Canik TP9SFX review title image

Canik TP9SFX Review – The Competition-Ready 9mm

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When I was in South Carolina last month at a gunwriter’s event, I got to shoot a Canik TP9, much like the one the Canik TP9SFX we have here. I was at a line at the Century Arms shooting bay, but I wanted to try this 9mm out so I waited for my turn. My son was interested in it and I wanted to be able to report back to him how it shot. I was not disappointed. The muzzle break and the red dot combine to make this one sweet-shooting pistol. But what is a Canik, I can hear you ask? Let’s check it out.

The Company

Canik (pronounced, believe it or not, just like it looks: “CAN-ik”) is a Turkish manufacturer of firearms. The actual factory is located near a mountain named, appropriately enough, Canik – the name means “a place of protection”. The company has been active in the aerospace defense industry for about 20 years, and has been making pistols since 2009.

Being a player in aerospace engineering and manufacture led to a partnership with Lockheed Martin, Airbus and Boeing. However, this is where the company’s pistol manufacturing beginnings lie – the technology from aerospace was used to create a polymer-framed pistol series (TP) that was eventually adopted by Turkish law enforcement.

In 2012, Canik partnered with Century Arms to introduce their pistols to the American market. The pistols have been accepted by many, as has the company. Canik was named the 2018 Editor’s Choice for Versatile/Value Pistol by Ballistic magazine. In 2019, the TP9 Elite Combat pistol was introduced with upgrades by Salient Arms International. The company is certainly here to stay, and makes a very nice pistol.

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Canik Pistol Models

So… what all does Canik make? Let’s take an online stroll through their website as we get a quick overview of their stable of 9mm pistols. Their guns are divided by purpose: self-protection or competition. It’s pretty obvious which camp the guns fall into… the “fancy” ones are for competing and the others are for self-defense.

Canik TP9SA

Here we have a single-action striker-fired pistol for fans of that action. MSRP: $359.99, their least-expensive pistol.

Canik TP9DA

Canik TP9DA up close

Want more than just SA? Here’s the TP9DA, the DA/SA version, with decocker. The decocker is visible in front of the rear sight. Pretty ingenious – adapting what is usually a hammer-fired system to a striker pistol. MSRP: $404.99.

Canik Elite Series

Here we get into the primo competition guns that Canik makes. I have pulled a photo of the TP9 Elite Combat With Vortex Viper Red Dot, the top-of-the-line pistol. However, this gun has basically all the options that Canik offers on a pistol. These include an upgraded trigger, ambidextrous H&K-style slide release, competition magazine well, threaded muzzle, Vortex red dot sight and extended magazine release. If you want the top of the line, here you go.

Canik Elite Series up close

Elite pistol MSRPs: Prices start at $429.99 for the lower-end pistols and top out with this model at $949.99. It seems that they have a gun for just about any budget. If they are all made like the one I shot today, then I’d say they are worth it.

And, if these guns appear to be too large to carry, there are smaller versions available…here’s a 15+1 subcompact surrounded by what comes with it… $439.99.

Canik TP9SC overview photo
ColorTungsten Grey
Caliber9mm Luger
Capacity20+1 rds.
Barrel length:5.20"
Overall Length:8.29"
Height:6.20"
Width:1.38"
Weight (unloaded):30 oz.
Trigger Pull Weight3 lbs., 6 oz. avg. of 10 pulls; 1/2 take-up, no creep, crisp break.
SightWarren Tactical sights with red and green fiber optic front sight.

Additionally, Canik’s site lists the following features that this gun includes:

  • New: Patented Slidelock Retention Holster
  • New: Barrel and slide have an ultra-durable Tungsten-Grey Cerakote®-over-Nitride on the colored models
  • Short reset Single-Action trigger design with nickel-coated action components
  • Optics-ready slide with four adapter plates that accept the markets most popular reflex sights, plus an ambidextrous charging handle
  • Weight-reducing front and rear slide serrations for positive-traction handling
  • Accessory under-barrel rail
  • Extended slide release for easier engagement during competition
  • Loaded chamber indicator
  • Side reversible magazine catch with additional sizes of release buttons and alternate backstraps for a custom fit

Canik TP9SFX 9mm up close

Canik TP9SFX up close on the left
Canik TP9SFX up close on the right

Our test sample included 20-round magazines (2), a Tasco red dot and an older Lone Wolf muzzle brake attached to one of their barrels. From what I can tell, Canik shows no SFX model with a threaded muzzle so I assume the barrel is a Lone Wolf, as well. 

Here are the 20-round magazines…

Canik TP9SFX magazines up close
Canik TP9SFX magazine capacity

They are 18-round MecGar magazines with a “Plus 2” baseplate. They are available from Canik for $34.95 when in stock.

Frame

Let’s look at the frame … we notice that it is very well done. The molding is sharp, as are the metallic components…

Canik TP9SFX frame on the left up close

One feature that you can’t see so well from the side but is there is the extended magazine release. It is very easily found while you hold the gun in shooting position. It is raised almost ½ inch.

Canik TP9SFX frame top up close
Canik TP9SFX frame right up close

(No, the front of the slide isn’t drooping – it’s a photographic aberration…)

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Slide

Well-done with no extraneous marks, the slide sports lightening cuts along its top and a red dot. Four plates are included, so you are not limited as to the brand of red dot that will work here.

Canik TP9SFX slide left up close

(I couldn’t get the barrel out due to the muzzle brake).

Canik TP9SFX slide top up close

Note the muzzle brake, fiber optic front sight and lightening cuts.

Canik TP9SFX slide top front sight up close

Engraving

Canik TP9SFX engraving left side

Here’s the engraving up close, right side. Interestingly, the barrel hood sports the thread size for the muzzle, not the gun’s caliber – that’s a giveaway that it’s a replacement.

Canik TP9SFX grip up close

Lastly, the grip. I was impressed with the “tackiness” that the built-in stippling created. I’m a guy who likes my pistol grips to have the equivalent of 60-grit carborundum paper in terms of texturing. I was not disappointed here, but it was still comfortable.

Shooting the Canik TP9SFX

I mentioned above that I like the way the gun felt in my hand – it tended to stay put, even though a 30-ounce 9mm should stay put when you shoot it. Not all do, however… I’ve had some larger 9mms want to jump out of my hand. This one was better-behaved. 

Target shot with a Canik TP9SFX using a Lee 124-grain RN cast, powder-coated bullet over 4.8 grains of Long shot powder

Top Target: Handload consisting of a Lee 124-grain RN cast, powder-coated bullet over 4.8 grains of Long Shot powder. This load is usually accurate in whatever 9mm I shoot it in but it didn’t do so well here. At least the holes were all on the paper at 20 yards…

Target shot with a Canik TP9SFX using Fiocchi factory load, 115-grain FMJ Training Dynamics

Bottom Target: Fiocchi factory load, 115-grain FMJ Training Dynamics. This one did a little better and would bear more experimentation. Actually, the top hole was made with one of the handloads – I fired at the wrong target, I guess. If you take that one out of the mix, the Fiocchi did very well, indeed. That’s just over an inch at 20 yards – not bad for the conditions. I like this Training Dynamic loading.

Box of 9mm Fiocchi Luger FMJ Training Dynamics

When ammo makes it comeback, as it will, you owe it to yourself to check this load out. It isn’t expensive and it works well as a practice load.

Trigger Experience

The trigger had a little amount of take-up but broke very consistently, which is a plus. A safety blade in the face of a trigger can pinch your finger and eventually lead to a blister but this trigger face was smooth – I had no gripes about that. Actually, I can’t think of anything I didn’t like when I shot this gun. It balanced well in the hand and its decent trigger pull aided in my pursuit of accuracy.

I am not the best shot in the room, usually, so when I do get a decent group I tend to remember it. This gun was set up for competition – for that purpose, it should excel. I was a little concerned when I saw that the gun had a Tasco red dot on it – I’ve not used one of those before by this company. I am very familiar with Tasco scopes, but not their red dots. At any rate, it was a time-waster being concerned about it – the sight worked very well.

Canik TP9SFX Tasco Red Dot up close

On the other side are up and down arrows that will brighten or dim the dot, and will turn it off:

Canik TP9SFX Tasco red dot sight on the left

The rear of the sight contains a locking screw that keeps it from coming on accidentally and using up the battery. This is a simple sight but it worked. It put the rounds a bit low on the target but that’s easily adjusted. It’s not my gun so I won’t be doing that but it’s a quick adjustment. I know, this review isn’t about the sight but I thought you might be interested in knowing a little more about it.

According to the Tasco website, this is an $89.99 ProPoint, the most expensive of the three red dots they sell. It did allow quicker target acquisition than if I were using iron sights  – that, we all know. However, since the rear sight had been removed, there’s no way to gauge the sight acquisition time difference between irons and red dot even if I were scientifically capable of doing such a thing, which I’m not. Anyway, the red dot worked well. For a look at my round-up of pistol red dot sights, check this review out. 

Canik TP9SFX in Summary

Are you looking for an optics-ready, competition-oriented 9mm? Need to save a buck or two? Want it available in different finishes? If the answer to any of these questions is a “yes” then I think you might want to check out the TP9 series of guns. However, this gun, the one I borrowed, had been set up with the red dot and muzzle brake, of course, but that shouldn’t stop you. Canik sells guns with threaded barrels and Vortex red dots already installed – all you’d have to do is spend $50 or so for a muzzle break if you’re looking to duplicate the gun we have here.

If you are wanting to get into pistol competitions, this is a good way to do that. Canik guns are well-built and yet don’t cost an arm and a leg. They are used by shooters the world over, not including law enforcement. Most of these guns come with a holster and other accessories, which helps even more if you’re on a budget. You could set your gun up like this one, with an aftermarket barrel/muzzle brake and red dot – if you do that, you might never come home from the range.

If you own one of these, please tell us about it below. As always, keep ‘em in the black and stay safe!  

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4 comments
  1. I have one and love it with a red dot as well. Very accurate for me. Slightly heavy but I would recommend this pistol. Slightly large for EDC.

    1. Paul, you are right – it’s big but it’s a keeper, especially with a red dot. Thanks for writing!

  2. Outstanding pistol for the money. I have 5k+ rounds through mine with no hiccups! Only down side is neither Canik, nor Century approached ANY reputable holster manufacturer to provide compatible holsters at the time the sfx was released, or at any time since. OEM supplied plastic holster is a warm weather holster only. Industry needs a leather holster for the sfx with comp. sfx with light. Sfx with dot sight. Cross draw holster for wearing in a vehicle. Etc. etc. etc. I contacted Canik USA, and Century about holsters. Neither were interested in a shooters opinion. I love the pistol, just have no practical way to wrar it/carry it.

  3. Annie, too bad you can’t find a holster. Have you contacted any custom holster makers? I’ll bet there’s someone out there who could make one for you. Let us know if you find one, OK? Thanks for writing!

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