.

So far I haven’t mentioned reliability at all. My favorite kind of gun is one where you don’t even think about reliability, because it’s not an issue. The SAR handgun ran through flat nose, ball, JHP and monolithic hollow-point ammo without a problem. I’m looking at around 700 rounds so far without cleaning or lube and not a hang up one. I’d call that a good start.

Wrap Up

SAR Firearms might not be introducing a whole new type of firearm, but the Subcompact Gen 2 is a highly refined version of the extremely popular polymer framed, striker-fired design. With an optics cut slide, heavy grip texturing, a workable trigger, tritium sights and quality cerakoting, the SAR 9 Subcompact Gen 2 brings plenty of features to the table.  Once past the initial hiccups, which I still can’t explain, this developed into a really nice handgun to shoot.

The SAR9 Subcompact Gen 2 has an MSRP of $469.99 (black), or $479.99 (platinum, green, bronze), with a street price around $20 cheaper than the current MSRP.  It’s definitely worth checking out!

 

Read more articles and reviews by Jens “Rex Nanorum” Hammer or follow him on Instagram @rexnanorum.

 

Check out Ammo To Go, the ammunition retail sponsor of TTAG. Get your bulk and quality ammo for a bargain by visiting their site

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49 COMMENTS

    • She brags on buying a brand new in the box gun knowing that it will be sub par and knowing she will have to work on it.

      Only on the internet do you see such bizarre junk.

      • To whom it may concern…Good job showing your ignorance of firearms. Fortunately long ago those like Jim Clark Sr. weren’t dumbfuks who looked at a quirky 1911 and saw the glass as half empty and instead made Gunsmith History contrary to naysayers. Same apllies now for the once demonized plastic Glock that enjoys an huge following and aftermarket and now there is Canik, Sar, etc. The only way the Turkey firearm market fails is if quality drops, unfortuately for hypocrite Made-In bigots who have Made in China devices all around them failure in the market does not look to be happening anytime soon. Choke on it…

        • I’ve a few made in China gunms, NORINCO brand.
          And theres the deal.
          Foreign imports.
          With the stroke of a pen any imported gunm can be easily banned.
          All of my NORINCO brand firegunms can use U.S. made replacement parts if need be. Those parts should be( should be, nothing is for certain) obtainable, 20, 40 years down the road.
          Will Sars be able to make the same claim?
          And as far as the woman in the video you posted, I’m guessing she would be just as proficient with a Glock or Taurus.

  1. I’ve just recently purchased a Sar9.
    And as DebbieW says they are good gunms with a little tweaking.
    All it took to fix mine was a bench grinder, a blowtorch and a gallon of gasoline.

    • right pinocchio.

      Gotta like the trigger looks and features like night sights which are about a bill plus installation for disgruntled arsonists. Besides the optic plate the other extra appears to be a steel captured spring instead of a polymer. At least the 3 dots indicate the optional steel version for the Sar9. If I were to purchase one for what has become extreme risk grocery getting it would be Black and from Reeds Outdoors.
      .

      • Those particular tritium sights are radioactive.
        Put a Geiger counter up to them.
        Eventually they will burn your eyes out, your skin will fall off and you’ll start speaking Japanese.

  2. Nice looking piece. Innards appear more Glock than the chassis designed Sar9. Unlike my 3 manual safety Sar9s that are tweaked with tricks I’m not disclosing on this forum this little guy appears to be an out of the box what it is Gun similar to the set in its ways Taurus G3C.

    Much to the dismay of the bigoted Made-In crowd Sar has gained a huge following. And as time goes on and people strive to get the best bang for the buck the Made-In bigots will fade away like those who were applaud to see Toyota at NHRA, NASCAR, Vance & Heins running Suzuki, etc.

    Not for snowflakes…

    • … so you think you can walk into a Suzuki or Toyota showroom and buy anything off of the floor that has ANY parts in common with a VHR or JGR / 23XI product, or even a BlueOval or Bowtie effort?
      Come on Debs – I know a broken watch is right twice a day, ummm, hate to say, but, it’s still
      BROKEN !

    • drama? Do you mean fear of stepping out of line and suffering the wrath from the do it for me dumbfuks who like to hear themselves talk? By chance are you the kind of Gun Store wimp who whispers they want to see a Sar to the counterman for fear others may hear the request? If so allow me to help you out noid…Just say: I WOULD LIKE TO SEE YOUR CANIK AND SAR LINE. Practice until you get it right.

  3. Just to nitpick… that pic from the rear show the slide riding slightly canted (not level) on the frame and the slide has been rubbing the frame at the back of the rails.

    • There’s a little nub of plastic sticking out the back of from the rubbing. Noticeable in the ‘disassembled’ pic too.

      • Nothing a bench grinder a blowtorch and a gallon of gasoline can’t take care of.
        Tweak it, but I ain’t telling how.

        • fungun…In the injection molding world the nub is called flashing. The slide on striker fired handguns of the type tend to lift on the right rear and some slides shift as the trigger is pulled. The play at the guide rails is there so the slides can easily interchange and the weapon will function dirty. I.E. If you know how to properly spread receiver rails so a slide fits snug for accuracy another slide may not fit the modified receiver. Its like most AR-15 upper receivers where the takedown pin bore is actually a Slot, if the bore was round the receivers from one maker to another may prevent upper interchange. Of course matched AR receivers are different.
          Surprised you did not notice the off center rear sight.

          • Debbie:
            If that really is molding flash, it should have been removed in the factory before boxing and shipping. If it isn’t molding flash, there is something very wrong with that gun.

  4. I’ve gotten some good holsters from Turkey. Got ‘em via Amazon Prime. Cal .38 is the maker. Gotten holsters for pistols and revolvers and the fit, stitching, and price were all exceptional. Handwritten “thank you” notes are even included which is a nice touch.

  5. The only downside with Sar is replacement parts can be a pain especially parts for the FCG, availability should improve in time.

  6. Besides, I have an H&K 91, and safes full of other rifles. Go try to annoy someone else for a minute.

  7. I don’t see any mention of overall height or width in the specs or the review. Those dimensions are important for a lot of people who carry and are likely omitted because they aren’t competitive numbers.

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