Budget Pistols Built Like Tanks: Meet the Canik TP9 Series
It can be hard to stand out in the crowd of modern “Wonder Nine” pistols. The market is saturated with polymer-framed 9mm handguns. But while all the major gun manufacturers were throwing elbows to claw out some space for their own big-name brands, Canik swept onto the scene with a surprisingly affordable – and shootable – line of pistols.
In 2012, the Turkish company partnered with Century Arms to get their TP-series guns into the American market. The original TP9 borrowed generously from the Walther P99, but that has ballooned into a host of designs that range from souped-up competition pistols, like the Canik TP9SFX, discreet concealed carry pieces, like the TP9 Elite SC, and full-sized duty pistols, like the TP9 Elite Combat.
Originally, the platform boasted a double-action/single-action trigger with a slide-integrated decocking button, again borrowed from the Walther P99. That annoying feature carried over into the single-action-only TP9SA, which was still a great range gun with an above-average trigger out of the box. Canik has since updated its offerings to remove the unnecessary decocker, and many of the guns now boast an optics cut on the slide instead.
That Trigger Though
If the first budget trigger you ever use is on one of the newer Caniks, you’re setting yourself up for future disappointment. Some of the original TP9s were gritty, but the guns now have deceptively nice triggers for the price point. They also include replaceable backstraps so you can customize the grip to your liking.
The aftermarket scene has also grown over the years. But it is somewhat unlikely you will really need them if you are just looking for a good shooter right from the factory. Canik even boasts that as of 2019 all the new TP9 Elite Combat pistols now ship standard with performance upgrades by Salient Arms International. Canik’s TP9DA also still provides a double-action/single-action trigger if that is what floats your boat.
Canik’s real claim to fame was its price, and the guns can still be had well below the cost of many handguns with flashier names on the slides. On top of the value, Canik also did a lot right to deliver a series of pistols that have earned a reputation for reliability.
Magazine capacity isn’t shabby either. The TP9SFX boasts a nice 20-round magazine for competitions, while the Elite SC will generally come with a 12- and 15-round magazine. If that’s not enough, we would also add that the guns have a nice overall look to them that kicks the “cool factor” up a notch.