Best Canik Pistols: Carry, Competition, & Home Defense Picks
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The story of Canik pistols is the age-old story of the underdog. When the TP9 was first introduced to the market, the price tag coupled with the then-unknown brand name meant that for many people the words “quality” and “Canik” couldn’t co-exist.
Years after first being introduced to the US market, Canik is now one of the top manufacturers of imported Turkish pistols with a successful competition team, including 22x champ Nils Jonasson.
We break down their pistol lineup to help you pick the right Canik for you.
In This Article
Canik Pistol Comparison
Below is my list of the best Canik pistols. I list the best choices in terms of value, performance, design, and cost.
Click on the name to head to the product page, read reviews and check prices or skip ahead to the list of pistols.
Best For Beginners
Concealed Carry Pick
Home Defense Pick
Canik Pistol Reviews
1. Best Value: TP9SA MOD.2
Canik’s base model is the ultimate bang for your buck. The first thing to note is this pistol has a single action trigger which offers a smooth pull and more accurate shot placement.
The standard dovetail sight cuts are rear-adjustable so the shooter can sight the gun according to their preferences. In addition, the pistol features a match-grade barrel that will outlast lower quality material and provide better performance with a wide variety of bullet grains.
Finally, the TP9SA incorporates a striker status indicator that alerts the user that a round is chambered and helps prevent negligent discharges.
2. Competition Pick: SFx Rival
2023 Awards & Rankings
The new hotness may be the Canik Rival-S pistol, but Canik Arms hit a home run when they introduced the Canik SFx Rival pistol. It was a total upgrade from their SFx pistol with all the bells and whistles needed for a competitive pistol straight from the factory.
The Rival pistol complies with all of the rules in IDPA, IPSC, and USPSA to be legal to shoot (division pending) right out of the box.
The SFx Rival pistol includes adjustable fiber optic sights and comes optics ready with plates included to mount your favorite red dot optic on it. The trigger was the biggest upgrade, designed as a lightened 90-degree diamond-cut aluminum flat trigger.
The texture of the trigger shoe is what really helps you get a consistent trigger pull each time. The gun is completely ambidextrous with a reversible magazine release and ambi slide release.
The Picatinny rail allows you to mount lasers and lights to the bottom of the gun, and it has a double undercut trigger guard that really helps with support hand placement. The external mag-well can be removed to be division compliant, making it super easy to reload new magazines into the gun.
Canik includes two 18-round magazines, two magazine case plates, three different size back straps, and three different size magazine release extensions to customize the gun to you truly.
This is one of my favorite guns, and I love shooting it in competitions. Want more? Read our hands-on review of Canik’s SFx Rival.
3. Best For Beginners: TP9SFX
2023 Awards & Rankings
While the TP9SFX packs all the features in one to be ready right out of the box, the newer SFx Rival offers more in the competition department, but the TP9SFX offers similar capacity and quality at around $100 less than the SFx Rival — making it a great beginner pistol option.
Sight acquisition is quick and easy with the Warren Tactical sights, which include a red and green fiber optic front sight so you can customize for even better performance. The reversible magazine catch is included with the pistol allowing ambidextrous controls for both right and left-handed shooters.
There are also a variety of release button sizes to tailor the release to your preferred feel. Interchangeable backstraps give you another level of customization — making the TP9FX work for those with small or large-sized hands, so if home defense is your intended use it’ll work well for both men and women. We dove deep into the TP9SFX in our review.
The box includes a reversible ambidextrous cocking lever that is easily mounted on either side of the gun. This feature gives shooters that struggle to pull the slide back more leverage to easily load the firearm.
The extended slide stop also gives shooters more ease when manipulating the slide for faster reloads and easy lockback. Lastly, this pistol includes four red dot interface plates to mount your optic of choice.
4. Concealed Carry Pick: TP9 ELITE SC
2023 Awards & Rankings
The TP9 Elite SC is the Canik’s top carry gun. It comes with interchangeable backstraps to customize it to your hand size as well as a reversible magazine release to include left-handed shooters.
The match-grade barrel is nitride coated and the slide is nitride finished. This is designed specifically for everyday carry as nitride resists corrosion of steel parts and improves wear and fatigue resistance.
This pistol is also available in an upgraded version — the TP9 Elite SC — with the addition of the Shield SMS2 optic, making it the ultimate carry optics choice.
5. Home Defense Pick: TP9 ELITE COMBAT
2023 Awards & Rankings
This TP9 Elite Combat features the Canik Enhanced Trigger (CET™) flat-face aluminum trigger, which makes consistent trigger pulls easier — helping keep shots on target and prevents affecting the shot pattern.
Most importantly for home defense use, the threaded barrel uses standard 1/2×28 right-hand threads making it suppressor ready — a critical feature if you find yourself in a situation where you’ll need to fire indoors. This pistol also comes with a reversible charging handle to easily pull back the slide and load or unload the pistol.
This gun is completely ambidextrous with the reversible magazine release and ambidextrous slide release. Two magazines comes with this pistol – a 15-round magazine with a +3 aluminum extension and a 15-round spare magazine. Finally, it includes a speed magazine loader and a cleaning kit complete with its own cleaning rod.
6. Upgrade Pick: TP9 Elite Combat Executive
2023 Awards & Rankings
One of the more luxurious Canik pistols on the market, the TP9S Elite includes the standard dovetail sight cuts, Warren tactical sights with red and green fibers, a match-grade barrel, the single-action trigger, reversible ambidextrous cocking lever, and reversible magazine catch.
One of the upgraded parts included with this pistol is a removable red dot cover with the rear sight installed in the cover, so there’s no interference with any dot sights. It also comes with a poly holster and paddle belt attachment, so no need to buy aftermarket gear.
The capacity of this pistol is increased with two 20-round magazines included with it. Finally, the under-barrel rail allows aftermarket accessories to be easily mounted to it.
Canik, A Turkish Armalite
If you’re familiar with Armalite’s beginnings in the aerospace industry, Canik’s story will sound remarkably similar. Think of Canik as the Turkish Armalite; they started in the aerospace defense industry and work with large corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Airbus, and Boeing on precision aerospace engineering projects.
The Canik pistol was developed on the back of the expertise gleaned from these partnerships through which Canik worked with Turkish law enforcement to develop a quality polymer pistol that could excel at the rigors of service life.
Fast forward to 2012 and Canik partnered with Century Arms to introduce Canik TP pistols to the U.S. market. In recent years, the Canik pistol line has expanded to include competition models, subcompact, and red dot mounted pistols – all thanks to Canik’s original product’s ability to perform so well that it changed public perception of what to expect from a reasonably-priced striker-fired pistol.
Plus, with the likes of NoSkillSNils taking home championship after championship, the Canik name has come a long, long way.
A post shared by Nils Jonasson (@noskillsnils)
Canik’s strength: unbeatable value
One of Canik’s strengths is the way they package a lot of value into their products. Canik takes innovation seriously and has already improved upon the original TP9 multiple times since launch.
On top of the product innovation, Canik has, in a way, rendered aftermarket parts almost unnecessary — some of the features they include on their firearms right out of the box are a single action trigger with a short reset, interchangeable backstraps, warren tactical sights with a red or green fiber optic front sight, match-grade barrels, and more.
They also include a slidelock retention holster and cleaning kit in most boxes with the firearm.
Carry optics have been around for a while and are becoming increasingly popular, but most stock polymer pistols don’t come red-dot-ready. Canik listened to the market and, as a result, another strength of theirs is the inclusion of milled slides to allow for optic mounting but also including the optic with the pistol — offering the end customer both an incredible value and a handgun that is ready to perform right out the box.
Even if the included red dot is not what you fancy, Canik includes red dot interface plates with most of their pistols so you can mount your favorite optic with ease.
The last thing Canik does remarkably well is package all the features you need into a higher-capacity concealed carry pistol. Their two carry pistols are both chambered in 9mm Luger and are — in many ways — the same firearm — one featuring a red dot, and one with iron sights.
But their focus on adding value isn’t just limited to flashy items like optics and adjustable triggers — some of their nicest touches are also incredibly practical.
Take, for example, their 12-round magazine features an optional finger rest base plate. How often do you pick up a compact-sized pistol only to realize your pinky falls off the grip without an extended magazine?
The attention to detail and focus on what customers need is what makes Canik shine amongst all other polymer pistols.
Like many other major firearm manufacturers, Canik has had its share of issues — the most noteworthy being a 2017 issue with pistols discharging when repeatedly dropped.
For those using their pistols in more severe conditions, this was an issue Century Arms had to mitigate by offering a voluntary upgrade in certain models to add a trigger safety spring and firing pin block.
Since then, Canik pistols have run reliably and have captured the market for affordable, yet high-quality polymer pistols.
An affordable price doesn’t always mean sub-par quality. Canik pistols have proven their value and are the best value offered for the price tag.
- Canik USA, About Canik
- Personal Defense World, Century Arms Issues Safety Warning, September 1, 2017
- Corrosionpedia, Nitriding for Corrosion and Wear Fatigue Resistance
- Canik USA, Severe Duty Upgrade
- Outdoor Wire. (2019) Canik Partners with Nils Jonasson to Promote Shooting Sports
March 9, 2023 — We’ve updated images and links throughout this article and added a new competition-focused pick, Canik’s SFx Rival. Our previous competition selection, the TP9SFX, still makes the list, but as our beginner recommendation.
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