16 Best 9mm Pistols [2022]: Full Size, Compact, and Sub Compact

by Travis Pike

April 15, 2022

32 comments

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

However, because of their popularity, their design can be everywhere – they dominate the handgun market. 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 to consider.

Concealed Carry Pistols (CCW): The purpose of a CCW gun is that they are lightweight and compact so as to make it easy for you to carry it, and not have it stick out. 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: 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 especially when it comes to capacity and easier to deal with recoil.  

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. 

Editor’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, if you’re in seeing a list of individual guns in each category, you can scroll down (or click the category of pistol below) and see how each gun ranked with more detail.

Best 9MM Pistols By Category

Best Overall

SIG P320 Compact

SIG P320 Compact
  • Editor’s Choice
  • Well-suited for a Variety of Roles
  • Modular
Check Price
Concealed Carry

SIG P365

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

SIG P226

SIG P226
  • Very Controllable
  • Rail Allows for Light Attachment
  • Proven Combat Prowess
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 & 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"
H&K VP9skCCW10+123.07 oz6.61"4.57"
Glock 43xCCW10+118.72 oz6.5"5.04"
Springfield HellcatCCW11+118.6 oz6"4"
Walther CCPCCW820 oz6.41"5.1"
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"
H&K VP9Range15, 1725.56 oz7.3"5.41"
Walther PPQ 5" BarrelRange1526 oz8.1"5.8"
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"

List of the Best 9mm Pistols:

The best 9mm pistols are:

  1. Sig p320 Compact (Overall)
  2. Sig Sauer P365 (Best CCW)
  3. Sig Sauer P226 (Best Home Defense)
  4. Walther PPQ 5-inch (Best Shooting Range)
  5. S&W Shield EZ 9 (Best for Women)
  6. 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 one handgun that was best suited for most shooters and needs.

This 9mm 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
  • Reliability A
  • Accuracy A-
  • Reliability A
  • Value B

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 55 Reviews

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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 p320C 9mm Review

I believe that the SIG P320 compact is not the best gun to ever exist and nor is it the best 9mm to exist. However, it makes my editor’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. 

I personally love how the modular design 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.

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.

We have an individual review on this gun – be sure to check out the Sig P320C Review.

Sig p320C Pros and Cons

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

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 FOR CONCEALED CARRY

SIG P365

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+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 101 Reviews

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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

When the Sig p365 first came out, it was a game-changer and I had to get my hands on it. 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. 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 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.

Therefore, because of its small size, but full capacity, this makes the Sig p365 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

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

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 30 Reviews

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HK VP9SK Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Length 6.61 in
  • Width 1.32 in
  • Height 4.57 in
  • Barrel Length 3.39 in
  • Weight 23.07 oz
  • Capacity 10/13/15
  • Trigger Pull 5.1 pounds

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 personalize the perfect grip 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. However, 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. 

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 as of yet there has been no problem or any malfunctions and has given me great accuracy.

This product is impressive because it 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 Deals

#3 Glock 43x

Glock 43x

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

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

Our Grade

A+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 57 Reviews

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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

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 slightly 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 interchangeable and need to be specific to the firearm.

It’s also nice to see Glock listen to their shooter based on this firearm as well. Front cocking serrations were added to the slide to enable a better grip.

While the Glock 43x is a great gun, it doesn’t feel as comfortable as the Sig, or the Walther. However, if you’re a big fan of Glocks in general and have trained with a different one, then you might want to move this up the list. 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 Springfield Hellcat – 9MM

Springfield Hellcat – 9MM

The Hellcat 9mm, a micro-compact pistol that provides an incredible number of rounds on board, particularly considering how small of a gun it is.

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

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 89 Reviews

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Springfield Hellcat Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Capacity 11+1 or 13+1
  • Height 4″ or 4.5″
  • Barrel 3″
  • Length 6″
  • Weight 18.6 oz

Springfield Hellcat Review

Coming in next on our CCW list is the Hellcat. The first thing I noticed when I first held the Springfield Hellcat is the wrap-around slide serrations. These provided a fantastic gripping alternative without the need for a red dot sight system. With red dots though, it’s great to see that Springfield included pre-drilled holes for a red dot upgrade as I believe that red dots are the way of the future in handguns.

Springfield gets points for including a full-sized accessory rail, allowing me to readily modify this pistol with standard add-ons. It has high accuracy, and I don’t generally encounter any snags while firing it.

My biggest issue with the Hellcat is the price. This gun appears to be a really good deal, however, it lacks the top-tier feel that I have come to expect from Sig. I believe that this gun would be more justifiable priced $100 lower.

To see our full review on the Springfield Hellcat, you’ll find it here!

Springfield Hellcat Pros and Cons

  • Super High Capacity
  • Reliable
  • Accurate
  • A bit pricey
  • The Trigger is nice, but others are better for a single-action

#5 Walther CCP

Walther CCP

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

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

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 11 Reviews

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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 and very popular. 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 gets my next best CCW gun listing because while it is a subcompact, I find that it isn’t as compact as the Sig p365, and nor does it handle as well. The CCP M2 is a little larger than it needs to be, but it’s still comfortable and small enough for daily carry.

To see an in-depth review of the Walther CCP click HERE!

Walther CCP Pros and Cons

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

#6 Ruger LCR 9mm

Ruger LCR

Ruger LCR 9mm

The trigger is an absolute dream and likely the best stock revolver trigger on the market.

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

Our Grade

B

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 11 Reviews

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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, make 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 them easy to train and practice with. The LCR is a thoroughly modern revolver without frills or nonsense.

To find our individual review on the Ruger LCR, click HERE!

Ruger LCR 9mm Pros and Cons

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

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

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 37 Reviews

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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

First 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 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 them a hard sale in the face of other handguns.

For our full review on the P226 click HERE!

Sig P226 Pros and Cons

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

#2 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

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 70 Reviews

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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 and it’s worth being towards the top of my list for best home defense pistols.

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

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.

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

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 29 Reviews

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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.

To check out the full review of this pistol, check it out HERE!

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

Our Grade

B-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 21 Reviews

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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

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 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 thumb studs, and minimal felt recoil.

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. The biggest issue we came across is some issues with mag feeding.  

To see our full review on 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

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 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

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 18 Reviews

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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

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 find the VP9 to be 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

#2 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

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 18 Reviews

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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

My second choice for the range is the Walther PPQ which 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.

I find that 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.

To see our individual review of this pistol make sure you check out our Walther PPQ Review here.

Walther PPQ 5″ Barrel Pros and Cons

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

Walther PPQ Gun Deals

#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

Reader’s Grade

A-

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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.

For more on this pistol be sure to checkout 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 Chechmate Gun Deals

#4 Glock 34

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

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 20 Reviews

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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

Coming in at fourth on my list for the range I have chosen the Glock 34, which 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 with a full-sized handgun that’s easy to shoot and handle. The Glock’s popularity has ensured there is a massive aftermarket that allows you to customize the gun to a crazy extent.

I find the G34 to be a poorly concealed carry pistol, but in any other role, it serves well.

To see the full review of the Glock 34, Click HERE!

Glock 34 Pros and Cons

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

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#5 Rock Island Armory G.I. 1911

Rock Island Armory G.I. Model

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

Our Grade

C+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 28 Reviews

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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 which makes it on to my list of the best range 9mm pistols.

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.

Check out the full review on the RIA 1911 HERE!

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 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. 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!
  • Gloves? No, there is no need for pistol or combat gloves if you’re a first-time shooter. Maybe later as you start moving into specific situations.

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 ammunition is commonly referred 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 good working ammunition. Here is 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

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

Buyer’s Guide to 9mm Handguns

Why Use a 9mm Gun?

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. 

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.

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, and 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 that makes your 9mm handgun offer a warranty? If so, what kind of warranty? A company that stands behind its 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 carrying, or home defense much easier.

How to Clean Your 9mm Pistol

If you’ve purchased a pistol, you’re going to need to keep it clean and maintained. The best way to do this is by making sure you have the right gun cleaner and gun oil for your pistol.

Once you have that, you’ll want to check out this article, which will step you through the process of keeping your firearm clean and lubricated.

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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32 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.

    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

      2. IMO is what the author said , I have my own opinions also , but I’m not going to bag on someone just because they like something different than me , it’s whatever suits you and what we can afford , I’m not loyal to any brand of firearms as long as it works as intended ! I enjoyed reading the article and the comments !

    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

  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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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