I have enjoyed my striker-fired SAR9, a polymer-framed 9mm. So when I learned SAR USA was importing a compact version, I was interested. The full-sized SAR9 is manufactured in Turkey by Sarsilmaz and is a standard Turkish military gun. I’ve been impressed with it reliability and accuracy, and the SAR9 C is very similar, save changes necessary for a compact frame and slide.

About the Compact SAR9

The striker-fired compact version also boasts a polymer frame. And the grip frame fits most hands well. There are grip and side panel inserts that may be changed to make the pistol fit your hand better. This takes the fit from generic to made-to-measure. Treatment on the frame offers a good balance of adhesion and abrasion. The frame features a slight undercut beneath the trigger guard. This makes for a nice fit, helps stabilize the gun and lowers the center line of the bore. The lower the bore axis, the less leverage for muzzle flip.

The magazine latch and slide lock are positive in operation. The takedown levers are easily manipulated and preferred over a certain other polymer pistol. There is a molded-in accessory rail to accommodate combat lights and lasers. The slide is well machined and polished. The flats of the slide are rounded near the top and the muzzle end of the slide is beveled. A well-done crown protects the muzzle. The sights are standard three white-dot insert types.

The original SAR9 full-sized pistol features a manual safety, likely to meet an import requirement. The SAR9 Compact does not have this feature. The trigger features the usual blade-type safety lever set in the trigger face. There is also a drop safety or striker block that prevents firing unless the trigger is fully depressed. When the pistol is cocked and ready to fire, a red marking is visible on the rear of the trigger. The trigger breaks cleanly at 5 pounds, 14 ounces.

SAR’s magazines are steel with a base pad and hold fifteen rounds. magazines feature strong springs for reliability but are not difficult to load.


Caliber             9mm
Barrel length   
4 inches
Overall length 
7.2 inches
1.4 inches
26.8 ounces

SAR9 C on the Range

Though I test and review each handgun on its own merit, the reliability the SAR9 is known for seems to have carried over into the SAR9 C. During the firing, the SAR9’s light recoil was very apparent. At 27 ounces unloaded, it isn’t the lightest or the heaviest 9mm handgun. With its weight grip and intelligent recoil spring design, this compact pistol is easy to use.

I found the SAR9 C comparable to a Glock 17, though the Glock is a softer shooter. The pistol’s weight grip design and intelligent recoil spring design add to the impression of an easy-to-use pistol. I consider the Glock 17 a soft shooter.

I tested a mix of ammunition, including Remington UMC 115-grain FMJ and Turkish ZSR loads, which seemed fitting given the country of origin. Testing included shooting 10 rounds as quickly as I could fire, control recoil and regain the sights. I put all 10 into 4 inches at 10 yards. I proofed the pistol with an old cache of Remington 124-grain Golden Saber and also a fresh box of Remington 147-grain Golden Saber. Reliability was faultless.

I also fired the pistol for accuracy from a braced position at 15 yards. The sights proved well-regulated for the six o’clock hold. The Remington 115-grain FMJ loading put five shots into 2 inches. At typical combat ranges of 5 to 10 yards, the pistol gets on target quickly and offers fast and accurate first-shot hits. It is as fast and accurate to an X-ring hit and follow-up as any other polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol. The primary advantage of the SAR9 C is its modest recoil. Plus, it is reliable and offers good tactical accuracy.

SAR9 Worth a Purchase?

SAR9 Cs don’t fit Glock holsters save for inexpensive fabric types. I carried the SAR9 in a Bullard Leather inside-the-waistband holster. I like the SAR9. While it is reliable and accurate, it is also affordable. The average price is less than $400.