One of the best and a very reliable firearm you can decide to buy is a new, police trade-in or used Smith & Wesson M&P9, if you know what to look for. When looking at one of these used M&P9’s there are important things you need to look for. In this short article, I will breakdown some of the key things to look for and/or avoid. A gun store may not let you field strip the gun to insure you are getting what you want, so if they don’t, pass on it. This will cover only M&P9s in a certain date range, before the M2.0 versions. Nothing in this article is applicable to the Shield models.
First let’s talk about the advantages of buying an M&P9 in today’s market. When you understand what to look for in a new or used M&P9, you know if you are buying the most updated version. Since Smith & Wesson has made rolling updates to their M&Ps over the years, it is hard to know what years all of these updates were implemented. Rest assured, if you buy an M&P9 that was produced after 2015, you are more than likely good to go.
Since the M2.0 versions has been released the previous versions of the M&P9s have significantly dropped in price. This makes picking up an older used or new stock M&P9 a great purchase for someone on a budget, or wanting to add to their collection. The M&P9 handguns are a long serving and very reliable design. On average you can get the trade-in /used M&Ps in the Mid to High-300 dollar range. I recently came across a new in box, M&P9 for 349.00 dollars. That is such a screaming deal I could not pass it up. When checking the production date on the new M&P9, it was June of 2017.
Older M&P9s had a twist rate of 1:18.75 with the barrels. When checking the used or new M&P9, look for two things.
First; the barrel should have a visible bull/flair at the end. My understanding is this was a fix to address the early unlocking of the barrel and slide in the M&P. There are some 1:18.75 barrels with and without the bull/flair.
Second; on the underside of the barrel, just in front of the locking lug, there should be a small dot. There may sometimes be two dots. Either way this indicates the barrel is the upgraded 1:10 twist rate. My understanding is all 1:10 barrels in the M&P9 will have the bull/flair at the end. These changes happened sometime between 2012 and 2015, to address accuracy issues.
In approximately Mid 2013, Smith & Wesson upgraded the ambidextrous Slide Stop on the M&Ps. This was to address issues with the auto forwarding of the slide, when inserting a new magazine. While the upgrade may have addressed the issue in some M&Ps, it did not in my new example.
S&W beefed up the build of the slide stop. You will notice a distinct square build-up on top of the slide stop lever.
There have been several upgrades to the M&P trigger components over the years. I do not know what all these individual component upgrades are, nor do I have older M&Ps to compare them to. Upgrades have been made over the years to the sear, trigger bar and various springs, to address the lack of audible trigger reset. The particular M&P9 I purchased has a clear, audible and tactile, reset. I have a new M&P9 M2.0 Compact and the trigger reset on the Older M&P9 is better, but the trigger break is lighter & smoother on the M2.0. Spend a little time pulling the trigger and checking the reset.
There is no way around it, the stock M&P trigger shoe/geometry sucks, compared to all other striker fired firearms. There is a huge, simple, inexpensive fix to the trigger. I would highly recommend checking out the Apex AEK Trigger. This replaces the Sear Spring (with a Heavy Duty spring) and Trigger Shoe. The polymer version is 37.95 and the aluminum version is about 73.00 dollars. This gives you the flatter Glock type trigger face and is a vast improvement on the S&W curved trigger face.
Sights may play a factor in pricing when you have found a good deal. All M&Ps come with steel sights, which is a good thing. The M&P9 I purchased came with standard three dot white sights. Some may come with S&W night sights, and if they do at the 349.00 dollar price, that is a major plus.
Look for all of the updates in the M&P you are looking at. Remember, if you are buying an M&P M2.0 version, all of the updates are already in those firearms and more, (but that is a separate article).
I purchased a new S&W M&P9 M2.0 Compact about six (6) months ago and I love it. I have never been a huge M&P fan. I have liked the Shields and I really like my M2.0 Compact. I believe the M2.0 Compact is the best S&W M&P pistol ever made and it is giving several of my other 15 round capacity firearms a serious run for the money. Having said all that, for the money and reliability, an older M&P9 or even a .40 would be an excellent firearm, at these current low prices.
You should not hesitate to purchase an M&P9 at under 350.00 dollars. I have reviewed several budget defensive firearms, like the Sig SP2022, used/trade in Glock’s and the Canik TP9SF. I would choose the M&P9 over all of them at the current market prices. If you remember to look for the key things talked about here, you will be walking away with the latest upgrades, an extremely reliable firearm, that will be very dependable and reliable for years to come.
We have been lucky enough to get several of the brand new Gen5 Glock 17’s and Glock 19’s, as the Gen5’s have been highly anticipated. This will be one article in a series on the new Gen5’s. Now that we have them, let’s strip one of the Gen5’s all the way down and look at the new parts.
The new Gen5’s have several unique, redesigned, internal components that are very different from all other Glock’s. You can see it is a 2 pin design, like the old Gen1 and Gen2 Glock’s, with a Gen4 magazine release and stippling. I have completely stripped this Gen5 G19 to give you an idea of what the new internal parts look like. When completely stripping the Gen5, you will notice some of the parts are similar in design to the single stack G42 and G43, just beefed up for the larger Gen5’s. Other parts are totally new and uniquely design for the Gen5 Glock’s. This makes the Gen5’s a completely redesigned Glock, that has very few part compatibility with the Gen1, Gen2, Gen3 and Gen4 models.
Below are the parts that are shared with previous generations. Some of this may change in the future as some parts are on the fence for now. I will list these to get them out of the way.
Throughout this comparison I used parts from a Gen2 G19, a Gen3 RTF2 G17 and a Gen4 G19. While I will not go into a complete tutorial on how to strip your Gen5 Glock down, it is not extremely difficult and you can learn how to properly do it with some quality research.
When stripping the Gen5’s completely down, pay close attention to the parts that are significantly different in their design and placement in the firearm, compared to the previous generation of Glock models. Below are several pictures of a completely stripped Gen5 G19, the new internal parts and part comparisons to some previous generations.
LOWER RECEIVER PARTS
The Gen5 has a completely redesigned Lower Receiver. Only two or three small parts are compatible with previous generations and you will see this below as we detail those parts. The Gen5’s have gone back to a two pin frame, like the Gen1 and Gen2 9mm Glock’s. The most noticeable external changes are the beveled & flared magazine well, and the removal of the finger groves. The stippling is very similar to the Gen4 but the little pyramid stipples feel just a little smaller. The Gen4 replaceable back strap system also appears to be the same.
note: I have seen a few places say the trigger guard has been undercut more, to reduce the (Glock Knuckle) effect that some experience when firing. From what I can tell this is not the case. I cannot see or feel that the undercut has been changed at all, it appears the same compared to all my previous generations.
As stated before there are two Pins on the Gen5’s. The Trigger Pin is new and redesigned. The two cut slots in the pin are a-lot shallower and wider than previous generations. It will not work in any other generation. The Rear Trigger Housing Pin is the same as the standard Gen4 Glock pins for the interchangeable back straps.
The Locking Block is a complete redesign. When removed it looks like a Gen3 or Gen4 two pin block. Although it will slide into previous generation frames, the pin holes do not line up.
Ambidextrous Slide Stop Lever:
The Slide Stop Lever is a completely redesigned part. It is thicker and seams more robust than previous generations. The thumb tabs are also angled outwards slightly more.
Trigger Mechanism Housing w/ Ejector & Connector:
The Trigger Mechanism Housing (TMH) with Ejector, are very similar to the G43 in design. The TMH is not compatible with the previous generations. The Connector however appears to be the same as all previous generations.
The Trigger Spring parts, from what I can tell, also appear to be similar in design to the G43, and are not compatible with the previous generations.
The Trigger Bar is another completely redesigned part that is not compatible with previous generations. If you have a Glock 19, you will notice that the Gen5 G19 comes with a smooth faced trigger and not the traditional serrated trigger.
Slide Lock & Spring:
The Slide Lock and Slide Lock Spring design is similar to the G43. It is just larger for the Gen5’s. Although the Slide Lock looks almost identical to previous generations, the cutout for the spring at the bottom is wider to accommodate the new coil spring. The Spring is a coiled spring instead of a leaf spring of the previous generations.
The Magazine Release looks to be a standard Gen4 magazine release. It is just slightly extended and feels more rounded at the edges. It is compatible with the Gen4’s and this mean the Vickers extended Gen4 magazine releases should be good to go in the Gen5.
Magazines are compatible with all generations. The floor plate has just been reshaped in the very front. The Orange follower is just Orange. It is still the same 9mm #6 follower, so in the future you will probably be able to switch out your black followers to Orange, when the followers become available. The magazine body is also the same.
SLIDE UPPER PARTS
The slide on the Gen5’s has been redesigned of course, with an ambidextrous slide stop cut on the right side and reshaped/contoured muzzle end. The breach face is also different to accommodate the new Firing Pin shape. One thing I found interesting, is the slide is just slightly longer than previous generations at the muzzle end. Less of the barrel and recoil spring is protruding from the slide, compared to previous generations. The recoil spring assembly is actually recessed back into the slide slightly.
Barrel & Recoil Spring Assembly:
The Barrel is marked with a 5, noting it is a Gen5 barrel. The barrel has traditional (lands and grooves) rifling and does not have the standard Glock OEM Polygonal rifling. This new barrel is the Glock Marksmanship Barrel (GMB). The barrel has a deeper recessed crown and the rifling extends closer to the chamber. For fun I swapped out the barrels on several different G19’s with the Gen5 barrel and I put older barrels in the Gen5 G19. I did not have any assembly or disassembly issues. I would contact or wait for Glock to approve this before attempting to fire any of the barrel swaps. This might be a sign that you can upgrade your previous generation Glock’s with the GMB barrel. That would be a smart move if Glock intended to sell the GMB as an upgraded barrel.
The recoil spring assembly (RSA) on the G19 appears to be a standard Gen4 duel captured recoil spring. The Gen5 G17 RSA looks a little longer. I believe this is due to the Gen5 G17 barrel lug being different than previous generations. The Gen5 G17 has a G19 sized locking lug. The picture below was provided by an AR15.com member.
Slide Cover Plate:
The Slide Cover Plate is a totally new design to accommodate the new internals. This part is not compatible with any previous generation. The Orange Glock Armorer’s Slide Cover will work for checking your Trigger Bar and TMH connections/tolerances.
Firing Pin Safety:
The Firing Pin Safety is a completely redesigned part, specific to the Gen5’s. Again it can only go in one way. The notch on the left side of Firing Pin Safety faces the Firing Pin. The Firing Pin Safety Spring appears to be the same part as any other generations.
Firing Pin Assembly:
The Firing Pin assembly is very interesting. Some parts are the same as previous generations and others are not. The Spring Cups, Firing Pin Spring and Spacer Sleeve appear to be the same as previous generations . The Firing Pin itself has a redesigned tear drop like rounded tip. The cuts for the Firing Pin Safety connection are also different at the head of the Firing Pin.
Extractor Depressor Plunger:
The Extractor Depressor Plunger Rod, Depressor Plunger Spring and the Spring Loaded Bearing appear to be identical to previous generations with the Loaded Chamber Extractor. The spring looks slightly different in color and is slightly longer. This may be for added strength and pressure for extraction.
The Extractor looks to be similar in design to the previous generations. There are some minor shaping and cut angle differences. Not sure if it is compatible with previous generations but I do not see why it would not be.
If you are not a Glock Armorer, Gunsmith or you are very unfamiliar with stripping your Glock down; I would not recommend any disassembly past regular field strip maintenance. Most people will have no need to break the firearm down to this level. Hopefully this answered some of the questions on the new parts and the compatibility of parts with the previous generations. If you have any questions or we missed something you wanted to know about, leave a comment or reach out to us on our Facebook Page.
Just received this e-mail message from Glock at the Loose Rounds account. So, the Gen5 FBI based G17M and G19M release rumors are now confirmed. I have had one of the Gen5 19s on hold for a few weeks now and will get a detailed review out as soon as its in my hand.
Now just today several writers posted videos who were invited to Glock a few weeks ago to test the Gen5s out. You can check out a video of one below:
Of course you know we will get more detailed in stripping the firearm down as we did with the G42 and G43s.
“This is a special time in the history of GLOCK. On August 30, GLOCK, Inc. will be announcing the launch of our new G17 Gen5 and G19 Gen5 pistols. We wanted you to hear the news first, from us, before the general public finds out.
The G17 Gen5 and G19 Gen5 pistols were inspired by the GLOCK M pistols used by the FBI and include many features the GLOCK community has been asking for. There are over 20 design changes which differentiate our Gen5 pistols from their Gen4 predecessors, including a flared mag-well, a new nDLC finish, the GLOCK Marksman Barrel, ambidextrous slide stop levers, and a grip which has no finger grooves.
These pistols will be available at your favorite GLOCK dealer beginning August 30. We hope you will go in to see them and try them.
The Canik TP9SF is a firearm I have wanted to test out since it was released about a year ago. Canik has built a decent reputation with its TP9 series of pistols. The Canik TP9SF is imported by Century Arms and Century Arms was gracious enough to send us the pistol to test and review.
The TP9SF is the fourth pistol of the TP9 line. With each new TP9 pistol released, Canik is trying to answer consumer concerns and feedback about the TP9 line. With the Canik TP9SF’s release, the pistol now seems to be a serious defensive firearm contender, compared to other more expensive firearms in its class. Throughout this review I will post pictures and videos of the TP9SF so you can decide if the TP9SF is right for you and your needs.
When the Canik TP9SF showed up and I opened the box, I was really surprised at how nice the accessories and pistol were. As soon as I pulled it out from the case, started to handle and visually inspect the Canik, I could tell this was a very nicely built and machined firearm. The finish looked really nice and I quickly compared it to a few other firearms I had nearby (H&K VP9, Sig SP2022 & Glock 17). I found it felt, and visually was on par with these firearms. The slide finish actually looks as nice as the H&K. The polymer frame and stippling was also on par with these firearms. The Canik TP9SF is no ugly duckling when it comes to its overall finish/look compared to any other quality firearm I have. I was now very excited to get to the range and test it out. The Canik TP9SF made me feel like it was going to shoot as good as it looked.
The price of the Canik TP9SF is extremely good. I have found at full retail prices; you are looking at $349 dollars. Recently I have found some sales here and there, at very close to $300 dollars for the TP9SF, with the new Warren Tactical Sights, delivered to your FFL. While you might think you are not going to get a nice firearm at these prices, believe me, you are getting a very nice firearm with a lot of accessories. The Canik TP9SF comes in a nice case; with two magazines, a holster, cleaning patch rod, bore brush rod, extra larger back-strap, back-strap replacement tool, magazine loader and a full color gloss instruction/maintenance manual. This package pretty much sets you up with everything you need to initially get started with the Canik. While some of these items will need replacing, (mainly the holster), Canik has put forth a large effort to give you a very nice package. You really don’t get any of these included accessories with any other handgun out there, especially at the Canik price.
The Canik TP9SF has a 1913 Picatinny rail, enlarged heavy-duty external extractor, loaded chamber indicator and thumb and index finger stippling.
Slide & Frame
The Canik slide is machine cut/milled from a solid block of high carbon steel. The slide has a smooth even black Cerakote over a phosphate finish. The slide is rounded and beveled on the edges, across the top, front and back. The rear slide serrations are generous enough and allow you to get a sure grip on the slide when racking or manipulating the slide of the firearm. I would like to see more aggressive slide serrations but the serrations are deep enough to get the job done.
The Frame is a polymer design similar to other striker fired firearms. The Canik TP9SF has a Picatinny rail that can accommodate any aftermarket weapon light or laser. The polymer of the frame is very thick. It does not bend or flex like other polymer framed firearms. The lock up of the frame and slide has a very slight wobble from side to side, but you have to physically move the slide side to side with your hand to notice it. The takedown lever in the TP9SF operates like a Glock.
Barrel & Guide Rod
The Barrel on the TP9SF seems to have the same Cerakote over phosphate finish on it. After over 2000 rounds it has some of the classic barrel chatter marks. After cleaning and whipping it down, both sides of the chamber also have just a slight sign of wear.
The Canik TP9SF has a match grade steel barrel. The barrel is cold hammer forged and has traditional lands and grooves. The barrel has performed very well in testing and is very accurate. It has a very nice polished feed ramp.
The Canik TP9SF has a metal guide rod with a captive flat recoil spring. I was expecting the Canik to have a polymer guide rod but to my surprised it had a steel one. Yet another quality feature you are getting in the firearm at its price.
Grip Panels / Ergonomics
The stippling on the Canik TP9SF is similar to a Gen4 Glock on the front and back straps. The stippling is aggressive enough to notice but does not beat up your hand during extensive and long strings of fire. The three (3) included changeable backs straps give you the option to fit the grip size to your hand and adjust your length of pull for the firearm. The side grip stippling is very similar to a Gen3 Glock. Overall, I really like the grip texture and it is very comfortable while providing a positive grip during use.
The Canik TP9SF magazines are one of the obvious shinning features of the firearm. Canik used Mec-Gar magazines in their firearms. Mec-Gar makes the OEM magazines for several well-known firearm manufactures, like Sig Sauer and Beretta so you know you are getting quality magazines. Not only are the magazines hi-quality, they hold 18 rounds. The magazine capacity is more than any other standard Glock, H&K, Sig or any other full size pistol I have owned.
There are very nice (Canik Shield) markings on the magazine floor plates, that match the grip, the magazine loader and the case. The magazines are stamped (MEC-GER MFG. FOR CANIK – TP Series) on the magazine body. All of this just adds to the overall theme and quality of the pistol. The finish is very smooth, allowing for a nice, smooth insert and drop from the pistol. In the magazine quality and capacity department, the Canik TP9SF is absolutely killing it for the pistols price.
The Canik TP9SF has some new features on its sights compared to previous versions of the TP9 series. The front & rear steal sights are, dove tail sights. The dove tail is a new feature on the SF series. The steel sights are an upgrade for the Canik line, from their previous models plastic/polymer sights. With the dove tail sights, after market sights are possible. I have heard from several reliable sources, that there are a few sight companies working on sights for the TP9SF. This is a really good thing in my opinion because the stock sights are really busy.
The Canik TP9SF sights are accurate, once you get adjusted to them, then they hit right where you want. While very accurate, the sights did take a long time to acquire and slowed down follow up shots. I found the rear sight distracts your eye from quickly acquiring the front sight, due to the added vertical line on the rear sight. The two dots with the vertical line draw your eyes to the rear sight. The rear sight notch is also very shallow and it is hard to line up the front sight.
Rear Sight Distraction:
The stock rear TP9SF sights are very distracting for fast pick-up and shooting. There is just a little too much going on with the rear sight. I took a sharpie and blacked out the rear sight post line. This improved overall sight acquisition during shooting, to a traditional three (3) dot sight configuration feel.
Very recently Canik has started offering Warren Tactical sights on a few of their pistols. The new TP9SF’s seem to be coming exclusively with Warren Sights, at the same price points mentioned before. This is a huge improvement from the standard sights we have been talking about.
Loaded Chamber Indicator
The Canik TP9SF does have a loaded chamber indicator on the top of the slide. The loaded chamber indicator is finished in the same Cerakote as the slide and has two bright red dots on each side to visually identify you have a round in the chamber. Another small nice touch on the Canik.
Firing Pin/striker Indicator
The Canik TP9SF also has a cocked striker indicator on the back of the slide. This visual indication shows that the firing pin/striker is in the cocked position, ready to fire, by a red indicator painted on the back of the slide. This is another feature you see on several other pistol on the market, that are at least twice the price of the Canik.
So far I have put over 2000 documented rounds of mix ammunition, (Blaser Brass 155grn FMJ, American Eagle 115grn FMJ, Fiocchi 115grn FMJ, Speer 147grn TMJ, Federal 147grn HST & Speer 147grn Gold Dot), through the Canik TP9SF. It has well over the 2000 round count; I just stopped counting after the 2000 round mark. I am confident it is over 2500k now. I have found the Canik TP9SF to be extremely reliable, just as any of my other firearms.
I spoke with Mrgunsngear a few months ago and received his permission to link his 1000 rounds test video to this article. Check out that video below for TP9SF reliability.
One week it was particularly humid and rainy, so I decided to take the TP9SF out in the rain and let it sit for the day. I then let it sit for 24 hours to see if any rust would show itself on the outside or inside parts of the pistol. After stripping and inspecting the TP9SF I found no rust on anything in the pistol.
note:I did observe one unexplained malfunction with the TP9SF. In the first 200 rounds fired, the TP9SF had a dead trigger on the 192nd round. My wife was firing the Canik during this time. The 192nd round chambered but the trigger was dead. The primer did not have a firing pin strike on it and for some reason the trigger did not reset after the previous round had been ejected. This was the only malfunction with the TP9SF out of all rounds fired and I could not reproduce the malfunction.
I found the TP9SF was very accurate and could do everything I needed it to do. The sight radius on the TP9SF is full sized, approximately 6.75 inches, by my measurement. I felt the sight picture was not that good, as stated before, but it does get the job done when you do your part. The angle of the sights had some glare from time to time as well. Even though the sights were not ideal for me, the TP9SF had great accuracy. With some aftermarket sights or the new Warren Tactical sights, I feel it will perform even better.
The 147grn Speer Gold Dot had several very impressive groups and it is one of my two defensive loads of choice. All shooting of the TP9SF was done off hand or from the holster. Not going to cherry pick groups here, you can clearly see some shots I pulled.
All of the controls on the TP9SF feel like they are in the right place for my hands. The slide release and magazine release require no shifting of the hand to hit.
The Slide Catch/Release Lever, or whatever you want to call it, is not ambidextrous but easy to use from the left side of the frame. I found I did have to adjust my grip to avoid riding the top of the lever with my strong hand thumb while firing. In the first 100 rounds video, you can see I had this issue, on the first magazine. I usually find myself contacting the slide stop/release with other firearms, making the slide not lock open on the last round in the magazine. This is something I do on several firearms and I know I have to adjust my grip slightly. I prefer to use the (over the top / sling shot method) when doing a reload for consistency across multiple platforms, so the slide catch lever does not get used that much for me on reloads.
Takedown Lever/Field Stripping
I will not spend a lot of time on this. If you have taken down a Glock, its exactly the same. Pull back slightly on the frame while pulling the takedown lever down. Release the slide and pull the trigger. The slide then pops forward and you pull it off.
The magazine release is metal and is reversible for left hand shooters. It has a very positive push/ release and aggressive checkering.
The trigger on the TP9SF is very nice. The trigger looks and operates like a Glock and other similar striker fired handguns. It has a smooth but a little long take-up before you hit the wall, then it has an extremely small amount of creep before it breaks very cleanly. If I had to nit-pick it would be on the take up being too long. The trigger reset is very short and I really like it. The reset is audible and strong, (similar to having a NY1 trigger in a Glock). For a $300-dollar firearm, there is really nothing to complain about with this trigger. It is giving several well known firearms a run for their money. Personally, I think it is actually a little nicer than the stock Glock trigger and if you have followed us for any length of time, you know I’m the Glock guy here. The break is cleaner (not spongy) and the reset is shorter than the Glocks.
The Canik seems to have a little more recoil than some of the other striker fire firearms that I own, but just slightly. The TP9SF bore axis is a little higher than on a Glock, with the large slide, this seemed to make a difference in the recoil. It just snaps a little more. Fast accurate follow up shots are still very easy to make and the sights come back on to target relatively quickly. As stated before, improved sights over the stock sights would improve sight acquisition. After a few rounds and adjusting to the TP9SF, I found the recoil to be a non-existent factor. Once again you can see some rounds I pulled, I will not cherry pick the best groups.
Accessories/Holsters – Shoutout:
The Canik’s have been around for several years and it is still hard to find quality holsters for them. During this review Kenetic Concepts Tactical http://kctkydex.com/ (KCT) was kind enough to make me a holster for the TP9SF. If you are going to carry the TP9SF, ditching the supplied holster is a must. I use less than handful of holster companies for my firearms, KCT was the only place that had the mold for the TP9SF. Some other companies did have holsters for the Canik but they were well over $100-dollars (special order) and that just does not keep in line with the TP9SF’s price. KCT will get you quality holster and magazine pouches, at a low price, and they are one place we highly recommend.
Throughout this review I found myself comparing the Canik to my H&K VP9, my Sig SP2022 and several of my Glocks. The Canik TP9SF has very similar characteristics and features close to these firearms. In-fact I might get a lot of blow back for this, but I am going to call the Canik TP9SF the poor man’s VP9. This is not an insult to the Canik but high praise. I let several of my co-workers handle the Canik and one in particular mentioned to me, “It kinda feels like my VP9”. He liked it so much, especially the price, that he bought the tan TP9SF.
I really like the Canik TP9SF. It has preformed and handled well above my expectations. If there is anything to complain about, it would only be the stock sights. Since the TP9SF is now coming with Warren Tactical sights, standard with the same price, I think that issue is fixed. The size of the TP9SF is very close to a Glock 17/22. It holds a few more rounds than most handguns that are the same size and I think that is the big advantage to the TP9SF. At it’s very low price point, it is a awesome truck, car or home defense firearm, if you are on a tight budget.
The Canik TP9SF is a very hard firearm to beat in its market. It is doing things as good, in fact better than some pistols in its price point. If you look at all firearms in the 350 or under category, there is no one doing as well as the TP9SF. It really does give firearms like Glocks, S&W M&Ps and Sig (SP2022/P320s) in the $450 to $500-dollar price range a run for the money. I would have no problem recommending it to anyone.
Thanks again to: http://www.ammoman.com/ for supplying the ammunition for this review. Without that support we could not complete these reviews. Also thanks to: http://kctkydex.com/ (KCT) for making us the custom holster for the review.
Today the Army selected Sig Sauer to replace the aging Beretta M9 series, in the Modular Handgun System (MHS) trials. Smith & Wesson was the first company thrown out of the trials. FN, Glock and Sig Sauer where left. Sig submitted the P320 striker fired pistols for the XM17 MHS trials and it seems to have won over the competition.
The links below will forward you to the selection and Fed Biz Ops procurement/solicitation for the firearms.
The really great thing about being passionate about firearms, is that you research and stumble across unique accessories and gear. This is exactly what happened when I stumbled on Bad Element Co. LLC (www.badelementco.com) AK magazines. I have been on an AK fix for a little while now and it has been over a decade since I owned one. I recently purchased a very nice Bulgarian AK74 and have been testing several aftermarket accessories with it. When I ran across Bad-Element I had to get one of their 20 round AK Tanker magazines. I absolutely love 20 round magazines for rifles. As soon as I received the AK74, I started to research 20 round AK magazines. I found original AK 20 round (Tanker) magazines were extremely hard to find or get in 7.62×39. Add in the 5.45×39 AK74 round and I found they were almost impossible to get. I made contact with the owner from Bad-Element about getting a 20 round 5.45×39 Tanker magazine. Since I already had a few Russian Izhmash Plum magazines, I thought a Plum Izhmash 20 round magazine would go very nicely with them.
When I received the Bad-Element custom 20 round Tanker magazine, I quickly started to compare it to my surplus Russian Plum Izhmash magazines. All of the markings on the magazine were identical and I could easily tell it was a quality Izhmash Plum surplus magazine. I’m not really sure what it is, but as soon as you put the 20 round magazine in the rifle, it just looks and feels better in your hands.
Custom Order Magazines:
Bad-Element does all kinds of custom work to all makes and manufactures of AK type magazines. Bad-Element takes existing 30 round AK magazines of all types and custom cuts them down to (20), (15), (10) or (5) round count magazines. In-fact, Bad-Element also does AR15 magazine custom work, for those who live in Communist high capacity band States. So check out their full line of magazine services.
There are several ways you can get your custom magazines from Bad-Element. (1) You send in your AK magazines and Bad-Element cuts them down per your round count specifications. (2) Purchase magazines on-line and have them shipped directly to Bad-Element for custom work, then they will mail them to you when finished or, (3) You can purchase already modified magazines directly from Bad-Element.
I set off to the range after obtaining a decent quantity of ammunition, supplied by (www.ammoman.com), to test out the function and reliability of the Bad-Element magazine. I had 510 rounds to run through the Magazine.
The great thing about 20 round Tanker style magazines, is their ease of use while manipulating your rifle. With a 20 round AK magazine you get the same advantages you get with a 20 round USGI AR15 magazine and more. (1) It’s compact, (2) rifle fits in smaller spaces and cases with a loaded magazine, (3) still has a decent round count and (4) with the AK, it is much easier to manipulate the charging handle from underneath the rifle, with your support hand.
I really did not keep exact track of the round count I put through the Bad-Element Tanker magazine but it was several hundred rounds. The Bad-Element magazine performed flawlessly and I had absolutely no issues with reliability. It loaded and emptied the rounds just as you would expect from any quality military surplus AK magazine.
Takedown/Quality of Work:
Nothing has changed after modification of the magazines. Takedown of the magazine is the same as the original 30 round magazine. Bad-Element has cut the magazine and spring down. The magazine still uses the original surplus follower, spring, locking plate and floor plate.
The quality of work and attention to detail in modifying the magazine is very nice. Bad-Element has really paid attention to the little things to make the magazine look nice. The magazine has a smooth side cut channel at the bottom of the magazine for the floor plate to slide into.
The cut down magazine spring is very nicely done. Looking at just the end of the spring where it locks into the locking plate, you cannot tell which one has been modified. Bad-Element has taken the time to slightly bend and taper the end of the spring, to match it up with the original 30 round design. After talking with Bad-Element, they advised they use to cut down the bottom of the spring, but now cut down the top of the spring, as it was easier and faster to do. I still could not tell the difference.
I am very pleased with the Bad-Element custom magazine. It looks great and has been 100% reliable. If you have an AK of any type, I would highly recommend getting a few 20 round magazines. If you follow Rob Ski of AK Operators Union, you will see he runs Bad-Element Tanker magazines from time to time. He is usually the first to call out “shit” in the AK community. Since he is running them and is more of an expert than I am with the AK, I think this is a very strong sign of Bad-Elements quality. I will be getting a few more of the Bad-Element custom cut magazines in the near future. As soon as the Magpul Pmag 5.45×39 AK magazines get to me, I will be sending them in for 20 round conversion. Bad-Element also has an Instagram page (Bad_Element_Co. Instagram) where you can follow and contact them about magazines.
Depending on who you talk to, there are several first things you need to do, after bringing home your most recently purchased firearm. I am not going to get into all of the first thing options on what you can do. I mainly want to focus on the absolutely first things you should do. In fact, if you can do this one thing before even leaving the new firearm purchaser location, you should throw the B.S. government regulated POS “safety Lock” in the trash. This will set you up to get a better, quick access safe or other security option.
This 90’s Clinton era requirement has done nothing to save or help anyone. I would argue to say; if anyone has actually used one, it has probably done more harm than good. Throw this POS lock in the trash immediately. I have purchased several firearms this year. I have dropped the ball and have an entire drawer full of these useless locks. I must now purge my drawer and throw these locks away.
Invest in a staged quick access safe, (https://looserounds.com/2012/08/03/gunvault-mini-and-multi-deluxe-safes/) or proper full sized safe (if you have several firearms). Never use this B.S. lock. If this particular new firearm, is your only family or personal protection firearm, never use the mandated/supplied lock, it is dangerous and can get people killed. You simply do not have the time to unlock it and prepare your firearm for a deadly force encounter.
There are several other alternatives to locking the firearm in this manner and we encourage you to explore what works for you. Please get some firearms training for you and your family, teach your children (https://looserounds.com/2013/11/25/educating-children-on-firearms/), find a quick access safe and throw this absolute waste of money/POS, dangerous item in the trash.
Over the last few years I have slowly been replacing all of my .40 caliber handguns. I have been sitting on my last .40 cal Glock 22 for a while because it was sentimental to me. It never really gets used, (don’t think I have fired it in 5 years). The Glock 22 is one of my staged home defense firearms sitting in a quick access safe. I have been searching for the right firearm to replace it. I have been looking hard at Heckler & Koch’s and Sig Sauer’s lately, as I am familiar with them. I have a lot of Glock’s and because of their low price; I can pick one up any time. I did not want to replace this particular firearm with another Glock. I wanted something different, that was well made, reliable, mid to full sized, and could be carried anytime or used in a defensive pistol class. I did not want something I was going to forget about and never use. I narrowed my choices down to three H&K models: (1) USP Compact 9, (2) P30 and (3) the VP9 LE. Now, the HK magazine release has never been an issue with me. There are several ways to manipulate the firearm to hit the magazine release and you need to become very familiar with how to do this.
I am very familiar with the USP models and the USP Compact 9 is a nice small package. I knew that I would end up going with a light LEM trigger in the USP and the P30. The light LEM, if you know how to use it, is a very good trigger system. Then there was the VP9, basically an HK version of a Glock or M&P striker fired firearm, and my #3 choice out of the bunch. I was lucky to walk into a store that had all three of these firearms on hand. I spent my time holding, manipulating, dry firing and scrutinizing all three of these choices. I loved the P30 grip, it is one of the most comfortable handgun grips I have every felt, but the rear decocker next to the hammer was very unusual and awkward. The USP is what it is, reliable, ok grip, low 13 round magazine capacity, frame compact but somehow the slide is still bulky and too fat. I was fast becoming very disappointed in my choices and starting to think about a totally different platform. Also, at the end of the day I could not justify a polymer framed handgun at 1k prices.
Initial VP9 Thoughts:
I picked up the VP9LE basically conceding defeat on my HK choices and suddenly things started falling into place. I had really never considered the VP9 as a choice. It is relatively new to the market, it’s another striker fired handgun and had some weird features on it I was not sure about. Once it was in my hands things started quickly going my way.
The grip on the VP9 was very close to the P30. I knew it had additional side panels and back straps, for additional grip adjustment. When I first took a firm grip of the VP9, I immediately thought, this is one of the best contoured and stippled grips I have felt on a striker fired handgun. There was a distinct hump in the back strap of grip that was more pronounced than on the P30, but I knew there was a smaller back strap without this hump. I was confident this would make it very close to the P30 grip.
The VP9 has very natural point-ability and balance to it. As I was manipulating the VP9LE, it seemed the sights were very quick to acquire. The sights are nothing special, just basic Tru Dot night sights. One thing that was distracting to me initially, were the patented charging support wings behind the rear slide serrations. They seemed unnecessary and initially kind-of distracted my sight picture, but I also knew these could be removed.
I ended up buying the VP9LE after some intense negotiations with the manager of the store, (I never pay retail). In-fact, I came out so good on the deal, there was no way I could have said no. Plus, the longer I was messing with the VP9, it started looking even more nice and it is badass looking. My co-worker was so surprised at the deal I managed to negotiate, that he bought one for the same deal. I bought the VP9LE several months ago and have been using it frequently since the purchase. Before we get too in-depth on review, I want to mention there will be no token, (backward bullet pictures in this review), with the magazines.
The price on the VP9LE is all over the place. Look for a deal on one, if you are in the market. My purpose in purchasing the VP9 was to replace an aging firearm, in a caliber I no longer use. After selling my Glock 22, I purchased the VP9LE for 648.00 dollars out the door. After all was said and done, the VP9LE replaced a 16 year old duty weapon for approximately 173.00 dollars. I don’t know about you, but I will take a new firearm, to replace an old one, with three (3) magazines and night sights for 173.00 all day long. That being said, 650.00 for the VP9LE is a pretty decent deal as well. Retail on a Gen4 Glock without night sights is 599.00. If you minus the extra magazine at 45.00 dollars and the night sights at 99.00 dollars, the stock VP9 would have cost me just over 500.00 dollars. That’s pretty damn good in my opinion.
The VP9 has a 1913 Picatinny rail, enlarged heavy-duty external extractor/ loaded chamber indicator, front slide serrations and rear charging support wings. The VP9 is also fully ambidextrous.
Slide & Frame
The VP9 slide is machine cut/milled from a solid block of high carbon steel. The slide has a smooth even black H&K Hostile Environment® finish. The slide is rounded and beveled on the edges, across the top, front and back. The front and rear slide serrations are generous and allow you to get a very positive grip on the slide when racking or manipulating the slide of the firearm. As I stated earlier, I initially thought the charging support wings obstructed my view. After shooting a lot of rounds though the VP9LE, I found they did not bother me at all and I forgot all about them. I don’t think they make a real difference in manipulating the slide. The Slide serrations are deep and do the job well enough. HK does sell some flush charging supports. You have to remove the rear sight to remove the charging supports and then add the flush supports. I will probably do this when I decided to get new sights.
The Frame and frame rails are very robust. HK has built a thick and ridged design with the VP9. I assume this is because HK knew they would come out with the .40 caliber VP40 later. HK’s have always been built well and you are getting a quality firearm when you buy one. The VP9 is no different. The Picatinny rail is a little longer on the VP9 and it can accommodate any aftermarket weapon light or laser up to 5.6 ounces. The polymer of the frame is very thick. It does not bend or flex like other polymer framed firearms. The frame rails are very robust as well. The lock up of the frame and slide has a very slight wobble from side to side, but you have to physically move the slide side to side with your hand.
Barrel & Guide Rod
The Barrel on the VP9 has a very nice finish on it. After over 1300 rounds it is starting to get the slight hint of classic barrel chatter marks. After cleaning and wiping it down, both sides of the chamber also had just a slight sign of wear.
The barrel is made of canon grade steel. The barrel is cold hammer forged and has a six (6) grove Polygonal right-hand twist, similar to Glock, not traditional lands and grooves. Another interesting aspect of the barrel is an ever so slight raised tip of the end of the barrel. You can see the line in the end of the barrel and you can slightly feel the raised edge with your finger. I really cannot find any information on/or about this barrel feature on the VP9. H&K is usually tight lipped about many proprietary features on their firearms. I can only assume this feature would provide a tighter lock up, when making contact with the top of the slide, to enhance accuracy.
The VP9 has a patented captive flat recoil spring. The recoil spring assembly is a three (3) piece design consisting of the recoil spring, guide rod that is forked at the end, and a washer to capture the spring. I made the mistake of dropping the recoil assembly on a hard floor. The washer on the end came off and it took quite a bit of effort to get it back on, after I located the spring.
Grip Panels / Ergonomics
The stippling on the VP9 is very close to the P30. The P30 is one of the nicest feeling firearms in the hand, I have ever felt. The VP9 stippling is aggressive enough to notice but does not beat up your hand during extensive and long strings of fire. The three (3) changeable backs straps give you the option to fit the grip size to your hand and adjust your length of pull for the firearm.
The VP9 comes with three (3) different sized back straps, (3) right side panels and (3) left side panels. This gives you twenty seven (27) grip combinations on the VP9. I found the perfect combination for my hand is; the small back strap, with the medium left and right side panels.
When making a decision to purchase a HK firearm, for the purpose of it being a defensive firearm, you need to make sure the HK magazine release system is for you. If it is, you will be getting the typical reliable, quality magazines from HK. The VP9 magazines are the same magazines used by the HK P30. They function perfectly, dropping free, inserting the magazine and feeding the ammunition. Remember, if you are buying the LE model, you will get three (3) magazines with the package.
H&K’s have always come with steel sights and the VP9LE comes with Tru Dot night sights. This is a great feature and value in the VP9LE. While the Tru Dot night sights are just basic three dot night sights, getting the VP9LE with the sights will save you money and a lot of headache, with putting on sights after you get the handgun. The Tru Dot’s will serve you well and I probably will not replace them until they get dim.
Loaded Chamber Indicator
The external extractor on the VP9 also doubles as the loaded chamber indicator. It has a bright red paint applied to the top of the extractor so you can visually see that there is a live round in the firearm.
Firing Pin/striker Indicator
The VP9 also has a cocked striker indicator on the back of the slide. This visual indication shows that the firing pin/striker is in the cocked position, ready to fire, by a red indicator painted on the back of the slide.
So far I have put over 1300 documented rounds of mix ammunition, ( Federal 115grn FMJ, Winchester 115 grn steal case FMJ, Fiocchi 115grn FMJ, Speer 147grn TMJ, Federal 147grn HST & Speer 147grn Gold Dot), through the VP9. It has well over the 1300 round count; I just stopped counting after the 1300 round mark. I am confident it is well over 2000 rounds now. I have found the VP9 to be extremely reliable, just as my other personal defense firearms.
Note: Just to be fair I wanted to add this information. Several months ago I was testing some new ammunition. I used several different firearms to test the ammunition, all of which had 100% reliability so far, two (2) Glock’s, a Sig Sauer and the VP9. All experience failures to extract with the ammunition. It was pretty obvious this was poorly manufactured ammunition, (QC). After switching back to several other quality ammunition offering, all firearms including the VP9 ran 100%.
With previous experience shooting H&K’s I have found them to be very accurate firearms. As long as I was doing my part, I found the VP9LE was very accurate and could do everything I needed it to do. The sight radius on the VP9LE is full sized, approximately 6.38 inches, but I do not care for the True Dot night sights that come with the VP9LE model. I felt the sight picture was not that good and the angle of the rear sight had a lot of glare coming off it, in certain lighting conditions. The front sight had some glare from time to time as well. Even though the sights were not ideal for me, the VP9LE had great accuracy. With some aftermarket sights of my choosing, I feel it will perform even better, if that’s possible. The 147grn Speer Gold Dot had several very impressive groups and it is one of my two defensive loads of choice. All shooting of the VP9LE was done off hand or from the holster. I was initially shooting the VP9LE slightly left as you will see. I did notice the front sight was not perfectly centered and I did tap it over a little to center it up after the first few strings of fire.
All of the controls on the VP9 feel like they are in right place for my hands. All of the ambidextrous controls are easy to manipulate and reach, on each side of the VP9.
Slide Catch/Release (Ambidextrous)
The Slide Catch/Release Lever, or whatever you want to call it, is ambidextrous and extremely easy to use from both sides. On the VP9, I found I did not have to adjust my grip to avoid riding the top of the lever with my strong hand thumb. I usually find myself contacting the slide stop/release with other firearms, making the slide not lock open on the last round in the magazine. This is something I do on several firearms and I know I have to adjust my grip slightly. The VP9 is one of the only handguns I have not had this issue. The slide catch/release seems to be in the perfect position for me. I prefer to use the (over the top / sling shot method) when doing a reload for consistency across multiple platforms, so the slide catch lever does not get used that much for me on reloads.
Takedown Lever/Field Stripping
One great feature of the VP9 is the take down lever. It operates like a Sig Sauer Classic takedown lever. This is a very nice feature because there is no need to pull the trigger like a (Glock), or manipulate some little tiny internal bar like on a (Smith & Wesson M&P), to remove the slide from the frame. Simply rack the slide and lock it back to make sure it is unloaded, rotate the takedown lever down, release the slide and pull it off. This design in a striker fired firearm reinforces the (Never Put Your Finger on the Trigger until Ready to Fire), while also making it simple and very easy to field strip.
Magazine Release (Ambidextrous)
As I stated earlier, HK’s have a magazine release you must be familiar with and comfortable using. It is ambidextrous but it is not a traditional thumb button release design. You must push down on the magazine release paddle from either side.
For me, I can actually use the magazine release pretty fast from either side of the VP9. I find no difference in speed and ease of uses from either side vs. a standard thumb magazine release. I find I actually prefer to use the middle finger of my primary hand, on the right side magazine release of the VP9.
The trigger on the VP9 is very nice. The trigger looks and operates like a Glock and other similar striker fired handguns. It has a very smooth and short take-up before you hit the take-up wall, then it has a very small amount of creep before it breaks very cleanly. The trigger reset is a little lack luster for me. The reset is audible but seems a little weak. I would like it to have stronger, more positive reset feeling. The smooth and then crisp break on the trigger definitely helps with the accuracy of the VP9 when shooting it. I feel, overall, the VP9 trigger is nicer than a stock Glock or M&P trigger. The Glock has a better reset in my opinion.
The VP9 is a flat shooter and the recoil is light. Fast accurate follow up shots are very easy to make and the sights come back on to target very quickly. The VP9 boar axis is a little higher than on a Glock but this did not seem to make any difference in the recoil. After a few rounds, I found the recoil to be a non-existent factor. I simply continued firing, not giving the recoil another thought.
I really like the H&K VP9LE. It has preformed and handled well above my expectations. If there is anything to complain about, it would only be the 15 round magazine capacity and a weak/soft reset on the trigger. I think it would be easy for HK to make the magazine hold 17 rounds and tweak the trigger reset a little. The size of the VP9 is very close to a Glock 17/22. I was hoping it would hold a few more rounds but it did replace a 15 round magazine firearm, so I really lost nothing on round count. Once again, this is a lot of nitpicking on my part.
The VP9LE was one of the best purchases I have made. It replaces a great firearm and one of my personal favorites, I had used for years. I feel I made the right choice and the VP9LE has done nothing but validate that choice.
Midwest Industries (MI) was kind enough to send us their new AK Railed Gas Tube for review. This rail has only been out since the end of June and we have really seen nothing on it, other than some pictures. First I have to say, the MI AK Railed Gas Tube looks amazing and after the installation, it is rock solid. I am hoping it performs half as well as it looks. I was recently looking to get an Ultimak rail when I ran across the new MI AK Railed Gas Tube. It looks like a promising competitor to the Ultimak, and I was interested in it installing faster and easier that the Ultimak. In this Part One review, I will go over the MI AK Railed Gas Tube features and some things you need to know when installing it. I will attempt to simplify the steps for installation as there are some dry fit/pre final install requirements.
*Provides a lower 1/3 co-witness sight picture with most (Aimpoint type) micro red dot sights.
*Easy Installation, with no permanent modifications to weapon.
*Made to same internal profile as standard AK gas tubes.
*Constructed of 6061 aluminum and 4140 steel, with mile-spec picatinny rail.
*The MI Railed Gas Tube can be found in four configurations, to be compatible with Standard AK 47/74 rifles, Yugo M70, Yugo M92 PAP and Yugo M85 PAP gas tubes.
The MI AK Railed Gas Tube comes with mounting screws, Allen key and blue loctite for the installation. A small word of advice though, as with everything AK related, a big hammer is always needed. I had to use a large rubber mallet to assist with installation. A large flat head screw driver will also help you when dry fitting the railed gas tube.
There are installation steps provided with the packaging but I recommend these steps, as different hand guards can affect the installation. With some hand guards it is hard to reach the leveling screws. I currently have Magpul AK hand guards and there was some back and forth in getting the rail on. As you can see below, you cannot reach the Allen key screws with some hand guards without pre-leveling and setting up the MI Railed Gas Tube.
Step One, dry fit & leveling.
Completely unload, field strip and remove the hand guard on your AK. replace the stock gas tube with the MI Railed Gas Tube.
Make sure there is no gap between the sight block and the gas tube. This is where the rubber mallet comes in handy, to tap the rail in place.
Screw the end plug nut out, until it fits the gas tube to the gas block. This should be done only hand/finger tight.
Insure the rail is level and in the position you want, by adjusting the rear leveling screws on each side with the supplied Allen key, to the barrel.
Insure the gas tube locking lever can move freely and lock the lever down.
Step Two, loctite the leveled tube.
Once dry fitted and leveled, back out the rear gas tube leveling screws, apply loctite to the screws and reinstall them in place on each side.
It is recommended that you let the screws sit in place for 12 hours, before moving on.
Step Three, Complete installation.
After waiting for the loctite to cure, remove the railed gas tube. Back out the front end plug nut, and this is where the mallet and screw driver come back into play, tap out the railed gas tube. Re-assemble the hand guard and reinstall the railed gas tube. Once again, I had to use the mallet to tap the railed gas tube in place.
Hand tighten the front end plug nut to the gas block.
Once the front end plug nut is hand tightened to the gas block, apply loctite to the set screws and screw them in hand tight to each side of the railed gas tube.
Installation is now complete. Check to make sure everything is level and where you want it. You can now mount your optic of choice and head to the range for zeroing.
I am very excited to get the rail and optic to the range for testing. This system is much easier to install and remove than the Ultimak rail, as the Ultimak uses barrel bands. I will be removing and replacing the MI Railed Gas Tube during live fire to see if the point of aim and impact is affected and changes. So far I am very happy with the installation and quality of the rail. I actually think it weighs less than the stock gas tube, at least if feels like it does. Stay tuned for Part Two, to see how the rail performs.
There are some leaked pictures hitting the web today. It was reported first today by (TFB), who obtained some pictures from Indianapolis PD officers being issued the new G-17M yesterday. Several places/bloggers/youtubers and meany more in the firearm industry started to post photos of the firearm, they have seen or shot. So it is safe to say this might be the Gen5 Glock. Usually new Glocks are leaked way before they actually hit the street. I am quite surprised we did not here anything about them. Glock keep a good lid on it this time. It is reported that a G-19M is also coming. This is probably the new weapon that the FBI purchased. Thought we would get these photos out to our readers ASAP.
Looks like a mix of a Gen2 and Gen4 Glock, with more ambidextrous features. Some of the new features are reported as follows:
1. New, “tougher” finish 2. Different rifling / traditional rifle grooves 3. Longer RSA 4. Reinforced front RSA notch 5. Smoother trigger 6. Flared / beveled magwell 7. Gen2 like Front Strap/ No Finger Groves 8. Safety plunger is oblong/rectangular G42/G43 like 9. Ambidextrous slide release 10. Magazine well cut out / like old Gen2 & Gen3