Unless it is a type I am already familiar with, I have never ordered a handgun and anxiously awaited its arrival. I have ordered the 1911 and a few Smith & Wesson revolvers — including some I have been disappointed with — but I knew what to expect. When it comes to new issues I have to handle them in the shop to make my mind up to take a chance. That kind of kills internet sales and new guns from Budsgunshop Midway CTD and the rest I suppose.
While I read a review of the original SAR K2 here it hardly registered. The pistol seemed fine, but I was certain the grip would be too large for my average size hands.
I have wanted a high capacity modern .45 for a few years. The GLOCK 21 is a fine pistol; reliable, soft recoiling, and among the most accurate GLOCK handguns…but too big, at least for me. I thought the SIG P227 was the one, but it didn’t really grow on me. And I couldn’t beg or borrow a spare magazine anywhere.
The SAR K2 45c is another matter altogether. When I handled the pistol in a local shop I decided to take a chance on it and and took it home. The grip actually seemed not only to fit my hand, but offer a nice, high hold. SAR seems to have taken the CZ 75 design and added a touch or two from SIG to come up with a handgun that fits my hands somewhat better than a 2 x 4…a definite plus. And yes, I have tried the CZ 97. It’s too big as well.
I am a .45 ACP fan, from the Bond Arms derringer to the Wilson Combat CQB. The cartridge is low pressure meaning low weapon wear. Muzzle signature is only a warm glow when the cartridge is properly loaded. Wound potential is good and there is a wide range of loads available.
The projectile launcher itself is pretty important as well. The Turkish-made SAR guns are usually reliable, if not as nicely finished, and a good value for the price point. The K2 45C pistol is more expensive at about the $500 mark, but still very affordable for a modern handgun.
You tend to get what you pay for and seldom more. At the five hundred dollar mark there are plenty of good, dependable pistols. A few below that mark are OK and most (but not all) that are priced higher are good handguns.
The K2 45C has a stainless steel frame…no plastic here. It’s a compact version of the original full-size K2 pistol. My guess is the balance and handling of the compact verion should be superior, but I have not handled the full-size original.
The compact version of the K2 is plenty beefy, but just right for the mission. It’s possible, though not easy, to conceal this handgun…if you can conceal a government model .45, SIG P226 or a GLOCK 30 you can hide a K2 45C.
The pistol bears a close resemblance to the CZ 75. The 45C operates in the same manner as the CZ 75 with a few small differences. As an example, the pistol may be carried hammer down with the safety on, which the original CZ doesn’t allow. Cocked and locked carry is possible, but there is no decocker. The hammer must be lowered manually (and therefore very carefully).
The pistol doesn’t use locking lugs but instead butts the barrel hood into the ejection port to lock the barrel. The bottom lockup consists of an angled locking wedge. The K2 45C is a standard locked breech type. This is a double-action-first-shot handgun.
The stocks are thin enough and offer good abrasion. The back strap and front strap are serrated. For a high capacity .45, though, the grip is comfortable, even for my average size hands.
The backstrap features a gentle S-shaped curve and the grip tang is improved over the original CZ. The magazine holds 12 rounds providing a total capacity of 13 with one in the pipe. I load twelve in the magazine and then load the pistol. Twelve seems plenty and there is less wear on the magazine spring. The pistol is supplied with two magazines and there seem to be plenty in the supply chain.
I have no problem with carrying a GLOCK or a cocked and locked 1911 pistol on my belt. The double action first shot pistol puts my mind at ease when on the nightstand and offers a simple motion to fire. Just raise the pistol and pull the trigger.
If you choose to carry the pistol with the frame safety engaged, that’s an additional level of peace of mind for some gun owners. I don’t carry the CZ type cocked and locked simply because the frame geometry isn’t as fast for me as a 1911. I am slower manipulating the safety. The advantage is that during tactical movement you don’t have to de-cock the pistol for safety. Simply flip the safety up and you are good to go while moving or taking cover.
The double action trigger is smooth and free of grit. The single action trigger is very good at 5.1 pounds. Reset is short. I can’t hear as well as I once did, but trigger reset is both sharp and audible. During the first few hundred rounds of shooting the grip frame proved wide enough for real comfort. Coupled with the long grip tang I find a pistol at least as comfortable to fire as a 1911, comparable to the soft-kicking GLOCK 21.
I am not certain how much the slide riding inside the frame on reverse rails improves accuracy (if at all), but there is plenty of contact between the slide and the rails in this configuration, true to the CZ design. The design also lowers the bore axis in comparison to other double action first shot pistols.
The dust cover features a rail for mounting accessories. The sights are well designed for both speed and accuracy. The rear sight is fully adjustable, a nice touch. The pistol came out of the box sighted for the six o’clock hold and 230 grain ammunition.
Field stripping is simple enough. Unload the pistol, removing the magazine. Move the slide to the rear enough for witness marks in the slide and frame to line up. Then bump the slide lock out. The slide will then run right off the frame. Lift out the recoil spring and rod and the barrel.
A concern for some will be that since the slide rides low, it’s more difficult to get a good hold and rack it than, say a GLOCK or SIG. That’s something that’s true of all CZ-type design.
As for reliability the K2 45C has cycled through hundreds of different rounds since I bought it without a single failure to feed, chamber, fire or eject. The pistol was lubricated in the beginning and not cleaned until the end of the firing sessions. That isn’t really a lot of ammunition yet, but a bit of a sacrifice in the current situation.
I’ve fed it a good mix of lead SWC bullets, RNL, and jacketed ball ammunition so far. I have a good, but dwindling supply of Black Hills Ammunition 185 grain JHP which I’ve tried as well. It’s faster than the 230 grain JHP. BHA uses the Hornady XTP bullet and has about the same energy. The 185 grain load penetrates and expands about like the 230 grain JHP but recoils less. I like this load a lot.
The SAR K2 45C is fast on target. The double action trigger is smooth enough that I was able to easily get good center hits to 10 yards. The pistol also handles well in rapid fire. The cadence of fire isn’t set by how fast I can pull the trigger, but by how quickly I’m able to get the front sight back in the rear notch and aim gain. The pistol is very controllable.
As for absolute accuracy I was able to fire 2.5 inch five-shot groups at 25 yards with the Black Hills load. In other words, it’s plenty good to go to rely on for carry or home defense use. There are a lot of big bore fans out there and with twelve rounds in the magazine, modest recoil for the caliber and good combat accuracy, the SAR K2 45c is a very viable option.
Specifications: Sarsilmaz SAR K2 45c
Caliber: .45 ACP
Action: Locked breech DA/SA
Magazine capacity: 12 plus 1
Slide and frame: Stainless Steel
Barrel length: 3.8 in.
Weight empty: 35 ounces
Weight loaded: 46 ounces
Width: 1.5 inch
Overall length: 7.8 in.
Average retail: $500
Ratings (out of five stars):
Reliability * * * * *
It should be reliable as it is based on the proven CZ. So far so good through hundreds of mixed rounds.
Accuracy: * * * *
In combat accuracy, the pistol is excellent for a DA first shot pistol, comparable to any of the type I’ve shot. In absolute benchrest accuracy, it’s in the upper end of middle of the pack. Bot as accurate a SIG but more than good enough for most uses.
Handling and Ergonomics * * * *
One star off because I had to tilt my hand to work the slide lock. I don’t have the longest thumbs, but I can operate the CZ. This pistol is a .45 wide body and this is just a trade-off you’ll have to decide you’re willing to make.
Concealed This * * *
She’s big, but no larger than a Beretta and less so than a GLOCK 21. Definitely not as thin as a 1911.
Overall: * * * *
The CZ design has a legion of fans and for very good reason. For those who like the platform and the ergonomics, but want to own and (possibly) carry something in a caliber that starts with a ‘4’, the SAR K2 45C is an affordable way to do that.