Canik Mete SFT Handgun Review: Stealing the Popular TP9’s Throne?
Turkish gunmaker Canik has become a rising star in the arena of budget-friendly but feature-rich 9mm semi-auto pistols since its TP9 line hit American shores back in 2012. Now, a decade later, the TP9 has a new challenger in the Mete series.
I first got my hands on the Canik Mete 9mm pistol at SHOT Show last year in Las Vegas, and I just knew I needed to get one out for testing. After my first few magazines, I knew it was destined for my personal collection. Here’s why.
OK, full confession, I’ve been a huge fan of the Canik TP9 line ever since I shot my first one in 2015. It’s largely a Walther P99 clone, yet I honestly couldn’t believe a gun at that price range performed like it did for me at the range.
Based in Turkey, Canik began importing its first guns into the U.S. in partnership with Century Arms. Some of Canik’s earliest guns were double-action/single-action affairs with somewhat nasty, gritty triggers. Then Canik rolled out its TP9SA, which had a single-action-only trigger that was a dream compared to the original.
But it had one major flaw. On top of the slide, there was a completely pointless decocker left over from the original double-action/single-action TP9. If hit, it left the pistol as dead as a fish in the Sahara Desert. Canik quickly fixed this with its next generation, the TP9SF.
The TP9 series has since moved on to provide everything from tactical options to pistols for concealed carry and competition. Offering reliable guns with a nice trigger at a bargain price gained Canik a foothold in the crowded U.S. handgun market.
Now Meet the Mete
Canik’s Mete line boasts the bold tagline, “The Evolution of Superiority!” The company fully acknowledges that the Mete (pronounced "Met-Ay" if you were wondering) builds off the TP9 family while offering a more refined end product. Basically, there’s a host of external and internal upgrades over the blockier TP9 series that we’ll dig into in the specs later.
Perhaps just as noteworthy as the upgrades was the speed at which Canik rolled out new models. The Mete launched in August 2021, but it already has at least six unique models in early 2023. The Mete we have on hand today is actually a Mete SFT, my own personal firearm. Other flavors include the standard Mete SF along with the more competition-ready Mete SFxand SFx Pro.
No doubt that list will grow. In fact, the newest member of the Mete family is the compact MC9 that just hit the scene in January. It joins the already popular TP9 Elite SC to make up Canik’s concealed carry offerings.
My SFT falls between a Glock 19 and a Glock 17 for size. That’s a bit big for what most people want for a concealed carry gun, but I have done it comfortably in an appendix IWB holster. Regardless, I’m excited about the much smaller MC9.
Specs & Features
Some companies roll out new models or gun lines every year that seem, well, underwhelmingly different from the previous model. The Mete is an exception. The guts may be similar to a TP9, but the changes are many and noticeable to the shooter.
Oddly, Canik’s own website claims the “external changes are subtle but are instantly recognizable when handling the firearm.” I half disagree. I quickly noticed the differences. The company includes an integrally flared magazine well, improved texturing on the front of the grip, redesigned beavertail, and double-undercut trigger guard.
Other changes include a low-profile, ambi slide stop. I really liked this on the range. Some of the ambi TP9 slide stops were annoyingly large and actually impeded my grip. The rear sight is also angled forward if you needed to rack the slide with just one hand. Canik even modified the internal push pins for easier disassembly of the internal parts.
Finally, following the trend of red dots on pistols, the Mete slide features a cut to accept micro optics with the Trijicon RMRcc and Shield RMS/RMSc footprint. I have not tested this option yet, because I’m still stuck in the iron-sight age. Normal white metal three-dot iron sights come standard.
The gun ships with one 18-round magazine and an additional 20-rounder. There’s a Picatinny rail up front, a loaded indicator on top, and a cocked indicator at the rear. For the lefties out there, the magazine release is not ambi, but you can swap it to the other side.
Here’s a rundown of the Mete SFT specs by the numbers:
I found the trigger to be outstanding, especially in a production gun. There is about a quarter inch of light but noticeable take-up. After that, you are basically at the wall, and the break is crisp and clean. The reset is just an eighth of an inch, positive, and fast. You can run this gun fast if you want.
The grip texture was also close to my “Goldilocks zone” for production grips. It’s positive and gritty, but not so much so that it wears on my hands over time or snags my calluses. That texturing is only on the side panels and the front. The back strap merely features raised bumps with a pronounced hump. I found the angled front and rear slide serrations to be sufficient, though the rear ones are a bit shallow if I’m being picky.
Sights are basic, but they work. If you want to replace them with something like night sights, Canik does offer them, and several manufacturers make Canik-specific sights. I am unsure about cross-compatibility with other brands for the Mete line.
Shooting & Accuracy
Enhancements are only enhancements if they work. For the most part, the Mete’s upgrades were noticeable on the range. The integrally flared magwell does help with quick loading and locks your hand in nicely. Adding the metal adapter really makes loading and locking in your hand easy.
I found myself accidentally riding the larger slide stops on some of the Canik TP9 pistols, but that was not an issue with the Mete. The magazine release was also very easy to reach, which was appreciated because I rolled into my first range session with four 18-round mags and two 20-round mags ready to rock.
I’m sitting north of 600 rounds through this gun so far. The bulk of that was a mix of 115-grain Federal American Eagle and Syntech range ammo, as well as 115-grain Remington Range, Blazer, and BCC Adrenaline. I did also blow through 100 rounds of 124-grain SIG Elite Performance hollow-point ammo, a box of 115-grain steel-case Tula, and an equal amount of cheap factory-reloaded brass. I never really questioned reliability, which proved to be great. My first TP9 went years without an issue, and that was a faulty primer.
As for accuracy, it did take me a mag or two to get a feel for the gun. Honestly, I’m not accustomed to nice triggers. I normally find myself shooting production triggers that are practical but not impressive. The Mete trigger is light, crisp, and fast for a production gun. It tended to surprise me a bit at first when it went bang with so little effort. But at 25 feet on my first range visit, groups of 1-2 inches were appearing on paper. I could tell when I rushed based on the fliers.
The ergonomics of the grip and grip angle help with that. I find the large hump on the center of the backstrap just sits in my hand well and makes it easy to return to my point of aim. The sights, on the other hand, are just fine. There’s nothing special about the three dots, but the sights are raised to co-witness with at least some dots on the market. As a primarily iron-sight shooter, I actually find that a bit annoying, but I understand the purpose.
If anything, I would have expected to shoot better with the Mete. My first few outings with a Canik TP9SA had me shooting fist-sized groups at 25 yards. I think I may have acquired some training scars over the years that need to be addressed. At 25 yards with the Mete, I was shooting groups that were more like 5 to 7 inches with a decent amount of effort.
Pros & Cons
Here are my general pros and cons for the Mete SFT. I think most of them likely apply to the Mete line in general:
18+1 and 20+1 mags come with gun
Lots of extras, including a decent holster
Good grip texture
Flared magwell and good controls
Easy internal takedown pins
Big for concealed carry
Basic three-dot white sights
Replacing sights may require Canik-specific options
Somewhat shallow rear slide serrations
Not made in America
Canik still offers its TP9 family, and it has swelled to at least the nine different offerings listed on the Canik website, with a host of color and accessory options for each. Canik may continue to make them for a long time to come. But the new Mete line already has six offerings, and it’s one of the main gems the company shows off the most when you visit any of its show booths.
I still like the TP9 line. I just wouldn’t be surprised to see the Mete steal the throne as the new Canik standard one of these days.