Pistols that come out of Turkey are one of my newest lusts and interests. There are several reasons for this and I look forward to revealing these reasons. Also, I would like to look at the pistols I have had experience with and explain why I feel they are worthy candidates for a spot in your safe.
The biggest reason I am attracted to most pistols that come from Turkey is the price that they usually come in at. They are some of the least expensive firearms on the market. Now in America, gun buyers have been told and pretty much taught that low prices equals low quality because more human care and love costs more money. These pistols have traits and qualities that have rendered that argument untrue and kind of ridiculous.
For the most part, Turkish pistols are clones or hybrids of other pistols. They seem to take the ideas and designs of many popular pistols and try to put their own twist on it to make it interesting. I like this idea because it gives the market variety. One thing I have noticed is that they have an obvious understanding of the importance of good ergonomics and a reliable design that can be counted on to have a long service life. Turkish pistols seem to all be made to a level of quality that make them juicy options for any NATO country that would be interested in them for their small military or police elements. This requires high levels of quality control and an endless drive to improve. I think they have proven this for quite some time.
I have always been a fan of the underdog when it comes to firearms. The firearms may not be high speed or be all that and a bag of chips, but they work with boring reliability and have a design that deserves the utmost respect. For the most part, these underdog pistols, like the ones from Turkey, would no doubt receive more respect if more people had experience with them. They may not be perfect or fill every niche, but they are undeniably tough, affordable, and perform incredibly well in the hands of shooters.
CANIK TP9 DA
The Canik TP9 DA is a new pistol I added to my collection, but it has very interesting qualities. One quality is how strong all the springs are on the pistol. This is a trait you will notice on pistols that are made to NATO specifications. The pistol is basically a bigger Walther P99AS but with a few differences. The trigger pull is not as smooth, but it seems that the craftsmanship and durability are on par or better with this pistol. Also the price is much better and you know this design is actively used by Turkish SF and other elite forces who demand a badass pistol they can constantly thrash.
The SAR9 from Sarsilmaz is supposedly the new choice of the Turkish military, which is no small achievement. Apparently this pistol is one of the best and most tested pistols in NATO right now. It apparently was awarded a NATO NSN. I have yet to see it or the results of the testing that Turkey did in order to get this pistol a NATO NSN. However, I have ran a couple thousand rounds through this pistol and have liked it alot, other than the manual safety. I can work with it fine, but it is a nuisance and the early versions didn't have them, which ticks me off that we are now shafted with the safety until SAR USA can do something about it. Unfortunately, this pistol suffers from the same issues that many other Turkish pistols have. There are no night sight options out there for this pistol, which is kind of a bummer. Sometimes these Turkish manufacturers are behind on the times and trends of the market, but they are good enough for the time being, I suppose.
The Girsan Regard is one of my favorite pistols. The Regard is basically the same design as the Turkish military issue pistol, but by a different name. This pistol has a change or two to the locking block, which seems to take heavy design influence from the Beretta 92F design, which had relatively weak locking blocks. My fear is that this different locking block design may not be much more durable than the first generation locking blocks for the Berettas. This would mean that the service life on them may be only 10,000 rounds. The good thing about this pistol is that it takes Beretta magazines and is a pretty solid pistol for the most part. It is easy to shoot well and the springs seem to last a long time. i have about three thousand rounds through mine right now, which is pretty low, but it seems to be doing better in appearance and performance consistency. This is more than I can say for some of my other pistols.
GIRSAN MC28 SA
The Girsan MC28 is a pistol that basically builds on the S&W M&P platform. It is a full size pistol and only has a magazine capacity of 15 rounds. It could take CZ75 magazines if the cuts on the CZ magazines were enlarged a little. This pistol has such a nice and beefy build to it. It is amazingly tough and the springs in it are pretty stout too. It is impressive how well this pistol performs when you get the trigger down. The trigger is like a better Glock trigger, and the striker spring is very strong, which makes it mandatory to use a snap cap when practicing dry. I have broken a firing pin in the past, which is easy to do if you repeatedly allow the striker to hammer home without a stopper. Just a small consideration. This pistol is built real tough and is a joy to shoot, but it has it's own quirks, as all Turkish pistols have. But I like their genuine focus on getting the ergonomics, durability, and reliability down.
SAR CM9 GEN2
The SAR CM9 Gen2 is an offshoot of a Tanfoglio pistol but with minor upgrades to give it a different feel. The first generation of this pistol was nearly an exact copy that Sarsilmaz produced with the hopes of it being cherished as a good basic duty pistol. This second generation seems to have good improvements that really shows that Sarsilmaz is paying close attention to what shooters want and need in order to get rounds on target effectively. The grip has been upgraded to include finger grooves and a more subtle texture. The frame around the beavertail has been rounded out and smoothed out to prevent discomfort when firing. Also, the biggest thing I noticed was the change in the slide serrations. Sarsilmaz really hit the proverbial nail on the head when designing these serrations because now they have a texture and spacing that makes it unique to other CZ designs by making it easier to grip and manipulate. The ONLY thing holding this pistol back from true awesome status would be that it has adjustable sights without any options for straight up novak sights. other than that, this design is solid, and hopefully the future will hold some pretty savory sight options for us who have noticed the merits in this design.
In every design, there are downsides that can ruin a design and keep it from reaching it's potential and from drawing in more customers. As far as these Turkish pistols go, I think the big critiques would be sight options, holster options, and trigger characteristics. Sights are a big deal for alot of people to include myself. I used to not care about them so much until I started having sights fall off expensive guns and when i started to have my adjustable sight on the CM9 Gen2 drift under recoil. I prefer a solid sight like those on the MC28, Regard, TP9 DA, and the SAR9. They are sure to stay in place, but the SAR9 is lacking in having a front shelf I can use to do one handed manipulations. Also, one thing I find annoying is that the SAR CM9 has a manual safety that I can barely operate. When I first got the pistol, the safety was too tight and hard to actuate. I need to be able to operate the manual safety with ease, and unfortunately that is not something I have success with 100% of the time with this pistol.
When it comes to keeping up with firearms trends, Turkish manufacturers seem to really be limited by sporadic feedback from civilian and military users. The gun market in the US seems to drive alot of firearms trends that get picked up through the LE and military units internationally. Unfortunately, Turkey itself is limited in being able to take advantage of this feedback in full because their own population has restrictions on most of these produced weapons except for shotguns. Shotguns seem to be some of the best produced throughout the Turkish manufacturers. You can see much more advancements and knowledge of current market trends thanks to their ability to satisfy domestic civilian customers and get feedback. From what I understand, Turkey is a very prideful country and they love their guns. They seem to put in alot of work making them high quality, but it seems that some companies that import pistols here have a hard time getting the Turkish manufacturers to look through their pride and see fault in their designs. This is a huge problem in my opinion, but something that can take time to fix.
Turkish pistols overall seem to be improving in catching up with the gun market. The prices are great and the build quality is great. Turkey seems to have a good reputation for coming up with unique pistols that actually work well. Despite some things like sights and safeties, these pistols seem to have a beautiful utilitarian quality to them. Personally, I like all the pistols that I have, but I think the TP9 DA actually has the best chance of being my favorite Turkish pistol. The sights are fixed and are compatible with major manufacturers. The trigger is not that great, nor is the finish, but the pistol is solid and it fits the bill greatly. Other than that, these Turkish manufacturers are going to have to get with the game and start offering sight cuts compatible with other manufacturers, or start offering their own sights and stay away from adjustable sights on pistols they claim are good for duty. Other than that, I think it is up to you if you like these types of pistols to use them in a serious role.
Do It Rite
Alaska-Based Youtube Vlogger, Retired Marine, gun enthusiast, and passionate firearm and gear evaluator.