When a design has certain elements of several successful handguns, it may be a good mix of pleasing features or a witch’s brew of poor design.
In this case, the maker got it right.
The SAR 9 9mm pistol illustrated has come together with good features, making it among the most desirable handguns on the market based on reliability, usefulness and economy.
The pistol isn’t cheap, but it is affordable compared to the GLOCK, HK and Walther. Yet it gives up little to these pistols in performance.
I believe it is a head and shoulders above the rest in its price range, or a little out of the price range on the high side. It is that good a design.
While there are other handguns offered by SAR, including CZ 75 clones, the SAR 9 is the flagship or foundation of the line.
Features and Specs
The pistol has its origins in a military contract for over 100,000 pistols.
The SAR 9 isn’t a copy or clone of another pistol, but an original, although some of its features are influenced by other handguns.
The slide resembles the GLOCK with a custom carry smoothing job.
The frame is either HK or Walther-like depending on the perspective of the person handling the pistol.
This is a striker-fired polymer-frame pistol, no surprises there. The pistol features an ambidextrous safety. I like that a lot.
Some will ignore the safety and that may work well for experienced shooters, some will prefer to activate the safety when carrying this pistol.
The pistol features a firing-pin block and the usual bifurcated trigger.
There is a lever in the center of the trigger to prevent trigger movement if the pistol is dropped.
There is a bright red insert behind the trigger that cues us in when the trigger is ready to fire and the slide racked.
The slide lock and magazine release are easily manipulated.
The magazines are tapered like all high-capacity 9mm magazines and are quite easy to guide into the magazine well.
The pistol features a modern light rail molded into the frame.
The SAR 9 no only features changeable backstraps, but also changeable side panels, an unexpected feature in a pistol that sells for less than the HK and Walther.
The pistol is delivered in a hard plastic box with an instruction manual, cleaning rod and two 17-round magazines.
The internals of the SAR 9 are similar to the GLOCK, but not identical as may be expected. The addition of the manual safety makes a difference.
The takedown or field-stripping sequence is simple enough and very similar to the GLOCK/Walther type.
As far as I can tell, nothing is interchangeable with any other firearm I am familiar with.
Operation is standard double-action-only, striker-fired — rack the slide and the striker is partially prepped or cocked.
Press the trigger to the rear and the striker is brought back against spring pressure and breaks against the sear spring, firing the pistol.
The slide recoils and resets the striker for subsequent shots. The magazines are devilishly difficult to load to 17 rounds, but just fine to 15 rounds.
The magazine’s springs are certainly stout and will feed with reliability.
While there is something of a shortage imposed by panic buying and demand greater than ever seen in this country, I was able to fire more than 400 cartridges in the pistol over the course of several months.
On the firing line, I liked the three-dot sights.
They are properly regulated for 124-grain loads and fire a bit high with the 147-grain — par for the course.
The trigger is heavier than some at six pounds, but manageable. In drawing from a Falco holster designed for the GLOCK 17, the pistol is fast on target.
The sights and trigger are good choices for most defense uses.
Getting on target, getting a hit, and making a fast center hit and then a follow-up shot at five and seven yards was not difficult.
How It Performs
Most of the ammunition expended was the cheapest ball ammo I could find. It included some pretty dirty steel case and other loads.
The pistol never failed to feed, cycle or eject. I fired a magazine of SIG Sauer Elite 124-grain V Crown to test reliability.
The pistol thrives on defense ammunition. The V Crown is a formidable defense loading.
I also used a few rounds of Winchester 147-grain Silvertip to confirm the pistol’s accuracy at a long 25 yards.
Firing from the MTM firing rest, I put five rounds into four inches. The pistol is accurate enough, if not target grade.
At defense range — seven yards — you may make a single ragged hole in the X-ring with the cheapest load.
This is a formidable handgun well worth its price.
|Three-Dot, White Outline
What do you think of the SAR 9? Let us know in the comments section below!