Many people may be wondering when I am going to do a video or an article of a Glock, S&W, or some other name brand that everyone loves. Well, I do own a couple name brand firearms, but there are a couple of reasons why you don't see them very often, or at all.
First I think it is good to start out by talking about the Glock and why I don't own one personally. Glock is obviously the most popular pistol in the US, and for very good reasons. It is the standard by which all other pistols are judged in size, weight, reliability, service record, aftermarket parts, etc. I like the Glock pistols alot for what they offer, but I think that people forget that the Glock is not a one stop solution for all their pistol needs. Sure they are reliable, but they are also subject to the same, if not more, issues that other pistols have. Run them long and hard enough, and you will find yourself, as I have, in need of replacement parts. But more than that, I just feel like the Glock is just another "Me Too" pistol. There is nothing new or interesting about what it offers. It doesn't give everyone everything they would like or want in a pistol. There are more reliable, more durable, more accurate, and more affordable pistols out there.
As my first example, let us look at the Sar9 from Turkey. I will caution you to leave your political theories at the door for this one. The Sar9 was designed by Sarsilmaz to put the Glock to shame, and I think they have done that well. They have not beat it out in simplicity of design or parts availability, but the goal was to conquer it in durability and performance. If you ever laid hands on this pistol, you'd swear you were holding a VP9 in your hands. The slide is very reminiscent of the Glock, but with a few differences like extractor design and slide serrations.
The internals are very similar to a Glock, but you will find that similar is as close as it gets. The Sar9 has one feature that the Glock may never be able to have.
That is right, the Sar9 has a chassis system. If you look closely, you will probably be able to see that each individual component is beefed up and reinforced. I know that alot of Glock fans praise the Glock for it's simplicity, but I would wager that the simplicity has done little to nothing for them except make it easy for them to install aftermarket parts. In that case, good on you for getting a Lego gun.
If we are going to talk about underdog pistols, we must cover the topic of clones. Recently I have spent alot of time with pistols that are clones of more popular designs. Now, I know that clones get a bad reputation as being cheap rip offs that will fail you, but I think it all boils down to where they are made and how they are used. I have yet to see a long track record of several owners of South American firearms that have not had issues with them, to include myself. One thing I have experienced and heard only good things about is clones made in Italy and Turkey. They are inexpensive and they are very durable. I have experienced this myself since I own 4 pistols made in Turkey and 3 are clones of other designs.
Now, are clones really just cheap rip offs? I don't really see it that way. I see it as a way in which the prospective buyer is offered a firearm that is modeled after a successful design, but with slight changes.
When It comes to clones made in Turkey, you need to first realize what the goal of the manufacturer is. For the most part, what Turkish manufacturers are trying to do is take a successful pistol design, reverse engineer it, and try to change things to make the pistol suit their needs. In the case of the MC28, they took the M&P design and beefed up all the internals in order to help it pass their version of NATO testing. The pistol is very similar in many aspects, but they are different enough to where they can't really interchange parts. Personally, I found the trigger, the grip, and the overall build quality of the MC28 to be better than my wife's M&P. Of course you don't get the aftermarket options or parts compatibility, but this is not the case for most clones.
When it comes to clones of the CZ75 design, you will find no shortage of variety around the world. Personally, I like the fact that the CZ75 has so many clones because I think that companies like Tanfoglio and Sarsilmaz actually paid attention and perfected the design. I noticed that they take most of the CZ design characteristics and end up changing a few things here and there, beefing up components, etc. It would seem that these manufacturers found kinks in the design and fixed them. As a result, you will have a hard time finding someone that describes their CZ75 clone as anything other than completely reliable. Also, most of the magazines and internal parts of these clones are interchangeable with CZ75 pistols. This gives you aftermarket and maintenance support. The best part about it is that you get all this for about $250. Personally, I think the price wraps everything up into an automatic win for myself. I can't speak for all you readers out there.
The discussion would not be complete if we did not talk about the Honor Guard from Honor Defense. This pistol is constantly accused of being an M&P Shield copy. The problem is that it is not a copy of that design except in looks. But it sets itself apart in several ways. First thing you should know is that this pistol was designed to be modular with a chassis system, and it has all the important features you could want out-of-the-box. You may not get things like light triggers and night sights, but the pistol was designed to accept Glock 42/43 sights so you can set it up however you want. Lastly, the pistol is designed to shoot a steady diet of +P ammo. The pistol is proof tested with a 9mm+P proof load to ensure this. I think that this is a great pistol design that unfortunately gets brushed aside.
Last pistol I will cover is the Lionheart LH9(N) from Lionheart Industries, which is a collaborated design with S&T Motiv. The pistol is basically an Americanized K5, which is the South Korean service pistol based on the S&W 5906. The frame, slide, and barrel are all forged to ensure durability of the parts and the pistol has proven to be quite durable and reliable for me. The LH9 hit the market a few years ago and immediately seemed to draw alot of curiosity from shooters. The problem with this pistol is that you will rarely see them in a gun shop, so there is little chance that you will be able to feel one up before buying one. From my experience, the trigger and the ergonomics of this pistol are the biggest selling points. Once people get their hands on these pistols, it is hard to get them to let them go.
If you read all the way to this point, I hope that you enjoyed the content of this article. There are so many things to say about each pistol, but I wanted to keep it brief to avoid writing a novel. I guess the best way to sum up my article is to just point out that when you step outside the big name brand companies, you may find that there are designs that have just as much to offer you, if not more. Plus, you may find that the value of these products is very high for the most part. I hope you will try to step outside the popularity box once in a while and take a shot at an underdog yourself. Whether it is a pistol on this list or not, I think it is good to explore and pursue value whenever possible.
Do It Rite
Alaska-Based Youtube Vlogger, Retired Marine, gun enthusiast, and passionate firearm and gear evaluator.