The Canik SFx Rival-S is a striker-fired, all-steel competition 9mm pistol that debuted a few months ago at the 2023 SHOT Show. It’s manufactured in Turkey and imported by Century Arms. Given the surging trend and variety of all-steel competition pistols, Canik adapted their original polymer framed Rival into this metallic monolith of a pistol. I’ve never fired or handled any Canik firearms prior to this one. But this is not a full review, rather this is just a preview. At the time of this writing, I’ve only fired a little more than two boxes of ammunition through the Rival-S. I have yet to even take it to a match, much less shoot it off a rest to evaluate its accuracy. But I’m quite pleased with the first 120 rounds and the accuracy results.
The First 50 Rounds
I fired a 50-round box of 9mm American Eagle 124-grain FMJ (AE9AP) at a 5 yard Dot Torture target. Dot Torture isn’t difficult at all, but it requires focus for every shot to be successful. Doing well means focusing on aiming and handling the gun. I scored a 49/50 at 5 yards, which is OK. I had a flier (the 8th shot on #7) which was my mistake. If you look at #1, you’ll see one shot dead at 6 o’clock on the line. That was the very first shot I took. The other four rounds center punched the middle of that circle, not bad for a first 5 rounds. Also helping the Canik Rival-S’ case is how easy it was to shoot circles #5 and #8. Arguably, these are the most difficult circles on the Dot Torture drill as they are fired with a single hand only. This all-steel competition pistol’s weight and light striker trigger really helped with one handed shooting. The first shot I took on #5 ended up stovepiping, but I think that was my fault due to the way I was holding the pistol. I tightened my grip and had no other issues with any single handed shooting for the duration of this exercise. This is also a match-grade all-steel competition pistol being fired for the first time. Maybe it needs to break-in some? I’m not worried about it either way.
B8s And The Next 70 Rounds
The real fun began after finishing the Dot Torture drill. I set up some B8 repair centers and fired the Canik Rival-S at seven different ten-round strings using various factory 9mm loads. These included the above mentioned American Eagle 124-grain FMJ (AE9AP), the Federal Syntech 124/150-grain FP (AE9SJ2)/(AE9SJAP1), American Eagle 147-grain FP (AE9FP), and CCI Blazer Brass 115-grain (5200). I am a modest shooter and still have much to learn, but I am more than pleased with the results of my shooting and these scores. Freestyle 25 yard shooting is something I’ve been working on in the past several months and I am finally making some inroads when it comes to shot-calling and baseline skills.
- 124-gr Syntech (96-3x)
- 150-gr Syntech (unscored)
- 147-gr AE9FP (unscored)
- 124-gr AE9AP (93-2x)
- 124-gr AE9AP (95-3x)
- 115-gr CCI (91-2x)
- 115-gr CCI (97-3x)
Overall, I am very pleased with my performance. Shooting B8 Targets freestyle at 25 yards with open sights also requires a lot of consistency and focus, not to mention precision. That said, getting scores in the mid to high 90s is great for me. Currently, I have not scored higher than a 97 on a 25 yard B8 target shot freestyle (with any type of pistol). I still have to shoot groups from rest and record them for my upcoming formal review. Given the circumstances of having a new to me pistol from a product line I was previously unfamiliar with and with shots taken at 25 yards freestyle I am feeling confident for the next step: matches. There is no doubt that the all-steel 43 ounce unloaded weight and the light trigger makes life with the Canik Rival-S easier, but then again this competition pistol has some fierce rivals indeed.
Sights On Target
The Canik Rival-S ships with phenomenal Tru-Glo fiber optic competition style sights (And extra fiber optic inserts). Out of the box, the front sight is calibrated to shoot lights out with 124 or 115 grain standard velocity 9mm Luger ammunition. Being well aware of how popular heavy-for-caliber 9mm Luger ammo at USPSA matches, I think that the balance and weight of the Rival-S make that somewhat of a moot-point. Besides my handloads, I shoot tons of CCI Blazer (Brass or Aluminum) and knowing that the Rival-S can shoot this dead on at 25 is comforting, as this CCI ammo is easy to find online and in stores. I did not score Strings 2 and 3 which were the ones I shot with the heavier 147 and 150 grain cartridges. Given that I am barely getting acquainted with the Rival-S, I really did not want to adjust the sights just yet. In fairness, the rear sight is adjustable, so you can shoot your favorite 9mm bullet weight with this pistol.
With the Canik Rival-S’ all-steel competition based design, matches ought to be fun in either USPSA Limited or Carry Optics.