Test: Canik SFx Rival 9mm pistol – What can you expect in terms of workmanship, accuracy and price?

Most people probably associate Turkey as a supplier of firearms more with numerous inexpensive break-action or self-loading shotguns. The manufacturer Canik, whose company name is derived from the mountain range of the same name at the company's headquarters, belongs to the Samsun Yurt Savunma Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş. (SYS) Group and is thus one of Turkey's defense manufacturers. Since 1998, the company has also been active in the field of handguns. It started with all-steel pistols based on the CZ 75, such as the Canik P100 and P120 models, which were discontinued a few years ago. Since 2010, Canik has taken on polymer frame pistols and has earned a good reputation, especially in the USA with its apparently glutted market, thanks to a good price/performance ratio. 650 employees manufacture around 450,000 pistols and 2,500 M2 machine guns in the gigantic caliber 12.7x99 aka .50 BMG per year. That's quite remarkable, because that's more than 1,200 pistols a day. According to the company, 95% of its production is exported to 68 countries

Canik Academy
At Canik Academy you can practice in four shooting ranges and two special training houses.
Canik Produktion
Canik employs over 650 people, manufacturing about 450,000 pistols and 2,500 heavy machine guns per year.

For the past year, the manufacturer has even maintained a 15,000 m² Canik Academy near Istanbul. Here, four indoor firing ranges and two training houses for tactical scenarios are available primarily for military and police units. This is a smart move, because it allows the company to offer the appropriate training for the weapons at the same time. The manufacturer's bestsellers are the TP models, which are available from subcompact to full-size (some of which all4shooters.com has already presented here). Later, the Mete models followed. 

New on the market is our current test gun in the form of the Canik SFx Rival, which is suitable in concept and equipment for sporting use. In addition, the design evokes associations with popular U.S. tuning companies such as Agency Arms or ZEV Technologies. Canik also has a new accessories brand, Mecanik. It currently offers red dot sights, suppressors and a clothing series will follow, according to the manufacturer. 

Canik SFx Rival von rechts
Canik SFx Rival sport pistol: from the right side, the colored elements as well as the numerous milled out areas (which also reduce the weight) are particularly striking. 

Available only in gray, the Canik Rival stands out first and foremost for its distinctive, decorative millings on the slide and barrel. The milling cutter has been made to dance quite a bit to give it this eye-catching design, which is usually only found on far more expensive custom pistols of American origin. The double-sided slide stop lever, removable magazine funnel, magazine base pads, trigger blade, and interchangeable magazine releases have been gold Cerakote plated. The texturing of the grip surface is somewhat reminiscent of fine skateboard tape and provides appropriate purchase. The grip circumference can be changed with two enclosed interchangeable backstraps. In addition, the gray hard case also contains an additional 18-round magazine, two aluminum magazine base pads, a magazine loading aid, and a custom-fit polymer holster. Finally, Canik also wants to appeal to those interested in IDPA and IPSC.

Important for IPSC: the Canik SFx Rival is already approved

An exceptional set of tools, for example for disassembling the magazine funnel, is also part of the kit included with the Canik SFx Rival.
Abzug Canik SFx Rival
The wide trigger blade of the Canik SFx Rival gives the finger a "felt" lower trigger weight.

An important note for IPSC shooters: the Canik SFx Rival has already been included in the list of pistols approved for the IPSC Production/ Production Optics Division, but in this case the magazine funnel must not be mounted, of course. In construction and technology, the model corresponds to many other current polymer frame pistols.

A striker-fired action ensures a consistent single-action trigger pull from the first to the last shot. We measured the trigger pull weight at around 2,000 grams on average, which we would have preferred to be a bit less for the sporty range. However, our subjective impression is that the trigger weight is lower anyway, because 1,200 grams are already used up in the takeup and the contact surface for the index finger on the trigger blade is quite wide at around 9 mm. The reset travel of one millimeter is short and crisp, which is advantageous for fast shot strings. 

Canik provides the SFx Rival with four adapter plates that can be used to mount the most common red dot sights.

Of course, the latest "racehorse" from Canik can't be missing the cutout for a mini red dot sight on the top of the slide. And here, four adapter plates are added to the extensive equipment. Thus, MRDS (Mini Red Dot Sights) from Noblex/Doctor, Meopta, Insight, Vortex, Leupold Delta, Trijicon, C-More STS, Shield and many others that share the same footprint can be mounted. For those who understandably lose track of the ever-increasing number of mini red dot sights and their corresponding footprints, this rather informative website tells you what's compatible with what. Canik, by the way, also optionally offers two more adapter plates for the indestructible Aimpoint Acro C2/P2 as well as the SIG Sauer Romeo 3 and C-More RTS-2.

The Canik SFx Rival features plenty of decorative milling work. Even the 5" barrel was given milled patterns and fluting on the chamber block.
The milling machine was allowed to "let off steam" up to the muzzle area of the Canik SFx Rival. 

From the factory, the Canik Rival SFx is fitted with iron sights consisting of a deep-seated micrometer sight and a narrow fiber optic front sight. 

Since the micrometer sight sits in the cover plate of the MRDS cut, the "co-witness" concept is inevitably missing here, so you can't use the iron sights to continue to work in the event of any MRDS failure. 

You have to decide for yourself whether you can live with this or not.

Our test gun had an overall clean finish and surface coating on the inside and outside, and the barrel sat in the slide without any noticeable play. 

In this respect, there is no need to hide from European or North American competitors.

Test impression: the Canik SFx Rival shoots accurately and reliably

Canik SFx demontiert
A polymer frame and a classic striker fired action: Canik relies on proven components for the SFx Rival. The price for the top model is roughly on par with the competition.
Two differently sized magazine buttons, depending on hand size and finger length, are also included with the Canik SFx Rival.

There were seven loads to choose from for our test, ranging from 95 to 158 grains, almost the entire weight spectrum that the universal 9 mm Luger has to offer. The best result of 41 mm from the sandbag rest was achieved by our handload with the excellent Hornady 115 Grains HAP bullet. Only theoretically worse and also available to non-reloaders, the fast Magtech 95 Grains partial jacketed round, at 42 mm. Third place was shared by the GECO 115 Grains DTX and the heavy Fiocchi 158 Grains FMJ at 50 mm. The calculated average was 53 mm, proving that the Canik SFx Rival shoots quite decently with the ammunition selected for testing. As always, the individual results were formed from the calculated average of two 5-shot groups.

 In the subsequent dynamic test, there were no malfunctions to report, and the magazines engaged cleanly even when fully loaded. All in all, Canik's top model with the chic exterior did not allow itself any weaknesses in our test.

Canik SFx Rival sport pistol specs and price

SFx Rival
1,149 euro
9mm Luger
Magazine Capacity:
18 rounds
Polymer with steel inserts
Steel, gray Cerakote coated
Barrel Length:
5”/127 mm
Groove – Land Diameter:
9.06 mm – 8.84 mm
Rear Sight:
3.6 mm, serrated micrometer rear sight
Front Sight:
2.9 mm, serrated ramp with fiber optic insert
Sight Radius:
7.75”/197 mm
Trigger, firing pin
Single action; average pull weight: 1,973 g
Weight (w/ Magazine):
28.9 oz/820 g
Dimensions (LxWxH): 
205x36x145 mm
Hard case with spare magazine, 2 backstraps, 4 adapter plates for red dot sights, holster, magazine loader, cleaning tool set

How does the Canik SFx Rival perform against the competition?

The Canik SFx Rival has an outer appearance that is otherwise only known from rare, expensive U.S. custom pistols. In terms of workmanship, function and shooting performance, it can impress. The equipment with four adapter plates, color-coordinated plastic holster in carbon look as well as spare magazine and much more is very lush. However, at a price of 1,149 euros, it is also roughly on a price level with comparable German polymer pistols with sporty features such as the Heckler & Koch SFP 9 Match OR (1,235 euros) or Walther Q5 Match OR 5" (1,289 euros). There were no complaints about accuracy and workmanship. So, the Canik SFx Rival is a real rival for the established brands, as the product name suggests. The times when the manufacturer sold its products primarily via the price are probably rather a thing of the past.

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