CARACAL: The first pistol ever made in UAE

The Caracal pistol is a semi-automatic handgun that has gained widespread popularity since its introduction in 2007. Designed and produced by Caracal International LLC, a

Eric Sof

CARACAL pistol at the SHOT Show 2016
CARACAL pistol displayed at the SHOT Show 2016 (Photo: XY)

The Caracal pistol is a semi-automatic handgun that has gained widespread popularity since its introduction in 2007. Designed and produced by Caracal International LLC, a renowned UAE-based firearms company, this pistol is a favorite among military, law enforcement, and civilian users alike. Available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP calibers, the Caracal pistol is a versatile weapon that delivers high performance and exceptional reliability.

Introduction

The Caracal was the first pistol manufactured in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It has emerged as a competitive contender among popular handguns in today’s market. The pistol’s development journey began in 2002 with a team of European weapon designers working with the UAE armed forces. The driving force behind the development was an Austrian firearms designer who had previously designed the Steyr M pistol. After passing extensive tests in Germany, the new design was ready to take on the world.

Steyr M pistol at the shooting range
Steyr on the shooting range (Photo: Steyr GURU)

In 2006, the Caracal International company was established, and production commenced. The pistol was finally unveiled to the public in 2007, and it quickly gained recognition, getting adopted by the United Arab Emirates armed forces. This excellent pistol has been exported to various countries worldwide, including Algeria, Bahrain, Germany, Italy, Jordan, and Libya.

The Caracal pistol’s popularity stems from its unique design, reliability, and accuracy. It boasts of a low bore axis, reducing recoil and enabling more accurate shooting. The ergonomic grip and trigger design also provide a comfortable and consistent shooting experience. These features make it a popular choice among gun enthusiasts.

Design

The Caracal pistol is a versatile firearm that offers a range of ammunition options, including 9×19 mm Parabellum, 9×21 mm, .40 S&W, and .375 SIG. Military and security forces frequently use the 9×19 mm version. One of the standout features of the Caracal pistol is its low bore axis design and polymer frame. This unique combination mitigates recoil and improves accuracy, making it a comfortable and precise shooting experience. The pistol also features the Quick Sight Alignment system, a specialized trigger system that enhances sight alignment and target acquisition. This feature enables the quicker and more accurate shooting, appealing to those who value precision and speed.

The Caracal pistol is fully ambidextrous, and its ergonomically designed grip is polymer-framed. Various components of the Caracal are interchangeable between versions, and it passed rigorous German tests for service firearms, ensuring its quality.

The Caracal has a modified Browning-type locking mechanism and is a hammerless, striker-fired weapon with a double-action-only trigger system. It includes a triple safety system with integrated trigger safety, firing pin safety, and drop safety. Each of these mechanisms independently ensures the firearm remains safe and secure from accidental discharges.

Additionally, the Caracal featured a cocking indicator and loaded chamber indicator, which indicate when the pistol is cocked and ready to fire and whether a cartridge is loaded in the chamber, respectively. The 9×19 mm gun version can hold up to 18-round magazines, and its release button is ambidextrous. The pistol has fixed iron sights, and the front sight element is adjustable for windage. It also has self-luminous low-light sights and an optical aiming sight mounting bracket.

Caracal F with Quick-Sight sights
Caracal F, full-size pistol with “Quick-Sight” sights (Photo: XY)

The Caracal pistol includes an accessory rail for a tactical flashlight or laser pointer attachment. Factory accessories like shoulder stock and tactical front grip are available. A key-locking system provides additional security when the pistol is not in use. Finally, the Caracal can be disassembled for cleaning without tools, adding to its convenience and ease of use.

Variants

The Caracal pistol is a highly versatile firearm that caters to the needs of a wide range of users. It is available in different variants, each with unique features that suit specific applications.

One of the most popular Caracal variants is the Caracal F, which boasts a polymer frame and a shorter barrel for improved maneuverability. Its compact size makes it ideal for concealed carry, and is a popular choice among law enforcement and military personnel.

CARACAL vs HS2000 pistol
The Caracal F superimposed over the HS2000 pistol contour (Photo: XY)

Another popular variant is the Caracal Enhanced F, which comes with an accessory rail that allows for the attachment of lights or lasers. It also features a beavertail grip that provides added comfort when shooting. This variant suits users who require a firearm for self-defense or shooting sports.

The Caracal C and Caracal Enhanced C variants are excellent choices for those who prefer a full-sized handgun. They feature a longer barrel and an extended sight radius, making them more accurate at longer distances. The Enhanced C variant has a beavertail grip and an accessory rail, making it a versatile firearm suitable for various applications.

The Caracal CP660 is a compact version of the Caracal pistol designed for concealed carry. It is lightweight and easy to carry, making it a popular choice among gun enthusiasts who require a firearm for personal protection.

It is worth noting that there have been some issues with the Caracal C variant in the past. In 2013, the manufacturer recalled all Model C pistols due to safety concerns. Unfortunately, no fix was offered, and customers had to return the pistols for a refund. The manufacturer then offered an improved Model F as an alternative for a refund. During this time, the Model C was rebranded and marketed as the CP661.

Customized two-tone Caracal C with Viridian C5L white tactical light/laser sight
Customized two-tone Caracal C with Viridian C5L white tactical light/laser sight (Photo: XY)

Similarly, the Caracal SC subcompact variant was marketed as the CP662 between 2013 and 2015.

There is an ongoing development of a Caracal version specifically tailored to handle high-velocity ammunition such as the 4.6×30mm ammunition utilized in the Heckler & Koch MP7 and the 5.7×28mm ammunition used in the FN P90 and the FN Five-Seven. The purpose of this adaptation is to address the potential interest of a neighboring country in adopting either the H&K MP7 or the FN P90 personal defense weapon.

Technical specifications

Country of origin:United Arab Emirates
Manufacturer:Caracal International LLC
Entered service:2007
Caliber:9×19 mm
Weight (unloaded):750 g
Length:178 mm
Barrel length:104 mm
Muzzle velocity:300 – 457 m/s
Magazine capacity:18 rounds
Sighting range:~ 50 m
Range of effective fire:~ 50 m

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