When I got my bonus last year, I decided that my “splurge” would be some quality revolvers. My only experience with revolvers before that was a Taurus 94, and let me say, the Taurus 94 is not a great revolver. I knew there was better stuff on the market, and I wanted to get some guns to scratch some various competitive (and tactical?) itches.
The problem with guns is that buying them does not give you proficiency. You’ve got to earn that through hard work. Given my lack of experience with the revolver platform, I really wanted some good hands-on mentoring. When I saw that FPF Training was offering a revolver class, I jumped on it. Did I like it? Read on.
During a reddit thread discussion, I took the time to measure the trigger pull weights of various BUL pistols in my collection, which I felt like I should repost on the blog. All measurements were taken with a Wheeler trigger pull gauge, and they were repeatable across multiple pulls:
M-5 Commander (45 Auto, gen1, full compensator): 2.6lbs
BUL Storm: SA: 4.5lbs; DA: > 8lbs
BUL Storm Compact: – SA: 4lbs; DA: > 8lbs
Cherokee (gen1): SA: 4.5lbs; DA: – > 8lbs
Cherokee Compact (gen2): SA: 6.1lbs; DA: – > 8lbs
BUL Impact (9mm): SA: 4.5lbs; DA: – > 8lbs
As you can see, the SAS II guns are uniformly pretty good. The M-5s vary a lot more due to what I assume is tinkering by their former owners and/or worn in parts. For what it’s worth, my personal favorite trigger is in the Ultra-X (short, light, smooth) followed by the TAC 5. The Bullesteros has a fantastic trigger that is way too light – I need more practice with it.
The Tanfoglio-derived pistols (Impact, Cherokee, Storm) have uniformly average triggers, with the Cherokee gen2 having an oddly bad single-action pull. I almost wrote that they all had bad triggers, but years of shooting the P320 X5 Legion, SAS II, and even tuned up revolvers have made me forget these pull weights are roughly on par with a factory CZ-75. The trigger pulls tended to be smooth, so they didn’t feel awful, but they were certainly heavier than I was used to.
The reality is that a (single action) trigger pull weight under 4lbs is fine for competition use, albeit I prefer something in the 2.5lb-3lb range when practical.
Since I have a ton of large pistol primers, I decided I’d supplement my 9mm expenditure by loading some 45 Automatic (aka, 45 ACP). My load recipe is a boring old 230gr coated bullet on top of 5.3gr of Unique with max OAL.
I have a couple guns in 45 Auto, but neither of them is something I’d want to use for a daily driver due to relative rarity (especially my KSN GAL). I splurged a bit, and picked up an EAA Girsan MC1911S, which has a factory optics cut and accessory rail. It’s really quite fetching!
Holster compatibility is problematic, but there are options out there. The trigger pull is nothing to write home about, but not worse than any other cheap 1911. The accessory rail seems to be in spec. The magazine well was tight – maybe a bit too tight, as a couple of random 1911 magazines wouldn’t fit in it. It fired my handloads with 100% reliability, which is not nothing, though.
It came with a factory optic. Said factory optic is a “Derry”, and it is obvious garbage. It sells on Alibaba for $35 in bulk. While I am sure that margins on reflex sights are not horrible for most manufacturers, I’ve got a lot of qualms about the reliability of something that’s retailing for $35 – and other reviews of this pistol seemed to indicate that failures happened quickly. It uses a Docter footprint, which is not really a terrible footprint, but none of the cool guy sights use it anymore. Suffice it to say, I did not bother with this optic at all.
Enter C&H Precision Weapon Systems (CHPWS). Utilizing some shared contacts, I was able to contract CHPWS to develop a better red dot plate with the Holosun HS507K footprint. It was not cheap, and it took a while, but the results were gorgeous, and the HS507K is just the right width for my pistol – a bit of overhang on the sides, but far less than an RMR. It also exudes a sort of quality that the factory sight didn’t even come close to replicating.
When I took my new gun out to the range, I was impressed. The optic was rock solid on the slide, and the gun kept on running with 100% reliability. While I had to fight the trigger a bit to keep my shots in the same hole, when I did my part, the accuracy at 10yds was excellent.
You can get an optics-equipped Girsan MC1911S for about $600 off Gunbroker. My optics plate was a $200 custom job, but keep in mind that normal plates from CHPWS start from $70 on up – so paying a fair bit more for something that literally didn’t exist and probably doesn’t have much of a market doesn’t seem terribly unfair to me – and perhaps it’ll be slightly cheaper for you since the design work is done now. With the 507K, I’m about a thousand bucks in, total.
I’m looking forward to using this gun at a class or two, and for messing around at the range. I suppose I could even run it in IDPA Carry Optics if I felt like being an iconoclast. A trigger job would probably make it a much more comfortable shooter, so that’s an upgrade I’ll be looking into when funds allow.
ETA (2/6/2022): the GLS wide holster with a shim works well enough for this gun, especially if you tweak the set screw. The Nighthawk Drop-In Trigger System also works just fine, no safety fitting required. It dropped the trigger pull to about 3.5lbs, which was a rather dramatic improvement.
Yes, that’s an actual unfired, mint-condition IMI Compact 945 (which I’ve previously erroneously called the 945 Compact) you see in the picture. You’ll recall this pistol from the article I wrote on it previously. The Compact 945 did make it into the wild, at least in a limited way.
Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge reader “Patrick from Belgium”, with the photos and manual you see in this article, not to mention some other contextual information that’s probably at least as important. The good stuff is after the break!
It looks like another supplier for BUL handguns has entered the fray: Liberty Gun Sales of Ohio. They’ve got a price list up and everything, and the prices are actually pretty good. (Pro-tip: dealer prices are for dealers, don’t expect it as a regular person. :)) Competition is a good thing, and BUL getting further into the US market can only bode well for us.
LGSOS is selling Cherokees (FS and compact, G and non-G), M5s, and Classics. Alas, no SAS variants, Classic Ultras, or Mini Cherokees. I am super-tempted to pick up an M5 Ultra-X in 9mm, and maybe grab a Classic Commander in 9mm and slap some Recover Tactical grips on it.
As you’ll recall from my review of the BUL Impact, I loved the pistol, but bemoaned the lack of a way to get a nice flush fit with the full length BUL M5 9mm magazines. There was a product image showing a sleeve adapter, but I had never seen one in the wild.
Well, if you can’t buy it… you build it. Or in my case, you 3D print it.
It’s been a long time in coming, but Battle Ready International has updated their website and is now selling BUL Classic 1911s in 9mm. They seem to have them in Commander and Government lengths, but not the oh-so-sexy Ultra / Officer length (or at least those aren’t up on the website). After having handled an Ultra-X, I am a real believer in compact 1911s, and hope they’ll get on that soon.
I also see BUL Cherokee Compacts with threaded barrels now, which may prove a good option for someone looking for a nice, easy-to-suppress Israeli firearm.
One of my “grail guns” has always been the BUL M-5 Ultra-X, dating from my first year of getting into firearms. I’ve always loved its combination of compactness and firepower. For a long time, I had been holding out hope of getting one in 9mm, but it became clear through my research that if any Ultra-Xs in 9mm were ever imported, it was probably vanishingly few. I settled on a Charles Daly .45ACP model that a reader offered at a good price.
Most of this blog’s readers are probably familiar with IWI and IMI. Some may even be acquainted with BUL Transmark. But less known is another Israeli arms producer: Israel Arms / KSN Industries.
KSN Industries made the Kareen MkII/III line, the KSN Golan (on Yugoslavian equipment), and the KSN GAL. The KSN GAL 1911 is the subject of this blog post, as it appears to have the least available information on it.