As every gun enthusiast knows, the best gun is the one that works for you and that you feel comfortable shooting. This article is by no means a definitive list of great handguns, but the ten guns listed are used and appreciated by a number of people. If you’re new to handguns, this can give you an idea of where to start.
These 9mm handguns are focused on people looking for concealed carry and home defense. They offer a variety of weights, sizes, prices, and other selling points that you’ll want to take into consideration. You’ll also want to think about how often you can train and what your physical capabilities are. Someone with extensive training will be able to handle more recoil than somebody without it, for example, and some people might benefit from a bulkier sight. What do you need?
1. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 9
The Smith & Wesson EZ 9 is the first gun on the list because it is ideal for beginners and smaller gun owners. If you’ve never owned a gun before, you’re inexperienced, you have weaker hand strength, you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to training, or you just like a simple gun, this might be the one for you.
The Smith & Wesson EZ 9 is not the smallest handgun, but that is part of what makes it a great pick. The larger size helps reduce recoil and makes it manageable for smaller or more inexperienced shooters. The EZ 9 is also designed to be easy to rack, and easy to load, which can be a struggle for people without the strength or experience.
One feature that could be a pro or con depending on the purchaser is the large sight of this gun. While it could be annoying for an experienced gun owner, this large sight is perfect for someone learning to shoot or who has poor vision.
Women might be the ideal candidate for the EZ 9. This is not because of any muscle mass difference, but because women tend to carry purses. A heavier gun like this would be much easier to conceal under soft clothes or in a purse, which is another bonus for this gun.
2. Glock 17
It is really, really hard to go wrong with a Glock pistol. They’re always reliable, and they function in all weather and all conditions. These guns don’t scare easy.
The Glock 17 is on its fifth generation, all with slightly different variations, and there are lots of after-market parts to choose from if you want to change something. This gun won’t be breaking anytime soon, so you’ll have plenty of time to make changes to your preference.
The polymer frame won’t rust, won’t scratch, and won’t look shabby after use. That and the classic reliability are some of the reasons why countries worldwide trust the Glock for military and police use.
Another pro for the Glock 17 is specific to this period of expensive ammunition and busy lives. Glocks all feel pretty similar, so you’ll be able to pick up another model and shoot it without the learning curve a shooting a different gun brand.
This is a solid gun. It isn’t meant to be fancy. If you want a workhorse that will go to the range, protect your home, and be a lifetime buy, this might be the pick for you.
3. Glock 19
Yes, it’s another Glock.
This gun has all the perks listed for the Glock 17, but it comes with the added bonus of a slightly smaller size. This difference might seem minor, but it makes a big difference in comfort and practicality when it comes to concealed carry.
Like its bigger sister, the Glock 19 is simple to use, durable, operates under any weather condition, and has a good capacity. The shorter barrel costs a little velocity but makes it easier to carry this gun when concealed.
It still isn’t the prettiest, but it gets the job done and does it well.
4. Beretta 92 Series
For what it’s worth, the Beretta 92 is a pretty gun.
In addition to how movie-ready these guns look, these are universal guns that have lots of options for you to choose from. They’re reliable, good for home defense, and comfortable to hold.
Since these guns are so popular, they also have a lot of spare parts available online. You won’t be waiting three months for a replacement part from Italy if something does need to be changed out.
5. Smith & Wesson M&P 9M 2.0
This gun has a lot of perks for a gun owner, whether they’re experienced or brand new. They offer a grip you can change out, they’re not blocky like some other guns in the size range, and they offer a more natural point of aim than the Glock.
The M&P 9M 2.0 also offers interchangeable backstraps like Glocks, along with multiple options for sights or optics. For example, they offer a red dot addition.
They make guns with or without a thumb safety, which is a nice adaptability feature for people to adjust to their experience level. Someone with less experience might want more safety.
As a fun little side perk, this gun also comes in tan.
6. Smith & Wesson M&P Compact 2.0
This M&P Compact 2.0 is easy to conceal, but it still fits a wide variety of hands comfortably. It’s reliable, has a smooth trigger, points well, and doesn’t feel like you’re holding a block of wood in your hand.
This ergonomic gun design is a beautiful blend of practical functionality and comfort. When asked, a firearms trainer interviewed for this article said he prefers this gun to many other compacts because it doesn’t need an extension that can end up pinching. It’s exactly what he wanted to shoot. He said that if he had to pick one gun, this would be it.
It’s similar to the Glock 19 in size and capacity, with a 15-round magazine, but it offers the better angle in the grip that makes Smith & Wesson so attractive to many gun owners. It makes it easier to sight your target when you’re not holding up a brick.
The flashlight rail, various sights, back straps, red dot options, and other additional features draw in gun lovers who want something that feels good in their hands and still lets them work.
7. Walther PDP
The Walther PDP is an excellent choice for people who need a different grip. This gun is made to defy sweaty hands, with a top-tier level of grip texturing and slide serrations. The compact size doesn’t negatively impact how easy this gun is to handle, and it still has a 15-round capacity.
This gun is all about ergonomics. When people can’t find something that is comfortable to hold and shoot, they come to this gun and find true love. It’s a problem solver. It gives you the comfort and functionality of a full-size gun with a smaller grip.
For women in particular, this is an especially attractive gun. The compact size is easy to carry and work with, and the recoil isn’t overwhelming when the gun is secure in your hands.
If you like a red dot when you shoot, this gun is already ready for it. This only adds to the accuracy of this gun, which is already fantastic.
8. Ruger LC9S
One immediate attention-grabbing aspect of the Ruger LC9S is the price point. This gun is significantly less expensive than other guns on this list, which makes it more affordable and attractive to the average homeowner/gun owner.
Even if it isn’t the fanciest gun on the list, which makes sense because of it’s lower price point, the Ruger LC9S has several nice benefits. The LC9S has a comfortable trigger to pull, is easy to operate, easy to conceal, and is all around a very reliable gun
As one more fun aspect of this gun’s approachable, user-friendly design, it comes in a variety of colors. If you want a gun in blue, pink, turquoise, or an American Flag print, this gun has it. Nobody said you can’t have a fun-looking gun, right?
If you’re the kind of person who wants to conceal carry a turquoise and silver gun, you’re the kind of person with the confidence needed to be a gun owner. Never change.
9. Sig Sauer P365
This is a sub-compact gun, which translates to very, very small, but that is a bragging point for the Sig Sauer P365. This gun does what a big gun does without taking up all the space, it’s well made, it holds ten bullets, and it won’t let anybody bully it. Experienced gun owners and firearms trainers like it, and it has the respect of police officers around the world.
Before the P365, sub-compact guns were treated more like toys than actual serious weapons. They were too light, too small, and too hard to shoot. The P365 literally changed the game, bringing back the weight and functionality the category needed. This gun has become a top choice for a concealment gun in law enforcement because it operates so well.
If you need something just a little larger, but you love the P365, they also offer an XL option. This gun has a 12-round magazine capacity and offers a red-dot mount, which is ideal for home defense guns. While the primary use and benefit of this gun is concealed carry, which is why the tiny size is so valued, there’s nothing wrong with getting a larger one for home defense. After all, the best gun is the one you’re comfortable with.
The only downside to this legendary little gun is that it might be a struggle for large hands to hold. The XL addresses that problem, but some people would rather adjust the original 365. Because of this, it offers a grip extension to accommodate big hands.
Unfortunately, some gun enthusiasts said the extension can pinch your pinky when you shoot it. If you have big hands, try it before you buy it. This might be a better gun for smaller hands.
10. Sig Sauer 320
The Sig Sauer 320 has a lot of the attractive features of the P365 in a big package. For those with big hands or plenty of space to conceal carry, this is a better option. There are no pinky-pinching issues in this gun!
This gun is a great pick for big men and many women. It isn’t about gender, though! This is a question of carrying space. If someone is going to conceal carry the 320, they need a place to put it. Big people have the hip space to be comfortable, and women tend to carry purses that have nice concealed carry capacity.
This is a good option for small and large people because the full-sized gun gives less recoil than a smaller option. This gun won’t knock you over when you shoot it.
A lot of training can help someone learn to cope with recoil, but it’s nice to just avoid that recoil in the first place when you’re a more petite person. The other gun on this list that has that bragging right is #2 on our list, the Glock 17, and this Sig is definitely less blocky looking.
For a fun fact, the 320 is the standard military-issue gun. This gun has 17 round capacity, has a modular design that makes it easy to change or replace parts, and it has plenty of aftermarket parts available. It comes in stainless steel, coyote tan, and black, which doesn’t mean a lot in terms of functionality but is still fun to see.
Left-handed? No problem! The 320 has a left-handed grip option that can make your life easier. That isn’t an option on every gun!
Finally, the 320 does offer a silencer that can be a mercy for your family’s ears if you like shooting and you live in a state that allows silencers. However, you do need to know that a silencer on a gun can come with a lot of extra paperwork, so be prepared for that.
Regardless of the gun that you choose, as long as you put the effort into your research, you will be happy with your choice. Guns can be very serious though and shouldn’t be taken lightly. We encourage you to train often and to take classes from the professionals when you can. We hope our list of our 10 best 9mm handguns helps give you some direction or some clarity when it comes to purchasing your next handgun.