We first saw the Caracal at Media Day at the Range, SHOT Show 2012. Little did we know that Caracal would be the most common name we’d see at the show. They spent a ton of money, but the gun just doesn’t come in at the price point they are looking for.
Caracal Company Presentation Video
This is the company video, and we really respect them for taking the American consumer firearm market seriously and putting together such a huge and expensive effort for SHOT Show. It is worth watching this video.
Ben shot this gun at Media Day and it did shoot well. Most likely if they sent us a gun it would get a fantastic review. If they find a way to bring the gun in for less money it will be a force in the US market, but not at $500.
This is a capture from the video of the proposed retail packaging. We didn’t see the orange grip inserts at the show, nor did we see anything resembling this mature of a product.
We will be happy to let the Caracal guys fly us over the Abu Dhabi (you know like in Sex in the City II) to check out the factory, but it isn’t going to make this a $500 gun.
Note that it is illegal to put a foregrip on a pistol if it is not a registered SBR, whether the shoulder stock is on or not.
All beginnings are difficult, but the folks in Abu Dhabi seem to have figured out how to do a heck of a lot of other stuff right, so something tells us they will figure out a way to crack this nut as well. For now, I’m sure NSSF is grateful that they came to the SHOT Show for 2012, and we all hope to see them back next year. The website appears to have a rifle product coming as well. Bring it on!
The award for the biggest spender at SHOT Show this year goes to a new gun company from the United Arab Emirates, based in Abu Dhabi, called Caracal. I didn’t know this at the show, but the Caracal is actually a type of big cat, common in Africa and the Middle East. It was once thought to be a Lynx, but it isn’t one, and for some reason this company decided to use it as its name. Makes a lot more sense than pulling it out of a hat, but could perhaps be ill advised regardless. We’ll see.
At SHOT Show you couldn’t miss Caracal. They wrapped the show buses in Caracal artwork, and at the top of the stairs leading to the dungeon where the GunsAmerica booth was housed (along with half the industry), was what had to be a 75 x 30 foot banner. The Caracal booth was also in the dungeon, but it was very large and clearly a custom made piece of work costing upwards of 100k. If there is any actual return on a big SHOT Show investment, we’ll see this year if Caracal takes off. Don’t hold your breath.
The gun itself we got to shoot at Media Day at the Range, on Monday before the show, and it shoots pretty well, but is nothing special. We asked and the price point is in the $500 range, which we thought a little steep for an immature product to the American market. You can get real guns for that. As of the end of the show they were still trying to make a deal for distribution, so who knows if we will even see it in the US this year at all. But at that price it will most likely be a non-starter, regardless.
From what we could determine, there are three things that make this gun fairly unique. First is that it has a hard rubber grip insert, so the grip isn’t all hard plastic. I can’t say we noticed this on the test guns at range day, but if you watch the video we have included here, it appears that the market gun will have what appears to be an orange grip insert, which would make the gun more holdable than a plastic-only grip, theoretically speaking.
There are also only 28 parts in the gun, which the Caracal people claim is the least parts in a polymer pistol. We have not tried to verify this, and will if it turns out this gun actually matters. We should mention that this is not a new design of firearm. This company has been making guns, they claimed, for 7 years, and this particular model was designed for all of the military firearm trials worldwide, including choosing a new service pistol for US forces.
The big thing, as you can see from the pictures and video, is that it is made for a shoulder stock. As officially “not a fan” of shoulder stocks for pistols, we can’t say that this makes the gun any more or less marketable. Without a carbine-length 16″ barrel for the US market this would be relegated to Short Barrel Rifle status with the shoulder stock, and available only to police and those willing to pay an extra $200 tax for it. I don’t feel that compared to the Hi-Point, CX4, Sub-2000 and other existing pistol caliber carbines in the US market that there would be any interest at all at this price point, even with the carbine kit.
The Caracal itself would probably get a good review, at $300. That is where it could compete effectively, and there it would give many guns in that price point a run for their money. It did seem to work well, and if you watch the video, these people don’t spare any expense in manufacturing it appears. With a good product, a heavy ad budget, and high hopes, you can do a lot in the US gun market, but you have to hit the price point if you want to sell guns.
Please note that we will not be letting any negative comments about the UAE being an Arab nation through on this article. The UAE is a Western nation that has been one of the most friendly to the US and its allies, and that is a center of Western commerce in the middle east. They are known to be active participants in shooting sports worldwide, and they are part of a very small family of the nations that the US has always been able to count on. We wish this product was stronger at its price point and that we had high hopes for it, but we just don’t see it. There are a number of mature products in the US market already at that price, and they are great guns, and much better looking than the Caracal. We felt that they should at least be mentioned in our coverage because of all the money they paid to NSSF for SHOT. Hopefully they will find a way to bring in the guns cheaper, and get rid of the big eared cat. It is silly.