The Great Canik Panic: Why Are these Pistols Suddenly so Popular?
About four years back, Canik made a fairly significant splash with the TP9SA- (Tactical Pistol-9mm,
Single Action), and the internet was buzzing. This particular model came in tan, and who doesn’t love
tan? Anyway, there was quite a stir about this particular gun. The all too common catch phrase “Glock
Killer” was in just about every other online article. As a guy who likes to possess unusual things, I
decided to purchase 1 given an opportunity. I’ll say this about Canik pistols- I have 3 now, and with each
of them, my ability to pick them up was pretty darn fortunate.
I’d read about the pistol in an actual gun magazine, made of paper. It was something that seemed to be
the end result of a Walther and a Glock having a love child. I’ve learned over the years, though, that written
words pretty much mean nothing in comparison to the actual object. Maybe 2 weeks later, while picking
up parts for an AR project I was working on, there were 3 Caniks in this gun store, all tan. For
once in my life, availability, timing, and funding were aligned. Quickly putting the rifle project on the back
burner, I left with my first Canik.
By the way, the name does NOT rhyme with “panic”. The guns are Turkish, and though I’m probably
butchering correct pronunciation, it’s more like “Johnique”, or “Yanik”. The hipster behind the counter
was absolutely loathe to hand it to me, proceeding to let me know that “he didn’t sponsor terrorism”, and
had another person help me out. Now if that’s not great customer relations, I don’t know what is. This
second guy proceeded to give me a Campbells Condensed version of the firearm, which I already had,
but to be polite, allowed the dissertation to continue. Eventually I was allowed to leave with a fairly small
amount of money shaved off my card.
I wasn’t prepared for the “Cracker Jack” surprise goody box contents that came with the pistol. I will say
this, however- the “holsters” that come with the pistols are not something I’d ever seriously ponder
belting up with, and face the great unknown. For that matter, I’ve not made holsters for any of the 3 I
possess, but I’ll get to that.
After reading the manual, and getting cozy with how to disassemble it, etc., I was eager to shoot it. Two
days later, we did just that. I had 3 friends help me out, and we proceeded to put 800 rounds through it,
and there were absolutely zero issues. We quickly learned that 100 yard hits on a B27 size target were
no big deal. All 4 of us managed that, and this is pretty potent stuff. Two of these guys aren’t exactly
pistoleros, yet they could hit a “man” at 100 yards, this being the first time they had ever shot this
particular pistol. That’s pretty darn good.
The reason for this (my opinion only) is a pretty sweet trigger. Being single action, the triggers are hands down the redeeming features of Canik pistols. Without wishing to start more agitation, I’d go so far as to say that these triggers are superior to XD single
actions. I’d also say that they are right there with several 1911 pistols. I’m sure that just got someone
twisted in knots, but it’s true. With that first pistol I learned that they will indeed take CZ75 sights, and Glock sights do not fit, despite the internet myth. The mags are made by Mec Gar, and that’s a great thing.
I’ve shot and manipulated that first pistol so much that the Cerakote wore off in the high traffic areas. I’m sure detractors would say that this is because the workmanship is shoddy, but I’m not saying this at all. I’m saying that this particular pistol got one hell of a workout, and that’s it. I have spray paint, and I’m not afraid to use it. This thing is a tool that I’ve treated like a rented mule.It’s mine, so I can do as I wish. Plus, it looks like it has mange, and I’m fine with that.
Along the way, I first watched videos bashing the pistol by a certain simpering imbecile who was
extremely upset by the (my opinion only) unusual decocker. Whatever. This person may be someone
you watch as well, but I’ll not mention any names. Sometimes, acknowledging cretins like this empower
them, and that is unfortunate. Reductionist behavior is not transference of knowledge.
Not knowing the exact chronology of events, Canik introduced a new pistol geared toward 3 gun types
who could buy the gun on Friday, and be capable of shooting a match the very next day, provided they
mounted a red dot of their choice and zeroed it, before said match. This one came in a neat Tungsten
Grey color if you will, and it was a good looking gun.This one was called the TP9SFx, and it got my
I spent a few days studying it as well, and reviews were glowing. The deal with this model is
that it’s got fiber optic sights, and comes with mounting plates for the major players, as far as red dots
are concerned. I could care less about the red dot deal, but again, it was aligned to the average person
to compete without having to skip a couple house payments for a handgun. Again, I decided to get 1
should it become available. This was on a Friday. Sure enough, I’m in the gun store on Saturday, and my
wife spots the new pistol. She graciously said I could obtain it, which was pretty wonderful.
However, the part that was even better was the hipster behind the counter just gushing about Canik pistols, and that
they were perhaps the greatest invention of all times. Right up there with sliced bread. It was the exact
same kid who wouldn’t touch 1 the year before, as he was “allergic to terrorism”. Priceless. He didn’t
remember me, but I sure remembered him.
This pistol hasn’t seen much use- I don’t even have 200 rounds through it yet. Maybe you’re like me in
that sometimes you get things to tinker with at a later date. I already had the “uniform” version with the
first 1-TP9SA. This one also had a box full of goodies, and if I get infatuated with red dots in the next few
years, I’ve got a pistol that has pretty much everything required, minus a dot. There is a different type of
holster with this one, but again, I’d not use it.
Shooting impressions on this one are limited, but I opted to shoot it again to have an honest opinion for
the trigger press. I will say that to me, it isn’t any “better” than the uniform model. Both triggers are really
good, and I’d say exceptional, but I’m nowhere as “expert” as those who live to film themselves
expressing simple observations with way too many words, surrounded by their macho gear, while politely
begging you to send them money, so they can continue filming themselves for your edification. Moving
The urban legend is that Salient Arms and Canik were neighbors at SHOT Show, and during the show, it
was decided that the 2 of them would put their heads together and create yet another pistol, combining
aspects of both entities. Maybe this is true, who am I to verify this? There were a couple guns that came
out of this, and the one that interested me was the TP9 Elite Combat. Salient helped out with the barrel,
sights, and a “funnel” on the mag well, which was the first thing that I removed. Ridiculous. If you need
this to make the world make sense, so be it.
That’s right, I bought one of these too. The thing I kept seeing about this pistol is that it was “same size
and the Glock 19”. Well, that’s not exactly correct. My expectation, having read the propaganda, was to
secure one of these, wring it out, and make it a carry gun. Having purchased 2 previous specimens, a
smaller pistol with the same reliability would be pretty nifty.
Here are a couple remarks about SHOT Show- it’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever got to
participate in, and if you’re a “gun person” it’s everything you can imagine, just casually on display for
you to touch, and ask questions about. There are very few things that excite me the way SHOT does. If
you’re out there reading this, and are numb to SHOT, you need to seek professional help. It is indeed
bustling, crowded, and frenetic, but it’s still bliss.
My credentials allow me to get in before the hordes, and this is great if there are vendor reps with time to
speak with you. I’d gotten to the Glock area early to examine the 43X, and 48, and new that the 48 was a
done deal, and later found Canik. Explaining to the rep that I already had 2 models got me a ball cap,
and a velcro patch. I also got to handle the TP9 Elite. I’ll contribute part of the giddiness to the hat and
patch, but getting to handle the gun immediately let me know that this was no Glock 19. It was okay to
dry fire it, and even though slightly disappointed about the bulk of the pistol, that trigger is just (insert
best word you know here).
I saw 2 pistol purchases in my immediate future, once I’d gotten back home.
(There is a third I want, but I’ve not acquired it yet). The Elite also comes with a barrel for suppressors, or
a comp, for whatever reason. Be advised that the thread pitch is different than American, if you will. It
also says in the manual to remove the thread protector while shooting. If the vendor recommends it, I’m
going to do it.
The Elite required ordering, but I acquired it. After 8 months of being too busy to shoot it (wringing out
the Glock 48, by and large) the first rounds down range were fired yesterday. This gun is a shooter, just
like the other 2. However, the trigger on this one is even better than the other 2. The single action press
is straight to the rear, and quicker/smoother. The reset is extremely short, tactile, and crisp. I’m not sure
how this was developed, but it’s very nice, indeed. To dry fire it is to fall in love with it. If you have an
HKUSP pistol, the Elite will feel familiar (just my opinion). To me, it’s not 19 “esque”.
I hung a head target at 25 yards, and fired 15 rounds. Unfortunately, this was all I got to fire, as other
people were now at the range, prepping to acquire carry permits, and I’m not going to interfere with that.
You can see that I mashed the bejeepers out of the first shot, as it struck below the neck. This is exactly
why I want exactly 1 trigger press. I was shooting Canik , but tuned to Glock. Unlike others, if I “whiff” a
shot, I’ll show it. You can also see from the target that while the remaining rounds were there, the group
breaks left, showing a little too much finger on trigger for this pistol. On my next trip out , I’m hoping to
shoot at 100 yards to see how it works out.
If unmentioned, all of the magazines work with all of the pistols- what a concept. Now the weird part, I guess. I’ve got absolutely no desire to carry any of these guns. I don’t have the time/money/inclination to compete in 3 gun. I get enough exercise to hurt quite handily at days end. They are all large guns, and I’m sure there are those who have them in their lives, as carried companions. That’s outstanding if you are happy with this decision. I just know that, for me, with my “bat belt” of items, they are too large. I look
at these for when I’m moving at a more leisurely pace, and have time to tinker with red dots. I’m still of an opinion that red dots are wonderful…with extensive practice. The dread in the back of my mind is that I can see them fogging up when you need them most. I’m still waiting for the expert video proving that this will NOT happen. Imagine if you will that it’s cold outside, and you’re wearing clothing appropriate for the temperature. Now, in the parking lot, you have a Bad Guy scenario, whip out your whiz banger, and the
lens is fogged because it was previously against your considerably warmer body, beneath the garments.
That is a pretty big deal.
What did we learn today? All of these items may not have appeared today, but have veracity, none the
1- The Canik pistols are indeed well priced. They are also accurate, and possess very nice single action
2-Single action triggers are considerably different than double action triggers.
3-Canik pistols are diverse enough to work in several arenas, equally well.
4-Canik throws in items like red dot plates, which saves a lot of money.
5-They may be too large for some, as concealed carry is an extremely intimate choice in regard to gear.
6-The magazines work with all models (so far), and this is very cool.
7-Magazines will hobble an expensive gun, or a bargain gun, equally.
8-Mec Gar magazines, and Canik pistols play well together.
9-Canik “gift holsters” are really not ideal for actual use.
10-Can anyone guarantee that cold and red dots won’t betray you when you need that dot the most?