By Brian Jensen
The first thing I realized at SHOT show this year, was how many firearms companies there are that were new to me. One of these was SAR Arms.
Funny thing is, this company shouldn’t be new to anyone. SAR Arms is the importer / distributor for the Sarslimaz firearms group, who is one of the largest manufacturers of small arms in the world. They are based out of Turkey, and have a 125-year history of making guns of all kinds. They have an extensive line of shotguns, as well as pistols. Some of these pistols are based on the well-respected CZ-75 system. Today, they use state of the art CNC and CAD/CAM systems to make these modern weapons for the world market. Many of these weapons are chosen by Turkey’s military and see time on the battlefield.
I spoke with SAR Arms’ Owner, Kieth Bernkrantz, and who introduced me to their newest line of pistols, the SAR’s: the SAR-9, SAR-40, and SAR-45. As you may have guessed from the names, these guns come in 9 mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.
The SAR line of pistols is a semi-auto, striker-fired weapon with a polymer frame. The SAR-9, pistol was created by Sarslimaz at the request of Turkey’s Military and law enforcement, specifically for a striker-fired pistol. Now SAR Arms is importing the line in the above three calibers.
The general features of the gun are impressive. The gun is fully ambidextrous, meaning that all controls on the left side of the gun have a mirror image on the right. That includes slide release, safety, and a paddle-like magazine release that sits along the edge of the trigger guard, much like that seen on HK pistols. The frame has an integral picatinny rail to mount lights or other accessories, which seems to be the standard with any pistol these days. All SAR series pistols come with three dot sights or optional tritium sights. The frames also come with three backstraps included to fit different hands.
As far as safety, the gun has a manual thumb safety (a-la the 1911 platform), an optional and patented loaded chamber indicator, as well as a passive firing pin safety so common in today’s guns. Also, there is a red striker status indicator on the back of the slide, to let you know the striker system is cocked and ready to fire.
Another, somewhat unusual feature of the gun is the magazines. These guns in 9mm come with a clear-plastic magazine that allows you to see how many remain. This would seem far easier than looking at the holes in the rear of the mag to see how many rounds you have left. 9mm magazines are completely polymer along the sides, while the .40 S&W and .45 ACP magazines have steel sheeting, and it was not clear if they would have this same clear polymer feature. Lastly, the magazines boast an enviable capacity of 17+1 in 9mm, 16+1 in .40 S&W, and 13+1 in .45 ACP.
This is not, however, your usual striker “wonder nine”. The SAR line is all based off the same polymer frame, so they only have to build the one on the assembly line. This is done by yet another patented design, a patented “slider bedding” that is inserted into the frame. Next, the gun is topped with a steel slide assembly for whatever caliber that is being made, but all guns share the same frame.
Barrels are alloyed forged steel with a white chrome finish, or stainless steel. Both have a lifespan, per SAR Arms, of 25,000 rounds.
The SAR line also comes with many options, such as frame colors and slide finishes. Frame colors are listed at this time as black, coyote brown, desert yellow military khaki, and olive green. The slides are stainless or blackened.
As a matter of fact, the gun comes in a kit, containing the gun, three magazines, a cleaning rod/brush, polymer holster, and a double mag pouch.
While at their booth, I had a few minutes to take a look at this little pistol. It fit my hand well, and felt well balanced. Fit and finish was very nice, and the chromed barrel did have a certain, “bling” factor.
The question will be, what makes these weapons your choice? These pistols are made on some of the most modern equipment in the world at Sarlinaz’s factory, with many options people want, but need to pay big money for. It also has numerous options for frame color and slide finish. The SAR’s allow for quality weapons at a value price point. In addition, a good weapon is a good weapon, regardless of where it’s made.
The SAR line will be coming to the US for sales this year, but specific dates for release are still yet to be determined.