Top 10 (New) Semi-Auto Pistols of 2018

Kel-Tec PMR-30

Top 10 lists are always a reader favorite. Readers love to see their personal favorites among the top 10 list. They also like to leave blast-o-grams to the author decrying the list as a shame because their favorite did not make the list. Don’t blame the author, this list is all you, the reader or more appropriately the buyers’ top choices for 2018 based on sales of new pistols.

When this list was compiled, it did not differentiate between models with a single offering and families of guns all under a common name with different variants, colors, calibers, sizes, or accessory packages. That fact may give an advantage to certain models or companies that offer a several guns under a certain name. With that in mind, it is still notable that of the top 10, SIG Sauer and Smith and Wesson each occupy three of the top 10 spots.

SIG Sauer P365 Nitron Micro-Compact

SIG Sauer P365 Nitron Micro-Compact
SIG Sauer P365 Nitron Micro-Compact

SIG Sauer dubbed the P365 Nitron Micro-Compact a “Game Changer” for good reason. Micro-compact boasts everyday carry size with an unprecedented 10+1 full-size capacity. The P365 is striker-fired, with the clean crisp trigger pull you expect from a SIG. Lightweight and easy to conceal, the P365 is chambered in 9mm and is rated for +P ammunition. Standard features include XRAY3 Day/Night sights, a 10-round flush fit magazine, and a 10-round extended magazine. The optional 12-round extended magazine promises more hand purchase while bringing the total capacity to 13 rounds.


Caliber: 9mm Luger
Action Type: Semi-Auto
Grip: Polymer
Frame size: Micro-Compact
Frame material: Stainless Steel
Frame finish: Nitron
Slide finish: Nitron
Slide material: Stainless Steel
Accessory rail: SIG Rail
Trigger: Striker
Trigger type: Standard
Barrel length: 3.1 in
Overall length: 5.8 in
Overall width: 1.0 in
Height: 4.3 in
Weight: 17.8 oz
MSRP: $599

Kel-Tec PMR-30

Kel-Tec PMR-30
Kel-Tec PMR-30

With a unique hybrid blow-back system that takes a .22 magnum (.22WMR), 30-round magazine , this 13.6 ounce, full-size pistol is one heavy duty performer. Its innovative operation system also allows for the use of a wide variety of ammunition. With its light, crisp trigger pull and fiber optic sights, the PMR-30 is ideal for target shooting and hunting small game. Not to mention, for the first years it was on the market, it was in such high demand that it was next to impossible to get your hands on one. For 2019, Kel-Tec has introduced the CP33, which promises to be just as big of a hit with shooters!

Caliber: .22WMR
Weight Unloaded: 14 ounces
Magazine Capacity: 30 rounds
Overall Length: 7.9 inches
Barrel Length: 4.3 inches
Height: 5.8 inches
Width: 1.3 inches
Trigger Pull: 5 pounds
MSRP: $454

S&W M&P9

Smith and Wesson M&P 9 M2.0 Compact
Smith and Wesson M&P 9 M2.0 Compact

The M&P M2.0 pistol, the newest innovation to the respected M&P polymer pistol line. Designed for personal, sporting, and professional use, the M&P M2.0 delivers an entirely new platform, introducing innovative features in nearly every aspect of the pistol, including trigger, grip, frame, and finish. Highlights of the M&P M2.0 pistol include an extended stainless-steel chassis and a low barrel bore axis for reduced muzzle rise and faster aim recovery. The M&P M2.0 pistol further improves performance with a fine-tuned, crisper trigger, lighter pull and a tactile and audible reset. The pistol includes an aggressively-textured grip and four interchangeable palmswell inserts for optimal hand-fit and trigger reach. Includes two magazines, a limited lifetime warranty and a lifetime service policy.


  • Low barrel bore axis makes the M&P pistol comfortable to shoot reducing muzzle rise and allowing for faster aim recovery
  • Optimal 18-degree grip angle for natural point of aim
  • Four interchangeable palmswell grip inserts for optimal hand fit and trigger reach – S, M, ML, L
  • Aggressive grip texture for enhanced control
  • New M&P M2.0 crisp trigger with lighter trigger pull
  • Tactile and audible trigger reset
  • Accurate 1 in 10” twist M&P M2.0 barrel
  • Extended rigid embedded stainless steel chassis to reduce flex and torque when firing
  • Armornite durable corrosion resistant finish


Model: M&P9 M2.0 4-inch Compact
Capacity: 10 Rounds
Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 10+1
Barrel Length: 4 inches
Overall Length: 7.3 inches
Front Sight: Steel – White Dot
Rear Sight: Steel – White Two Dot
Action: Striker Fire
Grip: Polymer
Weight: 26.6 oz
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite Finish
Slide Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite Finish
Frame Material: Polymer
Purpose: Home Protection, Personal Protection, Recreational Shooting
MSRP: $569


CZ 75 B pistol left side
The CZ 75 B is a robust design with much to recommend.

Designed in 1975, the CZ 75 is the flagship model of the CZ handgun line with over one million produced. An entire family of pistols is available based on the basic CZ 75 design: compacts, decockers, single action only, ambidextrous, alloy frames as well as competition pistols.

The 75 B features a steel frame, a black polycoat finish, 3 dot sights, 16+1 9mm capacity and, of course, the ergonomics and DA/SA action that have made it the most copied handgun design second only to the 1911. The ‘B’ designation is an indicator that the model is equipped with a firing pin block safety.

CZ 75 B is used by more governments, militaries, police and security agencies than any other pistol in the world. The CZ 75 is quite possibly the perfect pistol.


  • All steel construction (except alloy framed compacts)
  • High capacity double column magazines
  • Hammer forged barrels
  • Ergonomic grip and controls
  • Unparalleled accuracy
  • Slide-in-frame design for better recoil control
  • 3 dot sighting system (Tritium night sights available)
  • Smooth double action and crisp single action
  • Extended service life due to advanced design and superior materials


Caliber: 9mm Luger
Magazine: Capacity 16
Frame: Steel
Grips: Plastic
Trigger: Mech DA/SA
Sights: Fixed Three-Dot
Barrel: Cold Hammer Forged Barrel
Length: 4.6 in
Weight: 35.2 oz
Overall Length: 8.1 in
Height: 5.4 in
Width: 1.4 in
Safety: Manual Safety, Safety Stop on Hammer, Firing Pin Block Safety
MSRP: $612

S&W M&P9 Shield

Smith & Wesson compact M&P Shield 2.0 with Crimson Trace laser
Smith & Wesson The compact M&P Shield 2.0 is available with a Crimson Trace laser.

The reality of protection is that you never know when you’ll need it. Smith and Wesson took the power and features of its full-sized M&P pistols and put them into a slim, lightweight pistol the size of your hand. The M&P Shield is an easy to conceal pistol that offers professional grade features with simple operation and reliable performance day or night. One million Shield owners can’t be wrong. In fact, just feeling the grip in your hand and you’ll know they are not wrong!


  • Incorporates the design features of the M&P M2.0 line of firearms
  • Aggressive grip texture for enhanced control
  • New M&P M2.0 crisp trigger with lighter trigger pull
  • Tactile and audible trigger reset
  • Extremely thin and lightweight – can be comfortably carried all day
  • M&P’s patented take-down lever and sear deactivation systems allow for disassembly without pulling the trigger
  • Includes 2 magazines:
    • One 7-round magazine
    • One 8-round extended grip magazine
  • Optimal 18-degree grip angle for natural point of aim
  • Armornite durable corrosion resistant finish
  • Backed by Smith & Wesson’s Lifetime Service Policy


Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 7+1, 8+1
Barrel Length: 3.1” (7.9 cm)
Overall Length: 6.1″
Front Sight: Steel – White Dot
Rear Sight: Steel – White Two-Dot
Action: Striker Fire
Grip: Polymer
Weight: 18.3 oz
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite Finish
Slide Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite Finish
Frame Material: Polymer
Purpose: Concealed Carry, Personal Protection
MSRP: $479

Glock 43

Glock 43 left
Glock 43

The already legendary G43 is a single stack, 9mm Luger caliber pistol. It is ultra-concealable, accurate and a fantastic tool for all shooters (regardless of one’s hand size according to Glock). The grip has a built-in beaver tail design which allows the shooter to acquire a high and tight grip. The aggressive texture of the grip surface allows for comfortable and reliable operation of the pistol. The large magazine catch makes quick work of removing the six-round magazine. Engineered based on the same superlative standards that Glock is famous for, the tiny G43 tolerates the same torture tests all its bigger brothers in the Glock pistol family withstand.



Length: 6.26 inches
Slide Length: 6.06 inches
Width: 1.06 inches
Slide Width: 0.87 inch
Height: 4.25 inches
Line of Sight (Polymer): 5.24 inch
Line of Sight (Steel): 5.20 inch
Line of Sight (GNS): 5.16 inch
Trigger Distance: 2.56 inch
MSRP: $529

SIG Sauer P320-M17

SIG Sauer P320-M17
SIG Sauer P320-M17

After one of the most rigorous and highly competitive review processes in the history of military firearms, the SIG SAUER M17 was awarded the Modular Handgun System (MHS) contract for the U.S. Army. The M17 is a P320-based platform, and was selected for its uniquely innovative modularity, uncompromising performance, and unmatched capability. The P320-M17 closely follows the specifications of the U.S. Army’s M17.

“It was truly an honor for SIG SAUER to be chosen as the U.S. Army’s choice with the M17. When the selection was announced, civilian interest in the pistol was immediate,” said Tom Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President, SIG SAUER, Inc. “We are proud to bring this P320-M17 to the marketplace to meet the substantial civilian interest, and the high demand, to own the pistol the Army uses as well as the other branches of the U.S. Military.”

The P320-M17 is a 9mm, striker-fired pistol and comes with two 17-round magazines. The pistol features a coyote-tan PVD coated stainless steel slide with the same optic cut as specified by the MHS contract, and black controls just like the pistols currently being shipped to the U.S. Army; it comes equipped with a SIGLITE front night sight and removable Night Sight rear plate. The P320-M17 features a coyote-tan carry-length grip module, available in three sizes, and comes standard with a manual safety. Non-manual safety P320-M17 pistols will be shipped at a later date.

Specifications and Features

Caliber: 9mm Luger
Barrel: 4.7 inches
Sights: SIGLITE Night Sights
Sight options: Night Sight Plate
Magazine capacity: 17 rounds
Accessories option: M1913 Picatinny Rail
Frame: Full Size Modular Stainless Steel Frame (Flat Dark Earth)
Slide: Stainless Steel Slide (Coyote PVD Finish)
Trigger: Striker Fired Trigger System
Safety: No Manual Safety Version
Sight radius: 6.6″
Overall length: 8″
Overall width: 1.3″
Overall height: 5.5″
Overall weight: 29.6 oz
Finish: Flat Dark Earth
MSRP: $768

SIG Sauer P938 Nightmare Micro-Compact

SIG Sauer P938 Nightmare Micro-Compact
SIG Sauer P938 Nightmare Micro-Compact

With the P938, SIG Sauer offers the ballistic advantage of the 9mm cartridge in a platform similar in size to the best-selling P238 pistol. A single-action-only trigger, coupled with full-size XRAY1 Night Sights makes the P938 handle like a much larger pistol, yet is still easy to carry concealed. With dimensions just slightly larger than its .380ACP counterpart, the P938 packs 6+1 rounds of 9mm into an all-metal frame and a polished and engraved stainless steel slide. The single-action trigger gives the P938 unmatched accuracy in a pistol its size. Fans of the 1911 will find the thumb safety, magazine release and slide stop lever in familiar places. An ambidextrous safety makes the P938 easy for left- and right-handed shooters.


Action type: Semi-Auto
Frame size: Micro-Compact
Frame material: Alloy
Frame finish: Hard coat anodized
Slide finish: Nitron
Slide material: Stainless steel
Accessory rail: N/A
Trigger: Single action only
Barrel length: 3.0 inches
Overall length: 5.9 inches
Overall width: 1.1 inches
Height: 3.9 inches
Weight: 16 ounces
MSRP: $769

Ruger LCP

Ruger LCP with Stainless Steel Slide
Ruger LCP with Stainless Steel Slide

The Ruger LCP is coveted for its lightweight design, and reliable shooting performance. Thanks to the one piece grip frame, and classic Ruger design, this gun will stand up to any test. The LCP is designed to fit various holsters, providing you with more concealed carry options than ever. With a checkered grip, and a finger grip extension floorplate that can be added to the magazine, the LCP stands out for its comfort. Whether you are looking for a backup firearm, or something ideal for concealed carrying, the LCP is ideal for you.


Capacity: 6+1
Slide material: Through-hardened alloy steel
Barrel material: Alloy steel
Barrel length: 2.75 inches
Grip frame: Black, high-performance, glass-filled Nylon
Slide Finish: Blued
Barrel Finish: Blued
Width: 0.82 inches
Sights: Integral
Weight: 9.6 oz.
Feature: Standard Model
Overall Length: 5.16 inches
Height: 3.60 inches
Grooves: 6
Twist: 1:16 inches, RH
MSRP: $259

Smith and Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380

Smith and Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380
Smith and Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380

Compact and sleek, the M&P Bodyguard 380 delivers personal protection in an easy-to-carry, comfortable platform. Chambered for .380 ACP, the lightweight pistol features a high-strength polymer frame with a black, matte-coated stainless-steel slide and barrel. The new M&P Bodyguard 380 retains original design features including a 2 ¾-inch barrel, which contributes to an overall length of 5 ¼ inches and an unloaded weight of only 12.3 ounces making it perfectly suited for concealed carry. Lightweight, and simple to use—nothing protects like a Bodyguard!


  • Stainless Steel Drift Adjustable Sights
  • Two magazines included (finger groove and flat butt plate)
  • Ergonomic grip
  • High-strength polymer frame
  • External takedown lever and slide stop
  • Manual thumb safety
  • Double action fire control (2nd strike compatibility)
  • Stainless steel barrel and slide

Well, that is the 10 top selling new guns for 2018. Did your favorites make the list? Which new guns for 2019 will be on next year’s list? Share your answers in the comment section.

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 (35)

  1. Thanks for the input. I think I have a fix. I made a mark where the eject button rest in the holster. I took a 7/8 countersink and went down to the full diameter of the countersink. Just the very tip of the countersink went through. I think it eliminated the problem. I haven’t had any unintended mag releases.

  2. What a bummer! Some holster must be okay for your .380 aside from a Sneaky Pete. Seems any Kydex or stiff molded holster model might jab something besides a rib but to have it happen just standing actually boggles the mind. Doesn’t it appear the holster’s fault though? Forget the sweat and get leather holster. Carve bigger crescent for button. Use quick release painter’s tape. Put a rubber cork in the holster bottom and a slip-knot tiedown. Or, to be more serious, get a stronger spring for mag catch. You know, actually, I love Sneaky Petes.

  3. I have a S&W 380 with a Cross Breed holster. The holster was made specifically for my 380. Here’s the problem. The eject button is on my 380 sticks out from the surface of the 380 that when I am sitting my mag ejects while holstered. I have a shield 9mm and have never ever had that problem in the 4 years of ownership. The eject button on my 9mm takes more pressure to eject than my 380. I was even taking a defensive handgun class and I had it happen to me in a standing position. NO GOOD! I called S&W support and they told me that they have had no reported problems of this happening. I posted this problem on a forum that I read and I receive posts from people that had the same issue and they also reported this to S&W support and they were told the same thing. The retention on my holster is not the problem. Now I have lost all confidence in carrying my 380. Ant feedback would be appreciated.

  4. @ Dave Dolbee.

    I’ve seen at least 5-Firearms Blogsites that have made similar claims, 3 of which matched each other literally word-for-word. What it come down to is Authors Preference or not actually doing the Tests themselves, and copying someone else’s Test Results. Regardless what is written, even by “The Shooter’s Log” (i.e. Cheaper Than Dirt), everyone here is going to have their own opinions and preferences. Regardless of what the “Reviewers” have to say. “MY Two Cents”, not withstanding…

    1. Secundius,

      I have enjoyed your comments for at least a few years as I recall, but you are way off base on this one. Read the first few sentences of the article and you’ll see that the list was based on sales (Nationwide I’ll add). Next, do a quick search on CTD. You’ll see only two (and one not even and ideal match) of the 10 were in stock when I wrote this. The post was news and good for discussion, not sales. Believe me, I could have easily tailored the list to product in stock, but while The Shooter’s Log does support CTD’s platform, it has always been driven by what is best for the reader, before sales.

      Your comments in the past have always been above petty, unfounded, accusations and often some really good advice to others. Are you having a bad day or something amigo? ~Dave Dolbee

    1. The springfield XD’s are at the bottom of this article where it says top 5 pistols by the numbers. I love my Springfield

  5. I thought these were new for 2018..The Glock 43 is not new. Also I found it comical that in the specifications for the 43 there was NO mention of its magazine capacity. What’s up with that? is it because it can only hold a pitiful 8 rounds…you listed all the other gung.

  6. It amazes me on all the negativity from this article. People bottom line is if you don’t care for one or multiple weapons then unsubscribe or stop bitching all these people are doing is there job! In closing don’t be a asshole!!!!

    1. Jimmy,
      You are my hero! THis was somewhat expected. People write in asking for lists of the top this or that, and then are unsatisfied. I even called it out in the first paragraph “Don’t blame the author, this list is all you, the reader or more appropriately the buyers’ top choices for 2018 based on sales of new pistols.” However, many either did not read it, or perhaps I did not make it clear enough. Thank you for reading and engaging! ~Dave Dolbee

    1. Many of the guns on the list are a family or line. Take the Shield for instance, you can get it in .380 to .45 ACP, but I could not list all the specs for each. ~Dave Dolbee

  7. Not a decent pistol in the bunch. All I see is overpriced, plastic for the most part, misshapen pieces of junk. Looks to me that people now have a heck of a taste for already digested foodstuffs. No wonder there are so many hand deformities nowadays, people are trying to make their hands fit this junk.

    1. Barry, you too are a buffoon. Read the author’s prologue. He states clear as day that this is based on sales. People go in and try these things out. If they fit everyone else’s hand but yours, how does that make them wrong? And hand deformities? Really Barry?
      Not everyone can afford a Q5 Match or a Les Baer, and not everyone wants one. Does that make them wrong? Geez…just be happy they care enough to arm themselves.

    2. Barry, Barry, Barry…….really? I’ve got some of all, poly, alloy and steel. They all shoot well. I’ve built some M&P’s and Glocks that shoot as well or better then some of my high end 1911’s……does that make them “junk”?……..and as far as “hand deformation”, maybe if you let go of your own “junk” you could get a better grip on some of the newer platforms out there and experience a whole new world.

  8. I think you missed one great handgun, the double-stack 1911 9mm Remington Recon Commander. It retains the feel, handling characteristics, and concealability of the classic 1911, but holds 18+1 rounds. The trigger is as good as any production 1911 I’ve ever fired. I traded in my Kimber CDP Pro (which I had carried for 17 years) for this, and have no regrets.

  9. So what was the criteria to make this list? Dosnt seem to have any logic to it. Where are the Springfield XD’s for example. Is this just a localized, self-induldgant, list that was created in a bar someplace?
    What is this based on? Just sales for the last quarter?
    What is the value of this list?
    I don’t disagree with several On this “list” and all are worthy platforms an manufactures. Just that the list dosnt make much useful since.
    I thought this was a site for passing on revenant platform an product info.
    Seems it’s devolved into another sales tool…

    1. The criteria was not mine. The criteria was which guns recorded the most sales during the year.

  10. You kind of dropped the ball there towards the end Mr. Dolbee. You left off the specs on the Smith and Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380, neglected to include the caliber of the LCP and, overall, only gave the “Features” of a few of the ten, not all. For what should almost be a 15 minutes “cut & paste” job using manufacturers own copy this article is a pretty major fumble.

  11. There is a great range near me in Lebanon TN that for one small charge, will let you try any and all of the firearms on the wall. I wanted a concealable 9mm, and it so happens that they had most of the ones in this very article! Back to back I shot the M&P Shield, Glock 43, Sig P365, Ruger LCP and the Sig 938. My ranking for those pistols was nearly identical to the authors! My top two favorites were the P365 and M&P Shield, followed by the 43, 938 and the LCP in last place. I bought the Sig P365 after a hard decision between it and the S&W, but was grateful that I could try out these great guns side by side!

    1. I have to agree with Don on what he said. What about the millions of S&W revolvers 1911’s, Berettas, Springfields etc. You are only evaluating what SOLD, not the popularity of weapons. A much more appropriate title for the article might be something like “Top selling pistols of 2018.”

  12. Nope, my favorites didn’t make the list. I was very happy to see Walther reintroduce the PPK line of pistols in both stainless and blued steel. Having carried my PPK/S as a CCW for nearly 25 years and owned it since1984, I have a hard time looking at other .380 offerings. Side by side against the Glock, Ruger, Sig Sauer and S&W’s .380 offerings, the PPK takes center stage, with better accuracy, control, and streamlined appearence over the others I’ve had the opportunity to shoot. We’ll see how 2019’s list looks next February.

  13. where is the new S&W M&P Shield 380 EZ, just got one for the wife and after shooting it I want one for me, I already have a full size M&P9, and Shield 9, but the 380 EZ is sweet. The trigger is really good right out of the box. Accurate also.

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