Canik U.S.A. is a Turkish manufacturer of some very nice combat, concealed carry and competition 9mm handguns that have a very reasonable pricepoint. I’ve owned a Canik TP9 Elite Combat 9mm pistol for a couple of years now and can tell you that you get a lot of features for the $849.99 MSRP.
It is an excellent gun. But after shooting it more, I found its weak point: the fiber-optic front sight.
Fiber-optic sights are adequate for basic use. They gather light and, in bright sunlight or interior light, show up very well. Fiber-optic sights draw the eye to them — particularly if they are used on the front sight only. However, they are no different than plain black sights when the light gets low. And, in the case of the Canik TP9, the fiber-optic sights can be fragile. After some use, the front sight pipe loosened and started to fall out. I had to glue it back in place.
Enter XS RAM Sights
If you have been reading my columns for a while, you know of the three different permutations of XS pistol sights: DXT2 Big Dots, F8s and the newest member of the group, RAM Night Sights. The RAM is the one currently available for the Canik. I selected the orange RAMs.
XS RAM Sights consist of a fixed rear sight with two side-by-side Tritium vials — one on each side of the sight notch — and a single Tritium vial on the front sight. The front sight Tritium vial is surrounded by either a bright green circle or bright orange circle. This feature means the RAM sights can be used day or night, despite the name.
If highlighting the Tritium front sight dot, why not put bright color circles around both rear Tritium dots? The answer is simple. By only highlighting the front sight, the mind and eye are not diverted by “which one is which” while coming up on target. There aren’t three similar sight dots from which to choose. In combat shooting situations, only the front sight really matters. And the bright orange or green circle speeds the selection of the single front sight dot as it comes up on target, allowing the rear Tritium vials to fade into the background.
Installing XS RAM Sights
I’ve installed a number of XS Sights on various Glock pistols. As a Glock armorer, it was a snap. However, the Canik was something new. A buddy (who is much more mechanically adept than I am) and I were both stymied by Canik’s sight mounting and couldn’t get them removed without fear of marring some portion of the slide.
I took advantage of XS’s factory installation service, sending out the Canik’s slide. They don’t want the whole gun if it’s a semi-auto pistol that needs to have sights installed. However, if you have a revolver you want sights installed on, XS obviously needs the entire gun. Full instructions and pricing information are available on the XS website. In short order, I had the gun back with sights installed.
What a difference compared to the original fiber-optic front sight! The sights are readily visible day and night, indoors and out. There is an adequate amount of spacing on either side of the front sight when the sights are aligned — just right for combat shooting rather than target shooting. The orange front sight outline pulls the eye right to it.
The rear sight “ears” are angled at the top corners rather than squared. This shape reduces the amount of the sight occluding the target, giving you better view of the target and allowing you to better determine friend or foe. It may not seem like much, but it makes a big difference, as often happens with small design improvements. With the addition of the XS RAM Sights, I feel this particular Canik is now ready for duty.
XS RAM Sights are available for $109.99. If you aren’t happy with your current sights or would like to try something different, consider opting for a set of RAMs or one of the other XS pistol sights. You won’t be sorry.
XS Sights: XSSights.com
About Scott W. Wagner
After working undercover in narcotics and liquor investigations, Scott W. Wagner settled down to be a criminal justice professor and police academy commander. He was also a SWAT team member, sniper and assistant team leader before his current position as patrol sergeant with the Village of Baltimore, Ohio, Police Department. Scott is a police firearms instructor certified to train revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun.