I am a sucker for budget-friendly workhorse firearms. The ones you would expect to run no matter what you throw at it, how dirty it gets, or how inexpensive it is. The underdogs if you will. When I first discovered SAR USA, I was immediately intrigued by their full line of pretty attractive looking pistols, something a bit different. Then I saw the pricing and my jaw about hit the floor at SHOT Show a few years ago. Sarsilmaz is a company that is based in Turkey but is quickly making a big name for themselves in the U.S. under the name of SAR USA.
SAR K12 Sport
Sarsilmaz is not just some new gun manufacturer. They have been in the gun manufacturing business since 1880 and are the supplier of the majority of arms for the Turkish Army. If you are unfamiliar with the Turkish Army, this claim to fame of supplying most of the army’s firearms may not be that impressive. However, the Turks are not some third-rate army running around with old hand-me-down firearms and outdated training tactics. The Turks are hardened, badass, well-trained allies of the U.S. known for their not-messing-around attitude. Never afraid to mix it up. They have acted as a wall between Europe and the Middle East and have had no shortage of practice getting into conflicts and shooting their way out. So as a nation, they don’t really screw around with weaponry.
SAR USA makes guns like lives depend on it because they do. The SAR K12 Sport shows this manufacturing mentality perfectly. A purpose-built race gun for the absolute mindboggling MSRP of $842. That is a price low enough to be laughable when it comes to competition-ready guns. A price so low that most would immediately scoff at it in a gun case and move on to something more expensive. No way can an $800 gun run with the more than double-priced, competition-ready race guns on the market. Well, prepare to have your mind blown. The SAR USA K12 Sport is incredible.
The K12 is essentially a CZ-75, configured for single action only. SAR’s take on it was why have a DA/SA trigger when the sole purpose of this gun is to shoot steel quickly, accurately and in the most efficient way possible. The single-action trigger is smooth and consistent. It does have a bit longer reset and a bit of more creep than what I would like to see but it is very consistent and easy to learn. On the plus side, the trigger is adjustable and boasts a little heavier pull for a competition gun at around 4 pounds. This is more than likely because of the fact it is not a custom gun, rather a production gun.
All the controls on the K12 Sport are extended for ease of use in a competition setting. Furthermore, the controls are all reversable, so the south paws have the same advantage as us righties. The gun also has a removable, flared mag well for quick reloads, plus it adds a very nice shelf for the dominate hand’s pinky to rest on. This really tops off the amazingly ergonomic stainless-steel frame and removable aluminum grip panels. The grips are well thought out and extremely attractively done in a dark grey up against the polished stainless frame. Front and backstrap checkering keeps your hands planted on the grip no matter what the conditions may be. The frame also has an enlarged beaver tail, similar to a 1911 that cradles the hand very well and aids the shooter in staying on target for quicker follow-up shots.
SAR utilized the same rail inside frame design similar to some CZ models. The design has been known for producing incredible accuracy. Trust me, this offering from SAR USA proves this. These rails are polished and fit perfectly to the slide. Just simply racking the slide feels like a warm knife cutting through butter. Super smooth and effortless. The frame and slide are both stainless, which gives the gun it’s 46.9-ounce weight that handles any recoil with ease.
On the extremely low-profile slide you will find a set of pretty basic cocking serrations on the front and back. Not fancy, but functional. The top of the slide has some nice beveled edges as well. The K12 also comes with a set of extremely nice sights. The rear sight is adjustable. In fact, the rear sight has more adjustment than I have ever seen on a set of sights. Really making this system adjustable to each shooters specific needs and shooting style. Inside the slide you will find a high polished stainless, one-piece heavy guide rod and 4.7-inch barrel. The gun ships with two 17-round magazines with simple but attractive metal base plates that match the finish on the grip panels as well.
I first got my hands on this 9mm pistol at the Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous media event where I put 100 rounds downrange after probably 3,000 rounds had gone through the gun that day. We were shooting in some of the craziest wind and dust I have ever been out in. With all that dust and debris flying around the K12 did end up getting a little gummed up like any handgun would. The simple breakdown of the gun made for a quick cleaning and reassembly and back to shooting. I was hitting steel out at distances upwards of 50 yards in that wind with ease. This short time at the range was enough for me to fall head over heels for this budget-friendly beast. Once I got one to my house, I took the gun out of the box, fondled it a bit and then headed to the range.
I was shooting Black Hills 124-grain JHPs, which shot well. I put 350 rounds down range in my first range session with no issues at all. It did take a little time to get used to the sights, and the rear sight did need quite a bit of adjustment right out of the box. But, once it was dialed in, it was dialed in! I was able to consistently get sub 1-inch groupings at 10 yards in an indoor range when really trying to achieve great groups. I did a few speed drills, which is really where this pistol shines. It just shoots so flat with very little recoil, giving incredibly quick follow-up shots. I am not a competitive shooter, but the SAR K12 Sport made me immediately feel like I should try my hand at competition.
More Rounds Downrange
The next few range sessions I was running a variety of ammunition through the K12 Sport, including 115-grain HSM Hornady XTP, 124-grain HSM JHP, 115-grain Pinnacle TAC-XP, 125-grain Hornady Steel Match, 115-grain Aguila +P and 147-grain Federal Premium HST Tactical. Everything I fed the SAR was chewed up and spit out with zero malfunctions during approximately 600 rounds of live fire. These next 300 rounds were shot outside at my friend’s range. Outdoors, I was not really worried about groupings and I more wanted to ring steel as fast as I possibly could.
I started off shooting at 15 yards and ended up out around 100 yards just for the hell of it. Even at 100 yards, I was able to ring steel around 50 percent of the time shooting at a 15-inch plate. I bet the gun would hit it every time, but I was having a hard time with the sight system at that longer distance. The gun is definitely better than I am.
Although the trigger had a bit longer reset than what I like, it didn’t stop me from falling in love with it. This thing was just so fun to shoot I just wanted to keep shooting. Although I didn’t do a whole lot of real accuracy tests but rather focused on speed, I did see my best groups with 115-grain Pinnacle TAC-XP rounds. They seemed to be a bit tighter, but everything shot so well and stayed so accurate it really was tough to tell the difference.
I was able to achieve extremely tight five-shot groups at 10 yards with all kinds of ammunition during testing. Out at longer distances, those groups really didn’t get that crazy. Even out at 50 yards, I was able to achieve good groups with ease. Those groups were not shooting a round a minute or from support. Those groups were achieved standing, unsupported, with a minimal pause between shots.
Ready For Running?
SAR USA knocked it out of the park with the K12 Sport. It’s a budget-friendly performance monster that eats anything you feed it in pretty much any environment. Whether it be for shooting competitions, getting into competitive shooting, or if you just want to show off at the range and have some fun, the K12 Sport is definitely worth looking into. And you can’t beat the price! For more information, visit sarusa.com.
SAR USA K12 Sport Features & Specs
- Caliber: 9mm
- Barrel length: 4.7 inches
- Overall length: 8.5 inches
- Weight: 46.9 ounces
- Grip: Aluminum panels
- Sights: Adjustable rear, target front
- Action: Hammer-fired SA semi-auto
- Finish: Polished stainless steel
- Capacity: 17+1
- MSRP: $842
PERFORMANCE: SAR USA K12 Sport
|Aguila +P 115||1,250||1.00|
|Black Hills JHP 124||1,150||0.85|
|Federal Premium HST Tactical 147||1,000||0.80|
|Hornady Critical Duty FlexLock 135||1,010||0.90|
|Hornady Steel Match 125||1,170||.95|
|HSM Hornady XTP 115||1,400||.75|
|HSM JHP 124||1,000||0.90|
|Pinnacle TAC-XP 115||1,250||0.65|
|Sig Sauer V-Crown JHP 124||1,165||0.95|
This article originally appeared in the March-April 2022 issue of Tactical Life. Get your copy today at OutdoorGroupStore.com.