Polymer guns from Canik: the TP9 series – Modern technology with many accessories at reasonable prices

Canik Arms is located just a few hundred meters from the beach on Turkey's Black Sea coast. ­The company has been manufacturing its own semi-automatic pistols in an industrial park near the city of Samsun for many years.­When it came to the design and technology of its guns, however, Canik mostly relied on tried-and-tested models. For example, for many years it made all kinds of hammer-fired pistols based on the Czech CZ-75 – in the MKEK series, the S120 model was a genuine CZ-75 clone. But Canik has been fully focused on expanding the current TP9 model line. Like many other manufacturers, Canik seems to be saying goodbye to the tried-and-true hammer-fired system and opting for a polymer chassis in combination with a striker-fired action – which brings us back to the TP9 series.

The Canik TP9 series: polymer pistols in 9mm Luger

Canik TP9 SFX Mod 2
The Canik TP9 SFx Mod. 2 as a full-size pistol with 18+1 cartridge capacity in 9mm Luger.
Canik TP9 Elite
The Canik TP9 Elite Combat, a compact polymer pistol with 15+1 round capacity in 9mm Luger. 

This model series currently comprises eleven different pistols. What they all have in common is their basic concept: a polymer frame containing the trigger group and a slide with a striker-fired system. The TP9 SA Mod. 2 and the TP9 SF represent the regular full-size variants of the series. The former comes with a modified decocking mechanism. Of the long-barreled versions, the TP9 SFx comes ­with a 132 mm barrel and a correspondingly enlarged slide. The SFx, unlike other TP9 models, also comes with an interface for red dot sights and with more lavish features – such as its magazines with the Plus-2 magazine extension. The TP9 DA is a law enforcement version with a different trigger system (DA/SA in this case) and a 103.5 mm barrel.

The four compact Canik TP9 models are called Elite ­and feature shortened barrel lengths and smaller polymer frames. The TP9 Sub Elite is currently the smallest pistol in the series (91.5 mm barrel) and can be counted among the class of subcompact semi-autos. Two models in black and desert color variants have now been tested: the TP9 SFx Mod. 2 and the TP9 Elite Combat.

What makes the Canik TP9 SFx Mod. 2 special?

Vergleich SFX und Elite Combat
Both Canik versions of the TP9 use a three-millimeter metal front sight with a red fiber optic insert – only the rear sight is where they go their separate ways.

Technically, the Canik SFx is up to date. It is a striker-fired gun based on the SIG Sauer locking system where an enlargement of the barrel chamber locks into the ejection port on the slide. An open control cam and a feed ramp for the cartridges sit under the chamber. The barrel has no bushing in the muzzle area, but rests against the slide with slight play, as is the case with most modern polymer pistols. Although the SFx is not yet a longslider, its 132-millimeter barrel is already several millimeters longer than the regular full-size dimensions of other polymer guns. 

Aussattung Canik TP9
All of Canik's TP9 series test guns came with four adapter plates, tools, cleaning kit, loading aid, interchangeable magazine release buttons, holster and two magazines.

The all-black slide features four elongated ventilation cuts on both sides and offers generously sized cocking serrations for the shooter in both the front and rear areas. On the slide sits a set of Warren sights, which are used in this design on nearly all TP9 models. 

The steel rear sight with a 3.5-millimeter target cutout that can only be drifted laterally, and a three-millimeter sight with a red fiber optic insert is found at the front. A plastic cover sits in the rear of the slide, behind which is the striker firing system. A steel pin with a red dot protrudes from the hole in the cover when the striker is cocked. 

This thus serves as a cocking status indicator, showing the shooter immediately whether the gun is cocked or decocked.

Wechselgriffschalen bei jeder Canik TP9 mit dabei
Standard equipment: each Canik TP9 comes with an additional interchangeable backstrap.

The SFx uses the regular TP9 polymer frame. Here you can see why this is the Mod. 2 version of the SFx: the grip section now has completely new slide stop levers. Unlike the Mod. 1 series, these are now not only present on both sides, but also significantly enlarged and somewhat easier to reach. In addition to a tactical accessory rail (MIL-STD 1913), the SFx offers interchangeable backstrap modules. By replacing them, the grip circumference can be varied and adjusted accordingly for smaller or larger hands. However, the SFx does not have additional interchangeable grip side panels. Also, only one interchangeable backstrap is included – the polymer competitors from other manufacturers usually come with three interchangeable baskstraps (in S, M, L sizes). The technology in the frame section includes the single-action trigger and the take-down mechanism. The latter, with its two disassembly buttons and internal design, is reminiscent of the proven disassembly system from the manufacturer Carl Walther. 

Both Canik test guns came with a plastic holster adjustable for tilt angle.

The SA trigger releases after a class-standard value of around 2,470 grams. At the release point the trigger is not perfectly crisp. The trigger does not show any particular strengths, but is not bad either. The reddish element in the trigger guard is a so-called trigger safety. This must first be pressed in before the entire trigger can be moved in the direction of the release point. The magazine release button of the SFX is designed as a cube. If necessary, it can be switched from the left to the right side. Another highlight of the Canik SFx series is its red dot sight compatibility. Each model comes from the factory with four black adapter plates. They are said to fit the following red dot manufacturers: Docter, Meopta, Insight, Vortex, Trijicon, C-More, Leupold, Shield, J- Point.

A further adapter plate for the SIG Sauer Romeo 1 reflex sight type is also available. The installation of an adapter on the SFx goes quickly by hand. Base plate and adapter are loosened/fastened with two screws. A corresponding Allen wrench is included with each gun. The TP9 models are usually delivered with plenty of accessories: thus, in addition to two steel magazines, the SFx also includes a Plus2 magazine extension, a loading aid, a plastic holster, cleaning kit and a small tool/spare parts kit. 

Canik TP9 Elite Combat zerlegt
The disassembly of a modern Canik (here using the Elite Combat as an example) from above: slide, threaded barrel with thread cover, recoil spring, polymer frame.

Presentation: the more compact Canik TP9 Elite Combat

The Elite Combat differs from a full-size TP9 primarily in its compact size and some special features. The Elite Combat comes with a significantly shortened grip and reduced length. While the pistol's slide is geared toward the compact class, the Elite Combat's longer threaded barrel outperforms its competitors in the class. The regular Elite models have a barrel length of 106.5 millimeters, whereas the Combat version reaches 120 millimeters. The match barrel and the aluminum magwell of the Combat were developed in cooperation with Salient Arms

Reflexvisiere Canik TP9 Elite Combat
All of Canik's test TP9s came with four included adapter plates for many aftermarket reflex sights.

Locking system and action are largely the same as the SFx. The red dot ready design and the included adapter plates also match the SFx accessories. The Elite Combat also comes with a loaded chamber Indicator. This is a metal pin that rests above the chamber. If a cartridge is now in the chamber, the case edge lifts the steel pin by a few millimeters. The shooter can use this pin to immediately feel and see if there is anything in the chamber. Additional features can be found on the Mod. 2 grip, which is also equipped with two slide stop levers. In addition to the obligatory grip backstrap modules, the Elite Combat uses an additional magazine funnel at the bottom of the grip. 

It also features a trigger called Canik Enhanced Trigger (CET), which is characterized by a very wide flat-face trigger blade with a red aluminum trigger safety. The trigger finger finds a very large and ribbed contact surface there. The design and feel of the trigger blade are pleasing, but the characteristics of the SA trigger have hardly been changed. The trigger releases after a regular 2,425 grams, with a fairly even force curve over the first 4.2 millimeters or so of the trigger pull. The last millimeter (up to the release), the force required increases significantly once again. The trigger is in the normal range in terms of force, but it releases about one millimeter earlier than the SFx trigger. 

On the shooting range: Canik TP9 pistols show their strengths 

Schussbild Canik TP) SFX
The tightest Canik SFx group is also impressive at 63 millimeters.
Kimmen Canik TP9
The Combat versions (left) use a rear sight with rectangular cutout; on the right, the larger Canik SFx in "desert" version.

The sand-colored Elite Combat and the black SFx took to the 25-meter line. Both pistols completed the accuracy test fired from a sandbag

With the GECO full-jacket cartridges, the SFx punched its tightest group on the test target: 63 mm in diameter. 

A single outlier screwed up the Sellier & Bellot load's 52 mm result.

The compact Elite Combat even managed a group of less than 50 millimeters: the GECO Action Extreme cartridges shot a 49 mm grouping from the pistol into the test target. 

The accuracy of both pistols is absolutely in the front midfield of modern polymer pistols. The determined energy values of the bullets are even slightly above the usual average. 

Schussbild Elite Combat
The best group of the compact Canik TP9 Elite Combat in the shooting test.
Magazineinschub Canik-Pistolen
Canik also equips the more compact Elite Combat models with a magazine funnel
for quick reloading.

The small Elite Combat can also stay close to the big SFx in terms of energy, which is ­probably due to its forward extended thread barrel. 

When fired from the sandbag, both pistols threw many casings into the tester's face and onto his head. Only when shooting without a rest ejection behavior of the test guns normalize. 

Both handguns have a balanced shooting behavior. SFx's recoil and muzzle flip are quite low, which is due to the bulky slide and the pistol's rather generous overall weight The Combat Elite kicks out noticeably more forcefully, but still remains within a very controllable range. The sights of the two handguns are more tactically oriented and less suitable for pure 25-meter precision series. 

Canik TP9 pistols specs and prices

Canik TP9 SFx Mod. 2 Black
Canik TP9 Elite Combat desert

699 euro
869 euro

9 mm Luger
9 mm Luger

Magazine Capacity:
18 rounds
15 rounds

Dimesions (L x W x H)
210 x 34 x 158 mm199 x 34 x 136 mm

Barrel Length:
5.1”/132 mm
4.7”/120 mm

Sight Radius:
7.6”/193 mm
6.3”/162 mm

Trigger Pull Weight:5.44 lb/2,470 g5.35 lb/2,430 g

Weight (w/ Empty Magazine):
30.2 oz/858 g 28.9 oz/822 g 

Polymer-framed striker-fired pistol, single action trigger, no-bushing barrel locking into the ejection port, tactical accessory rail, Warren sights with fiber optic front sight, interchangeable grip backstrap adapters, red dot ready (four adapter plates included), plastic holster, spare magazine.Polymer-framed striker-fired pistol, single action trigger, no-bushing barrel locking into the ejection port, tactical accessory rail, Warren sights with fiber optic front sight, interchangeable grip backstrap adapters, red dot ready (four adapter plates included), threaded barrel with thread cover, magazine funnel, plastic holster, spare magazine.

Our conclusion: Canik pistols TP9 series – Inexpensive with many accessories

Holster an der Seite
The holsters included with Canik pistols fit regular belts up to 50 millimeters wide.

With the current SFX generation and the Elite Combat, Canik builds two polymer series with contemporary technology and many accessories. Accuracy and trigger are quite comparable with current polymer pistols from Europe or the USA. The build quality of the guns is also decent, even if the polymer frames are not yet completely on par with German premium brands. On the other hand, both Caniks come with plenty of equipment and accessories, which usually have to be purchased separately at high prices from other manufacturers.

The black versions are slightly cheaper ­and cost 819 euros (Elite Combat) and 699 euros (SFx).The Desert models, 869 euros (Elite Combat) and 749 euros (SFx). There are also two other versions of both models (not shown here): the Canik TP9 SFx Mod. 2 in Tungsten Grey is priced at 749 euros, the Canik TP9 Elite Combat Executive (black gun with gold-colored barrel) is available for 969 euros.

A test of the brand new, sporty Canik SFx Rival in 9mm Luger will follow shortly. These are models suitable for dynamic shooting sports disciplines such as IPSC Production.

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