Polyarmory—All The Guns I’ve Loved Before: Turkish Edition
If you’re reading this, you might be familiar with that itch to purchase a new gun you’ve watched at least a dozen reviews of online. I confess to having had that annoying rash more than once, and more than once, the excitement of satisfying that itch with a trip to the gun store to pick up the new gun was dulled by a less-than-stellar, or sometimes flat disappointing, trip to the range with my new purchase. There have been exceptions, too—sweet first dates that continue to satisfy in polyamorous—er, polyarmorous—relationships that continue today.
This first of several planned installments emanating from my gun safe is about the Canik TP9-SA. This full-size 9mm has nice features including a choice of two backstrap panels, a rail to accommodate most any light, rugged good looks in your choice of black or desert tan, and a glorious 18-round mag made by Mec-Gar, manufacturer of magazines for many big-name brands.
The trigger is outstanding. It’s been called the best stock trigger in the polymer-lower market, and I agree. It has a safety block, followed by a short and fairly light pull. Reset is crisp and a short trip from the break point. The only one I’ve tested that’s close to the quality of this trigger is the one on the HK VP9, which costs almost twice as much. The trigger guard is roomy and leaves plenty of room for a beefy or gloved finger.
The stock sights on this gun are conducive to quick acquisition and accuracy. The three-dot configuration is enhanced by a vertical hash mark on the rear sight, which I find helpful for rapid alignment. There’s no tritium in there, though, so what you see is what you get, and to my knowledge, night sights aren’t available for this gun.
There’s a red striker-ready indicator on the rear-facing surface of the slide, which may appeal to some. I could do without it, as the loaded chamber indicator works just fine.
The only bit of weirdness on the TP9-SA appears to be a holdover from its double/single action predecessor, the TP9. There’s a striker decocker on the top of the slide. It’s advertised as a tool for avoiding pressing the trigger before cleaning. In a year-plus of hard use, I’ve never used this feature. At first I had some concern that it would disengage the striker when I didn’t intend to do so. That’s never happened. I’ve come to like the black button as nothing more than nice black decoration on my desert tan gun.
The best thing about the Canik TP9-SA is dependability. I’ve run it clean, dirty, and with good and bad ammo, save for steel-cased ammunition which I avoid. It’s not malfunctioned once for me. It’s popular with the many students, beginners and experienced, who’ve borrowed or tested it as well. The length from backstrap to trigger is a good fit for a variety of people.
“But you’ll never be able to get parts for it,” a friend says. True. Century Arms is the only US distributor of this Turkish product, and while extra mags are readily available for less than $40, parts are absent
from the market. With a take-home price of less than $370 for the desert tan and $350 for the black model, I can foresee myself simply purchasing a second TP9-SA at some future date to replace or supply parts for my current one.
It wasn’t easy to win the title of Favorite Pistol in comparison to others in my collection, but the Canik TP9-SA did it. It’s become my go-to for matches, training I receive, and training I give. It’s delivered more than the purchase price in value in just a year. My only misgiving is the near-absence of accessories like holsters and night sights on the mass market—it’s a great gun, but not in enough hands to justify attention from the big accessory companies. Thus, I also employ and enjoy other pistols, which will be highlighted in future installments.