Wednesday, May 31, 2023
HomeFirearms9mm Canik TP9 SFx Rival Grey Full Review

9mm Canik TP9 SFx Rival Grey Full Review


Canik TP9 SFx Rival

Developed as the premium version of Canik’s TP series of pistols, the TP9 SFx Rival features most modern components shooters demand. Available in Canik Rival Grey with Cerakoted gold accents (which I used for my review), or an all-black configuration named the Rival Dark side, consumers have options for what works best for them. Coming from the factory optic ready, featuring lightening slide cuts, functional serrations, a fiber-optic front sight, flared magwell, holster, and extra parts, the SFx Rival brings a whole lotta bang for your buck. With these specifications, the SFx Rival can compete in USPSA, IPSC, and IDPA without restrictions. Throughout testing, I was impressed. This pistol shot great, felt good, and I will be describing all the features included in the final design. 

Includes:

  • (2) 18 Round Magazines
  • (2) Aluminum Magazine Base Plates
  • Magazine Loader
  • External Mag-Well
  • Custom Holster
  • Canik Punch & Tool Kit
  • Cleaning Kit
  • (4) Optic Plates for RIVAL
  • (5) Optic Plates for RIVAL DARK SIDE
  • Additional Fiber Optic
  • (3) Grip Back Straps
  • (3) Magazine Release Extensions
  • Gun Lock & Manual

First and foremost, one of the big benefits the SFx Rival provides is a slide that is already optic cut. With most shooters demanding the ability to attach a red dot to their pistol these days, milling the slide straight from the factory seems like a no-brainer. Canik provides 4 different optic plates to mount nearly all modern pistol optics. Shown in the picture below are all the options that are available from Canik, but they include the R01, R02, R04, and R06 baseplates in the box with the Rival and include the R04-c with the Rival Dark Side configuration. 

Included baseplates
Description from manual over which optics fit the different baseplates

Designed to reduce slide weight and increase recoil control, the SFx Rival includes both top and side lightening cuts. Increasing control, and looking cool are two great benefits gained from these cuts. In addition to these cuts, the slide also features front and rear slide serrations. These are plenty aggressive to get a great grip for racking the slide. They are deep enough to easily manipulate with gloves and in adverse conditions.

Slide cuts and serrations

Canik also included a 1911 Picatinny rail section so users can mount any lights or lasers they please. Aimed to fill the needs for tactical applications and competition shooters, the addition of a rail should be standard to all modern pistols. 

Bottom Picatinny rail

The SFx Rival happens to feature my favorite type of pistol iron sights as well; red fiber optic front sight, and blacked-out, adjustable rear with anti-glare serrations. I find this combo to be the quickest type of iron sight setup for my eyes to pick up and get hits on target. Both for transitioning between targets and getting quick accurate splits, these sights work. Receiving this pistol the day before heading out of state with some buddies, I had no time to test it out before attending a steel challenge match. I had no idea if the sights were on or if the pistol even worked reliably but I figured a steel challenge match would be a good way to find out. Luckily, Canik has their stuff together and this pistol worked great. The sights were spot on from the factory, the recoil was very manageable, and the only issue I had throughout all of testing was one failure to eject where the slide got stuck on a used piece of brass. However, one quick tap-rack-shake later I was back in the game. I’m not sure if this was pistol or ammo related as I was shooting 124gr Blazer Brass, but one jam out of 250 or so rounds isn’t the end of the world.

Blacked out rear sight with anti-glare serrations and red fiber optic front

Utilizing a 5″ barrel, the SFx Rival is an accurate shooting handgun. I had no problem shooting a steel challenge match with the factory sights and getting hits out to 40ish yards. I also shot groups with different ammo at 10 yards and the largest group was still only like 1.25 inches. If I had put on a red dot, I believe I could have shrunk these groups down to under 1 inch. Shooting 100gr Hornady FTX, 115gr Hornady FTX, 124gr Blazer Brass FMJ, 147gr Hornady XTP, and 158gr Fiocchi FMJ I had good results and no issues with cycling these various rounds. I found the 124gr ammo to have the best recoil impulse out of the SFx Rival, but this is a more personal preference and y’all should find what works best for you. 

Groups from 10 yards, grid spacing is 1″

Ever since I shot a Canik for the first time, I was impressed with the factory trigger they provide. The SFx Rival continued that legacy. Featuring a lightened 90° diamond cut flat-faced aluminum trigger, the SFx Rival looks cool and performs well. While initially there is a lot of slack to take up in the trigger, the wall is great. There is the tiniest amount of creep before what I would still call a clean break and a short and positive reset that puts you right back on the wall. There are very few pistols in this price range that have a trigger anywhere near as good as this one. 

Flat-faced gold trigger

Another great inclusion with this pistol is a useable holster. The gun seats positively and fits the holster great. When attached to my belt, draws were quick and efficient without the holster sliding around. I found this to mostly be due to the holster’s inclusion of vertical locks. These can be easily adjusted to clamp down on belts with different widths. I found this to work great and really lock the holster in place. At first, I thought the hole pattern on the back of the holster would work with the Safariland QLS fork system, but it is slightly different so that messed up my plan to run this pistol on a dropped holster on a different belt.

If you look at where the holster goes around the belt, there is an adjustment to fit belts with different widths

The SFx Rival comes with two 18-round magazines which worked flawlessly throughout testing. These are metal and feature an anti-tilt follower. The magazines drop freely from the pistol after hitting the mag release which aids in quick reloads. Some empty mags from other manufacturers take some whip of the handgun to fall out of the magwell, but these work great. Included with the pistol are also two extra aluminum magazine baseplates.

The frame of the SFx Rival includes a factory stippling pattern around the two sides and front of the grip. Each replaceable back strap has a raised diamond pattern to help the shooter get a solid grip on the handgun. While adequate, I would have preferred something slightly more aggressive for a pistol marketed towards competition shooters.

Stippled texturing
Removable backstrap

While utilizing a flared magazine well in the lower itself, the Canik TP9 SFx Rival also includes a much larger removable flared magwell. It attaches over a groove and slot design and then uses a single set screw to hold it in place. While I recommend people practice reloads without an external flared magwell when they first start off shooting, the addition of one to your pistol drastically increases the surface area that’s needed to hit when reloading. This is definitely a competition feature and will speed up reloads for new and experienced shooters alike.

Flared magwell without the set screw. It is hidden in the little pistol tool included in the box which I found later.

Overall I am a fan of what Canik did with the TP9 SFx Rival. They incorporated all the modern features shooters are demanding at a price that won’t break the bank. Coming in with an MSRP of $679.99, this pistol performed great and looks awesome.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • WEIGHT: 29.5 oz
  • CAPACITY: 18+1 rounds
  • FRONT SIGHT: Fiber Optic
  • CARTRIDGE: 9mm Luger
  • MAGAZINE TYPE: Canik Full Size Magazine
  • REAR SIGHT: Adjustable
  • MAGAZINE INCLUDED: 2x 18 Round Magazines
  • FINISH COLOR: Rival Grey or Rival Dark Side
  • ACTION TYPE: Semi-Automatic
  • FRAME MATERIAL: Synthetic
  • OVERALL LENGTH: 8.1”
  • BARREL LENGTH: 5”
  • HEIGHT: 5.7”
  • WIDTH: 1.41”
  • MANUFACTURED: Made in Turkey

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About the author:
Mitchell Graf is passionate about hunting and competition shooting. During college he was the shooting instructor for Oklahoma State’s Practical Shooting Team, and these days he spends as much time as he can chasing after pigs and coyotes with night vision and thermals. You can follow Mitchell’s adventures over at his Instagram @That_Gun_Guy_



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