DESCRIPTION: Canik TP9 Pistols
Canik TP9 Pistols- Canik’s TP9 Centerfire Pistols are improved thanks to feedback from the military and law enforcement. With the striker decocker, the trigger doesn’t need to be engaged in order to field strip the pistol, making disassembly safer. Cold-hammer-forged barrel teams with three-dot steel sights (fiber-optic front sight on SFx model) to ensure increased accuracy. Front and rear grips and grip panels have different stippling styles for a solid hold in varying conditions. Long trigger guard allows you to shoot while wearing gloves. Includes two magazines, a polyester holster, paddle attachment, belt attachment, two interchangeable backstraps, cleaning rod and brush. Manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty.
Specifications: Canik TP9
- Caliber: 9mm
- Weight Empty: 24 oz.
- Total Length: 7.5″
- Height: 5.7″
- Width: 1.35″
- Barrel Length: 4.09″
- Capacity: 18+1
Canik TP9 Review: Budget Friendly Full Size
The firearms industry has seen a wide variety of additions over recent years – including some from across the water. While new foreign firearms aren’t anything out of the ordinary, most of us are initially a little skeptical – especially at cheap price points. Although plenty of companies overseas produce well-built firearms, each design faces the scrutiny of the saturated American gun market. The firearm we are looking at today is a Turkish-built handgun that has recently developed a name for itself in the U.S. market. Let’s take a close look at this full size handgun in this Canik TP9 Review.
General Overview: Canik TP9SA
The Canik TP9SA is a 9mm full sized handgun that is imported by Century Arms from Turkey. While not extremely familiar to everyone, the Canik brand has gained some traction in the U.S. market. Truthfully, I hadn’t heard about Canik until very recently. Turkey does have experience in the firearm and aviation production side of things and the Canik firearms we see today are produced in an ISO 9001 rated weapons facility. Canik TP9 Pistols
Essentially a clone of the Walther P99, the TP9 isn’t innovative from a design standpoint. Canik originally offered the TP9 in a Double Action/Single Action configuration. This design allowed the shooter to de-cock the firearm by depressing a button on the top of the slide. The TP9SA (which I’m using for this review) is the updated and revised version that is single action only. Canik still provides the same manual de-cocker that now renders the trigger dead. This is a point of concern for some and I’ll touch on this deeper into the review.
As far as the frame feel and overall aesthetics, the TP9 SA is a well put together firearm. It fits great in the hands and doesn’t look all that bad – especially considering the price tag. This might be the biggest selling point of the TP9 SA from my perspective. It’s clear that Canik is offering a good amount of firearm for what they are priced at – only $360.
Comparing the TP9 SA to other full size price tags, this is on the low end for sure. Although Canik has seen mixed reviews of the TP9SA, most are at least semi-pleased by the overall performance considering the “budget” status. This was definitely the case for me. I didn’t have a flawless experience with the TP9SA – but it was more than I expected.
First Impressions: Canik TP9 Review
The overall size of the frame and and slide provide a comfortable shooting experience in my opinion. My only real complaint here is more on the functionality side – the lack of front slide serrations and frame texture. I noticed my hands really had a hard time gripping some of the surfaces on the slide and I feel like that is an area for improvement. The upper portion of the frame also has some pretty slick surfaces which weren’t ideal for maintaining a solid grip. Canik TP9 Pistols
I ran several hundred rounds of varied 9mm ammunition types through the TP9SA with two failure to feeds. Now, I will say that both of the failure to feeds were from the same re-load ammunition batch that I tested. This leads me to believe it was due to the ammunition. The TP9SA was already a few hundred rounds into firing when I experienced both failure to feeds and it had no issues with all of the other ammunition I fed it – including several self defense rounds.
Sights & Trigger
While not terrible, the all too familiar sights on the Canik TP9 are lackluster.
A standard three white dot setup is seemingly the go-to for the industry but it’s surely not the best configuration. I was able to pick up the sights without too much of an issue – though it did renew my appreciation for aftermarket options on my personal firearms. Canik TP9 Pistols
The trigger in the TP9SA is really where this gun stands out. It is fantastic. Quite arguably one of the best stock striker fired gun triggers out there. I experienced a very smooth pull and crisp break in this trigger – even compared to brands known for good triggers like Sig. My testing of the trigger for this Canik TP9 review discovered an average trigger pull weight of right over 3 pounds.
I was impressed with not only how the trigger felt but how it impacted my shooting experience as well. Getting off quick consecutive shots with the TP9SA was made easy with this trigger. My shooting felt exceptionally accurate with the TP9SA – and I attribute that partly to the trigger.
As is common with many other striker fired handguns, the trigger on the TP9SA includes a safety blade. Both the safety blade and trigger must be depressed simultaneously for the gun to fire. No other manual safety mechanism is found on the TP9SA – something I’m a proponent of. Canik TP9 Pistols
Functionality & Features
Canik offers several well-thought out features and design implementations and also a few that just don’t seem to make sense. I’ll start with what I consider to be the “bad” and work my way into the positives in this category.
The most prominent and unusual feature on the TP9SA is the “de-cocker” on the top of the slide. As I mentioned earlier, the de-cocker was on the original TP9 as a method of putting the firearm in double action. Since this variation is a single action and the de-cocker only deactivates the trigger, I’m not really sure why it’s here at all.
I think this makes for a decent argument against using the TP9SA as a self defense tool but that’s ultimately up to you. It takes approximately 5 pounds of downward force to de-cock the firearm – though it feels much lighter.
An easily identifiable red striker indicator is provided on the rear of the slide – important considering the de-cocker. This allows you to visually confirm that the de-cocker has not been depressed but does not indicate whether a round is chambered. A chambered round indicator is on the top of the slide for visual and tactile confirmation.
In terms of basic operation, I feel that Canik did a decent job with placement and design of the magazine release and slide release. Both were easy to access for me while at the range. The slide release is a bit unique – just not in a bad way. It is longer and more low profile than most but I didn’t have any issues using it.
Other TP9 Variants Offered
It’s worth mentioning that Canik does offer a few other variations of the TP9 that some might find appealing. Although I haven’t fired any other variations, the features offered are more attractive on paper and would increase the overall value of this pistol.
A TP9SFx “Elite” model is available that offers some very nice features and improvements over the TP9SA. Of those improvements, the most notable would be the removal of the “de-cocker” and addition of an optic mounting plate. Other additions such as serrations on the front of the slide and Warren Tactical sights really add to the package. This option is priced at $550 – undoubtedly worth the money.
Canik also offers an updated version of the TP9SA – the TP9SA Mod. 2. This variation provides Warren Tactical sights, a match grade barrel, reversible magazine release, and an improved trigger according to Canik. The “de-cocker” is still found on the Mod. 2 but it is changed to a single side button on the top of the slide compared to the full width seen on the TP9SA. The price tag on the Mod. 2 is still $360. Canik TP9 Pistols
As a part of my time shooting for this Canik TP9 review, I wanted to test several self defense ammunition loads through it and collect a little data while I was at it. I was able to run several popular brands and ammunition types but I used just one in particular for a five shot test group of muzzle velocity. The round I opted to use is the Barnes TAC-XPD +P 115 gr.
My five shot test volley with a Labradar doppler device showed an average muzzle velocity of 1,123 feet per second. Barnes advertises a muzzle velocity of right at 1,125 out of a 4″ barrel so this is pretty much right on par out of the Canik TP9SA.
- Highest Velocity: 1,139 fps
- Lowest Velocity: 1,107 fps
- Extreme Spread: 32
- Standard Deviation: 12.0
Final Thoughts: Canik TP9 Review
For the price point and shooting experience provided, it’s hard to not like this pistol. It really is an enjoyable gun to shoot and I see the draw because of that. I personally have concerns about trusting my life to it for self defense due to the de-cocker feature. From a reliability standpoint, I’m not really able to make a great judgement on that. I didn’t have any serious issues with mine but I also wasn’t able to run several thousand rounds through it for my testing either. Researching and confirming a track record of unmatched reliability is imperative to me in choosing a self defense firearm. My research of reliability from other reviewers showed mixed results. Canik TP9 Pistols
I would absolutely recommend this gun to anyone looking for a budget friendly range or competition gun. With just a few improvements such as slide serrations and frame stippling, this handgun would be bringing a whole lot more to the table. I can’t help but want to pick one up myself and get to work on those very upgrades.
Canik TP9SFx Review
The Canik TP9SFx is the long slide competition model of the striker-fired Canik TP9 lineup. The Canik TP9 series is known primarily for its budget price. Models in the Canik TP9 lineup range from $299 up to $950. Sitting in the middle of the lineup the Canik TP9SFx has an MSRP of $550. The Canik TP9 series is based on the venerable Walther P99 series.
Very popular with European law enforcement the Walther P99 originally was introduced as a DA/SA(double-action/single-action) striker-fired handgun. It also featured a decocker that sides on the left side of the slide. Most striker-fired guns like the Glock 19 doesn’t have the ability to decock the striker without disassembling the gun. The Walther P99 was later offered with a double-action-only striker and then a single action pre-cocked striker. Canik TP9 Pistols
The Canik TP9 is not the first copy of the Walther P99 design. Both Magnum Research and Smith and Wesson partnered with Walther to produce their own P99 based designs. There are a variety of Walther P99 copies available internationally. In the US market, they’re limited to the now discontinued Magnum Research and Smith and Wesson clones. There is the current production of non-licensed Sarsilmaz copies.
Around the time Walther’s patents ran out the Canik line of pistols was introduced. The Canik TP9 originally had trouble in the US market due to oddities. Oddities such as an original version were available in SAO(Single Action Only) with a decocker. Once you decocked that variant of the Canik TP9 you disabled the gun. You then have to rack the slide potentially ejecting a round to recock the striker.
A lot of US consumers rightfully had concerns about accidentally cocking the striker and then not being able to fire the gun. No one wants to apply remedial action when they need the gun the most. Canik slowly added more guns and trigger systems to their lineup. These were more in line with what the USA consumers expected. The majority of their lineup including the Canik TP9SFx currently has a pre-cocked single action striker without a decocking feature. They also will offer the DA trigger but not in as many models. Canik TP9 Pistols
The Canik TP9SFx is a long slide competition centric model with a 5.2-inch barrel. It has an 18 round flush fit magazine capacity. Instead of shipping with flush fit magazines the Canik TP9SFx ships with 2 Canik 18 round magazines. These magazines have an installed plus 2 extensions for a total of 20 rounds per magazine. You can also buy the Canik TP9SFx with 2 10 round limited capacity magazines if you live in a state with unconstitutional laws. The Canik TP9SFx magazines are made by Mec Gar so you know they’re a quality option.
If you plan on shooting in the USPSA Production Division the Canik TP9SFx might not be the best choice due to the design of the magwell. The Canik TP9SFx magwell doesn’t have a bevel so if you miss your reload just slightly don’t expect the design of the magwell to help redirect it to the gun.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not hard to insert a magazine into the Canik TP9SFx magwell but it’s not quite as good as the flared magwell on the Glock Gen 5. This might be an unfair criticism as it’s similar in execution to the magazine well and CZ Shadow to that is very popular in the USPSA production class.
The Canik TP9SFx metal magazines drop free with ease so you don’t have to worth about ripping out a magazine in the middle of your USPSA stage. Out of the box, the gun is extremely well set up with features that we’ll cover later in the article.
If you’re looking for a small gun the Canik TP9SFx likely isn’t the gun for you. The size of the Canik TP9SFx is similar to a gun like the Glock 34 Gen 5. That said despite the size of the gun the grip works really well with a wide variety of hand sizes. You have two backstrap options on the Canik TP9SFx that are held in with a roll pin. Canik TP9 Pistols
The grip itself is quite long so if you have large hands you’ll still be able to get your pinky to sit firmly on the Canik TP9SFx grip. If you have extremely large hands that extend past the grip itself they’ll land on the Canik TP9SFx 20 round magazine extension that matches the profile of the grip. This will make you feel like you’re still gripping the gun instead of a magazine extension.
The texturing on the Canik TP9SFx is good but not great. The most aggressive texturing on the gun is located on the removable backstrap. It has a square pattern that has a little bit of bite into your palm.
The Canik TP9SFx front strap has seven rows of similar squares on the front but only the outside and middle row are the only effects texturing on the front strap. The 2 rows in between the middle and the outside rows are so low profile they lack the ability to bite into the hand.
On the side of the grips, there is a stippling like effect on the texturing. It breaks up the look of the Canik TP9SFx but doesn’t really give you any traction. Under normal conditions the Canik TP9SFx texturing is fine but if you’ve got really sweaty or slick hands you could have issues keeping a firm grip on the gun. Canik TP9 Pistols
Canik in my opinion improved on the ergonomics of the original Walther P99 that the Canik TP9SFx is based on. They did a much better job of rounding the area around the tang so your knucklebones don’t contact the frame creating pain in your hand. The Canik TP9SFx frame has indentations between the slide and the mag release that help reduce trigger reach and the reach to your magazine release.
The downside of this is it doesn’t leave a lot of room for you to get the meat of your support hand palm on the side of the grip. You’ll have to get pretty much all of your grip from pressure on the front and backstrap of the Canik TP9SFx. They also have textured index points in the middle of the frame where you can place your trigger finger as an index.
They’re there and you can feel them but they feel like they’re recessed into the Canik TP9SFx frame. They’re not actually recessed but flush. So if you want to ride our support hand thumb on the frame then the index points won’t likely help you. In that area of the gun, the frame is the same width as the slide so there is no shelf to set your thumb on. Canik TP9 Pistols
There is a slight undercut on the Canik TP9SFx but if you’re shooting a lot of rounds through the gun then you’ll likely develop a Glock knuckle or in this case a canik knuckle. It’s unlikely the casual shooting putting only a box or two of ammo through their Canik TP9SFx will have any issue with this. The trigger guard is well rounded but if you’re a higher round count shooter expect this to be an issue unless you modify the frame. That said most high round count shooters wear the Glock knuckle with pride.
The sights are one of my favorite features of the Canik TP9SFx. The gun features Warren Tactical sights which have a blacked-out U notch rear and a fiber optic front. The Warren Tactical rear sight has a slick back without any lines to prevent glare.
The U notch on the sight is .165 inches wides so it pairs up well with the .115 fiber optic front that is serrated. The rear sight of the pistol is installed on the optics mount cover plate so if you decide to add a slide mounted optic to the gun you’ll lose the rear sight.
Red Dot Options
The Canik TP9SFx comes optics ready and supports a wide range of slide mounted optics. You can order the Canik TP9SFx with a Vortex Viper included so you don’t have to shop for a slide mounted optic. The Canik includes a total of 4 optics mounting plates with the Canik TP9SFx. Canik TP9 Pistols
Canik TP9SFx Optic plate number 1 is set up for the doctor optic mounting pattern so it’s compatible with the Vortex Viper/Venom, Burris Fastfire, Meopta, and Insight. The Number two optic plate is an RMR mounting pattern so it’ll work if you want to mount a Trijicon SRO, Trijicon RMR, or Holosun 507c or Holosun 507CO to your Canik TP9SFx.
If you run the C-More series of optics you’ll want their number three plate that works with the STX, STX2, and RTS2 C-More optics. The number 4 plate is designed to work with the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro, JP J Point, and the RMS Shield. All of these optics plates are included with the Canik TP9SFx so you won’t have to buy them in addition to the gun like your would with the CZ P10F or HK VP92020.
There are no external safeties on the Canik TP9SFx unless you count the trigger safety as an external safety. The trigger safety is there to prevent momentum from causing the trigger to go rearward if the gun is dropped. The Canik TP9SFx also has a firing pin block safety.
The magazine release of the Canik TP9SFx is extremely easy to reach without breaking your grip on the gun. Even if you have really small hands the indentation in the frame allows you to still access the oversized Canik TP9SFx magazine release. Canik TP9 Pistols
If you plan to carry this gun in an IWB holster or even OWB concealment holster that fits close to the body I would suggest switching out the magazine release to something lower profile. Even a holster designed for the Canik TP9SFx specifically will not help if that magazine hits a hard enough part of your body on the draw stroke.
You can reverse the magazine release to the opposite side if you’re a left-handed shooter and it’ll be just as easy for you to drop the magazine on the Canik TP9SFx as your right-handed counterparts.
There is an extended slide release/slide lock on the Canik TP9SFx that has a wide-angled portion that angles off towards the front of the slide release. The angled portion has no sharp edges and is incredibly intuitive to reach. It’s easy for me to reach but with someone with smaller hands, they’ll likely have a hard time reaching it.
The Canik TP9SFx slide release is quite long at almost three-quarters of an inch. The rear of the slide release can be used with smaller hands. That said the top portion you would need to press on there sits only flush with the gun and the top edge is incredibly sharp.
For -left handed users the Canik TP9SFx slide release is not user-friendly. Unlike some other slide releases that sit further forward the Canik TP9SFx’s slide stop sits so far back that it’s unlikely a left-handed shooter would be able to drop the slide using their trigger finger. They’ll have to manipulate the slide by manually racking it. Canik TP9 Pistols
The slide itself has both forward and rear serrations. The rear serrations are reasonably aggressive but do leave a little bit to be desired. The profile and spacing of the rear serrations are good but I wish they were just a tad deeper. The Canik TP9SFx front serrations are basically just there for looks.
They appear to extend two-thirds of the way up the slide but in reality, they’re deep enough to be effective on the bottom eighth of the slide. There are also top slide serrations that run the length of the slide of the Canik TP9SFx. The serrations on the top of the slide theoretically will reduce glare off of the top of the slide but in my opinion, they give the gun a higher-end aesthetic.
Overall the ergonomics of the Canik TP9SFx are pretty good. The grip itself could have better texturing and a little more space to place your support hand palm on the side of the gun providing more friction to help with recoil control. Both the magazine release and the slide stop are easy for anyone with average to larger hands to use. If you have smaller hands the only feature you may find an issue with is the slide stop. Canik TP9 Pistols
Canik TP9SFx Trigger
The Canik TP9SFx is famous for it’s striker-fired trigger. Pretty much, anyone, you talk two will say I can’t believe how great the trigger is on my budget-priced canik. The Canik TP9SFx trigger pull starts with some spongy/springy takeup typical for a striker-fired handgun. The real magic begins when you get to the wall.
There is absolutely no creep when the trigger goes to a hard wall and then snaps and ends with just a slight bit of overtravel. The Canik TP9SFx trigger resets to the just in front of the wall so you do have to pull through a bit of light takeup but for a striker-fired trigger on a $550 MSRP gun you won’t find anything better.
The interior of the Canik TP9SFx trigger guard itself is huge so if you’re shooting with gloves in cold weather or for a tactical application the gloves shouldn’t interfere with your ability to reach the trigger. There is also a 1913 rail on the front of the dust cover to mount lights or lasers like the TLR1 or the Olight PL2. So pretty much any accessories made for pistols that attach via a 1913 rail will work. Canik TP9 Pistols
Canik TP9SFx Accessories
There is a large aftermarket Canik TP9SFx. Considering how well set up the gun is from the factory that’s a surprise. If you want to get base plates for the Canik TP9SFx you can purchase them from Taylor Freelance. Sprinco makes a product called the Recoil Management system. It will allow you to change out the recoil spring assembly on the gun to one tuned specifically to the ammo load you plan to run.
A company called Freedom Smith makes an aluminum trigger called the Fat Daddy Trigger for the Canik TP9SFx. The Canik TP9SFx Freedom Smith Fat Daddy trigger is wider and reduces the amount of both takeup and over travel.
Basic maintenance on the Canik TP9SFx is extremely easy since it takes down just like a Glock 34. The Canik TP9SFx is easy to clean and lubricate. The internals of the frame are a little more complicated than a Glock. So if you’re really handy you likely won’t have issues working on the gun yourself but it’s not a gun I’d suggest everyone try to work on themselves. If you don’t want to work on your Canik TP9SFx you can always have your local gunsmith do the work. Canik TP9 Pistols
Aesthetically the Canik TP9SFx is a fairly attractive gun and it’s likely to catch your eye at the gun store. The frame is really nothing special although the gray-colored backstrap matching the slide. Constrast against the black frame is a nice touch that really stands out on the Canik TP9SFx is the slide. The Canik TP9SFx slide forward and rear serrations look tasteful and proportional.
Lightening cuts on the front of the slide are large enough to notice but they don’t scream look at me! The optic cut cover plate mounts match the rest of the gun perfectly. It was designed from the start to fit. Not some sort of afterthought like most other aftermarket guns. Even the Canik and TP9SFx badging looks like it belongs on the slide. Serrations on the top of the Canik TP9SFx slide let you know that this gun just isn’t another budget blaster. Canik TP9 Pistols
My biggest complaint as far as looks are the magazine release, slide release and the importer badging on the right side of the slide. The Canik TP9SFx magazine release looks like a piece of off the shelf bar stock. Barstock they drilled a hole in, through a tumbler to knock off the sharp edges.
It’s very unrefined and while effective it looks like an afterthought. The slide release is stamped steel that hasn’t been tumbled and remove the sharp edges. Then they weld a MIM or machined piece to the front of the slide release so you have to use it effectively. Again this part on the Canik TP9SFx seems like an afterthought. The importer badging is just tacky and takes up to much of the slide.
Shooting the Canik TP9SFx was surprisingly different from what I expected. The gun was incredibly soft shooting. From the factory, it comes set up for shooting 124-grain ammo and I was shooting cheap 115 ammo. The Canik TP9SFx shoots very softly with the 115-grain ammo. It cycles very slow due to being oversprung for the most common 9mm plinking ammo on the American market.
It’s a really easy gun to control. If you have a solid mastering of the fundamentals it’s easy to keep the gun flat. For a newer shooter who is recoil sensitive the over sprung recoil spring seems to be an upside. If you’re a more experienced shooter you’ll likely want something that allows the gun to cycle faster. It’s an easy gun to shoot and I believe most casual shooters will be very pleased with its performance. Higher-level shooters will know what they need to do to tune the gun to their preference. Canik TP9 Pistols
The Canik TP9SFx is a fantastic value firearm that offers a lot for the price. That said depending on your intended use the Canik TP9SFx may or may not be the best gun for you. If you’re looking for the highest value gun for the range and light competition use then I can’t think of a better option than the Canik TP9SFx in the realm of budget-priced competition firearms.
This gun has all the features you’d want in a competition style pistol sans some ergonomic preferences. But there is one thing I haven’t mentioned so far. The Canik TP9SFx feels cheap. The Canik TP9SFx has great designers who were told to cheap out on materials.
We’ve all seen products that look great from a distance but when you handle the workmanship is on par but the material they use just feels out of place. If you’re looking for a gun you can periodically take to the range or shoot in competition periodically this is likely one of the best options out there. But if you’re thinking this gun squarely beats its competitors overall you’d be mistaken. The Canik TP9SFx definitely offers you the most features for your money but it comes at the price of overall quality. Canik TP9 Pistols