I've kind of turned into a partial advocate and spokesperson for Turkish pistols lately. I think I have reasonable justification for that though. They seem to be well made for the most part, and pretty high quality. I think people just do not understand them or the circumstances that makes them a viable option for us American shooters.
First let me talk about the typical pistol made in Turkey. No, they are not always original producers of pistol designs. But then again, no design is really all that unique, fresh, or uninspired by a design that came before it. That said, Turkish manufacturers do alot of reverse engineering where they basically do what they can to reinforce certain areas and make the design more suitable for their needs. If we look at the Girsan Regard, you will notice a heavy resemblance to the Beretta 92FS I have, but with a few important differences like the grip size, locking block design, and even the finish of the pistol. So yes, they do clone alot of designs, but they seem to do a good job in upgrading them and making them more user friendly in some ways. Also, this means that alot of the parts like springs and some trigger components are interchangeable.
Let us next look at the SAR9 from Sarsilmaz. The company was given the task of making a pistol that could beat out the Glock and all other pistols in NATO trials. Supposedly the pistol was successful, but there is no literature on the pistol to prove it. The design is really good on the pistol. It uses a chassis system for the frame internals, and they are quite beefed up and well designed for a long service life. The recoil spring is pretty tight on the pistol, which is a good indicator that it is made to last a long time. The only regrettable feature is the manual safety. I think it prevents this pistol from being my overall favorite. The problem is that the Turkish manufacturer thought it would be a good idea to make a different pistol for civilians than what they provide their own military and police. This is an asinine ideology I will not stand behind or excuse. They breed the HK VP9 and the Glock17 together, but screw it up with a manual safety.
Now let me move on to the SAR CM9 Gen2, which is also from Sarsilmaz. This pistol is like a clone of the Sphinx and the CZ P07, in my judgement. The action is really smooth, the trigger is crude, and the grip is basic. The pistol itself screams that it is designed to be a work horse instead of Americas sweetheart design. I can appreciate that kind of design for sure. The main problem with this type of pistol is that you will struggle to find an IWB holster. I would gladly carry this pistol, but I could not find a pre-made holster for it except the OWB GLS from Safariland. Also, good luck on finding sights for this design as well. This pistol is good for hard use out of the box, but it definitely is going to be a duty pistol or even a home/vehicle gun at this rate. Though, I think more accessories are coming out due to growing popularity. We can only cross our fingers and hope. This ridiculously reliable pistol is easy to shoot well, recoils very little, and takes cheap CZ75 mags. Why wouldn't I want to use this pistol alot?
I am not going to dramatize how reliable or durable these pistols are, but I will say that the Turkish manufacturers did do alot of work to make very high quality and long lasting pistols based around the 9mm NATO cartridge, which is a pretty hot load. The reason that their standards for durability is so high is because they have a reputation to uphold. They take pride in the fact that their pistols are often used by civilians throughout the world and even in small security forces. They wanna make sure that their pistols are mentioned often as being worthy for serious use. For this reason, you can expect little to no reliability issues with Turkish pistols.
When it comes to price, it is common for a product of any kind to be judged by how much you are charged for it. Though, it seems that there is a threshold where pistols like these are considered a good value. But if they come in at a lower price like $250 or less, they are seen as low quality or CHEAP quality pistols. The problem is that people are not very good critical thinkers these days. People don't understand exchange rates and the value of the American Dollar around the world. Some places may not value our currency as much, but we still hold alot of weight in the middle east. For that reason, importers are generally able to get these pistols for very little money if charged fairly. I say IF because it is common for manufacturers to want to make lots of money on their product while trying to be fair at the same time. Anyways, the point is that for $250-$400, these Turkish pistols can go a long way and give you many years of reliable service.
Personally, I am having a hard time justifying using other pistols from more expensive manufacturers, unless I can't get away with carrying these Turkish pistols. Their low price means that I will not be sacrificing too much if I have it confiscated for using it in self defense. Also, they have been so reliable and are so easy to shoot that I am embarrassed to admit that they perform better than my more expensive Sig and Beretta pistols. I will not assume that the Turkish pistols are going to last longer than the big brand named pistols, but I do think that the argument on that basis is largely irrelevant. Since they use relatively the same springs and small parts, it is reasonable to expect that they will last nearly a lifetime for us in the US, if we maintain them properly. Let's also realize that most people never even shoot enough to change a single spring.
Now, the last subject I wanna bring up is the political aspect of buying Turkish products. Many people are suggesting that Turkey is a sponsor of ISIS. This could not be further from the truth. Sure, they have little respect for us in America, but it is because they have been left to fend for themselves in the war against ISIS. They have had more engagements against ISIS than many know, and they have been attacked in their major cities with great frequency. I personally feel that they have done a great job in the war on terrorism. So, be careful about how you talk about Turkey. What you know may not be in line with reality. It is dangerous to go off rumor and new media. Also, don't forget that Turkey is also one of the last NATO countries that is trusted by H&K to produce H&K-worthy products to fill NATO contracts around the world. I think that alone is a good testament to the quality standards of Turkish small arms manufacturers.
Without dragging this article on for the next year, I think I will just leave you all with a little thought. If these pistols are generally very reliable and rarely have issues, why would you spend more money on a product that tends to have more lemons and is not made to a higher standard. Because let's face it; in America, we often experience Monday and Friday products. My Sig MK25 is not even very reliable with any ammunition. That pistol cost over $1000 and it was not even good out of the box. Nor is it even close to the pistol given to SOCOM, despite the claim to the contrary. With all that in mind, wouldn't it make sense to use a pistol that is reliable, and one that doesn't cost an arm and a leg?
Do It Rite
Alaska-Based Youtube Vlogger, Retired Marine, gun enthusiast, and passionate firearm and gear evaluator.