Thursday, August 15, 2013

SAR B6P 9mm Pistol


I review a lot of expensive firearms and on several occasions you guys have asked me to evaluate more economically priced alternatives to the Sigs and HK’s of the world. It can be challenging to find an economically priced handgun that’s worthy of daily carry. Historically I’ve been of the opinion “you get what you pay for” when it comes to defensive firearms, but sometimes a product comes along that challenges your long held opinions. The SAR B6P 9mm Turkish made CZ75 knock-off may just be that handgun.
The B6P is in essence an EAA Witness with a polymer frame, and the EAA Witness is also a clone of the CZ75. I’ve always had good luck with the EAA Witness line of handguns having owned them in 9mm, .45 and 10mm over the years. Since EAA was putting their name on it, I figured it was worth a shot.My quest for a reliable, well made handgun that was priced substantially less than a Glock or M&P (forget the Sig’s and HK’s) lead me to the EAA imported SAR B6P pistol. What drew my attention to the SAR B6P? The clear heritage it shared with the Czech made CZ75 is what flipped my interest switch. The resemblance to the CZ75 is more than skin deep, once you strip the two pistols down you can see the parts are nearly identical. You can’t swap the parts between them, as there are differences, but the similarities are too close to deny. In case you’re wondering, the SAR B6P will accept new production CZ75B/SP-01 magazines with dual locking cuts. Older CZ75 magazines with a single locking cut won’t work in the B6P.
VIDEO

Oh, and did I mention the price? $349 from my local gun shop and if you’re a good customer, they’ll come down a bit from that price. I see them online for $260 to $359. You have to admit, that’s pretty tempting.
The controls on the pistol should be familiar as everything is contemporarily located. The slide stop sits on the left side of the pistol and is not ambidextrous. Just behind the slide stop you’ll find the two position non-ambidextrous safety that’s very 1911′ish in feel and function. The safety can be applied with the hammer both at rest or when cocked and prevents the trigger from being pressed. It does have an internal firing pin safety that is only disengaged once the trigger is pulled, so it is safe for “cocked & locked” carry. The safety does not function as a hammer drop safety. The magazine release is the “American style” which means a button sits just behind the trigger on the left side of the pistol, and again it is not ambidextrous.
The frame on the B6P is made of polymer and features internal slide rails which is a feature copied directly from the CZ75. The grip has semi-aggressive texturing in small patches on the four corners of the grip with more mild texturing breaking it up. While the grip feels very much like a CZ75, I find the B6P’s grip to be slightly thinner and not as hand filling as its Czech counterpart. That’s not to say the B6P feels bad, because the exact opposite is true. The pistols feels very good in my hand.My pistol came with a single 16 round magazine, however I see websites listing it with both 16 and 17 round magazines. The EAA website claims the pistol has a 16+1 capability. I’m stumped as to why my magazine is marked 15 rounds but I can stuff a very tight 16th round in there.
My pistol tips the postal scale at 1lbs 12oz with an empty magazine inserted. The barrel is 4.5″ in length and is made of stainless steel. The OAL of the pistol is 8.2″ with a height of 5.6″ and a thickness of 1.25″. Again, it’s very similar in size and shape to the CZ75, so this is definitely a service sized handgun.
I picked my B6P up with eager optimism as I headed out to the range. I grabbed a few boxes of range ammo including some locally produced re-manufactured ammo with a reputation for low quality. Given the continued shortage of ammunition, beggars can’t be choosers. I also brought along a box of my preferred defensive ammo, Critical Duty from Hornady.
I loaded my first 16 round magazine and charged the pistol. The surface area of the slide that is serrated is very short, only 1/4″ in height, which makes it difficult to grip. This is due to the fact the slide rides inside of the frame which is opposite of most every other pistol made. It’s one of my gripes against the CZ75 which unfortunately carries over to the B6P.
I was able to get respectable groups with the pistol from both 7 yards and 15 yards. The pistol clearly isn’t lacking in the accuracy department. I was even able to master the double action and ran a number of Mozambique drills (two quick shots to the chest with a 3rd shot to the head) with very good results. I like shooting this pistol, a lot. It’s not surprising as I love the CZ75 and its derivatives, and the B6P is in essence a poor mans CZ P-07, only better looking IMHO.Recoil is expectedly light and muzzle rise was minimal. The double action pull is heavy and gritty, but does seem to lessen with use. The single action is a bit spongy but has a crisp release and of course a bit of over travel. The 3 dot sights are ok, not exceptional but not bad. The rear sight is conventionally dovetailed while the front sight is attached a bit differently. It’s dovetailed from the front and held in place by a single vertical roll pin which differs from CZ’s horizontal roll pin configuration. The front sight also appears to be shorter in length than front sights I’ve seen on EAA Witness pistols. I suspect aftermarket sights will be non-existent for the pistol unless EAA decides to offer something.
I had one malfunction with the pistol which I attribute to the low quality re-manufactured ammo I was using. I’ve had problems with this ammo in the past and it has a reputation locally for being problematic in a wide variety of pistols, it’s even choked my Glocks on occasion. Inspecting the malfunction lead me to believe it was an under powered load that short stroked the action of the pistol. With factory new ammo the gun runs flawlessly, including with good defensive ammo like Critical Duty.
Pros:
Field stripping the B6P is identical to the Cz75. First, drop the magazine out of the pistol and clear the chamber. Push the slide slightly to the rear, pull the slide stop pin out and push the slide forward off the frame. You do not need to pull the trigger to facilitate disassembly like on some striker fired pistols. Once the slide of separated from the frame, you can pull the guide rod, spring and barrel up and out of the slide. To reassemble you reverse the steps.
  • Very similar to the CZ75 in form and function
  • Overall quality is good, not outstanding, but good
  • Reliable with defensive ammo and most range ammo
  • Decent trigger
  • Accurate.
  • Magazines drop free
  • Can use modern double locking cut CZ75B/SP-01 magazines
  • Fits into some CZ75 holsters such as the Galco Combat Master leather holster
  • Very affordably priced

Cons:

  • Trigger guard is rounded and lacks an rest for your non-shooting index finger (for those that like this feature)
  • Magazines fit flush which can make fast reloads challenging
  • No decocker
  • Excessive markings all over the polymer frame which look gaudy
  • Proprietary sights
  • Only available in 9mm (for you .40 and .45 fans)
  • Mine came with a single 16 round magazine, it would be nice to get at least two mags
Overall I’m very pleased with the quality and function of the B6P. The gun handles, feels and shoots like a $500+ pistol yet comes to market at around $300. A compact version of the pistol is available with a 3.8″ barrel and a 13 round magazine if you need something more concealable.
If you’re looking for an affordable 9mm carry gun I would highly recommend you look into the SAR B6P from EAA. I plan to abuse the B6P in future Military Arms Channel videos. I want to see just how well this handgun holds up to extended use and even how it fairs in water, mud and sand. I mean heck, why not tear it up a bit? I have less than $300 in the gun!