SAR USA 2000 9mm

by Massad Ayoob

At under $550, and with time-tested roots, this may be the best deal going today in an all-steel, high-capacity service pistol

Sarsilmaz may be the most often misspelled (and mispronounced) name in the handgun business.Their guns are manufactured in Turkey, but they ain’t no turkeys. I was impressed by their take on the Glock platform, the SAR9, and happily accepted the assignment to test the SAR 2000, which is their clone of the often copied CZ75 selective double-action 9mm pistol.

First, of course, you get the good and bad of the CZ75 design itself. Good: It feels great in most hands. At 36 ounces unloaded, this all-steel 9mm has extremely mild recoil. You have the versatility of selective double action. Bad (for some): the Petter-type slide rides within the frame rails, which gives you less to grab hold of when you activate the weapon; a trigger reach some find too long in double-action mode; and a thumb safety higher than 1911-acclimated shooters might like. Moreover, the hammer has to be lowered by hand: the 2000 has no de-cocking mechanism per se.

Controls are large, deeply-serrated and operated smoothly, but the double action trigger reach was a bit long in average size adult male hand. The SAR 2000’s slide can be operated while pistol is on safe: a useful safety feature for loading/unloading.

Versatility

The SAR 2000 has a one-side thumb safety which operates whether or not the hammer is cocked, and allows slide manipulation even in on-safe mode. More Good Things.  This gives us fully five carry options with a round in the chamber. Mike Mullens, manager of the Technical, Warranty, and Customer Service told On Target that the SAR 2000 is drop-safe.

Those loaded chamber modes are as follows. 1. Hammer down, off safe. Ready to fire with just a pull of the long double action trigger, self-cocking for followup shots. 2. Hammer down, on safe. Another safety net if a bad guy gets the gun away from you, or if you appendix carry with the muzzle pointed you-know-where. 3. Half-cock, off safe. Same as “1,” with a shorter albeit not necessarily lighter trigger pull on our specimen. 4. Half-cock, on safe. Analogous to “2,” above. 5. Cocked and on safe, a/k/a cocked and locked.  Shorter trigger reach and shorter pull for first shot.

Options are good. The rubber grip panels were comfortable, with well-placed palm swells. The fixed sights were good, with big, high-visibility white dots front and rear.

The Petter-type slide of the SAR 2000 rides within the frame rails like the CZ75 blueprint it was based on. Up front are a full-length stainless-steel guide rod and 4.5-inch hammer-forged barrel.

Trigger Pull

The SAR2000’s multiple trigger pull options were tested on a Lyman digital gauge from Brownell’s. I normally test from both center and toe (bottom tip) of the trigger with a pivoting trigger design such as this one; the latter gives the lighter pull, but the former is probably more relevant because that’s where the shooter’s trigger finger normally rests. The sharply curved shape and pointy toe of the SAR 2000 mandated center placement for me. With the hammer fully down in double action mode, pull weight averaged 11.21 pounds.

At half cock, the trigger starts only slightly back from the totally at rest position, so we stayed with center placement. Pull averaged 11.5 4 pounds, slightly more than from full hammer down since the shorter pull slightly compromised mechanical advantage, despite length of pull being slightly shorter. Fully cocked to single-action mode, pull averaged 5.75 pounds.

From both hammer-down and half-cock positions, the trigger pull is reasonably smooth and without stacking, that is, resistance does not increase through the length of the pull.  In single-action, there’s a short, easily-controlled “roll” before the sear releases, and a bit of backlash (continued trigger movement) after the release.  Reset is long but not too long; the very short trigger reset that target shooters like can be conducive to an unwanted additional shot under stress.

One of the two 17-round magazines that came with the gun is shown here. All who handled the test gun found the diamond-textured rubber grips quite comfortable.

Accuracy

Accuracy testing was done from a two-hand hold with a Matrix rest on a concrete bench at 25 yards. As usual, we tested with the three most popular bullet weights for the caliber. A common rule of thumb holds that five shots in four inches at 25 yards constitutes “acceptable service pistol accuracy.” One round we tested, SIG V-Crown 147-grain JHP, did exactly that: 4.00”. The other two were just out by one round each.  Now, the decades have taught me to measure each group once for all five shots and again for the best three; testing showed that the “best three” measurement of a hand-held group would generally predict machine rest five-shot groups with the same gun and ammo, by factoring out unnoticed human error from the bench.

That was true with SAR 2000 serial number T1102-20B50605. Of those five SIG V-Crowns that measured 4.0”, four were in 3.15” and the best three, in 1.75”, less than half the total group size. The 124-grain load was Federal’s full metal jacket American Eagle, which delivered 4.15” for all five, 2.70” for four of those, and an amazing 0.55” including a tight “double” for the best three. 115-grain Winchester “white box” ball hit high left for me, with a 4.75” measurement for all five, but four in less than half of that (2.30”) and the best three in 1.85”.

Shootability

I’ve found over the years that a CZ75 works best for me cocked and locked, and that was true of this clone as well. The gun’s weight and configuration made recoil seem almost non-existent, with the sights tracking almost completely straight and coming immediately back on target.

I was pleased to find that each SAR 2000 came with two 17-round magazines. They were easy to fill to full capacity, even without a loading tool, and my arthritic hands appreciated that.

Fire in the hole: camera captures muzzle flash from SAR 2000. Mas found the SAR 2000 extremely controllable in rapid fire, and the test gun produced acceptable service-pistol accuracy from the bench at 25-yards.

Reliability

Our first test sample experienced some misfires: the firing pin wasn’t hitting the primer. It was promptly sent back. When I phoned SAR USA they instantly issued a no cost call tag, and just as quickly sent a replacement. The second one worked flawlessly in every respect with ball and hollow point alike. Mike Mullens got back to me on the first one and reported, “Teardown revealed excess assembly lube in firing pin channel. They use a copper infused lubricant and (it) has a little wax in it. Cleaned it up and runs like a champ now!”

So, the gun gets a ding for that, but not a big one. At the same time, SAR USA customer service gets a big thumbs-up for the rapid, no-quibbling response in correcting things. Lesson: Don’t trust any new (or “new-to-us”) gun for anything serious until we’ve vetted it with live ammo.

For an all-steel, full-size pistol, Mas found the SAR 2000, shown cocked and locked, comfortable for all-day carry in this Galco holster.

Concealed Carry

The SAR 2000 is a full-size service pistol, all steel, about 35 ounces unloaded. Having carried something similar for most of my life, I had no problem with that. At the end of a day with the replacement gun on and loaded with the 147-grain SIG V-Crown, I found no discomfort, and no sharp edges or chafe points on the gun itself in a Galco Yaqui Slide holster. What I did find was that the sharp rear edges of the magazine floorplate were not comfortable. A mag pouch with a sweat shield would solve that easily.

Bottom line? At under $550 for the test gun, and right at $570 in stainless, the SAR 2000 looks like a good value in today’s market. For the new shooter who is experimenting with different modes of carry, the five loaded-chamber options the SAR 2000 provides might seal the deal by itself.

Specifications:

  • Weight:                                35.20-ounces
  • Overall Length:                     8.0-inches
  • Barrel Length:                      4.50-inches
  • Frame:                                 Steel
  • Sights:                                 White dot front, fixed white dot rear
  • Magazine Capacity:               17+1
  • Retail Price:                          $549.99