The SAR CM9 Gen2 is the next level upgrade to the CZ-style clone we know as the SAR K2P(CM9 Gen1). These pistols are pretty similar to other polymer framed CZ-style duty pistols like the P-07, except the grip is longer to accept a larger magazine capacity. Like other pistols made by Sarsilmaz, this pistol is typically found for about $350. This may cause many people to think less of the pistol just because of the price or the origin of production. I personally have found that price is not an accurate gauge for quality. As far as the origin of the pistol, I have found that firearms made in Turkey are some of the finest you can find, especially for the price.
The name CM9 Gen2 stands for Combat Master 9mm Generation 2. The name implies the intended use for this pistol is as a duty pistol for Law Enforcement or military forces. Sarsilmaz has an extensive line of pistols to choose from, and most of these firearms are actually intended with Law Enforcement or Military use in mind. Sarsilmaz makes one of the more popular police service pistols for the Turkish police, the Kilinc 2000 Mega. They recently developed the SAR9, which is the new service pistol for the military forces of Turkey.
Pretty much all of the pistols made by Sarsilmaz undergo their own NATO-style testing. The standards they hold their pistols to are things like a service life of 25,000 rounds, withstanding extreme cold and heat, 1 meter drop tests, maintaining consistent accuracy and velocity out of the barrel for the entire service life, etc. Each country is going to have their own standards for testing, but it shows the dedication that Sarsilmaz has to their products when they establish strict standards like these, just as a baseline.
The SAR CM9 Gen2 is pretty much a beautiful example of what many people look for in a duty pistol. They want a good compact slide length and a full size grip for maximum capacity. The general idea behind the compact slide length is that it will be easier to unholster and get into the fight. I guess the trade-off in velocity and sight radius is acceptable for those who would rather be quicker on the draw. The barrel length of the CM9 Gen2 is 3.8″, which is not too short. The sight radius may affect the accuracy of some shooters, but at distances where the speed of the draw makes a real difference, I don’t think it will matter too much. The height of the CM9 Gen2 is roughly 5.6″ and it holds 17 rounds, with the added bonus of being able to take pretty much all full size CZ75 magazines. The pistol is a bit of a fat pistol with the frame, not including the controls, coming in at just under 1.2″ wide. The slide is a bit contoured and gets slimmer as you get to the top of the slide, so that helps break up the fat profile a bit. This pistol is not too big, but it does have a noticeably chunky look to it.
The grip of the CM9 Gen2 is much different than the first generation in that the grip has finger grooves and also has a very subtle texture to it that looks more like a swirled finger print pattern.
This grip pattern does not have much, if any, “texture” to it. This leaves the finger grooves to provide the majority of the retention. The grip on the CM9 Gen2 also features backstrap options in sizes Small, Medium, and Large. Simply punch out the roll pin in the bottom of the grip, with the provided punch, and exchange out the backstrap to the size of your liking.
In today’s market, removable/interchangeable backstraps are pretty much a standard feature on pistols.
When compared to the first generation, the CM9 Gen2 has a thicker slide that meets the thickness of the frame quite nicely.
Also, the slide on this second generation hosts much more refined slide serrations, to the front and rear, that help you get a better grip when manipulating the slide.
When you couple the more aggressive slide serrations and the thicker slide, you have a slide that is much easier to manipulate overall. I found this slide to be just as easy to manipulate as pistols with a more traditional slide on frame fit.
This pistol features a typical 3-dot steel sight system that most people out there know and trust. The rear sight is adjustable, and Sarsilmaz is kind enough to supply a tool for sight adjustments in the box.
Unlike the CZ pistols that I have owned and used, the CM9 does not have tiny sight dots.
The dots of the sights are not HUGE, but they are a pretty acceptable size. I will say that the front sight does not have much room on each side when you are aiming in. This can be good for keeping your precision and shot to shot consistency up. But, you may also find that it will be harder to acquire these sights when you are drawing and shooting real fast. Since this is supposed to be a duty pistol, I would think that the sight radius would be longer and the sight picture more suited to shooting fast. Another thing I will note is that the rear sight is well suited for one handed manipulations, which is a nice touch. Something that I know everyone will be upset about is the fact that Sarsilmaz designed these sights to not be compatible with any other manufacturer sights on the market. So what you see is what you get, unless someone decides that this pistol is popular enough to devote their time to developing sights specifically for this pistol.
The manual safety on the CM9 Gen2 has relatively sharp edges that help provide grip for actuating it either on or off. It also protrudes a good amount from the frame on both sides.
If you should wish to use the safety so you can safely carry “cocked and locked,” you may find that the safety is going to need to be worked in alot in order to smooth it out. Unless you have long thumbs, you may find that the safety is hard to reliably actuate out of the holster when you first get the pistol.
One of the cool features about the safety is that you can operate the slide with the manual safety engaged while the hammer is cocked. When the hammer is all the way forward or half-cocked, the slide will lock up when the safety is on. Just a little note for those that would be interested. So theoretically, you can cock the hammer, put the safety on, and load the pistol safely and have the pistol ready to go.
The magazine release is well textured and is easy to find, though not too big.
The spring on the release is pretty heavy and the magazines are easy to eject as long as you diligently depress the release. It will not be very easy to release a magazine without directly depressing the release, thanks to the size of the release and the spring tension. One last thing to note is that the magazine release is reversible, but only after a slight painstaking process.
While we are discussing the magazine release, we might as well quickly touch on the magazine. I got one magazine that is clearly labeled as a Sarsilmaz magazine and only has a window for the 15th round in the magazine. The magazine can be loaded to 17 quite easily, and this pistol also accepts virtually any CZ75 magazine, so I promptly got myself 3 MecGar 17rd magazines for a very good prize.
The slide release for this pistol, as with most other CZ-style pistols, doubles as the cam pin for the barrel. These parts are often MIM parts, so they can break after long term usage if the metallurgy is not just right. As a slide release, this component is darn near overbuilt for the job. The part of the release that contacts the slide is beefy and has a pretty aggressive angle on it.
The point on the slide where the release locks up, is also angled forward in order to extend the life of these metal surfaces. This style of design gives me pretty good confidence that you can use the slide release often and without concern, which is not the case for many other pistols out there.
The CM9 Gen2 hosts a two slot Pic rail, which is obviously intended for you to securely dangle your favorite ornament, or accessory.
The inside of the polymer frame seems to show that there is some strategic reinforcement around the areas of the rail slots.
I assume these areas are designed to give the rail greater integrity and to prevent the accessories from disrupting the frames’ normal function like some pistols can have issues with. Though, I have no clue what the weight limit, if any, is on this rail before you will start encountering issues.
The trigger on the CM9 Gen2 is not going to knock anyone’s socks off, but it is a very interesting topic to cover with this pistol. Like the safety, the trigger comes out of the box with a couple of issues. The double action pull, out of the box, is heavy, gritty, and stacks aggressively at the last minute before it breaks. The single action, right out of the box, is ridiculously gritty, has a long take-up, and has a relatively crisp break. Before all of you run for the hills, I feel it is necessary for you to know that after shooting the pistol for over 1,000 rounds, you notice quite a difference in trigger characteristics as you shoot it more and more.
After 1,000 rounds, I found that the double action smoothed out considerably. The weight lowered only slightly and the last minute stacking all but disappeared. In case you were wondering, I do not use the double action from the full forward trigger position. I set the hammer to half-cock for my pistol because of the better reach and the fact that you don’t need as much weight or travel to get your shot out. The single action, at 1,000 rounds, seems to be smoother and has less grit to the pull. The distance of the single action pull is not something you can really escape, but you can lessen the feedback or gritty feeling by just using the pistol. The grit has not left entirely, but you can literally feel a considerable difference 1,000 rounds later.
The trigger reset is not typically a topic that I discuss due to my belief that trigger reset is a poor excuse to use when discussing methods for shooting faster or more accurately. That said, the reset on the CM9 Gen2 is long by most standards and goes out to the original point that the single action rests at. I have not heard of any users complain about the reset, and I have had zero reset related issues myself. If you happen to be reset-centered in your shooting, this trigger will definitely mess with you.
The barrel is Button-rifled and is seems to stabilize all types of bullet weights and keep them all in a pretty close group with little dispersion in the points of impact. This is very good because it is important to know how the point of impact will be, relative to your point of aim. In some pistols, going from 115 grain to 124+P can change the point of impact a good amount at about 15 to 20 yards. The feed ramp is well polished and feeds ammo quite smoothly. The mouth of the chamber is also quite well beveled and polished as well.
The camming section of the barrel is kind of ugly with machining marks, but the marks are not easy to feel. But, notice that the inside of the cam area is pretty smooth.
The shaft of the barrel is incredibly smooth, which goes to show that they can make some finely machined parts, but just choose to save the time and focus on the parts that are actually gonna encounter wear.
The worst thing on the pistol that I saw was the crown of the barrel. The machining marks were obvious and it just looks like crap. Functionally, it doesn’t hurt the accuracy of the pistol, but it just looks like someone got real lazy or a tool on the CNC Lathe crapped out while running through the coding for this cut.
The finish on the slide is said by SAR USA to be a black oxide finish, probably a paint. The internals are blued, which can oxidize if not lubricated lightly. The barrel is chrome plated and is probably the prettiest part of the gun.
When I first got the pistol, the trigger was a bit gritty on the single action, but I had little trouble getting over it since I am not the fellow to ask about slow fire. I just took the gun out and ran it through magazine after magazine shooting multiple targets, laying as many rounds as I could, in as little time as possible. The pistol has a recoil impulse that I would say is very similar to a Glock 17 with little loads in it. The pistol just does not have much of any kick to it, and it really makes you want to forget about slow fire and just start slamming your target with lead. Also, I noticed no issues with the sight radius, even though the barrel and sight radius are kinda short by most standards. The sights are dead on, even out to 15 yards. If you are a competent marksman, you will definitely be able to rain down some lead in a tight group.
The SAR CM9 Gen2 is very fun to shoot, and it is fun to notice how the trigger lightens and smooths out as time goes by. After 1000 rounds, the gritty trigger is completely gone and the double action is smooth and does not have any last minute stacking. It is just a great little budget pistol to shoot. No matter who you are, I am sure you would enjoy blasting soda bottles or making steel ring with this pistol.
The SAR CM9 Gen2 is growing in popularity, just like the first generation, so hopefully we will be able to see more holsters and grip tape companies make things for this pistol. It already takes full size CZ75 magazines, which is expected from a CZ clone nowadays. The sights on this pistol are proprietary, which sucks. Sarsilmaz could have made sights that were cut the same as other manufacturers, but they decided to go their own route. I can live with the sights on the gun, but this just means that the Navy SEALs won’t be adopting this pistol anytime soon. The recoil springs, trigger return spring, and sear spring are all interchangeable with original CZs, so you have an easy supply source for those. I cannot speak for any of the parts in general though. It seems that, in an effort to be different, Sarsilmaz produced this pistol to be as unique in parts as possible. Kind sucks, if you ask me.
If you couldn’t tell, I really like this pistol. It is very basic, but rugged. Sarsilmaz is known and trusted to make very high quality pistols and components for the Turkish Law Enforcement and some security groups around the world, and it shows. But the pistol is going to be limited by certain things like the grip and the sights being proprietary, in my opinion. I like how the pistol shoots, and I would trust the pistol to work 100% as a carry gun, if I could get a holster for it. The pistol is very reliable, accurate, and it is built well overall.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but lately I have just felt that we in the gun community have been falsely led to believe inexpensive firearms are unreliable or not worth the money. In some cases that could be true, but even with the way I shoot and how much I shoot, I find that budget guns can sometimes be the best value. It was about a year ago that I first got to sink my teeth into pistols made in Turkey. I was an instant fan. The machining was incredibly clean, and the attention to detail made other big manufacturers look lazy and cheap. The funny thing is that these pistols didn’t cost over $1000, but more like $300-$400.
The CM9 Gen2 comfortably sits in the category of being an incredible value and a gun that I would be willing to make a compromise here and there to add it into a serious role as a vehicle or home gun. I just shoot the gun that well, and I enjoy shooting it. Personally, I hope people start waking up to the fact that the statement “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR” does not really apply anymore.
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