Gun Review: SAR9 Subcompact Gen 2

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Features

Here’s the tech specs on the SAR9 Subcompact Gen 2:

  • Polymer Frame
  • 3.3-in. Barrel
  • 6.4-in. Overall Length
  • 22.2-oz. Weight
  • Forged Steel Barrel & Slide
  • Cerakote Finish
  • Striker & Trigger Safety
  • Tritium Sights (Bright Green On The Front)
  • 10-, 12- and 15-round capacities available
  • Shield RMSc Optic Cut, with Cover Plate

So, the SAR9 Gen 2 is very similar to Glocks and the many other similar striker-fired handguns like Sig, Walther and CZ among others. When I pulled the SAR out of the box, I had to do a quick web search to see if it was dimensionally a clone of those, much as PSA’s Dagger is. It isn’t. The SAR9 Gen 2 9mm is definitely its own gun. This means it uses its own holsters, which thankfully SAR offers for sale so there’s an easy option if you don’t want to go chase one down. The test and evaluation SAR came with two mags, one 10-rounder and a 15-rounder.

My first impressions of SAR’s Gen2 9mm were extremely favorable. Excellent grip shape, impeccable texturing, I loved the slide cutouts for their grip, the tritium sights were extremely vivid and eye-catching. There was a lot of oohing and aahing. It’s been a while since a gun has impressed me this much out of the box.

So I started some dry fire and manipulation drills. I like the slide stop and mag release, both are positioned well for me, which isn’t super common. The trigger is pretty much on par with the rest of the factory striker fired guns of late. Operating the gun felt crisp and snappy.

I ran into my first snag with the extended 15-round mag. The additional length of magazine is covered by a bit of plastic that extends the lines of the grip frame downwards.  This bit of plastic simply slides down over the top of the mag. The problem I had was there was no way to get the mag to easily drop free when released with this extra bit on it, the grip segment pressed a little too far back into my palm. The shorter mag dropped free with no problem. So, either one mag is drop free and the other isn’t, or I have to remove that section of grip and leave an ugly, snag-prone, naked section where the extended mag sticks down.

SAR 9mm Subcompact Gen 2SAR 9mm Subcompact Gen 2

Where Bullets Meet the Steel

On to shooting. I really like the SAR 9’s recoil impulse, and the grip texture is very effective at keeping the gun in position.

The trigger and sights are both better than an OEM Glock, providing a little more “hot rod” and a little less “pickup truck.”  Despite having a bit of creep, I felt like the trigger was always doing what I wanted, when I wanted. The sights really grabbed my attention, and lined up quick.

So far, absolutely every component has continued to WOW me. Which is why it was so baffling when my groups were not what I expected. Not just groups, even individual shots weren’t landing predictably. Slow trigger pulls for “target” shooting, quick shots, nothing hit where I wanted. This was the case with the first four different types of ammo I tried, from 80 grain to 115 grain.

I figured “this is a new gun, might just need a break in.” Maybe a stray burr on the barrel?  None were visible to me, but still I ran another 250 rounds through to check if this is a one-off machining oopsie, which does happen in production from time to time. So, I kept shooting. I spent this time practicing reflexive shooting drills and contact distance holster draws. Thankfully, Federal sent a good amount of their Syntech Training Match ammo.

Did the accuracy improve?

Yes it did! Quite thankfully, accuracy is now on (my) par for subcompact guns. Initially, I was shooting groups almost 3x the size of what I normally drop with my Glock 43x. Near the end of my final shooting session my reflexive fire was almost comparable with the G43x, and slow aimed fire exceeded my usual performance with the Glock.

So far I haven’t mentioned reliability at all. My favorite kind of gun is one where you don’t even think about reliability, because it’s not an issue. The SAR handgun ran through flat nose, ball, JHP and monolithic hollow-point ammo without a problem. I’m looking at around 700 rounds so far without cleaning or lube and not a hang up one. I’d call that a good start.

Wrap Up

SAR Firearms might not be introducing a whole new type of firearm, but the Subcompact Gen 2 is a highly refined version of the extremely popular polymer framed, striker-fired design. With an optics cut slide, heavy grip texturing, a workable trigger, tritium sights and quality cerakoting, the SAR 9 Subcompact Gen 2 brings plenty of features to the table.  Once past the initial hiccups, which I still can’t explain, this developed into a really nice handgun to shoot.

The SAR9 Subcompact Gen 2 has an MSRP of $469.99 (black), or $479.99 (platinum, green, bronze), with a street price around $20 cheaper than the current MSRP.  It’s definitely worth checking out!

 

Read more articles and reviews by Jens “Rex Nanorum” Hammer or follow him on Instagram @rexnanorum.

Check out Ammo To Go, the ammunition retail sponsor of TTAG. Get your bulk and quality ammo for a bargain by visiting their site



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