Firearms

By the Numbers: America’s Top 5 Pistols

Performance Center Ported M&P Shield pistol

If there is one thing I love, it is a good debate over which gun is best. The regulars all make the list, and that is fine, but the creativity and opinions of the readers is really what’s eye opening and makes it a good a read for me. That being said, this list is strictly based on the numbers, so it is perfect fodder for a good shredding—do your worst.

Instead of personal bias or past experiences, you—technically all buyers across the nation generated this list, but I am sure each of you contributed. Online sales and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFEs) June 2016 annual report were crunched to come up with the most popular firearms in America.

Pistols

Pistols have been popular for decades, but with the relaxation of laws—mainly due to challenges of unconstitutional laws that infringe on the Second Amendment—concealed carry is here for the masses, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that semi-automatic handguns top the list. According to the ATF, more than 3.6 million semi-automatic handguns were produced in 2014. Here is the top five pistols by the numbers.

Glock G19 MOS pistol left side with spare magazine
The G19 has always been a good conceal carry option, with the Leupold Delta Point reflex sight mounted on the G19 Gen4 MOS it is an excellent defense option.

Glock G19

The Glock 19 chambered in 9mm Luger has earned a legendary reputation as one of the most reliable handguns on the planet thanks in part to decades of service in the most grueling conditions. With an upgraded grip texturing and a universal mounting rail, the Glock 19 is well equipped for whatever situation you might find yourself in.

Gaston Glock changed the semi-auto pistol market as we know it thanks to innovative design of the Glock 19, space-age materials and reliability that has defined the Glock name. Embraced worldwide by shooters in both professional and civilian circles, the Glock 19 has gained universal acceptance.

Shooters all over the world turn to the Glock 19 for it’s robust, reliable design that continues to perform in even the most demanding of environments. Featuring a large 15-round magazine capacity that rivals even the full-size service pistols, the Glock 19 has more than enough firepower to be used as a standard sidearm while retaining a compact and concealable form factor for plain clothes officers and concealed carriers.

Specifications and Features:
Glock 19
9mm Luger
Striker Fired
Polymer Frame
Black Finish
Standard Glock Sights
15-round Magazine
Hexagonal Rifling
Cold Hammer Forged Barrel
4.02″ Barrel
7.28″ Overall Height
1.18″ Width

SIG Sauer P238 semiautomatic subcompact pistol with black frame, wood grips and rainbow titainum slide
Both the SIG P238 .380 ACP and P938 9mm are small, thin, lightweight and extremely comfortable and easy to carry. These traditional single-action only semaiutos both have a 2.7-inch barrel and hold 6 rounds of ammo.

SIG Sauer P938

The SIG Sauer P938 is one of the very best options for concealed carry. The SIG Sauer P938 is an excellent single action semi auto that has an excellent reputation for being reliable, durable, and extremely well made. Some versions come with SIGLITE night sights for added versatility, and a Beavertail/Thumb Safety for safe carry. This pistol is extremely easy to conceal, carry, and will earn its way into your carry rotation in short order.

Specifications and Features:
SIG Sauer P938 Semi Automatic Pistol
9mm Luger
3″ Barrel
6 Rounds
Alloy Frame
Rubber Grip Panels
Nitron Finish
SIGLITE Night Sights
Single Action Only Trigger
5.9″ Overall Length
Beavertail Safety and Thumb Safety

Springfield’s slim, compact 45 ACP XD-S was introduced earlier this year to compete against pistols like the Glock G36, Kahr Arms’s PM4543, the SIG Sauer 250SC, and others.
Springfield’s slim, compact .45 ACP XD-S was introduced to compete against pistols such as the Glock G36, Kahr Arms’s PM4543, SIG Sauer 250SC, and others.

Springfield XD-S

The Springfield Armory XDs is one of the very best options available for the discerning Concealed Carry Permit holder looking for a reliable, durable, and accurate pistol and now the XD-S is approved by the NYPD for off-duty carry. Using the same attention to detail combined with excellent ergonomics and utterly reliable functionality ensure that when you need it, the Springfield Armory XDs will be ready to make short work of the task at hand. This is one of the easiest sub compact carry pistols to shoot available on the market place today. Pick up a Springfield Armory XDs and discover how easy it is to conceal a legitimate powerhouse conceal carry pistol.

Specifications and Features:
Springfield Armory XDs XDS9339BE
9mm Luger
3.3″ Barrel
7 Rounds
Polymer Frame
Black Slide Finish
Essentials Package
4.4″ Height
.9″ Width
Forged Steel Slide
Fiber optic front Dovetail Rear sight
Hammer Forged Barrel
6.3″ Length
23 oz

Picture shows the compact Ruger LCP semi-automatic handgun.
Winning handgun of the year in 2008 and 2011, the LCP remains a top seller.

Ruger Lightweight Compact Pistol

The Ruger LCP semi auto pistol is a compact pistol designed to be concealed just about anywhere. From a small purse to a pocket the Ruger LCP will be by your side at all times. Designed with both male and female shooters in mind the LCP is as affordable as it is reliable. The LCP is Ruger’s smallest pistol frame with an overall height of just 3.6″ and an overall length of just 5.16″. The Ruger LCP is the natural choice for an individual in search of a dependable backup or primary personal defense carry pistol. Additionally the Ruger LCP is lightweight checking it at just 9.6 oz ideal for all day carry and easily at hand when you might need it most.

Specifications and Features:
Ruger LCP Semi Auto Pistol 3752
2.75″ Alloy Steel Barrel with Blued Finish
6 Groove Rifling
1:16″ Right Hand Twist Rate
6-round Magazine
Through-Hardened Alloy Steel Slide with Blued Finish
Integral Fixed Front/Rear Sights
Checkered Grip Frame with Secure/Comfortable Grip
Flush/Finger Grip Extension Floorplate for Magazine Included
Hammer Recessed within the slide
Overall Length 5.16″
Overall Height 3.60″
Overall Width .82″
Overall Weight 9.6oz
High Performance Glass Filled Nylon Polymer Frame
Matte Black Finish

Smith and Wesson M&P45
The Shield is accurate, shoots well, comfortable to grip and produces 2-inch groups with quality ammo—and those are only a few of the resons why this handgun is America’s top seller!

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

Smith & Wesson’s M&P Shield 9mm takes the crown for the best-selling pistol; anyone who owns one knows why.

Smith and Wesson has a long history as one of America’s premier firearm manufacturers and the S&W Military and Police Compact Handguns are some of the best handguns on the market today. The M&P Shield sports proven and reliable features, a reinforced polymer frame, scalloped slide serrations and a positive grip texture. This model does not include a thumb safety. The polymer frame has an 18 degree grip angle for a natural point of aim. This pistol has a 3.1″ barrel and is chambered in the hard hitting .40 S&W cartridge. Tritium night sights will give you that tactical advantage when seconds count, no matter what the conditions are. Law Enforcement and lawfully armed citizens rely on Smith & Wesson M&P’s every day for personal protection. The compact size of the M&P Shield is ideal for concealed carry, CHL/CCW holders and legally armed citizens everywhere. The M&P Shield may just be the perfect firearm for any self defense application!

Specifications and Features:
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 10214
Compact Semi Automatic Pistol
No Thumb Safety Model
.40 Smith & Wesson
3.1″ Barrel
7 Rounds
Striker Fired
Tritium Night Sights
Polymer Frame
Overall Length 6.1″
Height 4.6″
Width .95″
Weight 19 Ounces
Black Finish

Give us your top five picks in the comment section.

[dave]

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 (51)

  1. Dayuuum!! Finally someone’s opinion I can agree to. We (my wife) own an LCP and (myself) a couple of XDs. One XD is a 40S&W and the second is a .357 SIG conversion. I’ll say that if you don’t own an XD with a Diamond .357 SIG barrel, you are missing a treat.

  2. I own a Taurus 709 Slim, 9mm Luger, and love it. I also own an M&P 2.0, but that is a more full size handgun than it’s Shield counterpart, and the Taurus as well. Have not had one issue with the piece. Shoots straight, easy to clean, it’s a fantastic CC option, a reliable one in my opinion, and the price is the cherry on top.

    1. Agree with Brian. Taurus is the most underrated firearm in the business today. They work just fine irrespective of the crappy way of their service department.

  3. Great article and opening scope remarks…

    In the hands of someone who’s seen the face of evil, the handgun needs to be equivelant to the last object to prevent the taking of mankind and anything short of the reliability and power of a GI standard 45 .cal 1911… probably isn’t what I would carry knowing that and was service qualified with the weapon. The power of a 45 round and Colt dependability created the GI standard… Grunt Ideology, as it should.

    But the average American concealer hasn’t seen that face of evil, and I pray They never do.

    That In mind, it now becomes a marketing showdown and the word of mouth of limited knowledge to promote model density to the masses. Glocks look, and are simple to shoot… The SIG is pretty… The Spingfield name and masculine lines ring of toughness and heritage… The Ruger is tiny and women are buying more often and want it for even the tiniest purse… The Smith & Wesson is just AmerIcan, and the M&P implies a certain justice.

    My Taurus 111/G2 will outshot or equally shoot… any of these at a much reduced cost and will only be out-performed by higher capacity pistols at the same distance, dirty or clean.

    The low cost probably and wrongly harkens to days of past Taurus problems and Smithers, XD’rs, Rugerites, folks whose grandfather spoke fondly of his Springfield, and all those Kimberites, Colters, H&K’ers and SIG’izens won’t ever look at the Taurus weapon because of the media and rumours.

    I’ve shot all if them and will keep my Taurus… And 49 rounds (3clips in reserve)… Even, in the face of evil.

    1. I have a sig in 45 and a colt in gi50 with all the parts to make it a 45. 9mm takes too many to kill when you dont have a head shot like a 223 made to wound,

  4. They are NOT cocked and ready to go. Pulling the trigger completes the cocking stroke. Haven’t you ever watched the end of the striker pin on your Springfields???

    1. The Glock 32 is the .357 sig version of the Glock 19. You may need to order one because I’ve never personally seen one for sale on the shelf around her (central Florida).

  5. The only one that was kind of right was the Glock, and it’s in a poor choice of caliber. Pistols are a defensive weapon. Tactical thinking in selection is the important factor. In that, the first consideration should be a substantial enough caliber. For me the 9mm is marginal at best and anything smaller should not even be in consideration. I start with the 40 and move up from there. Second, is being able to carry on a sustained fire fight. We all know most shoot outs are very short duration. But in this day and age of terrorists and wackos, and mass shootings, we could very easily be required to hold our own for an extended period of time.
    Too much concern about tiny to conceal easier and carry more comfortably are stupid starting points for weapon considerations. There are all kinds of concealment options available for larger weapons. Just watch the video of Presidet Reagan getting shot…Secret Service agent pulls out from under his jacket a full sized uzi and covers the crowd, and while all knew he was armed that was a surprise. Thwre are concealments systems for just about anything you might choose. There are compromises for comfort and concealability made, mine is a Glock 27 with two extra +2 grip extension magazines as well as one in the gun. Before I retired from being a cop I used to carry some zip ties in my socks as well as a gun. And I still do. Important because, you may take someone out of the fight by shooting them, but if they’re still alive you don’t get to just finish them off, execution is a no-no. You need to secure them, Especially if you have to move and leave them there. Those zip ties could be as important as your gun. Tactical thinking for concealed carry should be the first consideration. A caliber and a firearm you’re willing to bet your life on should come first

    1. As soon as you say 9mm is “marginal at best,” everything else you ramble on about doesn’t matter. So many innacuraies you state and so many examples of why this is wrong…..

    2. Your crazy, as a civilian zip tying a perp is a no go. I would arrest you for that on the spot. Utilizing a firearm for SD is to eliminate the threat or buy you time to make egress. As for your 9mm comment, you seriously sound like a mall ninja. The FBI uses the 9mm and agencies all over the country are dumping their 40’s like a game of hot potato. You can get them at fire sale prices because despite your opinion the fact is that with modern SD ammo 9mm-45acp wounds are indistinguishable in human tissue. The 9mm is more controllable which means more rounds on target with proper placement. The 9mm is superior to the 45 acp against barriers. Finally the 9mm is cheaper so civilians as well as LE Agencies can train more for their respective budgets.

  6. Let me start by saying i am a huge Sig fan. I have an emperor scorpion, 1911 sss, 2022fde, 556 classic, mcx and several others. But the 238 and 938 were extremely disappointing. They are very picky about ammo. The feed ramps are so vertical that many actually most personal defense rounds that I have tried (and i wasted lots of money and time trying several) will not feed reliably. Fmj works fine but for the price you should be able to run anything through it and that is not the case. They are very visually nice to look at but overall i was quite disappointed. Owned a 238 first, went through the trouble of buying many different types of ammo to make it a viable carry gun with little luck. When I sold it i didn’t even include the extra ammo as I didn’t want the next guy to think it was going to function in a life or death situation. So then came the 938. I was offered the 938 nightmare as part of a trade and thought to myself “this one has to be better”. Once again after several trips to multiple stores to find ammo that would work properly i was left with the same results. So at the end of it all i realized they were definitely not for me or my self defense needs. Now I either carry my hk p30 or a 1911. Also i feel the same as previous comment when it comes to a 1911. If the author of the article had got the numbers from all companies selling 1911 variants it would have been #1 in sales overall. Granted some manufacturers make crappy versions of the 1911, but overall it is my personal favorite and has never failed me.

    1. My experience with the Sig Sauer line and the P938 in particular is that they will digest anything that one would want to chamber.
      The !911 on the other hand is very finicky as to the ogive of the bullet being chambered. Don’t get me wrong, I am a 1911 fan and have owned at least 6 different pistols over the 30+ years of shooting them. I still have one. That is just the nature of the beast.
      The P938 is what I carry every day and I am completely confident of its reliability.

  7. If your going to carry your gun everywhere I would never have a striker fired pistol. My SIG Sauer by far makes me feel confident to have one in the chamber at all times and in a panic situation all I have to do is pull trigger and my p220 will defend me. I honestly think in a panic situation I won’t be able to load one in chamber or remeber to take safety off. Revolvers are great too gp100 is a great safe revolver that you could drop with hammer back and will not fire because of a striker shield that moves when trigger is pulled.

  8. That is a great list, with a lot of excellent feedback. In Alaska, none of those make the list, for various reasons. Trying to define the best of anything is very subjective and a brave undertaking. At the end of the day, the best handgun is the one you have with you at the moment you need it….

  9. There is one problem I found with this it says no thumb safety on the m&p shield that’s wrong. You have a option to have the thumb safety bought one for my wife and it’s on there.

    1. the author is only saying this is the model that made the numbers, not that there isnt other models available. this list is exclusively collected on sales

  10. I can easily see why each gun made the list. It seems the trends are towards the composit frame striker fired pistols and the pocket guns. Although each gun on the list is a well made firearm those two factors alone are exactly why I don’t carry them. To me they feel like cheap plastic and I don’t have the confidence I have in guns like my P229 and other steel frame da/sa selections, even the single action 1911’s are a better choice for me. Much of it comes down to what you are comfortable with and accustomed to. Still some really nice selections.

  11. Some notes on the Sig P938.
    The inclusion of the Hogue grip and Sig’s 7 round magazine, greatly enhances the shootability of this great weapon. Having average sized hands, with the afore mentioned, I am able to grip this pistol with all of my digits.
    Some DAO aficionados decry the thumb safety as just something else to remember. Having cut my teeth on the 1911 platform and understanding that stress training covers a multitude of errors, I applaud Sig for this weapon. A crisp single action trigger able to put 5 rounds down range and on target in under 3 seconds gets my vote every time.
    FYI, unlike the 1911, the P938 does NOT have a grip safety.

  12. I don’t like any of these for the simple reason that they are all cocked with a round in the chamber. Only the Sig can be uncocked and it isn’t double action. So in that light I’ll stay with my Taurus 24/7 G2 that is double/single ambidextrous controls with a thumb safety and decocker. It shoots as well or better than my Springfield XD full size, compact & XDE that I own and didn’t cost any where what any of the above pistols cost. It has NEVER failed to feed or miss fire a round, either factory or reloads. I’ll bet my life on it.

  13. “Shooters all over the world turn to the Glock 19 for it’s robust, reliable design…”

    If you’re going to call yourself a writer, isn’t it time you learned that the possessive form of “it” is not formed with an apostrophe? “Its” is a possessive pronoun just like “his”, “hers”, or “theirs”; “it’s”, on the other hand, is a contraction of “it is”.

    Proper English: It’s its own reward.

  14. Oh shut up BOB. Had a a Shield 9mm for some time now. Has 2000+ rounds down range. Not one FTF or FTE. 3 inch groups at 25 yards Half to 1 inch groups at 7 yards. Use it as a carry gun among others on occasion. You’re either a gun snob or never shot a Shield. Shot a helluva lot of firearms in my day. Know a good one when I shoot it.

  15. The only reason ANY 1911 was not on the list is that so many makers and different calibers spread the wealth and therefor any SINGLE maker and/or model could not collect enough VOTES to get on the list.
    Kind of like our Republican Primaries.

    1. Good point! And they are all good pistols. I think it is funny that I have a Colt Officers Model that I have had for years, and I don’t think it is one bit bigger than the new Springfields that are touted as ultraconcealable. Colt was way ahead of its time I guess.

    2. The same could be said for polymer frame striker-fired pistols, yet three of them managed to make this list.

      Besides, the SIG P938 is pretty close to a 1911. It’s just missing those classic 1911 “features” like being picky about ammunition and requiring you to try a dozen different brands of magazines to find the one that works reliably.

    3. All 1911 are not equal. Buy yourself a good one. I have a Sig 1911, eat’s any ammo, shoots where you aim it, goes bang everytime…

    4. A.L. Brown, Great analogy. In my days on streets of Detroit in 90’s it was a Colt Combat Commander in .45 acp that saved my life twice. Small of back carry. It is my Son’s safe queen now.

  16. @Mike

    I’m right there with you! I have always found it odd that the BDE PISTOLS get little or no reconnigtion or press time. I was gifted a IMI BDE Compact All-steel in .40sw some years ago by a friend in Iseral. I have carried it as my EDC since the first time I shot it. The ergonomics as designed are as nearly perfect as can be found for a handgun. The unique polygonal rifling accounts in great part to the accucery out of the box. It lives in a small of the back, RH draw, holster that I made for it and is very comfortable to wear in this position. The only basic mod I have done to it is having Talon grip covers applied to it. I highly recommend this mod.
    I also have a full size, all steel, IMI BDE in .45 acp that is often carried. It is as accurate, and reliable as its brethren. When carried it travels in a LH draw, high hip, cross draw, holster of my making or in on my plate carrier or chest rig, both RH draw.
    There has been discussion on occasion in the past that one shouldn’t shoot “lead” bullets in a polygonal barrel. I have never had a problem doing so, seen any issues from doing so, or seen accucery effected by “lead” ammunition being fired. I use it for practice often.
    I’m sure this platform wouldn’t make a top 10 best sellers list but for those of us who have and rely on such tools daily or just picked one up and knew it was for them … the BDE is one of the finest examples of quality production firearms available.
    LOL, maybe we should start a BDE Web Page! How about it Dave you in?

    As to the list of 5 by sales,
    I have know practical expierance with the Smith or Sig so an opinion here would be pure conjecture on my part.
    The Ruger LW .380 I have spent range time with. I’ve always enjoyed Rugers handgun offerings, I currently own a number of their pistols and several revolvers. The are reliable, ruggedly built, and accurate. This .380 is no different. I haven’t carried on as a CCW but suspect it serves very well in that capacity.
    If your a Glock fan, the the 17 is iconic. I am not a Glock follower or fan as they are not an ergonomically comfortable platform for my hand. I have two , a 17 and 21, I have then as training aids and shoot them rarely. The 17 is of an early concealable size however and by all accounts serves well in this application. If I’m placed in the position where a 9mm will be needed then a Browning Hi Power or Browning FN Hi Power should be my first choice. A bit old school maybe, even looked upon in some composit circles as an antique, but small enough to carry concealed, hi capacity (13+1), very reliable, accurate and long , proven petagree of performance.
    The Springfield XD, XDm, and XDs family of firearms is in my opinion a better platform overall than the Glock. It’s a personal thing as I stated above. The important point is they fit my hand in an ergonomic and comfortable manner that allow for repeatable shot placement in part due to the positioning in my hand being the same with each shot.
    I get that smaller pistols are all the rage for the CCW market. However, one should not discount the Mid and Full frame pistols as to big to carry concealed. It simply not true. Just takes a bit more research, understanding of what you want to achieve in the way of CCW, the proper holster, and practice to carry the larger frame …. larger caliber platforms.
    Dave, I think you just like to kick a door in now and again and see if someone yells at you ! LOL

    1. Pete,
      I am in on the BDE page. I’ll see what I can do to round up a review or two for The Shooter’s Log. as for getting yelled at, I do not have to kick in a door for that, but it sure is fun just the same! ~Dave Dolbee

    2. Dave,
      That would be great! I’d like to see more info on this preticular breed of pistol. Any links you might suggest would be helpful too.
      Do you have a BDE in your collection?
      It is fun to pook um with a sharp stick now an again! LOL.

    3. I do not. I almost bought a Desert Eagle back in the 1980s. It cam with three barrels as I recall—I think it was .41, .44. and .50—but I remember it was $1,100. The guy standing behind me asked if I was going to buy and when I hesitated, he reached over me and dropped his credit card on the counter. I have regretted that hesitation ever since, but not the Browning Hi Power I bought instead.

      I am, however, fortunate enough not to have a shortage of friends with plump gun safes. It is a matter of finding out has one hiding and borrowing it for a few range sessions! ~Dave Dolbee

    4. @Pete in Alaska
      “There has been discussion on occasion in the past that one shouldn’t shoot “lead” bullets in a polygonal barrel. I have never had a problem doing so, seen any issues from doing so, or seen accucery effected by “lead” ammunition being fired. I use it for practice often.”
      I doubt you would have a leading problem with a .45 ACP and a polygonal barrel. Having shot many a lead projectile through a HK P7, I can tell you that hard lead can be used, but sparingly and with LIGHT loads. The P7 has a gas hole that is a Bi*^ch to clean if it leads up. And if you shoot hot lead loads they will melt/smear down the length of the barrel. Again, it is a Bi*^ch to clean. But, I suspect the slower moving .45 with a B&G hard lead projectile would not give you any problems.

  17. I am pretty sure the sales figures for the S&W M&P are because it’s cheap. It is a model that distributors and big box stores routinely discount and put on sale. S&W hasnt made a competitive semiautomatic pistol since the stopped producing their large, all steel 10mm and .45 pistols in the 1990’s.

    1. If it were merely about price, Hi Point would top the list.

      All of the sales and rebates in the past few months have been for inventory reduction in advance of the M&P 2.0 series. The widely anticipated Shield 2.0 was just officially announced this week.

      As the author succinctly put it – “anyone who owns one knows why”. I would expand that to also include anyone who’s shot one.

      Presumably, the latter does not include you.

    2. Have to agree with you Adam. I have had 3, and currently have a 9 Shield in FDE and a .40. All have been accurate, 100% reliable, easy to carry and clean, and fun to shoot.

    3. The old Smiths were much better than today’s breed, including the M&P, Shield and 2.0. Lousy triggers, rough feed ramps that accumulate considerable amounts of bullet metal, lousy triggers, they rattle when shaken, lousy triggers, recoil springs that are not captured and can tie the gun up (had it happen!), lousy triggers….. They can do better, and they should.

    4. I use the German model Walther P99/AS on which the M&P is based. I love it. Smooth operation, easy clean, accurate. What more can you want? The M&P is the US version of the import as they were designed simultaneously. And when it comes to arms, it’s really hard to beat those 3 magic words — Made in Germany.

      One of the things I really like abt the P99 and the M&P is the changeable backstrap. I have small hands and find the 1911 or even the military Baretta too big for comfort.

  18. I know everyone is in love with ultrasmall concealable pistols but I have to wonder about shootability. The worst pistol I own for shooting is a PPK in measley .380. Why? It is so small that recoil is a B**** and it is hard to keep on target. I wonder if these tiny pistols are harder on the hands just because they are so small. I don’t know. I don’t have the ability to try them all. I had to make a choice and then fire it after I bought it. I bought the Glock 30S in .45 ACP because it has a fatter grip and distributes the recoil force over a larger area.

    My only other comment is to once again wonder why Baby Desert Eagles are never mentioned and never reviewed. (Yes, I know THIS article was about sales figures.) I bought a (barely) used one in .40 S&W and love it. Small. Accurate as all hell. Low recoil. Big magazine. Functions flawlessly. Base price less than many of its competitors with similar features. They deserve more of a look than they usually get.

    1. As far as recoil goes, you could do a lot worse than a PPK in .380.

      Compared to the Ruger LCP, the PPK has a longer grip and a steel frame. This adds both weight and finger purchase, leading to better recoil control.

      The PPK’s biggest downside as a carry gun is its double-action trigger. I think the team of lawyers who came up with the so-called “New York Trigger” cut their teeth advising Walther on the PPK.

    2. Adam, you are right. I used to have a .380 PPK/S back in the 70s and 80s. It wasn’t light, but neither was it heavy recoiling. My biggest complaint was having to work the clumsy safety on and off to lower the hammer, and trying to make a decent first shot with that very heavy double action trigger. Later I briefly played with an old WWII era Walther PPK in 32 ACP that a friend had just acquired. Recoil was milder, but the sear was well worn, resulting in a spectacular burst that emptied the magazine. He immediately returned it to the shop. Pity that, considering the prices they now command. A few years after that I picked up a .22 caliber Manurhin PPK in Africa, but never got a chance to shoot it. It wound up in US Customs, banned by ATF, courtesy of the 1968 Gun Control Act. Never one to allow experience to deter me, I recently purchased a near mint blued S&W Walther PPK in 380. The finish is not as nice as on pre-war or even post-war French made Walthers, and I’m not crazy about the extended tang, though I understand some people benefit from it. What did impress me was the surprisingly light DA pull, courtesy of a Wolff spring kit fitted by the previous owner. Maybe there is hope for this old design after all. Too bad Walther made so few lightweight L models, or I’d get one of them and install the Wolff springs. I know the PPK is heavier and less powerful than many current compacts, but I do love the classic looks of this iconic firearm. That’s something the new breed of plasticized 380s and 9mm can’t take away from it.

    3. Doesn’t the 30S have a smaller grip than the regular G30 that’s y I bought mine because the G30 had too large of a grip and the 30S has the GLOCK30 SF “Short Frame” frame with a G36 slide on top so it’s the same capacity of 10-45acp ends without carrying around a brick lol

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