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Davidsons Anne Marie with Pavona 293x300

EAA's Witness Pavona will be showcased on Davidson's GalleryofGuns TV Monday, July 7th2014 and will repeat on Monday, October 6th 2014. Featured here is the lovely Anne-Marie with a Witness Pavona in Charcoal.  Be sure to watch this show-stopper by going to Davidson's GalleryofGuns TV.

The show returns to the Sportsman Channel on June 30th.  Show times are Mondays at 8:30pm and 11:30pm eastern, and Wednesdays and 5:00pm eastern. To watch Davidson's segment on EAA's Tanfoglio Witness Pavona, click this link: http://video.galleryofguns.com/tvshow/Default.aspx


Article courtesy of Hand Guns Magazine.

The K2 is a CZ-75 styled pistol scaled up for the .45 ACP cartridge. Designed to take Para magazines, it holds 14+1 rounds, can be carried cocked and locked, and is available now through EAA with an MSRP of $592[/caption] I’ve been to ranges in a lot of places, and you never know what you’re going to get.  I was interested to see what kind of range we’d be shooting at in Turkey.  We piled into our Tahoe at the plant and our hosts jumped into a Ford Mondeo with an assortment of pistols and shotguns pulled off the line, and we drove about fifteen minutes out into the country to a private range.

Article courtesy of Hand Guns Magazine.

Sarsilmaz' new facility is nearly 400,000 square feet, and features the most modern CNC equipment you'll find in the world. By Day 3 my companions and I had discovered two things about Turkish cuisine:

  1. Everything was really good, and…
  2.  Just about every meal involved lamb in one form or another.

It got so ridiculous that we started joking about it, and the NRA’s Brian Sheetz topped my “lambenade” with his “lamburger helper”. All of us saw boars on our hunt in the Turkish hills half an hour outside of Alanya on the Turkish Riviera, but only Dave Bahde with Harris Publications actually tagged one.  As no one was really sure what the customs regulations might be on bringing back fresh tusks (“Are you bringing back any meat or produce?”  Um, well….kinda?) he decided to have his shipped to him later.


[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="221"] Ever seen a crate full of frames before? Sarsilmaz makes everything from forgings, and you will not find any cast parts in any of their guns.[/caption] After two hour ride back to the Antalya airport, during which we got to enjoy non-stop Turkish Techno music (Turkno?), then a short plane ride back to Istanbul, we took a two hour drive east to the town of Duzce (“doos-jay”) where the Sarsilmaz factory is located.  Two hours is close enough to the Istanbul airport to be convenient, while avoiding the city’s insane traffic. Duzce is a medium-sized town of 134,000 people, and Sarsilmaz’ new facility is located in a rather new industrial park nearby.  It is huge, and once I did the conversion from square meters to feet learned that it is nearly 400,000 square feet.  Everything (including many of the CNC machines) are brand new, and they have all sorts of room to expand. Sarsilmaz is running three shifts, seven days a week.  They produce 105,000 pistols a year, as well as 85,000 shotguns, 28,000 infantry rifles, and 15,000 submachineguns.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to watch them building the infantry rifles or subguns, and I can’t tell you what we learned about their plans in this area, but remember you heard the hints here first. In the plant we saw 4-, 5-, and 7-axis CNC machines (I’d never even heard of a 7-axis machine before, and none of the other writers had ever seen one), robotic tool changers, and another machine identical to one used at the Ferrari factory they didn’t even want us taking pictures of.  I asked if that meant we would be able to get some Ferraris to test for our articles, but the Turks are very polite and pretended they couldn’t hear me.  These modern machines enable Sarsilmaz to produce firearms to the tightest tolerances possible. What can a 7-axis CNC machine do? Turn bar stock into a finished cylinder in 20 minutes, and all the machine operator has to do is watch. [caption id="attachment_2134" align="alignright" width="300"] What can a 7-axis CNC machine do? Turn bar stock into a finished cylinder in 20 minutes, and all the machine operator has to do is watch.[/caption] If you’re wondering how, with such modern equipment, Sarsilmaz can sell such reasonably-priced firearms, it’s because the cost of living is so low in Duzce.  The average worker makes 12,000 Euros a year (less than $8,000).  If this doesn’t sound like much, just know that we stayed in a number of five-star hotels in Turkey, and none of them was nicer than the Gosterisli Otel in Duzce which cost $40/night, including breakfast.  The workers are bused in from town as well, so they don’t have to buy gas at $10/gallon. The management at Sarsilmaz has realized that happy workers make better guns.  The factory is filled with natural light and potted decorative trees.  Their cafeteria was as nice as the one at Smith & Wesson, and the food was better (add Turkish spicy ketchup to the list of foods I need to try to track down over here). Part of the four-course lunch we got at the factory cafeteria was a pile of French fries, and I asked the plant manager Nuri Kiziltan what they called them—French Fries, Turkish Fries, American Fries?  “Just fries,” he told me. Stay tuned for Day 4, when we hit the range and shoot until the cows came home.

A Turkish Firearms Tour — The Turkish Riviera: Day 2

Article courtesy of Hand Guns Magazine.

This is sort of a Turkish “Where’s Waldo?”, taken along the riverfront at Alanya. Find 1. McDonalds, 2. James Dean, 3. Girl kissing a mushroom, and 4. the Mosque.

Most of our second day in Turkey as part of the Sarsilmaz/SAR Arms whirlwind tour was spent traveling to the Antalya region, which is the “Turkish Riviera”.  Picture hundreds of miles of Mediterranean coastline frequented by tourists, especially Germans and Russians (it’s only a short plane ride for them).Back when my parents were paying my bills, before I had kids, I’d been to Cancun, and Antalya reminded me of Cancun–except just about everybody spoke English.First we flew from Istanbul to the Antalya airport on a domestic Turkish Airlines flight.  To be brutally honest, not only is Turkish Airlines nicer and better run than any domestic U.S. airlines I’ve ever been on, the Turkish equivalent of the TSA is as well.After the one hour flight we took a two hour bus ride on the way to Alanya on the coast.  En route we stopped at Perge, a Hellenic and Roman city of 100,000 that was abandoned in 900 AD, and Ephesus, which has the least damaged Roman amphitheater in the world.We were in Alanya to hunt boar….well, actually, hunt boar in the nearby hills, as wandering around the beaches with a semi-auto shotgun might have alarmed the tourists.  I felt uneasy enough being handed a shotgun in the parking lot of the hotel and told to check it out.  Sure, we were standing in front of several well-marked “Safari Tours” 4X4s, but watching my fellow writers cycle their bolts and shoulder their shotguns while tourists wandered around in the background had me on edge.  Then, when I found out that the vehicle we were heading out in was so small I had to keep the shotgun uncased and between my knees as we drove……add this to the list of experiences in my life where things could have gone horribly wrong….

Article courtesy of  Hand Guns Magazine.

The view across the Bosphorus strait, which connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmar and cuts Istanbul in half. As it is the official boundary between continents, that means that half of Istanbul is in Europe and half in Asia. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to travel to a foreign country, much less travel to Turkey to tour a firearm manufacturing plant, but that’s what I did last recently.

I’ve heard it said several times that guns made in Turkey are a great bargain, if they work.  That may sound a bit harsh, but it also is rather accurate….or, at least, it used to be.  The SAR ST10 is a 15+1 capacity 9mm which resembles the HK USP. There are plans for it to be imported to the US soon. In Europe it is offered with either traditional or polygonally-rifled barrels, and it has a forged aluminum frame.[/caption] There are several gun manufacturers in Turkey, but Sarsilmaz is the largest.  They recently opened a huge new facility two hours outside Istanbul, and wanted to show some U.S. gun writers that things have changed.  Their equipment is state of the art, and because wages are so low compared to wages in the U.S. or Europe, they can produce guns at a substantially lower price.