The 10 Best Carry Guns (You Likely Never Heard About)

Woman shooting a Browning Hi Power with a two-handed grip

Every year, SHOT Show exhibitors and industry periodicals let us know about the new guns. Many of these are offered by the biggest companies in the business. But there are other options that are just as good, maybe even better.

Unless you visit gun stores frequently or read gun magazines and blogs voraciously, you may not have heard of some of these. All the ones listed here are currently available. Some of these have been around for years and are priced quite attractively. I didn’t include any high-end custom guns on this list. Instead, I selected the ones most any shooter can afford. I only included carry guns that I personally, or through reputation, know to be of good quality.

Beretta APX

We all know Beretta for its M92/M9 and PX4 pistols. However, somehow the APX has alluded most shooters’ radar — at least in the circles I run in. The Beretta APX was initially designed for the U.S. Armed Forces XM17 Modular Handgun System competition.

Beretta APX 9mm semi-auto handgun
Beretta APX

The APX became available in the U.S. civilian market in April 2017. Over the next three to four years, several improved models were added to the line including a subcompact and a combat model with a threaded barrel and mounting plate for optics. In 2019, Beretta introduced the APX Carry, a single-stack magazine variant intended for the concealed carry market.

Several models followed — including a combat and target model, and the APX A1. The APX A1 is an ergonomically-improved standard APX. The slide is red dot optics ready. It features more aggressive slide serrations alongside a newly-designed frame with more aggressive stippling.

Additional features include an undercut trigger guard, enhanced beavertail, and no finger grooves. Even with the new models and improvements, Beretta has managed to keep the most popular models available at a street price below $500.

  • Model: Beretta JAXF921A1
  • Length: 7.5 inches
  • Height: 5.6 inches
  • Width: 1.3 inches
  • Weight: 29 ounces
  • Color: Black
  • Capacity: 17+1 Rounds
  • Features: Striker-fired, 9mm, polymer frame, red dot optic-ready slide, tritium front sight, blacked-out serrated rear sight, crisp light trigger, aggressive front and rear slide serrations, undercut trigger guard, ergonomic grip with enhanced texturing, 3 modular backstraps, reversible controls, and a 6.1-inch sight radius
  • MSRP: $449

Bersa BP9CC

Many shooters are aware of the Bersa Thunder .380, thinking of it as a “James Bond gun.” That gun is a clone of the Walther PPK that the famous British agent was fond of carrying. But hidden in the shadows of the ubiquitous Bersa Thunder is a very nice 9mm concealed carry gun.

Bersa BP9CC 9mm semi-automatic pistol, right profile
Bersa BP9CC

Founded in the mid-1950s, Bersa is based in Argentina and manufactures handguns used all over the world. Bersa’s BP9CC 9mm pistol is a polymer-framed handgun that is accurate, lightweight, and ultra-thin. It features ambidextrous controls, a three-dot sight system, and a Picatinny rail for mounting accessories. It’s a great package for anyone who needs a concealed carry firearm without paying a lot of money.

  • Model: Bersa BP9DECC
  • Length: 6.35 inches
  • Height: 4.8 inches
  • Width: .94 inch
  • Weight: 20.9 ounces
  • Capacity: 8+1 rounds
  • Color: Urban gray
  • Features: 9mm Luger, short reset double-action-only, 3.3-inch barrel with micro-polished bore, integrated Picatinny rail, steel slide, 3-dot sights, manual safety, integral locking system, and ambidextrous controls
  • MSRP: $299

Canik TP9SF

The Canik TP9SF is a 9mm striker-fired pistol that has successfully passed 60,000-round torture tests — without any failures, still maintaining NATO standards for accuracy. With superior durability, reliability, and unparalleled trigger control, the TP9SF pistol represents an ideal option for both competition and self-defense-minded users.

Canik TP9SF 9mm semi-auto pistol, right profile
Canik TP9SF

This is one on this list that I own. I am very pleased with it. TP9SF was designed with the idea of being the world’s superior handgun. After overcoming 60,000 rounds, it has gained title as a firearm capable of participating in the law enforcement, military, and civilian worlds. It comes with a great number of improvements over others in the market. Starting with its FDE finish and black contrast parts, it carries a magnificent, yet elegant, look.

  • Model: Canik HG4865-N
  • Length: 7.28 inches
  • Height: 5.27 inches
  • Width: 1.45 inches
  • Weight: 1.77 pounds
  • Capacity: 15+1 Rounds
  • Features: Semi-auto striker-fired pistol, 9mm luger, 4.19-inch match-grade barrel, improved single-action trigger, strike status indicator, extended ergonomic slide stop, ambidextrous slide release, Picatinny rail, Warren Tactical fiber-optic front sight, standard dovetail sight cuts that are compatible with a large variety of aftermarket sights, polymer grip and frame, interchangeable backstraps, and front/rear slide serrations
  • MSRP: $399

Diamondback DB9

The Generation 4 Diamondback DB9 comes chambered in 9mm and is dubbed as one of the smallest micro-compact 9mm carry guns on the market. Its small dimensions make it a great carry option for a purse or pocket. It holds 6+1 rounds of 9mm ammunition, and there are 15 different variants to choose from. The DB9 comes with one magazine and two base pads. One of the base pads extends below the grip for pinky support and the other fits flush.

Diamondback DB9 9mm semi-auto handgun, right profile
Diamondback DB9

Sights on the DB9 vary depending on the model. Some are just small bumps, but others are available with a three-dot sight, or a sight that resembles those used by Glock. It’s a gun you’ve got to hold to appreciate. Like any small gun, there’s a bit of bite when you shoot it. I know the DB9 has — at times — had a bit of a bad rap, but I suspect most of that is shooter-related due to limp-wristing.

  • Model: Diamondback DB0200P001
  • Length: 5.73 inches
  • Height: 4.51 inches
  • Width: .9 inch
  • Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Capacity: 6+1 rounds
  • Features: Semi-automatic 9mm, 3.1-inch stainless steel barrel, 1:10-inch right-hand twist, 3-dot sights, short-reset trigger, striker-fired double-action-only, 5.5-pound trigger pull, and all-steel captured recoil system
  • MSRP: $305

IWI Masada

This striker-fired, semi-automatic pistol was designed by Israel Weapons Industry to provide an advanced solution to modern battlefield requirements. The Masada features a low-profile barrel that helps reduce perceived recoil during shooting. IWI makes some of the most durable firearms, and the Masada is no different.

IWI Masada semi-auto handgun, left profile
IWI Masada
  • Model: IWI USA M9ORP17FD
  • Length: 7.4 inches
  • Height: 5.6 inches
  • Width: 1.3 inches
  • Weight: 1.43 pounds
  • Capacity: 17+1 rounds
  • Features: Striker-fired semi-automatic pistol, 4.4-inch cold hammer-forged barrel, 1:10-inch right-hand twist, polygonal rifling, 3-dot sights, integrated Picatinny accessory rail, optics-ready platform, low profile barrel for reduced perceived recoil, fully ambidextrous controls, interchangeable backstraps, modular serialized high-grade steel trigger mechanism, 6-pound trigger pull, crisp trigger break with positive reset, built-in trigger safety, optics-ready platform, large trigger guard, and enhanced grip texture
  • MSRP: $480

Kahr CW9

Kahr Firearms has been a “carry gun” market leader since 1994. The company’s founder, Justin Moon, started carrying when he was 18. He wasn’t happy with the small carry guns on the market at the time, so he designed his own.

Kahr CW9 9mm semi-automatic pistol
Kahr CW9

Kahr handguns are striker-fired with a somewhat unique fire control system that is DAO, but with an easy double-action trigger pull and simpler internal operation. The guns are single-stack, 7+1 rounds in most models. The CW line is less expensive than the K9 and P9 because several mostly cosmetic changes were left off to save manufacturing costs.

Therefore, the CW9 at around $400 is a bargain. The narrow width is one of Kahr’s strong selling points and is the direct result of Justin Moon’s design for which he holds five patents. This has been a popular pocket-carry backup gun for the New York police as well as many civilians over the years.

  • Model: Kahr Arms CW9093
  • Length: 5.42 inches
  • Height: 4 inches
  • Width: 0.90 inch
  • Weight: 14 ounces
  • Capacity: 7+1 rounds
  • Features: Semi-automatic, 9mm, 3.6-inch barrel, passive striker block, Browning-type recoil lug, locked breech, double-action-only, textured polymer grips, integral steel rails molded into the frame, black polymer frame, 416 stainless steel slide, and drift-adjustable white bar-dot combat sights
  • MSRP: $485

Rock Island MAPP

This lightweight, low-recoil firearm is chock full of features. This mid-size (full-size grip) semi-auto pistol is built with a steel slide, lightweight polymer frame, and polymer grips. The RIA MAPP features a 16-round capacity and a durable Parkerized finish.

Rock Island MAPP 9mm semi-automatic handgun
Rock Island MAPP

The MAPP Series pistols provide everything you want at the price you want to pay — all with the backing of Rock Island Armory. This is a pistol I have known about and used for years as the EAA Witness. An Italian company, Tanfoglio, makes the parts for both guns. Rock Island assembles the MAPP in the Philippines.

  • Model: Rock Island Armory / Armscor 51656
  • Length: 7.48 inches
  • Height: 5.31 inches
  • Width: 1.5 inches
  • Weight: 1.65 pounds
  • Capacity: 16+1 rounds
  • Features: Double-action/single-action pistol, 9mm Luger, 3.6-inch barrel, 6-groove rifling, 1:16-inch twist rate, integrated front sight, snag-free (police standard) rear sight, Picatinny accessory rail, single-action trigger (4–7 pounds), double-action trigger (14–15) pounds, steel slide (Parkerized finish), and polymer frame (black)
  • MSRP: $499


The Sarsilmaz B6 is a Turkish-made, single/double-action, semi-automatic pistol designed to provide you with reliable service for many years to come. Based on the iconic CZ 75 design, the SAR B6 features a polymer frame and steel slide. The polymer frame is easy to grip and provides a high bore axis grip. I have considerable experience with this gun. I have recommended, and sold, a bunch of them to new concealed carry clients. It is a great gun and a joy to shoot. Although the MSRP is $429, street prices are typically under $350.

SAR B6 9mm semi-auto handgun, right profile
  • Model: SAR USA B69ST
  • Length: 8.1 inches
  • Height: 5.5 inches
  • Width: 1.1 inches
  • Weight: 28.2 ounces
  • Capacity: 17+1 rounds
  • Features: 9mm Luger, 4.5-inch barrel, single/double-action, 17-round capacity, fixed sights, manual thumb safety, external hammer, polymer frame, and steel slide
  • MSRP: $429

Taurus TH9C

While Taurus is known for its striker-fired G2, G3, and G4 models, I’ve always been drawn to the hammer-fired TH series. Taurus makes these in full and compact sizes. They are chambered in 9mm or .40 S&W and decked in O.D., cyan, gray, tan, or black. The 9mm holds 17+1 rounds, and the .40 S&W features a 15+1-round capacity. As for size, these hammer-fired guns compare to the striker-fired G3 models.

Taurus TH9 9mm semi-automatic pistol
Taurus TH9
  • Model: Taurus 1-TH9041-3X10
  • Length: 7.72 inches
  • Height: 5.98 inches
  • Width: 1.3 inches
  • Weight: 28.2 ounces
  • Capacity: 17+1 rounds
  • Features: Semi-auto, hammer fired, double/single-action, 9mm luger, 4.27-inch stainless steel barrel, Novak drift-adjustable front and rear sight, manual safety and decocker, firing pin block, loaded-chamber indicator, polymer frame with finger groves, adjustable backstraps, front and rear cocking serrations, steel alloy slide, picatinny accessory rail, and ambidextrous safety/magazine release
  • MSRP: $381.67

Steyr Arms M9-A2

Steyr is an Austrian company that has been building dependable and iconic firearms since 1864. It is most often recognized for its unmistakable AUG rifle. Steyr designed this handgun with a 4-inch cold hammer-forged barrel, steel slide with front and rear cocking serrations, and a distinctive trapezoid sight that provides a unique but quick-to-acquire sight picture.

Steyr M9-A2 handgun, right profile
Steyr M9-A2

The frame presents an optimal grip angle making the pistol extremely pointable. Combined with the aggressive texture, it sits well in the hand. All of this is built on a modular chassis system that is designed to be flexible and reliable. Color choices include black and green. The Steyr M9-A2 is offered in two sizes, full and compact.

  • Model: Steyr 78.225.2H0
  • Length: 7.4 inches
  • Height: 5.6 inches
  • Width: 1.3 inches
  • Weight: 27.5 ounces
  • Capacity: 17+1 rounds
  • Features: Semi-auto, striker-fired, 9mm luger, 4-inch cold hammer-forged barrel, Steyr trapezoid sight, drop and firing pin safeties plus a manual key lock, modular polymer frame with adjustable side plates and backstraps, front and rear cocking serrations, steel slide, enhanced grip angle with low bore axis, picatinny accessory rail, 5-pound trigger pull with trigger reset system, and black Mannox finish
  • MSRP: $745

I could probably keep going, and I imagine many of you could add other carry guns to my list. It’s interesting how certain manufacturers can introduce guns that get great publicity, while other carry guns that are just as good (sometimes even better) are not widely recognized for their quality.  Perhaps we can change some of that by touting our favorites here.

What say ye, shooters? Are there other carry guns that out there that you’d love to tell our readers about? What is your experience, if any, with the carry guns I’ve mentioned here? Share your answers in the comment section.

About the Author:

David Freeman

David is an NRA Instructor in pistol, rifle and shotgun, a Chief Range Safety Officer and is certified by the State of Texas to teach the Texas License to Carry Course and the Hunter Education Course. He has also owned and operated a gun store. David's passion is to pass along knowledge and information to help shooters of all ages and experience levels enjoy shooting sports and have the confidence to protect their homes and persons. He flew medevac helicopters in Vietnam and worked for many years as a corporate pilot before becoming actively involved in the firearm industry.
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 (42)

  1. I was asked by my neighbor to euthanize his suffering dog. Two point blank shots to his skull and he was still alive and began crawling to the bayou! For some weird reason, I tried to save him from drowning and he snapped at me, so I let him go. It was a 38 special that I had reloaded +P. He swam out and we never saw him again. Go figure!

  2. Meh, decent enough list. @David Freeman… I’d almost give DB a chance if anyone I knew had a loan out but no one in my circle has one mainly because of the terrible reliability reputation. Then again people poo-poo the RIA M206 and I took a chance on it… it is most definitely NOT an S&W but with a little clean up and deburring it’s a pretty good for $250. I poo-pooed Taurus for a long time but two of my brothers bought the G2C, they were $200 at the time, and they are surprisingly good. Personally, I’m a Smith guy and one that really gets knocked is the SD40VE… mine was $275 new years ago, toss a $20 Apex spring kit in and go to town with it… I’d put it up against any Glock any day of the week and twice on Sundays for reliability and shootabiliy. It points natural, runs like a top, eats whatever you want to feed it, and is accurate. Very concealable considering it’s a fullsize. The Shield Plus is another good option, it’s mainstream and expensive but I like it.
    My BIL has a chance to get a Walther PK380 for $150 and I wished I liked it but keep telling him to pass and go with the Bersa BP9CC.

  3. This is a comment on ED’s article of 11/20.

    You make a really good point regarding revolvers. I own a S&W 9mm M&P Shield EZ. It’s an 8+1 semi-auto. Very, very easy to work the slide. However, when I qualified for my concealed carry license I used a S&W 38 caliber 6 shot revolver to fire the 50 rounds required: 20 rounds from 3 yards, 20 from 7 yards and 10 from 15 yards.. The gun is a Police Special, 2″ barrel on a K frame and it was my uncle’s police service revolver back in the 1950’s. I scored 247 out of 250 with that 2″ barrel. They can misfire, but they won’t jam. As ED said, just pull the trigger again. They will fire even when pressed firmly against your attacker and not jam. So, yes, I too would like to see a few articles highlighting revolvers. They do have their advantages.

  4. Baretta PX4 short barrel (not compact) has a 17 +1, a hard safety/decocker levern not a trigger thingy safety. The safety has to come off to fire but a practiced hand does this in one motion as the gun is brought on target and there is no way to discharge the weapon with the safety on. Carry, for me, requires absolute discharge control in wearing, bumping, holstering and draw.

  5. You ever notice that when someone starts quoting the Miami Dade FBI shootout as a reason to say the 9mm is underpowered and an ineffective weapon, as a rule they haven’t the 1st clue wtf they are talking about? Perhaps it should be mandatory that they, after the MD ref, MUST include details of the last actual shootout they participated in where their larger caliber was so much more effective while they failed to be on target even a single time after putting 3 lbs of shyte in their drawers! Thank-you Clint Smith lol. People have been complaining this weapon or that are underpowered and I dont think its actually been relevant once since the Philippines and the Moro conflict when the 1911 was developed as a result of soldiers carrying an actually underpowered weapon. Ever consider that body armor may be more of an issue than 9mm lol? I guarantee you that I send a couple down rage at you with a 9mm you are done regardless of what you are carrying! You can’t crawl away fast enough for me to not stroll up and finish things if I’m in a bad mood lol.
    And that statement about your overpenetration being a risk
    you are willing to take? Sure man ok, again, never fired a single round in any sort of heated conflict have you? Do you know what the physiological phenomenon called “the fog of war” is? Your HP armed 357 isnt saving you from that and when you find your wife or one of your kids dead with a slug from your weapon in them…..because you were firing in panic at every sound in the dark with 0 peripheral vision or cognitive ability left my bet is you turn your weapon on yourself and call it a life!
    Oh and b4 I forget. 6 to finish a dog at point blank range in his head. You really should have quit while you were even remotely in the land of reality lol. What were the 6 leadless wads lol. Come on man, I’m sure that a bunch of people read that and went hmmm, not getting that time back lol…

    Maybe sit the gun talk out until you actually have a clue what you are talking about!

  6. Alot of people hate Donald Trump also. I agree, he is such an ass. BUT his policies were great for this country, not all of them, but most. Like the 9mm, there will be failures. The vast numbers of murdered black citizens in our large cities are killed with 9mm FMJ. Are you a vet? When engaging a deadly threat, firepower, or fire superiority wins most battles. Learned this firsthand in Vietnam in 68-69. Also, when struck by any round, most perps disengage. Of course, there are exceptions. the .357 is great and I own a Ruger Match Champion. Great accuracy but too much blast and recoil. CCW has to be comfortable and lightweight enough to carry every day. The 9mm is controllable and small enough to conceal. It is also quick to reload which a revolver is not. The large majority of PD’s are currently carrying 9mm with a good JHP. I don’t know of any that carry a .357 revolver. Boy, that was one thick headed dog. I finished off a black bear with a 38 Special, one shot to the head. Have a safe day,

  7. I happen to be a resident of Oregon which recently, by the thinnest of margins, passed Ballot Measure 114. That measure places additional restrictions on magazine capacity, the right to purchase a gun and requires a certificate from law enforcement officials before being allowed a legal purchase of a gun. Putting aside once again this addresses a tool as a solution and not the user which is all to common and which has generally failed to achieve the objective of less gun violence. All true, but not my point today.
    My point today is that I expect to see a series of unhappy series of experiences involving the 9mm. Some people seem to believe that the 9mm is the holy grail of hand gunning. I submit that while well-intentioned, they are not considering the facts and history of the cartridge. Repeatedly, experienced and well trained shooters have carried the 9mm into life and death situations and frequently they have suffered for it. Of course, the 9mm can kill. But is it a reliable force to end conflict in situations where your life may be on the line?
    Miami Dade FBI shootout placed a number of highly trained and experienced FBI agents against two perpetrators armed with more powerful weapons. The FBI suffered badly and, in the end, had to rely on better armed Miami Dade policemen to resolve the issue. In that case, although seriously wounded several times by the FBI 9’s, the perpetrators fought on and killed several FBI agents.
    Most recently, the Baldwin shootout in Las Vegas pitted a highly trained, shooter against an angry attacker. He was armed with one of the latest and greatest 9mm with super whiz bang modern bullets with the latest technology and only after multiple deadly hits upon the attacker, did the attacker finally succumb. History is replete with police shootings where the 9mm utterly failed to end a gunfight in a timely manner. In the end, the 9mm prevailed but not until after the perpetrator did serious harm or killed his victim.
    When Oregon residents carrying their limited capacity 9’s for self defense, I am awaiting additional reports of the 9 failing to deliver in a timely manner in order to prevent injury.
    I suspect you will see certain thoughtful individuals switch from a low capacity 9mm to a low capacity .357 magnum — I count myself among them. My EDC is now a Smith & Wesson 686-6, 3″ bbl .357 Magnum, shooting very large cavity hollow point bullets. I understand that there is a danger of far more penetration with the .357 but that is a chance I will take in order to insure the self defense of my family or myself. The 9 might be fine with 15 or 20 rounds to expend quickly and some distance from the attacker, as in the Baldwin case. But, what about when the attacker is close and there is only time for 1 shot? I have no confidence in the 9 anymore– at least one that is legal to carry in my chosen home state.
    Finally, some years ago a large dog was run over by a car in front of our place. The dog was in obvious great pain, unable to stand or move, with his intestines pushed out of his anus by a car time having passed entirely over his stomach and ribs. He was whining, what I would describe as crying. There was no doubt in my mind that the injuries were fatal and it was only a matter of time, while his suffering continued, before he died. At the time, my only gun was a 1911 Spanish 9mm Llama. I shot the dog at point blank range with the pistol a bare inch from the back of his head. It took 6 rounds to finally kill a 70 + pound farm dog. All 6 shots were at contact range directly into the dog’s head. I expected one round to be enough but when it wasn’t, I was left with the choice to quit or finish the job. I could not have been closer, the dog wasn’t moving and all shots were contact shots to his head. I have not relied on a 9mm since.
    I never wanted to shoot a dog and only did so to end his suffering. Except, the 9mm did not do that job on a dying 70 + pound dog. Why would I want to bet my life on it.

  8. Ruger SR9c! Great sights, great size, high capacity and available with a manual safety. My best CCW and I own just about everything.

  9. I’m gonna stick up for the folks at Diamondback a bit. Last year at a writer’s conference I met some Diamondback people and they were first rate. They had just introduced a new .22 revolver, the Sidekick. I own a Hi Standard Double Nine, which was one of my first handguns, bought when I was 14 years old and the Sidekick is in essence a remake of that Hi Standard. A lot of fun to shoot them together. I didn’t have the Rugers on this list because I thought they were pretty well known. I’ve probably got more Rugers in my collection than any other brand except perhaps Smith and Wesson. I appreciate all your comments and apologize for the grammatical error. Two editors missed it on top of me.

  10. Interesting article. However, I find that the greatest percentage of articles like this seem to favour the high capacity semi auto pistols. But boys an’ girls, that ain’t all that there is!
    As a member of the now elderly “Boomer” generation, who now has become the easiest target for violent attacks, I feel that not enough attention is paid to the capabilities or rather lack of capabilities that are present among our elderly who feel the need to be able to defend themselves.
    As our Boomer population ages, they will continually loose strength. I’ve noticed this myself, as I can no longer “rack” my semi’s properly, due to the loss of strength in my hands.
    Heaven forbid that I should actually need to use a gun to defend myself and family. However, with the declining strength in my own hands, I’ve been forced to carry revolvers for self defense. Of course they all have a limited amount of bullets compared to a semi. And they don’t reload nearly as quickly as a magazine (clip, as those of us who grew up after WWII called it), but there is no “racking”, if a “jam” occurs, you simply pull the trigger again and the greater chance of a “bang” occurring is presented to eliminate the threat.
    As for the perceived need for all those bullets the semi carries, — well unless you’re in a dedicated fire fight, you won’t need all that extra weight and fire power. Also, I’m not even going to get into bullet calibres, that’s a whole ‘nuther article.
    I have found that the first one in a violent confrontation who makes the “bang noise” usually wins. And that means very simply, that unless your attacker is so jacked up that they 1) can’t hear, 2) can’t feel, or 3) jest ain’t skeered, even the sight of a gun will make them go away. However for those who are “jacked” and are afflicted by any or all of the preceding trio, then the bang is the deciding factor.
    So what this comes down to is what’s easier for us poor, weak elderly folks to use. How about some revolver reviews with six or more chambers, or revolvers that actually have a safety feature?
    There seems to be the opportunity here for some bright bulb in the gun manufacturing industry to design and develop a proper revolver for carry by the elderly. Wouldn’t you think?

  11. I love my Sar B6, and I was glad to see it get some of the attention it deserves. I live out in the country and I never set foot outside my door without my B6 in my holster. Accurate, utterly reliable, and easy to shoot. A very underrated gun.

  12. I’m a retired CT State Trooper with 22 years on The Job. I recently picked up a Sar B6 from another retired LEO who opened a gun shop in my town. He highly recommended it, but I was wary of a Turkish made gun. I bought it because the price was so right. I’ve come to love it! It’s a dream to shoot and carry. I also love the fact that it can safely be carried “cocked and locked”. It’s a keeper.

  13. Love reading your articles but please try and do a better job of grammar checking. I believe you meant eluded not alluded in the APX. Sorry I’m OCD.

  14. I really like and carry my Ruger LC9s Pro. It’s easy to handle, carry capacity and price comparable to anything listed here. Ruger’s always seem to be forgotten when we’re talking CC guns. I don’t know why.

  15. The B6p is a winner for sure, reliable and very accurate, a whole lot less costly (EAA Arms).The Tarus G2c is a tough little pug too,12 rnds. (Kimber stole the grip stippling in their latest offering…LOL) and kudo’s to the Kahr CW9 as i’m sorry i sold it AND to the SW EZ of which the reliability and performance are legendary, save your life category…..

  16. Id add all to my collection. Im not into people’s opinion about quality because its not considered a high end firearm. I put chased a Girsan Regard MC and it runs better than my Beretta 92 which cost a few hundred dollars more. Put it this way. I wouldn’t stand in front of any of them

  17. I have carried a BP9CC since they were available. It is super concealable and has the best trigger of any compact gun I have tried. The TPR9C is much bigger, but also more comfortable to shoot.

  18. Take a look at the S&W M&P Shield 9mm EZ. Mine is Performance Center model and I absolutely love it! It is hammer fired, and since it’s an internal hammer, it always shoots as a single action pistol with a light and always consistant trigger pull. It has both a grip and thumb safety that I like, and a loaded chamber indicator. It’s my daily concealed carry gun.

  19. Interesting as this article is about EDC’s yet the foto of a female firing a full size 1911… Heavy Metal? Seriously, if you are picking an EDC for an inexperienced female remember this phrase: “KISS” Keep it Simple Stupid! Consider an airweight S&W shorty wheel gun in .38spl or a lightweight equivalent from a quality competitor like Tauris. For the more experienced go GLOCK! It’s all about reliability, safety and ease of operation and why just about every L.E.O. carries one as backup and their off-duty EDC. Consider the extremely light and concealable models like the G-26 in 9mm or G-27 in .40 or any of the new variants.

  20. As a police officer I carried the PM9 as backup. In retirement I carry the CW9. The pistol is super concealable. The DAO trigger is smooth as a slicked up K frame revolver. It does not stack or have the “wall” Glocks and so many other striker fired guns have making it very easy to shoot.

  21. I have to sort of agree with Boots, albeit maybe not with full force.

    I own they Steyr m9a2 and I think it’s great. It really is truly awesome.

    IWI doesn’t make anything bad (with the exception of the Uzi reboot) and they’re top tier in my book. (The Jericho, the Tavor, the Masada, the Galil, the original Uzi, the DE…. The list goes on).

    The Beretta I haven’t fired but I’ve read only outstanding things.

    I have a Kahr cm9 and it’s been great (although I’ve had dud kahrs before).

    Stuff like the SAR and Canik seem to have great reputations but they always come up as “price point” guns (to me).

    Diamondback is another story. If I owned that company – I’d change the name and revamp production completely. I’ve shot one db9 and it truly was a POS. Combine that with arguably the worst reputation in gun manufacturing (hi point and Taurus look like superheros compared to DB) and I don’t know how they sell anything. Maybe they appeal to the “gas station stick-up crowd? (but those folks generally steal their guns vs purchase them)

    Fun article because the less mainstream known guns are sometimes really awesome. Only negative of this article is that it mentions Diamondback and DB should never be spoken of.

  22. I have a Kahr CW9 and a CM9. They are the “value” line from Kahr. The workmanship is phenomenal. The slide stop/release is the only control on the pistols. They are asy to operate, and as others have stated, the trigger is very smooth with a crisp, clean break. Accuracy is on par with many big name pistols having much longer barrels. They may be the best handgun value on the market right now.

    I also have a SAR B6 that I picked up as a range gun for new shooter orientation. It is surprisingly well made and accurate. I don’t know if it’s the ergonomics or what, but many new shooters seem to shoot it more accurately than most of the big name brands that I own. I picked it up for under $300 and it will eat any ammunition that it’s fed.

    I own close to 50 handguns from .44 mag to .25 ACP. Finding something (regardless of brand) that one can confidently and consistently shoot well is the key. If it’s not reliable it can move on down the road. The Kahr’s and the SAR are staying my collection.

  23. One that you missed is a real stand-out in this niche; the Walther CCP, both 1 and 2. They are slim lightweight and, with their gas-delayed blow-back system they are very easy to rack. My wife and I each have one and they are rated for +p loadings.

  24. Another cheap yet reliable carry option is the Ruger LC9S or the even cheaper EC9S. Both are pocket size subcompacts with a slim design. Shot count is limited to single stack due to the slimness. Both can be purchased for less than $400

  25. Thank you for this article. I had only heard of one or two of these and I will definitely check some of these out.

  26. Lou, you don’t read/comprehend too well. The article never said that Bersa was a clone of the PPK, but the Thunder which it is.

    The list could have included the Brtsa TPR9C which is a better carry option.

    The Kahr is a great pistol, in either the CW, or the CM9. This has one of the best triggers ever, well except for the reset. The reset is all the way back out. Magazines for the 6 rounders look like something made in a garage. The stainless slide and thin-ness makes this an awesome low capacity pistol.

    The Beretta APX is the best pistol on the list. This has a super texture on the grips. A super solid pistol, it feels like it’s ready for battle. A super pistol. The only drawback is a super short trigger pull and a huge trigger guard. The trigger guard causes the pistol to sit higher in the holster which causes it to print too much compared to other pistols.

    Overall a fair list, lose the Diamond back for sure, reminds me of Keltecs.

    You want. Good pistol cheap? Taurus TH9 is cheap, the compact model would be better for carry. The G3C however was made for carry. A great trigger, with a short reset, it shoots fast. The texture is very good, comes with or without a manual safety. It’s small enough to carry everyday and conceals easily. So much easier to shoot than the micro 9’s that cost twice as much.

    Very reliable pistol, well made, and you can find them under $300, sometimes even under $200-$250. Don’t take my word for it, look up the Honest Outlaw or Hickok45.

  27. Thanks for the informative article. A couple of years back within my ‘group’ of friends and shooting buddies, one showed up at the outdoor range with a Canik TP9sfx. After having passed that firearm around for tryouts, myself and one or two others made a purchase of a TP9 model Canik. By now almost everyone in this rather large, somewhat loosely affiliated group has at least one Canik in their bag. They are just too good (especially at the price that they go for) to pass up! I also own the Masada that you have listed above (having relied upon IWI ammo for years) and I love that one just as well as the Canik. These won’t quite overtake my SIGs or Glocks in the pecking order… But I really do enjoy owning (and trusting) them all the same.

  28. Thank you for the article. You are right, it had many handguns which have slipped under the radar. It was great getting exposure to these. I’m not a 9mm guy but a few of these would be able to tempt me if I were as there are some thoughtful and attractive features. In fact this list will enhance what I can tell new gun owners who ask me what gun should they get (because they’re all looking for 9mm’s these days…afraid of the “kick” of a real gun.) So this will give me some expanded options to offer them. Appreciate the author’s willingness to share this helpful information.

  29. Boots, what do you define as a “Third Rate Pistol” and why? Do you have any actual experience with these guns that leads you to the conclusion they’re “third rate”: Bersa BP9CC, Canik TP9SF, Diamondback DB9, Kahr CW9, Rock Island MAPP, SAR B6, Taurus TH9C? With the exception of the Diamondback and Kahr, I own all of these and use them on a regular basis for training and/or personal carry.

  30. IWI just came out with the Masada’s little brother— the Masada slim.
    13+1 capacity, Gomes with 2 mags and takes Jericho 17 round mags. 3.3 inch barrel. Great ergonomics.
    Fantastic EDC gun

  31. IWI just came out with the Masada Slim— little brother to the original. 3.3 inch barrel, 13+1 capacity, takes Jericho 17 round mags.
    Fantastic EDC gun

  32. Agreed! The…or any DiamondBack is about the worst handgun ever made, 10x worse than the old RGs and that’s bad.

  33. My Stoeger Cougar compact in 9mmis awesome copy of the Barretta Cougar 13 rnd- usual carry gun.but the Auto Ordinance 1911 is a alternate carry.

  34. Bersa BP9CC is a clone of a Walther PPK? It looks nothing like a Walther. I think I’ve gotten stupider having read this list. I would not purchase any of these guns, maybe with one of them pointed at my head, and that’s a maybe.

  35. Take out the Beretta Masada and Steyr and you have some third rate pistols.

    The DB is a fourth rate gun if there is that low a rating.

    Just my two cents

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