Tristar C 100 Pistol – a Pure Shooter For The Budget Conscious

By Mike Searson
We found the Tristar C 100 Pistol to be a true bargain shooter that had everything one could want in a CZ-75 Compact Clone.

Tristar C 100 Pistol
Tristar C 100 Pistol
Mike Searson
Mike Searson

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)- TriStar Sporting Arms recently sent us a C100 pistol to try out. Made by CANIK of Turkey, we were impressed with this CZ-75 Compact clone and were convinced that we had a genuine CZ in hand when we took it out of the box.

We have always had a soft spot for CZ pistols and their clones. Back in the 1980s a genuine CZ-75 was one of the hardest handguns to find in the West, due to the Cold War. We had to make due with clones made in Italy by Tanfoglio for what seemed like the longest time. We carried an Israeli version while working in Guatemala a few decades ago and while we always have a few CZs in our safe, we still enjoy the occasional CZ clone when we get a chance to try one out.

The first thing we noticed about the Tristar C 100 Pistol was how compact it was. The grip fit our hand comfortably and seemed a bit thinner than the full sized pistol. We checked and made sure that our larger magazines would fit and function in the C100 and they did so, flawlessly.

We were a bit concerned by the low MSRP of $429!? for the pistol and were waiting for the catch.

Tristar C 100 Pistol – The Good

Tristar C 100 Pistol Right Side
Tristar C 100 Pistol Right Side

The slide rides inside the frame, instead of over the frame rails like a 1911, HK SIG or Glock. This allows for a low bore axis more in line with the shooter's hand.

Fit and finish is wonderful on these pistols with a high-temp Cerakote coating. The pistol has the look and feel of a custom piece that has been completely de-honed for concealed carry.

We really liked the lightweight alloy frame on this one for keeping the weight down and just like a CZ, the grip frame melts into your hand and allows the pistol to “point” quite naturally.

The CANIK C-100 is simply an easy handgun to shoot well with its grip shape and low bore axis.

Tristar C-100 Handgun – The Bad

Tristar C 100 Pistol Left Side
Tristar C 100 Pistol Left Side

Despite the serrations on the slide, if you are not familiar with the CZ-75 design, it can take some getting used to. We are a fan, but as we do not shoot pistols with slides inside the rail very often, it always takes us a bit of time to regain the muscle memory on manipulation.

We do not have a dislike for DA/SA pistols and do not mind carrying a CZ or clone in “cocked and locked” fashion, but wish that this one came with a de-cocking lever. To carry “uncocked and locked” requires squeezing the trigger to lower the hammer on a live round. It is cool if you can consistently pull that off, but will suck the one time you slip up. (DANGER) This is why the IDF has a method of carrying a pistol with no round in the chamber. In that case you just have to remember to rack that slide on the draw.

Tristar C 100 Pistol Ejection Port
Tristar C 100 Pistol Ejection Port

If you are familiar with the pistol’s manual of arms that is great. If you are coming over from the striker fired world or even the 1911 side of things pay attention and realize what safeties are present and which ones are not.

Tristar C 100 Pistol – The Reality

For an inexpensive handgun, we expected a lot worse in the accuracy department. The C-100 was fired at 50 feet and our five-shot groups ranged from 2.26” to 3.45”.

Once again we relied on Freedom Munitions 115 grain FMC ammunition and in 200 rounds we did not have a single malfunction. Firing various other types of loose ammo we had on hand from 124 grains to 147 grain subsonic loads did not affect the accuracy or reliability one bit.

We found the Tristar CANIK 100 Pistol to be a true bargain shooter that had everything one could want in a CZ-75 Compact Clone.

It is a proven design that continues to see service around the world. Accuracy was more than suitable for the price range and the pistol ate everything we fed it with no problems at all.

CZ-75 Handgun vs Tristar C 100 Handgun (btm)
CZ-75 Handgun vs Tristar C 100 Handgun (btm)

Some folks may want to leave a pistol like this in their vehicle, boat, cabin, etc. due to its low cost. Do not let that fool you. This is a pistol that is meant for much more than that.

That’s right, there was no catch. The Tristar C one hundred was just a nice pistol at an affordable price.

  • Manufacturer: CANIK
  • Distributor: TriStar Sporting Arms
  • Caliber: 9 mm
  • Frame: aluminum alloy
  • Barrel: 3.9″
  • Rifling: six-groove, 1:18″ RH twist
  • Magazine: detachable-box; 15-round capacity
  • Trigger: single-action, 4.5 lbs.; double-action, 12-lbs.
  • Overall Length: 7.16″
  • Width: 1.37″
  • Height: 5″
  • Weight: 24 oz.
  • MSRP: $429 (Must Buy)
Tristar C 100 Handgun
Tristar C 100 Handgun

About Mike Searson

Mike Searson's career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.

Mike has written over 2000 articles for a number of magazines, websites and newsletters including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, Examiner.com and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

  • Home page: www.mikesearson.com
  • FB: www.facebook.com/mike.searson
  • TWITTER: www.twitter.com/mikesearson
  • 4 thoughts on “Tristar C 100 Pistol – a Pure Shooter For The Budget Conscious

    1. Personally I hate decockers and DA/SA trigger pulls, I do train with them and am competent with them though. Nothing wrong with a thumb safety and condition one carry, it is as safe as any other method if you are properly trained. If you are too mentally challenged to learn and train the manual of arms for a thumb safety equipped pistol, then maybe you should not be using a pistol in the first place, just dial 911 and wait. The fact is that unless they train properly, most DA/SA pistol shooters will miss on the critical first shot while shooters trained and using a pistol in SA condition one carry will have a very high probability of a first round hit, just like with striker fired guns.

      Those who claim a DA capable pistol is a better choice due to second strike capability are severely misinformed. The proper procedure for a failure to fire is tap-rack- assess, not to try to make a defective round go off. Tapping will make sure your magazine is securely seated, racking feeds fresh round into chamber and then you assess if you need to fire again as the dynamics of the situation may have changed. In any case hoping for a potentially defective round to go off due to a second strike is pretty much stupid if you can replace it with a fresh one. If both rounds fail to go off, you are most likely having a more severe problem that no amount of trigger pulling will solve.

      I happen to own a Canik 55 C-100 pistol along with others in my collection. I find it to be a fine gun and easy to shoot. It has never shown any reliability issues and the only problem I had with it were sight related. The gun as it came from the factory was equipped with sights that shot too low at distance. The front sight was too low to be filed any lower and be useful. Luckily the sights and magazines have a good interchangeability with CZ-75 parts and sights. I ended up buying a new front sight and the highest available rear sight for a CZ-75 and mounted them. A bit of filling and some range time to sight it in and the pistol shoots POA=POI at 25 yards. It is a good serviceable defensive pistol that I am not afraid to use for EDC.

    2. I agree with this review. CZ mags fit as well, a very good thing. The double action trigger is on the heavy side, but that can be helped a lot with a $20 spring kit from Cajun Gun Works. My only real complaint is that the safety can be engaged when the hammer is in any position, unlike a CZ where it can only be engaged when it’s cocked. Other than that, a great gun for the money.

      1. Jim–I would prefer a safety that can be used all of the time–especially while loading and racking the slide starting from hammer down–rather than the 1911 JMB style of locking the slide when safetied. Mike–The chamber empty rack-on-draw “Israeli style carry” was originally used to train totally untrained newbie immigrants to shoot the dozens of different handgun types that existed in the early years of Israeli Aliya and statehood (1940’s) –because it will work with any/all semi-auto pistols–regardless of their particular operating and/or safety system–from a Borchardt up thru a modern Glock. It is also safer to use in the crowded civilian environment that exists in Israel’s current-day society with heavy civilian EDC daily carry. Its main drawback is that it takes 2 hands to be properly utilized–just visualize a Zimmerman-type situation with an empty chamber!! I myself at 77 yrs old cannot and would not use “Israeli style”–even tho I was trained in it many years ago in Israel. Tnx for listening to a FOWG !!! DMD

      2. Jim–I would prefer a safety that can be used all of the time–especially while loading and racking the slide starting from hammer down–rather than the 1911 JMB style of locking the slide when safetied. Mike–The chamber empty rack-on-draw “Israeli style carry” was originally used to train totally untrained newbie immigrants to shoot the dozens of different handgun types that existed in the early years of Israeli Aliya and statehood (1940’s) –because it will work with any/all semi-auto pistols–regardless of their particular operating and/or safety system–from a Borchardt up thru a modern Glock. It is also safer to use in the crowded civilian environment that exists in Israel’s current-day society with its heavy civilian EDC daily carry. Its main drawback is that it takes 2 hands to be properly utilized–just visualize a Zimmerman-type situation with an empty chamber!! I myself at 77 yrs old cannot and would not use “Israeli style”–even tho I was trained in it many years ago in Israel. Tnx for listening to a FOWG !!! DMD

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