A couple of months ago I read that Open shooter JJ Racaza had signed with a company that I’d never even heard of before, Caracal, and was going to start shooting their F model in the Production division. This of course piqued my interest and after a bit of google’ing around found the Caracal website and some reviews on the F model. From looking at the pictures and reading the kudos it was getting in the Caracal Forum it looked like a gun I’d like to try out sometime. Fast forward to today when I received a T&E Caracal F from Precision Point Arms and had it on the bench within minutes of signing for the package.
The Caracal F model comes in a decent little case with two 18 round magazines, manual, and gun lock. I was disappointed that there wasn’t speed loader included with it but then again, none of my M&Ps came with one either (come on manufacturers, they couldn’t be more then 30 cents!).
The gun is sexy. Looking at the gun I really liked the long curving lines from the magwell up to the takedown “lever”. It has a polymer frame and the slide finish looks to be melonited and sports some Glock-like grooves near the rear slide to aid in racking the slide with wet or gloved fingers. The grip is aggressively textured on the front and rear backstrap and has just enough of a dip cut away for your support hand’s index finger to be comfortable and find a good repeatable index point. One thing I was a little confused about is that it has ambidextrous magazine release buttons but only has a slide release on the left side. I’m a righty so it doesn’t affect me, but again, I just thought is was a little strange. The frame also has a nice little picatinny-ish rail underneath the muzzle for mounting accessories like a light or a lazer.
After a little dry firing I noticed that the Glock-looking trigger is really nice. It has a lot more take up than I personally like but it’s light and crisp with a really positive reset. Excluding some of the “pro shop” triggers like you can get for the XDM competition or the Apex M&P, I think this is the best “Production gun” trigger out there. I was too lazy to borrow a trigger pull gauge but it honestly feels like it’s about 4.5 pounds. I bet after 1000 rounds it’ll be phenomenal!
Similar to the XDM it has a loaded indicator on the end of the slide as well as a M&P style at the top of the ejection port. You’re not going to miss that this gun is loaded.
OK, let’s talk about sights. There are a few different models available, this one being the 2 dot. There is a 3 dot as well as a crazy looking Quick Sight System which is in essence an additional rear sight about an inch from the front sight that is supposed to aid in sight acquisition and keep the front and rear sight in focus at the same time. Sounds gimmicky but people with this model seem to think it works as advertised. There is an option on the Caracal website for a fiber optic front sight which I would buy immediately if I were to own one of these. As far as the standard 2 or 3 dot rear option, it doesn’t mater to me since I’ll be blacking it out anyway. With the exception of a CCW gun with tritium night sights I don’t like dots on the rear sights. Also, I hope you like the rear sight, it’s pretty much permanent and is part of the guts of the slide. Really. I’m a huge fan of Dawson Precision fiber optic sights with a big black flat rear sight and as far as I know, they’re not making a rear sight for this thing yet. This is my only real complaint about this otherwise great Production gun (with a darn fine factory trigger!).
One thing I noticed after I field stripped the gun is that there are a few surfaces that appear to be “hand fitted”, one on the top of the barrel/breach area, and another about an inch long section just rear of the ejection port. Nice touch for this type of gun. Upon close inspection you can also see the big chunky extractor that adorns the side of the breach face. That ought to work well for a long time.
The gun feels great and has an aggressive grip angle that I really like. The beavertail area is cut deep and high allowing your hand to be just under the barrel which should really tame recoil. I laid it on top of my M&P Pro and it’s really apparent how deep the beavertail cut is. I can’t wait to get it to the range and see how it handles. The F model doesn’t include anyway to adjust the size of the rear backstrap which seems to go against where the industry is going. Regardless, it fits my hand very well and allows me to access the mag and slide release with ease. If you have really small hands (or woman shooters?) you may have some issues with the controls.
And just a side note, the manual that comes with the F model kicks butt. Nice color photos of how to operate and tear down/maintain the gun adorn the pages of the manual. Nice!
With that, this concludes the first part of this review. I’ll be hitting the range soon to put the Caracal F model through its paces and see if the gun shoots as well as it handels in dryfire. I’ll also see how it affects my times with some of the Seeklander X-drills as well has the F.A.S.T drill. Stay tuned.