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The man sat behind his cards, his steel-gray eyes as unreadable as a piece of 19th century Russian literature. His body was the most highly refined killing machine mankind could produce. Across the table this night reclined a monster.

His opponent was purportedly a wealthy Estonian textile magnate. Forbes claimed that his fortune stemmed from uncanny business acumen and blind luck. The reality was that Aristotle Kristatos had acquired his opulence on the backs of slave laborers in places like Uzbekistan and Sierra Leone. Sweatshop T-shirts birthed in a former Soviet Bloc nation did not buy a seat at this table. That kind of rarefied horsepower spawned from affordable heroin and blood diamonds.

There were others playing as well, but they were little more than set dressing. The real game was being played between the MI6 assassin and the Spectre criminal mastermind. Both knew that only one of them would be $25 million richer at the end of the evening. The other would be dead.

From some hidden place upstairs, a desperate woman’s scream shattered the moment. Startled, the room turned as one toward the sound. Kristatos’ gaze remained riveted on Bond and his thin lips flirted with a smile, rendering his cadaverous visage all the more baleful. For his part, Bond felt his muscles tighten involuntarily underneath his fitted Dormeuil suit.

The girl was indeed perfect, but nonetheless, she remained one of many. The difference this time was that Bond had allowed himself to care. That ethereal notion would be the bloody signature on Kristatos’ death warrant.

The gun was a handmade German semi-auto matched to a custom-tuned sound suppressor. Q had crafted the weapon to Bond’s individual specifications, and the combination cost Her Majesty’s government more than a luxury automobile. 007 had the weapon out and up before Kristatos’ henchmen perceived the motion. Two quick rounds to the forehead sent Kristatos straight to Hell. Three more sequential double- taps did the same for his bodyguards.

Like some sentient corporeal thing, the casino crowd flowed screaming for the exits. Bond used the chaos to retrieve the woman, bruised but alive, and retreat to his Aston Martin DB10. Half an hour later, he reclined on a deserted beach in the twilight with the grateful heiress and a properly chilled bottle of 1959 Dom Perignon.

Back to Reality With the Canik TP9SFT

Sigh. I’m just some goober with a word processor. Even if I possessed the requisite fitness, skills and comportment to run in such circles, I could never afford the trappings. James Bond’s cufflinks cost more than my car. If only there was some way we mere mortals could gain access to truly spy-grade guns and gear.

Alas, Century Arms has heard our plaintive cries, and the new Canik TP9SFT offers everything James Bond might possibly desire all at a price within reach of the Common Man.

It’s no longer enough to sport a state-of-the-art combat handgun. If you want to eat at the cool kids’ table, you’ll need that proper combat handgun along with a nice sound suppressor and a whiz-bang laser sight. Until now, that host pistol, with its obligatory elevated sights, tricked-out controls and threaded barrel, was going to set you back a pretty penny. Now, thanks to the holy union of Century Arms and Canik, you can get into the suppressed combat pistol of your dreams without hocking a kidney.

Affordable Turks

I have been pulling triggers for fun and money for decades now, and I am madly in love with Canik’s TP9 series pistols. No kidding. I own six of them. If there is any legitimate tactical feature that these bargain-priced handguns do not offer, I have yet to find it. And the evolution of the TP9 species has been fun to watch, too.

The earliest version favored the Walther P99. That first basic Turkish TP9 pistol launched itself up and out of the evolutionary ooze sporting a dual-function trigger where users could select between double- and single-action modes via a bilateral slide-mounted decocker. The frame featured a brace of cavorting dolphins—which I’ll never really understand—but it was a cool and efficient, top-quality combat handgun at a ridiculously cheap price. The TP9 also came with a nice polymer retention holster, a pair of magazines, cleaning supplies and more, all in a quality lockable case—just like Canik pistols do now. You only need to add ammo.

Later TP9SA and TP9SF versions opted for a Glock-style striker-fired trigger with the obligatory blade safety in the trigger face. There were nuances that differentiated these guns, but the beating heart was pretty much the same. The TP9SF Elite-S is the same gun but stubbier in a Glock-19-style package that also includes a superb manual safety. The TP9SFx is the race-gun version with an extended barrel, slide and magazine. That pistol also comes with a Vortex Viper reflex sight. The TP9SFT draws all the tactical sweetness from those many superb precursors into one suppressor-ready combat machine.

A Closer Look

This suppressor-optimized warrior has all the bells and whistles. First off, the Canik TP9SFT comes with tall, steel Warren Tactical sights, with a fiber-optic insert up front. They’re also mounted in dovetails in case you’d prefer to replace them. The nitrided slide also has a Cerakote finish to stand up to the toughest imaginable environments. A striker status indicator is also included at the rear.

The slide houses a match-grade, 4.98-inch barrel with metric 13.5x1mm threading up front. If your suppressor sports English threading, its manufacturer probably offers an inexpensive replacement piston so it’ll work with this gun.

The push-button magazine release is reversible, and the loaded-chamber indicator is both visible and tactile. The frame is made of durable black polymer, and both 18- and 20-round magazines are included.

Tactical Upgrades

Gemtech began decades ago in a hospital basement when a radiologist named Phil Dater crept down to play with machine tools between reading chest X-rays and CT scans. As a result, Gemtech embodies more institutional knowledge on the science of sound suppression than any other American suppressor company. Friendly law enforcement and military personnel use Gemtech products worldwide. The GM-9 is Gemtech’s flagship 9mm pistol can.

Sound suppressors represent the classic tactical compromise. You could build a true silencer for a handgun that is actually soundless, but it would be as big as a pickup truck and require a forklift to carry. The smaller the can, the louder the report, but the GM-9 strikes a nice balance. For starters, the GM-9 just naturally fits a modern combat pistol’s aesthetics. Trim and lightweight, it gives you clearance for the sights while siphoning off much of the gun’s racket. The GM-9 is also small enough to run in tight spaces without being cumbersome.

The GM-9 sports a Linear Inertial Decoupler (LID) to ensure reliable operation in recoil-operated Browning-inspired handguns. This nifty gadget is also known as a Nielsen device, and it is the most inspired human contrivance since toilet paper on a roll. The LID gives the nose of your pistol a wee tap with each round fired and ensures that recoil- operated handguns remain reliable despite the extra mass of the can hanging off the snout.

I also added the Crimson Trace Rail Master to the TP9SFT. This is a trim green laser unit built for a gun’s Picatinny rail. This rugged device feeds from a compact 3-volt lithium battery for two hours of continuous operation. The bilateral activation switches are easily accessed and intuitive, and the laser can be programmed for constant-on, momentary activation and strobe modes.

How Does It Run?

Synergy is the technical term. Take a top-quality TP9SFT handgun and outfit it with a Gemtech GM-9 and a Crimson Trace Rail Master and you have a sum greater than the individual parts. This tricked-out tactical hot rod is small enough to maneuver easily inside a car or within a dark house yet sufficiently capable to catapult you to the coveted position of apex predator anyplace two or more armed guys find themselves at cross purposes. For home defense, tactical carry around rural spaces or simply as an exceptionally capable truck gun, nothing runs better at any price.

The controls run like those of any other combat pistol, and the gun’s quality is quite literally unimpeachable. After running zillions of decent rounds through all six of my TP9 pistols, I have yet to experience a stoppage. I have entrusted the safety of my family to these guns. I see no higher accolade.

The striker-fired trigger is the equal of that of guns costing much more. The break is nice, crisp and predictable while the take-up and reset are both minimal. If you are the sort who likes to run a tactical pistol like a machine gun, the Canik TP9SFT has you covered for fast target engagements and quick follow-up shots.

With the GM-9 installed, the Warren Tactical sights actually ride above the can. This allows you to sight the pistol as readily and accurately as you might without the suppressor. In the grand scheme of things, the TP9SFT, GM-9 and Rail Master complement each other perfectly.

The suppressed report is still a bit uncomfortable given the diminutive geometry of the GM-9. However, the addition of a little ablative material like wire pulling gel or dB Foam calms things down nicely. Spritz a little something wet inside and run subsonic ammo and you can sound like James Bond on the range no matter how old, fat or poor you might be in real life.

The Total Package

You can indeed drop lots more on a tricked-out tactical suppressor host, but you really won’t get much extra for that investment in the areas of reliability, ergonomics and efficiency. The TP9SFT offers all that while bringing certain features found nowhere else. Additionally, Century Arms plans to offer the threaded barrel and sights as an aftermarket option for anyone wishing to upgrade their TP9SF.

You may have plenty of money. You may have spare rooms built onto your house to hold all the extra money you have helicoptered in daily alongside your unparalleled collection of albino tiger cubs, sundry unicorn horns and vintage Italian sports cars. Hell, you might own a South Seas island just to house your alphabetized harem of movie-grade trophy wives. For the rest of us, however, the Canik TP9SFT will host a suppressor easily without breaking the bank. Capable, powerful, rugged and fun, a tricked-out TP9SFT will reliably inoculate you against life’s more sordid ills at a price that suits us normal folk.

For more information, please visit the following websites:

Canik TP9SFT Specs

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Barrel: 4.98 inches
  • OA Length: 8.09 inches
  • Weight: 26.88 ounces (empty)
  • Grip: Polymer
  • Sights: Warren Tactical
  • Action: Striker-fired
  • Finish: Cerakote
  • Capacity: 18+1, 20+1
  • MSRP: $520

Canik TP9SFT Performance

Load Velocity Accuracy
Armscor 124 FMJ 1,177 0.80
Hornady 115 Critical Defense FTX 1,174 1.55
NovX 65 RNP 1,775 1.20
Sig Sauer 147 V-Crown JHP 1,092 2.50
Winchester 147 subsonic FMJ 999 0.80

Bullet weight measured in grains; velocity in fps by chronograph; and accuracy in inches for best four-shot groups at 12 meters.

This article is from the fall 2018 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Grab your physical copy at OutdoorGroupStore.com. For digital versions, head to our page on Amazon.com.

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