The Gun Show
It’s almost always Shot Number 4 that dooms my tight group; the shot I pull.
I was shooting the new SAR P8S pistol in 9MM, after having placed the first three rounds nearly on top of each other. So, I told myself, Concentrate. Calm down.
That little inner pep talk worked. The SAR P8S, plus Browning Ammunition BXP Personal Defense 9MM, pegged a five-shot group at .73-inches, shooting offhand at seven yards.
That group only confirmed what was apparent from the start: the SAR P8S 9MM is an impressive pistol, accurate and very comfortable in the hand, and a great choice for self- and personal-defense.
SAR stands for Sarsilmaz , a Turkish gun maker founded in 1840 in Istanbul. In the company’s state-of-the-art facility, Sarsilmaz produces firearms for consumers, law enforcement, and NATO militaries. SAR USA, located in Auburn, Alabama, is the sole American importer of SAR firearms.
Despite being 180 years old, SAR isn’t well known here, something SAR USA hopes to change with the P8S and their other semi-automatic handguns now available to the US consumer—at some very good prices.
The P8S design is based on the workhorse CZ-75 pistol. Like other pistols employing the CZ-75 design, the P8S features a slide that rides inside the frame’s rails. On most semi-automatic pistols, of course, the slide rides outside the frame. The inside-the-rails placement allows the bore of the P8S to ride just a bit lower than it otherwise would, providing a better alignment of hand to pistol for improved accuracy.
The hammer-fired P8S features a stainless-steel frame and slide, a double-stack, 17-round magazine, a single- and double-action trigger pull, a fully adjustable rear sight, and a manual safety.
I have a box of loose 9MM rounds left over from past reviews, a collection of FMJ rounds, self-defense, and frangibles. I grabbed a couple handfuls of these rounds, and in no apparent order, loaded magazines. From the first round, everything I shot with the P8S was at or near the bullseye from five to 10 yards shooting offhand.
I had no malfunctions, even though, from round to round, different ammunition brands were cycling through the pistol.
Then I switched to three ammunition brands for accuracy testing: the afore-mentioned Browning firing a 147-grain X-Point bullet; Remington UMC with a 115-grain FMJ projectile; and Winchester Silvertip and their 147-grain “Defense JHP” bullet.
I shot at seven yards offhand, and all the ammunition brands drilled groups averaging 1.0 to 1.35-inches. The best was that .73-inch group with the Browning; the Winchester scored a .91 group.
In the single-action mode, the trigger pull on my P8S measured a nice 2 pounds, 7 ounces, and 6 pounds, 7 ounces in double action. Single or double, both pulls snap off cleanly—once the trigger engages, that is. One thing I would change: the P8S’ trigger does have a fair amount of take up before it engages, approximately one-third of an inch. That’s not terrible, but it can introduce a little wobble into the pull.
The rubberized grips on the pistol are very comfortable; a solid hold is aided by the serrations cut length-wise into the front strap and back strap.
Recoil on the P8S is pretty light for at least two reasons. First, while the P8S is certainly the right size for concealed carry, it is fairly heavy at nearly 36 ounces unloaded, especially compared to its poly-framed brethren. Add a full magazine, and that’s well over 40 ounces—the kind of weight that absorbs 9MM recoil nicely.
The P8S stainless steel barrel is also ported; two small, circular ports are cut into the top of the barrel at roughly the One- and Eleven-O’clock positions, and just over an inch from the end of the barrel. Exiting gasses push the barrel down, reducing muzzle flip and recoil.
The front slide also features three oblong cut-outs on each side, which look cool, but likely do not have any impact on recoil reduction.
The sights on the P8S came up to my eye easily and quickly, featuring two white dots to either side of the rear notch, and a single white dot on the front post. The rear sight was adjustable for elevation and windage, though my pistol was on target from the first shot.
The P8S is also available in a black model, the P8L, with the barrel, frame, and slide made from forged, alloyed steel. The P8S lists for $533, but is approximately $100 less in stores and online. That’s quite a value. Other all-steel pistols I’ve used of this quality usually start at $600 for street prices.