All Canik models explained. As the line of Canik models continue to grow, I’ll update this thread with the latest information.
One of the most popular questions when it comes to the Canik brand is “what’s the difference” between all the Canik models. Though this list only touches on the basics for each model, there is a lot of information on this forum and around the internet regarding each Canik model.
Canik over the years, with their import partner Century Arms, has really grown a name for itself for the quality of the firearms produced, the outstanding triggers with short resets, and the overall value of what you get from Canik at an affordable price. Caniks are not cheap guns, rather, they are an outstanding value at an economical price. Canik is also a NATO manufacturer, and their pistols are regularly tested to meet NATO requirements. Canik pistols are currently used throughout the world by law enforcement and military units.
Canik TP9 Original
The original TP9 is modeled after the well proven Walther P99. The original TP9, and it’s predecessors, the V2 and DA, are a DA/SA (double action/single action) striker fired handgun. Much like a traditional hammer fired handgun, the TP9 has a much longer and heavier first round trigger pull. After the first round is down range, the gun is in single action mode and has a much lighter, shorter trigger with a short reset. Based off the records from my trigger gauge, the V2 weighs in at about 8.5lbs for it’s double action, and around 4.5lbs in single action. I have never owned or shot an original TP9, but I’ve heard the trigger is heavier and grittier. The original TP9 was offered in a variety of colors, and you can still find a used one once in awhile on sights like Gunbroker.
A couple years after the release of the TP9, Canik released the updated version, the TP9 V2. The V2 has an improved trigger, along with some cosmetic changes to the grip and the slide. One other important note, the later production V2 has a dovetail front and rear sight. Earlier Canik production has a pinned front sight. Same goes for the earlier models of the TP9 SA which we’ll discuss shortly.
The V2 is only available in black, and comes packaged with two 18 round mags. There was also a limited release of a TP40V2, which can still occasionally be found on a few retail websites. There were only 500 units of the 40cal version imported, according to Century Arms, so they are scarce. I’ve never handled the 40cal version, but from user reports, they are just as enjoyable as the 9mm V2.
The third variant in the DA/SA striker fired offerings from Canik is the TP9 DA. Once again Canik made some changed to the trigger as well as the slide frame. A couple obvious changes are to the slide itself, where it’s squared off on the top (unlike the V2 which is more rounded), they removed the anti-glare ridges along the top (as seen on the V2 and TP9 SA) and the decocker is no longer ambi. On the original and V2, the decocker was accessible on both sides of the top of the frame, but on the DA it is right hand only.
Another noticeable difference is the trigger. The DA has a blade safety designed into the trigger, unlike the original and the V2. Whether this addition is an improvement or not is debatable. Additionally, the DA is offered in black as well as burnt bronze. Looking at the pictures below, you can see the newer slide design with the non-ambi decocker. One other change that occurred with the DA is the addition of the Warren Tactical sights. A white front dot is used however, unlike the fiber obtic front on other models such as the Elite and SFx.
The TP9, V2 and DA are great carry options for those who are familiar with DA/SA handguns, or someone who is more comfortable with a heavier trigger pull for their first round down range. As an owner of the V2 and the DA variants, these are two of the Canik models that I carry and shoot the most. Both are excellent options, and more aftermarket is becoming available for them.
From my personal experience, the DA has a heavier DA and SA trigger pull, which isn’t bad, but I’ve upgraded one of my DA’s with a spring kit from Galloway Precision and it made a noticeable difference. My DA’s have an average weight of 10lbs in double action, and 5.25 in single action. The Galloway Precision spring kit reduced it down to around 8lbs and 4.5lbs, which is where my V2’s are without any changes. Both the DA and V2 have a 4″ barrel and come with two 18 round magazines.
The TP9SA has a 4.5″ barrel, comes with two 18 round magazines and is a single action striker. One notable feature of the SA is the decocker on top. Unlike the V2 and DA, the SA is not double/single action. The decocker does decock the gun, but the trigger is “dead”. Why they put a decocker on a single action striker fired handgun is a mystery, but I’ve heard they had a government contract that required a safe way to decock before disassembly. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. But I have owned the SA for a couple years now and the decocker is a mute point. You have to intentionally want to decock the firearm, as I’ve never had it inadvertently decock. To some, the decocker is a deal breaker, and that’s understandable. I think it’s a really great range gun, and I have no concerns carrying an SA and depending my life on it.
For those who do not care for the decocker, a model such as the TP9 SF may be a better option. One thing to note, the early versions of the SA have a pinned front sight, just like the early versions of the V2. Later on in production they changed over to a dovetail front, which accepts S&W M&P front sights. They also changed the FDE color and it’s a noticeably darker tan, same as the newer production SF, Elite Combat and SFx models.
Canik TP9SA Mod2
The SA Mod2 is the updated version of the original TP9SA, and there are some noticeable differences. Available in Black or FDE, the Mod2 has some changes to the slide and the decocker. The slide top is now smooth (no more anti-glare ridges) and it’s flat, like the Elite, SF, SFL, etc. They also modified the decocker, just like on the DA so it’s no longer ambi. I don’t know if any changes were made internally, but in my uneducated experience with both models, it seems the reset on the mod2 is a bit shorter than on the original SA. Both the SA and Mod2 are exceptional shooters, so it may just come down to aesthetics if someone is debating purchasing one of these two models for purchase.
The SF model shares the same dimensions as the SA, minus the decocker. It comes with two 18 rounds mags and is a single action only striker fired handgun. If I’m correct, this is the first model where they eliminated the anti-glare ridges on top and flattened the top of the slide. The SF has a 4.5″ barrel, just like the SA and Mod2, and is available in black or FDE.
Based off the SF model, and available in black only, the SFT comes with a threaded barrel and suppressor height sights. Considering the relatively low cost of this gun, you would spend more purchasing a threaded barrel and aftermarket sights. If you like to shoot suppressed, give the SFT some serious consideration.
Canik TP9SF Elite
The TP9SF Elite was a big game changer for the Canik brand. The Elite has a 4.2″ barrel and comes with 15 round magazines. The Elite is comparable to a Glock 19 in size, and can accept the Canik 18 and 20 round magazines. Though they do stick out a little further, there are aftermarket mag sleeves available. With the release of the TP9SF Elite, it really was a game changer for both Canik and Century Arms. The Elite drew in a large following, and was receiving excellent reviews.
One issue that plagued the Elite however, was an issue with stove pipes and slide lock failures. Reports from some Youtubers were a little discouraging to say the least. Fortunately, Canik/Century reacted right away and offered up a reduced power RSA (Recoil Spring Assembly) to remedy the situation. Apparently, in the region of the world where Canik is produced, they tend to shoot hotter ammo than most of us here in the U.S. use. Hence the reason for a stiff RSA. Once this issue was corrected, the complaints about stove pipes and slide lock seemed to all but disappear.
I do believe however that Canik still provides a rather stiff RSA in their guns, and I always run a couple boxes of NATO ammo through a new Canik first. Since I’ve been doing this, I’ve never had a failure with any of my many Caniks. I did have the weak ejection and stove piping with my first Elite, but an updated RSA remedied the issue. Since then, a couple boxes of hotter ammo first, and my Caniks will eat anything. Elite models are offered in the most variety of colors than any of the other Canik models.
Canik TP9SF Elite S
The TP9SF Elite S is the same dimension as the Elite, with the addition of the trigger stop. I’ve heard the trigger stop was required for a government contract, and eventually made it’s way into the U.S. market. I’ve not handled an Elite S, but I’ve read that the trigger stop is very positive, and you really need to intentionally flip up the stop to engage the safety feature. Some people were concerned that the trigger stop could accidentally be engaged when you did not want it, but those fears have been eliminated with all the positive reviews and user feedback. If someone trains properly, the trigger stop should be a non-issue.
The TP9 SFx is Caniks competition model, with a 5″ barrel, lightening cuts on the slide, 20 round magazines, a slide cut to accept red dots and four mounting plates. The SFx, just like all other Canik models has an outstanding trigger right out of the box. The Warren Tactical sights that come standard have a fiber optic front and are very accurate. The rear dovetail sight is fixed into the red dot plate, so if you do add a red dot, you lose your rear iron sight. There are four adapter plates that come packaged with the SFx and will fit a variety of red dots, including Vortex, Trijicon, Delta Point, Burris and Sightmark to name a few.
The SFx out of the box is a very accurate, smooth shooting competition handgun. Though there are people who do choose to conceal carry the SFx, it is geared more towards the competition crowd. The trigger, just like all other Caniks is very smooth with an incredibly short reset. This is one incredibly priced handgun, and I’ve heard countless stories from competitors who have won competition after competition with their stock Canik vs heavily modified Glocks and other competition guns.
One caveat with the SFx is the RSA. Some competitors were having issue with stove pipes when using their reduced power loads. Once again Canik/Century acted quickly and offered up a reduced power recoil spring assembly to remedy the issue. I personally have the stock RSA in my SFx, and like any new Canik I ran a couple boxes of NATO through it first. My SFx will eat any ammo I feed it, but I also have not produced reduced power loads for it either. That being said, I’ve fed it a variety of store bought ammo from WWB 115gr to 147gr Federal HST. The SFx with it’s 5″ barrel is an incredibly smooth shooting gun, and is well worth the very reasonable price tag. The SFx is available in three color schemes, Tungsten, FDE and Burnt Bronze/OD Green. The SFx is available in Tungsten, FDE or a two tone Burnt Bronze/OD Green.
The TP9 SFL shares the same dimensions as the SFx, is only available in black, comes with two 18 round magazines and does not have a cut to accept a red dot. The SFL is a bit cheaper than the SFx and is worth checking out if you have no intention of adding a red dot to your handgun.
Canik TP9 Elite Combat
The Canik TP9 Elite Combat is the new flagship model from Canik/Century. The Elite Combat is a collaborative project with Salient Arms, including a threaded barrel, fiber optic front sight, flat faced trigger, flared magwell and a slide cut for red dots. The Elite Combat shares the same dimensions as the original SF Elite, and comes with one 15 round magazine and a 15 round with +3 mag extension. Both magazines are also usable in the original Elite.
The Elite Combat is the most expensive of the Canik models offered to date by Century Arms, and is an incredible value. The trigger on the Elite Combat is phenomenal, with a very short reset and little take up. The Salient Arms sights are excellent, and it’s easy to produce tight groups while getting on target quickly. Should you decide to add a red dot, there are four plates included, just like the SFx, that will accept many of the common red dots such as Trijicon, Delta Point, Vortex, Burris and Sightmark to name a few. The EC also comes with three different mag release buttons so you can customize it to your liking, just like the SFx. Mine came with the medium installed and I replaced it with the small button.
Though the Elite Combat comes with a steeper price tag than all Canik offerings before it, it’s well worth it in my opinion. Whether you are planning on conceal carrying the Elite Combat or use it in competition, it will fill both roles nicely. And word on the street is eventually many of the Elite Combat components will become available for aftermarket purchase. I hope it’s soon as I’d like to put the EC trigger in my older Elite, as well as a flared magwell. Currently the Elite Combat is only available in FDE.
On a side note, Canik dropped the “SF” from the model name. Unlike it’s older sibling, the TP9SF Elite, the Combat is TP9 Elite Combat.
Note: This post is still a work in progress, and I will update and add to it as time allows.