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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.