Firearm & Gear Reviews

Firearm Review: Canik TP9SFX and the Freedomsmith Trigger

The Canik TP9SFX is probably one of the best kept secrets in the handgun market. Except it’s not, lots of people are talking about it. It could be another great addition to the growing market of elite competition pistols. Except it’s not, it’s a budget marvel priced at nearly half the price of comparable pistols. It’s like Cinderella at the ball. The good news is that lots of people have already put thousands of rounds through these pistols and it doesn’t look like it’s going to turn into a pumpkin at midnight. They have proven to be reliable, accurate, and easy to shoot. Mine has functioned flawlessly from day one. Biggest challenge I’ve had with it is trying to shoot slow. First world problems I know.

One of the Canik TP9SFX’s primary features is that it comes ready to accept a variety of common mini red dot sights. Though this is becoming increasingly common, the Canik appears to be the least expensive option out there in this regard. Probably about $100 cheaper than the next least expensive option, the Glock M.O.S., and several hundred dollars cheaper at least, than many other competition style pistols with other features comparable to the Canik TP9SFX. The Canik is simply the most feature rich option at it’s price point. It’s not perfect of course. It is after all still a budget firearm. One particularly noticeable example is the looseness of the slide on the lower pistol frame. There is a definite wiggle that is far more apparent in comparison to most of my other handguns, particularly my steel framed pistols. I guess you could say the slipper isn’t a perfect fit. My last Cinderella analogy I promise!  I could go on and on about all the TP9SFX’s features but I’m not going to bother. There are many good reviews of the pistol to be found with little effort. Instead I’m going to to focus on one particular feature: the trigger.

The stock trigger of the TP9SFX is excellent. It is in fact one of the pistols most favorable attributes and is commented on in every one of the aforementioned reviews. It does have a fair bit of take up but ends at a firm wall and then a crisp break with no overtravel to speak of. The reset is very short and extremely tactile and almost feels as if it is pushing your finger back into firing position. With just the slightest take-up the trigger breaks again with right around 4# of pressure. I mentioned previously the gun feels designed to encourage you to shoot fast, and the trigger has much to do with this. Check out the video below to see the trigger in action.

So what does one do when your pistol comes with such a good stock trigger? Why replace it of course! I wasn’t actually shopping for a new trigger for the Canik TP9SFX, I was actually just checking out some holsters. I happened upon a thread about a company called Freedomsmith that made an aftermarket trigger for the Canik. Three things immediately drew my interest. It was a flat faced trigger and looked cool, there were already some very positive reviews, and it was cheap. Relatively speaking anyway.

At first specific information about the trigger was a bit hard to come by. Freedomsmith had a Facebook page and appeared to be selling the triggers on eBay. I don’t really do Facebook and the limited info I could see wasn’t that helpful. I decided to pass on the trigger but keep an eye out for more information. A few weeks later, almost simultaneously, I came across a video review by Frank Xu and discovered that Freedomsmith now had a dedicated website in which it was selling it’s triggers. Frank’s video was particularly compelling and covered the installation of the trigger as well. I highly recommend it if you decide to give the trigger a try. I will say that my installation did not go quite as smoothly as Franks. As he mentioned in the video his pistol had quite a few rounds through it and the ease of disassembly was likely affected by this. His instructions were spot on though and with the exception of having to really beat the hell out of the various pins to get them loose it went very well. I ultimately had to set aside my gunsmithing hammer and resort to a good old fashioned claw hammer.

Installed, the trigger is amazing. It doesn’t fundamentally change the feel and function as a whole but rather addresses one simple attribute: the take-up. It reduces it dramatically. And I do mean dramatically. Leaving only about a quarter of the travel from the stock trigger. More importantly, none of the triggers other excellent attributes are diminished or affected in the least. And yes, the trigger safety functions as it should. The video below speaks for itself.

The trigger feels every bit a match trigger now. If I had to compare it to something,  a good 1911 trigger comes to mind. Up until this point the best trigger among all of my handguns is on my Rock Island Armory 9mm 1911. They are very similar with a short take-up, light and crisp break, and no overtravel. The Canik is better though. The Freedomsmith trigger is rock solid and exhibits no play in the frame and although the RIA has nearly as good of a reset, the Freedomsmith trigger is better in this regard as well. More tactile and literally presses the shooting finger back into position for the next shot. Simply an excellent all-around trigger. Best I would say in any of my handguns and comparable to a couple of my precision rifles with custom triggers. The only difference being a heavier trigger break. From what I’ve read online its not very difficult to shave another pound or so off the Canik with some minor alterations. Personally the 4# break feels plenty light for me. At least at the moment.

At $69.99 the Freedomsmith trigger is a worthwhile upgrade. Especially for the money.  It’s remarkable that such a dramatic change to the take-up is accomplished solely by changing the geometry of the trigger. It looks cool too, so there’s that. The only good argument for not going with the Freedomsmith trigger is that it’s not needed. And that’s a legit argument. The stock trigger is outstanding and quite possibly feels better to some folks. The Freedomsmith trigger makes the Canik TP9SFX more specialized and even one dimensional. I’ll let you know what I think when I get a few more rounds down range.

Canik TP9SFX Freedomsmith Trigger

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