HANDGUNS HAVE COME a long way in just the past decade.
It’s not uncommon to upgrade a handgun with a red dot optic, threaded barrel, flared magazine well, and custom trigger. This will easily double the price of the original investment.
So when Century Arms came out with the Canik TP9 Elite Combat I was intrigued. The first time I saw a Canik pistol, I thought it was a Walther P99 because it looks very similar, especially with the striker indicator. It had an excellent trigger as well, but I was especially drawn to the low price tag.
Canik partnered with Salient Arms International to create the Elite Combat series with all the extras that one would desire from a custom handgun. SAI designed the barrel, sights, and magazine funnel.
The 9mm barrel is threaded, fluted, and nitride coated. The hex-shaped thread protector is a nice touch. But like many foreign guns, it is threaded to 13.5 x 1mm. The downside of this is that while you might have saved money on purchasing an aftermarket-threaded barrel, you might need to purchase a different piston for your suppressor.
The sights look nice, but always hit a touch high for me and are only adjustable for windage. However the lack of sight adjustment didn’t bother me much because a pistol like this is best suited for a red dot optic.
I tested the Canik Elite Combat with the Trijicon RMR and new SRO, both. However, the Canik will also accept several other kinds of optics.
It includes four mounting plates for several different dots to include Leupold, Vortex, C-More, Doctor, Shield and a maybe a few others that use the same footprints.
The precise SRO red dot optic and the crisp 4.5-pound trigger *(which also has an incredibly short reset) enabled me to shoot sub 1.5- inch groups freestanding from 15 yards with Black Hills 125-grain Honey Badger ammo.
When an optic is mounted on the slide it removes the rear sight so co-witnessing is not an option. However using an optics plate gives you the option of adding a slide-charging handle to the side.
At first I thought this was kind of weird and might be cumbersome. But after I installed it, I found I really liked using it. Yes, it would be terribly uncomfortable to try to carry concealed, but for competition and range plinking it sure is handy.
The magazine funnel crowds my hands just a touch on the grip, but it also gives them a stopping point that might lead to more recoil control. Either way, this isn’t really going to be a concealed carry handgun. So, the grip area could have been a touch longer, butt it still shoots well.
It comes with two magazines. Both have the same 15-round body but one holds 18 rounds with its +3 extension. The magazine release buttons are reversible and come with two sizes in case you want a larger button.
All in all, for the price the Canik is a winner. With the extras that are included right out of the box you could hit an open competition right away.
I’ve seen it as low as $650 from BDU. Considering the included extras it’s a great value. If you don’t need all those bells and whistles, just check out the more basic models such as the TP9SA for under $400.
Email Dustin Ellermann at [email protected]