bul cherokee range test/ review


January 2, 2010, 04:21 PM
Well, recently acquired a bul cherokee compact and had the opportunity to test it out yesterday. Since this weapon still seems to be pretty obscure (most shooters I know have never even heard of it), I thought I'd post anything that might be of significance to someone interested in this model. Pictures and general specs are available on Bul Ltd's website, and the handgun is usually to be found on Gunbrokers, but few people seem to have had one in their hands.

The bul cherokee is available only as a full-size or compact model, with no other variants. It is 9mm only, with no other calibers available. No finish options, etc.
The model I've got my hands on is the compact, which in fact differs from the full-size only in the barrel/slide length. The grip is identical, with a 17rd. magazine. Obviously "compact" is a relative term, with this giving the pistol an overall height of 5 1/2" and length of 7 1/4". The full-size is approx. one inch longer.

Everyone who held this pistol had to remark about how comfortable the grip was. Slim, with deep finger grooves, thumb rest/indent and nice beavertail. This pistol is about as ergonomic as it gets. One who is aware that, like the eaa witness series of Italian manufacturage, this Israeli design is modified from the CZ75 platform might ask why not just buy an actual CZ. Hold both and you will likely agree that the grip itself is worth it. Bul clearly made a major improvement on CZ's design here, not to mention that a polymer frame of these dimensions is also not offerred by CZ.

Upon close examination of the finish, I found it to be less refined than that of, say, an HK, but far better in quality than a keltec, taurus, or eaa firearm. I note the front sight to be fixed, and the rear to be actually adjustable, not discernable from photos on the internet. The rear sight is however polymer, and should you dislike that you may have a problem. From front to back, the dovetail measures 15/16"- not any standard sight that I know of. Certainly not interchangeable with closest cousins like CZ, EAA, or even IMI Jericho.

I fed this pistol 50 rounds of cheap blazer brass, 50 rounds of independence, and another 25 of remington gold saber hollow points for good measure. The very first round resulted in a failure to feed the second into the chamber. Checking the magazine seating, I found no issue there. I cycled the slide and continued shooting and the issue was not repeated afterward. One round break-in period maybe? After shot one, there were no more failures or malfunctions of any kind.

Trigger is usually advertised at 5.5lbs in single action. I did not measure in any way, but found the pull to feel both short and stiff, much like some berettas I have known. A little lightening and/or polishing might be in order.

Overall advantages:
Extremely comfortable shooter! Lighter than it looks; very high capacity. A good price at around $500-$550 new.

Like the CZ75, this pistol has the slide railed into the receiver instead of the other way around. This design results in a very short slide height, giving your hand only about 1/2" of purchase to rack the slide-a major drawback in my opinion. I expect to have a hard time finding a holster, and an impossible time finding a replacement rear sight, should I choose to do so.

That's it in a nutshell. If you're researching the bul cherokee and can't get your hands on one without actually ordering it, I will be glad to answer any questions to the best of my ability.

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January 8, 2010, 08:45 PM
I believe this pistol is on clearance at Academy for $295 now. From my research it is Israeli, and supposedly used by some of their military. I am gonna go check on it tomorrow and if I like it and they do have it on sale I'll pick one up. Israelis are serious about their firearms so I have little doubt of it's quality.

Hopefully they have them, because it has me excited to check it out.

January 18, 2010, 06:24 PM
I believe this pistol is on clearance at Academy for $295 now.
Really? The stores around here are still showing $388. I asked one to check price on their computer and $388 it still is. If it foes go below $300, I wouldn't mind adding this polymer gun to my budding collection of CZ clones.:)

January 18, 2010, 06:44 PM
Bul is, indeed, an Israeli company that makes a variety of firearms many of which are (or were) used bythe Israeli military. When polymer handguns first became the rage (several years ago) Kimber incorporated a double stack Bul in 45 ACP into its line. Although it was a Kimber it had a Bul mark on it and I owned one for several years. Never, ever had a problem. Great accuracty and complete reliability. Sold it to a friend who just "had to have it" and he has had it for several more years and has never encountered a problem with it. Kimber eventually dropped the Bul in favor of its own design but the decision was based on economics not performance.

Based on my sample of one Bul makes a good product.

January 31, 2010, 06:16 PM
I purchased the cherokee compact at academy for 388.00 this week. the manager threw in a holster free. After many atempts I found the blackhawk nylon for glock 26/27 fit well. after one day in the holster it is smooth in and out. The problem i have found is with a full magazine, the slide hangs. with 15 or 16 rounds the slide works as it should. I havnt had a chance to shoot it yet so I am hoping that it just needs to break in or maybe its the cheap brass. As far as fit and finish, I agree that it is higher quality than the taurus line.

February 13, 2010, 12:06 AM
I just purchased a cherokee compact today at academy as well and I'd like to know which tactical lasers you'd recommend to install on this. I don't want to spend a lot seeing as that i only spent 388 for the gun. I just want a dot on my target, nothing special.

February 13, 2010, 12:10 AM
Also, I found this gun originally at gandermountain.com for $699! I couldn't believe that. Academy is by far the cheapest. The next cheapest price I found for it was $475 on gunbroker.com.

February 13, 2010, 10:40 AM
Every gun purchase I have made has been at Academy. They always have great deals.

I saw the Bul on their site a year ago or so, The price was in the high 5's IIRC. Calling it a compact certainly left me scratching my head.

February 13, 2010, 03:10 PM
the only thing i can think of for it to be called a compact is that it's larger than a sub-compact, but smaller than the full size version of this gun

February 16, 2010, 09:25 PM
I've now put 200 rounds through the gun and I have had no problems whatsoever. I've used Monarch brass case from Academy, and Standard Federal target load and I've had no mis-feeds, jams, or ejection problems. It shoots great and re-centers quite well. My sights are dead on (which is good since I can't adjust the windage). I'm about to purchase a laser for it and I'll upload photos when i do!

February 16, 2010, 10:54 PM
Hi, new member here. I have owned a Cherokee for about 2 weeks now, and it's my first 9mm. I love this gun! Fits well in my hand, accurate, and reliable. I have shot about 600 rounds through mine now, with ammo ranging from Monarch, WWB, and Remington FMJ rounds, and Remington JHP and Starfire JHP. Not one malfunction yet. My 9 year old daughter shot it the other day too (first time with a pistol) and hit the target from 25 feet. In fact, I am considering buying another one, since they are only $388 at Academy. I'm glad to see that someone else likes theirs, too. Very little info on these on any forums.

February 17, 2010, 04:01 PM
I've been looking at the BUL Cherokee at Academy with some interest. $388 is a good price, but still not great enough to make me pull the trigger in it. There are a lot of good choices right around $400. I might bite if they drop the price some more.

The short barrel and full-length grip puzzles me too. For CC, the grip length is usually the difficult part to conceal, since it typically sticks out sideways outside the holster. A little longer barrel usually doesn't matter quite as much.

CZ's design of slide fitting inside the frame rails has several advantage:

1. Slide can be made smaller, which leads to a stronger & lighter slide.
2. Same slide can be used on frames of different materials with little or no redesign, since the fram rails can increase thinkness outward, if necessary, for polymers.

I would take these advantages over the slightly less grab area available for racking the slide.

February 17, 2010, 04:09 PM
Anyone got pics? If not, these guns are figments of your imagination :D


February 21, 2010, 11:20 AM
I also own this gun, and I love it. This is my first handgun, so I don't have anything to compare it too though. I havn't had any problems with it, and it does feel very nice in my hand. I also bought it at Academy for $388. The guy behind the counter seem to be in love with this gun, and he owned many.

February 21, 2010, 12:02 PM
I think the trim slides of this platform is an advantage, I've never had any trouble racking the slide of my PCR, which I'd imagine is about the same.

And shame on you for not throwing up pictures right away!

February 21, 2010, 12:40 PM
I have a bul impact which is discontinued. Mine was imported by Charles Daly as the DDA. Mine is 45cal. The gun is very accurate and reliable with the right ammo. Sometimes it has trouble feeding 200swcs but other than that it's fine. The one down side I see with these polymer pistols is the rear sight. The sight picture is great but the sight isn't windage adjustable. If the gun needs windage adjustment you are out of luck. Mine shoots pretty much to point of aim so I'm good to go. If you want to lighten the trigger you can order a new hammer spring from wolf gun springs. They use a short witness spring. I put the 13lb. spring in my gun and it works fine. Here's the springs:http://www.gunsprings.com/index.cfm?page=items&cID=1&mID=19#850

Here's what my Bul looks like. Mark

February 21, 2010, 01:03 PM
Railroader that looks awesome, I love the full-sized top end with the short frame, looks like my dream carry gun!

February 21, 2010, 11:36 PM
Railroader that looks awesome, I love the full-sized top end with the short frame, looks like my dream carry gun!
I have some factory flush base plates that make the grip even shorter. Here's some on the short barreled version. Mark

February 22, 2010, 12:59 AM
They should've kept making the BUL Impact. Or at least kept the short grip. The angled baseplate kept the back end of the grip very compact, while allowing enough front grip to wrap 3 fingers around it.

February 22, 2010, 01:09 AM
Yeah I like yours better than the short-barreled version. I like the little pads as well.

February 24, 2010, 12:30 AM
man i had a blast today with my cherokee. I live just north of houston but i went to my buddy's house in huntsville last night so we could wake up in the morning and go shoot our guns in leona (near centerville, which is halfway between dallas and houston) Anyway, while we were in leona, we were dumped on by 7 inches of snow. It was awesome, we built several snowmen just so we could shoot them down. It was awesome

March 10, 2010, 08:20 PM
Had a chance the 1st week of February to test fire one @ their headquarters in Tel Aviv Israel. Liked it so much I purchased a holster for one while there. Well having the holster left me with no choice but to purchase the pistol when I got home. Well I finally get possession my Cherokee full size in 8 days (Maryland BS waiting period).

April 11, 2010, 01:17 PM
Having never heard of or shot a BUL Cherokee Compact at the time, I now have 2 of them. Bought both from Academy @$388 each. I think that is a great price for this pistol. It is rather "large" for a compact but the weight and grip are perfect for me. I also have a Taurus 9mm Mil-Pro, a Beretta 92FS, and a CZ75 - SP01 and the BUL (for some reason) is the most accurate and not just with me. Two other people shot the BUL and were also more accurate with it than their own pistols!!!! We shot outdoors from 12 yards at a 1 ft diameter target. I'm new to auto pistols and not a very good shot but I can put a full mag (with this pistol) within the 1 ft circle with about 50% within 6" and 25% within 3". I have a LaserMax on one of them but have yet to adjust the sight - the tools are minuscule for my eyes - at present the laser is dead-on horizontally but about 2" low. I just aim 2" high for now.
I'm a real big fan of CZ's but I actually like the BUL better (so far). What I really like is that the CZ75-SP01 mags and the BUL mags are interchangeable. (2) 17+1 mags and (3) 19+1 mags.

April 19, 2010, 09:59 PM
Academy has these Bul compact 9mms on clearance for $288 now. Just picked one for that price at the Academy in Sugar Land (last one!). For that price, I couldn't resist. :D And yes, the grip is extremely comfortable. Seems like a winner!

April 20, 2010, 01:33 PM
Thanks for the "Heads Up". As they mention on their website (Academy Sports) the selection shown is only a small portion of what they have for offer. Two locations in my town and I called both. First store had none and the second store had one left. Got it for $288 which is an unbelievable price to me. I already have 2 of them but it will make a great Birthday present for my brother-in-law.

July 2, 2010, 01:56 AM
I'm having a really hard time finding a holster to fit my cherokee. I just want a standard nylon hip holster so I have a place to put my gun while I'm at the range instead of leaving it at my station when I step away for a moment. I've tried an uncle mikes size 15 (3 3/4" to 4 1/2" large auto) yet it doesn't fit because the distance from the top of the slide to the bottom of the trigger guard is too large to fit. I've heard that holsters for the glock 26/27 work, but I can't find a holster for one of those so I can test fit it. Any suggestions???

July 2, 2010, 01:58 AM
O yeah.... and here's a photo of my gun just because. Sorry for the quality... cell phone camera.... :rolleyes:



July 2, 2010, 11:38 PM
Was looking for posts on this pistol. Thanks for doing a write up on it. They also have them on CDNN for 300.00 or less. Might be my next purchase.

July 5, 2010, 05:11 PM
This is my most favorite 9mm but something strange is going on with this brand of pistol. Academy Sports had a "clearance sale" on them and then I see that LSI (Legacy Sports International) no longer imports BUL's and then I read that the BUL factory in Israel was in trouble because some of their techs were making pistol parts on the side without serial numbers and assembling and selling them to whom knows who???
What I really find strange is that recently purchased BUL Cherokees from Academy Sports have lower serial numbers than the one I bought a year ago???? I find that very strange. Were they refurbished guns or a massive dump at low prices before they go out of business or switch to newer models? Regardless, if you see one for sale at $288 or so it is a very fine pistol; especially at that price. It's a CZ and Tanfoglio clone and works perfectly with SP-01 mags as well as Mec-Gars for CZ75's. Very accurate as well. It's not really what I would call a "Compact" but quite light and has a fantastic grip plus it has a "hammer" which I love and a manual safety which can be engaged in all positions - empty, chambered, or cocked.

November 23, 2010, 02:41 PM
I’ve had my cherokee full size for a couple of months now and have a couple hundred rounds through. (CDNN Sports for $340)

My first gun so I don’t have much to compare to. In any case just wanting to add that I haven’t had one misfire, feed failure etc. (All target, PMC Bronze and Sellier & Bellot) I Love the way it feels and appears just as accurate in my hands as when I shoot my friends glock (I am only a fair shot with both, new to shooting as I said :))

I love it so far and would recommend it to anyone who asks. Only negative thing I have is when compared to other guns in the same price range magazines are expensive/harder to find. I emailed with Bul and they said to avoid the CZ mags, and only use Magnum Research Tangfolio mags (Baby Eagle). This is what came with my gun and works well (http://www.cdnninvestments.com/baea9mm172ma.html)

As for my holster I use the modular Tactical Holster from Fox (https://www.foxoutdoor.com/ItemDetails.aspx?cid=1&ccid=18&cscid=112)

I don't know of a good choice for conceal/carry.

@pyro, When talking with BUL, they stated they are actively looking for a new distributor in the U.S. since LSI stopped importing. No idea why, but at least they were open enough to comment on it.

January 13, 2011, 09:54 AM
I bought one a few months ago but it had an odd problem. When firing
from the double action mode, it would occasionally go to half
cock instead of hitting the firing pin. That could get you killed
if your first shot doesn't go off...:mad:

Traded it off for a revolver....

May 4, 2014, 12:27 PM
Yesterday I checked the BUL web site and it says it is under construction. This site has been outdated for at least several years, so this seems to be new activity. There is a link to download a copy of their catalog which lists their 1911 style pistols and the Cherokee. Maybe they will be reintroducing this pistol in the U.S. again.

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