SAR K-12: Turkish Surprise

Absolutely striking gun

You guys may remember a few months ago when I reviewed a new brand of gun, at least new to me. A Sarsilmaz, which I still cannot pronounce properly, and is fortunately shortened to SAR USA for practical purposes. Going into an unknown brand, especially on the lower end of the price point, is always a gamble. On the one hand, that is how you discover bargains. But on the other, I never lie to you guys. And I have a reputation for calling out junk, no matter the price. So with some trepidation, we teed off on the SAR K2 in 45 ACP.

A beauty at a very nice price.

And what I found was an absolutely amazing gun. Not an amazing gun for the price, just a very well put together blaster, that could cost twice as much and still be easily worth it. It turns out, Sarsilmaz isn’t just some new start-up in guns, using a defunct stereo factory to make hand cannons. They have been in the gun building business since 1880, and are the supplier of the majority of arms for the Turkish Army.

Accuracy tested with Hornady XTP.

And that Turkish Army bit should be very telling. I will assume that most of our audience has never spent much time around the Turkish military, or understands their capabilities. If you just throw the name out there, most people would probably conjure a 3rd rate Army in Fez hats, maybe with adorable scimitar swords for fun. And you would be wrong. The Turks are as hard as a coffin nail, something well known to us since the Korean War. In a conflict where many prisoners succumbed to brainwashing in POW camps, the Turks emerged at liberation intact nearly to a man.

Stainless steel; a hard to beat look.

And unlike a lot of other allies we have, the Turks are always mixing it up. As the bulwark between Europe and the Middle East, they have had no shortage of practice getting in two way live fires. Not to mention what seems like an abnormal number of coups or coup attempts. So as a nation, they don’t really screw around with weaponry. If I had to place a bet on Turkey vs. all the European Nations of NATO, all my money would be on the Turks. Every day, and twice on Sunday.

Excellent Ergonomics

Which brings us to the Sarsilmaz manufacturing process. They make guns like lives depend on it because they do. The K2 is actually a fully licensed copy of the CZ-75. The SAR polymer gun, the SAR9, has proven to be incredibly durable. It not only survived an in house 150,000 round test, but it also beat the pants off some high-end contenders on the way to 90,000 in a NATO test. Maybe I had never heard of them, but I had never heard of Randall Knives at one point too.

Off white aluminum grip

I was so blown away by the K2 I had in for review, that I had to see what else they had. SAR USA was extremely happy that we had done a review based on facts, not price points, so they opened up the catalog to anything we wanted. And what would you do in that situation? I’d wager the same thing I did. If your $400 handgun is absolutely amazing, what is your most expensive handgun like?

Backstrap checkering

And so we have it. The SAR K12 Sport, a purpose built race gun. For the mindboggling MSRP of $812. That is a price low enough for the giggles when it comes to competition specific guns, so would it perform? Prepare to have your socks rocked off. Yes, it does.

Oversized mag release

The K12 is essentially a CZ-75, configured for single action only. ( Even in CZ brand, that does exist.) Why single action only? Why not. This shortens the reach to the trigger, for one. And second, it makes for a more consistent trigger pull. You can get use to DA/SA triggers, no doubt. But if the goal is to shoot paper and steel fast, why not just have a single trigger pull to learn?

Extended controls

And in execution, the K12 is magnificent. In a high polished stainless steel, she is a beauty to the eye. The rails inside frame design have for years been known to produce incredible accuracy, not only in the CZ lineup but in guns like the SIG P210. The K12 upholds that lineage, with some important details. The rails are polished so smooth that the action is like ball bearings on ice. Just cycling the slide lets you know what kind of gun you are getting.

Front strap

The frame and slide are all stainless, giving you a heft that tames recoil like a boss. Rather than slapdash some rubber grip panels on, SAR crafted something special for the grip. An off white aluminum grip module, with some ergonomic cuts, ends with a magazine funnel that feels like a geologic formation. Toss in a reload from across the room, odds are it’s going in. Front and backstrap checkering further keep your hands where they belong, firmly rooted to the frame.

Front cocking serrations

The safety is Ambi with paddles left and right big enough to row a boat with. You aren’t going to miss these coming up on target. The safety is also oversized, steel, and nicely checkered. The sights are black steel with an adjustable rear.

Adjustable rear sights

The trigger is pretty amazing, with just a couple of caveats to throw in. I want to couch this with the fact that I am comparing the gun to other race guns, not normal factory stuff. The trigger is a bit on the heavy side, around 4 pounds. Better than a striker gun, but not quite in league with a custom STI. It also has just the teensiest bit of creep in it, which you do have to pay attention to notice. I blame the weight on the fact lawyers exist, and the creep on maybe I don’t know all that much about CZ-75 triggers. But I am also confident that a CZ custom shop could easily fix both. The trigger features an overtravel stop, which is nice.


Performance-wise, the K12 was on point. It ate everything I fed it and was more accurate than I am. After I found my point of aim, it was smacking very small steel at 40 yards with ease. I would dare call it a joy to shoot.

One piece heavy guide rod

You can tell this gun was built to compete with the CZ Shadow and the Tangfolio Witness Elite. Of which it does a fantastic job, at around half the price. Which leaves you plenty of money to round out your shotgun and rifle for 3 Gun. I have a feeling we are going to see a lot of these K12’s on the competition circuit as time goes by and with good reason. This is a fantastic gun, hands down.

A familiar grease to us Glock fans.
Cavernous mag well
Matching mag extensions

For more information visit SAR USA website.

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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,

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Todd October 2, 2020, 11:25 am

    Looks interesting enough but as Turkey has been such a horrendous NATO partner, a locally strategic agitator and is flirting with notions of a resurgent Ottoman Empire… I’ll pass on any firearm wherein a purchase of that firearm may assist – in any small way -in supporting their arms industry as with Communist China.


  • Bad Penguin October 2, 2020, 10:47 am

    I see a lot of pitting on the slide. Is that what happens to it during one test shooting? The finish shows a long scratch on it too. If the finish is damaged this easily what else did they go cheap on.

  • Robert Mercer September 29, 2020, 4:17 pm

    Clay, thank you for your service. I have to take exception to one comment you made, “In a high polished stainless steel, she is a beauty to the eye.” I have seen highly polished stainless steel and it looks like a mirror. This gun looks more like a matte finish to me. It’s certainly more practical than highly polished. Components seem crudely finished, but at the price not surprising. Biggest issue seems to be the lack of customer service.

  • John C September 29, 2020, 1:38 pm

    After reading the hype, culture, comments its most likely a great weapon. However—-with respect to a
    good writer, why give such a great article when the C.S. is non extent. Some person sure as we are alive
    will read this article,, buy this gun. Then the problems do ,,repeat –do- occur.Thats what manufacturing is about.There is always a % age.Great gunsmiths are not always next door. The article never should have
    been written when competentcy is not within.GLOCK had to climb the ladders ,,,have inventories,,good CS,
    competent personnel. Thats why Glock is Glock. Great companies are built on honesty,Trust ..the extra mile.
    Thanks to all of you,,,appreciated.

  • Will Drider September 28, 2020, 11:44 am

    Are the frame and slide forged or cast?

    What’s the odd piece of metal(?) that is wrapped around the trigger guard below/to rear of trigger? Is that what Sar uses to stop trigger over travel? Maybe just a mfr sticky tag.

    What’s the availability and cost of SAR K-12 mags? Does it take standard CZ, clone and aftermarket mags?

  • Manny September 28, 2020, 11:11 am


  • WiscoGunner September 28, 2020, 8:58 am

    That is not ground up brass, it is desert dirt stuck to shipping grease.

  • WiscoGunner September 28, 2020, 8:53 am

    Before the Covid19 panic buying sent prices up on all guns, the SAR K12 Sport was selling on some sites for under $600. Incredible value if you can find one.

  • Kurt September 28, 2020, 8:31 am

    I bought a SAR K-12 Sport. Here is my review of their customer service. bought the pistol new and first trip to the range I discovered that the rear sight elevation detent pin was flattened by the factory. I have emailed them. I have left voicemails for them. I have instant messaged on Facebook. Not one reply to my request for a warranty repair.

    I am going to have to say to avoid their products because they don’t acknowledge attempts to contact them

    • Curby Keith September 28, 2020, 11:04 am

      I have to agree about the customer service. I have K2P that I inadvertently destroyed to slide on. Requests to SAR and their importer have been ignored.

  • Patriot September 28, 2020, 8:19 am

    It’s a copper based grease not brass shavings. A good single action beats the snot out of any Glock trigger & if you can’t manipulate a safety lever as you draw maybe you shouldn’t be shooting competition anyway. Which by the way this is, it isn’t your daily carry gun nor designed to be used as such. Some specs would be nice to see, how many rounds do the mags hold, weight, etc. One mag only, come on 5 or 6 is the minimum for a competition pistol.

  • WartHog 91' September 28, 2020, 6:42 am

    Looks like another fine weapon from the Turks!
    Appears to shoot better than any of my Colts out of the box.
    I’d buy one if I needed another nine.

  • Slim September 28, 2020, 6:27 am

    Who buys this stuff? I can build a true one off GLOCK that’ll hands down out perform this gun for about the same price and still carry it as I need and with our all the B.S. like the flared mag well that if your a real deal shooters you don’t need under any circumstance. Even if I had to pay someone to build me a one off GLOCK, its a gun that requires zero time fumbling with safety levers. That time fumbling with a physical lever is time I’ll be already shooting with a GLOCK. Anne for me it has nothing to do with buying one or two all around guns since I own a lot of every type of gun from GLOCKS of course, AR’s, AK,s, shotguns, etcetera. Couldn’t ever even if I was filthy extra rich to Buy this as I don’t even want to shoot it and for me a gun lover that says a lot!

    • Link Lackluster September 28, 2020, 8:54 am

      Don’t be such a hysterical Glock fanboy. Glock makes a great gun, but others do, too. Some of them are, GASP, sometimes even better. Go stroke your Glock before you have a stroke. And I own two Glocks and love them….one is even on my hip every day, all day. Just take a breath and relax……

    • Bad Pengun October 2, 2020, 10:51 am

      Lots of people have accidentally shot themselves and others with glocks because of the no safety thing. Why do you think the NYC cops use a glock with a 12 lb trigger pull otherwise known as the new York Trigger.

  • frank M legato September 28, 2020, 4:03 am

    not machined very well……that`s not grease on the bottom of the slide, it`s ground up brass from the shells

    • Michael B Evernham II September 28, 2020, 8:23 am

      I love the early comments from haters that have no hands-on experience with this gun.

      Thanks for a great review. Haters gonna hate.

      The K12 is a fantastic gun that competes extremely well and, for those without a burdensome brand bias problem, provides a nearly turnkey competition pistol at a great price.

      • Dan Hayes September 28, 2020, 5:22 pm

        It’s not grease…it’s uhhh…uhhh…GROUND UP BRASS LACED WITH COVID-19 FROM THEM NAZI-COMMI-TURKS…dem sonz a’bastiges been after us fer Years!


        Michael…I feel your pain…as a Builder of Exotic Solid Wood Drums/Percussion Instruments and Restorer of Old Abused Firearms and Drums, I deal with more Fanboy Know-it-alls then you can imagine! The worst by far are the who I call, the “One Trick Ponies”! Those who find out everything there is to know about a Single Product, and feel justified in sending me thru a Litany of Specs from the Mfg. to which they expect the correct response. Like you, I no longer tolerate their Jabs and immediately start “Twisting their Pickle” with absurd talk (in messages) or handing the Phone to my 4 year old and walking away! LOL!


    • Clay Martin September 28, 2020, 8:32 am

      Its the same very expensive copper colored grease that comes on a new Glock, unless you also think that Glock’s grind up brass in the shipping box.

    • Link Lackluster September 28, 2020, 8:51 am

      No, it’s not. It’s that funky copper grease that all of my Glocks came wearing from the factory. Don’t be an idiot and tell us that Clay doesn’t know the difference between COPPER grease and BRASS filings. Idiots like you are most certainly annoying.

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