Colt. Springfield. Glock. Smith & Wesson. H&K. Ruger. All these brands are well respected and have been putting out high quality firearms for years. For most the mention of any of those brands and it is easy to think of at least a half dozen quality models offered.
Canik? Not so much.
Canik is relatively new to the pistol market and word of its incredible performance and low price is quickly gaining it a following. Is this Turkish pistol really that good?
You’re about to find out.
What is it?
The Canik TP9SA is a single action, semi-automatic, polymer-framed pistol chambered in 9mm. The Canik is imported by Century Arms. It was designed as a direct competitor against offerings from Glock, S&W, Springfield, etc.
- Caliber – 9mm
- Overall Length – 7.5″
- Barrel Length – 4.4″
- Weight – 25 ounces
- Receiver – polymer
- Slide – steel
- Loaded chamber indicator
- Sights – 3 dot steel
- Magazine capacity – 18
- Average Street Price: $349
In the Box
The TP9SA comes in a polymer case supplied with 2 18-rd Mec-Gar steel magazines, polymer Serpa-like holster, magazine loader, interchangeable backstraps, a cleaning rod and a bore brush. This is quite an accessory pack for a handgun at this price level.
The holster is average at best. On the hip it rides fine. My issue is with retention. The Serpa-like holster has an internal lock that is supposed to hold the pistol securely until a button is pressed. The supplied holster just fails to hold it securely as a slight tug will pull it out of the holster. I would be worried the when running it may fall out.
The Canik is a “duty sized” polymer framed pistol. This is not close to a compact pistol however even with an 18 round magazine the grip is very manageable in my medium sized hands. Not just manageable but extremely comfortable. Interchangeable backstraps are an option for varying hand sizes.
There is aggressive texturing on the front and backside of the grip. It works. There is some minor stippling on the sides which I would like to see deeper. That said I had no issues with weapon retainment and a consist hold.
Everything feels extremely solid and well put together. It should. Canik is an ISO-9000 manufacturer which in part means they have an excellent quality system which is audited by an outside contractor frequently. There is very little play between the slide and slide rails.
Disassembly could not be simpler. There are two tabs – one on each side of the frame – that are simply pulled down and the slide comes off forward of the frame. There are no levers to move and no need to pull the trigger. The slide just comes off and then the barrel, recoil spring and rod are available for inspection and cleaning.
Literally the Canik TP9SA can be disassembled in just seconds and reassembles is easy as well.
Ergonomics & Controls
Ergonomics is entirely dependant on the person holding the gun along with a few specifics like hand size, strength, and whether left or right-handed. Much is just personal taste. I find the TP9SA extremely comfortable to hold, draw, and fire. Not unsimilar to most of the polymer-frame options on the market the Canik fits my hands well.
A controversial feature on the Canik is a built in decocker button just forward of the rear sight. Once pressed the striker is disengaged and in order to fire it again the slide has to be moved to the rear at least 3/8″. The decocker is a non-issue for me. It is not easy to press and I do not see the decocker being pressed unless it is on purpose.
Just behind the ejection port is a loaded chamber indicator in the form of a bar that is slightly raised when a round is in place. Additionally on the rear of the slide is a read indicator that appears whenever the pistol is cocked.
All controls are easily accessible. The slide release is raised enough to use it – no issues – however I always pull the slide back with my left hand rather than using my thumb to release it. I am consistent with this in my training. The only criticism I have as far as ergonomics and controls is the magazine release. I wish it was raised just slightly more.
Just an FYI – the most comfortable defensive pistol I have held is the M&P9.
Sights & Accuracy
Let me say this upfront: I am not the best shot in the world. I hold my own but every firearm I have ever handled will shoot better than I allow it. With that said no other defensive pistol has shot as accurately as the Canik TP9SA. I attribute much of its apparent accuracy with the trigger pull(more on the trigger later).
Sights are steel 3-dot with the rear being adjustable for windage. Unique is a vertical white line centered on rear sight between the two dots. I find this helps align the sight picture quickly.
I have been shooting the Canik ranges 7 to 25 yards. Shooting Federal 115-grain FMJ economy rounds I have held 2-2.5 inch groups at 15 yards. Folks – that is very good for me. I am not big on trying to shoot tight groups as “combat accuracy” is more important for me. At 25 yards I can consistently hit a paper plate with 1 second between shots.
This is where the Canik has gained quite a reputation. If you have ever pulled the trigger on the H&K VP9 – it s very similar. The trigger pull is light, short, and crisp with a very short reset and stroke. Flat out the best I have ever felt. Period.
This extremely good trigger pull leads to enhanced accuracy even from mediocre shooters.
The trigger does contain a safety lever within it much like a Glock. It does what it is supposed to do and no issues have been experienced.
Reliability is the most critical aspect of any defensive firearm I purchase…..period. I have waited on writing this review as I wanted to get some serious trigger time on the Canik. So far in excess of 1000 rounds have gone through my TP9SA without so much of a hiccup. None. 100% reliability.
The Canik TP9SA is a fantastic pistol. I like it so much I want another. It is not perfect but there is little to dislike. Trigger is excellent. Ergonomics are excellent. Reliability could not be better. Accuracy is exceptional.
Aftermarket support is lacking which can be problematic when looking for holsters. Ebay solved that as I found a custom holster maker which I bought the Kydex holster below. Fits like a glove.
The Canik TP9SA is an exceptional value that can be found often at less than $350. Classic Firearms often has models in stock but do sell out quickly.