Revival: Improved and Accurate Caracal Enhanced F Quick Sight System— Full Review

Something New

The pistol market is always looking for innovation, but something truly new is rare. We’re talking hen’s teeth made out of unicorn horn rare. The good idea fairy runs rampant in the industry, but it usually yields highly suspect results. However, this week my own state of Idaho handed us a winner.

The Caracal Enhanced F Quick Sight System functioned flawlessly on the range and the sights were easy for the author to acquire.

Caracal is back, and they are better than ever. After a very limited release and subsequent full recall a few years ago, new Enhanced F pistols are finally available again. You can tell a lot about a company by how they handle a problem, and Caracal was all class in the recall. They never denied they had an issue, although problems were not widespread. They also didn’t lower the price and move on like nothing happened. They bought back or exchanged every pistol, and implemented design changes even though that meant you couldn’t buy a Caracal pistol in the United States for years. I have good news: It was worth the wait.

Quick Sight System

The test model I received is the Quick Sight System. If you have never held an Enhanced F pistol, you need to. The ergonomics of the gun are mind boggling, and if you are a pistol ninja, you’re going to like it. The grip fits your hand like it’s an extension of your body, and the grip angle is reminiscent of the German influence on the firearm’s design. This causes the pistol to point instinctively at the target when you raise the gun, and the sights fall naturally in your line of sight. If you are coming from anything else polymer-framed, the learning curve is near zero.

SPECS

  • Type: Striker-fired, double-action
  • Cartridges: 9mm
  • Capacity: 18+1 rds.
  • Overall Length: 7 in.
  • Barrel Length: 4 in.
  • Weight: 1 lb., 12 oz.
  • Trigger: 5 lbs., 8 oz. (tested)
  • Grips: Polymer
  • Finish: Matte black
  • Sights: Quick Sight System
  • MSRP: $599

Article continues below.

Ergonomics

Solid design and engineering went into the ergonomics of the slide. The Caracal Enhanced F Quick Sight System incorporates a full-length steel guide rod.

The second thing you will immediately notice is the incredibly low bore axis. It’s even better than the CZ P-10, and that was pretty low. I don’t have a mathematical certainty on this, but I would wager it is the lowest bore axis of any pistol I have ever shot. This translates into very low felt recoil and muzzle flip, which keeps the gun on target for fast follow up shots. This baby was built to be used.

The unique feature of the Quick Sight System is exactly that, the sights. This is pretty hard to miss as it gives the pistol a unique silhouette. The rear sight has been moved forward of the ejection port, which is unique to say the least. This results in a very short sight radius, which is very quick to acquire. The common wisdom has always been that a longer sight radius is better for accurate shots, but a shorter one is quicker to achieve. That’s the basic physics of a pivot point.

The crisp trigger pull broke at 5.5 pounds on the author’s trigger pull scale.

This reflects that Caracal built this pistol for a specific purpose. I don’t expect to see these at Camp Perry anytime soon, but pistols were never really intended to be a ranged weapon. Pistols are meant for engaging close-range targets quickly. The Quick Sight System excels at this task. The rear notch is wide, which also aids in acquisition. The really crazy part about this setup, however, was how accurate it shot. A 2½-inch sight radius should be less than ideal for tight shots, but I had no problem in failure drills or small plates at the range. I’m looking forward to further testing. I’ll take one for the team and run another couple hundred rounds through this pistol in the coming weeks to find out.

The Limited-Edition Enhanced F pistol ships in a branded hard case with two 18-round magazines, a cleaning kit, a cable lock, and a user manual.

The sights are rounded for carrying, and the rear sight is built into the slide, which makes them great in that they are snag free. The problem with any smooth sight on a pistol is the same, it makes one hand manipulation of the slide extremely difficult. Caracal must have had some real gunfighters in the design process because they solved this problem. At the back of the slide, where a rear sight would normally sit, is a shallow shelf cut into the slide. This cut is small enough to not affect CCW, but sharp enough to allow you to do any one hand slide manipulation you can think of. It’s a small but important detail. Well played Caracal.

There are plenty of other features to be happy about with the Enhanced F pistol. Front and rear cocking serrations are aggressive and tall enough to be useful. The takedown lever and magazine release are fully ambidextrous, though the slide release is not. The trigger, considering it cocks the striker in the first phase of pull, is surprisingly crisp. Not 1911 good, but for a polymer striker fired pistol, well within the acceptable range. There is some takeup, but nothing outside the norm. Once it breaks, it breaks clean. The slide release is better than most. It protrudes about a .125 of an inch from the frame, which makes it easy to manipulate, but not big enough to snag clothing. The polymer frame has enough texture to assist your grip, but not overly aggressive. For a CCW gun it is great, but for a duty gun you will still want some skateboard tape, in my opinion. There is a front dustcover rail for lights or lasers, which is pretty much expected in this day and age.

The Caracal Enhanced F worked well on the close-range targets.

Range Time

The best way to describe the look of this pistol is sturdy. Looks can be deceiving, and we only ran about 500 rounds through the gun this weekend for initial testing. But sturdy best describes the design of this pistol. There are big, chunky steel metal parts for the extractor and locking block. And I mean steel; they’re not some of the pot-metal trash we have seen on cheap pistols in the last year. The slide parts are held in by roll pins. You won’t be taking this apart with a plastic punch. The recoil spring is both large in diameter and thick. The guide rod and barrel lug are much beefier that a normal 9mm. We will see how this pistol holds up to the abuse of daily use, but I have high hopes for it from a design perspective.

The interior of the pistol is beefier than your average polymer-framed pistol.

The limited-edition Enhanced F pistols currently on the market have a slide and upper parts made by Caracal USA at the Wilcox Industries facility in New Hampshire. The frame is made in the UAE. From the Boise, Idaho headquarters, we soon expect to see fully American made pistols, after this limited-edition run is complete. I don’t get excited about a new pistol often, but this one is unique. It shoots like a dream and carries like a much smaller pistol.

For more information about the Caracal Enhanced F pistols, click https://caracalusa.com.

To purchase a Caracal on GunsAmerica.com, click https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=caracal.

See below for an interactive dealer locator map with the dealers who have the
new Enhanced F available.

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • Kenny Smith July 18, 2017, 8:52 am

    Someone else on here brought this up first, but I thought I would follow up on it. This article was based on this pistol having a new style sight system. The problem is out of all of the illustrations , there weren’t any decent photos of this new style system, there was pictures of the gun internal and external ,but hardly any of the sight system . Anyway overall this looks like a gun I would like to own , its nice looking , which is a requirement of mine , but not a deal killer. More like a want, If I can find one I believe I will get one.

    • Jim Russlez July 20, 2017, 10:26 am

      Did you see the dealer map at the bottom of the article with dealers who have the item in stock? It’s pretty cool.

  • Alex Brooks July 18, 2017, 12:08 am

    Strike One pistol has the lowest bore axis of any pistol made. You should know that. Come on.

    • Joshua July 28, 2017, 12:07 pm

      What don\’t you like about a low bore axis?

  • Bob Bacon July 17, 2017, 11:40 pm

    What did Caracal flunk up on the first pistol that it required a recall. How are they still in business?

    • Joshua July 28, 2017, 4:59 pm

      Long story, but there\’s a good bit of info online about it. Basically there was a report of a drop-fire incident in some country in the middle east that came out on social media (the reporting party was never identified and the firearm was never located or inspected), so Caracal in UAE made a quick decision and decided to recall the products rather than risk any further potential incidents. Whether that was a good call or not depends on who you speak with, almost all major firearm manufacturers have some kind of failure(s) along the way and typically resort to adjusting and moving forward.

  • Burleson Bob July 17, 2017, 11:07 pm

    Clay, I’m an old Ada County resident but now happily trapped in Texas. I feel naked when unarmed. I own the usual compliment of modern 9mm Pistols, but “mystery sights” aside, I don’t see what this pistol offers over a Glock or Sig or…
    Because I live in a warm to hot climate I don’t carry my Glocks or Sigs concealed. They simply “print” too much and are too heavy for comfortable all-day carry, as is this one (approximately 2# w/loaded magazine). Also I am fairly ambidextrous, but prefer LH carry.
    I can operate a starboard side mag release with my social finger on my left hand. But, if someone made a “wonder9” with an “ambi” mag release, I’m interested for winter carry. Regardless I’ll carry lighter single stackers for the other 9 months of the year. BTW Texas is an LTC state, not a CCL, so open carry is an option but open carry can be socially awkward in some circumstances.
    As to “printing”, you didn’t mention the width of this pistol. My hunch is it isn’t a smidgeon slimmer (sorry for that fat thing again) than a glock.
    Best regards,
    Bob

  • Keith July 17, 2017, 10:09 pm

    I’d like to see what Hickok45 says about it.

  • Mikial July 17, 2017, 8:35 pm

    I wish I lived in Idaho and not on the east Coast.

  • Michael Gallagher July 17, 2017, 4:04 pm

    Read the article, and you had at least 4 pictures of the gun, including the interior, but not one of the touted quick sights!!! Brilliant!!

  • Dennis Larson July 17, 2017, 11:18 am

    Clay wears the black shirts because he is getting like the rest of us old veterans, fat! The Caracal gun looks interesting. I hope a dealer gets one close to me sometime soon. That sight set up would be great for IDPA/IPSC, quick!

    • Tommy Barrios July 17, 2017, 11:54 am

      You can order one from the gun dealers on the website and have it shipped to an FFL holder in your area as I don’t see any these coming to low volume gun shops anytime soon!

    • clay martin July 17, 2017, 1:52 pm

      lol. i have run my last mile, that is for sure!

      • Donald July 17, 2017, 9:34 pm

        I feel you brother. My feet and back are still killing me

  • cisco kid July 17, 2017, 10:23 am

    test

  • cisco kid July 17, 2017, 10:22 am

    I make it a hard and fast rule to never buy a newly designed gun unless its been on the market for at least 2 years. In their greed for profits few gun companies extensively test their guns for reliability or safety before rushing them to market. Caracal screwed up the first try and I will wait to see if they got it right this time. I would also like to wait until they have a manual safety option as history has proven that striker fired guns without manual safeties have an astronomically higher accident rate than those that do have manual safeties.

    • Tommy Barrios July 17, 2017, 11:49 am

      How can a striker gun go off that IS NOT even COCKED and the FIRING PIN is LOCKED and BLOCKED??
      Need go back and READ the article!
      The pistol is DOUBLE action striker which MEANS the action is NOT COCKED until the TRIGGER is pulled, otherwise the firing pin is LOCKED and BLOCKED!
      A manual safety would completely negate the quick access and fire design of the pistol!
      When you start designing pistols, LET US KNOW!

    • Bob Bacon July 17, 2017, 11:37 pm

      I would rather have a real trigger. I was interested till I saw the Block garbage on it.

    • Bob Bacon July 17, 2017, 11:39 pm

      Get a steel framed Kahr and all steel mags, a real holster, and enjoy.

  • Erik July 17, 2017, 7:48 am

    Dude, stop wearing black shirts while handling black guns on your videos.

  • tyler kent July 17, 2017, 7:37 am

    Nice photo close up of the trigger, which looks like every other trigger. Too bad the review of a pistol with a new sight system does not feature any photo close ups of the sights.

    • Infidel762x51 July 17, 2017, 8:10 am

      Exactly, a photo looking down the sights would have been great.

    • evan lessuk July 17, 2017, 9:47 am

      That would be to easy!

    • DEVON JOHNSON July 17, 2017, 9:48 am

      YEP concur A pic of what the article headlines would have been great

    • singleshotcajun July 17, 2017, 10:37 am

      Comes close to showing the sight picture in the video. I am intrigued and really would like a photo of the sight picture, please.

      • Edjo July 17, 2017, 12:56 pm

        Would also like to know how you account for windage/elevation if it has a tendency to shoot low/high/left/right just a smidge it all you need and from the rather long distance angled shot of the top of the frame a smidge of adjustment does not appear to be available.

        • Frank O July 18, 2017, 3:27 am

          Buy American! ? !! ???

  • MAS July 17, 2017, 7:10 am

    Please learn to pronounce ambidextrous. And pass it on to the other 75% of gun reviewers who say “ambeedextreeeeeus” – WRONG!
    Looks like a cool gun.

    • Tooler July 17, 2017, 8:16 am

      Hang on, …. I’m OK with Clay !
      Rather have him in front of this camera than an English Major

      • joe July 17, 2017, 9:53 am

        … not sure why people are so rude here. Send him an email. We’re not impressed that you know how to pronounce ambidextrous.

  • Randal Koebler July 17, 2017, 3:48 am

    Will they offer a version of the gun with the rear sights in the proper place? I can carry a much smaller handgun with a longer sight radius.

    • Alan July 17, 2017, 10:15 am

      OK, Really?!?!?!?!?
      Did you NOT get the idea of a short sight radius and the eye favoring a single focal point for close range, fast action shooting?????

    • UncleNat July 17, 2017, 11:20 am

      Yes they do–looks to be the same pistol, different slide. Check out the website…

  • Mark July 7, 2017, 12:15 am

    Clay,
    Enjoyed your review. Where did you get the holster to fit the Caracal Enhanced F in the video?

    Thanks!

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