My friends know that I’m a pretty judgmental person. I’m also known to link two completely unrelated topics together in my mind. So it should come as no surprise that I often judge foreign countries on their firearms and their beer.
Germans make great beer. They also, being Germans, make excellent guns. I tend to like Germany and treat it with a bit of respect. The same can be said of the Belgians, the Swiss and the Czechs. Serbia, which has a long tradition of making quality firearms, is also on the list. I don’t know so much about their beer, but I fondly remember drinking homemade slivovitza (a plumb brandy) with a bunch of Serbs in Baghdad. Therefore, I like Serbs.
The same cannot be said for such countries as Gaza/Palestine (which is not really a country, produces inferior munitions and whose government shut down their last brewery several years ago). Likewise, Iran bans production of alcoholic beer and can’t even design a decent pistol or rifle. They manufacture an unlicensed copy of the SIG P226 and copy the Norinco CQ – itself a copy of the AR-15. I do not like Gazans or Iranians.
Turkey made a quality Mauser rifle last century, and though I’ve used such rifles on more than one occasion, I was doubtful of the current state of the Turkish firearms industry. Still, I have fond memories of drinking Turkish beer (Effes Pilsener) while on vacation in Izmir back in 2009, so I figured I’d give them a chance.
Canik 55 (the C is pronounced as a J – a peculiarity of the latinized modern Turkish alphabet) is a Turkish firearms manufacturing company and a defense contractor. By Turkish law, any company that produces rifled barrels must be certified by the Ministry of Defense and be up to their exacting standards. Century International Arms (a major importer of firearms) provided me with the Stingray-C pistol for testing and evaluation.
Let’s start by being clear on what the Stingray-C is: a Turkish copy of the Czech CZ-75 Compact. It isn’t a big leap forward in handgun technology. It is however, a solid, reliable and accurate pistol.
Though the Stingray-C is a traditional DA/SA handgun, Canik 55 has incorporated several upgrades. In addition to the safety, the slide release is also ambidextrous. It is quite easy to manipulate with either hand, a benefit to the Southpaw population. Another innovative feature is the loaded chamber indicator.
I’ve always appreciated knowing whether my carry gun has one in the pipe. And since brass checks are annoying, a mechanical method rather than a manual one is preferable. Several pistols, such as the HK P2000SK, have an indicator. However, the Heckler and Koch isn’t exactly tactile. It sticks out just far enough for me to see the colored indicator. It’s not something that you can rely on in the dark.
Conversely, determining if the Stingray-C is loaded or not is incredibly easy. A sizable button is located on the top of the slide and if a round is in the chamber, this piece of metal tilts upward in the front, providing not only a clear visual sign, but also a tactile one. It’s great to be ale to reach for the Stingray-C in the middle of the night and know when you grab it that it’s ready to go. In fact, if you need the Stingray-C for nighttime use, it has an accessory rail on the bottom of the frame, which will allow you to mount a laser or flashlight.
The finish on the gun is a black chrome. Both the frame and the slide are made from steel, which increases the handgun’ weight, as compared to polymer-framed pistols. This leads to a very soft-recoiling weapon system.
The rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation, though I didn’t have to make any adjustments to the factory preset. The magazines are made by Mec-Gar in Italy, like those of SIG Sauer and other major handguns. Two 13-round mags are included with the Stingray-C and function flawlessly.
Disassembly is a breeze, as long as you have a screwdriver, key or other similarly-pointed piece of metal. Cleaning is simple and straight-forward as well. The pistol comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty as well.
I heated the frame and slide with my Tactical Heat Application Device and lubricated the rails with Froglube, as I do now to all of my firearms. It functioned flawlessly with a variety of 9x19mm ammunition. I used Silver Bear, Brown Bear, Federal Premium 124 grain, and Winchester 115 grain. I didn’t encounter a single jam or feeding issue in the entire course of the evaluation.
The accuracy is as follows: at 10 yards, I had no trouble doing Mozambique Drills and at 25 yards, I could keep all the rounds in the upper thoracic cavity. That’s really the accuracy I’m most concerned about. I don’t mean to downplay other handguns’ abilities to be absolute tack-drivers. In fact, the Stingray-C may well be super-accurate. That said, I’m not necessarily a deadeye with a handgun. In fact, I’m not going to post pictures of the targets as I do not wish to embarrass myself. It’s for that same reason that I won’t post targets from any of my pistol evaluations.
Of course, other shooters are capable of better accuracy, such as the man in the picture at the top of this article. He regularly shoots out the eyes of the target at 10 yards, using the Stingray-C. And yes, sometimes he alternates eyes, just to annoy me.
The Stingray-C is a solid, reliable choice for a concealed carry handgun. While not as light as some of the polymer-framed sub-compacts I have experience with, its steel-framed construction mitigates recoil excellently. Its size is compact and the pistol can be comfortably carried in a proper holster.
This particular pistol was given to a fellow firearms instructor and is now his primary carry piece. He chose it for its ergonomic design, ease of operation and accuracy. It has served him quite well and will continue to do so for years to come.
So, Turkey is okay in my book.
Special thanks to Century International Arms for the Stingray-C and for other pistols which will be featured in reviews to come.
Thanks also to Cenk of Tutku Tours for the Effes beer and good conversation overlooking a harbor in western Turkey.
As always, thanks to AIM Surplus for ammunition at rock bottom prices.
By Allen Cosby