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Canik TP9 Elite SC 9mm Pistol Review

Are sub-compacts still relevant? We take a hands-on look at the Canik TP9 Elite SC to see how it stacks up against the competition.

    In a world where striker-fired pistols are as common as dirt, it can be tough to figure out if one is actually better than the others.

    Most of the offerings on the market work well and perform similarly, so it really comes down to two things for me — the details and the value.

    Canik TP9 Elite SC

    Canik has been putting out some absolutely fantastic pistols lately, but I decided to get my hands on their slightly older TP9 Elite SC to see if it still had the same value and attention to detail I’ve come to love in other Canik guns.

    I also wanted to know if sub-compact guns are still relevant in a world full of micro-compacts. Is there really room for little chunkers like TP9 Elite SC?

    So follow along as I walk you through the specs and notable features, and then head to the range.

    Table of Contents


    Why You Should Trust Us

    What can I say? I love guns so much I have over 200 firearms (I know, I have a problem).

    But I am also a huge stickler for bargain buys, and I don’t believe in overpaying.

    Best Striker Fired Handguns Wyatt

    Being around guns most of my life has given me two decades of firearms experience, including hunting, competition, certified instructing, and plenty of time concealed carrying.

    Canik TP9 Elite SC Pros & Cons


    • Excellent trigger
    • Accurate
    • Great value with included accessories


    • Wider than most micro-compacts
    • Taller bore axis

    The Bottom Line

    Throughout testing, the TP9 Elite SC proved to be accurate, relatively easy to shoot, and 100% reliable.

    at GrabAGun

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Canik TP9 Elite SC Specs & Features


    Barrel Length
    24.8 oz.
    12+1 or 15+1
    Comes with
    Hard case, IWB/OWB holster, one 12-round, one 15-round magazine, two interchangeable backstraps, optics adapter plate and mounting hardware, cleaning rod and brush, flat magazine baseplate, gun lock


    Ambidextrous slide release
    Swappable magazine release
    Phosphorous dot front sight, serrated black rear sight
    1913 Picatinny accesory rail
    Co-witness optics-ready slide

    Source: Canik

    Canik TP9 Elite SC Background

    Canik introduced their TP9 series of handguns in 2012 and, by doing so, showed the world that cheap didn’t mean bad.

    They wisely chose to closely replicate the Walther P99 and PPQ pistols. This meant they were starting with a proven design that also lent itself to having excellent triggers.  

    Canik definitely picked the right homework to copy when they used Walther.

    With the popularity and acceptance of the TP9 series growing, Canik made its first attempt to target the concealed carry market in 2019 by releasing the TP9 Elite SC.

    Who Is It For?

    These guns are built for those who want a relatively easy-to-conceal gun at a great price without having to sacrifice features or shell out for upgrades.

    Canik TP9 Elite SC Case

    People looking for things like accuracy, reliability, a good trigger, and optics mounting capability while staying under the $500 mark will be well-served by this gun.

    Fit & Feel

    I am going to get it out of the way — yes, this gun is kind of thick. At 1.45 inches wide, it is noticeably wider than modern 1-inch micro-compacts, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    Seeing as the Elite SC is just a shortened version of the larger TP9, it retains much of the same feel.

    Canik TP9 Elite SC

    With a taller bore axis, it feels a bit “big,” but the gun points naturally and wears it well during live fire. The upside is that while the slide is larger, it is easy to grab and rack.

    I absolutely love how long the slide release is. With my medium hands, it is super easy to hit yet unintrusive. I only have slightly break my grip to reach the textured mag release, which is easy to actuate.

    Canik TP9 Elite SC controls

    The slide release is ambidextrous, and the magazine release can be easily swapped for left-handed shooters.

    Front and backstrap checkering are present; nothing too aggressive here, but not too smooth either.

    9mm Ammo in Stock

    Cost Per Round
    Free shipping
    Free shipping

    Even with medium hands, I can engulf some smaller micro compacts. The larger circumference of the Elite SC grip allows more purchase, which helps control the gun (more on that later).

    With no mag in the gun, I get a two-finger grip. However, the included 12-round magazine already has a pinky extension to remedy this problem. A flush baseplate is also included.

    TP9 Elite SC Mags

    An included 15-round magazine gives it more of a full-sized grip feel, with a little chunk missing off the backside. Full-sized TP9 magazines are compatible with this gun.

    The slide is optics-ready and utilizes the Trijicon RMRcc and Shield RMS/RMSc footprint.

    Pro tip: If you are having trouble removing the cover plate for the optic, remove the slide and insert a punch, hex wrench, or similar skinny item into these two holes to push the plate out from the bottom.

    Most notably, users will find that the trigger is phenomenal. It has a medium amount of travel before breaking crisply at 3.5-4 pounds and boasts a stunningly short reset.

    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    How Does It Shoot?

    This gun exceeded my expectations here — she is a shooter.

    I tested the gun on both the excellent stock iron sights and with a Holosun EPS Carry MRS.

    Canik TP9 Elite SC
    The EPS Carry was mounted using a plate adapter from Calculated Kinetics.

    With iron sights, I was able to consistently put up some solid groups at 7 yards. To see how the Elite SC fared against some similar guns, I pitted it against my Glock 26 Gen 5 and my Walther PPQ SC.

    Iron sight 5-shot groups at 7 yards using Blazer 115-grain FMJ: Walther PPQ SC (Left), Glock 26 Gen 5 (Middle), Canik TP9 Elite SC (Right)

    Once I mounted the Holosun, it really showcased the accuracy I could get out of a gun this size. I was able to hold an entire 12-round mag inside the X-ring at 18 yards. After that, I was sold.

    Having an excellent trigger surely helped with accuracy, and the red dot eliminated the shorter sight radius issue.

    A 12-shot group at 7 yards with Holosun EPS (Left) and a 12-shot group at 18-yards (Right) using S&B 124-grain FMJ

    But another contributing factor was definitely the size of the gun. I genuinely believe the larger grip of the Elite SC allowed me to shoot this gun better than the Canik Mete MC9 I tried.

    Having more grip surface helped me stabilize the firearm both during accuracy and speed shooting. Being a 3.6-inch barreled gun, it has some muzzle flip. Despite this, I found it relatively easy to control and not objectionable at all.

    Canik TP9 Elite SC Sight Picture
    Excuse the blurriness. One-handed photos are not my specialty.

    The quick trigger reset made follow-up shots easy to place. Overall, the controls and gun are easy to manipulate when doing fast reloads.

    Reliability was excellent. I suffered zero malfunctions through 500 rounds. It ate various types of 115 and 124-grain FMJ ammo and also functioned perfectly with Speer Gold-Dot 124-grain +P hollow points.

    Canik TP9 Elite SC, Glock 26, Walther PPQ SC Rear
    The Canik is taller and a bit thicker than both the Glock 26 and Walther PPQ SC.

    What Sets The Canik TP9 Elite SC Apart?

    As I predicted before, the details and the value set this gun apart from its peers.

    For $350-400, you are getting a very accurate firearm with a stellar trigger and some great features. There is a reason it made the list for our 5 Best Affordable Handguns.

    No paying extra for an optics-ready version, no having to mail in forms to get your optics mounting plates, and hell, they even include an IWB/OWB holster with the gun!

    Canik provides everything you need out of the gate to get going.

    By the Numbers



    For how small this gun is, I was able to squeeze some impressive accuracy out of it, even on days when I wasn't shooting well.



    I had zero malfunctions across 500 rounds and various ammo types.



    An optics cut and Picatinny rail allow for mounting of accessories. Threaded barrels and a few other select aftermarket parts are available. Holster selection is limited.



    I would like a more aggressive grip texture and a lower bore axis, but controls are laid out very well and the gun feels good when you are shooting it.



    Between the trigger, accuracy, and what you get in the box, the value is nearly unbeatable.



    This is an excellent shooter that brings a ton of value to the table. As long as you are okay with a slightly wider/taller gun, and a less robust aftermarket, this is a tough gun to beat.

    See how we rate guns & gear in our reviews. Learn more >

    Final Verdict

    Yes, the Canik TP9 Elite SC is a wide-boy, and you do sacrifice some concealability.

    However, you get a gun that is, in my opinion, a better shooter than its slimmer Mete MC9 brethren. If you shop around, you may be able to find it for less than the MC9 as well.

    Canik TP9 Elite SC
    Canik! At the Disco

    Not everyone has $500 to spend on a P365, Glock 26, or other more popular options. Sometimes that $50-100 difference can make or break a purchase.

    Canik knows this, and with the TP9 Elite SC, they have ensured you get every last dollar’s worth out of this excellent concealed carry piece.

    at GrabAGun

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Do you have any experience with the TP9 Elite SC? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Interested in other bang-for-your-buck handguns? Check out our article on the Arex Delta Gen 2 M!

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    16 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar

      You asked a question: "Are Sub-Compacts Still Relevant?" Answer: Yes. A subcompact is easy to carry around all day every day, due to its small size and weight. (By the way, those two factors make a single stack relevant, even though they don't hold very many rounds.) To some of us, small size and light weight make all the difference in the world in terms of being able to carry all day every day. (I mean, how tight can you tighten your belt before you injure yourself? Light weight is key.)

      Now I have a question: Where exactly in the sight picture does the red dot go? In the picture shown above, the red dot sits atop the front sight's dot. However, with the Ruger Max 9 / Ruger ReadyDot, the red dot lines up precisely with the front sight's dot (the two make one dot), and the two dots together go into the small trench in the rear sight. If you line up all three in this way, you will hit the target. But it isn't ever clear or explained where in the sight picture the red dot is supposed to go. (In fact, no one ever explained the Ruger Max 9 / Ruger ReadyDot to me; I discovered it through trial and error.)

      August 27, 2023 12:52 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Wyatt Sloan

        Jim, I completely agree that even with all of the new micro-compacts that sub-compacts guns are still awesome.

        As for the red dot, that is a good question. It is a common misconception that the red dot has to be cowitnessed with the iron sights. We have an article that explains that in depth, you can check it out here!

        August 27, 2023 4:34 pm
        • Commenter Avatar

          Your red dot article is a very well-written, thorough article.

          I wasn't saying that the red dot has to be cowitnessed with the iron sights in every case, or even in most cases. However, I have found that cowitnessing works best for me. I have found through trial and error that that is the way it works with the Ruger Max 9 and the Ruger ReadyDot. There is no adjustment available with the ReadyDot, so it may be that they intended for it to be an absolute cowitness with the iron sights. At any rate, whenever I line up the red dot with the two sights, I am right on target. I have more confidence in doing it that way than in simply putting the dot in the middle of the glass. I haven't practiced much with the Ruger Max 9 / Ruger ReadyDot, but I believe that with practice, it will become instinctual to line up everything together and focus on the target rather than on the front sight.

          One other thing: Is there any way you can do a line feed at the end of a word, rather than in the middle of a word, for the comments section? Thank you!

          August 28, 2023 10:27 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Paul F

      I bought this pistol NIB last December.
      I wasn't a big fan of Canik and only bought it because my FFL was sold out of everything else.
      This was after measure 114 passed in Oregon and everyone was panic buying.
      So I said what the hell, and bought it (was the last pistol they had)
      My initial impressions were not good, the gap between the slide and the rail are not even on both sides ( the right side has more gap then the left) and backplate (behind the striker assembly) looks a little wonky as well.
      The holster is a joke, and shouldn't be used for anything except maybe the range, (I tried carrying owb in this holster and had the pistol fall completely out and onto the ground while tying my shoe while I was inside a tire shop).
      As for the other "included" goodies, I only got one optics plates, and 2-12rd magazines (No 15).
      And I overpaid ($450+background check fee)

      But in all honesty I really like how it shoots.
      Hated this pistol until I got it to the range, it shoots nice, it's accurate, and the trigger is pretty solid (still prefer my VP9 trigger over this but its not bad)
      And despite the slide fitment issues its been 100% reliable with all ammo types.
      I've got only about 500rds through it but no hiccups so far.
      So overall I like it, I'm stubborn and it can be hard for a company to change my mind when I dislike something but canik has done just that, it's still not my favorite brand, but I no longer think they're total garbage, the trigger is good but not as good as some say, and the fitment could be better, finish seems solid.

      So yeah just my $0.02

      August 26, 2023 5:02 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Wyatt Sloan

        Paul, I agree it isn't the best feeling in the hand, but it kind of all comes together when I shoot it. For the money, they are tough to beat. Glad to hear yours is running well.

        August 27, 2023 4:35 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Gary Lynn Huffman

      I own 7 Caniks and this is my EDC gun. It has the Mecanic red dot on it. My only wishes are that Canik would go back to de-cockers or manual safeties on their guns and that the dot size was bigger, say 4 or 5 MOA for us old guys with old eyes.

      August 25, 2023 11:26 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Wyatt Sloan

        Gary, you may want to check out the Holosun 407K X2 red dot. It has a 6 MOA dot and is a great sight with some good features!

        August 27, 2023 4:37 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      This is my 2nd Canik. I love my TP9SFX! This one not so much. I experienced 8 FTFs out of about 500 rd.s The high bore axis makes the gun far less comfortable than my MossbergM C2. I don't understand why in the world Canik doesn't make an optics ready version in the TP9SF?!!!!

      August 25, 2023 9:00 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Limp risting? My son-in-law has it happened several times. Not once for me. I can tell his grip is not firm. Snappiness lends to ftfs.

        August 25, 2023 1:07 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        USE HOT LOADS..They are sprung for NATO spec or +p ammo ...Or maker sure you are not using ammo with hard primers, like Federal...A lot of foreign ammo, CCI and
        Speer have hard primers...

        August 27, 2023 10:46 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Everything in this review is right on target. Having a few poly strikers, G19, S&W SD40VE, and a G21. By far my Canik TP9SC is my EDC with excellent balance, accuracy, and concealability. It has a Canik threaded barrel, red dot, and night sights. Witch are Glock interchangeable. Carry with Versa Carry IWB that fits like a glove. I think it has the best slide lever on the market. Having a 12, 15, and 17 round magazines. The 15 fits perfectly for a full size feel. Any of my friends who have used it goes and gets one. They're impressed by value and the Walther like performance. Canik hit a home run with this one.

      August 25, 2023 6:31 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Wyatt Sloan

        Dennis, I am glad you are enjoying your Canik. I have quite a few striker guns myself, but the accuracy on the SC Elite really sets it apart for me!

        August 27, 2023 4:38 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Michael Walton

      I have owned my Canik Elite SC for three years, it has been perfectly reliable. A real Canik fan here with a SFX in the gun safe too.

      August 25, 2023 5:25 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Wyatt Sloan

        Michael, glad to hear you are enjoying your Canik pistols! The TP9SFX was actually my first foray into the Canik lineup and it has also been a great gun to me for the past few years too.

        August 27, 2023 4:39 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I have had a TP9 Elite SC for 4 years. It is my first purchase and still my favorite go to. Yes it is bulkier, but being 6' and 250lbs, I can carry it without problem. The Canik's trigger is far superior to most others I have tried. I added night sights and Talon grips. Otherwise, it's stock.

      August 24, 2023 6:31 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Wyatt Sloan

        Don, it is always nice to hear people who have had them for a while that still enjoy the pistol. The Talon grips are an excellent call too, cheap and effective!

        August 27, 2023 4:40 pm
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