Canik is a Turkish gun maker, named for the mountain range and region in northern Turkey, on the Black Sea coast near the large port city of Samsun, which is a few hundred miles east of the capital of Istanbul.
Believe it or not, Turkey actually has a vibrant arms industry. Broadly speaking, Turkish gun companies tend to produce very decent working-class guns, often inspired by or copied from existing designs which reduces R&D costs.
Canik mostly focuses on pistols, much like Sarsilmaz and their USA-based import company SAR USA. Over the years, they worked their way up to NATO certification (which isn't easy to get) as well as ISO-9000 certification as a gunmaker.
Up until a few years ago, their primary line of products were the Canik 55 series of pistols, which are/were basically clones of the CZ 75 in full-size and compact variants. Purportedly, the Canik 55 pistols and the various iterations thereof were provided to NATO forces as sidearms.
The first Canik TP9 to hit American shores was quickly recognized for what it more or less was: a clone of the Walther P99.
The specs weren't completely identical, but the features more or less were. Striker-fired operation, with a decoking button atop the slide that put the pistol in double-action mode. A single-action version followed soon after, with the decocker functioning as a striker deactivator. Picatinny rail for accessories, and a similar palmswell and changeable backstraps, striker indicator, and 18+1 capacity.
There's a difference between cheap and inexpensive, which Canik TP9 pistols are a great examplar of.
Build quality is very good. If anything, they're overbuilt; one thing you'll definitely notice is how beefy the slide is.
There's also the ergonomics. Since they borrowed heavily from Walther, the TP9 series of pistols is very comfortable, and comes with swappable palm swell backstraps to give you the fit that you need for best results. The stipling on the grip is quite pleasant but also grippy, so you can get a solid grip on the pistol.
The party piece is without doubt the trigger, as TP9 pistol triggers are excellent. Very little slop, with smooth travel, a crisp break and short, positive reset. We won't mince words: it's better than a factory Glock trigger. It's better than a factory Smith and Wesson M&P trigger. It is arguably better than a factory Sig Sauer striker trigger, as it gives you a bit more feedback.
On top of all that, Canik has kept up on developing trends within the industry and has changed and expanded the product lineup as time goes on to offer more options to more people. In previous eras, you had to buy a pistol and then take it to a gunsmith and spend a lot of money getting the options you wanted. More manufacturers are starting to offer the upgrades straight from the factory, including Canik.
Three dot sights have largely been replaced by black steel rear and front fiber optic set from Warren Tactical on most models, a welcome upgrade over the cheesy white dot sights so common everywhere else.
Tactical models have been added as well, with extended barrels, suppressor-height sights, optics ready-slides on select models, and now Canik is adding all-inclusive packages including threaded barrels and standard models, red dot sights, pretty much the whole enchilada.
And they still have their budget line, too; the Canik ONE Series gives you the gun and one magazine for an extremely competitive price point.
Shooters have been praising Canik TP9 pistols for accuracy, reliability, easy shoot ability and a stellar trigger for years.