October 27, 2020
Canik TP9 SFX
Walt Enneking- Napoleon, Indiana
Shooting has been a big part of my life since I was a kid. I’ve devoted a large portion of my life to learning and teaching others about firearms, with my primary focus being on firearms safety and defensive employment. On the subject, I’ve built a healthy resume. In 2004 I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps to become a machine gunner assigned to Anti-Terrorism Battalion under the 2nd Marine Division. Anti-Terrorism Battalion was formed right after 9/11 as a specialized unit for detecting, deterring, and defending against terrorist operations worldwide. I deployed with AT in 2005-2006 to Ashraf, Iraq. Again for 13 months from 2007-2008 to Al Anbar province, Iraq provided personal security detail for the commanding generals of Iraq, high-level government officials, foreign dignitaries, and other VIPs, including Chuck Norris (although it’s not clear who was protecting who on that one). I was certified by Blackwater Training Center in 2006 in High-Risk Executive Protection and Advanced Evasive driving. In 2008 I decided to exit the Marine Corps and come home for everyday life. Once home, I became an NRA certified instructor and started a business named Ironsight Tactical. I provided instruction to the general public on the safe and defensive use of handguns and long guns. I also co-founded a small organization called the Tactical Shooters Alliance. We host monthly tactical 2-Gun competitions using scenario-based stages and real-world tactics. While I don’t teach anymore because of time constraints, shooting will always be a staple in my life.
When Larry asked me to review my favorite firearm, I had a hard time deciding. I’ve had the good fortune to work with many fantastic weapons systems over the years. After the Marine Corps, I began participating in the International Defensive Pistol Association, where I ran a Springfield Armory Xd45 and Xd9. After ten years of shooting the Xd platform, I wanted to try something new, so I moved to the Smith and Wesson M&P series. I loved the ergonomics of the M&P but found it had some trouble with consistent accuracy, so again I was on the hunt for a new pistol. While at the Indianapolis 1500- gun show promoting the Tactical Shooters Alliance, I visited booth after booth searching for a little more competition-oriented weapon, but I was also on a budget. Enter the Canik TP9 SFX, I had no working knowledge of Canik. My first impressions of the Canik were excellent. It doesn’t get a lot of praise for its appearance, but the two-tone finish and ported slide appealed to me. It looked like something John Wick may have under his suit jacket, and that’s good enough for me. The ergonomics were impressive. With front and rear serrations machined into the slide, and three different options included for the back strap, it feels great in hand. One of my big gripes about other handguns I’ve shot were access to the slide latch release and magazine release. I liked the design of the slide latch release on this model. With ample real estate and protrusion, it allowed for easy release but didn’t stick out so much that it may accidentally be held down while firing, keeping it from going to slide lock on the last round. This problem I’ve encountered on many other frames. The magazine release is extended from the factory and comes with three different options to suit you. The trigger on this weapon is what impressed me the most. Most polymer-framed defensive pistols come with a trigger that leaves a lot to be desired. Heavy and mushy breaks with long resets are common, so many shooters upgrade their triggers with companies like Apex. That’s not the case here. Canik designed this pistol from the ground up for the budget-minded competitive shooter. The trigger break is crisp and light with an excellent reset for those clean hammered pairs. It’s also worth mentioning that the TP9 SFX comes optics ready out of the box with mounting plates for every popular pistol optic included if that’s your cup of tea. So, all looks good, right? I’d only heard the name Canik, and like most things obscure in the firearms world, if it’s not popular, there’s usually a reason. So off to YouTube, I went to get my learn on. I had no clue how this weapon would perform or if it would even be reliable. The info I found on YouTube solidified my decision. One reviewer had about 2000 rounds through his Canik with not one jam or malfunction. The Canik TP9 SFX passed muster, and at an MSRP OF $550 and a sale price of $480, I had a hard time passing it by. Time to get this gun on the range. At initial inspection, this weapon felt front heavy due to the 5.2inch long barrel, but once I had a loaded mag in, it balanced out beautifully. Firing the first shots, I paid special attention to how this weapon recoiled and how much noticeable muzzle rise there was. Not a factor here. This gun runs on a rail, but you have to give it a solid platform to operate like all handguns. Proper grip and stance are essential. For accuracy, my initial reason for replacing my M&P9. I’ve found all firearms have different break-in periods before achieving optimal accuracy. For example, most AR15 rifles need about 200 rounds through them before they start becoming consistent in the accuracy department. With the Canik, I’ve noticed the accuracy has only improved, probably due to breaking in and my improved relationship with my new gun. My first shots did not disappoint, though. I never did bench it to find out exactly how good it is, but from the standing at 15 yards, I could hold 4- inch groups. After more trigger time, that group has improved. This weapon is capable of hanging with guns three times its value as far as accuracy goes. Hitting a steel popper at 50 yards is well within the performance of this gun. One thing to be noted on accuracy is that while the barrel seems to be quality, the Warren sights that come with it are just ok. Primarily my complaint is with the front sight. It could stand to be a little wider as it tends to float in the rear sight aperture. My second complaint is with the trigger safety. I’ve found it to be a little crude and tends to hang up unless you have your trigger finger in just the right spot upon pull, causing it to catch and throw a shot. I have adapted to this problem, but I haven’t ruled out modifying it. I have only about 600 rounds through the Canik TP9 SFXwith zero stoppages or malfunctions as I write this. I make it a point of not cleaning a new firearm until it fails. So far, the Canik TP9 SFX has delivered as advertised. My TP9 is an out of the box competition-ready weapon that has surpassed all of my expectations. If you are looking for a budget weapon in the competition genre, don’t pass up the Canik TP9 SFX.