There are so many handguns available, that it is sometimes hard to know which one is going to suit us the best.

We turned to our friends at Palmetto State Armory to get some input.

The 9mm Luger has the reputation of being the most popular centerfire pistol around in the United States and across the world.  There are of course hundreds, if not thousands of different options available.  It is recommended to visit a reputable manufacturer when purchasing a firearm, one that has built up  a reputation for excellence, reliability, accuracy and durability.

Depending on your requirements choose a gun which is good for concealed carry, a truck gun, for home defense, for casual target shooting at ranges, or to have ready just in case of a major disaster.

If you are searching for a new 9mm handgun and are not sure which will be the most suitable try visiting a shooting range that will allow you the opportunity to handle and fire guns, for a fee, before deciding which one you will enjoy using and one that fits your hand the best.

There is also some excellent reading and information here at and here at GunUniversity.

Best 9mm Handguns 

Heckler & Koch USP

The HK USP series of pistols are considered to be some of the most torture tested pistols in existence. Heckler & Koch began developing the USP in 1988 as a replacement for their unique but ageing P7 series of pistols.

The USP finished development in 1993 and the 9mm and .40 caliber version were released to the public in 1994.  The .45 ACP followed in 1995 and the compact models in all three of these calibers as well as .357 SIG were released in 1996.

The USP series of pistols were subjected to incredibly harsh testing by HK, such as being run through dirt, mud, rain, sleet and snow without any hiccups.  HK also ran over two hundred thousand rounds through the weapons before switching all compatible parts between the tested guns and then continued firing, without any issues.

Finally a bullet was inserted into the end of the barrel and the gun was then loaded, chambered and fired and the bullet fired without any damage to the pistol.  The USP is chunky and very large but it is considered to be one of the most thoroughly tested and battle ready handguns on offer to-day.  The USP full size 9mm holds 15 rounds of ammunition and utilizes a polymer magazine.

The compact version (which is the same gun as the full size one, except for a shorter and thinner grip, a shorter slide and barrel and a squared off front trigger guard), holds 13 rounds of ammunition in a metal magazine.

The round counts are smaller in contrast to other comparable pistols but HK claims that the smaller round counts increase the spring life in the magazine.

SIG Sauer P226

This handgun almost won the United States Army’s contract for their official sidearm selection in 1985, and only lost to the Beretta M9 because the Beretta came in at a lower price.

The P226 was however, still adopted by the United States Navy SEALS as their official sidearm for the following three decades and the P228 was adopted by the United States military as a secondary service handgun in addition to the Beretta M9.

The P226 holds 15 rounds of ammunition in the magazine,the P229 is a more compact version of the P226 and also holds 15 rounds. There is also the SIG Sauer P225 model which is a slimmer single stacked version of the P229 but has identical controls.

The P225 has an eight round capacity in the magazine.  The SIG Sauer series of guns are double action single action, metal framed, hammer fired guns. They are however, heavier than some of their competitors but the added weight also helps to reduce recoil and muzzle flip.

The guns do not feature external safeties, but do have a decocking lever on the side of the frame.  SIG pistols are considered to be premium guns and are well known for their accuracy, reliability and high build quality.

Glock 17

A well known pistol, together with the Glock 19.  The Glock pistols are in their fifth generation and feature flared magazine wells for a faster and easier reload, superior ergonomics and interchangeable back straps.

The Glock 19 is the best selling pistol in America and one of the most popular pistols worldwide, being reliable, accurate and a very compact size suitable for concealed carry, but still large enough to be able to get a full firing grip.

The Glock 19 is widely used by the military and the police because of its simplicity and reliability and it can be used in many diverse situations.  The Glock 19 is known as a striker fired weapon that doesn’t feature an external hammer of any kind ensuring a consistent 5.5 pound trigger pull. 

There is no manual safety on Glock pistols but the firearm has three separate safeties, including the most important, the trigger safety mechanism giving the user a simple intuitive system.  The Glock 17 holds 17 rounds of ammunition, while the Glock 19 holds 15. 

There are additional models  of the Glock 9mm, such as the 26 which is a smaller version of the 15 but with 10 rounds of ammunition or with a magazine extension 12 rounds.  The 43 a single stack version with 6 rounds of ammunition or with an extension 7 or 8, and the Glock 48 a single stack with a longer grip and 10 rounds of ammunition. 

CZ 75B

The CZ 75B is designed in the Czech Republic, and many firearms engineered in Europe have a distinct lack of style, but the CZ 75 was one of the few which contributed function with form and style.

The CZ 75 stands out from the competition as it has slide rails which are inside the frame.  This positions the bore much lower than an average handgun and this reduces muzzle flip and makes rapid-fire easier to control and more accurate.  This gun is favoured among competition shooters around the world.

The CZ 75 has an all metal frame which while heavier does absorb recoil more than polymer frames.  It is hammer-fired and can be fired in double for single action.  Depending on your choice the weapon can feature either a safety or a decocker.

The CZ 75 has fantastic ergonomics which give it a very natural feel and the slim grip conceals a magazine capable of holding 16 rounds of 9mm.  While this weapon is considered slightly large and heavy for a concealed carry it is an excellent choice for home defense and competition. 

Smith and Wesson 9mm M&P Shield

This is an extension of the S & W Military  and Police line, and is unique as it is a single stack firearm specifically designed for concealed carry.

The use of a single stack magazine makes the weapon much easier to conceal by being lighter and thinner.  The short 3.1inch barrel gives a solid barrel length and a good sight radius for a compact pistol.

It only weighs 20,8 ounces and has an overall length of 6.1 inches.  Although this is a small pistol it has the ability to carry 8 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber, giving enough capacity to deal with 99% of violent situations that may be encountered as a concealed carrier.

With the M&P Shield you have the option to have safety or no safety. This option gives those who prefer, a manual safety, the option for a modern concealed carry pistol. The M&P Shield uses both a stainless steel barrel and slide material which will resist rust and ensure durability over thousands of rounds.

The M&P Shield makes for an easy shooting handgun and the comfortable recoil makes follow up shots very easy, meaning accurate double taps are a breeze to make.

The Springfield XD (M) Competition Serie

The Springfield XD series is considered to be one of the most versatile handguns available, the XD(M) line specifically offering a variety of features.

The Springfield XD(M) model also comes in  a variety of sizes and the 5.25 inch barrel competition model is extremely popular.  The 5.25 inch barrel gives an excellent sight radius that helps to make the weapon easier to shoot particularly at long ranges.

The XD (M) model also has a set of adjustable rear sight and an orange fiber optic front sight that is extremely bright and easy to see both in daylight and low light conditions.

Behind the front sight a section of the slide has been removed, this is known as a lightning cut and it aims to reduce the weight of the weapon and weight of the slide. This reduced weight slide will allow the weapon to cycle faster and reduce felt recoil from a lighter reciprocating slide.

All of this makes this handgun extremely comfortable to shoot for extended periods of time.

The weapon holds 19 rounds of 9mm in the flush fit magazine and is an excellent choice for both self defense or home defense, as well as for competition shooting.

The Springfield XD(M) Competition is a striker fired weapon with a solid trigger pull, the reset being quite noticeable as you both hear and feel the trigger reset.  The weapon has amazing accuracy and for a full-sized polymer frame firearm is considered hard to beat.

Browning Hi Power

The Browning Hi Power is considered to be way ahead of its time and is used by more than 90 countries.

The Hi Power is felt to be one of the first wonder nines, wonder nines being the term applied to 9mm handguns with high magazine capacity.

The Browning Hi Power was a John Browning project originally and was developed in the 1920’s and is still a popular firearm today. The single action only trigger is a throwback to the classic 1911 design, being light, smooth and breaks evenly.  The reset is very short as well as tactile and audible.

The steel frame is strong but lightweight and makes the weapon thinner overall.  The comfort in the hand is the best, together with the amazing ergonomic design.

The Hi Power is believed to have inspired dozens of different features on modern handguns.

Walther P99

The Walther P99 AS – is known for supplying James Bond’s sidearm throughout the film series.

The Walther P99 is a striker-fired handgun with a unique action, using a double and single-action design instead of a partially cocked striker.

This is common with hammer-fired weapons but most unique with striker-fired guns.  This is one of the few striker-fired handguns that would allow the user to restrike if the round didn’t ignite immediately.

The Walther P99 has what is known as an anti-stress, or AS trigger.  The anti-stress trigger creates what is specifically a single action, two-stage trigger.  This will allow you to carry the weapon in single action while reducing negligent discharges due to stress.  The weapon can also be carried in double-action mode.

Once the first shot has been fired the trigger will be a single action for all follow ups.  The single action trigger is one of the most sensitive and lightest stock-triggers but you also get a solid double action that is light, slightly long but very consistent.

The reset is approximately one eighth of an inch.  It appears as soon as you let go the trigger it is reset and ready to go.

The Walther P99 AS is produced in a polymer frame which reduces the weight and ensures the weapon is comfortable to carry.  The P99 also has a decocker button on the top of the slide which is large and easy to use, but the weapon’s magazine release is ambidextrous and not the traditional push button.

Instead it is a lever placed on the trigger guard which is accessible by the thumb or trigger finger of the firing hand.  It takes some practice to do effectively but once mastered is fast and handy with a unique design offering users a modern ‘007’ handgun.

Beretta 92FS

The Beretta 92FS – this is the most common model of the Beretta 92, but several variations do exist.  As well as the military the Beretta has served with numerous police forces around the world as well as the United States.

The Beretta 92 is a heavy-duty all metal handgun which soaks up the recoil of a 9mm cartridge without issue.

It is an outstanding handgun for beginners because the recoil is low.  A reduced slide weight helps with the recoil and muzzle rise, making both slightly softer.  The Beretta holds between 15 to 17 rounds with flush fit magazines, depending on which magazine manufacturer you choose.

The Beretta is produced in a variety of different finishes, and Beretta 9Z features a finish designed to deal with humid jungles, deserts and oceans, ensuring it will stand up to almost anything. The Beretta 92 is one of the most reliable handguns on the market to-day.


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