Range Report: Canik TP9SF Elite-S 9mm

Canik TP9SF Elite S pistol left

A few years ago, the Canik TP9 pistol was introduced in America. A product of the Turkish arms industry, the pistol was a credible, but not exact, clone of a Walther design. The pistol has proven reliable and accurate enough. The price point is attractive and the pistol is well established.

Canik TP9SF Elite S pistol left
The TP9 SF Elite is a handsome pistol.

The TP9SF Elite-S is an improvement over the original in many ways, and is designed as the top of the line pistol among the Canik polymer frame pistols. (It also offers a CZ75-like 9mm handgun.) The new pistol is a single action only pistol and a compact design. The dimensions are attractive for concealed carry.

The TP9SF Elite-S is a 15-shot 9mm, so it isn’t as compact as a Glock 43. However, for those of us that wish to deploy a powerful, reliable handgun that handles well and offers a good reserve of ammunition, the TP9 is a wise choice. The pistol features a polymer frame and steel slide. A major upgrade is the gunmetal grey Cerakote finish the slide is treated to. This is an attractive finish done well.

The cocking serrations are generous The pistol also features modest forward cocking serrations. The machine work is precise. There are no visible tool marks under the slide. The pistol features Warren tactical sights. The U-shaped rear sight combines with a fiber insert front sight to make for an excellent sight picture.

New pistol safety design
This is the new design safety applied.

These sights are great for speed shooting but offer a good sight picture for precision as well. This is an upgrade that shooters have been performing on existing Canik handguns. The new Elite version is factory supplied with a custom grade set of sights.

The frame is a much better fit to my hand than the original TP9. The combination of pebbling and checkering offers good adhesion when firing but was never uncomfortable. The magazine base pad offers a portion of a rest and all but the largest hand sizes will find a comfortable purchase on these grips.

Finger reliefs on each side of the receiver make for a shorter trigger reach. The magazine release is positive and may be actuated without shifting the firing grip. The slide lock/slide release is ambidextrous. Take down is in Glock fashion by pressing two levers to the bottom of the frame.

TP9 SF Elite S fitted with a TruGlo light
Fitted with a TruGlo combat light the Canik TP9 SF Elite S is a formidable home defense firearm.

The rear of the slide tips over the firing mechanism in disassembly and must be angled back into battery. In practice, the pistol is simple to field strip and maintain. The magazines are steel units with a capacity of 15 cartridges. The trigger is single action. There is a modest amount of take up, and the trigger action breaks at 3.75 pounds—lighter than the advertised 4.5 pounds. The Glock, for comparison, usually breaks at 5.5 pounds and my well used Smith and Wesson Shield .45 at 6.0 pounds. And, these are double action only handguns while the TP9 is a single action.

There is a lever in the center of the trigger that must be depressed to fire the Canik. The Elite pistol features a new safety. It is a paddle type that is pressed upward to guard the trigger against inadvertent discharge. No amount of attempting to sneak around this cage to press the trigger was successful. This is an effective safety.

As the safety is moved to the off position, there is a positive snik. I would recommend plenty of practice with this or any other safety. The pistol is a single-action design and this makes for a lighter, crisp trigger and excellent hit probability. You also need to be familiar with the trigger to use it well and to use it safely. I would studiously avoid moving the safety to off safe with the support hand as you go into a two-hand hold.

Warren Tactical sight U-notch
The Warren Tactical sight U-notch is ideal for rapid fire and also precision shooting to at least 25 yards.

You may have only one hand to use in an emergency, and that hand should manipulate the safety. The pistol should be carried on safe. I am sure many will choose not to engage the safety as a matter of course. Trigger discipline and common sense mean more than the trigger action.

The Canik 9mm was lubricated, and the magazines loaded prior to testing. The initial work was done in combat-style firing at 5, 7, and 10 yards. There were a few malfunctions during the first 50 rounds. These were low powered practice loads—115 grains at 1050 fps—that function in some pistols but not all. Switching to a stronger loading, the Federal Cartridge American Eagle 124-grain, the pistol was 100 percent.

Softball handloads may not function, and perhaps the pistol needed a break in. The handgun feels good in the hand and tracks well on target. A 9mm this size doesn’t exhibit much recoil, but just the same, the pistol was very comfortable. This 9mm may be labeled soft shooting.

Bob Campbell shooting the Canik TP9SF Elite pistol
The fiber optic front sight is an aid in rapid sight acquisition.

A number of loads were fired including the Winchester 115-grain USA ball, Federal 124-grain HST and Hornady 147-grain XTP. All loads functioned well. The U-shaped rear sight proved to be effective in fast shooting. The pistol is clearly a credible, even superior, choice for personal defense.

I moved to rapid ammunition supply replenishment. Hit the magazine release and slap another magazine in, and the Canik is as fast any handgun. Driving a tapered magazine into a generous magazine well is fast, very fast. During these drills, I used the supplied plastic holster, which is packaged with the pistol. This paddle holster is fine for range use, but it is not service grade.

Firing for accuracy at 15 yards, I settled into a solid bench rest firing position. The crisp trigger is an aid in this type of work and so are the Warren sights. I fired for groups; firing two 5-shot groups with several loads. I wanted to confirm the zero with the likely carry load. The results follow. The pistol is accurate in both the tactical and target sense.

Load Average of two 5-shot
groups, 15 yards
Federal 124-grain HST 1.75 inch
Hornady 124-grain XTP 2.0 inch
Winchester 115-grain Silvertip 2.2 inch
Winchester 124-grain PDX +P 1.9 inch

The Canik TP9 SF Elite S is a handgun with many good features. There are no shortcuts taken with this handgun that I am able to discern. The pistol is affordable, reliable, and accurate, all we can ask.

Is there a Canik 9mm in your future? Which model? Have you fired the Canik TP9 SF Elite S? Share your answers in the comment section.


About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (28)

  1. The perfect concealed carry gun for me would be a ‘Sub Compact’ Canik TP9 Double action (DA/SA). Double action is the way to go for safety and still have one in the chamber. I love my TP9SC but always wish it was DA. I wish Canik would make one. I would buy it in a heart beat.

  2. I am writing from Turkey. My English is intermediate level so I used google translate. I was really surprised and disappointed that the Americans thought badly about Turkey. Yes, we are a country where Muslim people live, but we are a free republic. ISIS killed many of our citizens and organized many suicide bombing attacks. Attacks were organized by al-Qaeda militants by opening fire on the people. Many of our soldiers were killed while fighting isis. ISIS militants have released countless videos of killing our soldiers. We are as hostile as you are with ISIS and al-Qaeda. We are one of the countries with the highest number of tourists in the world. We are not a country like Iran. We are a democratic and free republic struggling.

  3. Female to the mix!!!
    Hi, it’s totally female approved the article and 1st review I 100% back and you can get two for the price of one glock… my adds there heavier fully loaded than a Glock the ambidextrous capability made me try it left because I am also cross eye dominant! It’s nice Ladies really. Don’t be intimidated by the size and shape with a belly band belt it can be concealed try a bat wing shirt! Any questions feel free to ask.

  4. My tp9 elite-s performed exceedingly well. The first shot was a FTE (stove pipe) as I was unprepared for such a light trigger and thus I limp wristed the first shot. I was shooting with 115gr Armscor solid brass on brass ball ammo, which after the first shot has functioned flawlessly. its eaten 115gr PMC fmj ball, 115/124gr Winchester brass cased fmj ball and jacketed HP, Hornady 9mm Luger 115 gr FTX Critical Defense (controlled expansion hollow point) Winchester Gold Dot LE CE 124gr steel cased HP. Now at about 600rds, no hiccups whatsoever. TOTALLY reliable and shoots better than I do with 2″ groups at 15 meters when Firing For Accuracy, about 4′ when Firing For Effect. I have average (medium) size hands and actuating the safety into the “hot” position is an ease and puts you on trigger with no shift of the grip and was an easy discipline to drill after just a few nights of draw, aim, depress drills. The sights are different but VERY effective once zero has been established. mine shoots dead on when the front reticle is neatly placed in the cradled/bottom position in the rear sight picture. I personally did not like the grip texture, the little pyramids/tiles happened to be at an inconvenient place on the front strap and did wear at my inner knuckle on my right ring finger but did provide positive traction. However I decided to do a starburst pattern on the removable back strap and added a “fingerprint” stipple pattern that extends from the bottom of the side panels of the grip up to the top of the finger reliefs and on the front strap up to the bottom of the trigger guard. I can say that this pattern is superior to any pattern available and even smoothed out for low aggression is exceedingly ‘sticky’ for a tight and firm grip. I also removed a ton of material from the beavertail (1-5mm depending on where precisely) and around the recessed portion of the grip right around the roll-pin hole and this grip is now better than any stock cz-75 or 1911 and allows for a better grip and hence, shoots a bit softer for an already very soft shooting gun (I wont recommend this but I also wont tell you not to do it, just beware that you can easily remove too much and bunk your gun). the TP9SF Elite-S (cant we just have a T9ES?) is a somewhat compact weapon (almost exactly Glock-19 dimensions) and conceals much better than you might guess and yes there is a bit of muzzle rise, but with a proper grip it is still very soft and stays on target VERY well. I sanded the mag rails in the mag well to accommodate a fully loaded magazine. Unloaded mags fit fine and extracted fine, but fully loaded ones were sticky and sluggish to load and extract, so i took the opportunity to flare the mag-well and the mags load and unload flawlessly. The mag release is perfectly placed like the safety and requires no shift of grip to actuate. Ambidextrous slide release works well and does not interfere with the function of the weapon. I recommend a stacked thumbs or “tactical” grip since this will clear the slide release from finger/palm obstruction and ensure the slide locks back on the final round. All in all I give this pistol (price point factored) a 4.5 out of 5 stars. -.5 for grip/magwell shortcomings, but given the nature of polymer in general and the ‘preference’ factor, I cant justify pulling a full star for such a superior weapon in it’s class. Summation; the TP9SF Elite-S is a rock solid pistol and you NEED one. Oh and the Cerakote + treatment underneath is awesome. holster wear only reveals matted metal underneath, that has yet to rust at all.

  5. The TP9SF Elite has a better trigger than the Walther P99, PPQ, HK VP9, and many others. It has been 100% reliable, better than combat accurate. Over-all, just a joy to shoot. There is something satisfying about point and click accuracy from a sub-$400 pistol.

    If you don’t mind the larger grip, the TP9DA with 18 round magazine is a wonderful pistol as well.

    1. This gun without any doubt is better than my FN509 and Walther PPQ
      THE trigger is the best striker fired I’ve expierenced in 20 years period.
      And it isn’t a one gun deal my friends is exactly the same.

      Forget the bs gun writers. …youtube click seekers ….this gun is worth 3 times the msrp.
      Only con is customer service…it is completely devoid at century arms

  6. A combat situation is any situation that puts your life or your loved ones lives in danger where you have to deploy your weapon quickly……its your call but anyone who carries on an empty chamber is delusional if you think you can rack quicker than a bad guy can pull a trigger…..

  7. On the old canik I put the whole slide from my p99 on the canik frame. And the p99 barrels are fully compatible in the canik slide. If you need a threaded barrel for your canik get the p99 threaded barrel. The mags were a little bit different, just need to make a new hole in the mag the engage the mag release. My dads canik came with glow in the dark sights. And the sights and back straps are both compatible between brands. The canik is cool because it’s a higher mag count than the p99 15rnd

    1. An empty chamber in a combat situation is an easy way to get yourself killed trying to load a round under stress……ask the family of the business owner who pulled his pistol during a robbery and got himself and his son killed while trying to load a round on an empty chamber…..the best safety is training, training, training and keeping your finger out of the trigger guard until ready to fire….

    2. I agree in a combat situation, but very few people are in a combat situation. The idea is to be safe, and a round in the chamber is not safe no matter how you look at it. Only police officers and soldiers in a combat zone should have a round in the chamber. They are possibly the only one with the training, but even then they have unintentional discharges.

    3. Why downgrade to a revolver with limited fire power? I like my TP9SF with 18 rounds in the mag and an empty chamber. I am less likely to kill my neighbor because of an unintentional discharge. The chances of me having an unintentional discharge with a loaded chamber are very high, while the chance of me being robbed where I need a round in the chamber are practically zero. I don’t gamble and I don’t like the odds of a loaded chamber.

    4. Why consider a 6 shot revolver a downgrade? I can put 2-3 rounds on target with a revolver quicker than you can rack one on an semi auto……and dont think for a minute that cops are highly trained or servicemen either for that matter (no disrespect meant) but some cops never fire their gun in a combat situation EVER during their entire career….also the whole idea of carrying concealed is to counter a threat that manifests quickly……do you think all confrontations are limited to “bad” neighborhoods? They occur in all types of locations… the end of the day its your call……Ive carried for over 20 years with multiple weapons with a round chambered in condition one and never had an issue……educate yourself on your choice……

  8. Bought the TP9 SF Elite because of the great reviews and price. I find it to be very accurate and soft shooting. I own an HK VP9, Walther PPQ and CZ P-10, all of which have been argued to have the best striker triggers. They are all great shooters – almost like they shoot themselves, and I would absolutely include the TP9 SF Ellte in that company. It also has a great feel in the hand and points very well. I had some early problems with FTE on 115 grain but found a few videos on YouTube explaining that it was designed for 124 grain NATO rounds. Saw that CANIK would send a replacement spring to cycle 115 grain. I sent an email with purchase info and they were responsive and I had another spring in just a few weeks. It has eaten everything since. This is a great gun period and a phenomenal gun for the low price. I do not have the S version with the trigger switch as it seemed a bit too different from other safeties I’ve used.

  9. Canik makes fine weapons, the quality is impeccable. I personally do not have a problem purchasing a weapon made in Turkey, like some do. The last I heard (LOL) they are still a reliable NATO country, with strategic air strips we use daily to fly missions to fight the enemy, ISIS and Al-Qaeda. All countries have people whom are enemies of the United States, including the ones that are here, home grown, so get over it. I lived in Turkey for 3 1/2 years, stationed at Incirlik Air Base, Adana, and I know these people better than 99% of the population here. Anywho…..back to Canik….I have four, two TP9-SA and two TP9SF models, and I plan to purchase the Elite very soon. BEST trigger on a Striker fire….PERIOD. Very accurate, and have fired hundreds of rounds with two and just a few with the other two, snugged up in my safe. The SA is my home carry….if I’m up, its on me with the supplied holster and also they come with two mags and mag loader and cleaning kit. I love Turkish made weapons, I have two Girsan 1911s, two Tisas 1911s and get this….better sit down….The Winchester Extreme Marine 12ga……yep, made in Istanbul Turkey….OK, get up now. Winchester has many models made in Turkey. Folks, the quality of the weapons made in Turkey are turning the heads of the U.S. made weapons. Don’t even place a negative comment if you do not own at least own a Canik product. Like I said, I do not own this particular model, but do own 4 other models that have the same exact platform, and I believe the Elite breach/barrel will slide right on the SA or SF models….Wanna great weapon at an unbeatable price, BUY CANIK.
    Want an American made… about the beautiful Kel-Tec, or the sleek Hi-Point….hahahahaha

    1. The trigger is great, but remember this is a single action trigger not a safe action. The trigger releases the trigger only, it does not bring the striker back against spring pressure. So the Canik should always be carried safety on in this SA version.

  10. No matter what its attributes are it’s made in Turkey and propping up a Turkish company is just like propping up an Iranian or North Korean company. I don’t do business with the enemies of my country

    1. Turkey is an ally… we have massive military connections with this country as well as many come Mirschel corporations doing business in this country … your comments show your lack of knowledge. I work all of the world and I have to say turkey is a great place … then again I’ve been there so I guess it’s hard for me to talk shite.

    2. Turkey is a NATO ally.

      That said, it does have an increasingly dictatorial administration, and many people who value government that serves its citizens find Erdogan and his cronies objectionable

    3. Charles,
      If Turkish goverment decided to start a war in mexico and Canada for stupid reason therefore if USA will loose billions of dollars for the trades and 100 thousands of americans were killed for the terorizm how would be your feeling?? America did exactly what I stated above in Iraq and Syriye Turkey is the suffering part and you are talking BS about the Turkey!!

    4. Your comment shows your lack of intelligence. Turkey has killed more Isis than any other nation and American troops and airmen deploy from Turkish bases daily. Before you make ignorant unintelligent comments you should do some research.

    5. Good God Charles that kind of thing really makes you look ignorant and is an insult to our allies! My Dad was on a hill in Korea beside the Turks and he said they were hell against the Chinese, especially the way the Turks used their bayonets. God God’s Sake!

  11. I’ve been doing the GUN THANG for over 35 years now.
    I purchased a Canik TP9SF Elite and couldnt be more happier with it. I liked it so much that I purchased a TP9SF and again I’m very happy with it. I carried the Glock 19 Gen 4 and was very happy with it also. But after shooting the two, the Elite and Glock. I found I really like the Elite much better. The trigger is better, the feel in the hand is better and the accuracy is better than the Glock.

  12. I bought a Canik TP9SF about a year ago. Another 9mm was really the last thing I needed. I had come across the Canik line of pistols on line and started watching and reading reviews. After 100s of reviews I was completely amazed I could find any bad reviews. So with the price point of the pistol I had to see for myself.
    The frequent statement in most reviews was this is the best Stryker fired trigger I have ever fired. I second that. I have Glocks, S&Ws and Rugers and none of them even come close with their triggers.
    I think it may have to do with the trigger, but I shoot this pistol much better than any of my other pistols. It also fits my hand very well with the changeable back strap.
    The first time out I had a few malfunctions with the first two mags. Since then the gun has ran perfect. I have let allot of people, who have spent much more on their guns shoot this pistol and they have all had the same reaction, you paid how much and where do I get one. Some of these folks impressed were serious gun snobs.
    I liked the TP9SF so much when I came across a very good deal on a Canik TP9 DA/SA v2 I picked it up and I am eaqually satisfied with an identical level of satisfaction. I don’t like to engage a safety on a nightstand or carry weapon but I did have concerns with the TP9SF in my nightstand with it lite trigger. Didn’t want to roll over half asleep and grasp the fire accidentally discharging it because I broke the light trigger. The DA gives me immediate engagement capability but the takes much more effort to discharge. It’s comparable to the DA trigger on a Berreta 92FS. But the follow up shots are all the smooth Canik SA trigger.
    As you can see my opinion is you can’t go wrong with this brand. I will say the more they catch on the price seems to rise slightly. The SF is $20-$30 more now than it was when I got mine a year ago. I highly recommend.

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