Century Arms Canik TP9 SF Elite in 9mm gobbled up 600+ rounds of factory loaded 115 grain FMJ ammunition (Mag-Tech, S&B, Winchester and Federal) plus 100 rounds of Federal’s 124 grain +P HST load without any significant indigestion or malfunction. This made-in-Turkey entry into the crowded and popular polymer frame, striker-fired 9mm defensive pistol performed with 100% functioning (after the red safety tab fix; see below) needing no additional lubrication beyond what was applied at the factory and required zero cleaning. during the testing.
Out of the box (lockable TSA approved carrying case), the Canik TP9 SF Elite offers some very nice up-market features for a relatively low price tag:
- Warren Tactical Series Sights .136” black rear and .120” red fiber-optic front sights (well centered for windage & elevation for point-of-aim / point-of-impact at 20 yards–truly excellent sights!)
- Polymer frame with four hardened steel inserts which the frame has MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny molded under the dust-cover to attached accessories such as white-lights and/or lasers.
- Machined carbon steel slide is durably finished in a phosphate under-coating and a Tungsten grey Cerakote over-coating for long-lasting protection.
- Two 15-round capacity magazines with AFC (anti-friction coating) promising less friction when rounds are placed (charged) in the magazines and soother magazine insertions (loading & firing cycles.)
- Polymer holster; magazine loading tool; cleaning rod; bore brush
- Larger back-strap insert
Striker Fired Functioning
The TP9 is a typical striker-fired pistol with a trigger mounted safety-tab (red in color) which is a “passively activated manual safety”. * It disengages when your trigger-finger makes contact with the face of the trigger. The trigger breaks cleanly at 4.25 lbs. and is pretty crisp. The trigger’s take-up is approximately 3/8” (.375”) with an additional 7/64” (.109”) of trigger travel before the striker is released and has 3/64” (.047”) of trigger over-travel after the striker is released.
Red Tab Initially More a “Stop” than a Safety, but Easily Fixed…
I discovered a burr or bump on the bottom rear corner of my TP9’s red-trigger safety tab (see arrow in picture above right). The excess material on the tab prevented the red tab from cleanly clearing the frame and as a result, the trigger’s full rearward movement was inhibited and the pistol would not fire with anything less than precise trigger finger placement. I handed the TP9 off to four shooters of varying experience and they had the same issue.
…The Easy Fix
Caution to all kitchen table gunsmiths: ANY altering of a firearm without proper training and experience is not recommended and can result in an improperly functioning or dangerous firearm! A trained armorer using a small jeweler’s file made two light passes on the red tab corner, removing just enough excess material so that tab cleared the frame and the trigger could function at 100%.
A Note About Disassembly SafetyPer the disassembly instructions included with the pistol: “Before beginning the disassembly process, check to ensure your pistol is not loaded…Keep your finger off the trigger and keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.” Matching up with Canik’s own instructions, Ravelin Group manufactures Safe Direction Ballistic Containment Pads and Cases for use during handgun loading and unloading providing NIJ IIIA equivalent ballistic protection against the immediate aftermath of an accidental or unintentional discharge.
Some Things to Consider:
Compared to some other compact sized pistols, the Canik TP9 FS Elite has a greater grip circumference and back-strap-to face-of-trigger dimension; also a higher bore axis. Although the pistol fit well in my hand during live-fire exercises, some shooters with smaller hands might find they have to adjust their grip slightly. One female shooter found that the captured recoil spring offered a bit more resistance than she was accustomed to.
TP9 FS Elite Performance Summary
Rapid steel target practice with the Canik TP9 progressed flawlessly; the excellent sights and good trigger allowed us to quickly and consistently hammer steel plates out to 30 yards! During an indoor tactical plate match, I was top shooter using the TP9 as we contended with a number of experienced shooters using high-end custom 1911’s, compensated 1911’s, Glock 34’s, 17’s & 19’s along with a couple of Beretta 92’s. The Canik’s superior sights and excellent trigger aided the win.
The Canik TP9 FS Elite appears to be a dependable choice for an EDC (every day carry) defensive pistol that delivers on value and excellent function.
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