As I was assembling a new “get home” bag, I wanted to include a 9mm handgun but one not too expensive which might be left behind. After my very positive experience with Century Arms International’s AK, I noticed they introduced the Stingray-C which is a compact pistol version of the famously reliable and accuracte CZ 75 pistol. With a full MSRP of $400 and a street price of only around $350, this pistol was a perfect fit from a price perspective but surprisingly there is more to the Century Stingray-C than just being a very affordable pistol.
OK, ok you know the deal you make with yourself when you buy an inexpensive off brand firearm, hoping it performs well, but accepting that you generally get what you pay for. Sometimes you pull the trigger on the first set of rounds and you are greeted with performance and reliability commensurate to the price of the firearm... generally mediocre accuracy and occasional reliability issues are typical problems.
During the maiden trigger pulls, my friend said I had a look of astonishment as I hammered the contents of two 13-round magazines off hand into dead center 2” circle at 10 yard and out of the box the Stingray-C shot dead on point of aim. What impressed us both more was that it did this feat ten more times in a row all with the cheapest steel cased 9mm ammo I could find (in this case Herters 9mm 115gr FMJ.)
The Century Arms Stingray-C is made in Turkey by Canik55 who is famous for very high quality inexpensive firearms and an OEM manufacturer for many European firearm brands. For those familiar with Canik55 firearms, it should be no surprise that I had absolutely no feeding, functioning, or firing throughout well over 500 rounds of various FMJ, HP, and case lead reloaded ammo. The Stingray-C ran perfectly through slow fire, rapid mag dumps, as well as draw, charge & fire drills.
FIT & FEEL
I made the initial comment that the Century Stingray-C “feels like a Cold War era bank vault” as I handed the Stingray-C over to my friend during testing and the comment is pretty accurate. In the land of light weight polymer pistols, the Stingray-C is not the lightest compact 9mm, but it feels solid at 1.7lbs. I am not going to mislead anyone that the Stingray is custom quality, however it is as good or better than what I have seen roll out of Taurus for less money.
The Stingray-C is easy to tuck into slip and nylon holsters and very comfortable when shooting for a variety of hand sizes. The safety lever was a little awkward for my smaller stumpy fingers, but worked great for the testers with standard or larger hands. On reloading drills the slide release was exactly where my thumb thought it should be, so ergonomics all around were very good.
The functioning of the Century Arms Stingray-C is smooth and easily disassembled via the standard process of slipping the slide reward to the indexing hashes and pushing out the slide stop. The only item a little unusual is the twisted recoil wire spring, but obviously it worked perfect without an issue.
The black finish is a poly coating on phosphate and for the small components they are black chrome. The chrome barrel and poly finish does make for a slick running and charging gun which is far smoother than you would expect on a full price mainstream pistol. The slide is forged from a medium carbon steel high strength called Ck45 and the material of the frame is 18NiCrMo5 .
The features for operation provide a lot of flexibility. I am personally a draw charge and fire kind of guy, however the Stingray-C provides revolver style double action firing ability with the hammer starting in decocked, half-cocked, and full cocked positions. As with any double action pistol, the trigger effort is reduced in half-cock, and in full-cock the trigger provides a single action feel. The trigger itself is very smooth and consistant with great staging from double action to the single action break, but has a little overtravel. The trigger is one of the reasons the Century Arms Stingray-C is such an easy gun to shoot.
For those that like to roll cocked and locked 1911 style, the Stingray-C can all be carried in this manner and provides an ambidextrous 1911 style safety. With the exception of the magazine release, the safety and slide release are both ambidextrous which is a big plus for this gun. Of note there is no decocker, however I always thought this was a was of a feature anyway.
The low profile three-dot style sights are also fully adjustable for both elevation and windage as well as drift adjustable for major point of impact changes. My Stingray-C was dead on right out of the box. The Stingray-C comes packaged in a hard plastic case with two 13-round Italian made Mec-Gar magazines, a mini-screwdriver key fob for easy sight adjustment, rear sight hex wrench for drift adjustment, trigger lock, and cleaning kit. All around this CZ 75 clone is better equipped in many cases than the original.
Other little nice touches many will overlook are the integrated picatinny rail for tactical lights and lasers, front checkering on the trigger guard, and grooving on the front and backstrap of the grip.
As noted previously this gun is impressively accurate. This accuracy makes this inexpensive gun fun to plink with and a fair amount of steel cased ammo was disposed of hammering away at 2” spinner targets at 10-15 yards.
Swapping over to Hornady Zombie-Max 115gr hollow points allowed me to hold 1” groups single action slow fire groups off hand at 10 yards which I consider pretty darn good for a $350 pistol made in Turkey.
Century Arms international has delivered some very high quality low price firearms in the last couple years and this Canik55 Stingray-C pistol is and very impressive. Century is also importing another Canik55 pistol called the TP-9 which I am anxious to test as well.
Although I was just looking for a simple inexpensive 9mm for my get home bag, what I discovered was a surprising feature rich package which comes close to the accuracy of my $600 Glock 19. Some people might think I was just wanting an inexpensive pistol, however every component in my bug out bag I would bet my life on. With over 500 rounds down range without a single functional issue all while delivering exceptional accuracy, the Stingray is one gun I would put my life on. Lucky for us the Stingray-C just happens to be priced at $250 less than my Glock.
- Caliber 9mm Para
- Made in Turkey by Canik55
- Sights Windage adjustable rear sight
- Included Comes with two 13 rd. mags., cleaning rod and plastic case.
- Barrel 3.5″ Chrome Plated & Lined
- Overall 6.75″
- Weight 1.7 lbs.
- Frame/Slide Steel
- Features Ambidextrous safety lever and slide release, loaded chamber indicator, & MILSTD1913 Picatinny rail
Century Arms International