Sometimes we have one sneak up on us here in the gun world. And I’m not too proud to admit when I get rocked by something I was totally unprepared for. And this was just that kind of week, which I think worked out nicely for all of us.
When it comes to gun reviews, all of us review monkeys are jockeying for position with the newest, coolest stuff. Which sometimes becomes leverage to do hold your nose reviews. You can have XYZ totally awesome, pre-release, in tiger stripe, and go to the unveiling party. But…only if you do this other thing for us. I don’t want to call it the casting couch of gun assignments, but its pretty much the casting couch of gun assignments. You can usually tell when I’m selling out doing one of these because it begins or ends with “some of you will like this.”
However, I do usually take these. Because it is also how you can find a diamond in the rough, often in a place you never would have considered looking. Which is how this week went. My briefing was cheap, Turkish, and 45 ACP. Which is a bit of a gamble. Turkey is an odd country of origin. They make some really, really good shotguns. They also make some really cheap shotguns. But overall, I think the quality of Turkish handguns has been steadily coming up in the last few years. When I covered the Canik Elite Combat last year, I came away very impressed. So I decided to gamble, for all of us.
The firearm in question is from SAR USA, the US subsidiary of SARSILMAZ. Not only can I not pronounce the proper name, but I had never heard of this brand. Not usually a good sign, but not a show stopper. Once imported by EAA, SAR now has its own American presence in Des Plaines, Illinois. In business since 1880, SARSILMAZ isn’t exactly new. Just new to me.
Now imagine my surprise when I opened the box at my FFL to find a CZ-75 inside. Hey, I like CZ-75’s. I’ve never shot one in 45 ACP, but such a thing does exist. Then I remembered, I like some CZ-75s. As one of the most copied guns on the planet, it can really go either way.
But when I started handling the SAR version, I immediately thought quality. The fit is spectacular. I’m not a total finish snob, as I consider guns tools. But I do call it out when I see it, and the SAR is in no way lacking. I had to dig deeper. And then I found the answer. The SAR K2 isn’t a CZ-75 knock off. It is an actually licensed copy, which tends very much to help with quality.
When the CZ-75 was invented, the Czech Republic (Then Czechoslovakia) was still behind the iron curtain. Though the 75 was built as a civilian arm, the Soviets still classified the patents. Which prevented the inventors from protecting them outside of the Iron Curtain, which makes sense only in the Soviet mind. And since it is an awesome design, knock offs cropped up like weeds after a rain. There are dozens of off brands, including ChiComNorinco.
The SAR K2 holds to original CZ design, with a double-action/single-action hammer-fired system. There is a manual safety, which in this case is not a decocker. The slide rails ride inside the frame, which is commonly thought to give the guns a very tight barrel lock up, and enhanced accuracy.
The grip panels on the SAR K2 are plastic, but in a world of polymer guns, I don’t think anyone can get too upset about that. They have a nice texture, though I would’ve liked them to be a bit more aggressive. Still, they do give you a positive purchase on the gun. The sights are steel, with white dots front and rear. The rear is adjustable for elevation and windage. It has an integral Picatinny rail section up front, a nice touch for flashlights and laser add ons.
As far as mechanicals go, this is where the K2 really starts to shine, especially for the price. The slide to frame fit is excellent, again not a real shock in this design. But it is also silky, better than most things outside of the CZ custom shop. Which was unexpected, for sub $400. The trigger is also well above average. I have shot some 75 clones that had a trigger, shall we say, that was less than good. The SAR in double-action mode is incredibly smooth, significantly better than others I have tested. If we are going to have a disappointment in the trigger, it is in the single-action mode. It isn’t bad, but there is some trigger creep. Again, better than others I have tested. But still present, lest we start thinking this was all magic and butterflies.
If you go to the SAR website, you will find some inconsistencies. I had to double-check myself when I was writing this. The website says the K2 has an aluminum frame. It does not, it is absolutely steel. And there are some pictures of Operator Steve doing some Center Axis Re-lock shooting, while dressed like he came from the discotheque. Or tactical night club, your choice.
But for all that, the SAR K2-45 punches well above its weight. I was shocked, absolutely shocked by how well the pistol shot. At 40 ounces, she isn’t thin. But weight alone doesn’t explain how the design eats recoil. The low bore axis really shines in 45 ACP, and I was consistently amazed at how easy it was to keep on target. This gun will absolutely hammer them. It was so easy and so fun, I shot probably twice the rounds I needed to for review. Which leads me to another surprise. I don’t know what SAR is using for a finish, but it seems durable. Even after a day of blasting, my slide rails are still black. Excellent fit, and excellent finish.
For a price as cheap as $337 on the open market, I have to call this one of the best values I’ve seen. I started skeptically, but the K2 has certainly won me over. This is a bargain, that I can highly recommend.
Visit SAR USA to learn more.