A Turkish Firearms Tour — The Turkish Riviera: Day 2Article courtesy of Hand Guns Magazine. 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.
Exclusive tour of the Turkish powerhouse that’s ready to roll in America! The country of Turkey has long been known for its firearms manufacturing. Mostly for some of its shotguns, particularly those that involved woodwork. Pistols and other guns have come in over the years with varying quality. For the most part they were best known for being “okay” guns at a reasonable price. In the last year, two guns imported from Sarslimaz have passed through my hands. The K2 .45 was a huge surprise and remains one of my favorite pistols to shoot. I also tested an ST10 that exhibited excellent workmanship, accuracy and reliability. Both were well made and offered at affordable prices. A far cry from guns that are “cheap” and just “okay,” they were clearly well designed and manufactured.
Turkish guns have been long known for being built in what amounts to a garage, but that was certainly not the case here. Thanks to Keith at EAA and the owners of Sarslimaz, a trip to the factory was arranged to observe why firsthand.