Does the SAR9 C offer any advantages or advances from other similarly-sized pistols? Or is it yet another Glock 19 clone? Graham Bates of GBGuns [YouTube channel] gives us the run-down in the video below.
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Unboxing the SAR9 C
As Graham unboxes the pistol, we see that it comes in a hard case with a manual, lock, cleaning gear, a spare magazine, backstraps, and side panels.
Graham makes special mention of the manual and then said something that I found thoughtful: “The better written the manual is, the more the company wants you to understand and know how to use the gun.”
Man, isn’t that the truth? I think we can all recall getting a product with a manual that is barely worth the paper it’s printed on. Sometimes you just get a paper with line drawings that look as if they were drawn by a chimpanzee that was drunk. Barring that, some manuals look as if they were written by a four-year-old.
Graham says that SAR has written a very good manual with large font, clear diagrams, and all technical specs included. This means they probably have a lot of pride in their gun and that it’s a good gun.
The SAR9 C comes complete with two 15-round magazines. They are metal and appear to be sturdily built, complete with witness holes in the rear of the mags and cutouts on both sides (because the magazine release for the pistol is reversible). One magazine has a plastic floor plate, while the other one has a beefier, metal floor plate.
The SAR9 C has a polymer frame with most of the rest of the pistol constructed of steel. The barrel length is four inches, with an overall length of 7.5 inches and a height of 5.5 inches. It weighs 26.8 ounces.
Slide serrations adorn the front of the slide as well as in the rear, where they normally are. Additionally, the front of the slide and frame are radiused, which makes holstering the pistol easier. The front of the trigger guard is textured, for those who like to hook a finger around the front, and the Picatinny rail allows the attachment of various lights and lasers.
The slide release and magazine release both work positively. Graham likes the magazine release because it is elongated, which makes it easy to reach without having to stretch the thumb out.
The SAR9 C’s trigger appears to be very similar to the Glock series of pistols. The trigger is smooth on the face and has the safety lever that Glock introduced decades ago. The red arrow near the back of the trigger lets the user know that the gun is cocked and ready to fire. When the red arrow is not visible, it’s because the trigger is all the way back and the gun is not cocked.
Graham estimates the trigger weight is probably about six pounds. He says the trigger is crisp and feels good, with the normal amount of take-up for this type of combat trigger. He mentions that the trigger has smoothed out with use, which is normal for most triggers.
Underneath the trigger guard, there is a nice, high cut so you can get a good grip on the pistol. Although there are finger grooves on the grip, they are not so pronounced that they are obstructing the grip. Graham is able to get all three fingers on the grip of the pistol, which is a good thing. Also, the grip texture is sufficient for a good grip, but not so abrasive that it is uncomfortable. The pistol does not slip around in the grip while it’s being fired.
The SAR9 C has three interchangeable backstraps and side plates, so the pistol can be customized to fit your grip preferences. This is a trend we’re seeing on many pistols these days, and it shows that manufacturers are paying attention, both to customers’ wants and to what other gun makers are offering. Competition is a good thing!
The three-dot sights have large, white dots that are easy to see. I like that they are large and bright. Constructed of steel, they appear to be very durable. Other manufacturers could take note of this sight picture and emulate it.
Is the SAR9 C just a Glock copy?
Graham says that people are saying that this is a Turkish copy of a Glock. However, this is not so because there is a steel chassis inside the frame of this pistol. The chassis helps with rigidity and firms up the trigger and action of the gun. He also says that it will help the pistol last longer.
I’m not sold on the claim that this pistol will last longer than, say, a Glock. There is at least one Glock 17 that I’m aware of (one of the originals from the late 1980s) that has over 100,000 rounds through it, and it’s still going strong. As far as the steel chassis being a superior design compared to pistols that don’t have one, I’d say the jury is out on that at the moment. Is it superior or just a passing fad? Who’s to know at this point? We do, however, know for certain that polymer pistols without the steel chassis are doing just fine.
Graham mentions that the action has a tight lockup and the recoil spring is fairly stiff. That’s because the SAR9 C was designed as a combat handgun to use NATO 124 grain loads, which are known as being fairly stout for that caliber. Graham says the NATO loads are loaded to about 10% higher pressure than regular 9mm rounds, which is about what we consider in this country to be +P pressure. Although the pistol is not marked as being rated for +P, Graham said that because it is designed for the NATO round, it is considered safe for +P bullets.
The Final Verdict
Graham confesses that, when he first laid hands on the SAR9 C, it seemed like just another “Glock Clone.” However, he says it’s not, and that it shoots rather nicely. He likes the controllability of its size, as he is a fan of larger guns. He likes to get his whole hand on the grip and the longer sight radius. Overall, Graham likes the SAR9 C.
Although this pistol is designated as a Compact version, in my opinion, it is closer to a Service sized pistol. These days, we are seeing some very tiny pistols on the Compact market, many with barrels of around three inches. The trend is toward smaller handguns, for the most part.
Do I see any real advantages in the SAR9 C over other polymer pistols such as the Glock series? Well, it has interchangeable backstraps and side panels so the user can tailor the fit to his or her liking. As mentioned, I’m not certain that the steel chassis insert in the fame is any real advantage. To me, this pistol seems to be somewhat of an imported (from Turkey) competitor to Glock, and I can’t see that it does anything better than a Glock 19 or similar polymer pistol.
If you have any experience with this pistol, we’d love to hear your comments on it.