Canik TP9 Elite SC Review

TP9 Elite pictured in front of a black background.
| May 20, 2023
Categories: Guns

Gun shoppers looking for a solid concealed carry, home defense, or pure fun range gun should look closely at what the Turkish-made Canik line offers. Sure, it’s easy to turn your nose up at lesser-known, lower-priced imports when there are some heavy-hitting foreign brands like GlockHK, and FN to grab your attention.

I get that. But I’ve been testing out Canik’s subcompact TP9 Elite SC carry pistol for several months now—and other Caniks for years. I have been impressed with their performance, even relative to the more expensive competition.

TP9 Elite SC Overview & Specs

Paul Peterson,

The TP9 Elite SC might not come from a high and mighty name, but it certainly has some things to offer that you wouldn’t expect in a budget-friendly, Turkish-made pistol. Let’s start with the specs.

Side view of the Canik TP9 Elite.

The TP9 Elite SC marked Canik’s entrance into the subcompact world after several full-sized guns. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

Canik’s 9mm TP9 line of firearms borrowed generously from the Walther P99, and it shows with even the newer TP9 Elite SC still resembling the Walther. The gun offers a flush magazine with a standard capacity of 12+1, pinky extension optional, or 15+1 magazine with an extended baseplate included.

TP9 Elite in its original format, pictured on a bed of ammo.

This used TP9 Elite SC did come with some extras, but I tested it in its original format. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

This gun came to me used and with a few extra goodies, including a light, holster, and custom baseplate extensions. However, I did my testing and shooting without them. The sights and trigger came stock.

But first…

Canik TP9 Elite SC for Sale

The first place to go for a Canik TP9 Elite SC for sale is, of course, They are available in other places too. 

Canik TP9 Elite SC for sale?!

Canik TP9 Elite SC for sale?!

Where to Find It



General Specs

Length: 6.7 inches
Barrel Length: 3.6 inches
Height: 4.6 inches
Width: 1.45 inches
Weight: 1.54 pounds
Trigger Pull: 4.6 pounds

Slide & Sights

The gun boasts ambi, extended slide releases, and a reversible magazine release. There are also slanted front and rear slide serrations. The tapered slide has serrations only covering part of the slide. I found them positive but not overly aggressive at the rear and more than effective for press checks at the front.

The metal sights are not tritium-style night sights but rather a blacked-out rear with a phosphorous front dot. The rear uses a square notch, hosts anti-glare cuts, and has a forward slope to assist with one-handed slide racking in case forced to use something like your belt. I’ll talk more about the phosphorous front dot later, but the dot is large and white when not charged.

TP9 metal sights pictured up close.

The metal sights boast a phosphorous front post, which is both better than many competitors and not my favorite option. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

TP9's rear sights and decocker pictured.

The rear sight is a square notch with anti-glare cuts. Also note the red cocked-striker indicator, which is a nice touch. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

This gun is red-dot ready and provides direct mounting of the optic to the slide, which accepts Shield SMS/RMS footprint optics. In addition to direct mounting, Canik boasts that you will have “true” co-witness with the sights. I assume this co-witness means the stock sights but cannot yet confirm. The front has a Picatinny rail for your lights and lasers.

TP9 slide pictured up close, showing the chamber indicator.

The slide is cut to host a Shield SMS/RMS footprint optic directly onto it. Also, note the loaded chamber indicator in the bottom right. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

The grip texture of the TP9 Elite is a blend of Glock and Sig.

The grip texture is almost a blend of Glock and Sig textures I’ve encountered, perhaps cutting the difference between some of the competition. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

Lastly, there is stippling on the side panels and raised dots on the front and rear of the grip. Overall, I found this locked into the hand nicely. I’d say it’s a cross between a Glock 19 and Sig P320 texture pattern. It’s more slippery than my Sig P320 but less so than my Glock 19 Gen 4 with sweaty hands.

Range Day: Accuracy & Reliability

TP9 side view pictured on a bed of ammo.

For me, the range is where this gun and other Caniks I have fired shine the most as out-of-the-box performers. However, remember that these are budget-friendly guns. So far, they’ve proven to be very reliable and accurate shooters without needing babying or excessive upgrades.

I’m only at around 250 rounds through the TP9 Elite SC with no issues to report yet. I’m also past 5,000 with my older TP9SA. It was one of my favorite plinking guns before ammo prices went haywire. Yes, the TP9SA is the only version with a decocking button that makes it a no-go for carry or duty as a single-action-only gun. But the trigger was quite nice. The gun also ate everything from bulks of lacquered steel-case ammo and budget reloads to Federal and Winchester ball to Hornady Critical defense and Sig Sauer Elite Performance.

TP9SA pictured from top view, disassembled.

My larger Canik TP9SA has lived a life and shows some wear after heavy use but still works. The only gripe I ever really had was that this particular version had a decocker that could render the gun dead without cocking it again. Note the two circles on the left of the slide for the sign of that issue inside. There’s a large button on the other side that deactivates the gun.

TP9 gripped by the reviewer.

Here you can see the grip I can get with relatively large hands. Yet even with the flush baseplate on the 12+1 magazine, I still found good control and accuracy were relatively easy. This is how I did most of my test shooting as well. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

Failures & Successes

I can only recollect one failure and one shooter-induced failure with that TP9SA. The first was a failure to fire, which came from a box of cheap reloads I had pulled from the trunk of my car in minus-20-degree weather. The primer did not ignite. Before anyone takes that as a sign of the gun’s quality, it also did not ignite in subsequent testing with my G19.

The second failure was from another shooter firing the pistol with a limp wrist. In that case, I watched them allow their hand to recoil back and the slide caught the spent casing in a mid-flight stovepipe. It was impressive bad luck, really. Still, there’s some wear on the finish now, but I’ve come to think of the gun as a tank.

TP9 groupings at 15 yards pictured.

I shot the first mag at 15 yards with the flush baseplate. I took this pic after the range and did not have the light on the gun when shooting. I’d call that a relative success since I had never fired this gun before. I’ve done worse with a lot more expensive and arguably better guns. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

TP9 Elite pictured with 25 yard grouping results.

It did open a bit at 25 yards, but still not bad for a subcompact I’d never fired. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

Final Range Day Thoughts

The carry-sized TP9 Elite SC still felt good in the hand, and I could get a full grip with the extended mags. I did almost all my shooting, however, with the 12-rounders. It did not feel overly snappy or uncomfortable with my pinky creeping off the grip. This is just one opinion, but I felt like I shot this subcompact better than most of my full-size guns right out of the box. I also shot it better than just about any subcompact or smaller I’ve ever shot that was still in its factory condition.

I believe a lot of that comes down to the trigger and ergonomics of the gun. The grip is closer to 18 degrees like a 1911 instead 22 degrees like a Glock, so I felt it pointed more naturally in my hands. But the trigger was likely the real winner. It has a smooth take-up that is more like light resistance, letting you know as you are pulling that it is mush. The wall is clear, and there is just a hint of creep you barely notice before a crisp break. The reset is also positive and short, making those follow-up shots so much easier.

Simplicity & Extras

Another thing about Canik’s TP9s is the extras that make life just a little bit simple. My test gun came from the Certified Used collection. It still had the extra backstraps, a Canik IWB/OWB holster, an extra mag, a magazine extension plate, and some other goodies tucked in a nice hard case. Beyond that, Canik TP9-series pistols are all incredibly simple to takedown and maintain. In this way, they are much like a Glock but with more generous, user-friendly takedown levers.

TP9 pictured with extra accessories.

As a used gun, this particular TP9 Elite SC came with quite a few little extras that were very nice to find. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

Optional holster available for the TP9.

But even the new Canik pistols often include quite a few extras, like this holster that shipped with the TP9 Elite SC originally. It’s not what I would prefer, but more than I would normally expect. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

But as a used gun, it also came with a rechargeable Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie pistol light, a nice Close Quarters Carry Kydex inside-the-waistband holster and two TF aluminum magazine extensions. All were nice perks that sometimes come with used guns.

Areas of Improvement for the TP9 Elite SC

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all 100 percent sunshine and roses. While the metal phosphate sights were better than those offered by some competitors, I do wish they would be tritium-based sights. The phosphorus front will glow a nice, bright green for quite a while with just a quick hit from your flashlight. It works, but if you were to leave it in your holster and forget, it might come out as little more than a white dot.

The TP9 Elite SC also comes with only two mags, something I would like to see go away. Three mags with the pistol sets the user up with what they need for most things, including training courses that often require them. Granted, at least Canik’s TP9s come with nice Mec-Gar mags.

My last gripe is the extended and somewhat beefy slide release controls. They make this more tactical than a carry gun by beefing up the width of the pistol. I can also see them eventually preventing the slide from locking back while shooting if you ride them with your support-hand thumb.

Final Thoughts: How Does It Stack Up?

TP9 Elite pictured in front of a black background.

Complaints aside, and ignoring the budget-friendly nature of the TP9 Elite SC in general, this has been a lot of bang for the buck even as a used gun. Or maybe extra-bang, since it came with extras. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

I don’t generally like to give overly stellar remarks on a gun, especially after just 250 rounds fired. So, I might be a bit biased here given my history with Canik firearms. But honestly, I’m tempted to buy this gun after testing to keep putting it through its paces. It is worth noting that prices on some of the Canik guns have been rising over the years as they gain a reputation. At the same time, they continued to improve their guns and add new features for different shooters’ needs.

However, as my last thought, I would certainly carry this pistol with as much confidence as my stock G19 or Sig Sauer P320 with a bit more testing, and I would likely eventually shoot it better. However, I generally don’t carry with a pistol light and would likely drop that item.


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⚠️ Some hyperlinks in this article may contain affiliate links. If you use them to make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. It’s just one way to Back the Bang. #backthebang