12 Best 9mm Pistols & Buyer’s Guide With Photos [2022]

It’s been a long time coming, so today, we’ll review the best 9mm pistols in 2022 that reign dominion over the firearms market....

pistols 9mm reviews
12 Best 9mm Pistols & Buyer’s Guide With Photos [2022]
Glock 17 G5Our Top Pick – Glock 17 G5Check Price
Smith _ Wesson M_P M2.0 Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Check Price
Walther PDP Optics Ready Walther PDP Optics Ready Check Price
CZ P-09 Pistol CZ P-09 Check Price
Sig Sauer P320 Compact Best Compact 9mm –Sig Sauer P320 CompactCheck Price
Glock 19 Gen5Glock 19 Gen5Check Price
Sig Sauer P365 XLSig Sauer P365 XLCheck Price
Springfield Armory XD-M EliteSpringfield Armory XD-M Elite CompactCheck Price
Smith _ Wesson M_P Shield PlusBest Subcompact 9mm – Smith & Wesson M&P Shield PlusCheck Price
Beretta PX4 Storm CompactBeretta PX4 Storm CompactCheck Price
Glock G43xGlock G43XCheck Price
Taurus GX4Taurus GX4Check Price


Whether you’re a new kid on the block, military veteran, tactical enthusiast, full-size elitist, or just a casual shooter looking for some fun at the shooting ranges, there’s nothing like the 9mm pistol.

The 9×19mm Parabellum, or 9mm Luger, has set a standard in firearms ever since the 1980s emergence of the “Wonder Nine” pistols. Moreover, the infamous 1986 Miami Shootout prompted the FBI’s switch from .40 caliber Smith & Wesson to semi-automatic 9mm guns and further pushed the growing popularity of these handguns.

What the 9mm offers is an ultimate package of firepower, affordability, and versatility that practically makes it a definite go-to pistol caliber for anyone.

It’s been a long time coming, so today, we’ll review the best 9mm pistols in 2022 that reign dominion over the firearms market.

I’ll cover a great selection of semi-automatic 9mm pistols and help you find the one that speaks to you. At the very least, I’ll hopefully guide you to making a better decision in purchasing your own.

I carefully selected and rounded them up in terms of concealability, accuracy and target acquisition, mag capacity, modularity, and ease of use.

Since it’s a massive niche, I broke these 9mm guns down into categories of full-size duty pistols, compact, and subcompact variants.

Let’s start with the full-sized 9mm pistols.

Best Full-Size 9mm Pistols

Our Top Pick – Glock 17 G5

Glock 17 G5


  • Magazine capacity: 17+1
  • Barrel length: 4.49 inches
  • Overall length: 7.95 inches
  • Weight: 24.97 inches
  • Finish: Black nDLC
  • Grips: Polymer
  • Sights: Fixed sights


  • Affordable with great value
  • Glock reliability and ease of use
  • Classic design
  • Straight grip design suitable for most
  • Massive aftermarket options
  • Lightweight for a full-size pistol
  • Largely available


  • Might be too big for some
  • Reliant on aftermarket customization

Let’s kick it off with the most prominent striker-fired pistol in modern firearms history. The Glock G17 Gen5 pretty much single-handedly skyrocketed Glock as a household name for many reasons.

While most would still prefer the Glock 17 Gen3, this specific Gen5 model has an enhanced accuracy with its Glock Marksmanship Barrel. Get yourself some sights or a pistol light, and you have an unbeatable pistol platform for home defense.

Glock 17 Gen 5 (3)

What makes this Gen5 Glock special is the lefty-friendly ambidextrous slide lock, the flared magazine for easy reloading, the corrosion and scratch-resistant nDLC finish, and of course, the superb ease of use with the front slide serrations.

Glock 17 Gen 5 (2)

Shooting the Glock 17 is a breeze, even without the finger grooves and backstrap customization. It’s pretty much the same as other Glocks, but most importantly, you can swap the mags with older models of similar size.

Once shunned in the 80s, the Glock 17’s polymer frame today perfectly incorporates a well-made design and contours for medium and larger hands. Additionally, it has a ~5.5-pound trigger pull, outstanding reliability, and a double-stack 17+1 round capacity.

Glock 17 Gen 5

Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0

Smith _ Wesson M_P M2.0


  • Magazine capacity: 17+1
  • Barrel length: 5 inches
  • Overall length: 8.5 inches
  • Weight: 30 ounces
  • Finish: Black Armornite
  • Grips: Synthetic
  • Sights: Fiber Optic Green front sight; Adjustable Fiber Optic Red rear sight


  • Smith & Wesson quality
  • Out-of-the-box shooting
  • Low recoil
  • Reinforced polymer frame with Corrosion resistant Armornite finish
  • Loaded chamber indicator
  • Interchangeable palm swell inserts
  • Comes with two magazines


  • Stock sights aren’t windage adjustable

Coming in at a close second, we have the US-made Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 (Military and Police) striker-fired, semi-automatic, 9mm pistol.

S&W M&P 2.0 Compact Pistol (4)

First introduced in 2005, the Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 duty pistol is a common recommendation for first-time shooters who are looking for a straightforward, out-of-the-box shooting experience.

S&W M&P 2.0 Compact Pistol (3)

As an ever-present contender to the Glock 17, this full-size modern polymer pistol comes with similar front slide serrations, a stainless-steel slide chassis, and a very crisp trigger pull with an audible trigger reset.

S&W M&P 2.0 Compact Pistol (2)

Though it’s heavier than the G17, what you get is excellent grip texture and ergonomics as well as plenty of customization opportunities to turn it into a sporting and competition shooter.

There’s a Picatinny rail under the barrel for your lights and lasers. Moreover, the green and red fiber optic sights offer decent target acquisition, while the low barrel bore axis reduces muzzle flip. These features offer faster follow-up shots, faster aim recovery, and an edge in home defense.

This 17-round capacity pistol isn’t as popular as its subcompact variant, the M&P Shield (which we’ll talk about soon), but it’s still an excellent full-sized pistol that’s made for rapid shooting.

S&W M&P 2.0 Compact Pistol

Walther PDP Optics Ready

Walther PDP Optics Ready


  • Magazine capacity: 18+1
  • Barrel length: 4.5 inches
  • Overall length: 8 inches
  • Weight: 25.4 ounces
  • Finish: Black
  • Grips: Polymer
  • Sights: 3-Dot sights


  • Excellent Walther ergonomics
  • 5.6-pound Performance Duty trigger
  • Optics Ready model suitable for a plethora of sights
  • Whopping 18-round capacity
  • Compatible with PPQ M2 magazines
  • Different barrel lengths available


  • Really aggressive slide serrations
  • Trigger guard flare might be big for some
New Walther PDP Pistol Review (9)

We saw the Austrian Glock and the American S&W full-sized handguns. Now, let’s talk about one of the most popular German 9mm pistols—the Walther PDP. The PDP stands for “Personal Defense Pistol,” so you know it’s a modern semi-automatic duty pistol.

What I most like about the PDP is that it comes in many variants, such as the Compact version. It also offers different magazine capacities and has different barrel lengths, ranging from 4-, 4.5-, and 5-inch barrels.

Walther PDP Pistol grip
Walther PDP Pistol grip

Specifically, the Walther PDP Optics Ready really caught my eye, and with a 4.5-inch barrel, it’s really a golden middle ground for a full-size duty pistol. The 3-Dot/Optics Ready sights with a windage-adjustable rear sight allows you to fully unlock its potential by installing some high-quality red dot sights.

While some feel that the SuperTerrain slide serrations are a bit aggressive, the overall ergonomics and contours offer a very stable shooting and control.

Walther PDP review Pistol trigger
Walther PDP Pistol trigger

With your Walther PDP purchase, you get a factory backstrap, a beaver tail, and two stainless steel 18-round magazines.

While Walther thrives on the success of the Walther PPQ or the Walther PPK’s historical and iconic significance, the Walther PDP fills the boots of a full-size pistol for self-defense.

CZ P-09

CZ P-09 Pistol


  • Magazine capacity: 19+1
  • Barrel length: 4.53 inches
  • Overall length: 8.1 inches
  • Weight: 29.6 ounces
  • Finish: Black
  • Grips: Polymer /w interchangeable backstraps
  • Sights: Fixed 3-Dot


  • Tactical and moddable pistol package
  • Great price
  • 19+1 round capacity is one of the largest on this list
  • Minimal recoil
  • Sizable, comfortable grip
  • Comes with interchangeable backstraps and two baseplates


  • Extra magazines are expensive
  • Long trigger reset
  • Not many aftermarket parts

Notice how I mentioned different manufacturers from different countries? Well, here’s a Czech one, just for good measure. The CZ P-09 is a modernized take on the almighty CZ 75.

It’s a vastly more straightforward 9mm platform in a polymer frame that goes full tactical with its Picatinny rail, swappable safeties, two baseplates, and two interchangeable backstraps. You know it’s a full-size pistol made to be tailored to your style.

CZ P-09 Full Size 9mm (3)

Having said that, the flush-fi, 19-round, double-stack magazine is what makes the CZ P-09 stand out from the rest of the big ones.

Despite the long trigger reset, the DA/SA design offers you a solid shooting experience, and it can eat anything you feed it—from highly powerful self-defense rounds to lighter FMJs for target practice.

CZ P-09 Full Size 9mm (2)

In conclusion, this is what makes it a solid competitor to the Glock, Walther, and Smith & Wesson, if not a bit underrated. Though the aftermarket parts for the CZ P-09 are relatively hard to find, it’s viable enough as a concealed carry handgun. The platform does allow you to turn it into a home defense gun.

CZ P-09 Full Size 9mm

Best Compact 9mm Pistols

Sig Sauer P320 Compact

Sig Sauer P320 Compact


  • Magazine capacity: 15+1
  • Barrel length: 3.9 inches
  • Overall length: 7.2 inches
  • Weight: 25.8 ounces
  • Finish: Black
  • Grips: Standard Polymer SIG Sauer Grips
  • Sights: SigLight Night Sights


  • High-quality compact 9mm pistol
  • Outstanding reliability
  • Decent ergonomics for medium-sized hands
  • U.S. Army-approved
  • Modular for red dot sights


  • Large for a compact pistol
  • No grip safety
  • Gritty trigger

The SIG Sauer P320 is one of the most sought-after CCW pistols that really stands out as a well-balanced, do-it-all pistol. This is the same gun that won the US Army Service Pistol contract, surpassing the Beretta APX in that race.

Sig Sauer P320 X-Compact

The SIG Sauer P320 is a striker-fired, double-action pistol that’s built from the ground up. It has a stainless steel slide with a corrosion-resistant Nitron finish and a 3-point takedown safety system for easy disassembly and manipulation.

The trigger has a consistent pull, despite being a bit gritty. Additionally, there’s also one with contrasting sights, but this specific variant comes with SigLight Night Sights that offer great target acquisition.

Sig Sauer P320 X-Compact (3)

While the SIG Sauer P320 Compact is categorized for self-defense, it’s designed to be as modular as possible, as can be seen from the slightly bigger frame when compared to most 9mm compacts.

The Integral M1913 rail has a modular frame that lets you easily change grip sizes. It also supports straightforward disassembly, so you can easily switch to other calibers like the .40 S&W and the .45 ACP.

Sig Sauer P320 X-Compact (2)

Glock 19 Gen5

Glock 19 Gen5


  • Magazine capacity: 15+1
  • Barrel length: 4 inches
  • Overall length: 7.28 inches
  • Weight: 23.63 ounces
  • Finish: Black nDLC
  • Grips: Polymer
  • Sights: Fixed sights


  • One of the best compact Glock pistols
  • Highly reliable and accurate
  • Ergonomic and easy to conceal
  • Massive aftermarket options
  • Minimal recoil


  • Besides maybe aesthetic reasons, none really

Since its release way back in ‘88, the Glock 19 has been a target of ridicule because it’s one of the first striker-fired pistols to get the polymer treatment. After some years, its surprising reliability and accuracy finally got the acknowledgment it deserves. Even the U.S. Navy SEALs adopted a reworked Army model.

Glock 19 Gen 5 (2)

Today’s Glock G19 Gen5 model incorporates fine grip textures and no longer has those annoying grooves found on older models. It doesn’t have an external manual safety, as seen on most Glock pistols, but it has a firing pin, drop, and trigger safety.

Based on Gaston Glock’s G17 design, the Glock 19 is a pioneer of the “compact pistol” variant, and its sheer popularity allows for a world of aftermarket parts, which makes it a perfect multi-purpose handgun.

Shooting the Glock 19 is super fun. Without an external hammer, you get a consistent double-action 5.5-pound trigger pull.

In a nutshell, the only difference that sets it apart from the Glock 17 is the reduced 15-round mag capacity and a frame that’s suited for a more compact and easily concealable platform.

The recoil is minimal with the right 9mm ammo boxes. I like the Blazer 115-Grain FMJ, Federal 124-Grain FMJ, or Winchester 115-Grain FMJ.

Sig Sauer P365 XL

Sig Sauer P365 XL


  • Magazine capacity: 12+1
  • Barrel length: 3.7 inches
  • Overall length: 6.6 inches
  • Weight: 20.7 ounces
  • Finish: Black Nitron
  • Grips: Polymer
  • Sights: X-RAY 3 Day/Night Sights


  • Well-made trigger
  • Lightweight and compact
  • High-capacity magazine
  • Multiple variants available
  • Comes with two 12-round magazines


  • Not as concealable as other models
  • Early models plagued by safety issues

Introduced in 2017, the SIG Sauer P365 quickly made waves in the EDC pistol market, spawning more subcompact models like the P365 Nitron or the slimmer, snag-free P365 SAS.

Sig P365 XL (2)

The P365 XL has a 12-round capacity in a single-stack frame that’s slimmer and smaller than a Glock 43. SIG Sauer took their time to get the blueprint right, as the trigger went through a lot of redesigns before achieving a crisp, Glock-like trigger pull with a smooth travel.

Despite the high capacity, it’s a well-balanced combination of power and size. It’s a popular concealed carry pistol, so you can find countless IWB holsters for it.

What I most like about the SIG P365 XL are its factory sights. They’re X-RAY night sights that allow fast target acquisition and are so visible and convenient that you’d think twice about red dot sights.

Sig P365 XL

In regard to aftermarket upgrades, I recommend you don’t touch a thing besides maybe new grips or perhaps a 15-round extended magazine.

A word of advice: SIG Sauer warns that the first models had a multitude of safety issues, so I recommend you steer clear of older used models you might find in pawn shops.

Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Compact

Springfield Armory XD-M Elite


  • Magazine capacity: 14+1
  • Barrel length: 3.8 inches
  • Overall length: 6.75 inches
  • Weight: 27.5 ounces
  • Finish: Black Melonite
  • Grips: Polymer
  • Sights: Fiber Optic front sights, U-Dot rear sights


  • Modern aesthetics
  • Anti-corrosion Melonite finish
  • Fantastic DA/SA trigger
  • Great factory sights
  • Ergonomics suitable for larger hands


  • External safety might be annoying for some

Well known for their Hellcats, Springfield Armory gives us another great 9mm pistol; the Springfield XD-M Elite Compact.

Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 4.5 (2)

The XD-M Elite Compact is a striker-fired pistol with a fancy Melonite finish and a grip safety that feels like a 1911 in a modern self-defense platform. It’s a very promising subvariant that’s made to shoot straight out of the box.

Although it’s blockier than a Glock, it has the Goldilocks grips with a perfect texture that offers excellent control and footing for medium-sized hands. Disassembly is easy as long as you properly clean and oil it once in a while.

The highlight is the special Match Enhanced Trigger Assembly (META) trigger with a crisp, short trigger pull and a noticeable trigger reset. Thanks to the double and single-action system, you can swap between lighter trigger pulls or pull the hammer back between shots.

Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 4.5

While some might not like the external safeties, all the controls are in the right place, and the front and rear cocking serrations offer easy operation.

With your purchase, you get two flush-fit magazine base plates, three interchangeable backstraps that fill your hands, and a removable magwell.

Best Subcompact 9mm Pistols

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus

Smith _ Wesson M_P Shield Plus

Pistol Specifications:

  • Magazine capacity: 13+1
  • Barrel length: 3.1 inches
  • Overall length: 6.1 inches
  • Weight: 17.9 ounces
  • Finish: Armornite
  • Grips: Polymer
  • Sights: White Dot front; White 2-Dot rear sights


  • Reliable Smith & Wesson design
  • Ergonomically enhanced
  • Great flat-face trigger with audible reset
  • Moderate recoil
  • Aftermarket abundance


  • Annoying gap between the extended mag and the mag well
  • Not entirely compatible with a Shield model

Instead of a Smith & Wesson Shield, I have to give this one to the Shield Plus. It’s a fantastic improvement and a definite successor to the beloved and highly popular Shield platform.

S&W M&P Shield Plus review (4)

Unveiled in mid-2021, it’s mainly inspired by the new wave of subcompacts that shake the firearms industry, like the Canik TP9 Elite SC, the Ruger Max-9, or the Heckler & Koch VP9SK.

The Shield Plus has a high-quality Armornite finish and an enhanced grip texture with an 18-degree grip angle that’s thicker and more aggressive than the G43X, for example.

S&W M&P Shield Plus review grip (3)

The crisp trigger with an audible reset and a 6-pound pull is flat-faced, which a lot of folks love in this recoil-operated platform.

What makes the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus so special is the so-called “staggered stack” column design that grants it a 13-round capacity while the frame is compact for a concealed carry pistol. There’s also a 10-round California-compliant variant that weighs as much as a Glock 43X, give or take.

S&W M&P Shield Plus review grip (2)

Simply put, if you ever wanted a small EDC pistol with more bullets to shoot, now’s your chance.

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact


  • Magazine capacity: 15+1
  • Barrel length: 3.27 inches
  • Overall length: 6.8 inches
  • Weight: 27 ounces
  • Finish: Black
  • Grips: Polymer with interchangeable backstraps
  • Sights: 3-Dot


  • High-quality Beretta design
  • Lightweight and snag-free for quick-draw CCW
  • Reliable and not picky with 9mm ammo
  • Aftermarket abundance
  • Ambidextrous safeties


  • Factory grips might not be for everyone

Most folks own a full-size pistol model from the Beretta 92 Series, which leads me to believe that the Beretta PX4 Storm Compact is unfairly overshadowed.

Beretta Px4 Storm Compact (2)

Don’t let the name fool you; it’s a subcompact. If you’re looking for a snag-free 9mm pistol for EDC purposes, the Beretta PX4 Storm Compact might do the trick.

With a consistent, old-school Beretta DA/SA trigger, 15-round capacity, and a rotating barrel system that reduces recoil, the PX4 Storm Compact brings you a new dimension in concealed carry shooting.

The polymer frame is designed for both left- and right-handed users, and it has ergonomics suitable for medium-sized hands. The original grips are nothing special, but you can find a couple of great aftermarket ones, including the Talon Grips with more aggressive texturing.

Beretta Px4 Storm Compact

The safeties include a slide-mounted decocker, interchangeable magazine release, and an ambidextrous slide lock that requires some index finger action instead of using your thumb. Either way, it’s pretty easy to get the hang of it.

Obviously, the PX4 Storm Compact is made for versatility that caters to most users’ shooting styles, and it still retains its reliability, despite the highly modular construction. There’s a .40 Smith & Wesson model that’s also available.

Glock G43X

Glock G43x


  • Magazine capacity: 10+1
  • Barrel length: 3.41 inches
  • Overall length: 6.5 inches
  • Weight: 16.4 ounces
  • Finish: Black nDLC
  • Grips: Polymer
  • Sights: Fixed Glock sights


  • It’s a Glock with familiar controls
  • Unmatched reliability
  • Front and rear cocking serrations
  • Interchangeable parts with Glock 43
  • Isn’t aftermarket-reliable in comparison to other Glocks


  • Difficult to find a holster for it
  • 10-round capacity

I promise this is the last Glock on this list.

Glock 43X (6)

The Glock 43X is strikingly (pun intended) similar to a G48, only it’s smaller and much more effective as a concealed carry weapon.

Expect fun shooting sessions without worrying too much about failures. The factory trigger allows quick follow-up shots, and though the recoil can kick a bit, it’s easy to get used to it. It can eat anything but prefers 115-Grain boxes, as far as I’m concerned.

You got your front and rear cocking serrations just for good measure, and the grips aren’t too bad either.

While you can find truckloads of Glock 43x upgrades, the G43X is a platform made to shoot immediately with only its factory parts. Sadly, since it has a different frame than a G43, there are not many holster options.

Glock 43X Trigger

What Glock wanted to do with the G43X was put another subcompact high-capacity pistol into the race just to diversify the market a little. The Glock 43 was already a good one, but the six-round capacity was probably bothering some, so they turned it up to 10.

Taurus GX4

Taurus GX4


  • Magazine capacity: 11+1
  • Barrel length: 3.06 inches
  • Overall length: 5.8 inches
  • Weight: 18.5 ounces
  • Finish: Satin black DLC
  • Grips: Polymer
  • Sights: Fixed steel white dot front sights; Serrated, drift-adjustable rear sights


  • Great price
  • Beveled, snag-free edges suitable for EDC
  • Great trigger with a 6-pound pull
  • Easy to use
  • Recommended for medium-sized hands
  • Includes a pistol case, two 11-round magazines, and extra backstraps


  • No optics plate included (besides the Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O.)

While Taurus isn’t known for top-notch pistol parts, they upped the ante with their overall quality. People seem to like the newer models like the Taurus GX4, and for good reasons too.

overhead taurus gx4

The Taurus GX4 micro-compact semi-automatic pistol is built for concealed-carry purposes. It’s an inch wide but boasts a high capacity, similar to the Shield Plus and the Ruger Max-9.

Featuring a recoil pad, beveled edges, an easy takedown pin, and a nifty little flat-face trigger with serrations for added control, it offers a very comfortable shooting experience for a low price.

holding taurus gx4 in hand
Holding the Taurus GX4 at SHOT Show 2022

A stainless steel frame, slide, and barrel keep the Brazilian construction together, and the DLC coating is a solid finish for a gun with this price tag. There’s no optics plate for your red dot sights, but that’s what the Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O. is for.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive, extra-small subcompact pistol, the Taurus GX4 is an overlooked little number that offers more than it promises.

Buyer’s Guide for the Best 9mm Pistols

I’m sure that many will find their style in these pistols, be it self-defense and CCW, home defense, military combat, or shooting gallery fun.

If you want a newer model, it’s a good idea to keep a clear head. While the newest features may seem very attractive at first, you need to wait until they find the bugs and tweak out all the issues before you consider a purchase.

Just take a look at the SIG Sauer P238. The first models had defective safeties, which prompted a recall before they fixed it and turned it into a superb conceal carry weapon. Even the Smith & Wesson’s Shield EZ reportedly shot more than one bullet after a trigger pull.

What’s important is you try one out at the shooting range and see how it feels in your hand. Is the recoil too much? Is the take-down process too complicated? You get the picture.

Before we let you in on a couple of tips for 9mm pistol shopping, let’s clear up some things.

The Difference Between Full-Sized, Compact, and Subcompact 9mm Pistols

There’s no clear line, but here are some main differences between a full-size, compact, and a subcompact pistol.

Full-Size Pistols

A full-size pistol has a barrel length from 4 to 5 inches. You have your full-size, single-stack pistols that hold around 10 bullets, or a double-stack magazine that can hold even more.

To differentiate, let’s use Glocks as an example. The Glock 17 perfectly fits the category of a full-size handgun.

Compact Pistols

A compact pistol is smaller than a full-size, and the barrel length goes from around 3.5 to 4.5 inches.

Most compact pistols also have a smaller frame, are easy to conceal, and won’t print under your clothing. Manufacturers make them thinner, so they usually have fewer bullets than full-size pistols.

A good example of a compact pistol is the Glock 19, Glock 17’s little brother.

Subcompact Pistols

The smallest category of pistols is the subcompact, and they have between 3- and 4-inch barrels. They hold fewer bullets than compact pistols and are usually used for deep concealment and EDC.

When talking about subcompacts, a Glock 26 comes to mind.

Ergonomics and Grips

Holding the gun is 95% of the whole experience. You need to make sure the grip textures, contours, and placement of the safeties are up to your standards and personal satisfaction.

Proper target practice means spending long hours at the shooting ranges, and you don’t want anything to feel weird or strain your palm. Even the slightest inconvenience can quickly become really annoying.

Look for pistols with replaceable grips that would complement recoil control. Some folks like straight grips, others like a different grip angle, grooved, or slightly curved. What’s important is that they need to fit perfectly in the palm of your hand.

Overall Construction, Durability, and Weight

When semi-automatic 9mm pistols are in question, you can either go for stainless steel or polymer frames.

Stainless steel pistols are durable and look very cool but are quite often heavy.

Polymer constructions are really lightweight, and they perfectly house EDC pistols.

Today’s technology utilizes melonite, nDLC, and other fancy finishes that protect the gun from corrosion.

I’m convinced that all of these pistols have great durability, and mechanism malfunctions rarely occur due to fragile polymer moving parts.

Get yourself a stainless steel Browning Hi-Power if you want something really cool. It’s a classic semi-automatic pistol. FN Herstal has an improved version that also works like clockwork.

Action Type and Trigger

There are single-action or double-action semi-automatic pistols.

Single-action pistols need you to pull the hammer before you pull the trigger to shoot. They have a very light trigger pull. This is the landscape of striker-fired pistols.

Double-action (D/A) pistols pull the hammer back at your first trigger pull, then release the hammer to fire once you pull the trigger a second time. D/A triggers don’t need you to pull the hammer back.

How the trigger feels also dictates your shooting experience to an extent. You must consider the trigger pull, travel, and whether the reset is audible enough for you.

For casual shooters, I recommend shorter trigger pulls. On the other hand, pistols with longer trigger pulls prevent accidental discharge, and that’s why police officers use D/A.

Aftermarket Support

Some casual shooters don’t want to pay more for upgrades, but if you’re willing to tweak your 9mm pistol, look for modular ones with Picatinny mounting rails for your flashlights and optics.

Evaluate whether or not you just want a pistol that shoots straight out of the box like a Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Compact and the Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P 9 M2.0, or you’re looking for something that you can turn into a tank.

While extended magazines offer more bullets, new sights and optics offer great for target acquisition, and new grips offer better stability, you need to consider the holster.

The holster you choose is very important, especially if you want to go for something that can be used as EDC for self-defense. Trust me; you don’t want to spend money on a gun that doesn’t fit a holster of your choice.


The 9mm semi-automatic pistol is a reliable, well-made machine. While the 9mm bullet has less recoil than most calibers, it’s still powerful enough to stop assailants, small enough for the 10+ round capacity, and it’s cheap and almost always available.

All of these 9mm pistols are someone’s first choice among gun owners, and most of you might already own a bunch of them.

You can never go wrong with the good old Glock 19, a Sig Sauer P320 Compact, or a Sig Sauer P365 XL. They are legendary firearms tested and proven time and time again, and there’s a good reason why people buy the same gun despite having one already.

Note that I only listed semi-automatic 9mm pistols. Perhaps I’ll follow it up with a full handgun guide that also covers 9mm revolvers in the near future.

Until then, stay safe and shoot straight.


Hi there, I'm Brady and I'm the owner of GunMade.com. I have been an avid gun enthusiast and hunter since I moved to the Midwest over 15 years ago. It's my passion to share my knowledge and expertise to help you find the best guns in your price range.

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