Samsun, Turkey, a port city on the Black Sea, boasts a rich history that goes back thousands of years. The city was even mentioned in Homer’s Iliad. In more modern times, Samsun has earned attention for being one of the Anatolian Tigers, cities that have had impressive economic growth since the 1980s. One of Samsun’s success stories is handgun manufacturer Canik55.

At an industry trade show earlier this year, Century International Arms invited me to see the new line of Canik55 pistols they would begin importing, starting with the Stingray-C. Canik55 (pronounced “cha-nick”) has a reputation for producing rugged pistols based on the tried-and-true CZ design. I am a huge fan of CZ-type pistols, and my brief look at the Stingray-C in the Century Arms booth made me eager to get a sample for testing.

One of my favorite range guns is a 1990 vintage CZ, and over the years I’ve acquired quite a few vintage CZs and CZ clones. The fact that there is such a booming market in CZ clones is due to an oddity of Cold War politics. Back in 1975, when František Koucký designed the CZ 75 pistol, Czechoslovakia was behind the Iron Curtain. The Czechs decided the new pistol design was a matter of national security, so they classified its patents as secret. But the Czechs couldn’t apply for international patent protection without disclosing the engineering data for the design, which they refused to do. As a result, the CZ 75 was unprotected abroad, and companies all over the world reverse-engineered the design and began turning out high-quality CZ 75 clones. I’ve shot some very good CZ clones, and my brief look at the Stingray-C led me to think this would be one of the good ones.

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