During the past few years, the folks at Canik Arms have been churning out a steady stream of affordable pistols. Even better, they offer a level of performance and features well above their price point. Every so often, Canik tweaks its designs with a few refinements and puts out something like the METE SFT.
The Canik Arms METE SFT
And it didn’t take long for Canik’s pistols to be at the top of the pack regarding features and performance. In fact, Canik’s TP9 Elite SC won our sister publication Ballistic’s Best of 2020 award for the compact pistols category.
For 2021, Canik took out all the stops and made a huge leap forward. Actually, it’s more of a new revolution than the next evolution. The new METE line of pistols combines the best of the older TP9 series with an impressive suite of updates. These updates make no compromises in delivering incredible performance.
The best part is, as we’ll see with the METE SFT, that it does so while still remaining arguably the best value line of pistols on the market.
With the new METE line, Canik has introduced an impressive suite of new or improved features. Specifically, the features enhance both performance and the overall user experience.
The first thing I noticed with the SFT was the improved frame texturing, particularly on the frontstrap. It has a skateboard-tape style of feel and definitely offers improved traction for recoil control. Around that same area, Canik has reprofiled the bottom of the triggerguard with an undercut, improving user comfort during fire.
Other frame enhancements include a redesigned beavertail, a low-profile, ambidextrous slide stop, and a Holster Fit and Lock system for retention in Kydex holsters. Likewise, is an integrated magazine well for faster and easier reloads. As a result, the changes on the frame alone are a nice step forward.
But Canik didn’t stop there. With what the company calls a “modular disassembly,” the pistol’s construction was also redesigned to allow easy disassembly. This is done with a simple punch tool that Canik provides in the case.
Up top, the most meaningful change is the optics-ready slide that is drilled and tapped to accept both an RMRcc or Shield-pattern red-dot optics. The kit comes with two optics adapter plates, which is good, but they are made from some type of plastic.
I prefer metal adapter plates, and my first order of business would be contacting a company like C&H Precision Weapons. The company was able to get one fashioned for the METE SFT. Meanwhile, I mounted an RMSc red-dot unit that was supplied with the review pistol for testing accuracy at the range.
Optics Ready Slide
Another advantage of the SFT’s optics-ready slide is that it will allow co-witnessing with most red-dot optics. This is thanks, in part, to the generously sized three-dot sights.
And another slight but meaningful change is the angled face of the rear sight. This facilitates more confident one-handed cycling in an emergency. The angled face allows the sight to catch onto items like belts, boot soles, or table tops a little earlier than previous models.
Building on the Past
What’s most impressive about all of the changes is that they’ve been visited upon a platform that was pretty damn good in the first place. Already-present features include a reversible magazine release, a Picatinny rail for accessories, substantial front and rear cocking serrations, and one of the best striker-fired triggers on the market.
There’s a little bit of clean pre-travel before you hit the first wall. Then you pull through about an eighth-of-an-inch to the second wall. After that, there’s a very sweet break at an average of 4.1 pounds (sample unit average) of pressure. The reset is very short, offering a very audible click as well as a tactile pop against the trigger finger.
Another quality that’s always been present in Canik pistols is value. Aside from all the top-tier, fighting-gun features that have already been mentioned, Canik also makes sure you’ve got everything you need to hit the range as soon as you leave the gun shop.
The METE SFT ships with an IWB/OWB holster, magazine loader, tool kit, cleaning kit, Canik punch tool, two optics plates, extra backstrap, magazine well, and an 18-round magazine as well as a 20-round magazine.
For the colored models, the METE SFT also includes a double finish of Cerakote over Nitride. As a result, it has robust protection against the elements. With that and everything else mentioned thus far, the MSRP is just $520. And I’ve already seen it in the wild with street prices as low as $480.
I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed that the METE SFT offers so much at such a low price. But maybe that’s because I already know how the SFT performs. And now you’re about to read about that as well.
Over a two-month period, I took the new METE SFT out for testing on at least eight separate occasions. I went out both alone and with shooting buddies to give it a go as well.
During that time, the SFT fired well over a thousand rounds with only one hiccup. Early on, there was one failure to feed properly. But we attributed that to a new shooter’s loose grip and a bit of limp-wristing action. At least, that was our diagnosis at the time.
Since that happened, there weren’t any other malfunctions of any sort with eight diverse types of ammunition. This includes range loads and various hollow-point loads. In fact, I’ve tried five other Canik pistols in the past that have all functioned flawlessly as well.
I’m confident the single malfunction we encountered with the METE SFT was a one-off occurrence due to a new shooter. I have zero qualms with carrying the SFT for defensive use and have already done so on multiple occasions.
The METE SFT’s Accuracy
As for accuracy, the METE SFT performed exceptionally well in that area, too. Granted, with the Shield RMSc mounted, it was a little easier for me to maintain a consistent point-of-aim at 25 yards with my 52-year-old eyes.
The test included premium loads from Hornady, Federal, and Sig Sauer with a couple of weights and power levels. The SFT turned in excellent groups with all of the loads. However, it was insanely accurate with Hornady’s 115-grain Critical Defense load. It had an average group size of .98 inches and a best five-shot group of .81 inches. Two 15-yard groups measured .45 and .55 inches, respectively. As I said, utterly insane.
This level of accuracy is actually better than what most makers of high-end customs will guarantee at 25 yards. Yet it was achieved by a pistol with a fairly low MSRP. Even so, the results from the other loads were also quite exceptional. Especially if you keep the SFT’s price point in the back of your mind.
An Outstanding Trigger
Certainly, a contributing factor to the SFT’s superb accuracy was the pistol’s outstanding trigger. It was easier to stay on target during the trigger press than a few other pistols I’ve recently tried where the triggers were either a bit rough or had long and heavy throws. Of course, this factor had a bigger impact during offhand shooting than at the bench. At the bench, I had more control and better support available.
I threw up an EasyShot target and emptied two full, 18-round magazines into it offhand from 20 yards. The bottom group was slower, aimed fire. However, the top group was shot as fast as I could get the red dot back on target.
The slower group measured 1.44 inches while the fast group was right at 3 inches. Considering the distance, my eyes, and the speed I was shooting, I was absolutely impressed with the SFT’s accuracy and handling during fire.
Firing the Canik METE SFT Suppressed
During one range outing, we decided to try out the threaded barrel that came in the media kit sent along with the SFT. My buddy, Brad, had a CGS Kraken suppressor on hand, and we ran it for a while on the SFT.
It was fun, and the pistol was still very accurate with the suppressor attached. But we did have a few failures to eject and feed properly. That’s just the nature of the beast with the extra back pressure you get while running suppressors.
These failures happened during the first three to four rounds of each magazine. When we down-loaded the magazines—say to only 14 rounds in an 18-round magazine—the pistol ran just fine. But the better fix would be to install a heavier recoil spring to ensure absolute reliability while running a suppressor.
Fantastic Overall Shooting Experience
Overall, the shooting experience with the SFT has been fantastic. The ergos were nice, and we were able to get a solid grip with the new texturing. With its relatively low bore axis, the METE SFT had little in the way of muzzle flip. This was even with hotter loads like Sig Sauer’s 124-grain Elite V-Crown ammo. And the polymer frame did a good job soaking up the felt recoil.
The flared magazine well was also a nice feature to help expedite reloads. Likewise, it gave me just a bit more leverage with my pinky finger to help mitigate any muzzle flip.
Controls like the magazine release and slide stop were easy to reach and engage without contorting the hand. They also offered good texturing for fumble-free operation. I really liked the sight arrangement as well. The sights were very easy to co-witness with the Shield RMSc due to their height, and they were fairly quick to acquire and align despite being a plain, three-dot variety.
I normally prefer a high-visibility front sight. But in this case, the plain white dot works well because it’s not competing with the red dot for the shooter’s attention.
Finding the Value
Many times, a cheaper price often indicates an inferior product. That’s just simply not the case with the new METE series of pistols. Particularly the SFT that I reviewed.
The METE SFT is a true example of finding real value at the intersection of price and performance. Not only does the kit ship with everything you need to hit the range the first day, but the SFT also has everything required to deliver the goods when you get there.
Whether you’re a first-timer dipping your toe in the waters or a 20-year range veteran, the Canik METE SFT has plenty to offer to all demographics. It’s reliable, supremely accurate, and handles phenomenally well.
Throw in all the requisite features of a cutting-edge combat pistol, and you’ve got a kick-ass platformer that will have your back as you stand your ground to defend hearth and home.
For more information, please visit CanikUSA.com.
Canik Arms METE SFT Specs
Barrel: 4.46 inches
Overall Length: 7.56 inches
Weight: 27.89 ounces (empty)
Capacity: 18+1, 20+1
This article was originally published in the Personal Defense World April/May 2022 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email email@example.com.