A Turkish Firearms Tour -- The Turkish Riviera: Day 2
June 19, 2012
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.
RELATED: Day 1, Day 3, Day 4
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....
We used SAR SASPs'¦..if that's a bit too much alphabet soup for you, it stands for the SAR Semi-Auto Special Purpose shotgun. "Special Purpose" equates to a pistol grip and ghost ring sights, and ours had rifled choke tubes. These are being imported now, and if you want a few more rounds in the tube than the 5+1 it comes with, the magazine tube threads are the same as the Remington, so any mag tube extensions which fit the 11-87/1100 will fit the SARSA. Our shotguns went bang every time we pulled the trigger, and were very sharp looking, all for a lot lower price than you'd expect.
This is the Handguns Magazine website, however, not Scattergun Gossip, so let's get to the pistols. Sarsilmaz is the sole pistol supplier of the Turkish Armed forces. This pistol is known as the Light. They also produce the official pistol of the Turkish National Police, the Mega. Both of these are CZ-75 clones, the only difference being that the Light has a safety which allows the pistol to be carried cocked and locked, and the Mega has a squared trigger guard. The Mega is going to be imported as the SAR B6. Again, Turkey has the 4th largest standing army in the world at 2 million, their troops see action, and they're not part of the European Union (which means they have cash), so they can afford to buy what works, no matter where it's made. I'm told the military carry their pistols with the chamber loaded, hammer down, and safety on.
While I will get to the Sarsilmaz plant in a later post, these pistols (and shotguns) are made to the tightest tolerances possible, because they are made on the most modern CNC machines available on the planet. Anything that removes potential human error from the manufacturing process is a good thing.
If the Turkish Riviera was a little closer to the U.S. chances are a lot of us would be spending some time on their beaches. We stayed at a beachfront hotel in Alanya with 3 pools where all the drinks and food (and it was great food) were included, all for about $70/night'¦'¦