While rushing through the last hour of the 2022 SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range Event, I came across a booth that had quite a buzz around it. Here, Turkish-made handguns were being exhibited, but they were unlike any of the others on the market. I took particular interest in the BRG-9 Elite.
The BRG-9 Elite
I was scrambling to complete my 25-shotgun assignment. So, I didn’t have time for much more than the 30-second elevator pitch with the company’s frontman, Ken Cooper. Ken is one of the minds behind the Buffalo Cartridge Company, which is now branching off into arms.
This pistol would be its first import and is dubbed the BRG-9 Elite. He explained that the BRG is a compact polymer-framed, striker-fired semi-automatic pistol, sharing many features with today’s most popular designs. Some of these features are a tad familiar, but we will get to that later.
He invited me to the firing line to shoot it, but as badly as I wanted to, there just wasn’t enough time to wait in that line. However, I did promise him that I would certainly reach out after the show because he certainly had my attention.
Well, later that night at the dinner table, two of my colleagues were telling me that I needed to try this “new flat-shooting pistol.” And whose card did they put in my face? You guessed it.
With fanfare coming from some of the greatest minds in the industry, that call was one of the first that I made when I returned home. Keeping hours like a madman, I was able to get ahold of Mr. Cooper at approximately 9 pm. And he gave me a complete rundown of the pistol.
He bristled with pride as he explained that the BRG-9 is made with a higher grade of steel than most. Likewise, the ergonomics and controls are more refined than typical conventional designs. It only took a few minutes more worth of conversation before I was sending my FFL info his way, and a test gun was inbound.
The BRG-9 Elite 9mm comes in three basic finishes, which include all black, black and stainless, and FDE. I requested the “first available,” and in just a few weeks, I was looking down at a gorgeous blacked-out pistol. Packed into the plastic case with the gun was the most complete cleaning kit I have ever seen, included with a pistol.
This kit included not only a set of bore brushes and mops, but also a nylon brush for the rails, terry polishing cloth, and even a tube of oil. Whoever picked out the accessory kit wanted this gun to be taken care of. Sort of indicating that it is intended to last a lifetime.
Before heading to the range, I took the gun apart to see what made it tick. The process is very similar to taking apart a Springfield XD but perhaps a smidge easier.
Once the slide was separated from the frame, I quickly noticed that both the front and the rear guide rails were made of metal. This is a sign of quality, as many manufacturers sub in polymer for at least one pair.
The double recoil spring system was nice to see as well, indicating that this was built to be softer and flatter shooting. The overall fit between all of the components was stellar, showing tight tolerances and true craftsmanship. Satisfied with what I was looking at, I quickly put the gun back together and started packing for range day.
Aside from a sandbag rest, there wasn’t much more needed to conduct this evaluation. So, I put rubber to the road.
Find the Fit
My range day started with a great deal of handling, as this gun was unique but in very subtle ways. One of the first things that you’ll notice with the BRG-9 is that it has a good bit of heft to it, feeling heavier than it appears. That is due to the large amount of 4340 steel that is used to build this pistol.
This stronger grade of steel contains a higher nickel content, making it more wear-resistant. Likewise, it increases the overall ruggedness of the most critical components. You’ll also notice that all of that weight stays put, and that is because of the well-thought-out ergonomics.
A lightly studded front and back strap fill every void of your hand without being so aggressive that it leaves you looking for lotion after you finish shooting. You’ll also notice how they addressed both camps regarding finger grooves. Specifically, they created a grip that offers a very subtle set of them.
Moving onto the interchangeable backstraps, BRG includes a set of three that are held in place with a single roll pin. To make it more my own, I popped it out with a screwdriver and downsized it to the smaller one. This put my hand exactly where it needed to be.
When building my grip, I noticed the deep undercut that allowed me to get my shooting hand up a good deal higher. This, we all know, helps to mitigate muzzle flip. At this point, I noticed the grip safety or, more accurately, the lack of pressure required to deactivate it. From here, it was time to see how she pointed.
The BRG-9 Elite Offers a Natural Point of Aim
If a pistol fits (or can be made to fit) a shooter properly, then they should be able to put their eyes on a target and punch out right onto it. This was the case with the BRG-9 Elite, as the sights landed right where I wanted them with every presentation.
The ramped three-dot system was very easy to pick up, as was the cocking indicator that protruded through the backplate.
Back to the sights, I liked that these were dovetailed into the slide, paving the way for a tritium-bearing option or even an adapter to add an optic. Additionally, this meant that they were also drift adjustable, should I find that they need a little tweak after I fire my first shots.
Shooting the Elite Pistol
After prepping the two included 16-round magazines, I picked the gun up in my right hand and slapped one in. I found the slide release without a problem, as my thumb was nearly resting on it. And I sent the slide into battery without barely touching it.
My first shots were at a full-sized steel IPSC target. They were conducted to develop a feel for the trigger pull, recoil, and recover.
Concerning the trigger, I dug the flat-ish shoe that BRG went with. Especially since it broke at a measured 5.13 pounds with a crisp break. I also enjoyed the quarter-inch reset. I found it to be short but not so short you’ll touch off a double by accident. This is critical if you are considering a gun for self-defense.
It was during rapid fire when I found out what all the hubbub at dinner was about. And that was the immeasurable recovery time in between shots. For a 4-inch gun that isn’t built to race, it performed like it was much larger and maybe even ported. The rounds just flew out of this thing, and within 12 yards landing a double alpha wasn’t the exception but rather the norm.
This was true across all three types of ammunition, even the high-pressure Speer Gold-Dot ammunition. Slow fire provided excellent 15-yard groups with all rounds yielding adequate consistency. This was particularly true with the Buffalo Cartridge Company 115-grain, which was likely used in the pistol’s development.
The Ambidextrous BRG-9 Elite
I ended the day shooting with my native left hand and found that the gun fit a variety of holsters that I already owned. Surprisingly, the magazine release was ambidextrous, allowing me to use my left thumb or middle finger during a reload.
Sadly, there wasn’t a slide release on the right side of the gun. But the left-mounted one was easy enough to hit with my trigger finger. So, I’ll just chalk that up to one less snag point if I were to carry this gun.
So, the last question that remains is, is it an XD clone? While they share some similar features, the hard answer is no. Yes, the magazine releases are so close they might be interchangeable. But that’s about the only copycat part the BRG-9 Elite truly displays.
The next closest might be the takedown lever. But if you compare the two, you’ll see BRG recessed its lever into the frame while Springfield left it more exposed. Just different mentalities, really; Springfield wants it easy to flick, while BRG wants it out of the way.
In addition, the BRG’s lever flips down while the XD’s flips up. Key points on the frame of each gun are different as well. While the BRG features finger grooves and a deeply undercut trigger guard, the XD is built with a flat front strap and a much milder undercut.
At the end of the day, the two are similar, but I don’t think it’s fair to compare them to each other. The BRG-9 Elite performed far too well to live in any shadow. And with an MSRP of only $399, it is a force to be reckoned with.
The folks behind putting this gun into my hands got it right. I’m excited to see if they bring a full-sized or subcompact offering to the table soon as well.
For more information, please visit BRG-USA.com.
BRG-9 Elite Specs
Barrel: 4 inches
Overall Length: 7.36 inches
Weight: 30 ounces (empty)
Sights: High visibility, dovetail
|Buffalo Cartridge Company 115||1,114||1.72|
|Federal Syntech 124||1,119||1.98|
|Speer Gold Dot 130||1,156||1.89|
Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in feet per second (fps) and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups at 15 yards.
This article was originally published in the Combat Handguns September/October 2022 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.