The Top 7 Highest-Rated Handguns

Black, full-sized 9mm pistol

Cheaper Than Dirt! has a customer-review rating system. After purchasing a product, you have the chance to write a review and rate that product. Customer-based product reviews allow interested buyers to get the full scope of how a particular product performs. After writing thoughts about the products, buyers then rate the product based on Cheaper Than Dirt!’s bullet system. One bullet means the product did not perform well for them, while giving a five-bullet rating to the product means it was awesome! I looked at the most popular self-defense calibers in semiautomatics and revolvers to find the top seven customer-rated handguns.

EAA SAR B6 Semiautomatic 9mm, Score: 5 Bullets

A diamond-in-the-rough gun that impresses everyone who tries it is the EAA SAR B6 9mm full-sized semiautomatic. The internals of this tack-driving polymer pistol are cloned from the iconic CZ 75—down to its internal slide rails. Passing torture tests with flying colors, the EAA SAR B6 is right at home as a duty, carry or home-defense weapon. It fires double/single action and holds 16 rounds. You can carry it cocked and locked. The EAA SAR B6 does not have a decocker, nor ambidextrous controls—so lefties tread carefully. The 3-dot sight system provides a clear and quick target acquisition. If plastic is your thing, but Glock is not, try out the EAA SAR B6 9mm.

“This is a great little 9mm CZ type pistol for the price. Shoots accurately and reliably after firing 75 rounds through it so far. No failures of any kind and so well balanced. Really have wanted a CZ or clone for years due to the design, reliability and grip. This is a great deal with chromed barrel, and forged steel slide and frame from Sarsilmaz.”

Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 4.5 inches
Caliber 9mm
Overall Height 5.5 inches
Overall Length 8.1 inches
Overall Width 1.1 inches
Weight Unloaded 28.2 ounces
Sights Fixed
Grip Black plastic
Capacity 16
Price $448
Frame Black polymer

Walther PK380 Semiautomatic Handgun .380 ACP, Score: 4 Bullets

Because of its locked-breech and Browning-style tilt barrel operation, the Walther PK380 is heralded for its light recoil and extremely easy to operate slide. Most pocket .380s operate from a blowback design. This makes the Walther PK380 stand out over the rest. The textured, ergonomic robust design of the grip makes it very comfortable to hold and the ambidextrous controls mean it’s lefty friendly. It has a black polymer frame, 3.66-inch barrel and low profile, no-snag 3-dot sights. A loaded chamber indicator allows you to quickly assess if the gun is ready to go. The trigger pull is four pounds in single-action and the eight-round magazine is plenty for self-defense.

“Easy to pull the slide and light on recoil. No slide ‘release,’ but it does lock open when the magazine is empty. You have to pull the slide to release and chamber it. No failures though I shot about 100 rounds, three kinds of brass ammo.”

Walther PK380
Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 3.66 inches
Caliber .380 ACP
Overall Height 5.2 inches
Overall Length 6.5 inches
Overall Width 1.2 inches
Weight Unloaded 1.2 lbs.
Sights Low profile, 3-dot combat
Grip Ergonomic Walther
Capacity 8 rounds
Price $251.61
Frame Black polymer

Glock 22 Gen 4 Semiautomatic .40 S&W, Score: 5 Bullets

Custom Glock 22
The RTF texture is fairly aggressive, but provides a positive grip. While some shooters feel it is too much, when the SHTF, you’ll appreciate that extra bite.

For civilians, the Glock 22 is oft overlooked, with many choosing the classic 17, 19 or 23 for carrying. However, the Glock 22 offers more versatility than any other of the manufacturer’s pistols. With a simple barrel swap, you can shoot .357 Sig or 9mm out of the Glock 22. It’s a beefy gun with a 4.49-inch barrel and 22.75-ounce weight, but this helps absorb the recoil of the harder-hitting .40 S&W round. The upgraded Gen 4 Glock 22 incorporates a larger, reversible magazine release, interchangeable backstraps, enhanced reliability in the dual recoil spring assembly, and a better, more aggressive grip that helps maintain control when your palms are sweaty. Glocks have no external safety lever, but feature what the company calls a “safe action system,” with the safety built into the trigger. Holding 15 rounds of .40 S&W, the Glock 22 is just as much at home at the range, in competition, in a holster or on duty.

For a detailed range report on the Glock 22, read “GLOCK 22 — .40 S&W, .357 SIG, 9mm — What else could you ask for?

“Purchased the Glock 22 Gen 4 because I have a Glock 23 Gen 3 (both .40S&W) and I liked the idea that I could use the G22’s three 15-rd mags in my G23 and I had purchased a Lone Wolf conversion barrel from CTD too, which allows me to shoot 9mm rounds through the G22. Also, I wanted a new Gen 4 Glock with the dual recoil spring. Makes a big difference and I definitely shoot tighter with the longer barrel of the G22 vs. the G23. Ate all the ammo I could feed it, even the cheap WWB…no issues, none. Less muzzle flip was what I expected and what I got. The G22 gen 4 is perfection.”

Glock 22 Gen 4
Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 4.49 inches
Caliber .40 S&W
Overall Height 5.43 inches
Overall Length 8.03 inches
Overall Width 1.18 inches
Weight Unloaded 22.75 ounces
Sights Fixed
Grip Rough Textured Frame
Capacity 15 rounds
Price $539
Frame Black polymer

Rock Island Armory 1911 Tactical Semiautomatic .45 ACP, Score: 5 Bullets

With features that contend with high end and much more expensive 1911s, the Rock Island/Armscor series of 1911s are a favorite of fans of this iconic pistol. Like 1911s costing hundreds more, the Rock Island Tactical 1911 has a milled slide, ambidextrous safety and adjustable trigger. A dull finish on the pistol resembles a traditional GI-spec parkerized finish and has no tooling marks or scratches. Firing in single-action, the Rock Island 1911 Tactical has a 4 to 6-pound pull. Checkered wood grips, lowered ejection port and high-visibility Novak-style sights make this gun incredibly reliable and fun to shoot.

For a detailed range report on the Rock Island Armory 1911 Tactical, read “Rock Island 1911A1 and Tactical .45—Range Report.”

“This weapon is one of the most accurate .45 cal handguns I have shot. There is very little recoil due to the fact the weapon is a heavy hunk of metal. The rail is great for many accessories, as well as helps keep the barrel down. The sights are basic, but you are able to upgrade them much like everything else on a 1911. Weapon took minimal cleaning after shipping, was not shipped in the thick preservative. Remember, this weapon is not a major name brand with a major name-brand price. However, do some research and you’ll see Rock Island has a great relationship with a famous military brand that everyone knows. As a weapon user, rather than collector, I will not hesitate to take this weapon out in the field and rely on it to protect myself and my family against an unwanted guest at the camp sight or on the trail. I have yet to have a jam (knock on wood), nor has a friend of mine who has the same weapon but without the rail.”

Rock Island 1911 Tactical
Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 5 inches
Caliber .45 ACP
Overall Height 5.5 inches
Overall Length 8.75 inches
Sights Low profile
Grip Checkered wood
Capacity 8 rounds
Price $548.80
Frame Black steel frame

Smith & Wesson Model 686 Performance Center Revolver .357 Magnum, Score: 5 Bullets

Nothing beats the quality, reliability and the reputation of a Smith & Wesson revolver. In particular is this piece of beauty—the Model 686 Plus which comes out of S&W’s Performance Center. Firearms that come out of the company’s Performance Center have all the standard features of the original model, however, include performance enhancements to create that much more gun. Like the hand-cut and hand-fitted unfluted cylinder, chrome teardrop hammer, chrome trigger with stop, precision crowned 2.5-inch barrel, and PC-tuned action. The Model 686 Performance Center is made in the U.S.A. and has wood grips, glass bead finish and a bright red, easy to see front sight. Overall, it is 7.5 inches long and has a stainless steel frame and cylinder. For such a compact size, it holds plenty of firepower given its 7-round capacity. The S&W Model 686 Plus weighs 34.6 ounces.

“Ordered two of theses revolvers, one for my wife, and one for me to celebrate our 50-year birthdays. The guns were all they were talked up to be, excellent fit and finish. The double action pull was smooth, consistent and broke crisply.”

S&W Model 686 PC
Action Double/single-action revolver
Barrel Length 2.5 inches
Caliber .357 Magnum
Overall Length 7.5 inches
Weight Unloaded 34.6 ounces
Sights Red ramp front, adjustable rear
Grip Custom wood
Capacity 7 rounds
Price $960.15
Frame Stainless steel

Charter Arms Off Duty Revolver .38 Special, Score: 5 Bullets

Everything about the Charter Arms Off Duty double-action revolver makes it one of the most comfortable and easiest revolvers to conceal and carry. It is the lightest weight .38 Special on the market at 12 ounces. It has an internal hammer, so there is no snagging when drawing from a holster. The fixed sights with a ramp front and wide and deep-notched rear makes aiming easier than many other snub-nosed revolvers. Recoil is snappy, but the hard rubber grips with deep finger grooves, gives you a good purchase and firm grasp on the revolver. The Charter Arms Off Duty has a 2-inch barrel, aluminum frame and steel cylinder and barrel. It holds five rounds of .38 Special ammo. This $356.56, made-in-the-U.S.A. revolver is often compared to Smith & Wesson’s more expensive Model 642 and stands on its own in side-by-side comparisons.

“Bought this for my wife. She had a Taurus Ultralight and wanted something lighter. Charter off duty one of the lightest revolvers on the market she loved it and shot a pretty good grouping the first time out.”

Charter Arms Off Duty
Action Double/single-action revolver
Barrel Length 2 inches
Caliber .38 Special
Weight Unloaded 12 ounces
Sights Fixed
Grip Black rubber combat
Capacity 5 rounds
Price $356.56
Frame 7075 aluminum

Smith & Wesson Model 69 Revolver .44 Magnum, Score: 4 Bullets

Introduced in 2014, the Model 69 is the first time Smith & Wesson chambered a revolver in .44 Magnum on another frame other than the classic N-Frame. The new Model 69 sits on the medium-sized stainless steel L-frame. Redesigned for optimal frame strength so the revolver stands up to the repeated beating of .44 Magnum loads, S&W chose to go with a two-piece barrel. Deciding to go with this frame means the Model 69 isn’t so big you can’t carry it. The 37-ounce empty weight helps, too. The Smith & Wesson Model 69 .44 Magnum has a 4.25-inch barrel and holds five rounds. It will shoot .44 Special, as well. It has red ramp front and target white outline rear sights that are adjustable and a black rubber grip that helps absorb the punishing recoil of magnum loads. Lighter than some 1911s, the S&W .44 Magnum makes a good trail and hunting gun—especially where open carry is legal.

“Very nice gun, a little light for a full day of .44 Mag, found .44 Spcl a little more pleasing to shoot.”

S&W Model 69 Revolver
Action Double/single-action revolver
Barrel Length 4.25 inches
Caliber .44 Magnum
Overall Length 9.75 inches
Weight Unloaded 37.2 ounces
Sights Red ramp front, white outline adjustable rear
Grip Black synthetic
Capacity 5 rounds
Price $712.62
Frame Stainless steel

For comparison’s sake and because there are always questions—here are the seven handguns in the same categories with the lowest scores according to customer reviews:

  • S&W M&P9C Talo Edition semiautomatic 9mm $493.92, Score: 3 bullets
  • Taurus 738 TCP semiautomatic .380 ACP, $246.42, Score: 1 bullet
  • .40 S&W semiautomatic—no bad reviews
  • Taurus Model 1911 semiautomatic .45 ACP, $547.83, Score: 1 bullet
  • .357 Magnum double-action revolver—no bad reviews
  • .38 Special double-action revolvers—no bad reviews
  • .44 Magnum double-action revolvers—no bad review

Do you agree with the reviewers’ assessments? Tell us why or why not 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 (82)

  1. I recall that Brett Wagner wanted a small compact 45ACP pistol .
    One that may suit him is the Argentina-made Bersa Thunder Pro Ultra Compact with a 3.6 inch barrel and an unloaded weight of 27 Ounces . It’s an identical configuration (but smaller) than my full size
    9mm Bersa TPR9 . I definitely recommend that compact 45ACP.

  2. Buys , tries and disappointments over the years has constantly lead to trade-ins , sell-offs and many more new pistols . Much at-the-counter handling and discussion , along with reading countless owner reviews has been highly educational . Pared down to a current 14 total , a Walther CCP M2 9mm quickly became queen of the safe . She just resides there in undisturbed luxury . The remaining 13 comprise a collection of favorites .
    By far , the top two favorites are a stainless Sarsilmaz SAR K2 45ACP and a stainless Smith & Wesson model 617 10-shot 22LR revolver in second place . A stainless Ruger SR1911 45ACP and two 9mm CZs make up a close third place cluster . It’s too bad that that SR 1911 (like most 1911’s) is such an unmedicatable PITA to clean and reassemble .
    But for appearance , shootability and accuracy , my stainless SAR K2 45ACP with its’ unique de-cocker/safety is absolutely tops . And I mean tops . Nowadays I finally quit looking and buying , knowing that none other will be more pleasing all around . So hopefully you too have already found such a pal at this stage .

  3. Interesting reading. I’ve been shooting for decades, have a large collection (over 100), collectibles & shooters, and I don’t discriminate. I like most of them, SA & DA revolvers, semi auto pistols & rifles, bolts, levers, pumps, and even some novelty models, derringers,, NAAs, break actions, etc. They all serve a role.

    Despite the quantity, over time I have tried to consolidate rounds, 357 Magnum, 9mm, 22LR, & 22 WMR are my fav handgun rounds, but I have a few 45s, 380s, 44s too. Not impressed with 40s, have none.

    First, on the revolvers being obsolete comment, it is ridiculous. Just look at sales, and what they sell for compared to most semi autos. In my mind, the only advantage semi auto pistols have over revolvers is double stack capacity. This advantage is diminished with fatter rounds and single stack models, though I like single stack 9s & Airweight snubs for CC. Most of my pistols are double stack 9s for capacity. The ammo is cheap, widely available, and capacity is good. That said, a 357 magnum revolver beats it in every other way I can think of … reliability, intrinsic accuracy, devastating power out of longer barrels, and many more bullet configurations. Try feeding a semi wadcutter hollowpoint or shot shells out of a semi auto. If you can hit what you are aiming at, 357 is superior for self defense and hunting. If you need capacity, double stack 9s are king IMO. I like both.

    I like the 45 ACP round too or self defense, and 1911s are beautiful guns, but most are single stacks, so I’d take a 357 revolver over one as they do not over much extra capacity like double stack 9s, and less power. There are exceptions, for instance the double stack FNX45 and Sar all steel K2 45, both excellent hidh cap double stack 45 ACPs.

    On the 22 front, there are some great Ruger, Browning, & other semi auto pistols, but since rimfires are less reliable, 22 revolvers have an even bigger advantage over 22 semi autos, and other than the PMR, a notable exception which I also own, almost all 22s are single stack, so have less capacity advantage if any to offset much worse reliability.

    On the 9mm double stack front, I prefer hammers, SA/DA, decocker & safety/cocked & locked models. I also prefer metal frames to plastic. CZs & Berettas are among my favorites, and their high quality clones.

    I view plastic frame strikers as disposable guns. Yes, that includes Glocks, and I have owned a few. Like a Bic plastic lighter or a Casio watch, they work great, play a role, but when they are on gen 12 plastics, no one will want a gen 3. PDs treat them that way. They get them in bulk at around $150 each, shoot & carry them for a couple years, then sell them in an overpriced resale market & pick up the latest gen disposable model. Few will be collectible, ever. They are Casios IMO, not Breitlings. I don’t like the plastics, the trigger, and I hate that little trigger safety dohickey. The G19 is my favorite model, and mine is a useful disposable.

    Interesting Glock plays in such a narrow space too. They just rolled out their first 22, they have no rifles, no shotguns, no revolvers. All they do is plastic frame striker pistols. They do well in that space but hard to compare them to companies that have a much broader range of quality offerings. Where do I get a Glock metal 357 Magnum revolver, 44 mag lever, AR in 556, bolt? Hard to even compare them to a Ruger, CZ, Smith, etc.

    Re: the list above, I’ve owned a few Charters, but think Smith & Ruger have better offerings. That 7 round 686 above is a great gun, as are the classic Colt Snake guns in 357 (and very collectible), although I tend to like the Rugers the best in 357. They are just built tougher for the high pressure round. I particularly like the older medium frame Rugers, Speed, Service, & Security Six, and the old 3 screw Blackhawk.

    Re: the Sar above, I love the CZ75 platform, so I have a number of CZs and most all of the other brands based on the design. I have never had a failure in thousands of rds in any of my CZs, Sarsilmaz, Tanfoglios, IWIs, Tristars, or Sphinxes based on the design, and almost all of them have tack driver accuracy. It may look a little dated, but it was really an outstanding design. I have a Sar B6 Hawk, the NATO Milspec version, all forged steel including the frame. Armalite sells it as the AR24 & the Sar Hancer is the AR24 compact, also excellent. It also ent by the Kilinc 2000 Mega a bit. It is just outstanding, better made than the CZ75B it is modeled after. The polymer B6 listed above is nowhere near as nice but still a good gun or the money. Mine is reliable & accurate, though the plastics are a little cheap. The k2 45 steel model is just excellent too, like the Hawk. I have had good luck with the IWI Jerichos too. The Tristars (mad by Canik) are a good value, but I think the quality is a step behind the Sars & IWIs, especially the metal frame Sars.

    If the S ever HTF, and I needed capacity, I’d probably grab a Sar steel frame B6 Hawk and a couple of Mec-gar +2 19 round mags. The Tristars & Sars take CZ mags & Mec-gars made for them.

  4. Totally shocked. I have to remember that this is from customer feedback. Wonder how many customers though. Agree on the wheel guns being good. Owned a charter .44 special for decades and loved it to pieces. Of course at least one glock has to be here but that’s not the model Id ever choose. And I’m not even a glock fan but give the devil his due. Of all the guns you sell, these are the most highly rated??? This is fascinating. Id like to do a complete background on the type of people who report back. That’s not a good thing or bad thing—just would interesting why people who didn’t buy truly top quality guns didn’t vote in.

  5. I have no trouble racking my slide. I have a difficult time loading the rounds into the magazines. The indent/relief of the cartridges catch on the lip of the magazines. Especially when loading round 15 and 16. I can not reach the slide lock with my thumb to hold open the slide lock lever. This
    negates fast cycling (return to fire) a fresh magazine.

  6. Tried the Sar B6 and couldn’t rack the slide worth a damn. I have no trouble with most semis but that one is a brute to operate. Not much to grab on to. EAA imports some decent firearms, especially from Tanfoglio, but that Turkish stuff is mediocre. My 2 cents.

  7. I bought a EAA SAR6 ,while I like the gun I have 4 issues with it. #1 loading the magazine is a little difficult.. The lip of the bullet being fed into the magazines snags the mouth of the shell casing below it (already in the magazine). #2 The Gun only comes with one magazine. Cheaper than Dirt does not stock / sell the guns magazine. #3 The manual that is included with the gun has print really faded and barely readable, so ordering parts/magazines from the manufacturer is difficult at best. #4 The barrel and spring are the only parts that can be removed from the gun for service. The rest can only be serviced / cleaned by a gunsmith or sent back to the manufacturer.

  8. I have the EAA SAR B6 & can testify this is one of my favorite handguns. although it has no rails for accessories. I never new Turkey was a country of quality low cost firearms until I bought this gun for $330.00.

  9. “Why would revolver even make this list? Theyre obsolete”
    Obsolete? Maybe you should check the sells number information. Ruger, S&W, Tarus is selling many. I carry a Ruger LCR and love it even though I have many semi autos.

  10. OK I’ll make this my last post on this subject since I am sure people are getting sick of reading what I write.

    Just so we are comparing apples to apples or ounces to ounces here is what I got from both manufacturer’s websites.

    From the RIA website

    2.82 lbs or 45.12 oz

    2.56 lbs or 40.96 oz

    From the FN website

    Loaded with 14 rd magazine

    43.2 oz which is a 2oz difference

    or if you are talking about the

    Loaded with 15 rd magazine
    43.2 oz

    Personally I would not carry a full size 1911 or other full size handgun. I would choose to carry a compact or ultra, but then you are dealing with less ammo.

    If more ammo is what you need a Glock accepts 50+ rd magazines.

    1. I carry a full size XD .45 in a Crossbreed IWB holster every day while wearing T-shirts with no problems. I like the fell and reliability, and I also like the 13+1 rounds of 230gr hollow point ammo. It’s plenty comfortable as long as you don’t scrimp on a quality holster and get used to carrying your gun.

  11. I believe Magnum Research makes a .357 and .44 mag in their Desert Eagle which I believe is single action.

    1. They do and they are. I have one of each, but revolvers still have a place, and since these guns were selected based on the responses from customers and not some “gun guru” we can be sure a lot of other people like revolvers too.

      For one thing, you have to be very selective on what ammo you use in a DE. First, it has to be hot enough to cycle the actions. I have 500 rounds of .44Mag that my DE will only shoot single shot. Just not enough horsepower to cycle that big mechanism. Second, you can’t use anything with exposed lead in the bullet. DEs have a gas piston that will foul very quickly on even partially jacketed lead bullets. Magnum Research even tells you not to use lead bullets or you will void your warranty in the owners manual in bold print.

      A revolver, on the other hand, will shoot anything that fits.

  12. The FNP-45 weighs 33.2 ounces. An RIA high cap says 2.56 lbs on their website which comes out to just under 41 ounces. Not a huge difference, but when I carry my FNP-45, I know it after a couple hours.

  13. I’m not being argumentative here I’m just like everyone else I have my favorites. I think it is great that we all have different favorites and reasons why they are our favorites. Difference in taste is the spice of life and we are lucky enough to live in a country where we can get a variety of great guns. Like I said I like all guns expect the ones I have had trouble with like my Sig Mosquito 22, damn thing only fire CCI 22lr reliably and a TC black powder rifle shoot 3x & clean. One of the best guns I have ever owned and wish I still did was my S&W 686. However when it comes to my beloved 1911 a full size hi cap RIA (own one looking for another) which holds 14 rds (1 less than a FNP 45) weighs 45.12 oz and the FNP 45 (holds 15 rds) weighs in at 43.2 oz about 2 oz less. For my next gun I want a small 45 acp so that is why I’m talking about compact or ultra 1911s. If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear it.

  14. I have one of the EAA B6P 9mm (paid $299.00) and this Handgun is solid and I have fired Handguns that cost much more and could not even compare to my B6P. Also the next best in my eyes is the Taurus 809 C 9mm for the price. Another very solid handgun and for $309.00 it can’t be beat.

  15. My Tarus 1911 has been perfect in every way. It was given a low score on one review which just don’t seem right.

    1. not until they make a .357 mag,.44 mag or 460 Casull SA they aren’t!

    2. Revolvers are far from obsolete, and they have a lot of excellent applications. Remember, this isn’t some list created by a magazine gun guru, this list is based on CTD customer reviews. In other words, 3 of the top 7 customer rated guns are revolvers.

      For one thing, it’s much easier and lighter to carry a .357Mag revolver than auto, although Coonan’s are pretty nice. For another thing, if you limp wrist an auto, it will often not cycle correctly. but a revolver has no such problem making it a good, reliable choice for someone without a lot of wrist strength. Finally, I don’t know many autos that can load .410 buck shotgun shells, but a revolver can making it a good choice for people who don’t get a lot of range time, or even just as a CQ gun to keep handy in tight situations.

    3. I have owned several semi-automatic pistols over the last 50 years, along with numerous single action and double action revolvers. I have owned Colt’s .45 ACP M1911 Gold Cups, an AMT Hardballer long-slide (still have that one), Ruger Blackhawks in .357 mag., Redhawks in .44 Mag., an EAA Witness, and a SAR-K, both in .45ACP. I currently carry the SAR-K, a 629 Smith, my M29-2 with 6 1/2 barrel, and a Taurus Tracker in .44 Mag. Please note that of the four pistols I carry, three are revolvers. I spent 20 years in the US Army, in the Infantry, and I trained soldiers on both the M1911A1 and the Beretta M9. I have owned and used various automatics in the popular calibers (.40 S&W, .380, .25 ACP, 9mm, 45ACP.) and they can and will all jam at one time or another. The only shot you are ever guaranteed with an auto is the one in the chamber. The reason the military uses an automatic pistol is because combat tends to be a target-rich environment and the need for firepower outweighs the possibility of a failure to function. Also, next to you in combat is someone else who can take up the slack while you clear and return your weapon to service.
      A revolver doesn’t jam. A revolver is much less sensitive to dirt. A revolver gives you all 5 or all 6 shots of whatever you’re using. And some of the toughest and most durable handguns that money can buy are revolvers. I carry my Taurus tracker with .44 S&W Specials mostly, but when I go into the woods, it has full-house .44 Magnums in it. The same goes for the Smiths. And revolvers are highly accurate. A Ruger, Taurus or Smith doesn’t have to be tuned to shoot well. Revolvers are not obsolete because they work and they work all the time. Oh, and if I need more than the revolver carries, I do carry speed loaders for them. So I have either 15 or 18 rounds readily available if I need them. Also, if I need a handgun that will handle the most adverse conditions for long periods of time, I would not be poorly armed with a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt or a Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44 magnum or .480 Ruger. Both the revolver and the ammunition will work for about any situation I would face outside seriously target rich environments with more than three or four assailants and they stop bears.

    1. I own quite a few guns, including the more highly regarded ones like Glock, Beretta, Springfield and Walther, and an EAA is next on my list.

      Everyone I have ever talked to who owns one loves it. I love the way they look, and hopefully I can find one to try out, but either way, it’s on my list.

  16. For anyone limited by a budget I would strongly recommend investigating Rock Island’s 1911. I have friends who paid twice as much as I did and they didn’t get anything better than what I have. My Rock Island is dependable; it has never failed me, it’s accurate: at pistol range I always hit what I aim at and I honestly think that for the money it’s as good as you can get.

  17. I hope every one who purchased a RIA 1911 is happy with it. The one I purchased was the least expensive tact II, It has the best Trigger of any hand gun I Have owned including my CZ75bd. It is very accurate, even shooting lswc. Liked the survey.

  18. I own a S&W model 69 , and agree that this revolver is a lot of fun to shoot and so far meets the high quality standards of S&W revolvers.The recoil is not bad, yet I am awaiting back ordered coil absorbing grips from S&W to make this even more usefull. Light enough to CCW.

  19. @Brett It’s cool you shoot what you like. I think that it’s wonderful we have so many choices! I qualified with the 1911 in the Navy and love the pistol. I just can’t get my head around buying a gun that heavy with a smaller capacity. I do want one for fun and actually want a Kimber. I know Para made hi-cap 1911s, but the one I tried wasn’t really a 1911 as it had the LDA trigger. It was much heavier than the XD I ultimately bought (back then) and held less rounds when the extended mag was installed.

    My concern about fire power isn’t so much hitting the bad guy. Fortunately, I’ve never had to do that. My concern is being able to provide suppressive fire long enough for the LEOs to arrive and handle the situation.

    I qualified with the M14, too. I’d love to own an M1A but that is a pretty expensive rifle and expensive to feed! It’s on my mid-life crisis list. Because of the M14, I went with a milled receiver AK for my rifle.

  20. I have had my EAA -B6 9mm for over a year now. I can’t tell you how great this weapon is in ever aspect. Mine came with 2 mags and they both hold 17 rounds. EAA said some are 17 & some 16 rounds. You can carry it hammer down and safety on, or cocked & locked. The double action is better then my P90, P89 and P395. The slide is narrow unlike those fat Glocks. When you look down on a Glock you see one brick on top of another. Any how, just buy a B6, you will love it.

  21. I personally think that one fine handgun that was overlooked is the SAR K2 45acp. It is a well made, all steel combat handgun, hi capacity and good sights. It is accurate and low recoil with the weight of being all steel.
    I personally would like to see provisions made for a suppressor.

    1. William,

      I recently acquired a K2 and it replaced an H&K USP and an FNP45, both of which did not fit my hand and which I did not shoot well. The K2 is new to me but so far, it is everything that you said. It also fits my hand and I shoot it well.
      I only have 150 rounds through it but so far absolutely no malfunctions of any sort whatsoever. Absolutely a joy to shoot. No recoil noticeable. Very accurate.
      Only one concern and that is that the trigger took me a bit of getting used to. I am devoted to the 1911 and all of mine have exceptional triggers. If they did not come that way, they were “fixed” to improve the trigger. In comparison to the excellent 1911 trigger, the K-2 is a bit spongy and took a few rounds to develop the longer, slow squeeze required for best accuracy by me. The comparatively lousy triggers are one reason I am not a huge fan of plastic guns like the Glock or even the XD. Never had one that the trigger was anything like my 1911’s and that makes shooting accurately just one more hurdle that has to be overcome.
      Once I got the trigger down, the pistol was amazingly accurate and totally reliable. The trigger is comparatively better than most plastic guns I have shot and so it is not quite as “indefinite” as to releasing the sear.
      Also cost $450 brand new. How can you beat that?

  22. I have used a 1911 for duty along with a SW Mod 66. I qualified expert with those two guns and a 9mm SW. I have two 45’s now and would prefer to use them off duty. I have shot expert rating on the guns I own including a 38 super from EAA. All are accurate and never had a problem shooting and I clean them very good and shoot good ammo always. Practice makes the difference.

  23. @Chris – My full size 1911 holds 10 in the magazine and one in the tube is there another 45 acp out there that holds 22 without sacrificing the size of the handgrip? Much like the Para Ordinance use to?
    The most important thing to ask yourself is “If I can’t hit my target with 11 bullets are 4 or 5 more really going to matter? I would say spend more time at the range.
    Sorry I just cannot stop being a 1911 snob. Give me a good 1911 and a M14 and I will go anywhere and be able to defend myself. Well I will need bullets and water too.

  24. @Mikial – I know John Browning’s design served our country well for over 100 years and few other side arms can make that statement. I have read and heard many complaints about the Sig 1911 from owners and even a rep when he was in my local gun shop. I have owned Sigs and never had a problem with any except for the Sig Mosquito which I finally gave up on and its jamming every 3rd round so I traded it for a Kimber. As far as your point about Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) going to Glock 19s I think you got some bad scuttle butt on that one. After speaking with a friend of mine, retired Sgt Maj for MARSCO and reading these two articles and knowing what was announced at the Annual Shot Show it appears to me that is will be the M45. Please see stories below.

    1. Brett, As reported in the Marine Corps Times on February 2015.

      The two articles you cite were written in July, 2012 and January, 2013, and word of mouth is usually subject to the experience or hearsay of the speaker. However, in this case, since we are talking about MARSOC, operators are actually officially authorized to use either the M45 or the Glock 19. The authorization adding the G19 came about because operators wanted greater reliability in desert conditions and greater ammo capacity.

  25. I like 1911’s they have proven them selves on the battlefield and the homefront for over a century, I allso like my sig 226 in 40s&w with night sights and was wondering why sig didn’t make the list,as for revolvers I like my S&W 586 and my Ruger single six with the magnum and regular cylinders. I hope I didn’t upset anyone with my list I’m just glad that we have the right to voice our opinions about the guns we like and the right to own the ones we choose to.

  26. @Rocky – No sir I did not miss the RIA 1911. I am just a 1911 kook. lol I just think 1911s are the best functioning, shooting and use the best caliber available today. Now don’t think if I were in heavy bear country I would rely on my 45 acp, no I would be carrying something much bigger 454, 500 etc.
    The look and feel of the 1911 cannot be beaten and actually there are some that I have heard bad things about like the Sig which is why I stick with the RIAs, Kimbers, Colts and Springfields. Sorry if I offended anyone like I said I am just a 1911 nut oh also an M1A kook too. lol

  27. 1911 is a great choice for seasoned experts. For those with less training and experience, a revolver or polymer semi auto (I’m an XD man myself but I can’t argue with the Glock or Sig fans) is a safer choice. I love my Springfield TRP at the range but I won’t carry cocked and locked.

  28. I am a full time LEO. My department allows us to choose our caliber provided it isn’t “smaller” I.e. Less powerful than 9mm. On duty a carry my Glock 20 customised
    By Wheaton Arms. My off duty carry is the classic
    Para-Ordinance P12-45 .
    I would like Suzanne/CTD to start including primary county of mfg. as SOP in the specs information. Great Work CTD

  29. I pretty much agree, I have a short barrel Rock Island .45, it’s a beast, but it will stop anything & anybody. My ‘other’ handgun is a CZ 83 .32ACP, it’s light and tight, good for close in protection.

  30. @Larry Saxon

    Sir you da man! My first gun was a S&W 686 4″ what a great gun! My next gun (for carry) will be a Kimber Ultra CDP. I own a few Kimber and I think they are the best 1911 for the money. Lower end I do like the RIA & Taurus.

    1. Dam right! I am sick of all the BS. “This one is too ugly, this one is too cheap, this one doesn’t come in pink!!!”
      If it works for you, then it’s the best gun out there.

  31. After looking at this list all I could say was “What?”
    No Colt 1911, no Springfield Armory 1911, no Kimber 1911. There is a reason it has been the best selling/performance gun for 100 years. Thank God our military has finally re-learned the lesson of the venerable 45 acp vs 9 mm. Not only are they going back to a real handgun caliber but they are considering the 1911 design.

    The 1911 is the only handgun you will ever need. Combat heavy use = Full size Kimber Custom, like a shorter barrel Kimber Pro Carry, concealed carry Kimber Ultra or substitute Kimber with Sprngfield, Colt, RIA, etc.

    1. Brett; Did you miss the Rock Island Armory 1911 Tactical Semiautomatic .45 ACP that they showcased ?

    2. I have the RIA Tactical II MS, and it shoots as nice as any 1911 I’ve ever shot, including a Colt Gold Cup I used to qualify with in the Navy. The 1911 is still the most fun handgun to shoot, IMO.

    3. Brett, I like 1911s. In fact, my first semi was an Argentine 1911 I picked up in a pawn shop. It was a great gun, and I currently own another 1911. I also carried a Kimber that was issued to me by my employer in Iraq for 2 years.

      But having said all that, while the 1911 deserves to be among the highest rated handguns, when comes to ergonomics, ease of use under pressure, and reliability it’s really not the ideal combat handgun. Glocks, XDs and Sig .45s are all more reliable and have greater capacity.

      And sorry, but the USMC Forces Special Operations Command just went to Glock 19s.

    4. There is a 1911. But there is also a 45 ACP that holds twice the rounds of a 1911 and weighs 10 ounces less. I prefer my FNP 45. I’d like to have a 1911 for fun, but when the bad guys can fire 15 or more times without reloading, a 1911 isn’t really preferred.

    5. Brett,

      I own, or have owned, all the guns listed and I agree that they are very fine guns. However, if you have not considered it, or are not familiar with it, take a hard look at the Smith & Wesson 1911 SCe.
      I am devoted to the 1911 in most forms but my hands down favorite it the SCe. Scandium frame, excellent tritium sights, wonderful trigger and dad gum accurate!
      I have a fine Wilson that I paid on for several years and the Smith will shoot nearly as accurately as my Wilson. I shot 100 rounds with the Wilson and then shot 100 from the Smtih — same range, same conditions, same ammo and the groups are almost identical. Tight on the rails but no failure to function in over what has to be more than 1,000 rounds now.
      Seriously, if you like the 1911 as much as I suspect, you have got to get your hands on one.

  32. “For civilians, the Glock 22 is oft overlooked, with many choosing the classic 17, 19 or 23 for carrying.” I think you mean “citizens” not “civilians”. Glock 22 is carried by policemen who are actually not in the military so they are civilians.

    It is very nice to see a list of reasonably priced guns get such rave reviews. I’m intrigued by the EAA pistol but think it needs to come down a notch since it doesn’t have an accessory rail.

    1. The full size EEA Witness P does have an accessories rail.What a great shooting 9mm.I have owned Tigers ans SW.I like the EEA much better! And the best part it cost way less than the others!

  33. Nothing shoots better for me than my Makarov. Terrific pistol. Revolverwise, I’ve never shot anything sweeter than a Colt. Love my .38 snubbies… and that 6th round is a plus…

  34. Suzanne,

    I really enjoy most all your offerings. This is another I found interesting. However, earlier this year, I arrived at an epiphany of sorts. At the advanced age of 73 and having shot guns for about 65 years and pistols for over 50, for a great many years I had very definite opinions, argued aggressively for my favorites and considered ignorant those with the temerity to disagree. I have decided, recently, that I was wrong.
    There are a several, perhaps even a great number of, very good handguns, both semi-automatics and revolvers. I have owned custom guns and high end commercial pistols. I grew up thinking that the only handguns were either .22 rimfire, .45 ACP and .38 Special. Thanks to those who have invented or developed so many other new cartridges or improved existing cartridges of long standing, like the 9mm. Kudos to you all who have done so much for shooting and offered us shooters an incredible smorgasbord of calibers and platforms to shoot. Love many of them.
    What ever works for you is your best gun. What has worked for me for generations now is the 1911, 45 ACP. I grew up shooting paper with them, carrying one on duty and keeping one by my bedside. According to my wife, I have owned, altogether at one time or another, over 55 different .45’s. I fell in love with the triggers early on and they have been the firearm love of my life.
    My carry gun, and perhaps the best .45 ACP I have ever owned, all things considered, is the S & W 1911 SCe. It is comparatively light with the scandium aluminum frame, has about the best trigger of any production pistol I have ever shot and has functioned flawlessly with several hundred rounds of mixed ammos, but all in the venerable 230 gr roundnose for practice and only a few of the Hornady Critical Defense for functionality testing. All the features of several of my custom target pistols and all anyone ever needs in a 1911. It goes with me daily most days, with two spare magazines. It is slender enough to be concealable and reliable enough in my experience to depend on. Only when scant clothing precludes carrying a bigger pistol, do I resort to my Kahr PM40 which can ride, well concealed, in front pockets of my shorts.
    Along with a Ruger SR40C, those are far and away my personal favorites and guns carried regularly. But the 1911SCe is far and away my preferred platform, bar none.
    That is me. Maybe it is not for you and so be it. I like my freedom of choice and think you should have the same option.
    I am not, personally, a fan of Glock for pretty much the same reasons as Pete in Alaska. They just do not fit my hands where the 1911 SCe, the Ruger and the Kahr do. I have trouble shooting the thick grip Glocks consistently. However, for the same reason, I personally am not fond of the H & K USP (sold after 3 range sessions with inconsistent results due to me and not the gun) and the FNP45 — same experience.
    Further, I am not really a fan of plastic pistols, which I find slippery. With my guns, I am all about control and often add skateboard tape to grips of my favorite guns. Pistols that squirm in my hands at the range due to slippery plastic never seem to last in my inventory and I am not in favor of spending exorbitant sums for special treatments such as unique stippling and so forth. If I can’t fix it myself with skateboard tape, or an inexpensive grip decal, I am not interested in it. Glocks and SD’s fall into the category for me, as did the H & K and the FNH pistols. Doubtlessly good guns and I cannot consistently hit s _ _ _ with them.
    But, as I said, whatever works best for you is your best gun. I have mine and you cannot dissuade me or change my opinion. On the other hand, I no longer intend to argue and offend anyone else who disagrees. Life is too short and I can tolerate other opinions besides mine.
    It bothers and offends me that others, particularly shooters, do not extend that courtesy to others. There needs to be civility and tolerance in our community, in my opinion. That is especially true when there are so many wonderful choices, mostly high quality, readily available to us. We shooters are very fortunate, indeed, IMHO.

    1. MacII,
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree with you—the “best” gun is the one you like best. Other people’s opinion shouldn’t matter, right? If Glock doesn’t feel good to you, then don’t shoot a Glock. What surprised me most when researching this article, were the bad reviews on the S&W M&P9C and the Taurus 1911. I know owners of both who love those guns.

      No one should get offended because their favorite isn’t on any of the lists on The Shooter’s Log… My favorites rarely show up! My hope is that through my posts, I can guide readers to the right gun for them—regardless if it is a gun I like or not.

      Thanks for reading!

    2. S&W seems to have almost as many fanatical detractors as Glock, so it’s not that surprising to see negative reviews sink the overall rating.

  35. My two carry handguns were not on the list. The carry the knock down power people are looking for. My S&W .500 3 inch bbl using .440 hard grain rounds. My DE.50 6″ bbl. Using either .300 or.350 grain rounds. I carry a mix mags with both.

    1. Holy crap, are you in bear country to need two .50’s for carry? My 1911 is big to conceal let alone your cannons. I bet if there was a .50 BMG in a hand gun you would probably have it… wait I’d want that too… Long reload time for that though, shoot once and wait 6 months for your broken wrists to heal before you would think of shooting it again. Hmm maybe a forearm pistol brace from SIg…

    1. Great gun, Kurt. I carried an old stainless model 60 throughout the 90’s and up until a year ago when I got a Sig P938. I still keep the S&W in the car console as a backup.

  36. .357 Sig ,Glock 32 is my CCW. Sure, there are more powerful self defense loads out there. But I have 14 rounds plus another 13 is my extra magazine. Wouldn’t trade it for any other caliber. .44 mag is one that I haven’t ever shot, but Glock doesn’t make one in .44 Mag. And everyone else has either a 9 mm or .45 cal. I just like to be different, and still effective. My Glock has never failed me yet. Will stick with what I have, Thank You, and if I might say, great site CTD.

  37. I’ve owned a Glock 21 for years, and carried it often. I also used a Glock 17 in Iraq. Neither of them have ever gone bang unless i pulled the trigger.

    But even saying that, I’m a bit surprised that XDs aren’t on the list anywhere. My EDC is a full sized XD .45ACP. I like the quick availability of no mechanical safety but with the added feature of a grip safety.

    1. With only one handgun per major caliber selected, plenty of quality models will naturally go unmentioned. There’s also the usual sampling bias issues present in any usage of voluntary customer feedback.

    2. @Mikial
      I have to agree. Glock makes a good platform and there always seems to be a bias involved with any discussion this company is a part of. I’m sure it has something to do with the reputed 60+% of market share they crow about puts a fair amount of pressure on blogs that are a direct arm of a retail company I’d guess.

      I personally find them (Glocks) to be uncomfortable and not ergonomic in either hand. This make them difficult to accurate with or find the kind of shot repeatability I require. The area at the web between thumb and trigger finger finds the Glock frame to be sharp edged and makes for an unpleasant shooting experience for me. One would think that by, Generation 4 now is it and how many models(?), that this issue might have been addressed, but it hasn’t.

      The XD, and XDm’s (Springfield) have been my primary travel and carry sidearm for years now. I favor the XD compact in .40, XD Full in .45 and the XDm Tacical Match in .40. I also still carry on occasion my Browning Hi-Power in 9mm (a longer serving and old friend) or my IMI Baby Desert Eagle Compact (all steel) in .40 ….. Both are excellent small carry or backups.

      The area on the Glock that causes me discomfort is more rounded and ergonomic on the XD’s providing better feel, comfort and overall shot control. I was surprised the XD’s were not reflected in this listing too.

      Bottom line is I think the XD has once again been overlooked in favor of the Glock and it’s financial retail power. That’s ok, you and I, others too I’m sure know the story here.
      Wish that the XD series would come out with a 10mm offering! I’d like to have one to add to my collection!

    3. “My favorite gun wasn’t mentioned, so it must be a conspiracy.”

      I’m a former Glock owner, and my preferred pistol line wasn’t mentioned, either. However, there were only four common semi-auto pistol calibers selected and the voting process was essentially a popularity contest. It’s easy to see that a lot of manufacturers were going to get left out.

      Like them or hate them, you can’t deny that Glocks are everywhere. I’d honestly be much more suspicious if Glock didn’t get selected for at least one category.

    4. Hey, Pete.

      Glad to hear from another XD fan. I can hit pretty accurately with my Glock, but it’s much more bulky and uncomfortable to carry when compared to my XD.

  38. “Glocks have no external safety lever, but feature what the company calls a “safe action system,” with the safety built into the trigger.”

    …which is no safety at all because if the trigger is pulled so is the “safety.”

    I can’t imagine shooting that 686 with .357. That has to have brutal recoil.

    1. Manual safeties can (and do) fail. “Doesn’t fire unless you pull the trigger” is about as safe as you can reasonably expect any firearm to be.

      Ruger, S&W, Sig Sauer, Springfield, Walther, and many other companies also make handguns with a short, ~ 6 pound double-action trigger and no manual safety. Glock just made the design a commercial success.

    2. Safe action system simply means if you drop it or anything it won’t go off unless you physically pull the trigger

    3. Your really missing out! You can have all the “latest and greatest” but hold a correct magnum and realize what fun is. dont forget function either. 357 best self defense load There is! Please, please, please

    4. i have a s&w 686+ 4 inch barrel. minimum recoil with the hornady .357 xtp’s i carry for defense. this is my backup for my regular carry gun, a kimber ultra carry + in .45 acp

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