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.
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.
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.
|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|
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.