The BUL Storm

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Historically, BUL Transmark’s third pistol line was the BUL Storm. Arguably, it’s the least known line of their pistols in the US, excepting perhaps the new SAS line (which hasn’t gotten very much play in the US yet). The Storm is a straight-out Tanfoglio TZ-75 clone, which is a slightly modified clone of the CZ-75.

Clever readers will note that this is pretty much the same situation as the Jericho, which is a clone of the Tanfoglio as well. What do I think of the Storm versus the Jericho? Read on.

My particular BUL Storm was imported by CDI Sales, and appears to be a police trade-in, as evinced by the tell-tale lanyard loop in the heel of the grip and what appears to be a lot of holster wear. The Storm is not a particularly rare pistol in the US (at least compared to such unicorns as the BUL Impact 9mm), but they tend to come and go as import lots of Israeli police/seizure guns float through. When they do swing around, they tend to be on the cheap side – around $300.

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The similarities between this gun and the IMI Jericho 941F are so huge that I’d encourage you to read my Jericho 941F write-up. You can safely assume they’re the same, except for the differences I’m going to talk about.

One big difference is the dust cover situation. The Jericho has a full-length dust cover; the Storm exposes more of the slide. While this gives the Jericho a more unique appearance and might aid in protecting from dust infiltration, the Storm feels substantially lighter.

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Speaking of aesthetics, the slide is also shaped a bit differently at the front on the Jericho, with more of a nose. The Storm has a more traditional flat nose. IMHO, the Jericho looks more intimidating, but, again, at a weight cost.

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For fun, I tried swapping the Storm’s slide onto the Jericho 941F, and vica versa. I got the Storm slide / Jericho frame combination to at least fit together and seem to work (didn’t try firing it), but couldn’t make the Jericho slide work on the Storm frame.

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The Jericho also has a squared-off trigger guard, whereas the Storm has a rounded trigger guard. Not a big deal either way.

The Storm also has a somewhat lighter single-action trigger than the Jericho. Not by a lot, but enough that it surprised me a bit when I took the Storm out to the range. Given that the Storm is a civilian-oriented pistol, this seems like a good design feature. The double-action trigger seems like a bit of a wash.

UPDATE TO THE MAGAZINE DISCUSSION: Mec-Gar 16rd CZ-75 magazines do work, but require you to slap them in 1) hard and 2) ever-so-slightly forward. I didn’t have the same problem with the included magazine (MG-GT21-16), with what I believe is an EAA Witness mag, or with any other of my Tanfoglio-clone guns. I don’t know whether this is because the mag catch is worn down or it’s some sort of incompatibility between the gun and the mags, but it’s not very endearing. I have heard rumor that this sort of incompatibility can be fixed by filing the top of the catch a bit, but I am loathe to do that on a pistol with very few factory spare parts available. I am thinking that maybe I should try to hunt up a Baby Eagle III mag catch, since that appears to use a very similar frame to the Storm and supposedly is compatible with the same mags that the Jericho is. (That’s believable… the gen 2 Cherokee works fine with Mec-Gar CZ-75B mags.)

On the range, the BUL Storm worked as expected. Reliability was perfect, and accuracy was reasonable at 50ft offhand. Recoil was a bit harder than the Jericho due to the lighter weight of the Storm, but in line with other 9mm pistols.

In conclusion, I like the BUL Storm a lot, but the magazine compatibility problem limits its usefulness to me compared to the Jericho. If I can fix that with a BEIII mag release, it would be a good competitor to the Jericho, albeit with not too terribly much to recommend over a CZ-75 or TZ-75.

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19 thoughts on “The BUL Storm”

  1. Good write-up Sir. The Bul Storm is still being made in a 5 inch version, optimized for IPSC Production Division shooting rather than carry or duty use. The issue with Mec-Gar 16 round magazines not seating properly can be solved by changing the factory basepads to some with slightly more vertical clearance, e.g. using IMI rubberized floor plates. That said, the gun prefers Tanfoglio magazines of the same size. The new Storm has a very decent trigger in SA mode, competition sights (fiber optic front sight, LPA adjustable rear sight) and a bull barrel.

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    1. Huh, very interesting. Two questions:
      1. Do you have a more recent catalog than what they have on the web? The Storm IPSC is not mentioned on BUL’s web catalog.
      2. Do you have a link to the alternate basepads? I’d like to convert the magazines over to them.

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  2. FWIW, the IWI Defense floorplates didn’t solve my problem with mag fit using the Mec-Gar CZ-75B mags. They went on, but didn’t lock into place (some kind of fitment issues with the bottom of the spring) and didn’t lock in when I shoved them into the Storm anyways.

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    1. A couple comments:
      1. The CZ-75 has undergone quite a number of changes over its lifetime – the pre-B -> B transition coming to mind. There is no “the CZ”. Tanfoglio, BUL, IWI, and others have proven that CZ isn’t the end-all, be-all – much as I do like their current lineup.
      2. I’m a collector. I bought the Storm from that perspective. My main shooting piece, believe it or not, is a Sigma SW9VE with trigger job that I abuse the hell out of.

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  3. I recently purchased one of the AIM Surplus Storms; under $300 shipped for a “Best of 5” pick. Only one 10 round magazine and after leaving it loaded, the red plastic/nylon follower was sticking when I tried to unload it.

    I had read your comments about the Mecgar magazines not fitting; AIM didn’t have any extra magazines so I took a chance and bought some Mecgars from Brownells. They arrived today (MG-CZ75-9MM, 16 rounds). Being impatient, I had to load them up and try them in the gun for fit and function. At first I loaded two rounds; pushed the magazine into the maxwell – no lockup first try. Pushed it in with a bit more force – a nice click in place. Pulled the slide back and released; Speer LE 124 gr. Gold Dot Hollowpoints; fed and extracted without issue! All three magazines function as they should. Of course then the acid test will be the range…

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    1. Interesting. I was not able to get lockup no matter how hard I smacked the mags. Perhaps I’ll need to investigate this further. It would not be out of this world if there was some sort of slight variance with the mag catch.

      Keep me posted as to how they do on the range.

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    2. I had some spare time during the snow storm, and experimented more with the CZ-75 mags. I can get them in, but it requires me to push hard and forward. Not what I’d want in a combat handgun, but acceptable for the range. I’ve updated my post accordingly.

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  4. I noticed that when other Storm users replaced the stock mag release with an improved, sportier one, my standard magazines would no longer lock in place.

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    1. I am 99% sure this is the case, but don’t have a Witness on hand to confirm it. I need to do a mag catch swap soon, so I’ll post on how that goes.

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    2. Mag catch definitely swaps. I replaced a broken old-style catch with a new new-style catch. It requires like three hands, but it does go in.

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    1. Should be exactly the same schematic as the Tanfoglio Series 88. Note that the front sight is not removable on the Storm.

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