Range Report: Canik’s Affordable High Tech 9mm

Field stripped Canik 55 pistol

In a world awash with mediocre handguns, a pistol with reliability, accuracy, and good features at a fair price is a desirable commodity. The Canik TP9SA exemplifies this concept. The Canik 9mm is manufactured by Samsun Yurt Savunma, a Turkish gun maker. Samsun Yurt Savunma has secured numerous military contracts and their goods are respectable.

Canik TP9sa pistol
The Canik TP9sa has clean lines and a modern profile.
The Canik 55 9mm pistol is similar in outline to the Smith and Wesson SW99 and Walther P99. It is not an exact clone, but clearly, the designer was familiar with the Walther pistol. The Canik 55 is a service size 9mm with a polymer frame and mid size slide with a 4.25-inch barrel. The slide is well machined without visible tool marks. Barrel to slide fit is good. The barrel hood locks into the ejection port in the SIG/Glock fashion.

The cocking serrations allow adequate purchase for manipulation. There is a loaded chamber indicator that rises when the chamber is loaded. The sights offer an adequate sight picture. The sights are the three dot configuration along with a white bar on the rear sight in the seldom seen bar dot configuration. The striker protrudes from a witness hole in the rear of the slide when cocked. The end of the striker is a visible red.

The slide is easily racked. The controls are ergonomic. Shooters with short fingers have no difficulty operating the slide lock. There are finger reliefs on each side of the trigger guard to lessen trigger reach. The front and rear straps feature raised areas for abrasion. The sides of the handle are also roughened. While offering good adhesion none of these surfaces were uncomfortable when firing. A pin at the bottom of the grip strap is removed to allow changing the rear strap.

Canik 55 pistol, case, and accessories
The pistol is delivered with a spare magazine and useful range holster.
The magazine features 17 staggered witness holes and holds 17 rounds of ammunition. The magazine was not difficult to load to full capacity. The magazine release is a Browning-type with a flat button. The pistol field strips more easily than most with spring loaded levers under the ejection port releasing the slide. The frame features a rail for mounting a combat light.

Earlier TP9 pistols were double action first shot handguns. The TP9sa is a single-action handgun. This isn’t a double-action-only like the Glock, it is a single action like the Springfield XD. When the slide is racked, the striker is cocked. There is a firing pin block and a lever set in the trigger to prevent lateral pressure on the trigger from discharging the firearm. The TP9sa trigger action breaks at 5.5 pounds.

The conversion to single action fire brings about an odd feature. The decocker of the TP9 is retained. This decocker served to decock the TP9’s double action first shot trigger. With the TP9sa the action is decocked with a cartridge in the chamber. The chamber is loaded, but the slide must be racked to reset the striker. A newer version of the pistol I have not yet tested eliminates this decocker from the system.

The TP9sa is supplied with a plastic belt holster. Both belt and paddle holster attachments are supplied. Quality is superior to some plastic holsters. It served well as a range holster. The draw required the holster’s latch to be actuated on each draw. The TP9sa’s handle offered good purchase when drawing the pistol.

Canik 55
Overall Length 7.55 inches
Overall Height 5.7 inches
Weight Unloaded 28 ounces
Weight Loaded 33.2 ounces
Barrel Length 4.5 in.
Magazine 18-Rd. Detachable Box

Firing Tests

I have fired the piece extensively with good reliability and acceptable accuracy. For this review, I included four loadings—the Hornady 115-grain Critical Defense, Hornady 135-grain +P FlexLock, HPR 115-grain FMJ, and HPR-124 grain JHP. Reliability was faultless. The pistol’s front sight hangs on the target and control is excellent. The +P load demonstrated greater recoil as expected, but none of the loads were uncomfortable.

I fired the pistol primarily for combat accuracy at man-sized targets at 7 and 10 yards. I also fired the pistol off of the benchrest with care taken to deliver maximum precision. The best group I have yet achieved with this pistol is a 2-inch group at 25 yards, with the average closer to 3 inches with a wide choice of loads over the past six months. The HPR FMJ load was in the 3-inch range, the Hornady 115-grain Critical Defense in the 2.5-inch range. The HPR 124-grain load equaled the Hornady Critical Defense loading.

The Canik 9mm is clearly accurate enough for personal defense, competition, and informal target practice. It is a good buy worth its price.

Do you have any experience with the Canik 9mm? Share it in the comment section.

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 (20)

  1. I purchased the new canik TP9sf.
    First time at range, fresh out of box, i was shooting 3″ groups at 25yds. I put fifteen mags through it witout cleaning, remember right out of box. Brought it home cleaned it and looked for wear marks. same as Glock wear a little heavy on the right side but that ts the torque. I cleaned it and back to the range down to 2-1/2″ groups. Stitch firing was a little to the right but to be expected. I’m a huge Glock fan own a few. have always carried a GLock, while in law enforcement. I swore by the Glock as a former active duty Marine, i like reliable accurate throw in the mud and fight weapons. The Canik performed so well that it replaced my Glock in my active shooters bag. The Glock’s in the safe. I let a friend try it out. he’s e special ops and has has been in Afgan 21 times as an operator he is also a tactical instructor. He bought one the next day. Nuf said.

  2. Please do no insult the Walther P99 by comparing it to a $279 piece of junk made in Turkey.


    If you want to buy junk, buy a Hi-Point. These are the Saturday Night Specials of semi-auto handguns.

    1. @ Fake Niceto Alcala Zamora y Torre,

      Spoken like a person that has absolutely no clue what they are talking about. Many Turkish guns these days are on par with other quality European and American gun manufacturers. With just a little research you’d see how embarrassingly wrong you were to refer to this gun as “junk made in Turkey”.

      This gun is manufactured in an ISO 9000 series certified facility. It has passed NATO accuracy standards and even incorporates a machined match-grade barrel. Therefore it can and often is easily compared to the quality of a Walther P99.

      If you actually knew what you were talking about you’d know that Turkey has always been known for its ability to produce excellent firearms quite cheaply. Many of their firearms are rebranded under other names and you’d never have known it. But when not manufacturing for other companies, Turkey’s own brands used to have quality control issues; so every now and then a problem gun would give them a bad reputation.

      The thing is there isn’t a single gun manufacturer out there that can say they haven’t had a quality control issue once or twice. Turkey just seemed to have them more often. But those problems no longer exist for Turkey and have been virtually eliminated due to newer upgrades in manufacturing technologies.

      So that just leaves the flawed thinking in your low-price insinuation. However, you should never use the price of a gun as a quality indicator, because retail pricing has very little to do with quality when dealing with the much lower market costs of raw materials and labor in Turkey. Simply put, they can (and do) produce an exceptionally high quality firearm at extremely low prices.

      In fact, absent the old quality control issues, this has recently allowed Turkish companies to make a new name for themselves in the gun industry. A fact that is becoming so well-known it is fast putting other gun manufacturers on notice and some are running scared.

      So notwithstanding the thousands of satisfied Turkish gun owners or the rave reviews from torture tests published by highly qualified gun professionals, I’m going to have to go ahead and pop-poo your misguided advice in which you tell others to buy a Hi-Point instead.

    2. Well said G Man

      The Turks make no junk.

      Excellent quality on not only this handgun but the Tri Star shotguns as well.

    3. @ Bob Campbell,

      Thank you sir, for the kind words. And good of you to bring up the Turkish made shotguns, as those too have been part of their effort to produce exceptional quality and value.

      As for the comments made by “Fake Niceto Alcala Zamora y Torre”, I simply cannot allow such snobbery and elitist attitudes to be left unchecked. Such ignorance does a mass disservice to the gun community at large.

      Not only did he demean the fine gun craftsmen of Turkey without warrant, but he did so even after the Turks had spent years going out of their way to clean up their industry and become successful at producing superior quality gun products with consistency.

      Worse is that his unrestrained drivel may have unjustly influenced some of our newer gun enthusiasts that actually seek out blogs such as this to learn from.

      If only this character was better educated before posting, he’d have known about all the quality parts Turkey manufactures for other well-known brands behind the scenes. He probably unwittingly owns a few guns with Turkish made parts and doesn’t even know it.

    4. If he knew anything, he would realize that MKEK made the barrels and some internals for the original IWI Jericho (a LEGENDARY CZ platform pistol!), and that Canik’s initial import offering were MKEK CZ75B clones in alloy and steel frame. If the Israeli military trusts this manufacturer to build what are arguably the most important parts of their service pistols, what right does that brand snob have to sully the reputation of some of the best gunsmiths in the world? TriStar shotguns are regularly compared to Berretta, and even make some parts for Berretta.

  3. For $279, I said why not.
    It’s a very tightly machined pistol that functions flawlessly, but does have one flaw…the picatinny lower rIl is out of spec and will not fit a light or laser without filing.
    Still, a high quality pistol at a hi-point price

  4. I have one and have not had any issues with it after firing hundreds of rounds. The trigger is very nice. There’s lots of tests and reviews on You Tube, with some people complaining about the decocker being on top of the gun. I don’t think it’s an issue but some do. You can also purchase 20 round mags for it!

  5. I love the decocking capability on the TP9SA. You don’t need to completely rack the slide to cock it again. You just barely need to move the slide back, and it resets. It’s a very useful safety feature, and I love it now that I figured out how to use it properly.

  6. I would not expend any amount of money on a gun made in Turkey. That would be supporting a nation that is our enemy , and that while kisses with Obama in his agenda of islamic domination , support and trains terrorist groups that will eventually attack us. Ill buy American, thank you very much.

    1. @ Joe,

      I have several friends from Switzerland who have the same view as you; except instead of Turkey, they refuse to buy American made guns because of their perception that we fund and support terrorism.

      I can’t really argue with them when they cite how America created, funded, and weaponized ISIS which has since been unleashed upon the entire World to be dealt with.

      Though most Americans locally disagree with Obama who pulled troops to leave a terrorist void to be filled in Iraq, or Hillary’s State Department policies which funded ISIS weapons, we must accept other countries’ views that American politicians still set those policies which represent America as a whole; and through such policies still knowingly allows such terrorism to flourish – thereby making the U.S. a state sponsor of terrorism in their eyes.

      Keep in mind, that even though covertly done through Hillary’s State Department, other countries see this as the same America that secretly channeled weapons to Islamic terrorists through U.S. contracted gun dealers to Libyan terrorists to overthrow an older terrorist named Gaddafi; but then the newly U.S. funded terrorists turn around and kill our own U.S. ambassador in Benghazi. Then to top it all off the U.S. blames it all a YouTube video. This makes us look evil and stupid – take your pick.

      You have to understand that the rest of the World doesn’t always get to see the moving pieces and parts that show the local dissent for such political stupidity and thus we as Americans must own the entire perception drawn by the World as a whole.

      So despite your views of Turkey, the reality is they are a U.S. ally and a member of NATO who has played host to the U.S. Air Force at their base for decades. While they have their sympathetic factions and various rogue players from time-to-time, it is no different than some of the outrageous crap our own CIA has pulled to fund our supposed interests over the years as well.

      The bottom line is this – if you really look hard enough you’ll find reasons of evil to reject just about any purchase on the planet. Everything from the so-called environmentally corrosive manufacturing capitalist of America all the way down to the cheap price of your kid’s sneakers made by 9-year olds abused in the sweatshops of Bangladesh.

  7. I just bought the TP9SF for no other reason than to see if it could live up to the hype. I read hundreds of reviews watched countless YouTube videos and all raved about this pistol. I had to see for myself.
    Out of the box the fit and finish was as good as any of my Glocks or S&W I have. Dry firing the trigger it was easy to see why everyone loved it.
    First trip to the range I put 200 rds through it and I did have a few malfunctions. In the first 36 rds I had 5 FTE but after that the gun ran the next 164 rds flawlessly. In fairness to the gun all rounds fired were my reloads which tend to be on the lite side.
    The gun was well worth taking a chance on and I would recommend it if as a good choice for target shooting or home defense. It’s a little big for conceal carry, at least for me. You can’t go wrong with a Canik from what I have seen so far.

    1. @ Dan,

      Possible tip for you I just discovered on this gun – next time you get a failure-to-eject, double check that you haven’t relaxed your grip.

      I went shooting this weekend and one of my daughters fired this gun for her first time. It failed to eject on every one of her first 5 rounds. I took the gun over to see what was up and every remaining round fired just fine for me. We discovered my daughter was limp-wristing the gun which caused the FTEs.

      She is more accustomed to firing her much lighter recoiling Walther P-22. But after she was made aware, she firmed up on her grip and there were no more issues. I use a GoPro to video our shoots, so once we were home I played it back in slow-motion and we could clearly see the gun pulling hard up and to the left on my daughter whenever she would get an FTE, thus proving her loose grip was definitely the cause.

      I hope this is helpful; if not to you then maybe other readers.

    2. G-Man
      I know what your talking about, seen it often in my 20 years in the military. Most problems people had with the M9 were corrected with a firm grip. I ah e also seen with my daughters. In this case I think it just too two mags as a break in period or like I said my reloads are on the low end of the powder charge.
      I had it out again today and put another 200 rounds through it with no issues. I was also running the knock down plates faster than I ever have with many perfect runs. I love this gun. Glad I took a chance before the word gets out and the prices go up.
      Thanks again for the response.

  8. I took my CCW live fire test with a TP9SA after only taking it out once and firing 50rds through it. It performed flawlessly during the test and even the instructor commented on my excellent performance.

    The included holster is okay for the range but makes for a poor CCW holster due to the bulk. All in all it was a purchase I would not hesitate to make again.

  9. For just $299.95 I bought one of the earlier Canik 55 TP9s in a desert tan last year (Father’s Day). The tan color is perfectly contrasted against various black elements all over the gun which nicely offset the two tones to make this a very attractive firearm.

    Bar none, this is an incredible value with lots of extras usually only seen for double this price in higher-end guns. It also comes in a really nice hard case with 2 magazines. In addition to the (author mentioned) well-made belt and paddle Serpa style holster, it also included a speed-loader, a second (smaller) backstrap, a bore brush, a decent user manual, and a rubberized lock with the Canik emblem emblazoned on the side.

    Manufactured in Turkey, these weapons are of exceptionally high grade for issue in military and police use. They are built in an ISO 9000 certified facility to ensure they maintain NATO required standards. I only have 50 practice rounds through mine, but so far not a single malfunction. I concur with the author’s finding as I am seeing the same 2-inch groups at 25 yards.

    I think I like my first gen version better as it has molded finger wells in the pistol grip and a really heavy duty right side spring loaded set screw for easy rear sight adjustment in the field. I don’t see that adjustment screw on this newer one, though it may have it. My gun also comes in 5 colors: Black, Chrome (w/Blk lower), Desert Tan, OD Green, and Titanium. However, I’m not sure if they will offer the same for this newer version.

    The bottom line, you simply can’t beat this price per feature ratio on such a combat-durable, yet nice looking handgun.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit exceeded. Please click the reload button and complete the captcha once again.

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.