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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I acquired a Caracal F about a year ago when they were first released (reviewed here). I was so impressed by the fullsize that I decided to acquire a compact to compliment it, with the hope of replacing my Steyr M9A1 CCW with a Caracal C.



I bought a Caracal C a few weeks ago, and thus far it has been just as impressive as the F. I've never been a sissy about carrying a "service" size gun - a Steyr M9A1 has been riding on my hip every day for 6 years - but I will admit that something smaller would be welcomed, so long as I wasn't sacrificing things for the size (reliability/capacity). The Caracal C is about perfect for carry - it retains a 15 round capacity in a slightly smaller package than my Steyr; it also comes with the same excellent trigger that really sealed the deal for me on the Caracal F.


 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Compared to the Caracal F, the C is a good deal smaller. The F isn't as bad to carry as, say, a 1911 - but the long, fullsize grip does make it a bit of a beast for a guy of my size to conceal.




The Caracal C is not as small as many other compacts. I haven't had a chance to compare it to a G19 (very similar in size/weight), but I did shoot it side-by-side with a S&W M&Pc 9mm. Both pistols have a 3.5" barrel, but the Smith is a much smaller package:



However, this picture is with the 10-round magazine in the Smith - I get 5 more rounds out of the Caracal. Using the 12-round extended magazine on the Smith would put cancel out the S&W's grip length advantage, and it would still be 3 rounds short.

The Steyr and Caracal pistols are very similar, but the Caracals somehow feel more refined than my Steyrs. The slide is definitely thinner on the Caracals, and that does contribute greatly to handling and balance. The overall package feels noticeably thinner when handling/shooting the F or C Caracal.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The C magazines are designed exactly like the F, so that means the 18-round F magazine can be used in the C:




In fact, almost all constituent parts of the F and C are the same - most things is just shorter on the C.



This means I can do stupid stuff to the C, like borrowing from the F to give it an extended barrel:

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I do believe there is enough extra length on the F barrel to thread for suppressor use - it looks awful close compared to my Steyr M9A1 with threaded barrel:



The striker assemblies and breech face look to be identical in the F and C:



There are slight differences in the slide rails on the sub-frame, but the slides do interchange perfectly. I am not sure I am ever going to run out and shoot the guns like this, but it does allow me to re-configure the pistols to build a "long-slide compact", or a really gimped out fullsize:

Caracal C frame with F slide and barrel:

Caracal F frame with C slide and barrel:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I should have done something really stupid and took a picture of a F frame with C slide and F barrel. :lol: I took a few more pictures of the "long-slide compact":








So that's what they look like, but how do they shoot? In my opinion, the C does have slightly more recoil, but you have to REALLY be paying attention to it. My 5'3" 120 lbs. girlfriend couldn't detect a difference from either pistol and greatly preferred shooting the C due to its much smaller grip that better fits her hand.
The C fits my hand perfectly, but the F still seems more fun for range blasting. That said, I have a good bit over 1,000 rounds through my fullsize by now, and yet I was shooting better with the C at 10 yards, and much better with the C at 15-20 yards. I really don't know how to explain that, but I thought it worth mentioning nonetheless.

I put 400 rounds through the Caracal C with no failures - 250 rounds of 115gr. Silver Bear, 100 rounds of 147gr. Winchester Ranger FMJ, and 50 rounds of 147gr. Winchester Ranger JHP. I was worried about the Winchester Ranger, because my F had a problem with the slide locking back with a loaded magazine only when shooting 147gr. Winchester Ranger - it was truly bizarre. I'm going to keep feeding the C a box or two of Rangers when I hit the range, just to be sure (this is my carry round of choice).

I have a UCH on order from Blade-Tech for the C - the plan is to retire my Steyr M9A1 from carry once it arrives (at least for awhile). I also have a Blade-Tech WRS holster on order for the F + M6X - I will throw that rig on a war belt and use it for camping and such.

There are still a few more things I'd like to add to this review - I'll try to keep it updated as time allows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I talked to forum member amybullock13 - Amy works for Blade-Tech and get make all kinds of stuff happen. In general, they can do whatever for the Caracals, but it is not listed on their website - you will have to call and talk to someone, or contact Amy.
 

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Great pictures and comparisons.

I very much like the Caracal. My only complaint is in the longer reset. It makes a great range pistol, just not one I would take to run and gun.

Still a great pistol, overall. Mfg's are finally listening and becoming more daring. I am looking forward to the Strike One and seeing how it shoots; it reminds me of the Caracal.

I'm still a big fan of the larger, faster acquisition sights of the Steyr. There's nothing that can ever or will ever come close. They aren't that great for 100yd shooting, like Dawsons are on a 2011 or Glock, but they are great sights and for 50yd and under do very well.
 

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I very much like the Caracal. My only complaint is in the longer reset.
That's weird. I find the reset to be pretty short and I can shoot the gun extremely rapidly...

EDIT: oh, do you mean longer than Steyr's? the Caracal's reset is pretty short but the Stey's might be shorter...
 

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I talked to forum member amybullock13 - Amy works for Blade-Tech and get make all kinds of stuff happen. In general, they can do whatever for the Caracals, but it is not listed on their website - you will have to call and talk to someone, or contact Amy.
Thanks. I had already contacted Blade Tech in February (by email) and was told "no dice" on a custom Caracal holster...maybe I'll try contacting Amy :)
 

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Interesting stuff Syntax. Are you going to shoot the F slide and barrel, while it is mated to the C frame? I would be curious to see if it would be reliable. Was the C much more accurate than the F? Or just slightly more so?
 

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Syntax360

Excellent write up on the Caracal C ,I carry mine everyday and find it just as easy to conceal as my G26.For some reason the C fits my hand better,great gun and very reliable for being such a new to the market handgun.
 

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That's weird. I find the reset to be pretty short and I can shoot the gun extremely rapidly...

EDIT: oh, do you mean longer than Steyr's? the Caracal's reset is pretty short but the Stey's might be shorter...
Longer than Steyr's. I compared them side by side. Like I said, still a great gun. But no rapid acq. sights beat Steyr's. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Interesting stuff Syntax. Are you going to shoot the F slide and barrel, while it is mated to the C frame? I would be curious to see if it would be reliable. Was the C much more accurate than the F? Or just slightly more so?
I'm not sure. I'll probably wait until US distribution for these guns is rolling again before I do something dumb and potentially risk damaging one. :lol: For me, the C was a good deal more accurate at range, but I'm 100% sure that was some fluke of nature centered on my personal quarks. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if the F were more accurate in my hands the next time I hit the range.

Regarding reset, I greatly prefer Caracal to Steyr. The Caracal might be longer than the Steyr, but both pistols are faster than me (blueorison shoots more than I do - I wouldn't be surprised if he can indeed 'outrun the gun'). The reset is much more positive on the Caracal (like a Glock, but better), and I'll gladly pay the cost of a infinitesimally longer reset for the overall better pull and positive reset of the Caracal.

Regarding the sights, I used to be on-board with blueorison's opinion that Steyr traps are superior - but something has changed recently. It may well be that I have just been putting a lot of trigger time on the Caracals, so I have adapted to the sight setup, but I find them to be very fast - certainly as fast as the Steyrs that I have been shooting for years. I believe this is due to the design of the slide - it contours up in a manner that really does direct your eyes right to the sights. Again, it's probably just personal preference and how much time you have on the gun - I can distinguish no difference in finding the sights during presentation or finding the front sight after firing with either gun.
 

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Thanks. I had already contacted Blade Tech in February (by email) and was told "no dice" on a custom Caracal holster...maybe I'll try contacting Amy :)
Like they say, "never say never." For instance, I contacted Magpul years ago and asked "Why aren't you making 20-round AR magazines?!" And the guy on the phone was practically laughing at me (silly girl, right? calling the gun guys, duh), but for awhile now and TODAY they are indeed cranking out 20-round PMAGS. Indeed.
 
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