Canik55 TP9 review

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by CurlyQ, Oct 13, 2013.

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  1. CurlyQ

    CurlyQ Member

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    A few weeks ago I spotted an interesting gun for sale at a local gun store. It's called the Canik55 TP9. A 9mm automatic made in Turkey and imported by Century Arms International.

    What immediately caught my eye on this gun was the price. You get the TP9 pistol with two magazines, two switchable grip back straps, a custom hard shell holster with both paddle and belt loop mounts, in a molded plastic carrying case. All for $325. I've been hearing some good things about pistols coming out of Turkey lately, so I couldn't resist picking this one up at that price.

    The Canik55 brand name, by the way, is owned by Samsun Yurt Savunma, one of Turkey's largest defense contractors. The Canik55 line of pistols was launched by SYS in 1998 to produce high quality handguns intended for military and police use.

    The first thing you will notice when you look at the TP9 is that it is based on the design of the Walther P99, with just a few changes. The most noticable is the switch from the unique Walther magazine release lever along the bottom of the finger guard, to a traditional release button right where you would expect it on the side of the grip. The release is sized and positioned to be easily pressed, without having to alter your grip on the gun. A fairly stiff spring makes it difficult to release the magazine accidentally. When pressed, the magazine drops out quickly and smartly, with absolutely no drag. Oh, and the release button is easily switched to the opposite side, for lefties.

    The grip features the pronounced forward curve at the base that gives the Walther P99 its distinctive look. This gives the back of the grip a pronounced hump. Some won't like it, but it fits my hand very well. And note that the gun comes with two easily switched back straps, which allow for different sized hands. The front of the grip is finger contoured and grooved. The back strap is also grooved and the sides of the grip are lightly stippled. The base of the grip contains a long tail which rides behind the large extended base on the magazine. The magazines, by the way, are made by Mec-Gar, with their usual high quality, and hold a whopping 18 rounds.

    One feature the TP9 retains from the P99 is the fact that although it is striker fired, it is DA/SA gun. Unusual for a striker fired gun. This means the TP9 behaves much like any hammer fired DA/SA gun. When you chamber the first round, the striker is fully cocked and the gun is in single action mode. But here's where it's a little different. The trigger starts all the way forward, as if it were double action. But it has a very light pull and as you pull it rearward, about half way back, it clicks and locks in the single action position. From there it's a light take-up with a short, crisp 5 lb release. This only occurs on the first shot. After firing, the trigger reset is very short and definite, and the trigger remains locked back in the single action position.

    And this is where the DA/SA part comes in. It has a decocker. You heard right. A striker fired gun with a decocker. With the first round in the chamber and the gun ready to go, you can press the docker to release the striker and put the gun in double action mode. It now requires a full, hard trigger pull to fire. This double action pull is quite stiff, at about 10 lbs, but it is also smooth. After the first shot, it reverts back to single action. And for the safety conscious out there, although it releases the striker, the decocker itself physically blocks it from going all the way forward. It doesn't allow the striker to slam into the firing pin safety. Note also, this double action feature allows for a restrike on a misfire. A nice feature that can come in handy.

    The sights are traditional 3 dot, and the the rear site is fully adjustable for windage. The sights have one added feature that I didn't like. They are night sights….sort of. They aren't true luminous sights, but rather the dots are filled with luminescent paint. They will glow in the dark, but only if exposed to direct bright light for a period of time before hand. My guns spend the bulk of their time in my safe, in the dark. So the sights are pretty much useless to me as night sights. Also, the luminescent paint is a very dull yellow. Anywhere but in bright light they are very difficult to see at all. I took a small drill bit and cleaned out the dots, then filled them with bright gloss white enamel. Much better.

    From a safety perspective, the first line of defense is an active firing pin safety that blocks the firing pin unless the trigger is fully pulled. Beyond that, it doesn't have a lot of built in safety features. Of course, the ability to decock the gun and require a deliberate, long, hard first pull is a good safety option. But there is no manual safety, so you can't carry it "cocked and locked" in single action mode. When cocked, the striker protrudes from a hole in the rear of the slide, giving both a visual and tactile indication that the gun is cocked and ready to go. However, it lacks a loaded chamber indicator. One feature I wish it had. It does not have a magazine safety either, but this is one feature I can do without.

    OK, enough talk about the gun itself, how does it perform? My number one priority in any defensive gun is reliability. Period. And the TP9 made the grade. It ate everything I fed it, right out of the box. No break in period whatsoever. It just came out shooting. From 1 round in the mag to fully loaded at 18+1, it functioned every time. FMJ, hollow points, blunts, truncated cone, all shot flawlessly. With roughly 500 rounds through it so far, I haven't had a single malfunction. I attribute this, as much to the gun itself, to the excellent design of the Mec-Gar magazines. They hold the rounds solidly, nose up, with no gaps. No opportunity for the top round to nose dive. Just a smooth, clean feed up the polished feed ramp into a lightly beveled, but fully supported chamber. A well designed, wide, external extractor makes for reliable extraction and ejection.

    So how about accuracy? I'm not going to start rattling off measurements and group sizes, etc. I don't put much stock in accuracy in a defensive gun anyway. I don't really care if one gun makes groups 1/2 inch smaller than the next. For a gun made for defense, the question is can it put the bullet where I want it, well enough to stop a potential threat? Absolutely. And then some. Actually, it shoots better than I do. Is it a competition grade target gun? No. But then it was never intended to be.

    Ok, so once you are done shooting, how is it to take down and clean? As simple as it gets. It uses the Glock system of a spring cross bar that retains the slide. Like the Glock, push the slide slightly to the rear, push the cross bar down and the slide comes off. No trigger pull. No hassle. With the difference that the ends of the locking bar on this gun are large, flat and ribbed. Not little nubs like on the Glock. Much easier to manipulate. And as with most modern firearms, all that's left is to pop out the recoil spring and lift out the barrel. I quickly noted the first time I took it down that the guide rod is a robust metal rod, not plastic. It uses a single, flat coil spring, which is captured, so you have a single unit. Frame, slide, barrel, recoil assembly. Four large pieces. Nothing to drop or lose.

    The holster that comes with the gun is either a Blackhawk Serpa, or a very close copy. The gun slips smoothly into the hard shell holster and locks in place. Drawing the gun requires placing the trigger finger on a release paddle as it is being drawn. Again, exactly like a Serpa. And it has three screws on the back for attaching it to either a paddle or a belt loop back plate, both of which are included.

    In the end, the cheapest gun I own is quickly becoming my favorite. I'm sure the price will turn away some who believe that a $340 gun simply can't be any good. And while its often true that you get what you pay for, that's not aways the case. Inexpensive does not always mean bad. Just as expensive doesn't always mean good. This gun is solid as a rock. Fit and finish is excellent. Machining is top notch, inside and out. Action is smooth and the lockup is tight. It looks good. It feels good. And it shoots with the best of them. What more can you ask?

    One last thing concerning the magazines. This gun is so new on the market that magazines are hard to come by. Right now, about the only way to get them is directly through Century Arms. And while they are quite reasonably priced at $26, Century's draconic customer service policy charges a $28 "small order" shipping fee for orders under $75. So they are costly unless you order at least 3 at a time. Given the mags are made by Mec-Gar, I expect supply will loosen up before long. They sure can't be any harder to get than the ammo needed to shoot it.

    Also, note again, this is a full size service pistol. It is NOT designed for concealed carry, as such. Not to say you can' t conceal it. It's just not an ideal CCW pistol.
     
  2. Fremmer

    Fremmer Member

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    Good review! Sounds like a good pistol.
     
  3. el Godfather

    el Godfather Member

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    Excellent review. Going to google canik for pics and more info- and may be add it to the stable.
     
  4. Fishbed77

    Fishbed77 Member

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    If the Turks can make a clone that's half as good as a P99, then they've done a heckuva job.

    Personally, though, I'll stick to my real Walther. ;)
     
  5. frankiestoys

    frankiestoys Member

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    I don't much about this model but I have one of there CZ 75c copies the C100 (Tristar) and I've been very impressed with this little shooter and often carry it . With about 300 rds through it its run perfect ... They make a good product
     
  6. hi-tower

    hi-tower Member

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    Just bought this gun over the weekend and was able to shoot it on Sunday. Love it. It is also becoming one of my favorite guns right now. Works great and the stuff you get with it is great too. I bought the Desert sand version and really like it. I am a big black pistol guy and this color is growing on me fast.
     
  7. Kiln

    Kiln Member

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    My C100 is perfect too. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another Canik any day of the week.
     
  8. A Pause for the Coz

    A Pause for the Coz Member

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    I just picked one up. I had heard good things about these Turkish guns.
    So I wanted to pick one up. Just so happens Fleet Farm had them on sale for $319.
    There is allot there for $319.
    Should get a chance to fire it this week, looking forward to it.

    Here are a few images. I included my Taurus PT111 in the shot for scale compared to a compact 9mm.

    100_9232_zps91a4ea29.jpg

    100_9233_zps313bb028.jpg

    100_9234_zpsf651766c.jpg

    100_9235_zpse8367332.jpg
     
  9. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    The trigger is pretty aweful on the TP9. It really is a deal breaker for me. It's worth spending an extra hundred dollars or so to get one of many options with a half decent trigger. It's too bad. With a decent trigger it would be a real winner (like their stingray).
     
  10. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Member

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    I have been wanting one of these for awhile. Unfortunately it isn't possible here in CA.
     
  11. tiamat

    tiamat Member

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    If they'd have copied (stolen) the Walther's paddle mag release, I'd be all over it for that price. Even still, that's a heck of a deal. Just make sure to exercise good trigger finger placement and control, or throw away the holster, lest you shoot yourself in the leg.
     
  12. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    Tiamat, you seem to imply that copying other pistol designs is somehow stealing or unethical but in the firearms business its the name of the game. Glock doesn't have a single original feature on it, Mausers, 1911s, AR15s, are almost all copies or clones to some extent. At this point its like saying car brand A stole from car brand B because it also has air filled rubber tires.
     
  13. wally

    wally Member

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    Why do people think this is in anyway worthwhile? I do about 25% of my shooting left handed and when shooting using proper trigger discipline your index finger will be available when not shooting and I actually find it easier to drop the magazine with my left hand trigger finger when shooting lefty than with my thumb when shooting right handed. Same for the slide lock lever.

    Now an ambi thumb safety or decocker is the feature that would matter!
     
  14. tiamat

    tiamat Member

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    I was implying that since they were already copying the design of the gun, they should have copied it completely, including the nice ambi-paddle mag release, which I prefer over a button.
     
  15. wally

    wally Member

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    While the paddle release is seen as a virtue by some, most see it as different from what they expect and hence a negative, its basically why Walther came out with the PPQ M2

    Now if they'd copied it enough to also use P99 mags, then keeping the paddle release would have been the way to go.
     
  16. tiamat

    tiamat Member

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    which was the wrong way to go, IMO.
     
  17. wally

    wally Member

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    Walther is still making the model with the paddle release (aka M1), only time will tell which will sell better.
     
  18. wild cat mccane

    wild cat mccane Member

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    I just bought a PPQ M1 (paddle release) for 500 new. They are as low as 488 right now.

    Once people who have actually shot the TP9 and P99 AS start comparing, I'll pay serious attention to these reviews.

    I think a TP9 is on the list if it similar to the P99. The reset appears to be the same as the PPQ/P99...

    How is the cerakote holding up?
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2014
  19. guncheese

    guncheese Member

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    i have over 4k rounds thru my TP-9 and it took me a bit to get used to the trigger. But once you learn it, she shoots easy, very short clean reset (and loud! i can hear the reset thru my ear guards ) its very easy to teach folks to shoot from the reset with that gun as it is so noticable.
    its my EDC darn near 24/7 (i dont bring it in the shower with me, but i dont think it would do it any harm)
     
  20. snooperman

    snooperman Member

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    A friend bought a TP9 and I am much impressed with it. Frankly, I am very impressed with the pistols coming from Turkey now. I own an SAR B6 and it is a very well made gun for only $299.
     
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