Firearms

Review: Bul Armory Axe Cleaver 9mm Pistol — Beyond Glock Perfection

Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm semi-automatic handgun with ammunition from Hornady, Federal, and Fiocchi

Bul Armory is an Israeli maker with a good reputation for producing quality handguns. Most of these are clones of proven handguns such as the 1911 or CZ 75. The newest clone just may prove to be the most popular yet. This is the Axe, a close clone of the Glock pistol.

The Bul Armory Axe offers improvements over the Glock that may make it a popular pistol. There are other Glock clones, the Axe isn’t the first. Some are less expensive than the Glock, and as expected, corners have been cut. Others such as the Shadow Systems cost more but offer improvements.

Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm semi-automatic handgun, left profile
Bul has designed a pistol that may be the best Glock clone for the money.

The Bul Amory Axe is at the same price point as the Glock but offers an improved slide and frame, as well as a good trigger action. There are several variants including a Glock 19-size compact 9mm. The pistol tested is a full size variant in the Glock 17 9mm fashion.

The Glock’s primary claim to fame is reliability. The Glock always works. Cheaper clones may compromise this reliability — although, most seem to work well. They simply are not as refined. The more expensive pistols usually offer a better trigger and sights. It makes sense to use Glock magazines, and to make the pistol as compatible with the Glock as possible. There are many popular aftermarket accessories for the Glock.

The Axe is a pistol that has taken a reliable base and upgraded it considerably. The stainless steel slide features both forward and rear cocking serrations. They are nicely done, offering plenty of gripping surface. The front of the slide features a scalloped section near the muzzle. This section is unique and offers quite a bit of bling compared to the utilitarian Glock.

The sights are standard fare with three, white dot inserts. The pistol is similar to the Glock, but not completely interchangeable internally. The slide and slide rails differ enough that the slides are not compatible. The barrel, however, is interchangeable with Glock barrels. This makes sense.

The magazines are Glock compatible and the supplied magazines, while Bul manufactured, are nearly identical to the Glock save for a generous base pad. This base pad makes for easy magazine loading with a fast slap and may protect the magazine if dropped. Loaded magazines that are dropped most often land hard on the base.

Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm semi-automatic handgun, right profile
The Bul Axe is a credible choice for personal defense.

The frame is the greatest departure from the Glock. The trigger guard and handle feel different.  The checkering and serration treatment is easily the best I have found on any Glock or near Glock clone.

The trigger action is Glock-like but lighter and with a sharper reset. The Glock trigger is a fine combat trigger. If the good features are kept but the action sharpened, that is a good thing. The Bul trigger action breaks at a consistent 4.5 pounds. You should be able to fire the pistol more accurately than a pistol with the 5.5 to 6.0-pound Glock action, while the trigger maintains the safety and control of the original.

I could probably have done without the enlarged slide lock but then some like this addition. This pistol is as quick to speed load as any service-grade pistol. You would need a shelf-type magazine lock and wide mouth magazine well to beat this standard.

Shots Fired

I lubricated the pistol (lightly) on the cocking block before heading to the range. After all, the Glock needs a single drop of oil so this pistol should compete on the same level. The magazines are not difficult to load to full capacity.

top down view of the Bul Axe Cleaver lower receiver
Internally, this is a Glock clone.

I added a Glock magazine with + 2 baseplate. I managed to find a few boxes of 9mm NATO (1988 stamp Winchester) at a fair price. It had not been stored properly, and was tarnished, but cracked off every shot. Average velocity was 1,202 fps.

The three magazines on hand were loaded with 53 rounds of ammunition. The pistol comes on target quickly and handles well. Recoil is Glock 17 class with perhaps a slight advantage in recoil control due to the long grip tang and undercut trigger. There are no grip inserts.

A pistol of this size weight and design is a joy to fire and use. Recoil is modest, and the piece is easily controlled. Firing at 5, 7, and 10 yards, I homed bullets into the X-ring. This pistol is comparable in combat accuracy to any striker-fired 9mm.

I fired a number of other loads including Federal’s Train and Defend, Hornady Handgun Hunter, and Fiocchi Range Dynamics. The pistol is reliable and never failed to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. I also fired the pistol for accuracy from a solid benchrest firing over a range bag.

I took my time looking for the best accuracy, using two of the most accurate loads (in my experience). The Hornady Handgun Hunter put five shots into 2.8 inches. The Fiocchi 115-grain FMJ Range Dynamics went into 2.85 inches. Too close to call and more than accurate enough for most any chore.

The pistol fits Glock holsters — a big advantage. Everyone makes a Glock holster. The pistol was carried in an N8 Tactical inside-the-waistband holster. The fit was good and draw speed sharp. After a few weeks of shooting and electing to add the Bul Armory Axe Cleaver 9mm to my battery of carry guns, I added a set of TruGlo self-luminous iron sights.

Night sights are an advantage in most situations, and I felt that TruGlo offers a good sight picture. While there are many different types offered by TruGlo, my choice (based on a balance of high accuracy potential and a quickly acquired sight picture) is the TruGlo Pro.

Bob Campbell shooting the Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm semi-automatic pistol with a two-handed grip
The pistol is well balanced and handles quickly in offhand fire.

I find the Bul Armory Axe a good pistol. It is an improvement over the typical Glock providing reliability that stands up with time. That is something to write home about…

Perhaps it is not as well known as Glock or other clones, but if it performs… What is your take on the Bul Armory Axe Cleaver? Share your opinion or review in the comment section.

  • magazine wells of the Bul Axe Cleaver and Glock 17
  • Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm semi-automatic handgun with ammunition from Hornady, Federal, and Fiocchi
  • Bul Armory Axe Cleaver 9mm semi-automatic handgun in a Kydex IWB N8 Tacticalholster
  • 9mm handgun with an Inforce weapon light attached to the dust rail
  • Bul Armory Axe Cleaver barrel marking
  • top down view of the Bul Axe Cleaver lower receiver
  • Grip texture on the Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm handgun
  • Field stripped Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm semi-automatic pistol
  • Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm semi-automatic pistol on paper target with multiple bullet holes
  • muzzle view of a 9mm gun
  • Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm semi-automatic handgun with a Glock magazine inserted
  • forward cocking serrations of the Bul Axe Cleaver 9mm gun
  • Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm semi-automatic handgun being fired through recoil
  • Muzzle treatment on the Bul Axe C handgun
  • Man shooting the Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm semi auto pistol
  • Rear view of the Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm semi auto pistol with 3-dot sights
  • Bob Campbell shooting the Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm semi-automatic pistol with a two-handed grip
  • Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm semi-automatic handgun, left profile
  • Bul Armory Cleaver 9mm semi-automatic handgun, right profile

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.


Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Handloader
Rifle Magazine
Handguns
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns



Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (13)

  1. Perhaps the worst gun in terms of performance that I have ever purchased. Stovepipes on every round. Sent back to factory and after five weeks was advised that gun was fixed. Included in the list of repairs was adjustment to thumb safety. Gun doesn’t have a thumb safety and what I received was obviously a canned response. I asked for info as to what was actually done and received no response.

  2. Perhaps the worst gun in terms of performance that I have ever purchased. Stovepipes on every round. Sent back to factory and after five weeks was advised that gun was fixed. Included in the list of repairs was adjustment to thumb safety. Gun doesn’t have a thumb safety and what I received was obviously a canned response. I asked for info as to what was actually done and received no response.

  3. Where do I start. I bought an Axe Cleaver and with all the positive reviews I couldn’t wait to get and take it to the range. I took my Axe and a CZ P10 C which was another new gun I had never fired. Racked a round in the Axe shot casing ejected and then failure to feed. Round was in the barrel but not fully seated, pushed the slide forward and same thing again. Tried one more time same thing again. Except this time the live round was stuck in the barrel and would not eject. Called Bul and they told me to take it to a gunsmith to get the round removed so gun could be shipped back. I asked how I would get reimbursed for the gunsmith and I was told they do not have a program in place for that, I would have to eat the cost. Shipped gun back to Bul and never received any communication from Bul that they received the gun. Followed up with an email four days after they received the gun, no reply. Called Bul six business days after they received my gun and I was told it is due to be looked at by the end of the week, which amazed me because she never so much as asked for my name. I know these guns are all the rave right now but hope you’ll never need warranty work because there customer service STINKS. On an up note my CZ P10 C totally impressed me and for $70 less then the Bul paperweight I bought.

  4. I just traded my Glock 19 for a Bul cleaver and I love it. No more Glock knuckle for me. The Bul is awesome and I’d compete against any glock with my Bul. Good by glock!

  5. I’m an Israeli, so the Bul Axe costs about half than the Glock in here. I own a Glock 22 (same as the Glock 17 but .40S&W) for more than twenty years now. I’ve just tried the Axe for the first time yesterday and I love it! The grip worked better for me, the trigger is good, and in the end, I was more accurate with it than with my Glock (though it might not be a fair comparation since it might be due to the reduced recoil of the 9mm). Bul Guns have been the favorite for both me and my father for years now. After visiting their factory-shop in Tel-Aviv, and trying almost ALL of their guns, I’ve finally let go of my Glock for the BUL SAS II ultralight and my father changed from BUL Impact to the BUL AXE. we’re only allowed to own one gun in here and it was hard for me to let go of the Glock (basically had to give it up for free). If it wasn’t for that, then I would have probably bought a Bul years ago.

  6. Have had this weapon for a year and love it. Great to shoot at the range and can use all my Glock magazines. Has been my EDC since I purchased it. Thumbs way up.

  7. Why is the retail here and other sites claim around 699 when their own website
    States about 399? Bigl discrepancy

  8. Prices and change often so check cheaperthandirt.com website

    As I mentioned this version usually run neck and neck in price with the Glock 17

    Average retail is around 600

    However- this is the gun I tested. Some versions cost much more.

    Are they better? Prettier I guess. This is a good piece.
    Bob

  9. Yeah, the review should have included the MSRP, but it didn’t strain my brain or my fingers to look it up. (Okay, I did copy and paste it.) The MSRP is $650, pretty much in the ballpark for the higher-end Glock 19.

  10. Was thinking article was very interesting and informative….but still wondering about the price…. sometimes ballpark numbers will do, just saying.

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