Back in June I was given a chance to demo a Caracal Model F 9mm pistol from Precision Point Arms, and I posted my initial thoughts about the Caracal as well as how I would test it in upcoming posts. Well here we are months later making our first and last post about the Caracal, at least for the duration. The Caracal I was using was part of the recall and needed to go back to the factory so I knew my time with it was coming to an end so I had better get out to the range with it ASAP and get in some shooting. I knew I had a 3Gun match coming up and thought I’d load up the Caracal and a few hundred rounds and leave them in the truck until the 3Gun match was finished, then find an empty bay and finally make my first shots with it. Pretty good plan on paper but after the 3Gun match it started pouring rain and the wind kicked up so much it would have probably been a challenge to keep the USPSA targets from falling over. So we put up three steel plates next to a couple that were already in the bay.
I had envisioned timing ourselves on a few drills where we all know how long it typically takes us we were afraid the timer wouldn’t make it so out the window goes all of the plans that we had laid out for the first test. What we did do was each of us loaded a magazine to capacity and just hit a single plate, getting to know the pistol, feeling the trigger, learning the reset point, etc. After that we shot what was pretty much a Speed Steel stage, alternating between the Caracal, a Glock G34, a S&W M&P Pro 9mm, and a XDM 9mm. We all wanted to see which gun felt best ergonomically, did the best downrange, had the least amount of perceived recoil, etc. Since we had four 9mm pistols, 3 of which we’d be unfamiliar with, it would keep the test on a level playing field since it wasn’t the only foreign one in the bunch. So with that system in place, we all started to shoot the stage with all four pistols and see what we all thought about the Caracal in the mix of the three most popular 9mm handguns.
What we liked about the Caracal
After shooting the initial warm up magazine and shooting our Speed Steel stage several times I really started to appreciate the Caracal’s ergonomics. That deep cutout really allows your hand to get right up under the bore which not only feels super secure but really helps with the perceived recoil. It really did feel like the softest shooting pistol of the bunch. I’d venture to say that with a little grip tape on the front/side panels this pistol would just not move under recoil. It really felt solid and the action, especially for a new pistol, was super smooth.
I have to say that the factory trigger in the Caracal is outstanding. They really have the nicest factory trigger in the business. Light, crisp, low over travel, and a pretty decent reset. And I bet after a thousand rounds it’ll be even better. Hats off to Caracal for their trigger.
What we didn’t like about the Caracal
The Caracal comes with a proprietary sight system which some people love, but none of us liked them one bit. Caracal does list a Fibre Optic front sight on their accessories page which could be an option if the Dawson Precision sights we all love weren’t available. The notch of the rear sight is just too narrow to be fast and we all gave them a thumbs down. After shooing 5″ guns like the M&P Pro and the G34 you really come to appreciate the longer sight radius. Currently Caracal only offers a 4″ option which is fine for an all around gun but leaves something to be desired when you’re used to the longer competition pistols.
We were shooing 124 grain JHP’s and they grouped pretty well but the pistol never locked back on an empty magazine. I suspect it’s because it’s new and would have eventually start to lock open on an empty magazine. Not a big deal, just something we noticed about it.
As far as POA/POI, the Caracal seemed to hit a little low. On the steel plates I had to hold on the spot where the stand went through the plate to hit dead center. It probably needs a little shorter front sight, which normally not be a big deal because I typically replace my sights with Dawson Precision sights that are the correct height. But as I mentioned earlier, so far there isn’t much in the way after market accessories for the Caracal.
The Caracal is a great shooting pistol with a fantastic trigger, smooth action, great balance, and great ergonomics, and it’s just a fun gun to shoot. Follow up shots are nice and fast because it’s design keeps the pistol in the right place and limits movement.
So at the end of the day, would I purchase and use a Caracal? Probably not. At least not at this point. I’d like to see more companies produce aftermarket accessories for it and if you were considering using it for USPSA/IPSC/IDPA it would be great to have a 5″ version. I think the Caracal has a lot of potential and could be a serious option in the future, but if you can’t even get the sights you like for it now, it’s just not going to work. Of course none of this has stopped J. J. Racaza from kicking butt with it.