Home INTERVIEWS Gençay GENÇER, Corporate Communications and Business Development Manager of SYS: “CANİK is the only handgun brand that has won first prize in competitions in the United States three times in the last four years.”

Gençay GENÇER, Corporate Communications and Business Development Manager of SYS: “CANİK is the only handgun brand that has won first prize in competitions in the United States three times in the last four years.”

by MSI TDR

K. Burak Codur / b.codur@milscint.com
Hande Çalık / h.calik@milscint.com

This year, CANİK TP9 Elite Sub Compact (SC) took first prize in the “Concealed Carry Pistol of the Year” category at the annual “Industry Choice Awards (ICA)” in the United States, being CANİK’s third victory in the event in the last four years. Gençay GENÇER, Corporate Communications and Business Development Manager of Samsun Yurt Savunma (SYS), told us about the factors that lay behind the success of the TP9 Elite SC and other CANİK handguns.

MSI TDR: Mr. Gençer, can you begin by telling us about ICA? Why are competitions and awards so important?

Gençay GENÇER: ICA is an event in the United States where firearms, ammunition, firearm accessories, and targets are reviewed. The United States is the largest firearm market in the world, and due to the size of this market, almost 50 firearm brands from all over the world export there, where they compete for market share against more than 110 local brands. In this sense, it would be fair to say that ICA is a world championship.

ICA is special, in that prize-winners are determined based on an objective process that includes different perspectives, without being influenced in any way, considering the setting and the way of competition.

It is not possible to become a member or sponsor of the organization that hosts this competition, and most of the time the evaluations are made without your knowledge. They buy the gun or the accessory from a store, evaluate them, and announce the results. They may sometimes request a sample, or they may ask you to explain the technical features of your product, although this is rare.

No companies are nominated for the competition, with every weapon and accessory produced at an industrial level and sold on the market being a potential candidate. The jury carries out its evaluations considering the market as a whole.

Although it is considered a self-protection handgun, CANİK TP9 Elite SC is suitable also as an operational handgun.

All aspects of firearms and their accessories are included in the evaluation, which is made by a jury made up of gun store representatives, distributors, professional shooters, law-enforcement officers, media representatives, firearm trainers, and ordinary people with an interest in guns. The jury pays attention to all aspects of the subject in their evaluations, and so high technical performance alone is not enough. For example, the dealers and distributors must be satisfied with your product. Does it sell fast? Is the after-sales support satisfactory? These are all part of the evaluation.

When we look at the process as a whole, the product that performs best in all criteria wins first place; there can be no doubt about the objectivity of the process. All of these factors make the awards more valuable and meaningful, and these awards are highly respected in the firearm sector in the United States and are often featured in media stories.

MSI TDR: How was the competition this year in the category in which CANİK TP9 Elite SC competed?

Gençay GENÇER: Awards are given in two handgun categories, which are “Handgun of The Year” and “Concealed Carry Pistol of the Year”. This is because the sub-compact and micro-sub compact segments attract the most attention in the United States, in which competition is fierce. The organization prefers to split this special segment of the handgun market.

The reason why the sub-compact and micro sub-compact segments draw so much attention is that many people in the United States prefer these firearms for the protection of themselves and their homes. Accordingly, the number of products and producers in this segment is extremely high. This year in particular saw the entry of many innovative products onto the market, increasing the competition even further. To give an example, and to clarify the level of competitiveness, I can say that in addition to the technical features of the product, you have to be good also in areas that may be considered small details, just like in a launching video. The launch trailer we filmed for CANİK TP9 Elite SC was a hit in this regard.

I can say with all confidence that the category in which we won our award is the most competitive at ICA, which is a challenging competition in itself, and that makes it even more meaningful for us.

When we look at the process as a whole, the product that performs best in all criteria wins first place; there can be no doubt about the objectivity of the process.

MSI TDR: Which features of CANİK TP9 Elite SC stood out among its peers?

Gençay GENÇER: CANİK TP9 Elite SC was the front-runner in all of the evaluation criteria of the competition.

Most importantly, CANİK TP9 Elite SC handgun has a trigger that users fall in love with. CANİK handguns have the best trigger mechanism among all handguns in serial production around the world. You can buy an outstanding trigger from a custom production company, but when it comes to serial production, things are different. It is not easy to design a good trigger mechanism and make it available for serial production. At the moment, we are the company that is best able to do this.

CANİK handguns have a patented trigger mechanism. To describe our trigger mechanism without getting too technical, I can say that our trigger mechanism is suitable for both sporting and tactical use, without requiring any modifications.

CANİK handguns have a patented trigger mechanism.

We test our handguns with over 50,000 rounds, and CANİK TP9 Elite SC’s dispersion has been shown to stay the same, even after 50,000 rounds. Designing and producing such a barrel is not easy, in that it requires substantial technical knowledge and infrastructure, both of which we possess.

Although it is considered as a self-protection handgun, CANİK TP9 Elite SC is an operational handgun, as its magazine capacity and barrel distribution are the same as the compact handguns in the higher segment of the market. The handgun can also accommodate optics and flashlight accessories.

Also, all of the control distances on the gun, referring to the distances that your finger has to travel to reach the controls, such as the trigger and the safety lock, are identical to those in the higher segment handguns in the CANİK product family. This provides a unique advantage. Your operational gun is likely to be in the compact segment, and you develop muscle memory by training with that gun every day. Before the advent of CANİK TP9 Elite SC, you would lose that muscle memory when you had to use a sub-compact handgun as part of your duties, for example, when you take part in a concealed operation because you would have a different gun in your hands. With CANİK TP9 Elite SC, you maintain your usual muscle memory. Right now, there are no other handguns with this feature on the market.

Another aspect of the weapon that may be of benefit to armed forces and law enforcement is the positioning of all the controls of CANİK TP9 Elite SC in the same places on the right and left. This allows you to use the gun easily with either your right or left hand. This feature can save lives in certain situations, such as in the event of injury during conflict. Most companies avoid such a design feature due to the technical difficulties involved.

“Concealed carry” refers to the ability to carry the weapon under casual clothes without being noticed, and to draw it easily when needed. This requires a smaller size, as well as features that prevent the gun from getting snagged on clothing as it is being drawn.

Users of all types love CANİK TP9 Elite SC for these features. As our sales channels and after-sales support are at an exceptional level in the United States, we were able to meet all of the ICA criteria and win this award.

Success is Not Coincidental

MSI TDR: This is not the first time CANİK handguns have won this award. Can tell us briefly about the awards you have won in previous years?

Gençay GENÇER: We launched CANİK TP9 SFx, which is a competition handgun, in 2017 after a meticulous process to develop the best features. That same year, the weapon won the “Handgun of the Year” award in ICA.

ICA also announces the second-placed weapons in each category, and our TP9 SF Elite took the second prize in the “Handgun of the Year” category in 2018. Of course, we always aim for the best, but when we consider the ICA process, second place is also a considerable achievement.

In 2019, we launched CANİK TP9 Elite Combat, which was integrated with several ground-breaking features for us. We worked with SAI in this project, a highly respected designer in the armament sector. While SAI is very well-known in the firearms sector, I would like to give the partnership of Mercedes-AMG as an example to let the readers understand better. In our case, SAI was AMG.

Ours is the only handgun brand to win first place in the United States three times over the last four years. We always say, “Success is not coincidental!” We work meticulously, taking great care with every step.

In this cooperation, the SAI designers designed the performance parts for the TP9 Elite Combat model, including such parts as the barrel, muffler cap, fore-sight, rear-sight, and magwell, and we subsequently presented the gun to the market with these parts. This was an important innovation, as CANİK TP9 Elite Combat is a handgun that is sold all over the world. Outside the United States, supplying parts from SAI and applying them to our guns involves a series of steps, starting with customs. In a way, we made SAI parts accessible to gun enthusiasts who were curious about them.

Consequently, CANİK TP9 Elite Combat won first place in the Handgun of the Year category at ICA in 2019.

MSI TDR: What do these awards mean for CANİK as a brand?

Gençay GENÇER: CANİK is the only handgun brand to win first place in the United States three times over the last four years. We always say, “Success is not coincidental!” We work meticulously, taking great care with every step. Our global network is strong. We are operating in 42 countries. We work with soldiers, police officers, and sports shooters from all over the world. With our experience and technologies, we have created a melting pot for their feedback, and act with reason. We take our decisions after that. The way we operate ensures the creation of the best products, and awards come naturally.

These awards show us that we are on the right track; they motivate us to work harder and to produce better products.

SYS has launched an important accessory program in the United States to gain a stake in the accessory market and is giving hints about this accessories program with the holster that comes with CANİK TP9 Elite SC. This is a double-sided holster that is suitable for both concealed and open carrying. Other brands do not offer such complementarily accessories, requiring you to buy them separately.

MSI TDR: Can you give us hints about the future? Do you have any new products that you hope will win awards?

Gençay GENÇER: Absolutely. We have already defined our plans for 2021, 2022, and 2023. We are launching CANİK TP9 SFx Pro in 2021, which is a model that we have been working on for almost 1.5 years.

Product Development Model that Creates a Difference

MSI TDR: How was CANİK TP9 Elite SC created?

Gençay GENÇER: In the United States, among the handgun tenders opened by the Federal Government in recent years, the United States Army bid was the largest in terms of the number of handguns to be supplied, at over 1 million units. This was followed by the tender opened by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, with over 800,000 handguns. We were invited to bid in this tender, as one of only eight invited handgun brands form around the world. This offers a clear indication of our status as a global company. The tender also called for the provision of a sub-compact handgun with the same features as the compact handguns to be supplied, and this led to the launch of works for CANİK TP9 Elite SC. During the process, we came to see that we could offer this product also to civil markets and continued our works accordingly.

We have a unique product development process that has proven itself with the handguns we have developed previously. For example, we carry out workshops with experts from all over the world in various phases of our works, discussing different topics, such as the necessary features of our armaments. We convey the results of the workshops to our design and R&D units who then come up with products that will provide us with the upper hand in competitions.

We have gone through these processes also with CANİK TP9 Elite SC, finalizing the product last autumn, and launched it at the Shot Show expo.

MSI TDR: What does the award presented to CANİK TP9 Elite SC mean in terms of the design capabilities and technologies of SYS?

Gençay GENÇER: SYS has a deep-rooted history in the defence and aerospace sector, and our experience has brought us certain capabilities in design and precision serial production. With such capabilities, we can develop high-performance products, although our work is not over in this regard. We must produce in large amounts and without any faults, which means serial production. I am talking about the serial production of hundreds of thousands of units, and this is exactly what we are doing. This award shows how good we are at this. We design the best product in class and carry out its serial production.

We will Increase our Share of the US Market

MSI TDR: Can you tell us about CANİK’s current stake in the US market?

Gençay GENÇER: Among the companies that export handguns to the United States, we currently rank in the fourth-place in terms of numbers, but we are very close to the third-place. We are looking to reach the third-place as soon as possible, building on our success and awards in the sub-compact sector.

MSI TDR: What are your objectives and predictions about CANİK’s future in the US market?

Gençay GENÇER: We are witnessing an increase in the sales of our firearms in the United States, and predict that this increase will start to slow next March when figures will start to decrease. We are aiming for the continued growth of the CANİK brand with the new models that will be launched next year, despite the predicted slowdown in the sector.

We have prepared for 2021 and will be introducing our METE series of handguns to the US market.

MSI TDR: Is there anything you would like to add?

Gençay GENÇER: Looking at the US market, we can see that users spend more money on accessories than they do on handguns, and we have launched a significant accessory program in the United States to gain a stake in this market. We are giving hints about our accessory program with the holster that comes with CANİK TP9 Elite SC, being a double-sided holster that is suitable both for concealed and open carrying. Other brands do not include such valuable complementarily accessories with their products; you have to buy them separately.

The other accessories of CANİK TP9 Elite SC that are sold separately include 17+1 magazines, special springs that prevent recoil, torches, and holsters that are compatible with the fitted flashlights.

In the CANİK TP9 series of handguns, the Elite SC, Sub METE, and Sub Elite have the same basic design but differ in terms of their package contents, sight types, and weight. Elite SC targets the US market, while Sub Elite is aimed at the rest of the world, including Turkey.

You need to obtain a license for every accessory you market in the United States, and we have obtained licenses for over 100 accessories in our product range to date, although this number is increasing every month. Our accessory program will show its actual power once this licensing process has been completed, as at the moment there are over 270 accessories available for CANİK handguns. We aim to reach full capacity in our accessory program in the United States in 2021 and to achieve a turnover rate as high as that of our handgun exports.

On behalf of our readers, we would like to thank Gençay Gençer, Corporate Communications and Business Development Manager of SYS, for taking the time to answer our questions and for providing us with such valuable information.

The Concepts of “Sub-compact” and “Concealed Carry”

ICA emphasizes “Concealed Carry” in the award categories and the main contenders in the “Concealed Carry Pistol of the Year” category are sub-compact handguns, although not every sub-compact pistol is suitable for concealed carry. “Concealed carry” refers to the ability to carry the weapon under casual clothes without being noticed, and to draw it easily when needed. This requires a smaller size, as well as features that prevent the gun from getting snagged on clothing as it is being drawn.

CANİK TP9 Elite SC in the United States; CANİK TP9 Sub Elite in Turkey

In the CANİK TP9 series of handguns, the Elite SC, Sub METE, and Sub Elite have the same basic design but differ in terms of their package contents, sights, and weight.

Elite SC targets the US market, while Sub Elite is aimed at the rest of the world, including Turkey. Elite SC complies with the US sub-compact regulations, with its biggest difference from the Sub Elite being its lower weight.

Sub METE is the sub-compact model of the METE series, with special sight and mufflers that are supplied only to state institutions, being unavailable for civil sales.

Features of CANİK TP9 Elite SC

Calibre: 9×19 mm

Width (mm/inches): 37 mm / 1.46’’

Length (mm/inches): 170.5 mm / 6.71”

Height (mm/inches): 116 mm / 4.57”

Barrel length (mm/inches): 91.5 mm / 3.60”

Dry Weight (gr/oz): 695 gr / 24.52 oz

Frame: Metal reinforced polymer frame

Mechanism: Single action trigger mechanism

Firing Mechanism: Semi-automatic firing pin

Safety System: Pin lock

  • Dual slide-stop Lever
  • Magazine with Finger Rest Butt-Plate
  • Dual changeable magazine lock
  • Needle set indicator
  • Munitions latch
  • White dot fore-sight and blackout tactical rear-sight

Awards Received by CANİK Handguns and Accessories

  • 2107 ICA Handgun of the Year – CANİK TP9 SFx
  • 2018 Ballistics Best Editor’s Choice Versatile / Value Pistol – CANİK TP9 SFL
  • 2018 ICA Value Accessory of the Year – CANİK magazines
  • 2019 ICA Handgun of the Year – CANİK TP9 Elite Combat
  • 2019 Ballistics Best Full-Size Semi-Auto Handguns – CANİK TP9 Elite Combat
  • 2020 ICA Concealed Carry Handgun of the Year – CANİK TP9 Elite SC

Related Articles

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We think you are familiar with this, but you can disable it if you want. Accept Read More