Hidden Gem: SAR K2 45

The author with K2 45.
SAR USA storage box.

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.

Tested with Hornady XTP.

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.”

Hey, I know that gun!

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.

In its natural habitat.

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.

A CZ licensed copy, which explains a lot.

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.

DA fire position.

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.

DA, safety engaged.

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 put something funny to me in your instruction manual, I’m going to share with the class.

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.

Well machined detail, like this mag release.

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.

Nice texture to the grip panels.

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.

Pic rail up front, a nice addition.
Excellent accuracy, if you ignore authors flier.
All components.
Note lack of wear on slide rails.
Internals scaled up to 45 ACP.
Barrel lug.
Adjustable rear sights.

Visit SAR USA to learn more.

Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Mickey Walker May 8, 2020, 7:41 pm

    I was surprised given the author’s resume, that he was unaware of Sar USA, as noted in the video.
    I purchased my Sar B6 9mm new in 2016 for $270. I passed on the K2 .45 and decided on the 9mm. I am really pleased with the B6. Accurate on an 8 inch gong at 25 yards, right out of the box.
    The author seems to be able to out shoot me (at speed). Impressive shooting. Most of my discipline was with a S&W revolver on the PPC course, along with the .45 Colt Gold Cup.
    I concur on the quality of the Sar, great gun for the price.

  • Edwin Lee May 8, 2020, 7:29 pm

    The K2 .45 can use Para-ordnance P-14 magazines. A heavier recoil spring and .45 SMC? I haven’t tried .45 SMC.

  • Michael Sommerfeld May 8, 2020, 10:17 am

    You should take a look at the SAR9. The trigger surprised the hell out of me for the price. Just dry fire at the LGS counter but a surprise none the less

  • Robert May 4, 2020, 2:15 pm

    “The forged alloy steel frame is precision CNC machined to exacting specifications from a forged aluminum billet.” I seriously want to know more about that machining process!

  • Mike May 4, 2020, 10:53 am

    SAR USA is not in DesPlaines any longer. They moved in to the US and decided to handle their business directly. Former entities representing SAR USA were simply importers. SAR USA is now located in Alabama and has it’s own warehouse, distribution, administrative and Customer Service facilities. Keep researching. You will love the K12Sport and the new P8 series, not to mention, the new SAR9X Platinum. Keep your eyes open! There is lots more new and impressive to come from this manufacturer!

    • ES May 4, 2020, 2:39 pm

      They got smart and moved from Illinois to Alabama a much friendlier firearm state and LOWER taxes.

      • Jake May 4, 2020, 9:02 pm

        Believe it or not, Illinois is one of the top gun making states. Springfield Armory, Armalite, Lewis Machine & Tool, Rock River Arms, DSA, Krebs, Craddock Precision, Ratworx, and I am sure I missed somebody. Plus the US government Rock Island Arsenal.

  • Michael Archibald May 4, 2020, 9:03 am

    Got my Sar K2 5yrs ago & will NOT be letting it go! Around that same time got a Sar B9 Hawk, it stays too!
    These all steel Anatolians are a bargain.

  • hugo May 4, 2020, 8:44 am

    I wish Sig still made the P227…I like the decocker instead of a manual safety. That said, this is tempting…

  • WiscoGunner May 4, 2020, 8:34 am

    The secret is out. I have been shooting the K2 45 for a few years now. Super smooth slide and very accurate. I was so impressed I got another in stainless…beautiful finish. I also got a TriStar P-120 which is an absolute CZ-75 clone and it is another incredible shooter. These pistols have been easily obtainable until Covid-19. After the run is over, get the K2 or the P-120 if you’d rather shoot 9mm. You won’t be sorry.

  • carter May 4, 2020, 6:52 am

    i’ve had my K2 (import) for over 5 years and shot somewhere between 1500-2000 round. it is, as Clay said, a real nice shooter. i just mostly shoot (and only carry) 9mm pistols so it’s an occasional range companion. it is too big and heavy to carry but makes. great option for a bedside or glovebox gun,

    of my 5 factory mags, 2 of them dont drop free. they all feed fine. however, a couple of them do not feed fine if left loaded with 13 or 14 rounds for an extended period (was probably 2 years or more). the springs got stiff and the follower stuck. after stretching the spring out a little, they loaded up and cycled completely. just something to be aware of if you get one for defense. make sure you have enough mags to cycle them between loaded and resting.

  • Richard a Stokesbury May 4, 2020, 6:40 am

    Did I .miss read but is this

    Is a all steel gun

  • E-Man May 4, 2020, 6:06 am

    NICE! But nobody has them in stock!

  • Ted Richardson May 4, 2020, 5:22 am

    Thank you Clay, for your Service to Great Country, as well, also your indepth reviews.

    Peace of the Lord.

    Ted R

  • Benjamin Clyde May 4, 2020, 5:08 am

    I have owned one of these for years. And i completely agree with the author. Diamond in the rough. Smooth trigger, grip and feel are excellent. I have put a 1000+ rounds through mine and it has never had a mechanical issue. It is my bedside gun and I completely trust it. I have owned glocks, Walthers, Colts, and a slew of others this one is never getting sold. It is not a light gun, but with a double stack 14 rounds of 45 ACP is nothing to sneeze at when it is pointed at someone breaking into your house at 3:00 in the morning.

  • Edward Burton May 4, 2020, 5:01 am

    This review mirrors my own personal experience with my TriStar C-100 almost to the letter!
    I had always admired the CZ-75 models. To me they shared a lot of traits with the highly revered Browning High Power. Almost like, you asked a European to design their ideal version of a 1911, and it ended up being a double stack 9mm.
    About 4 years ago I decided I HAD to have a CZ SP-01 Omega. But after indecisively wasting countless hours stalking reviews, and obsessive-compulsiveley online bargain shopping for a month, which is always my habit when a new gun-bug crawls in my ear and lays an egg, I stumbled across what appeared to be a virtually undiscovered gem. The Canik Shark and Stingray models.
    Shocked raving reviewers were seemingly amazed at the quality and performance for the price of these little Turkish Delights, IF you could find one. The models had since been acquired by TriStar Arms, and rebranded. It seemed that if the reports of being equal to a CZ in fit, finish, and accuracy at half the price were true, this would make a perfect SD option. Does everything you need it to do in short order, AND (not BUT) you won’t require an entire box of tissues to cry into thinking about it languishing in a dank, nasty evidence locker, cavorting with a gaggle of unsavory HiPoints, and KelTeks, and (shudder), SD9VEs.
    When I finally did track down new examples for sale online, it wasn’t the model I was after. Rather than being a “licensed copy” of the SP-01, it was the 75-D variation. So you were trading the accessory rail away for a lighter aluminum alloy frame. A fair trade off in my book. Especially for a ‘Designated Couch Gun’ (jammed in 6 inches below my left elbow as I lay here on said couch, poking at my phone screen), and in a single man’s domicile, it would rarely be more than ten feet away from a “better” option, which is never more than a room away from the next option, and then the next, and then….. You get my drift.
    And at a whopping $323 shipped, I was not about to pass it up.
    When it arrived at my FFL, an old-school tiny 3-4 man gunsmiths shop, the smith working the counter, a 70/yo soul, name of Kermit asked “What the hell IS this?”
    He had never seen one in all his years, and was understandably skeptical of my choice.
    But upon breakdown and a close inspection, and a basic function test, he started calling up all the other grizzled ole’-timers (and one young apprentice) op to the counter one by one. “Check this thing out!” “Feel that trigger pull!” “Imagine it worn in!” “You only paid HOW MUCH?!?” A more reassuring confirmation of my amateur diamond hunting skills could not be possible. Thank God I managed not to giggle like a school girl in front of these steeley-eyed veterans!
    Four years and countless hundreds of rounds of more different types and brands of common ammo than I can even remember later, it has never choked even once. And wear is almost non-existent. It’s Cerakoted, but boy that shit is thick! And the machining is arguably better refined than any CZ I’ve been able to see the inside of (see the rough roached out area of the top pocket inside the slide of a CZ for example). It also comes with the same finely blued Mec-Gar magazines supplied to CZ. The double action trigger started out very comparable to pull on my Ruger SP-101, not bad for a DA, but nothing to rave about. But it has improved nicely with use. But the single action is almost so short as to not exist, with equally short over-travel. And the break is light, and as satisfying as smacking an unwrapped candy cane on the edge of a granite countertop. And should you feel compelled to drop a couple of hundred dollars worth of trigger into a $300 pistol, the unparalleled custom CZ experts at Cajun Gun Works actually make a trigger package for it. And that speaks volumes as to the legitimacy of this particular copy.
    Gripes are hard to come by.
    It has the same microscopically small sights as the OEM CZ sights.
    CGW sells night sight upgrades to fit this exact model. But night sights made for the 75-D mount just fine after a little minor fitting with a wet stone. Like the CZ, purchase area on the slide is not of an epic proportion, but the fitment, action, lock up, and mechanical accuracy potential are well worth it.
    The only thing it doesn’t have that it’s genetic ancestor does is a decocker, same as the model in the review. So you have to very carefully (and sketchily) manually lower the hammer with a live round to achieve a DA/SA condition, or carry it “cocked & locked” like a 1911. Being a virtually exact copy of the CZ 75-D, every holster I have bought to fit that model fits this example perfectly. Mileage as always, is variable.
    It’s been and still is worth EVERY STINKING PENNY SPENT, and then some!
    Everybody loves the next big shiny expensive pinnacle of popularity, and the flavor of the month.
    But I wish outstanding writers like yourself would review more models like these.
    I love surprises!
    I’ve been stalking you from the nosebleeds for a while now Clay.
    Thank you for yet another exemplary assessment of the subject. And as always I look forward to the next one.

  • Edward Burton May 4, 2020, 4:55 am

    This review mirrors my own personal experience with my TriStar C-100 almost to the letter!
    I had always admired the CZ-75 models. To me they shared a lot of traits with the highly revered Browning High Power. Almost like, you asked a European to design their ideal version of a 1911, and it ended up being a double stack 9mm.
    About 4 years ago I decided I HAD to have a CZ SP-01 Omega. But after indecisively wasting countless hours stalking reviews, and obsessive-compulsiveley online bargain shopping for a month, which is always my habit when a new gun-bug crawls in my ear and lays an egg, I stumbled across what appeared to be a virtually undiscovered gem. The Canik Shark and Stingray models.
    Shocked raving reviewers were seemingly amazed at the quality and performance for the price of these little Turkish Delights, IF you could find one. The models had since been acquired by TriStar Arms, and rebranded. It seemed that if the reports of being equal to a CZ in fit, finish, and accuracy at half the price were true, this would make a perfect SD option. Does everything you need it to do in short order, AND (not BUT) you won’t require an entire box of tissues to cry into thinking about it languishing in a dank, nasty evidence locker, cavorting with a gaggle of unsavory HiPoints, and KelTeks, and (shudder), SD9VEs.
    When I finally did track down new examples for sale online, it wasn’t the model I was after. Rather than being a “licensed copy” of the SP-01, it was the 75-D variation. So you were trading the accessory rail away for a lighter aluminum alloy frame. A fair trade off in my book. Especially for a ‘Designated Couch Gun’ (jammed in 6 inches below my left elbow as I lay here on said couch, poking at my phone screen), and in a single man’s domicile, it would rarely be more than ten feet away from a “better” option, which is never more than a room away from the next option, and then the next, and then….. You get my drift.
    And at a whopping $323 shipped, I was not about to pass it up.
    When it arrived at my FFL, an old-school tiny 3-4 man gunsmiths shop, the smith working the counter, a 70/yo soul, name of Kermit asked “What the hell IS this?”
    He had never seen one in all his years, and was understandably skeptical of my choice.
    But upon breakdown and a close inspection, and a basic function test, he started calling up all the other grizzled ole’-timers (and one young apprentice) op to the counter one by one. “Check this thing out!” “Feel that trigger pull!” “Imagine it worn in!” “You only paid HOW MUCH?!?” A more reassuring confirmation of my amateur diamond hunting skills could not be possible. Thank God I managed not to giggle like a school girl in front of these steeley-eyed veterans!
    Four years and countless hundreds of rounds of more different types and brands of common ammo than I can even remember later, it has never choked even once. And wear is almost non-existent. It’s Cerakoted, but boy that shit is thick! And the machining is arguably better refined than any CZ I’ve been able to see the inside of (see the rough roached out area of the top pocket inside the slide of a CZ for example). It also comes with the same finely blued Mec-Gar magazines supplied to CZ. The double action trigger started out very comparable to pull on my Ruger SP-101, not bad for a DA, but nothing to rave about. But it has improved nicely with use. But the single action is almost so short as to not exist, with equally short over-travel. And the break is light, and as satisfying as smacking an unwrapped candy cane on the edge of a granite countertop. And should you feel compelled to drop a couple of hundred dollars worth of trigger into a $300 pistol, the unparalleled custom CZ experts at Cajun Gun Works actually make a trigger package for it. And that speaks volumes as to the legitimacy of this particular copy.
    Gripes are hard to come by.
    It has the same microscopically small sights as the OEM CZ sights.
    CGW sells night sight upgrades to fit this exact model. But night sights made for the 75-D mount just fine after a little minor fitting with a wet stone. Like the CZ, purchase area on the slide is not of an epic proportion, but the fitment, action, lock up, and mechanical accuracy potential are well worth it.
    The only thing it doesn’t have that it’s genetic ancestor does is a decocker, same as the model in the review. So you have to very carefully (and sketchily) manually lower the hammer with a live round to achieve a DA/SA condition, or carry it “cocked & locked” like a 1911. Being a virtually exact copy of the CZ 75-D, every holster I have bought to fit that model fits this example perfectly. Mileage as always, is variable.
    It’s been and still is worth EVERY STINKING PENNY SPENT, and then some!

  • madmax3.6 May 4, 2020, 4:03 am

    I own two of them.One in black finish and one in stainless steel. These guns are extremely accurate and feeds any brand or type of ammo you put in it without any feed problems or jams.In the world of polymer handguns these little gems in all steel shines!!! If you run out of bullets clocking the bad guy upside the head with 40ozs of steel will definitely give him an attitude adjustment and a quite possibly a fractured skull.

  • Garland15 May 4, 2020, 3:47 am

    Great looking pistol

  • Serg May 4, 2020, 3:39 am

    I haven’t seen one of these on the primary market in some time. Sar also makes the CM9 Gen2, great P07 clone.

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