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.
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.
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.
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.
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!