Choosing the Best 9mm

By CTD Blogger published on in Concealed Carry, Firearms

Choosing the best 9mm is about as personal of a decision as finding the best pizza. With dozens of manufacturers, hundreds of models, and thousands of configurations, there just isn’t really a “best,” just a “best for me.” However, that doesn’t mean all 9mm pistols are made equal. There are some that stand head and shoulders above the rest, here are three of them.

Keep in mind, these are three handguns that are good at almost anything, but they aren’t specialty pistols for anything. If you need a gun that can do most things well, these are awesome picks. But if you need a top of the line pistol to do one task, you might not want to choose any of these three.

How to Choose

The right gun will depend a lot on what you want to do with it, but it will also depend on you. Your hand size, grip strength, your body shape will all play a role in determining what pistol works best for you. Likewise, the kind of gun you like will play a huge factor in the process. DAO, DA/SA, striker-fired vs. exposed hammer, and the list goes on and on.

While these are important things to think about and play around with, I’m not going to dive into them here since to do so would requiring writing a book or more on the subject. Instead, think of this as a starting place.

And with that, lets take a look at my picks for the Best 9mm Pistol for Full-Size, Compact, and Sub-Compact.

Full Size

Glock 17 9mm pistol right profile

The Glock 17 9mm is easily the most proven striker-fired polymer-frame handgun.

Glock 17, Gen 5

Larger than compact or subcompact firearms, a full-size handgun is suitable for duty carry, open carry, self-defense, competition, and a lot more. And while you can use them as a CCW, they are often much harder to press into that role. When it comes to concealment, smaller is easier.

Glock has been a huge player in the handgun world since the Gen 1 Glock 17. Adopted by military and police around the world, Glock likely has the strongest following and by far the best aftermarket options. The best thing about Glock is the aftermarket. It’s not hard to turn an off the shelf 9mm into a customized handgun that was designed in every way for you and your needs.

At the same time, a stock Glock will still be bomb proof, reliable to the ends of days, and capable of almost any role.

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Compact

SIG Sauer P320 Subcompact

Sig Sauer P320 Sub-Compact 9mm with night sights, Nitron finish, Striker Fired DAO Trigger, and railed grip module. Comes with three 12RD magazines and kydex holster.

SIG Sauer P320

Winner of the XM17 Modular Handgun System competition and adopted for the U.S. Military, the SIG P320 is a nice gun that has earned its place.

There is that one thing though, when the P320 was released there were issues. Namely, the drop safety of the gun was not up to the standards that we expect. However, since then, the problems were fixed, the gun improved, and it is now all it claims to be.

The best part of the P320 is how modular SIG has made it. Not only is the grip size tweakable, but the caliber itself can be quickly changed using one of SIG’s X-Change Kits.

Another nice plus is that it comes with metal magazines. A guns magazines are often the main source of malfunction in the system, the P320s metal magazines are well made and more durable than many others on the market.

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Subcompact

Springfield XD-S with Crimson Trace Laserguard right

Coming standard with a 3 dot sight, including a fiber optic front sight, and extra back straps to help you size the gun perfectly for your hands.

Springfield XD(S) 3.3

Subcompact guns are generally regulated to being CC weapons or used as backup guns.

When Springfield first released the XD-S it came in .45 ACP – that was the gun that I fell in love with. But even though I love .45 ACP, it’s heavy. Sometimes life calls for a smaller and lighter gun, and the XD(S) in 9mm delivers exactly that.

Coming standard with a 3 dot sight, including a fiber optic front sight, and extra back straps to help you size the gun perfectly for your hands. It also sports a grip safety for extra peace of mind – if you’re a fan of 1911s, you’ll like this extra level of protection.

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Final Thoughts

While these are some of my favorite things, don’t feel out of place if they aren’t some of yours. Just like pizza, finding the pistol that is right for you will take some time and experimentation. With these three guns in mind though you’ll hopefully have a great starting point!

If you had to pick a full size, compact, and subcompact handgun, which three would top your list? Share your answer in the comment section.

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The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (22)

  • The Bearded Pretender

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    The Glocks are my 2nd favorite pistol…
    My 1st choice would be anything else…

    Reply

  • Bud Rogers

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    Have the above mentioned Glock and the XDM, like both but just like the feel of the XDM

    Have the XDs in both 9mm and 45. Both nice guns but 45 tends to be my carry because I got the 9 in a longer barrel. Sometimes carry my Kimber with night sights. Great gun, super trigger but seem to also fall back on the XDs, it’s just easier.

    Reply

  • Fred

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    The H&K USP must have been left out of the evaluation of these 9’s.

    Reply

  • Richard

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    For a full size I would go with CZ 75. Compact, I like SigPro 2022. Sub compact I would go with Walther CCP.

    Reply

    • Scott

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      I agree with the CZ full size and love the Walter. On the fence on a subbie.

      Reply

  • Grady

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    Apparently, you like plain cheese pizza. I prefer a thick crust 1911. Also toppings like Ruger, Colt, and Smith and Wesson. And the number one thing is my pizza must be 100% made in the USA!

    Reply

  • Chris

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    Full size-Smith and Wesson M&P 9. Same features as the Glock 17, but more ergonomic and better sizing for hands than the 17.

    Mid size/Compact-little brother Smith and Wesson M&P 9C (compact). About the same size as the perennial favorite Glock 19, same features as the full size.

    Sub-Compact-Kahr CM9. Less than an inch wide, very easy to hide in a smooth shooting 9mm. Long, smooth trigger is a great safety feature for a gun with little room for any other safety.

    Reply

  • James Morgan

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    What do you think about the New Ruger Security 9

    Reply

  • John

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    Why is Ruger never mentioned? All the ones mentioned are originally based or made overseas.

    I’ve an LC9 (great small gun) and a Ruger American which IMHO are superior choices to yours.

    Reply

  • Clifffalling

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    I have gone through 5 or 6 carry firearms over the years. I finally settled on a G19. I wasnt sure about the weight initially, but the purchase of a good carry belt solved that.
    Obviously, reliability is a huge factor. Additionally, I like the simplicity of the firearm. No doodads, whoozits or gizmos hanging off it. It just works.
    So, to answer the author’s starter question. G19 (which I consider full size), compact PT 111 G2 Taurus, sub… well, not sure that it falls into the sub realm, but the Kahr PM9.

    Reply

  • Jon Majors

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    Glock 17 gen 5/ G19x.
    Colt 1911 Goverment 9mm

    Springfield Xd (m) 9mm
    Glock 26 gen 3

    Glock 43

    Reply

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