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Old September 30, 2012, 06:57 PM   #1
plouffedaddy
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Caracal C Review w/ Video



I've often posted here with high praise for the Caracal pistols so I figured I'd knock out a review of the guns with the Caracal C going first. The C model seems to be the one people ask about the most and frequently the question is, "Is it better than a Glock 19?" We'll get to that a little later but first I'll lay out some of the pros and cons of the gun.

Pros:
-Reliable. The gun has well over 1,000 rounds (not sure on the exact count, I've let many people borrow the pistol to try out) with only 1 malfunction which was a bad primer with Brown Bear ammo. I put the same round in my G17 and it didn't fire with that gun either so I'm putting the blame solely on the ammo
-Price. This gun is available online for $399 shipped with box and two mags. In my opinion it's the best handgun deal on the market today (CZ 82 second).
-Accurate. This gun is like a 1911 in that it tends to make average shooters shoot like good shooters
-Very low bore axis (see comparison pictures with my P229 below) resulting in the softest shooting 9mm (along with the F model) I've ever shot
-Excellent trigger. It's smooth with no stacking. It breaks extremely cleanly and has a positive reset
-Great finish. The Plasox (with nitriding) finish is holding up very well thus far
-It has a loaded chamber indicator on the top of the slide allowing the user to check that it is loaded without having to conduct a press check
-Very good ergonomics. Everyone that has shot the gun seems to comment on how good it feels in their hands
-15+1 capacity while only weighing 25oz
-Passed the WTD 91 (German armed forces) testing in 2006
-Has been adopted by several nations' standard military sidearm; many police agencies in Italy and Germany have adopted it as well
-It's classified as an IDPA production gun
-Easy to clean and maintain. Requires very little lubrication as well
-Interior parts are coated with the Plasox finish as well
-Ambi controls (except for the slide lock)
-Spare parts including springs are available from Caracal-USA now (this is relatively new)
-The Caracal C can use F 18 round magazines

Cons:
-Little aftermarket support
-Night sights are not available in the US currently. I spoke with Caracal USA last week and they said they are working with several manufacturers currently but they don't have a date yet as to when they'll be released
-The rear sight is part of the firing pin assembly. This will either make aftermarket sights more expensive or limit some to front sight only
-The guns are made in the UAE and Germany. The UAE made guns are the only ones available in the US currently. (I don't care about this but it's a common point brought up so I'm including it so people don't say "you didn't mention where it was made....")
-In order to detail strip the gun you have to deal with roll pins. Not a big deal but I'd prefer not to if I didn't have to
-The slide lock protrudes to far. I hit it with my thumb about 50% of the time if I'm not conscious of it and many people I've let shoot it have the exact same issue

Now, back to the original question---is it better than the G19? In terms of familiarity, factory customer service support, sight availability, and aftermarket support---no, it's not. In terms of factory trigger, cost (non-blue label program), and perceived recoil---yes it is. I'll give them a tie for reliability, simplicity, and accuracy.

The best way I can answer the question is to say if I never fired a handgun and was given a Caracal C and a G19 to shoot for a day and asked to pick only 1 which would I pick? I think I'd pick the Caracal C. That said, I've been shooting Glocks for years and am very comfortable and relatively proficient with them so now I slightly prefer Glocks but I wouldn't have any reservations about trusting my life to a Caracal.

Here's a video of me shooting the gun, a tabletop review with some comparisons to other 15 round 9mm guns (G19 and SIG P229R), and a chronograph test with some popular defensive loads:

CARACAL C HD VIDEO REVIEW LINK

Chrono numbers:
Speer 124gr Gold Dot JHPs: 1127fps, 350 ft/lbs energy
Federal 124gr HST JHPs: 1092fps, 328 ft/lbs energy
Winchester 115gr Ranger JHPs: 1095fps, 306 ft/lbs energy


Caracal bore axis:


SIG P229R bore axis:



Thoughts? Opinions?
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Last edited by plouffedaddy; September 30, 2012 at 08:15 PM.
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Old September 30, 2012, 09:58 PM   #2
RBid
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Great review. More juice than some of your early ones. I like when you open up a bit, and cover little details.

The bore axis pic may not get the full appropriate effect that it should. That's not your fault, at all. I blame that back sight/plate. The Caracal slide is every bit as volume efficient as the SR9c's. I was (am!) very impressed.

Simply put, the Caracal feels like it was truly designed with combat in mind. All of the decisions seem to have been made with active shooting in mind.
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Old September 30, 2012, 10:29 PM   #3
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You've got a new channel, LOL. Great review! I have been giving Caracal's great consideration lately. My LGS had one in and I was able to do some dry fires. The trigger does feel lighter, and better IMO, than my G17 or the M&P I owned previously.

The one they had was the QAS sights and I'm not a fan of that. I prefer the standard setup you had. I like the lower bore axis and feel of the grip. It does feel smaller than even the Gen4 Glocks in my hand, YMMV though.

So far, its the smallest 9mm that I can get a full three finger grip on without the addition of an extension on the grip. The one I looked at was just a hair shorter than the G19 I held it next to. I like that it still has 15 round capacity.

Seems like a great gun overall. Again, I'm giving the C model strong consideration for replacing my Shield. Any links to some torture tests???
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Old September 30, 2012, 11:34 PM   #4
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Well done review. I have one of these pistols but with the "quick acquisition" sights rather than the type on your pistol. I don't have quite as many rounds through mine yet. I've allowed 3 different people to try it, none of which actuated the slide release accidentally, so I suppose that is a matter of fit to the specific person. I've never accidentally released the slide either, but I am left-handed so that doesn't really count I figure.

I think the after market will eventually improve, it will likely will never reach Glock levels, but then again some of the things available for one's Glock seem completely goofy anyways. I don't really see much need aside from more options for sights and more options for holsters. The Caracal's near uniformly positive reputation amongst people who've tried it (haven't heard anyone say "it's junk, don't buy it!") should result in a decent after market sooner or later.

I personally have no problem recommending a Caracal over the Glock, figure if I can get equal accuracy, equal reliability, superior ergonomics, a better trigger, and for less money, it's kind of a no brainer.
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Old October 1, 2012, 12:11 AM   #5
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I'm a fan. I love the caracal C. Does anyone know the latest on the SC?
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Old October 1, 2012, 01:34 AM   #6
Dashunde
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Thoughts? Opinions?

Yea... I will never, ever, own a firearm with "Abu Dhabi" stamped in the side of it.
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Old October 1, 2012, 01:44 AM   #7
raftman
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Yea... I will never, ever, own a firearm with "Abu Dhabi" stamped in the side of it.
Perhaps the manufacturer will change it so that the marking will be on the underside instead.
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Old October 1, 2012, 02:15 AM   #8
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Awesome review! Love it. Thanks for that...I wouldn't really want to buy one though, unless it was at a steal. Then, I'd probably give it to my old man.

You always do awesome reviews and I greatly appreciate them personally and I'm sure everyone else on here does as well.
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Old October 1, 2012, 04:01 AM   #9
shuler13
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At $399 these are a steal
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Old October 1, 2012, 08:01 AM   #10
CUBAN REDNECK
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Which vendors have it around $399, I would like to buy one, thanks.
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Old October 1, 2012, 08:13 AM   #11
spodwo
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Least expensive I saw was Buds for $420.00. I got mine for $397.00 the F model a while back. Still the overall best deal for a strike fired pistol, IMO. It's the ever lovin' pistol to get now for the price point.
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Old October 1, 2012, 08:31 AM   #12
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I see the QS cost a bit more. Are they worth the cost or is it a novelty?
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Old October 1, 2012, 08:41 AM   #13
plouffedaddy
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Quote:
Great review.
Thanks gents.

Quote:
Which vendors have it around $399, I would like to buy one, thanks.
http://centerfiresystems.com/caracal.aspx

Quote:
You've got a new channel, LOL.
Yeah, I didn't want to; I tried to get google to let me close the old gmail account but keep the channel linked to a new email but the said it's not their 'policy' to do so...

Quote:
Yea... I will never, ever, own a firearm with "Abu Dhabi" stamped in the side of it.
Not sure if it would matter to you but Caracal USA said at the NRA show that the German made guns (rifles as well) will 'eventually' be imported to the US market. But we all know German made handguns in the US must sell for $500 plus
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Old October 1, 2012, 01:00 PM   #14
raftman
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Quote:
I see the QS cost a bit more. Are they worth the cost or is it a novelty?
I would think it's a matter of preference. I prefer the QAS over the standard ones, they seem very intuitive and do help with faster acquisition; the shorter sight radius doesn't seem to compromise accuracy.
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Old October 1, 2012, 01:24 PM   #15
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Thanks for this review. And I do mean that specifically -- in the subject line, a video is mentioned. That's fine, I realize the world is going crazy over Youtube and videos and that's all well & good. Certainly, I've found definite use in many videos on that site.

Where I've been quite annoyed lately are the folks who start a thread here on TFL and it says, "My review and experience with ____" and their post is nothing more than a link to a video with no discussion whatsoever.

I like your review, there's some meat there. Were I actually considering some tupperware, I'd chase down your link also. I am not -- I just like discussing handguns on a gun forum, so I won't be watching that any time soon.

I'd love to see TFL forums adopt a new rule where threads of that type are removed. IMO, they are spam and do little else than advertise someone's video on another site.

As for the pistol, I love that they have kept a low bore axis as one of their goals with the pistol. It's been my experience that the bore axis has an awful lot to do with the reaction of the handgun in my hands. Witness my own experience with the Smith & Wesson 1006 as compared with my Glock 29, both pistols in 10mm. The 1006 is a tank and is all steel and weighs a heap where the Glock is, well, a Glock. The G29 is easier to handle and get sights back on target with the same ammo.
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Old October 1, 2012, 08:56 PM   #16
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I try to include a write up since a lot of people don't want to go to youtube and because I (obviously) don't use any kind of script during my reviews and always leave things out that I meant to say...
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Old October 1, 2012, 09:58 PM   #17
raftman
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I too become annoyed with posts that essentially say "Here, watch my video!" and nothing more. However, in this case I think the video is actually quite a helpful addition to the informative write-up. If someone is interested in a particular firearm, they often do want to see it "in action" and additionally it serves as a bit of proof that the reviewer did actually test the gun and how they tested it. For example, the OP concludes the gun is reliable and accurate; the video helps in showing how he arrives at that conclusion. I have seen instances, even on this forum, of people making conclusions about firearms that they clearly haven't owned/tested. Even people who aren't paid by advertisers do have biases and agendas and anyone can join a forum and say "I've shot one of those, and it's junk!" or "Best. Gun. Ever" so I welcome a video when it's made available.
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Old October 1, 2012, 10:00 PM   #18
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I just like to watch steel sing... I read the review then tune out during the shoot.
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Old October 1, 2012, 10:16 PM   #19
chris in va
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Two questions...

Poly or standard rifling, and where is it sent for service?

Looks like a cross between a P7 and...something polymer.
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Old October 1, 2012, 10:16 PM   #20
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Yea... I will never, ever, own a firearm with "Abu Dhabi" stamped in the side of it.
And I bet a lot of people said they would never buy a firearm with "made in Germany stamped on it" after previous conflicts.

We are all in the same world my friend.


That said, I own an original German Luger, a Caracal F (which I love) and several Glocks.

I like my Caracal better and more importantly I shoot better with it, but it does not have an ounce of the after market support that a Glock has.

I would instantly get a Caracal C if IL would pass some kind of CC law, but at the moment I am not allowed!

Just be happy you live in a gun friendly state.


p.s.
Great review. I could have not said better. But one note is that I have never hit the slide release at all and I thought that I had big hands. Maybe you guys have bigger?
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Old October 1, 2012, 10:34 PM   #21
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Yea... I will never, ever, own a firearm with "Abu Dhabi" stamped in the side of it.
Good thing they don't stamp gasoline with the country of origin, huh?
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Old October 1, 2012, 10:41 PM   #22
Dashunde
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I dont like buying gas either.

I'm trying to like the Caracal, I do like its looks and everybody raves about it.
Wonder where the money really goes tho?
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Old October 2, 2012, 06:19 AM   #23
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The Abu dhabi thing keeps coming up here and other forums. I have been there several times. I can tell you unequivocally that the majority of the people love us there. More than our other allies in France and Germany. Many of us buy German guns. Do you think there are not are large contingent of Germans that do not like us? It's the same thing I would say. I travel a lot. I just hope we stop apologizing to everyone on a serious not, let's drop the Abu dhabi thing, they are overall good open minded people open to freedom. More than our country in many ways.
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Old October 2, 2012, 06:36 AM   #24
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Quote:
Quote:
Yea... I will never, ever, own a firearm with "Abu Dhabi" stamped in the side of it.

And I bet a lot of people said they would never buy a firearm with "made in Germany stamped on it" after previous conflicts.

We are all in the same world my friend.


That said, I own an original German Luger, a Caracal F (which I love) and several Glocks.

I like my Caracal better and more importantly I shoot better with it, but it does not have an ounce of the after market support that a Glock has.

I would instantly get a Caracal C if IL would pass some kind of CC law, but at the moment I am not allowed!

Just be happy you live in a gun friendly state.


p.s.
Great review. I could have not said better. But one note is that I have never hit the slide release at all and I thought that I had big hands. Maybe you guys have bigger?
Well I won't buy a German pistol either.
I don't like the look of it, and the strange "fast acquisition" style sights seem counterintuitive.
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Old October 2, 2012, 06:52 AM   #25
Mike Irwin
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"Yea... I will never, ever, own a firearm with "Abu Dhabi" stamped in the side of it."

How about Germany, Japan, the former Soviet Union, or any of its satellites?

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