Caracal F pistol with orange grip insert
|Place of origin||United Arab Emirates|
|Used by||See Users|
|Manufacturer||Caracal International L.L.C.
|Weight||750 g (26 oz) Caracal F
700 g (25 oz) Caracal C
650 g (23 oz) Caracal SC
|Length||178 mm (7.0 in) Caracal F
167 mm (6.6 in) Caracal C
160 mm (6.3 in) Caracal SC
|Barrel length||104 mm (4.1 in) Caracal F
90 mm (3.5 in) Caracal C
86 mm (3.4 in) Caracal SC
|Width||28 mm (1.1 in) Caracal F and C
23.5 mm (0.9 in) Caracal SC
|Height||135 mm (5.3 in) Caracal F
122 mm (4.8 in) Caracal C
112 mm (4.4 in) Caracal SC
|Action||Short recoil, locked breech|
|Feed system||18-round box magazine
(9x19mm Parabellum , 9x21mm Caracal F)
16-round box magazine
(.357 SIG, .40 S&W Caracal F)
15-round box magazine
(9x19mm Parabellum , 9x21mm Caracal C)
13-round box magazine
(.357 SIG, .40 S&W Caracal C)
13-round box magazine
(9x19mm Parabellum , 9x21mm Caracal SC)
|Sights||Fixed iron sights|
The Caracal pistol is a series of semi-automatic pistols manufactured by Caracal International L.L.C. a subsidiary of Tawazun Holding from the United Arab Emirates. Newly arrived on a competitive market, the Caracal pistol series are the first pistols made in the United Arab Emirates.
In 2007, Tawazun Holding L.L.C. - the wholly owned subsidiary of the United Arab Emirates Offset Program Bureau (OPB) - has acquired the assets of Caracal International.
As of 2011 Caracal pistols are also manufactured in Germany by Caracal GmbH operating from Suhl in Thuringia for the European market. Caracal GmbH is a subsidiary of the German hunting rifle and shotgun manufacturer Merkel GmbH which was acquired by Caracal International L.L.C. in 2007.
Beginning of 2012, Caracal has open a subsidiary in the United States, Caracal USA.
In September, 2013, Caracal announced a recall of all C model pistols. The recall states that the pistols cannot be made safe, and will not be returned. Caracal is giving a full refund of the purchase price on all C model pistols.
In October 2013 the original Caracal pistol line was delisted by the manufacturer. The original model line was replaced by the CP660, CP661 and CP662 models that are very similar to the original Caracal F, C and SC pistol models, but feature redesigned slides.
In 2015, the Caracal CP662 is no longer available to customers. There are new products available instead, namely the Caracal 1911 and its compact version Caracal 1911C.
Starting in 2002, a team of European weapons designers and experts working in conjunction with the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces started the development of a range of modern pistols and accessories. The research and development team was led by the Austrian firearms designer Wilhelm Bubits who previously had designed the Steyr M pistol.
Before being put into production the Caracal pistol was evaluated through independent tests. These tests were carried out by the Federal German Armed Forces Technical Center for Weapons and Ammunition (WTD 91) in Meppen, Germany which included metallurgic and composite analysis, functional fitness-for-purpose and quality evaluation, endurance firing, environmental exposure, safety and accuracy tests. A certificate was issued by the Bundeswehr Technical Center for Weapons and Ammunition (WTD 91) in May 2006 after the pistol successfully complied with the NATO D14 standard, the German Federal Police Standard and the German Federal Armed Forces Technical Purchasing requirements. These tests are the most stringent test protocols ever devised for a service firearm.
By the end of 2006, Caracal International L.L.C .was incorporated and registered as a company in Abu Dhabi. With that, the foundation of a pistol manufacturing industry was established for the first time in the GCC.
In February 2007 25,000 Caracal F pistols in 9 mm were ordered by various armies and security forces of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The Caracal pistol is now the new service pistol of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan as of April, 2008. The United Arab Emirates and Algeria established on November, 17th, 2008 a joint committee in order to test the Caracal pistol for further adoption by Algeria. The Caracal pistols were originally slated to be introduced into the European market and made available to Austrian customers in early 2009; this was rectified at the IDEX 2009 exhibition, when Caracal announced that an export line to Italy was to be started with "the first samples delivered immediately after the IDEX". The Caracal pistols have been introduced on the Italian civilian/sport shooters market during the 2009 EXA expo (Brescia, 18–21 April 2009), and are being imported by the Italian arms company Fratelli Tanfoglio S.N.C.
On 15 January 2009 Caracal received an export licence from the United States, which will enable it to ship its products to the United States. According to Caracal's commercial director Saeed Ali Al Shamsi, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gave its approval for sales in the United States in May 2009 and the company plans to embark on a soft launch of the firearms in America in 2010 with the handguns selling for up to US$720 (AED 2,650) in North America.
Besides the within NATO and many other militaries standard 9x19mm Parabellum chambering, the manufacturer will offer this pistol also in the 9x21mm, .357 SIG and .40 Smith & Wesson chamberings. At the IDEX 2009, the company announced that work is being carried on to manufacture the Caracal pistols in .45 ACP, and that an SCHV (small-caliber/high-velocity) ammunition, along the lines of 5.7x28mm and 4.6x30mm, is also under study for military customers.
On 9 October 2009 a briefing and shooting tests event has been held by Caracal International and Tanfoglio at the Futura Club shooting range, close to Rome, for representatives of the Italian military and law enforcement communities. Participants from the Italian police and military forces included members of:
- the Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza
- the Gruppo di Intervento Speciale
- the 17º Stormo Incursori of the Italian air force
- the 9th Parachute Assault Regiment of the Italian army
- Polizia Penitenziaria
- Guardia di Finanza
- Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City
- U.S. State Department from the United States Embassy in Rome
During Defence & Security 2009 (4–5 November 2009) in Thailand, a demonstration has been held on a local range where members of the armed forces, law enforcement and International Practical Shooting Confederation shooters have tested and evaluated the different models.
On 18 and 19 November 2009 a demonstration has been held during the Milipol 2009 exhibition in Paris. A group of representatives from the French police and their tactical units, Swiss police, German police, NATO forces and EU diplomatic security agents attended a briefing and presentation of the Caracal line of products.
Caracal made 40 pistols and an unlimited supply of ammunition available to members of the specialized press and French law enforcement community members for testing on a nearby shooting range in Issy-les-Moulineaux.
Currently imported by Steyr Arms, Trussville, Alabama. Formerly imported by Waffen Werks in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The Caracal is a fully ambidextrous polymer framed pistol that features an ergonomically designed grip with a rounded butt and a grip angle of 111°. The lower forward edge of the frame has a mounting-bracket or rail interface system for mounting accessories. The pistol's low slide profile design holds the pistol barrel axis close to the shooter's hand and makes the pistols more comfortable to shoot by reducing muzzle rise and allows faster aim recovery in rapid shooting sequence. This low bore axis principle is also found in the Glock and Steyr M pistols.
The metal slide guide rails are designed to be as long as possible to promote stability, by reducing torsion and flexing of the grip frame, during firing and a close fit between the slide and grip frame for plenty direct mechanical interaction between the slide and grip frame. Furthermore, the rails being part of the frame sub assembly that bears all internals, it is easier to assemble the mechanism for manufacturing or disassemble for maintenance and replacement.
The pistols have a fully supported chamber and fixed iron sights featuring straight- straight-eight pattern contrast enhancements of which the front element can be adjusted for windage. The unadjustbale rear sight element is an integral part of the firing pin unit and can only be changed by exchanging the entire firing pin unit. The pistols can be supplied with grip inserts in several distinctive colours (black, gray, green, blue and orange) that can be used for identification purposes. The grip size can not be adjusted with these grip inserts.
The metal parts receive a proprietary "Plasox" plasma-based nitriding with an enclosed post-oxidizing surface treatment producing a protective coating resistant to aggressive environmental conditions. The manufacturer claims that this proprietary protective layer method is relatively environmental friendly, is very durable and protects well against rust.
There are however also two-tone Caracal pistols available with bright metal slides that did not receive the "Plasox" plasma-based nitriding surface treatment.
According to the manufacturer the 28 parts and components these pistols are made of are interchangeable for easy production and maintenance. A take-down lever allows the pistol to be disassembled without tools by the user.
The pistol is supplied with two box magazines and a user manual, packed in a plastic carry case.
The Caracal is a striker fired semi-automatic pistol, meaning the trigger system is of the hammerless short double action only type. A cocking indicator below the rear sight indicates visibly and tactilely if the pistol is cocked and ready to fire. The trigger travel is 8 mm (0.31 in) with a trigger pull of 22 N (4.9 lbf).
The pistol features a triple safety system that secures the weapon against accidental discharge and consists of three independent safety mechanisms: an external integrated trigger safety and two automatic internal safeties – a firing pin safety and a drop safety.
The pistol has a loaded chamber indicator in the form of a witness opening at the rear of the chamber that allows the user to see from the top side of the slide if a cartridge is present in the chamber.
The double column type box magazine is released by an ambidextrous magazine release.
Available factory accessories include a rigid shoulder stock, a tactical front grip which can be fitted to the optical mounting-bracket on the lower forward edge of the frame, a key-locking system to provide additional gun security when the pistol is not in use, a fibre glass front-sight insert, "gutter pattern" quick sights, self-luminous tritium powered low light sights, magazine loader and optical aiming sight mounting bracket.
A custom made modular holster has been designed by Sandro Amadini. Ghost International modular system holster's unique patented retention system GSS (Ghost Safety System) has been adapted to Caracal pistols. The innovative Ghost modular system with its various base plates allowing high ride, medium ride, tactical ride carry as well as concealed carry enhances and complements Caracal pistols qualities.
The pistol is available in 5 variants:
- Caracal F - Basic, full-size variant; original design
- Caracal C - Compact (reduced length and height) variant of the Caracal F
- Caracal SC - Subcompact pistol marketed as a primary weapon for government professionals who must conceal a handgun for job related situations, or as a secondary back up pistol; no longer available in 2015
- Caracal 1911 - A copy of the famous M1911 pistol
- Caracal 1911C - A compact version of the Caracal 1911
A version of the Caracal adapted to high velocity ammunition like the 4.6x30mm used in the Heckler & Koch MP7 and the 5.7x28mm used in the FN P90 and the FN Five Seven would be under development. This could be linked to the desire for a neighbouring country to adopt either the H&K MP7 or the FN P90 personal defense weapon.
On Sept. 9th, 2013 a recall was issued for all model C pistols made by Caracal stating:
Caracal is now issuing this recall of all Model C pistols in all markets, following the completion of a full investigation. Caracal is initiating this voluntary recall of Model C pistols because the safety of its customers is paramount.
This recall affects all Model C pistols, including but not limited to those with serial numbers which start with the following letters: HM, AA, AD, AG, CA, CB, CC, CD, CE, CF, CG, CH, CI, CJ, CK, CL, CM, CN, CP, CR and CS.
If you own or have access to a Caracal Model C pistol, PLEASE DO NOT LOAD OR FIRE YOUR PISTOL. Please contact Caracal customer care immediately to arrange to have your Model C pistol returned. Caracal will provide you with a full refund of the purchase price of your Caracal Model C pistol or vouchers for other Caracal products. Unfortunately, the potential safety issues cannot be addressed through a repair of the Model C pistol and all Model C pistols must be returned for refund.
- Bahrain: Purchased a quantity of 5,000
- Libya: Libyan National Army
- United Arab Emirates 
Caracal SC sub-compact pistol, with fibre optic front sight insert and magazine with a finger rest for extra grip.
- "Caracal International L.L.C. company website". Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- Website of the UAE Offset Program Bureau
- "Website of Caracal GmbH Germany" (in German). Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- "Merkel GmbH company website". Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- "Recall notice via Scribd". Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- "Caracal International unveils next generation models from its three most popular product lines at Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition ameinfo.com 2013-09-04". Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- "Caracal Revamps Entire Pistol Line gunsholstersandgear.com by Richard Johnson 2013-09-08". Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- "BREAKING: Caracal recalls all ‘C’ models, rolls out all-new pistol catalog guns.com by Max Slowik 2013-09-09". Guns.com. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- "Bundeswehr Technical Center for Weapons and Ammunition (WTD 91) in Meppen". Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- "Caracal International wins contracts at IDEX". Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- Caracal pistol, new service pistol
- "Caracal starts sales in Europe". Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- "Caracal pistols on the FRATELLI TANFOGLIO S.N.C. online catalogue". Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- Price list for Caracal pistols on the FRATELLI TANFOGLIO S.N.C. online catalogue
- "Caracal to export UAE-made guns to US". Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- "Caracal 9 mm self-loading pistol (United Arab Emirates)". Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- Caracal Brochure
- Caracal Safety & Instruction User Manual
- PLASOX - Plasma nitriding and oxidizing
- Additional information regarding Plasox properties
- Images of a two-tone Caracal F pistol
- "BREAKING: ALL Caracal "C" Pistols Permanently Recalled – No Fix Available". Guns Save Lives. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- Gale, Ivan (1 July 2008). "Five companies to watch for". The National newspaper. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
- Kemp, Ian (December 2008). "Individual Weapons - Combat Pistols: Poised for a Shift". Asian Military Review. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
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