Canik C100 Review

Canik C100 Review

In today’s world of polymer-framed handguns, steel-framed pistols are considered anachronistic relics of the age of wonder nines, when increased magazine capacity compensated for archaic, hefty construction. Like salmon charging headfirst upstream, some designs have fought against the tide of polymer pistols flooding the market, challenging their dominance with a combination of old-world style, modern reliability and unparalleled accuracy.

No pistol better epitomizes this melding of eclectic features like CZ-75-derived handguns. One recent arrival is the Turkish-made Canik C100, now being imported by Tristar Arms.

The Canik C100 is a short-recoil-operated, semi-automatic pistol chambered in 9mm Parabellum. Feeding from a 15-round magazine, the C100 lives up to the "Wonder Nine" CZ-75 it originates from. It’s not a direct copy of the Czech handgun, but rather that of the Italian Tanfoglio pistol which itself derives from the CZ-75. The most notable influence of the Italian design is the modified dust cover on the C100.


Though it’s the CZ roots of the Canik that make it a true competitor to modern polymer offerings. For instance, one of the most unique features of CZ-75 pistols is the arrangement of the slide. Unlike most traditional handguns whose slide rides on the outside of the the frame, the Canik slide rides within it. This has the effect of making the pistol lock up much tighter than traditional designs while lowering the bore height.


The lowered bore axis deprives the pistol of additional mechanical advantage over the shooter’s grip, which both greatly reduces felt recoil and makes the it point more naturally, since it's better aligned with the shooter's hand. The only downside to this layout is the fact that it exposes less of the slide than more orthodox designs. This doesn’t sound bad, but can make racking the slide difficult as there is less area for the shooter to grab, an issue compounded if clearing a jam or handling the pistol when wet.


This sounds initially conflicting. How can a trigger only impede accurate shooting occasionally? Well, the Canik C100 is a double, single-action handgun. When the hammer is down, the trigger must perform two actions: cocking the hammer and releasing it. During these times, the Canik’s trigger requires around 11 pounds of force to pull. The single action pull is much more manageable at 4.7 pounds, though neither is anything to write home about. In all fairness, this pistol is marketed as a concealed carry pistol, so hefty triggers make sense from a legal standpoint.

Thankfully, shooters who choose to carry the Canik can avoid using the double-action trigger altogether if they wish. Much to the delight of 1911-lovers, the C100 can be carried in condition one or “cocked and locked." Depending on the school of an individual follows, this is either a great addition or useless feature. This also highlights an underappreciated aspect of the design: its versatility.


Although disaster is a word that should never be associated with these pistols, and testing confirmed this. At the range, the C100 shot a variety of loads representing both plinking ammo and premium defensive ammunition, like Hornady’s TAP. In both cases, the gun ran without so much as a hiccup, hungrily devouring anything fed to it.


The added weight makes the pistol smooth-shooting and easy to rapidly get back on target after shooting, but it also makes the pistol more difficult to carry than polymer-framed ones. But this issue is easily resolved with a combination of quality belt and holster.

Other features of note are the black polymer grip panels with aggressive molded cross-checkered patterns that contrast the stainless frame and the extended tang which complements them in making the pistol more controllable. Also, the white dot post and notch iron sights are large enough to effectively use without snagging on clothing when drawn. Another intelligent addition is the bobbed hammer spur for easy cocking when necessary.


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