Best 9mm Pistols in 2019 (For Concealed Carry, Home-Defense, and More)

Best 9mm Pistol

When it comes to pistol calibers, 9mm is the most popular option for self-defense, concealed carry, and combat, while still being relatively affordable compared to other defensive rounds. In this guide, I'll explain why a 9mm pistol is probably a great choice for your needs and give you our picks for the Best 9mm Pistols.

Preview

Glock 19 - Most Popular Pistol in the United States

Glock 19 - America's Favorite Pistol

Sig Sauer P320 - Our Choice for Best Overall Pistol

SIG Sauser P320 - Best Overall Pistol

Sig Sauer P365 - Best Pistol for Concealed Carry

Sig Sauer P365 Best Pistol for Concealed Carry

Why Choose a 9mm Pistol (Click to Expand)

We've covered many of the benefits of the 9mm caliber in more detail in other guides on this website, but I'll touch on its benefits and history as quickly as I can.

History and Performance

As I covered in our comparison of the most popular pistol calibers, many consider 9mm to be the minimally powered round for self-defense purposes. Today, all branches of the U.S. Military, 60% of the United States police force, and the majority of civilians rely on 9mm semi-automatic pistols as their concealed carry or duty carry handgun.

However, this wasn't always the case.

From 1911 to 1985, the Army's pistol of choice was the M1911/M1911A1, famously chambered in the larger .45 ACP (or .45 Auto).

Until the late 1980s, many police forces and the FBI issued .38 Special and .357 Magnum revolvers. The FBI then switched to .40 S&W, another larger cartridge.

Pistol Calibers

So what led to the adoption of 9mm pistols?

The Army's Switch to 9mm

As far as the Army's adoption of the 9mm is concerned, the switch was a part of efforts to standardize the sidearms of all branches of the United States military, called the Joint Service Small Arms Program (JSSAP). When we refer to 9mm, we're specifically referring to 9x19 Parabellum, also known as 9mm NATO (and 9mm Luger). As the "9mm NATO" name suggests, this is the standard cartridge for NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) countries today and was before the U.S. Military's adoption of the round.

45 ACP vs 9mm Small Img

9mm vs .45 ACP Size Comparison

It's important to remember at this time the Cold War was ongoing, making it seem likely that NATO forces may be waging war with the Soviets at a moments notice. Thus the benefits of arming troops with the same caliber as our allies was recognized.

Other realized benefits of 9mm NATO came down to its size. As the picture above and to the right clearly show, 9mm cartridges are substantially smaller than .45 ACP and other common handgun calibers.

This allowed troops to carry more 9mm ammunition than larger calibers at the same size and weight. It also allows 9mm pistols to hold more rounds than similarly sized .45 ACP pistols, which we covered as one of its biggest benefits in our 9mm vs .45 ACP guide.

After multiple long rounds of testing, the U.S. Military landed on the Beretta 92FBS as their sidearm. Recently, in 2017, the U.S. Army announced a new sidearm choice, a modified version of the SIG Sauer P320.

SIG Sauer P320 Full Size

SIG Sauer P320

The FBI's Switch to 9mm

While the U.S. Military was a relatively early adopter of 9mm, the FBI and local police held out longer.

They did however come to realize the benefits of semi-automatic pistols (particularly increased capacity) following the 1986 FBI Miami Shootout, in which two FBI agents were killed and five were wounded. Following this event, the FBI eventually landed on issuing Glock .40 S&W pistols, though they did use SIG Sauer's P226 in 9mm in the interim.

In 2015, the FBI fully embraced 9mm, issuing new Gen 5 Glock Pistols. The FBI stated:

“The Ballistic Research Facility has conducted a test which compares similar sized Glock pistols in both .40 S&W and 9mm calibers, to determine if more accurate and faster hits are achievable with one versus the other. To date, the majority of the study participants have shot more quickly and more accurately with 9mm caliber Glock pistols. The 9mm provides struggling shooters the best chance of success while improving the speed and accuracy of the most skilled shooters.”

And this brings us to arguably the most important advantage of 9mm to civilians, particularly new firearms owners. 

It's easier to shoot than larger calibers, while still having sufficient stopping power. While rounds like .40 S&W and .45 ACP's greater kinetic energy impacts your intended target with more force, they also generate more felt recoil to the shooter. This makes it more difficult to accurately and quickly fire subsequent shots. It can also just make for a less pleasant shooting experience.

Affordability

Due to 9mm's incredibly widespread use, there's generally a tremendous supply of 9mm ammunition available. This means prices for 9mm ammunition are a great deal more affordable than all other defensive calibers.

It's incredibly important (and fun) to get familiar and accurate with your firearm that you intend to use for self defense. 9mm full metal jacket (FMJ) ammunition, the type of ammo you'll most often use at the range, costs about 2/3 what you'll find .45 ACP and .40 S&W for.

Here's a list of our picks for the best 9mm ammo.

Note: We recommend buying ammo in bulk online to get the best prices. You can save a tremendous amount this way, compared to buying in smaller quantities, especially compared to when purchasing it from your local range or store.

For concealed carry and other defensive purposes, it's recommend to use hollow point ammunition. You can learn about the difference between FMJ vs hollow points here.

Not only is ammunition cheaper, but you may also find that 9mm pistols are generally cheaper than pistols chambered in other defensive calibers. Again this is due to the large supply of 9mm pistols, seeming to outweigh even the tremendous demand.

Summary of 9mm Pistols' Benefits

  • Less recoil than larger calibers, making it easier to shoot multiple times fast and accurately.
  • Greater magazine capacity than larger caliber similarly sized guns.
  • Cheaper ammunition than all other defensive calibers.
  • Ammunition is generally widely available.
  • 9mm pistols are sometimes cheaper than similar pistols in other calibers.

With that out of the way, let's get onto our picks for the best 9mm pistols.

Best 9mm Pistols

Here's our list of the best 9mm pistol manufacturers and the specific pistols we recommend from them, starting with striker-fired options

Glock

It might seem like we're just being lazy listing Glock as our first choice for the best 9mm pistols, but there's a reason this is the most relied upon manufacturer among worldwide police forces, including up to 60-70% of American police officers.

Created in the 1980s, Austria's Glock was the first pistol manufacturer to see widespread commercial success with a polymer-framed, striker fired pistol. These design features of Glock pistols give it a number of key advantages over the competition:

Glock Size Comparison

Biggest Glock Pros:

  • Relative Affordability - Glock's relatively simple designs and use of polymer has made it more easily mass produced, resulting in it being more affordable compared to traditional steel-framed pistols with alternative action types. While this led to Glock building a huge brand and market share, today there is admittedly no shortage of polymer-framed striker fired competitors.
  • Reliability and Durability - Glock's simple internal designs consist of very few parts. Fewer parts means fewer opportunities for something to break, meaning you can be nearly 100% certain when you pull the trigger it will fire. Glocks have been known to have tens of thousands of rounds go through them without any major issues.

Click Here to Keep Reading About Glock Pistols

  • Highly Customizable - With Glock handguns being as popular as they are, there's no shortage of companies making aftermarket parts for them. You can easily find parts to swap/upgrade/change any part of your Glock.
  • Ergonomic - While not everyone is a fan of how Glocks feel, as is the case with all firearms, most people will find it to be a comfortable fit.
  • Magazines Are Readily Available - Magazines can often have shorter lifespans than the pistol you use them in. It's also just a good idea to have plenty of magazines available. All generations of Glock pistol magazines can be used in any other generation Glocks, making them incredibly affordable and easy to find. There's also a lot of aftermarket Glock magazine suppliers.

There are, however, a few issues I could come up with for Glocks.

Biggest Glock Cons

  • They're Ugly - Admittedly, this shouldn't top the list of reasons you choose a gun. Though, given that there's numerous reliable competitors to Glock today, it is fairly reasonable to at least factor this into your decision. If two handguns function similarly, you might as well go with the better looking one. This is of course my personal opinion and many people are huge fans of their ultra simplistic looking design.
  • Grip Angle - I personally find the extreme angle of Glock frames feels unnatural. Without taking your time to aim, this can lead to naturally aiming above your target. This makes me worried that in an adrenaline filled self-defense scenario, I may shoot above my target. I'd especially caution other shooters who like to shoot a wide variety of different pistols.
  • Sights - There's two primary reasons that a large number of Glock owners replace the factory sites.Glock Sight Picture
    • The first reason is that factory Glock sites are polymer, instead of more durable steel. This is especially an issue for those frequently holstering/unholstering their pistol.
    • The second reason is that many people don't like the sight picture of factory Glocks. Some common complaints are:
      • The front sight is to wide compared to the width of the rear sight, making it hard to aim quickly.
      • The white line on the rear site is distracting, keeping you from focusing on the front sight.
      • Whereas the angle of Glock frames can lead you to shoot high when quickly aiming, many find intuitive use of the Glock sights leads to aiming low under normal aiming conditions... but who knows, maybe these two things will even out perfectly for you though.
    • If you want to upgrade, check out the best Glock sights.
  • Trigger - Another common replacement on stock Glocks is the trigger. Personally, I don't have any major complaints and find it to be rather consistent. Still, better factory triggers do exist like from the Walther PPQ and even the SIG Sauer P320 in my opinion.
Glock Gen 5 G19 Compact

$559.99 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of publishing

Compare Glock 19 Prices

Best Overall Pistol - Glock 19 (Gen 5)

If you've decided on a Glock pistol after reading our Glock pros and cons, but you're not sure which to choose, the Glock G19 is probably the best choice. While not necessarily perfect for all uses, this compact pistol is small enough that it could be used for concealed carry, while still being large enough to fit comfortably in the hands of most shooters when having fun at the range.

Gen 5 Glocks, including the Gen 5 G19, removed the finger grooves of earlier models. They also improved the grip texture. Combined, this makes the Gen 5 G19 a more comfortable fit for a wider range of shooters, when compared to the Gen 4.

For those of you with specific needs, check out the Glock comparison table below. Individuals with a focus on recreational shooting or home defense may prefer the Glock 17 vs the 19. If you're looking specifically for a concealed carry handgun, the Glock G26 or G43 may be better fit (literally).

Glock Pistol Comparison

ModelCaliberLength/(Barrel Length)HeightWidthStandard CapacityWeight (Empty)

Glock Gen 5 G17 Glock G17 (Standard)

9mm7.95 in / (4.49 in)5.47 in1.34 in17 Rounds25.08 oz
Glock Gen 5 G17

Glock G19 (Compact)

9mm7.28 in / (4.02 in)5.04 in1.34 in15 Rounds23.99 oz
Glock Gen 5 G26

Glock G26 (Subcompact)

9mm6.42 in / (3.43 in)4.17 in1.30 in10 Rounds21.69 oz
Glock G43 W/ Night Sights

Glock G43 (Single Stack, Subcompact)

9mm6.06 in / (3.41 in)4.25 in1.06 in617.99 oz
SIG Sauer P365

$499.99 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of publishing

Best 9mm Concealed Carry (CCW) Pistol - SIG Sauer P365

For those of you looking specifically for a concealed carry pistol, hold off on buying a Glock just yet.

In 2017, SIG Sauer produced a unicorn of a pistol in the P365. Shorter in length and thinner than the Glock 43, the P365 holds 10 rounds or 12 rounds with its extended magazine, compared to the G43's 6 rounds. Despite having a double stack magazine, it's some how thinner than nearly all single stack 9mm pistols.

In my opinion, this alone should be enough to convince you, so long as everything else checks out... which it now does!

As is the case with all SIGs I've shot and own, the ergonomics and feel of this gun are amazing. It has a crisp trigger with excellent-feeling travel.

The P365 also comes from the factory with 3-dot tritium night sights, saving you an upgrade I'd recommend all concealed carry pistols have.

This is my personal CCW and I'd highly recommend it to everyone looking for a concealed carry pistol. It fits perfectly into my shockingly average sized hands with the extended magazine, while also being easy to conceal in a holster.

P365 Fit in Hand

SIG Sauer P320

The SIG Sauer P320 is the civilian version of the Army's new modular M17 and M18 pistols.

Admittedly, the P320 has been subject to tremendous controversy after some of them sold to law enforcement agencies were reported to have safety defects. Notably, the firearm failed drop tests that took place after multiple police officers had been shot after dropping the pistol.

Following these reports, SIG announced its "Voluntary Upgrade Program." Though SIG Sauer still maintains that all configurations of the P320 are safe, if you buy a new P320, it should be the upgraded version. There have been no reports of safety defects from the upgraded versions of the P320 that I'm aware of.

With that said, here are my thoughts on the SIG Sauer P320, as an owner of the "upgraded" full size P320 RX.

Click Here to Keep Reading About P320 Pistols

Biggest P320 Pros:SIG Sauer P320 Frame Assembly

  • Modularity - The SIG Sauer P320's modular design is the biggest thing going for it. The frame assembly of the pistol (pictured to the right) has the serial number, meaning this is the only portion of the gun that requires purchasing through an FFL. The frame assembly can be swapped to use other P320 modular grips and slides/barrels. This allows you to change the size and caliber of your gun, only by purchasing "X-Change Kits" and since these are not the serialized portion of the firearm, they can be shipped straight to your door.

SIG P320 Modular Design

  • Customizable - There's also already a decent number of aftermarket parts and accessories available. I expect there to be even more as the P320 continues to grow in popularity, after its initial concerns.
  • Great Grip and Texture - The ergonomics and grip texture of these pistols are some of the best from any stock pistol I've shot. Like most of the pistols on this list, it lacks grip groves, which seems to be preferred among shooters these days.
  • Accurate and Easy to Shoot - In my experience, the P320 has been extremely accurate and easy to shoot at a variety of distances.
  • Good Trigger - Triggers and sights are two things handgun owners most frequently feel the need to upgrade. Personally I've been incredibly happy with my P320 right out of the box. While I'd rank the stock trigger of my Walther PPQ above the SIG, it's still better than many I've shot.
  • Great Sights - The P320 comes stock with high quality steel sights. Most stock models come with SIGLITE night sights.
  • Looks Awesome - I'd be lying if I said looks didn't play a part in my decision to buy a P320. Its front and rear slide serrations and finishes are great touches.

Biggest P320 Cons:

  • Early Safety Concerns - Though these issues have been corrected, early reports of failed drop tests are a bit concerning to hear about any manufacture. With that said, it's worth noting issues and even recalls are fairly common, especially among new firearm lines.
SIG Sauer P320 Full Size

$579.99 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of publishing

Compare P320 Prices

SIG Sauer's P320 is my choice for the best overall stock pistol. For roughly the same price as a Glock 17 or 19, you get a better trigger (in my opinion) and all models come with SIGLITE steel night sights or steel contrast sights. The ergonomics of the P320 also feel far better than Glocks or most of the other pistols on this list.

P320s all have 1913 rails for mounting pistol lights and other accessories.

Though the P320 got off to a bit of a rocky start, the Army's continued support of the pistol goes a long way for SIG Sauer's reputation. New models of the P320 come with a lighter trigger and slide-disconnect notch, fixing the early issues of the handgun.

Unlike the competitors on this list, the P320's modular design allows you to swap its frame assembly into a variety of modular kits. This lets you change the size and caliber of your pistol without dealing with an FFL.

All in all, this is a great-looking pistol that's also great to shoot. See the table below for a comparison of different sizes and models.

ModelCaliberLength/(Barrel Length)HeightWidthStandard CapacityWeight (Empty)

SIG Sauer P320 Full Size (Small Image)P320 Full Size

9mm8.0 in / (4.7 in)5.5 in1.3 in17 Rounds29.5 oz

SIG Sauer P320 CompactP320 Compact

9mm7.2 in / (3.9 in)5.3 in1.3 in15 Rounds25.8 oz
SIG Sauer P320 RX Full Size

$829.99 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of publishing

SIG Sauer P320 RX

The P320 RX includes all the features of the regular P320, while also coming with a ROMEO1 Reflex Sight. The P320 RX also includes elevated steel front and rear night sights for co-witnessing.

The ROMEO1 red dot sight comes pre-mounted and has its battery located at the top of the sight, meaning it's easy to replace. Additional features of the ROMERO1 include:

  • Adjustable for windage and elevation.
  • Adjustable brightness settings.
  • Motion activated for enhanced battery life.
  • Very lightweight.
  • Waterproof for immersion up to 1 meter (IPX-7 rated).
  • Fog-proof

My full size P320 RX is one of my favorite guns to shoot.

Sig Sauer P320 Hand Fit

ModelCaliberLength/(Barrel Length)HeightWidthStandard CapacityWeight (Empty)

SIG Sauer P320 RX Full SizeP320 RX Full Size

9mm8in / (4.7 in)6.3 in1.4 in17 Rounds29.05 oz
P320 RX Compact

P320 RX Compact

9mm7.2 / (3.9)6.1 in1.4 in15 Rounds25.8 oz

SIG Sauer P320 X-Series Pistols

In addition to Sig Sauer's P320 RX series, there's one other variation of P320 pistols I want to cover - The X-Series.

X-Series P320s all have:

  • Improved ergonomics and recoil control thanks to the XSeries grip, extended beavertail, and high undercut trigger guard.
  • Flat X-Series trigger upgrade with a straight 90 degree break.
  • Optics ready, with slide cuts.

P320 X-Series Features

SIG Sauer P320 X-Compact

Though a bit on the larger side, the P320 X-Compact is another excellent choice for concealed carry. In addition to having the same modular design as all P320 models, it has the X-Series features we just covered.

Unique to the X-Compact is a low profile internal magwell.

Though I personally prefer to carry a super slim pistol like the P365, I'm considering adding this to my concealed carry rotation. It's a great choice for anyone looking for a compact pistol with the ability to easily mount a red dot sight to it.

  • Length - 7"
  • Barrel Length 3.6"
  • Height - 5.3"
  • Width 1.3"
  • Standard Capacity - 15 Rounds
  • Weight - 25.3 oz

P320 X Compact

$679.99 at 1800GunsAndAmmo

Prices accurate at time of publishing

Walther PPQ

I started this list with arguably the most popular choice among gun owners for best pistol, but now it's time for one of my personal favorites that flies under the radar: Walther's PPQ line of pistols.

Personally, I love the Walther PPQ lineup because of their fantastic triggers. Their grips also fit my hands perfectly.

Click Here to Keep Reading About Walther Pistols

Biggest Walther PPQ Pros:

  • Best Stock Trigger - The trigger on the PPQ lineup of pistols is the best stock trigger I've experienced. The trigger pull is listed as 5.6 lbs, but feels much lower. It also has 1/10 of an inch trigger reset, for fast subsequent shots.
  • Better Looking Than Competitors - This is of course always a matter of personal opinion, but I think Walther PPQ pistols look far better than many close competitors. The front and rear slide serrations of all PPQ models goes a long way in the aesthetics department for me. The PPQ Q5 Match is also one of the most unique and fantastic looking pistols at its price point in my opinion.
  • Ergonomics - Again, this is largely due to personal preference, but I'm a huge fan of the way PPQ pistols feel. It is worth noting that I have nearly the exact average hand size for a male (according to a quick google search and measurement). Shooters with bigger hands may find the grooves don't fit their hands as well. Finally, a benefit of being average!
  • Ambidextrous Features - All PPQs have ambidextrous slide locks, which are also big and easy to access, while not being "in the way". This is another feature of PPQs, which I like far more than most stock polymer pistols. While the magazine release is on the right side by default, PPQs also come with a left sided release button that can be swapped in easily.
  • Large Trigger Guard - The large trigger guard on PPQ handguns allows you to more easily shoot while wearing gloves. The large space also feels preferable to me for high pressure situations.

Biggest Walther PPQ Cons

  • Polymer Sights - Like Glock pistols, most PPQ models (excluding the Q5 Match and Q4 TAC) have polymer sights. While they share the fact they're less durable, I do prefer the sight picture of the PPQ more than Glocks.
  • Limited Aftermarket Parts - Walther firearms are less popular than some of the other manufacturers in this guide, so naturally there are less aftermarket parts built for PPQs. Do note that all PPQs have a picatinny rail, allowing the PPQ to support a wide variety of flashlights and lasers.
  • Poor Grip Surface - While I love the ergonomics of PPQ handguns, the grip surface leaves a lot to be desired. A few magazines in at the range and things start to get really slippery. Consider TALON grips for a better handle.
  • Prices Closer to MSRP - Because Walther firearms are less produced and in strong demand, they typically are listed closer to MSRP, unlike Glocks and other pistols which can be far lower. In other words, they may end up costing you more.
Walther PPQ M2

$563.68 at 1800GunAndAmmo

Prices accurate at time of publishing

Compare PPQ M2 Prices

Best Out of the Box Trigger - Walther PPQ M2

Of all the stock pistols I've shot, the Walther PPQ has my favorite trigger from the factory. This includes the PPQ M2 4" (barrel) shown to the left, as well as the rest of the PPQ lineup.

I'd compare the 4" barrel PPQ M2 to the Glock 19, in terms of being a good middle-ground pistol for those of you not entirely sure what you're looking for. It's similar in its size (see the comparison table below for exact dimensions), making it comfortable to shoot at the range, though approaching the upper limits of what most people could comfortably concealed carry.

Those intending to concealed carry, may instead prefer the PPQ Subcompact.

For home defense and recreational shooting, the PPQ M2 can also be found in a 5" barrel version. We'll also be covering the Q5 Match, which is another great option for these purposes.

Walther PPQ Q5 Match

$743.99 at 1800GunAndAmmo

Prices accurate at time of publishing

Compare PPQ M2 Prices

Very Accurate and Best Looking Pistol for the Money- Walther Q5 Match

Looks aren't the only thing the Q5 Match has going for it, but it's a great place to start. The ported slide of the Q5 goes a long way in the coolness factor of this handgun. Personally, I think it's one of the best-looking pistols for the money.

The Q5 Match comes standard with iron sights (including a fiber-optic front sight), but also includes three optic mounting plates for Trijicon, Leupold, and Docter optics. The one frustrating thing about the Q5 setup is that the rear sight will be removed when swapping out mounting plates.

Aside from this issue, you'd struggle to find anything negative about the Q5 match in online reviews. Instead, it's often praised as being the most accurate polymer-framed stock pistol among competitors. This makes it great for the range and home defense. It's also one of the best 9mm pistols out of the box for competitive shooting at a relatively affordable price.

Walther PPQ SC Flush Mag

$578.37 at 1800GunAndAmmo

Prices accurate at time of publishing

Great 9mm for CCW - Walther PPQ Subcompact

The Walther PPQ Subcompact provides the benefits of the PPQ, like its incredible trigger and ergonomics, at a smaller size made for concealed carry.

The PPQ SC pictured to the left comes with both a flush 10-round magazine (shown left) and an extended 15-round magazine. The extended magazine fits perfectly with the grip (pictured here), making it nearly identical to a standard PPQ.

Regardless of which magazine you choose to use, the PPQ SC is shorter than the standard PPQ in both barrel (3.5") and overall length, making it easy to be concealed carry for most people.

Walther PPQ Handgun Comparison

ModelCaliberLength/(Barrel Length)HeightWidthStandard CapacityWeight (Empty)Optic Ready?

Walther PPQ M2 Small ImageWalther PPQ M2

9mm7.1 in / (4 in)5.3 in1.3 in15 Rounds24.05 oz

Walther PPQ Q5 MatchWalther Q5 Match

9mm8.1 in / (5 in)5.3 in1.3 in15 Rounds27.9 oz
Walther PPQ Subcompact

Walther PPQ Subcompact

9mm6.6 in / (3.5 in)4.4 in W/ Flush Mag1.30 in10 Rounds (flush)

15 rounds (extended)

21.02 oz

Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0

Aside from Glock pistols, the S&W M&P 2.0 seems to frequently be the most recommended pistol to first time owners. Like Glock pistols, M&P's aren't really a favorite of mine, but they too are a great option for others.

On a positive note, I will say M&P 2.0 pistols are likely to be one of the most affordable lightweight pistols you can find, while also being highly confident in their reliability.

Click Here to Keep Reading About M&P 2.0 Pistols

Biggest M&P Pros:

  • Affordable - The Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 models can usually be found at the lowest price among handguns we've covered thus far.
  • Great Grip Angle & Texture- M&P 2.0 models have great grip angle, similar to a 1911. I've also personally found the grip texture to be better than most stock pistols.
  • Customizable - Though the M&P does not have nearly as many aftermarket accessories as a Glock, it still beats out the majority of handguns at this.
  • Optional Thumb Safety - Unlike Glocks and other striker-fired pistols, M&Ps are readily available with external thumb safeties, though you can choose models with or without one. Most people these days prefer not to have any external safeties on their handguns, as they create one more potential failure or mistake in a self-defense scenario. For those who do feel more comfortable with a safety, you can choose a stock model with one.
  • Steel Sights - Unlike Glock and most of the PPQ models we covered, the M&P 2.0 comes stock with steel sights.

Biggest M&P Cons:

  • Weird Trigger - The M&P has a rather unique trigger. While you could probably get used to any trigger, it makes transitioning from one pistol to the next less easy. Aside from the feel of the trigger, it's also not a particularly light trigger pull. For these reasons, it's very common for M&P owners to upgrade to an aftermarket trigger.
Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 4.25 Barrel 9mm

$482.99 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of publishing

Affordable American Made Pistol - Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0

The Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 offers an American-made modern polymer pistol at a more affordable price than many competitors. I love the grip angle, as well as the texture.

Another great feature is that it comes stock with steel sights, unlike some of the other pistols on this list.

The biggest issue I have with this pistol is its odd trigger. With that said, its affordable price leaves more money left over for an aftermarket trigger. We recommend the Apex M&P Trigger Kit.

For each size and caliber, you can choose between pistols with or without a thumb safety.

Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 Comparison

ModelCaliberLength/(Barrel Length)HeightWidthStandard CapacityWeight (Empty)

Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 4.25 Barrel 9mmS&W M&P 2.0

or w/ Safety

9mm7.4 in / (4.25 in)5.5 in1.3 in17 Rounds24.7 oz

Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 9mm 4 in barrelS&W M&P 2.0 Compact

or w/ Safety

9mm7.25 in / (4 in)5 in1.3 in15 Rounds24 oz

Springfield Pistols

If there's a third-most-commonly-recommended line of 9mm pistols behind Glock and M&P, I feel that it's likely Springfield Armory's XD-S and XD-M pistols.

Of these three manufactures' offerings, Springfield pistols are my favorite.

Springfield Armory XDM

$549.99 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of publishing

Compare XD-M Prices

Springfield Armory XD-M Mod.2

I don't know what it is about the Springfield XD-M, but they've always felt fantastic in my hands. Perhaps it's that the grip angle is modeled after the 1911.

Speaking of 1911s, the XD-M also shares a grip safety in common with them. As always, not everyone is a fan of external safeties, particularly for concealed carry pistols. In my opinion, the biggest benefit of the grip safety is that it makes accidental discharges potentially less likely when holstering or unholstering.

I've found that I naturally shoot very well with the XDM, at least partially due to its trigger. Not the absolute best, but fairly short and crisp.

The 9mm XD-M is available in 3.8" barrel, 4.5", and 5.25". They also have threaded barrel options at 4.5".

Springfield Armory XDS 9mm

$489.99 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of publishing

Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2

The XD-S is Springfield Armory's 9mm single stack pistol offering. Like the XD-M, the XD-S also has a grip safety.

Compared to the Glock 43, it's a little bit longer and taller, but it's also 0.085" thinner. This may not sound super significant, but any reduction in width can make concealed carry more comfortable.

Another plus to the XD-S over the Glock 43 is its capacity. The XD-S has 7-round and 9-round magazine options available, compared to just 6 rounds in the G43.

The 9mm Best Hammer Fired Pistols

As mentioned above, striker-fired pistols are the go-to firearms for most police and civilian concealed carry holders these days.

While they're sometimes thought of as being old school, there's no reason you can't use a hammer fired 9mm pistol for the range, home defense, and even concealed carry.

Here are our picks for the best 9mm hammer fired pistols.

CZ 75

This Czech firearms manufacturer and their U.S. subsidiary CZ-USA have a cult following among firearms enthusiasts.

Those of you who play the video game Counter Striker: Global Offensive will also recognize the "CZ 75" name, as you've undoubtedly cursed the "broken" CZ75-Auto. We of course won't be covering any full-auto versions on this list, but will be covering some semi-autos.

CZ75-Auto CSGO

If you are familiar with CS:GO, you can tell I'm not a fan of the CZ75-Auto based off my "StatTrak" number. This is largely due to it's terrible accuracy for anything more than a few feet away. In real life though, the CZ75 semi-automatic pistols we'll be covering are quite the opposite—having even been used by competitive shooting champions.

CZ 75 B

$540.46 at 1800GunsAndAmmo

Prices accurate at time of publishing

CZ 75 B

The CZ 75 B is where it all started for CZ. From this original design, an entire line of pistols was created with a lot of unique variants.

Something notable about the CZ 75 B compared to the striker fried pistols covered above is its all-steel frame. The weight caused by this, combined with the size of the pistol, makes it an unlikely choice for concealed carry. It does, however, make it a lot easier to shoot, as heavier pistols reduce felt recoil. This combined with its 3-dot sights and crisp SA trigger make it incredibly easy to put rounds down range accurately.

I view the CZ 75 B as more of range gun, home defense gun, open carry gun, or combat pistol.

It's considered one of the original "Wonder Nines," 9mm pistols with a large magazine capacity. The CZ 75 B's magazine holds 16 rounds.

The CZ-75 is also a double/single action hammer fired pistol, meaning you can choose to carry it with the safety off, instead relying on the DA trigger pull as a safety mechanism. That being said, it does come with a great, easy-to-use thumb safety so you could carry it in the fashion of a 1911—cocked and locked.

CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical

$540.46 at 1800GunsAndAmmo

Prices accurate at time of publishing

CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical

The CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical is an improved version of the CZ 75. As the "Tactical" in the names suggests, this 9mm pistol would be great for combat, as a "SHTF pistol," or just as an incredibly accurate, easy-to-shoot range toy, home defense gun, or car gun.

It comes equipped with an ambidextrous de-cocker, improved ergonomics, rubber grip panels, 1913 Picatinny accessory rail, cold-hammer-forged (CHF) barrel, fixed tritium night sights, and an extended beavertail—all improvements over the original CZ 75 B.

Beretta

Beretta 92 FS

$699.99 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of publishing

Beretta 92FS

The Italian made Beretta 92FS is good enough for the U.S. Military, so it's good enough for you. As mentioned above in the history section of this guide, the 92 FS 9mm pistol, designated as the M9, was used by all branches of the U.S. Military since 1985. Just recently, the U.S. Army decided to adopt the SIG Sauer P320 as a replacement, but the 92FS is still more than capable of getting the job done.

Like the CZ-75, this all-metal Beretta is on the heavy side, though is a bit lighter than the CZ. With that said, its size and weight still make it best for combat, range shooting, and home defense. Its standard magazine holds 15 rounds, though extended magazines are available.

In addition to the benefits of just being heavier overall, the 92FS has a lightened slide weight and short-recoil delayed locking block system to further reduce recoil and make this gun incredibly easy to shoot.

Conclusion

There's a lot of great options for those looking for 9mm pistols. These days, there's easily at least 10 manufacturers making handguns I'd be confident to own for serious use like concealed carry or home defense.

If I had to narrow it down to one particular all around best 9mm pistol I'd choose the SIG Sauer P320.

SIG Sauer P320
SIG Sauer P320 Full Size

Product Name: SIG Sauer P320

Product Description: The SIG Sauer P320 is a modular striker-fired pistol, chosen by the United States military as the new M17 and M18.

  • Quality
    (5)
  • Reliability
    (5)
  • Accuracy
    (5)
  • Usability
    (5)
  • Value
    (4)
4.8

Summary

The SIG Sauer P320 is our choice for the best 9mm pistol. It’s modular design allows you to purchase “X-Change” kits to change the caliber, size, and style of your handgun… And all of this can be done without dealing with an FFL in most states.

In our opinion, the trigger is better than other popular striker-fired pistols, including Glocks, M&Ps, and Springfield Armory Pistols. It also comes from the factory with steel sights, whereas some other competitors use weaker polymer sights.

All P320 models are extremely ergonomic and comfortable to shoot, with its grip angle modeled after the 1911.

Pros

  • Modular Design, allowing you to buy parts to change the caliber, style, and size of your pistol.
  • Above Average Trigger
  • Incredibly Comfortable to Shoot
  • Great Sights

Cons

  • Early P320 models had safety defects, though these issues have since been resolved and old models can be upgraded for free.

Scroll Up