Skip to main content

What was the Best New Handgun at the SHOT Show?

Full disclosure; due to work commitments I wasn't able to visit anywhere near the number of exhibitors I wanted to last week, so there may well have been a hidden gem lurking unseen. That said, 2012 seemed like an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary year in the firearms industry, with no real standout designs from major manufacturers. Most of the innovation seemed to be at the margins, with smaller companies and accessory makers taking point.

An example of this would be the Caracal pistol. This gun has been bobbing around at the periphery for a few years now, but now looks set to make its debut in the U.S. market, with a solid distribution and marketing plan behind it. All this is good news for us shooters as no matter how good the product, if it isn't supported with spares, consumables and the aftermarket, it will disappear after making a brief splash in the gun rags. I hope this pistol sticks around for a long time, as it's pretty damned good.

The Caracal is made in the United Arab Emirates and is designed by one of the engineers who brought us the Glock and Steyr handguns. It should come as no surprise then that it's pretty strongly influenced by both designs, being polymer framed and striker fired with an 18 round capacity in 9mm. The important differences are in its ergonomics and trigger, as the bore axis is the lowest I've ever seen on a locked breech pistol and the factory trigger is set at 2.8lbs with a clean break and a short tactile reset. It is, by far the best factory trigger I've ever shot in a polymer gun and knocks the reigning champion, the Springfield XDm 5.25, off its pedestal.


I managed to put a half dozen or so mags through the full-size gun at Media Day at SHOT and was impressed by the lack of muzzle flip and natural pointability. If the production examples are the same as the ones provided to the press, then it will deserve your attention.  Caracal have a pretty decent IPSC crew in Europe and are actively courting some very big name shooters in the US at the moment in order to build a USPSA Production division team -  if they sign the guy I hope they will, then expect some fireworks this year.


I'm looking to get a test gun in house to put through the wringer and give a better idea of its capabilities - watch this space.

Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

All About .300 Blackout

All About .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout is here to stay, and we take some time to look at new technology surrounding this cartridge. Next, we pit subsonic rivals against each other before stretching the legs of this CQB round out to 600 yards from a short 9-inch barrel.

Surefire XSC Micro-Compact Pistol Light: First Look

Surefire XSC Micro-Compact Pistol Light: First Look

Small, lightweight and purpose-built for sub-compact carry guns, Surefire's XSC pistol light takes on EDC illumination segment.

Air Gun Reviews: Why Shoot Airsoft?

Air Gun Reviews: Why Shoot Airsoft?

In this Guns & Ammo TV segment, Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr discuss the benefits of airsoft training for uniformed professionals and armed citizens alike.

Trijicon

Trijicon's New Specialized Reflex Optics (SRO)

The Trijicon SRO is specifically designed for pistol use. The wide field of view and clean, crisp dot makes it easy for users to find and track the dot in both target and competitive shooting applications.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

In this segment of Air Gun Reviews: Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle Rifles

Air Gun Reviews: Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle

Guns & Ammo Staff - September 02, 2020

In this segment of "Guns & Ammo TV," Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr...

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an engineering degree to tinker with; here's a look at some upgrade options to take your Ruger American to the next level, and make it something a bit different.Top Ruger American Rifle Upgrades Accessories

Top Ruger American Rifle Upgrades

Philip Massaro - March 15, 2018

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an...

Trijicon has dominated the Carry Optic landscape on hard-use handguns for years. With the new RMRcc, they plan on dominating the concealed carry market as well.Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight Review – Perfect for Concealed Carry Optics

Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight Review – Perfect for Concealed Carry

Jeremy Stafford - October 01, 2020

Trijicon has dominated the Carry Optic landscape on hard-use handguns for years. With the new...

The story of a confederate sniper’s revenge and an exclusive look at his rifle.The Story of Civil War Sniper Jack Hinson and His Rifle Historical

The Story of Civil War Sniper Jack Hinson and His Rifle

Kyle Lamb - January 12, 2018

The story of a confederate sniper’s revenge and an exclusive look at his rifle.

See More Trending Articles

More Handgun

When it comes to ammunition for personal defense, the Winchester Silvertip Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) is a time-tested, proven round.Winchester Silvertip Ammo Features New Look, Pack Size in 2020 SHOT Show

Winchester Silvertip Ammo Features New Look, Pack Size in 2020

Guns & Ammo Digital Staff - January 28, 2020

When it comes to ammunition for personal defense, the Winchester Silvertip Jacketed Hollow...

Federal Premium has introduced the Hydra-Shok Deep .380 Auto, the first expanding .380 Auto load to consistently penetrate beyond the FBI-recommended 12-inch minimum in bare gel and through heavy clothing.  Shipments of this product have begun to arrive at dealers.Federal Hydra-Shok Deep .380 Auto – First Look Handgun

Federal Hydra-Shok Deep .380 Auto – First Look

Guns & Ammo Staff - July 10, 2020

Federal Premium has introduced the Hydra-Shok Deep .380 Auto, the first expanding .380 Auto...

The age-old question, 9mm vs .45 ACP. For some, this has been asked and answered already. For others, the debate goes on. In this segment of “Cameras Don't Lie,” competitive shooters Patrick Sweeney and Jim Tarr head to the range to put the vaunted loads on record, and then consider the footage.Cameras Don't Lie: 9mm vs .45 ACP Handgun

Cameras Don't Lie: 9mm vs .45 ACP

Guns & Ammo Staff - August 05, 2020

The age-old question, 9mm vs .45 ACP. For some, this has been asked and answered already. For...

We've narrowed down the 10 best 9mm ammo deals on Everest.com right now, everything from high-end defensive loads to affordable practice ammunition. 9mm Ammo Buyer's Guide: 10 Good Deals Right Now Handgun

9mm Ammo Buyer's Guide: 10 Good Deals Right Now

Brad Fitzpatrick - July 02, 2020

We've narrowed down the 10 best 9mm ammo deals on Everest.com right now, everything from...

See More Handgun

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now