Apex Gunsmithing
20Dec/14

First Impressions: Canik TP9-SA

That's right, another Canik review!  Before you roll your eyes and close your browser tab, here's the hook: the Canik TP9 SA has one of the best out of the box striker fired triggers on the market.  For under $400.  Interested now?  Read on.

TP9 SA Left

Talk about a makeover!

I've already written about the original TP9, which is ostensibly a clone of the Walther P99 with a few tweaks to make it a bit more southpaw friendly.  Overall the TP9 is a solid value, but it has its fair share of negatives.  It's kind of ugly, the ergonomics aren't the greatest, and the trigger out of the box is at best mediocre with minimal ability for end users to DIY their way to a better pull.  It also uses magazines with chunky, awkward baseplates and just overall screams "cheap gun".

Canik snuck the TP9-SA in under the radar, quietly overhauling the innards of the TP9 into a single action only, fully staged striker akin to the Walther PPQ or the "QA" model P99.  They gave it a full makeover with a new frame and slide contour, giving the pistol a much more attractive look while more or less solving the ergonomic issues of its predecessor.  A Cerakote-like slide finish, new (steel!) sights and a flat baseplate for the magazines round out the rest of the immediately noticeable changes.

TP9 SA Sights

Three-dot sights with a vertical post, steel instead of plastic!

So, the outside is prettier, but is it lipstick on a pig or did Canik actually overhaul the gun on the inside too?  At first glance you might not be impressed, particularly if you've read my TP9 detail strip guide... it looks pretty much the same on the inside!  What gives?

The short answer is, it basically is the same on the inside, but far more refined.  The long answer is Canik did exactly what I would've done to improve the gun's single action pull, some of which is explained in the TP9 detail strip post.

Unlike the original TP9 there's nothing there to grab the striker and pull it for a full double action stroke, but the single action sear is still there.  What Canik did was basically reduce certain spring weights, change engagement angles to bring them closer to neutral and reduce the excess engagement to prevent creep.  In other words, a proper trigger job that would've cost you a pretty penny from a gunsmith.

Results?

Had some variance from 8-12oz

Had some variance from 8-12oz

You're not reading that wrong, and yes that is in-spec for the pistol according to Canik.  The "new" SA trigger is top notch for any striker gun, none the less one under $400 out the door in most places.  It's got some negatives compared to much more expensive pistols like the PPQ or a heavily tuned M&P, namely more overtravel and a slightly longer reset.  It's also got a tiny bit of creep that you probably won't even notice without looking for it.

All in all, aside from some new gun grit and roughness the TP9-SA has one of the best out of the box striker triggers on the market, regardless of price.  That's saying a lot.

Stay tuned for a range report and more thoughts on tuning up the Canik pistols, as well as some other reviews and ramblings in the works.

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