Best 9mm Pistols [2024]: Ranked by Size and Use

by Travis Pike

April 16, 2024

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Handguns chambered in 9mm are the most popular handguns in the United States for good reason: they have a relatively high capacity, their ammunition is inexpensive and plentiful, they have less recoil than most other calibers, and they can be very effective for self-defense.

But which pistol is the best 9mm pistol?

We’re going to tell you which pistol is best for you depending on the purpose you’re looking to fulfill and the size of handgun you want to shoot.

Types of 9mm Pistols

There are three main types of 9mm pistols that you should know about.

  • Concealed Carry Pistols
  • Home Defense Handguns
  • Range Guns

Concealed Carry Pistols (CCW): The purpose of a CCW gun is that they are lightweight and compact so that they are easy to conceal.

9mm concealed carry handguns come in various shapes and sizes and can range from pocket-sized single stacks to compact combat pistols

Also, if you are looking to get a CCW gun, you should look at CCW insurance.

Home Defense Handguns: Since a firearm designed to be used inside the home doesn’t need to be concealed, you should look at a full-size handgun here – these full-size guns are easier to shoot and usually hold more ammunition.

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. 

How Did We Choose the Best 9mm Pistols?

Writing about what is considered the top 9mm pistols was a bit of a team effort. Everyone has different opinions, taste and even budgets. So, to help write this comprehensive article, I worked with other Gun University writers and team members to help. This includes Army Rangers, multiple types of veterans (even a submariner but we won’t hold that against him), and more. Furthermore, our writers have been featured in some of the biggest publications and competed at the highest level. So, hopefully we can really tackle all sides of this issue, and to help create a truly beneficial list of 9mm guns.

Author’s Choice of the Best 9mm Pistols:

In the below table, you can find our favorite 9mm pistol in each of the categories listed above.

However, in many cases, there was a good close second or third in that category. So, if you’d like to see what those other pistols are, and how they compared in that category, you can click the link below and jump to that section:

Best 9MM Pistols By Category

Best Overall

Glock 45 Gen 5

Glock 45 Gen 5
  • Author’s Choice
  • Well-suited for a variety of roles
  • Bare-bones basic reliability
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Concealed Carry

SIG P365

SIG P365
  • Best-in-class capacity
  • Small and lightweight
  • Included night sights
Check Price
On a Budget

Canik TP9SF

Canik TP9SF
  • Cheap = inexpensive, not bad
  • Remarkable quality
  • Extremely affordable
  • Excellent trigger for any gun, much less a budget one
Check price
Springfield Echelon
  • Great ergonomics
  • Excellent optics system (VIS)
  • Light and crisp trigger with a tactile reset
Check Price
Shooting Range

H&K VP9

H&K VP9
  • Great trigger
  • Paddle or push button mag release
  • Very reliable
Check Price
Best For Women

S&W Shield EZ 9MM

S&W Shield EZ 9MM
  • Easy to operate
  • Multiple safety options
  • Small and portable
Check Price
CZ 75 TS Czechmate
  • Modular for competition
  • Includes comp-ready accessories
  • Crisp and light trigger pull
Check Price

Spec Comparison of the Best 9mm Pistols

NameTypeCapacityWeightLengthHeight
Sig P365CCW10, 12, 1517.8 oz5.8"4.3"
H&K VP9skCCW10, 13, 1523.07 oz6.61"4.57"
Canik TP9SFBudget18+128.48 oz7.55"5.7"
Taurus-G3CBudget1222 oz6.3"5.1"
Springfield EchelonHome Defense17+1, 20+123.9 oz8"5.5"
Sig Sauer P226Home Defense1534 oz7.7"5.5"
S&W M&P Shield 9 EZWomen8+123.2 oz6.8"4.85"
H&K VP9Range15, 1725.56 oz7.3"5.41"
CZ 75 TS CzechmateCompetition20, 2652.7 oz10.47"5.51"

List of the Best 9mm Pistols:

While all of the guns we’ve discussed for the categories are solid ones in their own right, the following are my best picks for each category. The best 9mm pistols are:

  1. Glock 45 Gen 5 (Overall)
  2. Sig Sauer P365 (Best CCW)
  3. Canik TP9SF (Best Budget)
  4. Springfield Echelon (Best Home Defense)
  5. H&K VP9 (Best Shooting Range)
  6. S&W Shield EZ 9 (Best for Women)
  7. CZ 75 TS Czechmate (Best Competition)

Review of the Best Overall 9mm Handgun

It was really hard for us to do, but we had to pick the best handgun for most shooters and needs.This 9mm pistol isn’t necessarily the best in any particular category but 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.

Author’s Choice Glock 45 MOS

Glock 45 MOS Featured Image 2

Glock 45 MOS

The Glock 45 Gen 5 is a bare-bones simple and reliable handgun

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

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 11 Reviews

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Glock 45 Gen 5 Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Overall Length 7.44″
  • Barrel Length 4.02″
  • Width 1.34″
  • Weight 30.34 oz
  • Capacity 17 rounds

Glock 45 9mm Review

I believe that the Glock 45 is not the best gun to ever exist and nor is it the best 9mm to exist. However, it makes my author’s choice as the best pistol, because 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. 

Therefore, because this firearm is in all categories like CCW, home defense, range, and more, I give it the overall best 9mm gun you can check out. You won’t be disappointed if this is your first, or your only gun.

Glock 45 Pros and Cons

  • Reliable
  • Easy to Shoot
  • Ergonomic
  • A bit large for Concealed Carry

Glock 45 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 because 9mm pistols have a higher capacity than 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 Pistol for Concealed Carry:

#1. Sig P365 : Best CCW Pistol

Sig P365 Featured Image

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

Our Grade

A+

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 191 Reviews

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Sig p365 Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Overall Length 5.8″
  • Barrel Length 3.1″
  • Width 1″
  • Weight 17.8 oz
  • Capacity 10, 12, or 15 rounds

Sig p365 Review

When the Sig P365 first came out, it was a game-changer and I had to get my hands on it. It’s super well-constructed, and Sig has managed to squeeze a double stack’s capacity into a single sized gun. The P365 is small and light with a slim grip and comfortable hand feel, so it’s easy to carry and shoot with one hand for most shooters of all sizes. When you consider its modularity, the P365 is not that far off from the Sig P320 Compact, but the smoother design makes it a purpose-built gun that’s better suited for concealed carry than the P320. It comes in capacities of 10, 12, and even a 15-round extended magazine and the modular design lets you buy a base model and swap out any accessories you want. 

I personally love the combination of the size and feel of the gun. If you are interested in other versions of the P365, they also have the P365 XL, which has a larger capacity, and the Sig P365 SAS which has been slimmed and smoothed so as to not snag.

The P365’s recoil spring mechanism offers great impact absorption and lets you regain your sights the same way the P320 does. However, since the P365 is a subcompact pistol, 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. That said, the P365 comes with a striker-fired trigger made of clean metal that has consistently let me make fast and accurate follow-up shots without the risk of getting jammed.

Now, unfortunately, the P365 isn’t leftie-friendly. It doesn’t have ambidextrous controls, and while this doesn’t affect me personally, it excludes quite a few shooters out there. Another downside is that while the base model does come with factory installed night sights, it doesn’t let you mount an aftermarket optic.

Even so, because of its small size but full capacity, the Sig P365 is my favorite CCW gun. If you’d like to read more about why we 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

#2. HK VP9sk : Second Best CCW Pistol

HK VP9sk

Heckler & Koch VP Series handgun, VP9SK has all of the sought-after characteristics of larger frame VP pistols but in a more concealable design.

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

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 80 Reviews

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HK VP9SK Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Overall Length 6.61″
  • Barrel Length 3.39″
  • Width 1.32″
  • Weight 23.07 oz
  • Capacity 10, 13, 15 rounds
  • Trigger Pull 5.1 lbs

H&K VP9sk Review

I believe the H&K VP9sk has some of the greatest ergonomics for a concealed carry pistol. One of the things I enjoy most about this weapon is that it comes with a variety of interchangeable grip panels – now I can find the perfect grip with just the right contours for my hand.

As we’re talking about CCW guns, I’ll admit the VP9sk is a little thicker than the Sig P365. Therefore, it is not the smallest option you can get and doesn’t ride as comfortably as an appendix carry. Still, it has serrated slides with a smooth finish on both the front and the rear, reducing muzzle flip for a really smooth shooting experience. All things considered, I still don’t feel as though the size of the VP9sk is that much of a deal-breaker, and it is still comfortable. I think the size is just right and coupled with the grips, I personally handle this model better than I do other smaller-sized CCW firearms. 

The trigger is perfect right out of the factory and doesn’t need any modifications or aftermarket swaps. As for dependability, I’ve fired at least 1000 rounds and haven’t had any problems. I’ve fired 9mm ammo of various types, and it has given me great accuracy throughout with no issues or malfunctions. 

While it was loosely inspired by the HKP30 (which is a hammer-fired pistol), the VP9sk is striker-fired and has a flush fit magazine with a 10-round capacity. It’s super easy to control and allows quick follow-up shots, plus it’s a cinch to reload thanks to the beveling on all sides of its magwell. 

As for the VP9sk’s not-so-great qualities, the paddle style mag release is a sticking point among 9mm-lovers. I personally am not bothered by it, but what I do take issue with is the anchoring. My hands are on the larger side, so anyone in the same boat will find that the takedown lever is too far back to get a good handle on it. And forget about a forward anchor point – there’s no place to comfortably set your support-hand thumb. 

Someone with smaller hands and a smaller build could probably get the best out of this pistol without suffering the awkward hand feel, but besides that, the VP9sk has a lot of features and it is backed by a good reputation. I have used this product in many different situations and it has never let me down.

To read through the full review of this pistol specifically, you’ll find the H&K VP9sk Review here!

H&K VP9sk Pros and Cons

  • Multiple grip options
  • Excellent crisp trigger
  • Nice serrations in the slide
  • Rear slide wings
  • Price is on the high end

H&K VP9sk Gun Deals

Reviews of the Best Budget 9mm Pistol

Let us reiterate here – cheap does not necessarily equate to bad. Or substandard. Admittedly, you should be skeptical of weapons that are too inexpensive, but in this case, we can recommend a couple of handguns that are remarkably good for their price.

There are a couple, in fact, that aren’t just good for their price, they’re pretty darn good in general!

Best Budget 9mm Pistol:

#1. Canik TP9SF : Best Budget Pistol

CANIK TP9SF

Canik TP9SF

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

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

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 122 Reviews

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Canik TP9SF Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Overall Length 7.55″
  • Barrel Length 4.46″
  • Width 1.3″
  • Weight 28.48 oz
  • Capacity 18+1 rounds

Canik TP9SF Review

Don’t let the low price of the TP9SF fool you! It’s a super reliable, beginner-friendly polymer gun with one of the best stock triggers that I’ve fired on any gun. And that includes Glock, Cz, Sig, and others.

For a budget gun, the trigger reset is quite impressive, and its pull is short, smooth, and consistent every single time. A stable trigger safety prevents misfires,and other controls are placed at a “goldilocks” distance that’s just right for many shooters – most folk should have no problem getting a comfortable grip on this full size pistol.

The slanted slide gave me a clear view of my target, and it’s nicely serrated down the front and the rear for the right amount of traction. It’s got an excellent feel to it – if I was blindfolded, I could be convinced I was firing a Sig P320 or a G17.

All in all, the TP9SF is a solid gun for the price, but one serious issue I just can’t ignore is the lack of an ECI. There’s nothing to indicate whether your pistol’s chamber is loaded or empty, and that’s a risk I’m just not willing to take. 

Now, do I 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.

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 not only worth being at the top of my list for the best budget gun, but it’s also worthy of inclusion on home defense pistols.

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

#2. Taurus G3C : Second Best Budget Pistol

Taurus G3C

A reliable, simple design you can sometimes find for less than $300.

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

Our Grade

B

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 136 Reviews

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Taurus G3C Specs

  • Caliber 9mm Luger
  • Overall Length 6.3″
  • Barrel Length 3.2’’
  • Width 1.2″
  • Weight 22 oz
  • Capacity 12+1 rounds
  • Front Sight Fixed
  • Rear Sight Adjustable

Taurus G3C Review

There are some people who believe Taurus makes good revolvers but bad semi-autos. I have to disagree. In fact, I believe the opposite is true; the G3C is an excellent low-price gun and, size-wise, is a healthy medium in between the Glock 17 and Glock 19. 

The Taurus-G3 Compact has several things going for it, including the ability to take Glock sights and SIG P226 magazines. There is a lot of aftermarket support, so you can add a ton of accessories, such as the Taurus G3C TORO red dot sight or an OEM Taurus Captive Recoil Spring. 

The gun itself isn’t a mind-blowingly awesome race gun, but it is a simple, effective design. The striker-fire trigger has a short reset, and the magazine sits well with an extended pinky rest pad. A well-positioned mag release makes it easy for anyone with average-sized hands to use and the aggressively textured front strap and backstrap gives me a solid, non-slip grip. The magazine is adequate, and the accuracy is reasonable for a small pistol, but watch out for the slide bite if you have a high grip!

Now, it’s worth noting that it has a similar issue to the no ECI on the Canik TP9SF. The G3C’s witness windows are virtually useless because they only indicate at 6 and 12 rounds – anything below or in between, and you’re basically blind. Releasing the mag is also a bit tricky because there’s no real bevel and it makes reloading a pain.

That said, it’s definitely reliable—how often do you get to say that about a sub-$300 pistol?

Wanna know more? Read our full Taurus-G3C review.

Taurus G3C Pros and Cons

  • Affordable
  • 3 included magazines
  • Restrike capability
  • Metal sights
  • Painful slide bite
  • Long trigger travel
  • Not as accurate as competitors

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 Pistol for Home Defense:

#1 Springfield Echelon : Best for Home Defense

Springfield Echelon Review

Springfield Echelon

The Springfield Echelon has surprised many, including me, at how effective this pistol is as a full-size duty pistol.

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

Our Grade

A+

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 28 Reviews

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Springfield Echelon Specs

  • Caliber 9mm Luger
  • Overall Length 8″
  • Barrel Length 4.5″
  • Width 1.2″
  • Weight 23.9 oz
  • Capacity 17+1 or 20+1 rounds

Springfield Echelon Review

The Springfield Echelon came out swinging!

This full-size polymer striker-fired 9mm pistol was introduced to replace the Springfield XD line, and they got just about everything right with this pistol. It has all the standard features you would expect on a duty-grade handgun. Plus, many aftermarket options people are adding on after purchase with slide milling and grip modifications.

These features include very wide and tactile slide serrations both front and back. There are even ledges or flares machined into both sets of slide serrations that make slide manipulations easier. The frame is factory stippled, which we found was in the Goldilocks Zone of not too smooth and not too rough. It also has a ‘gas pedal’ feature for your thumb to help drive the gun on target. Springfield undercut the trigger guard for a high grip. No need to send your frame off for stippling or your slide off for milling. It comes ready with all those extra features.

The chassis system in this is similar to a Sig P320, but it has a bladed trigger safety and a double sear for added safety. This system lets you have multiple frame options with interchangeable backstraps. I also love the magazine release; it’s ambidextrous and has the ideal height for a mag release. 

While optics ready handguns are not new, what is new here is the VIS optics mounting system. This unique system does away with mounting plates and can accept over 30 red dots right out of the box. Time will tell if this is the system all gun manufacturers will go to in the future, or if red dot footprints will standardize, but we are excited about this feature.

This is not a competition gun, but it shot flat and remained reliable in our testing. Accuracy was also on par with other duty handguns in its class and did not let us down. The gun has a threaded barrel for you to attach any muzzle devices, and it also comes with multiple sights. Plus, the Picatinny rail allows you to mount a light, so with a light and a red dot, the Echelon is ready. 

Truth be told, it has a light recoil, but pretty reasonable considering it’s a polymer striker-fired pistol. I also had a minor issue with the slide release location because I had a difficult time not riding it. My buddies who tried the Echelon said it was fine though, maybe that was just me.

Ergonomics, reliability, accuracy, and extra features like a novel mounting system for optics make this modern pistol an excellent choice for home defense.To read more, check out our Springfield Echelon Review.

Echelon Pistol Pros and Cons

  • Amazing ergonomics and the pistol is great to operate
  • Shown 100% reliability in testing
  • Really cool optics system (VIS)
  • Light and crisp trigger
  • Has a difficult slide release location

#2 Sig Sauer P226 : Home Defense Runner-Up

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
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A-

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 79 Reviews

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Sig p226 Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Overall Length 7.7″
  • Barrel Length 4.4″
  • Width 1.5″
  • Weight 34 oz
  • Capacity 15 rounds

Sig P226 Review

Runner-up on my top picks for 9mm home defense is the P226, which 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 comes in .357 and .40 S&W calibers as well, but I opted for the 9mm for home defense because it’s a lot easier to handle. This is important since my family might need to use it as well. 

All home defense guns should have a good grip, and the P226 has a contoured one that has a bit of texture to it so it won’t slip around in your hand. This makes it a lot easier to reach and manipulate the controls, but you could swap out the grip if you wanted to.

I chose the P226 as my go-to 9mm for home defense when I saw how accurate it was. Its tight barrel makes it very easy to aim and you don’t have to be a very experienced shooter to hit your target. The controls are top-notch, and the modern variants incorporate a rail for a light, and of course, SIG night sights.

My home defense guns stay in my house where my kids are, so a good safety system is a priority and the P226 has one I trust. It’s got a few safety features including a firing pin safety block and a safety intercept so you don’t have to worry about any accidents.

The P226 is equipped with a DA/SA trigger system that requires a deliberate trigger pull for the first shot, and light and short pulls for any follow-up shots. However, this system comes with a heavy trigger pull that could throw off your aim. This pistol also produces quite a bit of recoil which can take some time to get used to, so it’s best to practice shooting it in case of an emergency. 

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

The P226’s weight and reliability make it an outstanding home defense weapon that’s very easy to shoot and handle. It is very durable so it could have more than one use outside of home defense, like competition shooting, but there are better options for that out there (we get to them later). That said, the P226 is still one of the best 9mm pistols I’ve ever used for home defense. For our full review of the P226 click HERE!

Sig P226 Pros and Cons

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

Best Handgun for Women

As you can see, we’ve written extensively on best pistols for women in the past and although women too have different types such as best for the CCW, and easiest to shoot (like the 380 calibers) the easiest to shoot and thus overall best 9mm pistol for women is:

#1. S&W M&P Shield 9 EZ : Best 9mm pistol for women

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

Our Grade

B-

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 41 Reviews

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S&W M&P Shield 9 EZ Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Overall Length 6.8″
  • Barrel Length 3.68″
  • Width 1.15″
  • Weight 23.2 oz
  • Capacity 8+1 rounds

S&W M&P Shield 9 EZ Review

To round out my list for home defense I would be using the M&P Shield 9 EZ. This pistol is a continuation of the EZ line S&W released back in 2018. It’s specifically designed to make the manual operation of the firearm much easier for newer shooters or those with diminished hand strength. 

It has plenty of features that make the operation of the firearm simple, such as a scalloped slide, magazine thumb studs, and minimal felt recoil.

I let my wife test this one out for me to get her opinion. She liked that the trigger mechanism felt crisp, and I have to agree with her; it felt much more satisfying than the usual spongy feel most striker-fired guns tend to have. The trigger system and short reset made taking follow-up shots a breeze and added to the ease of handling. 

While I don’t find it to be anything too special as far as firing is concerned, it’ll still hit the mark without too much effort. I like that the controls on the gun are mostly ambidextrous, but my issue is that the slide-stop and takedown levers on the left side of the frame are fixed, which can be a bit inconvenient.

The biggest issue we came across is some issues with mag feeding. The Shield 9 EZ has a lower capacity compared to the Sig P226 and has trouble feeding the magazines. I also noticed some increased muzzle rise and recoil when using defensive rounds such as Sig V-Crown loads, but it wasn’t unmanageable.

The S&W M&P Shield 9 EZ does have a few issues, but its ease of use, low recoil, and reasonable price make it a great choice for new shooters and those with less hand strength. 

To see our full review of the S&W M&P Shield 9 EZ, check it out HERE!

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

Best Shooting Range 9mm Pistol

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.

So, here is my favorite shooting range pistol:

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

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 45 Reviews

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H&K VP9 Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Overall Length 7.3″
  • Barrel Length 4.09″
  • Width 1.32″
  • Weight 25.56 oz
  • Capacity 15 or 17 rounds

H&K VP9 Review

Coming in as my top pick for the range, I’d have to include the H&K VP9. 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). I decided to try the VP9-B out when I heard about its ergonomic design and impressive performance. 

I find the VP9-B to be amazingly reliable and accurate because it’s always given me consistently tight groups when I’m shooting it at the range. The VP9-B’s trigger is brilliant, and it’s a lot better than most of the ones you’d find on striker-fired guns. It’s very crisp and doesn’t take long to reset, which is always a good thing if you want rapid-fire between targets. The VP9-B has very low recoil and makes follow-up shots a piece of cake – so you see why it’s my go-to 9mm on the range.

The VP9-B is insanely customizable – it comes with 6 different grip panels and 3 backstraps, so you can really adjust it to fit your hands. Another great feature is that the mag release and slide lock are accessible from both sides, which means it works for both right-handed and left-handed shooters.

The VP9-B also has a trigger-mounted safety that prevents it from firing if you accidentally drop it, and it won’t fire unless the slide is in battery. I should also point out that it’s very durable – I’ve had my VP9-B for a few years and it still works great. 

Now, the pistol works well by itself, but it does have a rail in case you want to add any accessories. My only real issue was that the aftermarket is a bit small, so you don’t have a lot of options to choose from. 

That doesn’t stop the VP9-B from being an overall joy to shoot. We go into more detail in our full H&K VP9-B gun review, so make sure to check that out if you’re interested.

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

The Best Competition 9mm Pistol

Below is my take for the best competition 9mm pistol. Granted there are some specialized pistols with a price increase that is astronomical. But the below is a good startard, well-loved, and reliable competition pistol.

#1. CZ 75 TS Czechmate : Best Competition Pistol

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-

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 17 Reviews

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CZ 75 TS Czechmate Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Overall Length 10.47″
  • Barrel Length 5.23″
  • Width 2.44″
  • Weight 52.7 oz
  • Capacity 20 or 26 rounds

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 shoves them all into one convenient package.

For one, you can easily swap between a standard barrel and a compensated one, which is ideal for when you’re competing. The Czechmate has some great features that make it very easy to use. It comes configured for open division competitions with a compensator and C-More dot sight options. It’s also got an angled grip that’s wider than most single stack guns but still very comfortable to hold, especially if you have larger hands. This pistol is set for right-handed shooters by default, but it does have an ambidextrous safety and mag release, so anyone can use it.

The Czechmate’s ergonomic design makes it easy to cycle as well, even if you’re using an optic that sometimes gets in the way. This is partly due to the lack of recoil – I expected a bit of a kick since it’s a powerful gun, but I could barely feel it. 

Czechmate also has a flat-faced trigger that turns up at the bottom, so if you’re ever using one, you’ll be able to relocate it quickly between shots. All of this makes it super easy to shoot multiple rounds with minimal breaks in between. I found it easy to reload as well; it has a large magazine release that functions smoothly and the mags go right in without any problem. 

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. My only issue is that the gun and the upgrades are incredibly expensive – the investment is only really worth it for pro competitions.

Even so, the Czechmate is an out-of-the-box option for competitors who don’t mind paying a pretty penny for the gun, but if you can ever just shoot one, I recommend it for the blissful experience.

For more on this pistol be sure to check out the CZ 75 TS Czechmate Review.

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 Czechmate 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.

  • 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 can check out our list of the best gun cleaning kits to choose the right one for you.
  • Shooting Glasses: If you’ve never shot a gun before, then you may not be aware of the 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 are 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. Check out our favorite gun safes here.

Best Ammo for Your 9mm Pistol

You’ll find that each of these pistols may or may not prefer different ammo. 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 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

Best Defense Rounds

Box of Hornady 9mm pistol ammunition

Hornady Critical Defense 115 GR

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Cabela’s $1.24
Midway USA $1.24

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many different types of 9mm pistols on the market. Each one was, usually, designed with a specific purpose in mind. Hopefully, in this article, I’ve helped to show you the different uses of the 9mm, and which pistols are the best in that class. This way, you can buy a pistol with confidence and know that you’ll have a great 9mm for the purpose at hand.

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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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0 COMMENTS

  1. I learn about guns to get license in Poland. I got some friends in shooting club and they always recomend me canik or cz for beginner. Reliable, nice trigger, easy to clean. Not to expensive and always available. I shoot them under instructor and it was nice. But im totally disapointed in sigs. Worst result durning shooting session was on 226.
    Glock is nice gun when you shoot in winter. Nice tolerance there but overall accuracy was average. Nice duty gun, but not for one who wanted super results.
    Why there isnt any pistol from steyr? I used most m9a1 and m9a2 and for me were best pistols to train.
    Well all Walther pistols have spot in my heart because it was first handgun i ever shoot. I like them but p99 as is my favourite. Nice comparision but feels as one based on official sites of manufacturers.

  2. I have the Sig P320 M17. Great gun. Never an issue. Like anything you have to train. My favorite and my EDC is Walther PDP F series 4 inch barrel. Carry 124 grn +P Speer Gold dot. I have small hands. This fits like a glove. Trigger is incredible. Point ability for me is dead on. Ergos grip awesome. It can be snappy. But changed out recoil guide rod assembly. Looking for night sights for it.

  3. I have the M-18 version of the 320. It came with 3 magazines. I love the gun, but the first time I took it out, I had misfeeds in 2 out of 3 of the magazines that came with it. I called the company and customer service said I had to break it in and fire more than 50 rounds before they considered it a problem. So that means if it was used in self defense, I could obviously be dead before the pistol is reliable. I have a serious problem with that.

  4. I wanted a small subcompact gun so I made a trade for an LCP max. A fair trade at a dealer is a good trade by my standards. I’m ok with the ergonomics and the sights but performance has been iffy. Accuracy was on par with most subcompact guns however I frequently had problems with the gun going into battery. That presents a major problem. I had purchased another magazine and still had problems. The gun has been returned back to Ruger. I’m a little annoyed that I wasted ammo trying to run their gun but it seems quality is slipping with some major manufacturers.

  5. I love my Canik TPSFx 9mm!! I own 13 weapons of versus calibers: 9mm, .40 cal and 10mm and the Canik is by far the best firing most accurate weapon I own and have fired in my 31 years of military service. Aim it once and pull the trigger and it will hit the target every time. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this weapon.

    1. I own this pistol in 9 mm and I have to say it is solid. I keep this pistol for my home protection gun because of it’s reliability and accuracy. The high capacity makes it my in-car travel gun also. With the extra mag you pretty well have a box of shells at your fingertips if you need them. I find carrying the Canik a little awkward because of it’s size but it can go anywhere a 1911 can with ease.

  6. I’d like to see the Taurus G3C included, affordable and reliable! Would you include the hi-power too? There have been a lot of re-releases recently.

  7. Most gun shops couldn’t even give beretta APX away,That’s why they are being sold for less than most Caniks.

  8. The trigger feels a bit odd. Sort of plastic feeling. What a great size, good looking carry pistol. It’s fun to shoot for sure and easy to conceal. I really like it!

  9. Love my Security 9. It’s my first gun and I think it’s a solid choice for a beginner who just wants to use it for home defense.

  10. It was very interesting to know that heavier guns tend to have a better recoil. I’ve been meaning to get a firearm for myself as a protection for my family. That being said, I’ll first make sure to have a permit to carry.

  11. I would stack my Kahr MK9 Elite up against any of the guns you reviewed. Striker fired, 100% reliable from break-in, and in my front pocket for 4 1/2 years.

    1. What does “from break-in” mean? Does this mean that the gun wasn’t reliable from the factory and it needed to “break-in” before it worked properly?

      1. Mine was reliable from the factory. Per the Kahr Manual: “The Kahr pistol must run through an initial break-in period before achieving fully reliable feeding and functioning. The pistol should not be considered fully reliable until after it has fired 200 rounds.” The key word is considered. Mine was good from the beginning and has been ever since. Probably good advice for any pistol short of a revolver. I mainly run 115 grain Hornady Critical Defense but have used other hollow points and FMJ without any issues.

  12. Where are the real firearms?
    Beretta, Kimber, and Colt.

    I stopped here because of an advertisement, it appears to be the glock/SS fan club.
    You rate crap guns in my field as excellent, and ok guns as worse than crap, and just ok guns as the holy grail.

    Later.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

    2. If you meant to insult the glock by calling it the honda civic of handguns I think you are mistaken. If the 43 is a civic and the 19 an accord then I’d say that is fair praise – ubiquitous, reliable, long lasting and efficient. There is a reason that despite other ‘better’ guns in the inventory that SOCOM has issued the G19 for years. You might call me a fan but that designation has been hard won after using the G19 in combat. Not the most sexy, best shooting or most accurate but for a combat (or self defense) accuracy and reliability it fits the bill. I’ve seen all manner of failures in other pistols like cracked slides on M9s, but after being on the range for 100’s of thousands of round of 9mm, I have yet to see a glock suffer a non-shooter induced malfunction which is high praise for a weapon you could stake your life on.

      1. my great neice is a parole officer in a southern state her glock new issue 9 jammed once while doing her yearly quilification just the other day.Holding a glock is like holding a shoe. not one mention of the hk usp tactical not to mention the fn 9.she shot a 114 out of 120.it could have been the ammo she couldnt tell me what they were useing.idk why people crawl into bed with the glock the trigger is crap and if its not locked in a holster .its a dangeralong with the rest that dont have a manuel over ride option

    3. Joe- I’m fairly new to guns and i like your critique of this article and I agree, Sig has had QC problems for the past 5 years and that’s why they had a financial re-arranging called Bankruptcy!

      Ok, so give me your opinion of Canik and which model you list the most?

      And also, I’m looking for a good carry pistol. Fit is most important to me. I like them slim and snag-free. Reliability is important sure but they’re all pretty reliable right!! I’ve narrowed my list down the the M&P Shield Plus, the HellCat Pro and the Sig 365. I’m still open to other suggestions. Would you stay away from the Sig? I’ve heard it’s nice but very snappy. I’m actually a .22 fan. If you goal is to eliminate the threat, a .22 is plenty of caliber to do that. If you end of killing the aggressor, well, that’s just an added bonus to me but it’s not the reason you carry. You carry to protect you family and yourself and to STOP the threat. And think about it, it has zero muzzle flip so you can seriously get 8 hits on target with 8 bullets fired and all it takes is one to hit the head and it’s game over. I appreciate your reply!!!
      Craig

  15. 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!

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