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Canik SFx Rival Handgun Review - Is It Worth to Try?

Canik SFx Rival Handgun Review - Is It Worth to Try?


Remember October 2023? When Nils Jonasson clinched the 1st place SSP at the 2023 IDPA World Championship. We remember this, and we certainly know what he was shooting: a Canik SFx Rival.

Known as one of the best handguns for competition, the Canik SFx Rival has become a popular choice among competitive shooters. Jonasson, in fact, achieved some impressive accolades with this gun during 2022, including six national and one world championship.

Is Nils' competition equipment the best choice for you? In this Canik SFx Rival review, we will explain why it's one of the best competitive shooting handguns available today. Featuring a longer barrel and enhanced ergonomics for rapid, precise shooting, this pistol is certainly a top option without breaking the bank.

Overview of the Canik SFx Rival Handgun

The Canik SFx Rival is a competition-ready pistol. This means that you can go to the store, buy it, take it to a match straight out of the box, and be good to go. It's not just any competition handgun; it's a really great one. The Canik SFx Rival features carry optics allowed in USPSA and IDPA and several other divisions, including production if you’re not running the optic.

One of the standout features of the SFx Rival is its 5-inch barrel, which contributes to its accuracy and stability. As always with Caniks, one of the talks of the town is its advanced trigger system, designed for a short, crisp break and a quick reset.

The SFx Rival comes with two 18-round magazines. Also, you can choose between the standard version -with gold accents, the perfect-looking race gun-, and the all-black Dark Side version for shooters who prefer standard colors.

By this time, we are familiar with Canik’s impressive track record of innovations. They evolved from a Turkey-based company focused on aerospace defense in 1998, to one of today’s top firearms manufacturing companies. They work with major companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Airbus, which, believe us, don’t buy cheap stuff.

In 2012, Canik partnered with Century Arms, forming CanikUSA. One of its latest handgun models, the SFx Rival, was named "Pistol of the Year 2022", becoming one of the best handguns for competition. Let’s find out why.

Key Features of the Canik SFx Rival

Build Quality and Design

When it comes to build quality, the Canik SFx Rival handgun is second to none. This handgun’s construction ensures durability and resistance to corrosion, making it a reliable choice for any shooter.

The Canik SFx Rival features a polymer frame, though there is also an option for a steel frame with the Canik SFx Rival-S. It has an ambidextrous slide release and a reversible magazine release, so you are certainly going to love it, whether you are left or right-handed.

A nice surprise was the stainless steel guide rod. Really, for a handgun at this price point, how do they do this? Really adds durability and reliability to the Canik SFx Rival.

In terms of ergonomics, the Canik SFx Rival does not disappoint. It boasts a redesigned beavertail that enhances grip comfort and control. The aggressive grip texturing ensures a secure hold, even in fast-paced, high-pressure situations.

The Canik SFx Rival offers a good fit and feel. Not for nothing, it has become a preferred handgun for competitors.

Performance and Accuracy

So, you have seen Nils Jonasson shoot, right? He is widely regarded as a fast and accurate shooter. Nils showcases how impressive the Canik SFx Rival performance can be in the right hands.

As the Canik SFx Rival features a longer 5-inch barrel, this contributes to improved accuracy and stability. As we said above, its excellent trigger system gives you a short, crisp break and quick reset. We are not necessarily saying that this will allow you to be as quick and precise as Nils. Well, perhaps, but you will need a lot of practice! What is for sure is that with the Canik SFx Rival handgun, you will be able to hit your targets with ease.

Recoil management is another area where the SFx Rival shines. The design of this pistol helps reduce recoil, allowing for quicker follow-up shots and better control during rapid-fire sequences. But what truly takes the SFx Rival’s performance to the next level is the addition of the 45 Blast compensator. This comp transforms the SFx Rival into a real flat shooter, minimizing muzzle rise and keeping you on target shot after shot.


As one of the best handguns for competition available, the Canik SFx Rival is designed to compete in IDPA, IPSC, and USPSA without any restrictions. This versatility makes it a favorite among competitive shooters who participate in various disciplines.

Here’s a closer look at the key specs and features the Canik SFx Rival offers:

  • Barrel Length: 5 inches
  • Overall Length: 8.1 inches
  • Weight: 29.5 oz.
  • Sights: Fiber optic front sight and optics-ready setup
  • Trigger: 90-degree trigger with a clean break and an exceptional reset
  • Indicators: Loaded chamber indicator and striker indicator for enhanced safety
  • Magazine: 17+1

Accessories and Customization

Is Open Division the paradise for competitive shooters? There you can spot all sorts of gun enhancements, like sights, red dots, comps, and extended mags.

As an optics-ready pistol, the SFx Rival provides shooters with the flexibility to choose from various red dot sights and other optics. So if you are into these, you can tailor this handgun exactly to your specific needs and preferences. But be warned, once you get started, there is no stopping with this!

As you know, 45 Blast offers a complete line of premium pistol compensators, not only for the Rival SFx but for all Caniks. We encourage you to check out what we have in store.

Pros and Cons of the Canik SFx Rival


High accuracy

One of the standout features of the Canik SFx Rival handgun is its high accuracy. With an extended 5-inch barrel, the longer sight radius improves aiming precision, allowing shooters to place more accurate shots consistently.

The trigger system of the Canik SFx Rival is a favorite among shooters. With a short, crisp break and quick reset, you'll just hear the click, and you'll love it. This feature significantly improves shooting accuracy and minimizes trigger pull errors.

Affordable price

We have said this several times before: Why pay more when you can get great value for money? One of the things we love about Canik is their commitment to bringing better gear to more people. Being one of their most popular handgun models, the SFx Rival is no exception to this. At this price point, you get must-have features on a competition-ready gun, right out of the box.

A few years ago, having such a feature-rich pistol at an affordable price was unthinkable. Canik has truly democratized high-performance shooting gear, making it accessible to a broader audience.


Although the SFx Rival is primarily designed as a competition gun, its versatility is unmatched. With this pistol, you get optics-ready features, enhanced ergonomics, superior build quality, and low recoil. Say no more.

As we said above, the ambidextrous slide release and reversible magazine release make it suitable for both left and right-handed shooters.


Truth be told, a gun this size might not be the best option for concealed carry. However, it really depends on the shooter’s needs and preferences. While it may not be ideal for everyday concealed carry, especially in warmer months, you can still carry it in winter when wearing a big jacket provides more coverage.

Also, some competition shooters might prefer a more aggressive texture on the grip for enhanced control. The SFx Rival's grip is designed to be comfortable and secure, but you never know. Maybe someone will prefer an extra rough texture. Again, this is largely a matter of personal taste and preference.

User Testimonials and Expert Opinions

As much as we enjoy how Nils Jonasson himself shoots this pistol, we need some other reviews on the Canik SFx Rival. We and the rest of the gun enthusiasts in the competitive shooting realm have experiences and opinions of our own about the Canik SFx Rival.

How does it feel to shoot a Canik SFx Rival? Well, Dalton, a gun enthusiast, shot this amazing handgun for the first time and hit a six-inch plate from 50 yards. You should have seen this guy’s face when he said, “The accuracy of this gun is unbelievable!”

We also know that some shooters praised the ergonomics of the SFx Rival. We came across this specific review: “For a guy like me, with big hands, it feels so comfortable. It just fits like a glove. We did some rapid firing, and we were on the steel pretty much every time. It is a really good gun.”

We also liked this comment we heard from another reviewer, “This is probably the best striker fire trigger that I have ever handled.”

Finally, let’s talk about some serious competitive and expert shooting. A reviewer put 1000 rounds through the SFx Rival. All together, almost no rest. Using various types of ammunition. The result? No flaws, just a serious amount of empty magazines left. Reliability is certainly not an issue here.

Comparison with Similar Handguns

How does the Canik SFx Rival stand against its competitors? Let's take a look at how it compares to two popular options: the Glock 34 and the Sig Sauer P320.

The Glock 34 is well-known in the handgun market. It features a simpler setup with fewer customization options. A classic, no doubt about it.

But that is exactly the point, the “classic vibe”, at what cost? While Glock is a respected name, you wouldn’t say that they are an innovative brand by any means. They stick to what they know, which can be both a strength and a limitation. Today, in a market filled with advanced and customizable options, Glock seems to be charging for their name rather than for cutting-edge features. 

The Sig Sauer P320 is another popular name in the handgun arena. IKnown for its personalization potential, there's no arguing that the P320 offers good customization options, but often at a higher cost. 

You will see, the P320 is not a competition-ready pistol straight out of the box. So you might need to invest more time and money into modifications to get it to the same level as the SFx Rival. And, same as we said before here, why pay more when you can get really some value for money with other options?


The Canik SFx Rival has proven itself to be a top contender in the competitive shooting world. We began this review by highlighting the SFx Rival as expert shooter Nils Jonasson’s gun of choice. He won six national and one world championship with this handgun. Time will pass, and we will still remember how impressive this guy is with a Rival.

The outstanding build quality and design of the SFx Rival are all about high accuracy, affordable price, and unmatched versatility. You can even tell that from the shooter testimonials and expert opinions we shared here, showcasing some positive feedback from firsthand experiences.

The final verdict on whether the Canik SFx Rival is worth trying comes down to you, shooter. Are you ready to shoot like a champion? With its advanced features, customizable options, and proven performance, the Canik SFx Rival could be the perfect handgun for you.

Be sure to check it out at the Canik USA website. We think that as soon as you try this competition handgun, you will dig it as much as we do.

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