What sets one pistol apart from another is often not some major flaw, but several small things adding up based on the shooter’s preferences and needs. Maybe you’re a first-time gun buyer interested in personal protection. Perhaps you are a competitive shooter looking to refine your performance, or maybe you are just looking to add a cool gun to your collection for range days.
While Canik is slowly becoming a more commonly heard name in gun shops across the country, they certainly tick all the right boxes for all the above at every skill level.
Canik’s first pistol line, the TP9 Series, covers a lot of bases. From concealed carry, with the TP9 Elite sub-compact, to duty use for Law Enforcement Officers, with the TP9 Salient upgraded Elite Combat and EC Executive, to competitive shooters with the TP9 SFX models, we think these pistols outrank most polymer handguns in their price range and with their feature sets.
Canik originated as an aerospace engineering company over two decades ago and brought their superior craftsmanship to the firearms industry in 2009. Partnering with Century Arms in 2012 to import their firearms into the US, these exceptional handguns were immediately a success and have proven themselves nothing short of superb across the board in handgun shooting these past 10 years.
Named the 2018 Editor’s Choice for Versatile/Value Pistol by Ballistic Magazine, Canik is one of our top options when considering performance and feel without breaking the bank. In late 2021, Canik introduced the Mete (pronounced Met-ay) Series and in early 2022, they dropped the much anticipated SFX variant, The SFX Rival.
Chambered in 9mm, the Mete Series offers two models, the SFT with a 4.47” barrel and the SFX with a 5.2” barrel. Both are available in either the two-tone FDE frame with a black slide or in an all black model.
“Building off the TP series success, the evolution of this line is based off consumer and engineering feedback that were not only desired enhancements but also functional improvements.” -CanikUSA
WHAT HAS STAYED THE SAME?
Both Mete models offer some of our favorite features from the TP9 Series. We like the loaded chamber indicator. It’s a really creative way Canik has added another visual layer of safety to their handguns. The three dot sights are easy on the eye to pick up. The standard front and rear slide serrations help the user confidently manipulate the slide and the short, crisp trigger reset allows the shooter to get back on target quickly or fire multiple rounds in quicker succession.
What has evolved in this new series of sporting pistols is subtle to the eye, but noticeable when holding and firing them. Both the trigger guard and beavertail have undergone ergonomic upgrades for improved comfort and support. The grip texture is slightly more aggressive both on the sides and front strap of the grip, which we noticed really changed the feel and overall stability. They have developed the new Holster Fit and Lock system, HFL, for better retention when holstered claiming to minimize wear and tear on the gun. The HFL feature might benefit someone conceal carrying, or Law Enforcement on duty use, but isn’t really something we find necessary for the competitive shooter. Canik has also redesigned the self-flared magwell to remain low profile but still assist in quicker reloads, and they have made improvements to the slide stop mechanism allowing for easier takedown with the use of only one tool, included in the case. Finally, our favorite, and perhaps most innovative new feature, is the optics cut redesigned to take the new Trijicon RMRcc directly to the slide. This allows for a true co-witnessing of your iron and red-dot sights*. A lot of shooters are moving toward optics on their pistols and this new direct mount cut makes it a lot easier to train or have a reliable, non-snagging, backup option in a potential defensive situation.
The new Trijicon RMRcc was designed in the shadows of its big brother the 1.1” x 1” RMR with the same ruggedness and overall look just a smaller footprint at .9” x .9”. This optic is ideal for both compact and full-sized pistols and has easy mounting capabilities directly to the slide on the new Canik Mete Series. Not having to fumble with different plate options is a highlight for the Mete RMRcc combo.
COMPETITION SHOOTERS AND RANGE ENTHUSIASTS, THIS ONE IS FOR YOU.
The excitement surrounding the release of the Canik SFX Rival has been building for quite some time. This pistol is primarily focused on competition shooting but also is just fun to shoot for the everyday gunner on the range. It’s offered in two color options, Rival Grey with gold Cerakote accents, and The Dark Side in all black. Our comp shooters will appreciate these specs as much as we do. Weighing 29.5oz with a total length of 8.1”, a height of 5.7”, 1.41” wide and a 5” barrel, this pistol is quite literally range ready without restrictions in IPSC, IDPA and USPSA. Sharing some of the same upgrades as its Mete cousins, with the improved trigger guard and beavertail, aggressive grip, optic cuts and easy takedown capabilities, this pistol has a few extra features allowing the shooter personalization when dialing the Rival in. Canik’s most notable claim to fame, which really makes it easy to manage and creates a truly flat shot when on the timer, the three pound flat aluminum trigger breaks right at 90˚ and has one of the shortest resets we have found in a production handgun that’s straight out of the box. The Rival also has very usable adjustable fiber optic sights and the slide has very useful machined lightening cuts that not only make for a striking appearance, but also serve to reduce weight. It should be noted that if the shooter chooses to mount an optic, as a competition ready gun, the rear sight will not be present.
All of Canik‘s firearms are an easy recommendation from Alpine Arms staff. Canik’s passion for engineering a superior striker fired polymer pistol, coupled with really listening to their end users’ feedback on improvements, leaves us confident in the quality of their firearms.
“Our students train with various weapons systems at various levels. We have noticed consistency in those using Caniks. There is no substitute for putting in the time on the range, but a quality firearm will help.” Steven – Training Director
Not only do these guns have all the options already mentioned, but they also come standard with two magazines, two aluminum interchangeable base plates, an E-Z speed loader, an additional external magwell, and a holster all for under $700 on the Rival, and under $600 for the Mete’s. The value for the level of craftsmanship simply cannot be beat.