I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I decided to do a review of the Canik ONE Series TP9SF pistols. I had handled Canik pistols a couple of years ago at the SHOT show and have a couple of friends that shoot them but was a bit skeptical of how the Century Arms imports were going to perform; after all, they have an MSRP below $325, how good of a gun should you expect at that price point?
The Canik ONE Series offerings are a limited time, limited quantity availability of two single-action striker-fired pistol models from the Turkish manufacturer. The ONE Series offering is the same TP9SF and TP9SF Elite guns Canik typically offers but packaged to make them even more affordable than normal.
Paradigm Shift: a Fundamental Change in Underlying Assumptions
It’s only natural to be skeptical of things we’re not really familiar with, and those made in places we’re not informed about. So, who knows anything about how things are made in Turkey? Are you wasting your money or getting a great value for your dollar?
We like name brands like Colt, Smith & Wesson, Sig, and Glock. Who is Canik? Where did they come from? What have they done? They’ve been around a few years in the US but still aren’t that widely known.
So, the Canik TP9SF pistols come from a relatively unknown manufacturer, from a country most shooters aren’t familiar with, and imported by a company that is best known for importing surplus firearms; that’s a few hurdles to get over in order to reach widespread acceptance in the US firearms market.
However, I can remember when an unheard-of company called Glock first hit the market and everyone was leery of the new plastic gun; now it’s an industry standard, and who knew anything about Austria back then. I’m not saying a Canik is revolutionary like Glock was then, just that you never know where or when a quality gun is going to turn up.
I can also remember when imported products from Japan were thought to be cheap junk. Now Honda and Toyota vehicles are world leaders in that market, and Korean Samsung TV’s now blow away the US makers.
Change is constant and new manufacturers making quality products enter the market all the time. Canik has been around for years and is making changes to adapt to the market.
They are an ISO certified manufacturer and their products are used by military and police forces of several nations around the world, we just haven’t seen them that much here, and these are definitely not surplus grade firearms.
The TP9 product line was originally based off of the Walther P99 design and has been modified from there to get to the current TP9SF and TP9SF Elite that are reviewed here.
Dropping some of their usual accessories allows Canik to bring the price of these guns to what should be a widely popular price for a duty, home defense, or plinking pistol.
The pistols come with one magazine, Warren Tactical sights, one additional replaceable backstrap, all in a hard-sided plastic case. The full-sized ONE Series TP9SF has an MSRP of only $299.99 and the Elite comes in at an MSRP of $324.99.
Both models have a Nitride slide and barrel finish for protection and long wear. The Warren Tactical sights are a definite upgrade from the standard sights found on many other higher priced pistols. The Elite comes with a fiber optic front sight while the full-size sports a white dot.
The slide of the Elite model has front and rear cocking serrations while the full-size TP9SF only has rear serrations. Both models have nicely machined sculpting of the slide profiles to slim them up and reduce a bit of weight. Loaded chamber indicators and striker cocked indicators are also standard features of both ONE Series offerings.
An interesting observation was that the full-size only weighed 1/8th of an ounce more than the smaller Elite, with a shorter grip, slide, and barrel I expected a greater difference. Upon closer inspection, I found that the full-size actually had additional milling inside the slide to bring the slide weight down.
The TP9SF is a full-sized duty gun with an 18+1 capacity while the Elite is a smaller version sporting a 15+1 capacity. Magazines are often the source of many malfunctions when shooting handguns. The magazines for the Canik pistols are manufactured by Mec-Gar, one of the most trusted sources for factory mags in the world.
The grips of both guns are comfortable and feature a nicely under-cut trigger guard for a high controllable grip. The front and backstrap have a larger and more aggressive patterned surface while the side grip panels are like a coarse sandpaper texture.
Forward of the trigger guard is a Picatinny rail for mounting lights and lasers as needed for those low light encounters.
The frames of both models have adequate grip length to get a full, secure grip to control recoil. The top of the frame just below the rear of the slide is a little wider where the web of the hand sits than most polymer-framed guns. I’m undecided if that helps distribute recoil better (more surface area), it’s a bit wide for small hands, or just feels different than what I am used too. It didn’t seem to adversely affect performance, but it was noticeable.
The single-action triggers had minimal take-up and overtravel making them easy to shoot well. What I liked best about the trigger was the very positive reset, you could feel and hear exactly where the trigger was reset when letting it out and then start the next trigger press.
The Elite model had a better trigger of the two guns with an outstanding average weight of 4.27 Lbs. Though the full-sized guns 4.74 Lb. trigger was still much better than the liability averse industry average triggers.
Another additional upgrade the Elite has over the other model is an extended Ambi slide release, allowing easy manipulation regardless of which hand you operate with.
The marketing for Canik pushes its 60,000 round NATO endurance testing and match-grade barrels, claiming 3” groups at 25 yards. That isn’t bullseye grade accuracy but it is certainly sufficient for a duty or defensive gun.
Well, enough teardown and data points, it was time to get some bullets downrange and see how these bargain guns really shoot.
Well, as they say at Accuracy 1st, “the bullet doesn’t lie”, performance for me is what’s important. It doesn’t matter what some app or the internet says it comes down to what it will do in a shooter’s hands.
I wasn’t testing it as a match gun so I opted for a distance of 15 yards for shooting some groups off of a bag at the bullseyes on a VTAC target. I fired 5 shot groups with ammunition from Hornady, Speer, and CCI with bullet weights of 115, 124, 135, and 147 grains; you never know what a gun is going to like or dislike.
Average group size for the four bullet weights from the TP9FS was 1.9”, with the best single group coming from the Hornady 135 grain LE Training ammunition at 1.23”. It seems the match-grade barrel claims are true and accuracy expectations were easily attainable.
The shorter sight radius of the Elite didn’t manage quite as good a single group but the fiber-optic sight and lighter trigger did manage to shoot an awesome average group size of 1.43”, with the best group of 1.33”.
Pushing for some speed and shooting on steel was a breeze and with the positive reset and good triggers. Both guns were fun to shoot on the plate rack and speed across BC zone targets. The guns continued to show the same level of accuracy as I backed out and shot the silhouettes walking back to 50 yards.
|Weight (no mag)||28.4||28.3 oz|
|Trigger||Single Action||Single Action|
|Action||Striker Fired||Striker Fired|
I definitely favored the Elite for the speed and distance shooting due to its fiber-optic sight and better trigger. I initially thought the Warren Tactical rear sight might prove a little coarse for precision and distance shooting but the bullet doesn’t lie. The groups were great and the 50-yard shots were ringing steel at will, this sight combo was a winner.
Then the fun began. It was time to just shoot and put these two bargain-priced guns to some additional functional testing to see if they were as reliable as advertised, up to this point they had worked flawlessly but let’s try a few hundred more rounds.
I shot 10 different types of ammunition ranging from Hornady 100 grain Critical Defense Lite’s to 147 grain Speer Lawman. I tested 3 types of hollow points, some round nose, truncated cones, just a full assortment to see what it would feed and what it wouldn’t.
Well, neither gun ever failed in any way. They fed, shot, and ejected everything I put in a magazine from Lite’s to +P, to the military ball they ate it all. I never even added any additional oil and shot several hundred rounds through each and they just kept running.
The ONE Series TP9SF and Elite is all they claim; accurate, reliable and chocked full of features that far exceed the less than $325 MSRP. These are fantastic guns that perform above their price that will change your assumptions of how much gun you can get for your money. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be a serious understatement.
They come with sights that are far above industry standard entry sights, come with a top-quality magazine, have Nitride treated metal surfaces, Ambi slide release and reversible magazine release, a pic rail for a light, were 100% reliable and very accurate. What more could you ask of a duty or home defense gun?
Pardon the pun, but that’s a lot of bang for the buck….. so, what are you waiting on? Remember this is a limited time offer, don’t miss it.