9mm handgun in shop display

The Best 9mm Handgun

Due to its size a 9mm handgun is now one of the most popular self-defense calibers for concealed and open carry. In this review we will look at a range of 9mm caliber handguns across all price ranges.

If you would like to skip the review and just go to the best compact 9mm handguns then here is a quick list.

The 9mm is a weapon that provides a good balance between ease of firing and stopping power. It is a lightweight pistol that has moderate recoil with less chance of over penetration.

Ammunition can be found nearly everywhere and comes in a variety of configurations, FMJ, hollow point and frangible.

So let’s take a closer look at the handguns in our list.

Smith & Wesson M&P9 2.0

There have been some changes made to Smith & Wessons M&P pistol hence the new model number 2.0 tacked onto the name. The changes are added frame strength, additional stippling around the grip with a heavy texture, beaver tail has been removed, small front serrations have been added and they slimmed down the top of the slide.
Smith & Wesson M&P9 2.0

Fully upgraded

Shoots smoothly and solid performer.
$484 at Brownells
Prices accurate at time of writing
This gun is comfortable and has a good feel in the hand. They shoot smoothly and once again this is a reliable compact 9mm worth every dollar.

Springfield Armory 9mm XD(M)

Priced less than the HK but similar to a Glock it's a great first gun to buy and a solid performing compact.
Springfield Armory 9mm XD(M)

Best value for the money

Solid performer packed with features.
$549 at Brownells
Prices accurate at time of writing
This handgun will give you the most value for you money. It is packed with features and shoots flawlessly. Great fun to shoot with.

Glock 19

Known for its reliability, the G19 is by far the most popular handgun in the United States. It is a striker fired polymer frame pistol that other handguns in the same class are compared to and sets the standard for this class of handgun.
Glock 19 9mm G5

The most popular 9mm handgun

A favorite with government and law enforcement agencies.
$559 at Brownells
Prices accurate at time of writing
The gen 5 Glock 19 can be configured with upgrades to the slide, barrel and grip. It also has a rail that allows a flashlight or other accessories to be attached.


The Heckler & Koch VP is an excellent choice for a striker fired weapon. It offers interchangeable backstraps and grip panels and has to be one of the more comfortable and smoothest 9mm pistols on the market.

Another favorite with the military.

Rivals Glock for features and reliability.
$633 at Brownells
Prices accurate at time of writing
Some of the features are a striker fired indicator, ambi controls, luminescent 3 - dot sights and a 5.4 pound trigger. There is also a VP9SK model that has the same features but in a smaller package. The Glock and HK feel different when fired but I cannot say one is better than the other.

Sig Sauer P365

The Sig Sauer P365 has been built to be as streamlined and snag free as possible. This model retains what we liked in prior models such as the flush-fit, 10-round magazine, reinforced polymer frame and stainless-steel slide.
Sig Sauer P365

Unique modular design

Can be customized to your needs, even the caliber can be changed.
$780 at Brownells
Prices accurate at time of writing
This is an excellent shooting pistol that is known for its ease of use, reliability, modularity and accuracy. It is a compact that can be quickly changed to meet your requirements and give you a custom handgun.

Ruger SR9c 9mm

This compact 9mm handgun comes in four versions. The versions differ in color and magazine size with one having a 17+1 round magazine.
Ruger SR9c

Has a 17+1 round magazine

Becoming a favorite with government and law enforcement agencies.
$433 at Brownells
Prices accurate at time of writing
This handgun is at the lower end of the price scale but performs well and gives you every thing you need in a compact 9mm handgun. Only one version has the 17+1 round magazine, the other versions have a 10+1 round magazine.

Video Reviews

Sig Sauer P365 review

Ruger review


Anyone looking for a compact defensive gun will be okay with any of the handguns mentioned in this article. These are some of the best guns in their class on the market. These compacts are about as big as you want for concealed carry, any larger and you will need to start making some adjustments to your clothing, such as an oversize shirt or untucked shirt.
If we have left out your favorite compact 9mm handgun let us know in the comments below and we may include it in our next update to this review.
Review Date
Reviewed Item
9mm handguns


  1. Two years ago I bought a new brand I had not heard of based on a review in an article I read. Best decision I ever made. I bought the Canik TP9 SFL. I love this gun. If you get the chance to try one do so. It will stand up with any of the others for about half the price.

  2. I carry a Glock 19 Gen 5. Lately I purchased a less exspensive Tarus G2C 9mm. This Pistol is very under rated. It will be my new CC.

  3. My favorite is a .38 spc. 2″ S&W model 15, loaded with super vel 125 gr +P . Works real well. Coyotes hate it, LOL.
    6 shots. It’s all you need, unless your a soldier down to his PD weapon. then a 19 or so capacity would be welcome.
    Around town, six should be enough for any Citizen in a jam.

  4. I notice that only one pistol on your list has a manual safety. Sorry Glock fan boys, I have owned and shot a Glock 19. Great pistol, probably the most reliable pistol made, BUT, I cannot justify carrying one in the chamber and no manual safety. training training training, Ok super instructor/training specialists even the best professional auto racing drivers can have accidents (on the track or in their family autos). In over 50 years of shooting, I have evolved to carrying a S&W Shield 2.0 (with manual safety and built on laser). To many reasons to mention why. Just a great, small, well made, easily carried, easy and comfortable to shoot, and accurate (the price is in my limitations also). All my shotguns and rifles have manual safeties and I use them. I have never HAD to draw my weapon, hope I never have to, but if I do, I am confident that I will be trained enough to use it properly (release the safety as I draw, which is a very important part of my training.

    1. Carry in a hard holster like alien gear. You can train all you want, having less steps when you’re fighting for your life is always going to be the best option. That manual safety may save your attacker some day

  5. CZ P10-C is hands down my favorite 9mm striker fired pistol. Blew my G-19 out of the water and the only real competition I’ve found to it is the VP9 and P320.

  6. I have a Springfield XD Subcompact 9mm and I love it! I have also owned a Springfield XDm 9mm. They make an excellent gun!

    1. Target practice it’s a cheap gun w/cheap ammo good to learn with. Some more expensive 22’s are for competition target shooters so there’s a wide range to choose from but mostly target shooting. If you get real good with it some hunt squirrels but you have to remember some 22 bullets can go forever seriously a mile or more so what goes up must come down you’ve got to be careful with any gun & once you fire that gun you own that bullet it’s an extension of you where it goes a tree a squirrel a home or worse someone a mile away can be injured or worse killed. I say this because I had a friend who was outside in his yard on the outskirts of a small rural town minding his own business one day goofing off playing around & was shot in the head instantly changed him from just a normal kid to a vegetable cause someone fired a 22 that was off target & severely charged him & his whole family’s life forever. Nobody knew where it came from no one heard the report of a gun & nobody could find a shell nobody owned up to it, so be careful those 22’s seem harmless & are a lot of fun but never just crack a round off if your not sure it will stop if ya miss with it practice practice practice till you can be sure it won’t hurt something it’s not intended for.

  7. I’d also like to mention the Canik TP9sfx costed 460 dollars out the door price l purchased a Freedomsmith racer trigger for it it is billet aluminum it costed 74 dollars shipped once installed l know of no striker fired handgun that comes close to trigger pull or reset the takeup is a tenth of a inch have been around guns since 1990 the only gun I’ve ever seen with a trigger that would be better than this is a well tuned 1911 or 2011 and it’s not striker fired even my Springfield XDM 5.25 competition with a powder river precision extreme trigger kit costing 165 dollars doesn’t even come close so l sold it and replaced it with the Canik TP9sfx and haven’t looked back or regretted it it’s that good guys

  8. While l don’t have a problem with any gun mentioned on this list l only really like 3 the Ruger SR9c, H&K VP9,Sig P320 l own a Ruger SR9c Walther PPQ didn’t make the list nor did Canik TP9sfx or elite or a Sar9 or Sig P365 l prefer these over the ones mentioned and own them but the good thing is in the US you can pick and choose what you like not everyone’s choices are going to be the same l do own a S&W Shield 9mm non 2.0 so l would consider it part of the M&P line to and like it to today we are living in a handgun paradise with so many manufacturers and model available from conceal carry to combat to competition and more l believe the Sar9 maybe the best handgun for your money spent it costed 330 dollars out the door have shot 700 rounds through it the grip feels like a H&K VP9 and l don’t feel like l am sacrificing anything it’s accurate comfortable to shoot and reliable the trigger and reset is also decent but changed the trigger to a Galloway precision trigger it costed 22.50 it now is every bit as good as a VP9 trigger total cost in it is 390 dollars like l said the gun is awesome and when considering the cost of it makes it even more so

    1. I have the hk vp9, the sig 320 and the walther ppq, and i gotta say the hk wins out, though its close. The hk is just so easy to shoot and clean, and the slide is the easiest to work on any handgun

  9. Of the guns on this list, the S&W M&P 2.0 line is by far the best in value, accuracy, reputation, and customer service. The grip texture is aggressive, no need for a stiple job, 19° grip angle is like the 1911, size and weight are great for IWB or OTW and 15+1 or 17+1 is just fine. The trigger for a polymer striker fire is excellent, mine breaking at just over 4 lbs and the short reset makes for great follow-up shots on the range or in a combat situation. The fact that you have steel sights that you can rack off your boot, belt, pocket, or whatever means great value. Steel insert in the frame pretty much mitigates or eliminates flexing. The backstrap is easily changed and the tool also serves as a detent for the slide for easy field stripping and maintenance. The fishscale slide serrations make for easy manipulation and a witness hole let’s you know if you have a round in the chamber under optimal conditions. An other words, M&P won me over with this line and will be on my hip for the foreseeable future as my primary, secondary, and the Shield is my tertiary with the M&P 15 Sport 2 over my shoulder when the zombie apocalypse comes, LMFAO. Sorry Glock fanboys but M&P Rulz.

  10. I would love to see/hear your review of the FNS-9C. I have done my own personal side-by-side “bake-off” against the M&P, Sig and Glock (in your review) and Im still in favor of my FN.

    1. Sorry man, glock is overrated. Not a bad gun by any means, but definitely overrated.

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