Best 9mm Pistols [2021] with Complete Buyer’s Guide

by Travis Pike

January 6, 2021

9 comments

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(215)

9mm pistols are the most popular handguns available for good reason: they have a relatively high capacity (they can hold a lot of bullets), 9mm ammunition is inexpensive and plentiful, they have less recoil than most other calibers, and, with modern defensive ammunition, they can be very effective for self-defense.

So, if you are shopping for a handgun, it’s likely going to be a 9mm pistol.

However, the popularity of 9mm means that 9mm handguns are everywhere – they dominate the handgun market. That can create a lot of static, a lot of questions, and a little confusion.

So, to help you with your decision, we’ve listed the best 9mm pistols on the market and but give you the know-how to choose your own.

Types of 9mm Pistols

There are three main types of 9mm pistols that you should know about. Sure, there are more categories of 9mm handguns, however, if you’re just starting out, these are the three categories you are likely considering.

Concealed Carry Pistols: The nature of concealing and carrying a gun for an extended period demands that the weapon often be lightweight and compact. 9mm concealed carry handguns come in various shapes and sizes and can range from pocket-sized single stacks to compact combat pistols. 

Concealed career pistols are a vast category because people come in broad categories. A small frame person would have difficulty carrying an all-metal P229, whereas a 6’5″ gorilla-like me can easily carry and conceal it. 

Conceal is a big part of concealed carry, and if the gun is too large, concealing becomes a challenge for anyone. A concealed carry gun needs to be simple, reliable, and robust.

If you’re looking at this option, you really should check out our list of the best concealed carry insurance.

Home Defense Handguns: The good news about home defense guns is that you can go as big and bulky as you want without issue. A firearm designed to be used inside the home doesn’t need to be concealed. Bigger and heavier can be good things. 

Recoil is the rearward force created by a cartridge firing, and the effect can be minimized by weight. The heavier a gun is, the better it dissipates recoil, and the more controllable it ultimately is. Bigger is better when it comes to home defense pistols.

A home defense firearm should be easy to handle by every adult in your home.

Range Guns : Range guns fall into a few categories, and they can be plinkers for fun, competition guns, or just an extensive collection of fun guns that mostly see life at the range. 

Plinkers can often be affordable, and features like night sights, rails, and metal sights are unnecessary. If you just want a fun range gun, you’ll likely want a full-sized handgun that gives you the most control and the least amount of recoil. 

Full-sized guns rule most competition because of their ease of control. Rarely will you see subcompacts outside of Backup Gun IDPA categories. Most competition guns are tricked out guns with excellent ergonomics, a heavy focus on accuracy, reliability, and controllability. Competition guns are often expensive and outfitted to guarantee peak performance without a focus on practical combat use.

If you’d like to learn more about which type of 9mm you should buy or things to consider when purchasing a 9mm handgun, then jump down to our 9mm pistol buyers guide.

Editor’s Choice of Best 9mm Pistols:

If you’d like to see our favorite 9mm pistol in each of the categories above (and some extras like ‘best overall’ and ‘best for women’), we’ve listed the best 9mm pistols of each category here to make things fast and easy.

However, if you’re interested in more details and want to see our 9mm handgun reviews and comparisons, you can scroll down (or click the category of pistol below) and see how each gun ranked with more detail.

The best 9mm pistols in each category:

Best 9mm Pistols by Category
9mm PistolDetailsCheck Price
Best Overall

Sig P320 Compact Display
Sig P320 Compact
  • Editor's Choice
  • Well-suited for a Variety of Roles
  • Modular
Check Price
Concealed Carry

Sig 365 Display
Sig P365
  • Best-in-Class Capacity
  • Small and Lightweight
  • Included Night Sights
Check Price
Home Defense

Sig 226 Display
Sig P226
  • Very Controllable
  • Rail Allows for Light Attachment
  • Proven Combat Prowess
Check Price
Shooting Range

Walther PPQ Display
Walther PPQ 5" Barrel
  • Best Stock Trigger
  • Extremely Accurate
  • Highly Controllable
Check Price
Best for Women

Smith Wesson Shield EZ 9mm
S&W Shield EZ 9mm
  • Easy to Operate
  • Multiple Safety Options
  • Small and Portable
Check Price
Competition

CZ 75 Display
CZ 75 TS Czechmate
  • Modular for Competition 
  • Includes Comp-ready Accessories
  • Crisp & Light Trigger Pull
Check Price

Spec Comparison of the Best 9mm Pistols

NameTypeCapacityWeightLengthHeight
Sig Sauer P320 CompactBest Overall1525.8 oz7.2"4.7"
Sig SauerP365CCW10, 12, 1517.8 oz5.8"4.3"
Walther CCPCCW820 oz6.41"5.1"
Glock 43xCCW10+118.72 oz6.5"5.04"
Ruger LCR 9mmCCW517.286.54.5"
Sig Sauer P226Home Defense1534 oz7.7"5.5"
Canik TP9SFHome Defense18+128.48 oz7.55"5.7"
Ruger Security 9Home Defense1523.8 oz7.24"5"
S&W M&P Shield 9 EZHome Defense8+123.2 oz6.8"4.85"
Walther PPQ 5" BarrelRange1526 oz8.1"5.8"
H&K VP9Range15, 1725.56 oz7.3"5.41"
CZ 75 TS CzechmateRange20, 2652.7 oz10.47"5.51"
Glock 34Range1723.10 oz8.82"5.47"
RIA 1911 GI StandardRange939.52 oz8.56"5.5"

Review of the Best Overall 9mm Handgun

It was really hard for us to do, but we had to pick one handgun that was best suited for most shooters and needs.

This 9mm is pistol isn’t necessarily the best in any particular category, but it is the best overall.

If you’re not sure which 9mm to get and you’re looking for your first 9mm pistol or maybe just a great general purpose handgun, this is it.

Editor’s Choice Sig P320 Compact

Sig P320 Compact

The Sig p320 is a modular reliable 9mm pistol that is the best all-around handgun.

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  • Shootability A
  • Accuracy A-
  • Reliability A
  • Value B

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A+

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Sig p320 9mm Specs

  • Overall Length 7.2 inches
  • Barrel Length 3.9 inches
  • Width 1.4 inches
  • Weight 25.8 ounces
  • Capacity 15 rounds
  • Caliber 9mm

Sig p320 9mm Review

The SIG P320 compact is not the best gun to ever exist and doesn’t necessarily the best 9mm to exist. However, it’s a jack of all trades gun that can efficiently serve as a concealed carry gun, a capable home defense firearm, and a fun range gun. 

The modular design even allows it to jump between categories and gives you a higher degree of customization. The gun comes with a rail and metal SIG night sights, as well as an additional magazine.

Once purchased, the end-user simply needs a good holster, and they have a competent handgun package. The aftermarket is large and welcoming to the gun.

Sig p320 Pros and Cons

  • Modular
  • Easy to Shoot
  • Ergonomic
  • A bit large for Concealed Carry
  • Expensive Magazines

Sig P320 Gun Deals

Reviews of the Best Concealed Carry 9mm Pistols

One of the most popular uses for 9mm pistols is for concealed carry.

This is beacuse 9mm pistols have higher capcity that larger caliber pistols of the same dimensions while still having enough power to be effective as a defensive tool.

Concealed carry-specific 9mm pistols are small and lightweight so that they’re easy to conceal.

Best 9mm Pistols for Concealed Carry:

#1 Sig P365 : BEST FOR CONCEALED CARRY

Sig P365

The Sig 365 set a new definition for what a great concealed carry handgun can be – it quickly became the go-to 9mm for many shooters.

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  • Reliability A+
  • Accuracy A+
  • Customization A
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A+

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Sig p365 Specs

  • Overall Length 5.8 inches
  • Barrel Length 3.1 inches
  • Width 1 inch
  • Weight 17.8 ounces
  • Capacity 10, 12, or 15
  • Caliber 9mm

Sig p365 Review

The P365 is a game-changing concealed carry pistol that broke the mold. They squeezed a double stack’s capacity into a single sized gun. The P365 is small and light, so it’s easy to carry and comfortable for most shooters of all sizes. The P365 is a purpose-built concealed carry gun that comes in capacities of 10, 12, and even a 15 round extended magazine. 

The P365 is a great gun but is still a subcompact pistol, so it can be challenging to shoot compared to the more massive firearms on this list. With proper self-defense ammunition, the weapon can be a little snappy, so practice makes perfect.

If you’d like to read more about why we think think the p365 is the best concealed carry handgun, check out our full Sig p365 review.

Sig P365 Pros and Cons

  • Small and light
  • Excellent Capacity for Size
  • Includes Night Sights
  • Various Magazine Sizes
  • Snappy with full-power CCW ammo
  • Proprietary rail

Sig P365 Gun Deals

#2 Walther CCP

Walther CCP

The Walther CCP is a great single-stack choice for CCW.

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  • Shootability B
  • Accuracy B
  • Reliability A
  • Value B

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

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Walther CCP Specs

  • Overall Length 6.41 inches
  • Barrel Length 3.54 inches
  • Width 1.18 inch
  • Weight 20 ounces
  • Capacity 8
  • Caliber 9mm

Walther CCP Review

The Walther CCP M2 is an attractive pistol. Like many, it’s a polymer frame, striker-fired gun, but the system uses Walthers Softcoil Technology.

This system reduces the recoil and makes the CCP M2 a superbly soft shooter. The slide is ultra-easy to rack, and almost any shooter can handle the gun.

The Walther CCP M2 is a single stack, subcompact sized handgun that is well-suited for concealed carry. The design is fantastic for people with small hands or reduced hand strength.

The CCP M2 is a little larger than it needs to be, but it’s still comfortable and small enough for daily carry.

Walther CCP Pros and Cons

  • Reduced Recoil System
  • Easy to Rack Slide
  • Ergonomic Design
  • Long Trigger Pull
  • Large for a Subcompact

Walther CCP Gun Deals

#3 Glock 43x

Glock 43x

A single-stack “slimlined” Glock pistol specifically designed for CCW.

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Accuracy A+
  • Ergonomics A
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

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TBD

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Glock 43x Specs

  • Overall Length 6.5 inches
  • Barrel Length 3.39 or 3.41 inches
  • Width 1.06 inch
  • Weight 1.17 pounds
  • Capacity 10+1 rounds
  • Caliber 9mm

Glock 43x Review

The Glock 43x is one of Glock’s hybrid handguns. It’s a reminder of the G48 but put together in a smaller package like the Glock 43.

The 43x effectively increases the capacity of the G43 from 6 rounds to a 10+1 configuration without sacrificing too much in terms of concealability and carry comfort.

This is done by creating a slight taller and wider frame in order to increase the grip size. However, this maneuver brings with it its own complications. Magazines and holsters aren’t interchangable and need to be specific to the fire arm.

It’s also nice to see Glock listen to their shooter base on this firearm as well. Front cocking serrations were added to the slide to enable a better grip. For more info, check out our full review on the Glock 43x!

Glock 43x Pros and Cons

  • Glock Reliability and Familiarity
  • Common Parts
  • Front Cocking Serrations
  • Unique Magazines and Holster
  • Larger than Competition

#4 Ruger LCR 9mm

Ruger LCR 9mm

A truly modern wheelgun built in 9mm.

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  • Shootability C
  • Accuracy C
  • Reliability A
  • Value B

Our Grade

B-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

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TBD

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Ruger LCR 9mm Specs

  • Overall Length 6.5 inches
  • Barrel Length 1.875 inches
  • Width 1.28 inch
  • Weight 17.28 ounces
  • Capacity 5
  • Caliber 9mm

Ruger LCR 9mm Review

The Ruger LCR 9mm is one of the few revolvers that is chambered in 9mm. The LCR is a very modern revolver with a partial polymer frame that reduces weight without expensive metals like scandium.

The LCR double-action trigger is fantastic, but the lack of a real rear sight and the ultra-short barrel makes shooting accurately tricky.

The Ruger LCR is very lightweight and easy to conceal. Snub nose revolvers require a lot of practice to master, and the low price of 9mm makes it easy to train and practice with. The LCR is a thoroughly modern revolver without frills or nonsense.

Ruger LCR 9mm Pros and Cons

  • Excellent DA Trigger
  • Easy to Conceal
  • Comfortable to Carry
  • Poor Sights
  • Not Much to Upgrade

Ruger LCR Gun Deals

Reviews of the Best Home Defense 9mm Pistols

If you’re interested in getting a 9mm handgun for self-defense but you’re not interested in carrying it concealed and would rather keep it for your home, then you should check out this list of the best home defense pistols.

These pistols are full sized for higher capacity, ease of operation, and have the ability to add a pistol light. Although some could be carried concealed as well, most people will find them a bit too large for this task.

Best 9mm Pistols for Home Defense:

#1 Sig Sauer P226 : Best for Home Defense

Sig Sauer P226

The Sig 226 as more than proven itself as a top-notch home defense weapon through its law enforcement and military uses.

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  • Shootability A
  • Accuracy A
  • Reliability A
  • Value C

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

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TBD

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Sig p226 Specs

  • Overall Length 7.7 inches
  • Barrel Length 4.4 inches
  • Width 1.5 inch
  • Weight 34 ounces
  • Capacity 15 rounds
  • Caliber 9mm

Sig P226 Review

The P226 is a legendary firearm that’s served in various law enforcement and military circles for decades now. It’s a big, all-metal full-sized firearm that is easy to control, and ergonomic.

The P226 is equipped with a DA/SA trigger system that requires a deliberate trigger pull for the first shot and light, and short follow up shots.

The P226’s weight and reliability make it an outstanding home defense weapon that’s very easy to shoot and handle. The controls are top-notch, and the modern variants incorporate a rail for a light, and of course, SIG night sights.

SIG P series pistols tend to be expensive, making it a hard sale in the face of other handguns.

Sig P226 Pros and Cons

  • Very Easy to Control
  • Dependable and Reliable
  • Accurate
  • Poor for Concealed Carry
  • Expensive

Sig P226 Gun Deals

#2 Canik TP9SF

Canik TP9SF

A dependable duty pistol that performs like a premium gun at a budget cost.

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  • Reliability A+
  • Accuracy A-
  • Customization A
  • Ergonmics B+
  • Value A

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Travis Pike

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TBD

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Canik TP9SF Specs

  • Overall Length 7.55 inches
  • Barrel Length 4.46 inches
  • Width 1.3 inch
  • Weight 1.78 pounds
  • Capacity 18+1 rounds
  • Caliber 9mm

Canik TP9SF Review

If you read any of our reviews on duty pistols, you’ll have noticed that we bring up the Canik…a lot. And that’s because this 9mm is definitely worth your time.

It’s a super reliable polymer gun with one of the best stock triggers we’ve fired on any gun. And that includes Glock, Cz, Sig, and others.

Now, do we think that it’ll fully replace a higher-end duty pistol? No. But if you’re looking for a bare-bones budget gun that’ll get the job done…You need to look into the Canik.

Check out our full length Canik TP9SF review here!

Canik TP9SF Pros and Cons

  • Very Reliable
  • Awesome Trigger
  • Affordable
  • Tall in the Hand
  • Ugly
  • One Series Comes with Single Magazine

#3 Ruger Security 9

Ruger Security 9

This is a solid budget gun option for those looking for low-frill utility.

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  • Shootability A
  • Accuracy B
  • Reliability A
  • Value A

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

TBD

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Ruger Security 9 Specs

  • Overall Length 7.24 inches
  • Barrel Length 4 inches
  • Width 1.02 inch
  • Weight 23.8 ounces
  • Capacity 15
  • Caliber 9mm

Ruger Security 9 Review

Budget guns can be tricky. Seriously, they can be hard to get right and may result in poor QC and reliability issues. The Ruger Security 9 is one that breaks the mold.

The Security 9 is nothing fancy, but it’s affordable, reliable, and thoroughly modern.

The trigger is nothing to brag about, but is capable and won’t throw you off target. The Security 9 is a full-sized gun, and it’s a comfortable shooting pistol.

The design is Spartan, but it works. The gun comes with two 15 round magazines, a Picatinny rail, and interchangeable sights.

Ruger Security 9 Pros and Cons

  • Affordable Gun and Magazines
  • Easy Shooting
  • Proven Ruger Secure Action
  • “Meh” Trigger
  • Limited Aftermarket

#4 S&W M&P Shield 9 EZ

S&W M&P Shield 9 EZ

The S&W M&P Shield 9 EZ is an easy-to-operate firearm and our best recommendation for new lady shooters.

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  • Reliability C
  • Accuracy C+
  • Shootability B-
  • Ergonomics B
  • Value B

Our Grade

B-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

TBD

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S&W M&P Shield 9 EZ Specs

  • Overall Length 6.8 inches
  • Barrel Length 3.68 inches
  • Width 1.15 inch
  • Weight 23.2 ounces
  • Capacity 8+1
  • Caliber 9mm

S&W M&P Shield 9 EZ Review

The M&P Shield 9 EZ is a continuation of the EZ line S&W released back in 2018. And it’s specifically designed to make manual operation of the firearm much easier for newer shooters or those with diminished hand strength. It has plenty of features that make operation of the firearm simple such as a scalloped slide, magazine thumbstuds, and minimal felt recoil.

While it’s not anything too special as far as firing is concerned, it’ll still hit the mark without too much effort. Our biggest issue we came across is some issues with mag feeding. 

S&W M&P Shield 9 EZ Pros and Cons

  • Easy to Load and Manipulate
  • Good Sights
  • Low Recoil
  • Magazine Feeding Issues
  • Uncomfortable Grip Safety
  • Small Capacity

S&W M&P Shield 9 EZ Gun Deals

Reviews of the Best Shooting Range 9mm Pistols

Honestly, any 9mm pistol that is good for concealed carry or home defense will also be just fine for the shooting range.

In fact, if you’re using a 9mm pistol for a defensive purpose, you BETTER take it to the range often to practice.

However, we understand that you may just be interested in picking up a 9mm handgun for trips to the shooting range. Whether you like target practice, “plinking,” or you’re getting into pistol competitions, here are some great 9mm pistols for the range.

Best 9mm Pistols for the Shooting Range:

#1 Walther PPQ : Best 9mm for the Range

Walther PPQ

An extremely accurate polymer-frame that’s great for the range.

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  • Shootability A
  • Accuracy A
  • Reliability A
  • Value C

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

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TBD

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Walther PPQ Specs

  • Overall Length 8.1 inches
  • Barrel Length 5 inches
  • Width 1.3 inch
  • Weight 26 ounces
  • Capacity 15 rounds
  • Caliber 9mm

Walther PPQ Review

The Walther PPQ is a modern polymer frame striker-fired handgun with one of the best triggers to ever grace a production gun. The trigger is incredibly light with a 0.1-inch reset.

The 5-inch barreled model is exceptionally accurate due to its long sight relief and easy to see sights. The PPQ is a fantastic range gun with excellent ergonomics.

The grip especially is supremely comfortable. As a full-sized gun, it’s not the easiest weapon to conceal, and the aftermarket is a bit small. The PPQ is still a fantastic pistol and one that’s a ton of fun at the range.

Walther PPQ 5″ Barrel Pros and Cons

  • Fantastic Trigger
  • Very Accurate
  • Excellent Accuracy
  • Expensive Magazines
  • Limited Aftermarket

Walther PPQ Gun Deals

#2 H&K VP9-B

H&K VP9-B

H&K’s take on a modern striker fired pistol with all the bells and whistles.

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  • Reliability A+
  • Accuracy A
  • Shootability A
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Value B+

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Travis Pike

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TBD

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H&K VP9 Specs

  • Overall Length 7.3 inches
  • Barrel Length 4.09 inches
  • Width 1.32 inch
  • Weight 25.56 ounces
  • Capacity 15 or 17 rounds
  • Caliber 9mm

H&K VP9 Review

H&K released their very first striker-fired pistol back in 1970, and it was a complete flop. So, maybe that’s why it took them 40+ years to release one that’s actually worth it. And that gun happened to be the H&K VP9. 

This gun comes in two primary models: the VP9 and VP9-B (the latter of which has the “American-style” push button magazine release.

The VP9 is an amazingly reliable and accurate 9mm entry and an overall joy to shoot. Check out our full H&K VP9-B gun review!

H&K VP9 Pros and Cons

  • Great Trigger
  • Decent Sights
  • Paddle or Push Button Mag Release
  • Very Reliable
  • Pricey
  • Limited Aftermarket
  • Grip Texture Could Be More Aggressive

#3 CZ 75 TS Czechmate

CZ 75 TS Czechmate

An expensive, but excellent choice for a competition-ready 9mm pistol.

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  • Shootability A
  • Accuracy A
  • Reliability A
  • Value C

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

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TBD

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CZ 75 TS Czechmate Specs

  • Overall Length 10.47 inches
  • Barrel Length 5.23 inches
  • Width 2.44 inch
  • Weight 52.7 ounces
  • Capacity 20 or 26 rounds
  • Caliber 9mm

CZ 75 TS Czechmate Review

The CZ 75 TS Czechmate is one of the top tier competition-grade handguns in the world. Built from the standard CZ 75 frame, the Czechmate takes all the custom features competition shooters love and shove them all into one convenient package.

The Czechmate features an outstanding trigger, incredible ergonomics, and more upgrades than you can shake a stick at.

These upgrades include an optic, compensator, magazine well, and more. The Czechmate is an out of the box option for competitors who don’t mind paying a pretty penny for the gun.

If you can ever just shoot one, I recommend it for the blissful experience.

CZ 75 TS Czechmate Pros and Cons

  • Wonderful Trigger
  • Fantastic Ergonomics
  • All-in-One Package for Open Division
  • Expensive with a Capital “E”
  • Only Suitable for Competition

CZ 75 TS Chechmate Gun Deals

#4 Glock 34

Glock 34

The Glock 34 is a great all-around gun for just about any situation–minus concealed carry

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  • Shootability A
  • Accuracy B
  • Reliability A
  • Value A

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

TBD

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Glock 34 Specs

  • Overall Length 8.82 inches
  • Barrel Length 5.31 inches
  • Width 1.3 inch
  • Weight 23.10 ounces
  • Capacity 17
  • Caliber 9mm

Glock 34 Review

The Glock 34 is a long slide 9mm gun built on a traditional full size frame. The extended barrel makes it outstanding for range use, competition, and even home defense.

Glocks are very reliable weapons that have been the choice of the majority of armed professionals. Glocks do not excel in one area or another, but the overall package is often excellent. 

The Glock 34 presents shooters a full-sized handgun that’s easy to shoot and handle. Te Glock’s popularity has ensured there is a massive aftermarket that allows you to customize the gun to a crazy extent.

The G34 is a poor concealed carry pistol, but in any other role, it serves well.

Glock 34 Pros and Cons

  • Very Reliable
  • Massive Aftermarket
  • Affordable All-Around Package
  • Most Features Require Upgrade to Maximize Potential
  • Hard to Conceal

Glock 34 Gun Deals

#5 Rock Island Armory G.I. 1911

Rock Island Armory G.I. 1911

The Rock Island Armory is a fun gun for collectors designed to tickle the fancy of World War historians and gun buffs.

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  • Reliability D
  • Accuracy B
  • Shootability A
  • Ergonomics C
  • Value C

Our Grade

C+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

TBD

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RIA 1911 GI Standard Review

RIA 1911 GI Standard Specs

  • Overall Length 8.56 inches
  • Barrel Length 5 inches
  • Width 1.04 inch
  • Weight 39.52 ounces
  • Capacity 9 rounds
  • Caliber 9mm

Suppose you want a fun 9mm at a great price then the Rock Island Armory G.I. Standard 9mm is a solid choice. The RIA series of 1911s are affordable and very simple.

The sights are quite small, but the trigger is lovely, and a 9mm 1911’s recoil is quite soft. Every collection should have a 1911 and why not have one affordable all the way around.

The G.I. Standard is designed to give you the two World Wars experience with G.I. standard controls. There is nothing fancy here, it’s a simple gun through and through.

In my experience, RIA 1911s do need a break-in period, but after that, they run without issue.

Rock Island Armory 1911 GI Standard Pros and Cons

  • Affordable
  • Massive Aftermarket Support
  • Great Trigger
  • Break-in Period
  • Small Sights

Rock Island Armory 1911 GI Gun Deals

For First Time Gun Buyers

If this is your first gun or perhaps just your first 9mm handgun, then there are definitely some things you should also consider so as to not only get the most out of your gun, but keep it safe and those around you.

  • Extra Magazines: Most of these guns are going to come with one or two magazines, but you’ll quickly find that these just aren’t enough. Unless, you like spending most of your time reloading instead of actually shooting. The cool thing is that in several cases you’ll be able to find extended magazines for your new 9mm. Just be sure that they’re legal to have in your state. Some states actually limit your gun’s capacity, so be wary.
  • Gun Cleaning Kit: Responsibly owning a 9mm pistol also includes knowing how to care for it. And that means breaking it down, cleaning it, and reassembly. You’ll need to ensure you pick up a top notch cleaning kit so you can ensure you get all the gunk out of places gunk doesn’t need to be. We recommend the Gloryfire Universal Cleaning Kit on Amazon.
  • Shooting Glasses: If you’ve never shot a gun before, then you may not be aware of reasons why you’d need safety glasses. But all it takes is one piece of hot brass in your eye and 5you could be looking at serious injury. Check out our article on the Best Shooting Glasses to determine the right fit for you.
  • Hearing Protection: It’s pretty obvious, but…guns go bang. And it doesn’t take much to start causing hearing damage. Protect your ears and hearing by picking up some premium ear pro. There’s many different great options available too. Find out the best for you in our Best Shooting Hearing Protection review.
  • Storage: Finally, if you’re going to be a safe gun owner, you’re going to want to properly store your pistol. Leaving it out and about where anyone can just snatch it up isn’t an option. We recommend the Vaultek Lifepod on Amazon. It’s a great safe that’s dustproof, airtight, and even waterproof. The Lifepod even floats if accidentally spilled overboard!

Best Ammo for Your 9mm Pistol

You’ll find that each of these pistols may or may not prefer different ammos. However, one thing definitely remains the same. You’re going to want to buy two types of rounds: one for the range and one for actual self-defense.

Range ammunition is commonly refered to as “ball ammo” due to the rounded shape of the bullet’s nose. This round shape carries its own advantages and disadvantages.

When fired, these bullets don’t really slow down when going through obstacles. This can actually limit the effectiveness of a one-shot ethical stoppage because energy is not transferred well into the target. However, this can be an advantage if needing to shoot through thin walls or barriers to hit your target. Also, the rounded nose of the bullet allows for a smoother transition up your gun’s feed ramp in order to minimize jams.

Lastly, ball ammo can be MUCH cheaper. While it doesn’t have the full stopping power of other ammo, it can be much more cost effective particularly when shooting large quantities while you would at the range. That’s why it’s important to choose quality range rounds and a good working ammunition. Here are a recommendation for each and where to find them:

Range Rounds

MagTech-9mm-Ammo

MagTech 9mm 115 GR FMJ Ammo

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $0.24
Brownells $0.23
Palmetto State Armory $0.34

Working Ammunition

Barnes-9mm-Ammo

Barnes 9mm 115 GR Ammo

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Palmetto State Armory $0.92
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $1.15

Buyer’s Guide to 9mm Handguns

Why Use a 9mm Gun?

There is a frequent joke that the 9mm is for whippersnappers, and the 45 ACP is for old men. Oddly enough, the 9mm was created in 1902, and the 45 ACP was designed in 1904. Georg Luger designed the 9mm round we all know and love. Georg Luger was a prominent Austrian firearms and cartridge designer.

The 9mm round became popular across Europe after World War 1 and slowly began to gain acceptance across the world. In 1985 the United States military adopted the Beretta M9 and the 9mm Luger cartridge. The cartridge still serves to this day in the new M17/M18 series of pistols. 

Police in the United States have also started adopting the 9mm in mass and ditching their 40 S&W guns. At this point, the 9mm is the world’s most popular cartridge in military, police, and self-defense circles. According to Lucky Gunner, the 9mm compromises 21.4% of the entire firearms market. 

9mm handguns are often the perfect compromise between size and capability. The 9mm round is a potent and proven combat cartridge, and it comes in a wide variety of different weights and velocities. This allows you to pick the perfect load for your gun in terms of recoil, muzzle flip, and downrange performance. 

Modern defensive cartridge designs have allowed the 9mm to bridge the gap between larger calibers like the 40 S&W and the 45 ACP. These cartridges can expand from .35 inches to .60 inches and are well suited for defensive firearms use. 

The cartridge is also small enough to allow for impressive magazine capacity. A modern full-size 9mm handgun can hold anywhere from 15 to 21 rounds in a standard magazine. Regardless of gun size, the 9mm always comes out on top for magazine capacity. 

9mm guns are also straightforward to control. The muzzle rise and recoil are often pleasant and easy to handle for both new and experienced shooters. The weapon has to be absurdly small to cause hand smacking pain or controllability issues. 

Another big reason for choosing a 9mm pistol is simple logistics. The round is absurdly popular, and it’s easy to find with dozens of manufacturers producing it. This includes loads for practice, self-defense, suppressor use, and competition. Best of all, most of this ammunition is affordable and easy to find. 

What Does “9mm” Mean?

I’ve been saying 9mm, and that can be deceiving because there are lots of 9mm rounds. The most common 9mm goes by many, many names.. If you are a new shooter, you may not know that 9mm Luger, 9mm Parabellum, 9mm Para, 9×19, and 9mm NATO are the same round. 

Rounds like the 9mm Makarov, 9mm Short (aka 380 ACP), 9mm Winchester Magnum, 9mm Japanese, 9mm Largo, and more are not compatible with the traditional 9mm. You’ll rarely run into weird cartridges when shopping for conventional 9mm. It’s still good to know, just in case.

How to Choose a 9mm for You

When choosing any gun, you have to figure out the role of the weapon. The purpose of any firearm should be the main driving force in weapon selection. 9mm handguns are a broad category of weapons that should be broken down into several subcategories. The three types most prominent are concealed carry, home defense, and range use. 

Concealed Carry 

9mm is a brilliant caliber for concealed carry guns. The multitude of different ammunition types, projectile weights, and the capacity 9mm make it well suited for small firearms. A concealed carry gun aims to be hard to detect, easy to carry, and capable of stopping a threat. 

With this in mind, most people are going to find guns like the SIG P365 or Glock 43 to be the most comfortable for concealed carry. They are small, very lightweight, and chambered in a proven man stopping cartridge. The smaller footprint of these weapons makes them hard to spot. 

It’s easy to spot someone carrying a big gun, even under their shirt. Smaller guns and proper holsters allow you to avoid that. A smaller gun is also lighter, and a lighter weapon is less likely to tug and droop when carried.

While light and small are an excellent place to start, you might want to examine how light and small you are willing to go. When you get to pocket pistol size 9mms, you do start running into guns that sting with every shot like a solid high five.

I’d stick to a gun that weighs about 16 ounces or so, and if you go lighter than that, be prepared for a hard high five with every shot. If recoil is a major issue, the Walther CCP’s recoil reduction system may interest you. 

I’d suggest getting a gun that also fits your hand well and feels comfortable when gripped. The more of your hand that can grip the gun, the more control you’ll have over it. 

When shopping for a concealed carry gun, also consider capacity. Most small guns have a lower capacity, and that’s okay. If you want to maximize size and magazine efficiency, it would be wise to look at guns like P365 or Hellcat. 

I also steer people away from double action only designs that feature a heavy trigger pull. Very few have a smooth design like the LCR. These heavy trigger pulls can tire the hand and compromise accuracy. 

Home Defense Guns 

The best home defense guns are the opposite of concealed carry guns, at least in size and weight. The bigger and heavier, the better. The extra weight makes them soft shooting with minimal recoil and muzzle rise. In 9mm, these big guns often have a comfortably high capacity.

There is no problem in loading an extended magazine into the gun for home defense, and having 33 rounds in a Glock 17 is a comforting feeling. 

A home handgun can be too big, just like a concealed carry gun can be too small. This is an issue of hand fit and your ability to operate the weapon. Too big of a gun can be difficult for small hands to manipulate. Guns like the Beretta 92 series are notorious for being fat bottom girls. To solve this, it’s best to handle a variety of firearms and ensure you can do the following with ease: 

  • Operate any manual safeties.
  • Eject the magazine. 
  • Grip the gun comfortably and firmly. 

If the grip feels too big, it likely is. CZ and Walther series pistols often feature highly ergonomic grips that are comfortable for most shooters. I use a CZ to instruct new shooters of all sizes all the time. 

Home defense 9mm handguns should be equipped with a rail, and that rail is equipped with a light. Having a WML and a handheld light near are a must have. White lights ensure you have positive identification of that bump in the night and prevents tragedy. 

A weapon-mounted light allows you to have a gun and light in one package that allows you to manage the weapon and light with a single hand. Your support hand may find itself occupied by a door, phone, or holding back a child. 

Range Gun 

This is the easiest category to plan for because no lives are at stake! If you want a gun just to plink and have fun with, then range guns are great. No requirements size-wise, no need for a rail and the biggest decision will be based around what type of range shooting do you intend to do? Plinking is informal target practice, and competition shooting is a whole other beast. 

Plinking guns can be anything you have fun shooting, from a practical pistol to a UZI clone. It doesn’t matter much, and the only real requirements are that the pistol operates safely and that the gun is reliable. Plinking is about having fun, and an unsafe and unreliable gun is far from fun. 

Competition is a different beast, and competitors will want ]to tune and customize their guns to fit their shooting discipline. This often limits your choice of guns to a select few modular platforms. If you are looking for a competition platform, pick a popular handgun platform. Examples include the CZ family, 1911s, 2011s, and Glock pistols.

What you Should Look for in a 9mm Handgun

As mentioned above, the most important consideration in choosing a pistol is its purpose. Beyond that initial purpose, there are numerous factors to consider in pistol choice. 

Reliability and Durability 

Reliability is how the weapon functions when fired. If a weapon jams, fails to fire, fails to extract, or stops working as designed regularly, it is not considered reliable. Reliability is a must-have for defensive based firearms, and an unreliable firearm is a paperweight. 

Durability is how long a gun will function reliably before breaking. A good gun should be both durable and reliable. Most modern firearms are typically both, but not always. Without a lot of time and money spent, you may be curious about how to know if a firearm is reliable. Well, that’s simple enough, read our website, check our reviews, look at the guns we suggest. 

Once you purchase a firearm, it’s wise to take it out with various ammunition, including what you plan to use as defensive ammunition. Ensure the weapon goes bang without failing for at least 200 rounds.

Safety 

A modern firearm is a safe firearm. Modern designs ensure the firearm doesn’t go bang unless the trigger is pulled. If a modern weapon deviates from this course, it’s big news. Safety is mostly an issue if you choose to adopt a firearm made decades go. This includes imported surplus pistols that might not drop safe. An ounce of research will prevent a pound of pain. 

Warranty 

Does the company who makes your 9mm handgun offer a warranty? If so, what kind of warranty? A company that stands behind their products can give most shooters a little reassurance if something breaks. 

Available Aftermarket 

This seems small but can be a big deal when you start searching for holsters, sights, spare magazines, and more. If a weapon is popular, it likely has a great aftermarket. A big aftermarket makes equipping your weapon for carry, or home defense much easier.

Why get a 9mm Pistol? 

Until something better comes along, the 9mm is here to stay. 9mm guns are plentiful, ammo is cheap, and the round has proven longevity.

A good 9mm handgun is an unbeatable option, and hopefully, you’ll leave here ready to choose your next 9mm pistol.

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About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. It looks like the description for the Ruger Security 9 was copied onto the Shield EZ description by mistake but still a great read maybe touch on the shield arms aftermarket 15 round magazine for the 43X.

      1. Hmmmm SIG P320 or Beretta APX? Hmmmm…ROFL!!! Dude I don’t care if you’re a cop, range officer, or CEO of Smith and Wesson. When you first mentioned the Beretta APX, all of your credibility just went out the window lol!

  2. I’ve fired every handgun you have on this list and I have to say. You, either are being paid to say what you’re saying or you’ve no clue about guns and are going with the prom vote. Popularity rarely speaks to reality, honesty and reliability. First off, Glock is a joke. Always was, always will be. It’s the Honda Civic of guns. Unless you’re willing to put tons of money and time into a Glock. You get an average at best product. Just because there’s more aftermarket crap for this product than any other in the same class didn’t make it great or even worthy of the list. And I don’t care if I hurt the Glock fanboys of the world. Branch out for goodness sake. I was a cop and even the departments are fooled. And the sig? Really? How many sig handguns did you pick? I think we can say with a wee bit of certainty someone is getting sig kickbacks? ????????????. Just because they win the army trials means exactly jack. Their stability is crap. One point of contact for the trigger assembly to the slide. Aside from the split rails. The takedown lever being that point of contact. The slide rattles. Not enough stability. That should be enough to keep them clear of this list altogether. The Beretta APX was late to the Army trials and honestly shoots far straighter than any of the other handguns you mentioned. It has 3 points of contact between the slide and the trigger assembly. Aside from the solid dual rail assembly. It’s far more stable, more reliable and is easily disassembled aside from some of the you tube videos that report otherwise. I’ve broken down almost all of the weapons in your list, fired them all and your list is wanting. One of the most intuitive modular handguns I’ve ever seen, ever broken down, ever fired and ever owned. The Beretta APX Centurion is the mid sized APX and fires just as straight as the full size, it’s double stack in either 9mm or .40 S&W. Field stripping the gun is very easy and amazingly smooth. Do better research. And please, don’t review a weapon right out of the box, unless the review is an unboxing review. The bad video reviews I’ve seen of this weapon came from knuckleheads; who for some reason or another, thought a field strip of a brand new weapon should be easier than screwing in a light bulb. Apparently their bulbs were so dim they didn’t possibly think new means tight, stiff, not broken in. In other words they were stupid.

    1. The Beretta APX…. LMFAO!!!!! Most gun shops couldn’t even give these things away. That’s why you’re seeing them sell for less than most Caniks.

  3. What are your thoughts on the Staccato 9 and C2 9mm models. How do they stack up against your above ratings. I. Realize they are a little pricey.
    Tks

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