When we reviewed the BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight 3.25 we were taken back by how light the pistol was, and yet so well-behaved on the range. It impressed me so much that I ordered a holster and it has become my lighter-weight carry option. When paired with 50gr Liberty Ammunition, the SAS II UL feels about as light as a single-stack. The only real fault I have with that pistol is I wish the barrel was longer.
There are several loads, including most +p rounds, on the market today that perform well from a barrel shorter than 4", but I still feel more comfortable with the extra velocity and sight radius that comes from a longer barrel. A slower cyclic speed also makes longer barrels more comfortable on the range. BUL Armory makes such a gun, the SAS II TAC 4.25 which adds an inch to the barrel. I wanted one, but would have to wait.
Why the wait? BUL Armory doesn't simply slap these pistols together. As evident in our review of the SAS II UL 3.25, there's attention to detail and craftsmanship in every pistol that requires more time to build than lesser guns. Add to that an international market, and the need for the guns to be imported, and BUL Armory pistols come ashore in waves that are quickly absorbed by waiting customers. This is why their "notify me" feature on the US website is so important. Another reason for both the wait and "notify me" is that BUL Armory pays attention to that list, makes sure there are enough pistols not only for that demand, but for others too. This helps reduce the negative experience we've seen with other high-demand companies which send you the "in-stock" email, but ten minutes later are out of stock again.
What is it? The SAS II TAC 4.25 is an optics-ready, 4.25"-barreled doublestack 1911. The magazines are a different pattern than the common "2011", but are available direct from BUL Armory USA for a reasonable $55. The pistol features a steel slide, aluminum frame, and polymer grip to combine for a quick-handling and nicely-balanced shooting experience.
Who's it for? red-dot ready, railed, and weighing roughly 27 ounces the SAS II TAC 4.25 could serve multiple roles as a carry, house, duty, or competition pistol. The trigger is crisp and with a short reset as one would want on the range, but pull weight isn't silly-light, making it still appropriate for carry or duty use in the hands of a trained shooter.
What Do You Get? The SAS II TAC 4.25 comes nicely packaged in a range bag that is not only usable, but a pride point in itself. See for yourself in the tabletop video below. Note: The pistol comes with two magazines, when filming the tabletop I had forgotten about getting an extra magazine for use in testing and training.
Specifications as taken from the product web page:
Barrel: 4.25” ramped, bull barrel.
Guide rod type: Full length single-piece.
Installed recoil spring: 9mm - 11Lb
Frame: SAS2 / aluminum with picatinny rail dust cover.
Grip: Full size module (FS) Black polymer grip.
Slide: Stainless steel / Front & rear serrations / Weight reduction cuts / Optic ready.
Capacity: 18 rounds
Trigger type: Modular trigger system / Short curved trigger shoe.
Trigger weight: 3.0 - 3.5 lbs.
Safety: Ambidextrous extended levers.
Sights: Suppressor height sights & optic ready system. (RMR footprint)
Magwell: TAC aluminium magwell.
Available colors: Black (Black anodized frame & PVD slide).
Weight: As shown (unloaded): 775g / 1.7lbs
Range Time is understandably something I could not wait for. I love the SAS II UL 3.25, so adding a little weight, lengthening the slide (longer sight radius and slower cycling) should only make things even better! With great anticipation I hit the range for our standard battery of experiences including:
Cold Shots: Truly our first rounds through the gun.
What's For Dinner™: A test to see what ammunition the gun will eat. Does the gun feed the round from slide lock, will it cycle and feed another round of the same type, does the slide lock to the rear on empty, and is there any notable point of impact change with different loads.
For this gun we used the following ammunition:
Priced and linked where found at the time this article was written
90gr 1776 USA Leadless (Obtained through our Ammo Squared account)
100gr Hornady Critical Defense Lite $23.89 / 20 at Global Ordnance
115gr Sig Elite Denfense V-Crown JHP $23.99 / 20 direct from Sig
115gr Blazer Aluminum Case $17.59 / 50 at Optics Planet
115gr Wolf Steel Case: $13.77 / 50 at Sportsman's Guide
124gr Black Hills JHP $14.57 / 20 at Target Sports USA
138gr Federal SCHP $19.59 / 20 at Optics Planet
147gr Winchester Bonded Defender JHP $22.99 / 20 at Global Ordnance
147gr Federal Premium Solid Core $26.88 / 20 at Global Ordnance
150gr Federal Syntech Action Pistol $21.05 /50 at Palmetto State Armory
Sights & Trigger Control: on a 6" spinner target at a distance of 12 yards. We got this from Titan Great Outdoors and use it to gauge how learnable the trigger is and usable the sights are for forced, timed, precise shots.
Practical Accuracy: Five shots from a distance of seven yards at a one inch target. This isn't so much about printing a tight group as it is a culmination of our shooting experience and time for us to collect thoughts prior to making a conclusion.
After Shots: Final impressions and reflections from the range session.
You can watch the entire experience including some interesting notes learned while shooting in the Shooting Impressions video below:
On the Range the SAS II TAC 4.25 was an absolute treat to shoot. There were some competitors in the neighboring bay practicing speed steel and I walked the gun over there offering to let them give it a try. One shooter was a Stacatto shooter and decided to give it a try. He was impressed. I hope it didn't hurt his feelings that the BUL Armory sells for more than $700 less, weighs less, and includes the optics plate when compared to a Stacatto P. BUL Armory magazines are also $15 less than Stacatto magazines and squeeze in an extra round.
The only thing that held me back was my personal preference for sights. Because the SAS II TAC 4.25 is build with red-dot shooters in mind it includes tall blacked-out sights. As an iron shooter the black on black front and rear combo required a bit more focus. Not a major concern as there are many options for replacment front sights and I could easily mount a red dot for an easier shooting experience.