5,000 Round Review: Canik TP9SF Desert Tan

TP9SF Stock Photo

Regarding one of my favorite pistols in my collection, the Canik TP9SF in Desert Tan. This pistol is a Turkish made 9mm with a very respectable 18 round standard capacity. One can easily purchase the Mec-Gar magazine extensions with up it to an awesome 20 round capacity (more on that later). Point of fact, the Canik actually uses Mec-Gar as their magazine manufacturer so you have the added benefit of a reputable mag manufacturer right out the gate. This pistol borrows styling heavily from similar Walther pistols as well as some Glock and other common polymer pistol models. It has even been adopted by the Turkish army as their standard sidearm. One of the added bonuses is that the facility/parent companies that produce this pistol are ISO-9000 certified, and they carry that over to their firearm manufacturing. Let me tell you, it shows. There are several features that overall make this literally one of my top two handguns. Let’s break those down:

This gun has the best out of the box trigger I have ever handled for a handgun at the sub $500 MSRP. Seriously I cannot sing the triggers praises enough. Trigger pull weight is ~5 lb and extremely smooth and crisp. The reset has to be the shortest of any I have tried, as well as the amount of slide rack needed to reset. Less than a half inch of slide pullback and the trigger resets. This cannot be under-stated, for dry-fire training this gun is a joy! The only better option would be a double-action. Unfortunately with that double-action you get the issue of a higher trigger pull weight (which is how it should be, most double-action pistols in a semi-auto platform need that higher pull to overcome not having a safety. They are then setup that each subsequent shot is single-action. This makes follow-up shots much lighter. I leave this to you if you desire that has a different trigger pull from first shot to second shot.). Only thing I take points away here is on the aftermarket options. I have been spoiled with my Springfield, Glock and S&W pistols; all have been out and established for some time so they have a ton of other companies producing upgrades as well as just plain different options for triggers.

Another love of mine is the grip. Having handled all the aforementioned guns I happen to very much love how this feels in the hand. It does come with replaceable grips so if in any way you don’t like it there is other options. Funny story about that; I purchased this gun online due to reviews I read and had it delivered to my local FFL. When it arrived I was of course filled with the new gun jitters and jumped down there as soon as I got the call. When I put it in my hand it felt like an extension of my wrist and I loved it right away. I filled out my 4473, got home and immediately started fiddling with it. Cleaned and oiled the gun as well as changing the back-strap. Took it to the range the next day and fired off about 250 rounds but ended up lamenting that the grip wasn’t as good as when I first picked it up. It took me two days of dry-fire training (I am not proud of this) before I realized changing that back-strap completely changed the handling in a negative way for me. Now with it back to stock I love it as much as ever. You will note from the picture below I tried a new stippling technique and to be honest, it works great but looks like garbage. And I was so proud of it at the time!

Canik TP9SF 9mm FDE Left Side

Other than that, the rail is perfect for any accessories, and the magazine release as well as the slide stop are easy to use but unobtrusive. This is very nice for handling. Another point I do take away is the sights. They are Warren Tactical sights. It is a thin & square front sight with a U notch rear. I greatly dislike this style due to it not working well for me and how I shoot. The combination of a rounded rear and square front leaves me at a disadvantage for longer shots. The other problem with that is that the rear site is ramped at the forward portion, not the rear, so I cannot rack it off a belt or table when practicing one-handed manipulations.

On the magazines, Mec-Gar is a well known manufacturer and you can rely on these. The Elite model has 15 rounds but can accept all the larger frame mags. This model has the standard 18 round mags. The upgraded Competition model has the 20 round magazines which I own to of, never let me down. You can also but the Mec-Gar magazine extensions for the 18 round magazines, I have 2. They do not come with an extra long spring so beware, however I never had any issues except using them in the Elite I purchased about 2 months ago that I sold to someone wanting to get into Canik. (I will be buying another)

Throughout the full 5,320 rounds of this pistol the only issues I have seen are wear marks (where the black finish has worn off) on the barrel hood, the barrel about 1/2″ from the crown, and on the rails themselves. Other than that it has held up to everything I have thrown at it. The absolute only thing I wish I had done differently on purchase would be to have purchased a different size of the same exact model. They have a TP9SF Competition with a cut for a red dot and other features that are great for what I have done in 3-gun, and also a concealed carry version the TP9SF Elite that is more similar to a Glock 19 in size. Unfortunately I am a small fellow so the Elite version would have worked better for concealed carry, and the Competition would have worked better for what this is dedicated to in 3-gun for me. Hands down, buy a Canik. You will not be disappointed.


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