The 9mm tends to be my first choice of weapon when it comes to self-defense. However, I soon found that these models were not very beginner-friendly. Thus, I realized the need for 9mm pistols that performed as great at the range as they did on the streets.
So, I decided to take matters in my own hands. You’ll find that there are various types of 9mm handguns in the industry. Most folks choose these according to their personal preference. Hence, it’s difficult to pinpoint the best 9mm pistols.
Still, I’ve found the 10 best 9mm pistols that can help you amp up your shooting game. Check them out below!
At a Glance: Our 6 Best 9mm Pistols & Handguns
- Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm Pistol
- Taurus Millennium G2 9mm Luger Pistol
- Ruger SR9 Centerfire 9mm Luger Pistol
- Smith & Wesson M&P Semiautomatic 9mm Pistol
- Glock Gen 3 Sub-Compact G26 9mm Semiautomatic Pistol
- Beretta 92 FS INOX Series 9mm Pistol
Overview: Best 9mm Pistols & Handguns
|SMITH & WESSON M&P SHIELD 9MM PISTOL|
|Check Best Price|
|TAURUS MILLENNIUM G2 9MM LUGER PISTOL||Check Best Price|
|RUGER SR9 CENTERFIRE 9MM PISTOL||Check Best Price|
|SMITH & WESSON M&P SEMIAUTOMATIC 9MM PISTOL||Check Best Price|
|GLOCK GEN 3 SUB-COMPACT G26 9MM SEMIAUTOMATIC PISTOL||Check Best Price|
|BERETTA 92 FS INOX SERIES 9MM PISTOL||Check Best Price|
Our Top Choice
My top choice is undoubtedly the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm pistol. I found it to be quite lightweight and compact. It was extremely easy to carry around. Furthermore, the gun was quite easy to maintain and clean due to the No Tool TakeDown System which allowed easier disassembly.
Moreover, it came with two different magazines, one of which had extended capacity. The stainless steel chassis grants it durability which increases the overall longevity.
Why the 9mm is the Best Caliber for Pistols
You’ll find a wide variety of about 200 different calibers for pistols and handguns. However, there are a few that are more popular than others. These are:
- 9mm Luger
- .380 ACP
- .40 S&W
- .22 long rifle.
- .45 ACP
Among these, the 9mm is the best popular caliber and is used by many folks around the world. The 9mm caliber pistols are suited to beginners and experienced professionals alike. They are widely used in the law enforcement agencies as well as a conceal and carry weapon.
Because it is so popular, it is easily available in the market. Down on ammo? chances are you will always find some at your nearest shooting store. Moreover, it is quite easy to handle, especially for newbies. This is due to the minimal recoil and kickback. It might not pack as much power as a .45 or .40 but it is compact and lightweight.
These 9mm pistols are the easiest to control. Since the 9mm ammo is smaller in size, you can fit more rounds in the magazine. As a result, you can always accurately hit the target.
Also, the larger pistols come with larger grips which make it harder for those with small hands to grab them. A softer recoil makes it easier to follow up shots quicker. This way you can fire rapidly which is quite important when using a handgun for self-defense purposes.
How to Choose the Best Handgun for Yourself
Below is a complete and comprehensive guide to help you choose the best handgun for yourself:
Comfort and Ergonomics
When you take a pistol to the range, you need to ensure that it is comfortable. A gun that is easier to shoot provides you with a ton of different benefits. The main reason is that it allows you to train more. Think about it! Would you shoot more if every shot hurt your hand? Of course not!
On the other hand, if the pistol is easier to shoot with, you could shoot many shots before feeling fatigued. Intensive pistol training courses might ask you to go through 200–1000 rounds in a single session. If your gun is uncomfortable, then you would perform poorer.
Thus, I recommend that you go for a gun that has a textured grip and is comfortable.
If you’re going through 200 rounds in a day, then you might need to reload often. However, if you have a large magazine capacity, then that would reduce the need to reload. Fewer reloads are better as it means you can easily perform better. Generally, 9mm pistols can hold about 18 rounds in a magazine.
You’ll find some that can hold 6 or 7 as well. I recommend going with a pistol that is smaller yet holds maximum rounds.
Another important factor to consider is the Handgun size. I, personally recommend a full-size gun that has a barrel length of about 5 inches. In addition, you’ll find that the larger mass makes it easier to absorb the recoil.
Furthermore, the grip area is much larger than the smaller ones. However, after you’re done with your training, you might want to try the more compact size.
For training, I recommend going with as many safety features as possible. Generally, this includes a trigger safety, thumb safety, and even internal safety locking mechanism. However, remember not to rely completely on these features. Your mind is the best safety!
Another remarkable safety feature is the drop safety. This prevents your gun from disengaging in case you drop it.
If you choose to use the gun as a conceal and carry pistol later, then you might want to go with a pistol that has minimal external safety features. In a life and death situation, forgetting to disengage your safety can seriously put you at a disadvantage.
I highly recommend practicing with night sights that allow you to safely encounter any threats in dimly lit locations. Most guns usually include both front and rear sights. Some of these are fixed whereas others are adjustable. I recommend going for adjustable sights as it makes it easier to customize according to your preferences.
Hammer Fire vs. Striker Fire
Hammer Fire: Hammer fire action includes a hammer that drops on the primer on your bullet much like a revolver. Many handguns and pistols include hammer fire action as well. A semi-automatic gun allows you or the trigger to cock the hammer before firing. This allows you to easily press the trigger as it lightens the load on the trigger.
Striker Fire: When you rack the slider, an internal slider is cocked instead of a hammer. There is no way to decock the striker. You can only decock it by shooting the gun. Moreover, they are faster as you don’t waste time in cocking or decocking.
I highly recommend the Striker fire gun when training as the trigger pull is easier and consistent.
Single Action vs. Double Action
Single Action: In single-action guns, the trigger of the gun performs only a single action. This includes firing the hammer. They require you to cock the gun manually.
Double Action: In these handguns, the trigger cocks the hammer and fires it as well. The double action makes it harder to pull the trigger. However, it is easier and faster. In self-defense cases, I highly recommend going with a double action handgun.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Since you might be shooting a lot, you need to ensure the gun is easy to clean and maintain. If not cleaned properly and regularly, you might run the risk of residue inside the chamber. This can clog the bullets and cause misfires.
Ensure that it is easy to disassemble and does not include complex parts. I recommend going for one that requires no additional tools to disassemble or assemble.
Top 6 Best 9mm Pistols
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm Pistol — Best 9mm Pistol Overall
If you’re looking for a lightweight and accurate weapon to shoot with at the range, it doesn’t get better than the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm Pistol. With superior reliability and performance, it always packs a punch whenever you shoot.
- Comes with two magazines
- Consistent trigger pulls as well as a short trigger reset
- Patented M&P No Tool Takedown System
- Polymer frame with stainless steel chassis
What Other Users Are Saying
Most shooters quite enjoyed the lightweight and compact design of the gun. They found it made it easier to carry around all day. Furthermore, they noted that the gun was quite easy to maintain and clean, especially due to the patented takedown lever. This lever allowed for easier disassembly without needing you to pull the trigger.
What’s more, the solid steel construction grants the gun better reliability and performance. Moreover, users found that the gun was Striker-fired which allowed them to shoot with a small push on the trigger. Other than that, users loved that it came with two separate magazines.
One of them is a 6- to 7-round version which fits snugly into the base of the grip. On the other hand, the second magazine has an extended capacity of 7 to 8 rounds and includes an extended finger rest.
Watch the full-time review here:
- Easy to clean, maintain, and disassemble
- Lightweight and compact which makes it easier to carry around all day
- Solid and rugged polymer and stainless steel construction
- Accurate and easy to shoot with a consistent trigger pull
- Includes two different magazines, one with extended capacity
- Cannot be decocked without taking the chamber out
- The narrow size might make it harder to use loaders
Overall Rating: 4.9
All in all, the Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol is perfect for shooting at the range. With little to no recoil, it is the perfect fit for beginners and professionals likewise. An easy to clean and simple design are the main highlights of the 9mm pistol.
Taurus Millennium G2 9mm Luger Pistol — Best value for Money
Known as one of the best 9mm pistols on the market, the Taurus Millennium G2 9mm Pistol includes a lightweight and slim design that makes it perfect for range shooting. Furthermore, it is accurate and reliable as it includes front as well as rear sights.
- Includes a loaded chamber indicator and a Taurus Security System
- 22 oz. polymer frame with a 2-inch barrel
- Fixed front sights as well as two adjustable rear sight dots
- Also includes a textured grip and an accessory rail
What Other Users Are Saying
With a textured grip, most users found that the gun was quite easy to hold and fire. Its lightweight design made it easier for them to practice for hours on end, without experiencing hands strain. Moreover, they found that the thin barrel made it easier to conceal and carry whenever they wanted to.
The Taurus Security System helps you secure your pistol and lock it with just a turn of the key. This means when the security system is engaged, not even the safety switch can be turned off. Another feature that most users loved was the loaded chamber indicator. As a result, you can find whether the chamber is currently loaded or not with a simple glance.
That aside, users found that the accessory rail was excellent. Furthermore, they admired how the gun allowed you to be extremely accurate at the range with fixed front sights and adjustable rear sights.
For more information:
- Textured grip and lightweight, compact design make it easy to carry and hold
- Includes a security system that makes it safer
- Allows you to find out whether the chamber is loaded at a single glance
- Includes an accessory rail so you can add as many as you like
- Multiple sights allow for better target acquisition
- The trigger is a little harder to use
- The side release lever is difficult to release
Overall Rating: 4.8
Overall, the Taurus Millennium G2 pistol ensures that your gun remains completely safe and secure. In addition, the pistol is perfect for accurate target shooting at the range due to multiple sights.
Ruger SR9 Centerfire 9mm Pistol
The Ruger SR9 is the perfect semi-automatic pistol for shooting at the range. A little larger in size than the previous pistols, it packs power and ensures that no target ever escapes your shots. Durable, reliable, and lightweight, it is everything you need and more.
- Includes ambidextrous manual safety as well as a magazine release
- Adjustable sights along with an accessory rail
- Brushed Stainless steel frame with a glass filled nylon grip
- Reversible backstrap and magazine disconnect
What Other Users Are Saying
Most users found that the Ruger SR9 is quite ergonomic and sleek. With a 4.15-inch barrel as well as a 7.5-inch length, the model is not quite compact. Yet, it still is easy to carry due to its light weight of 26.5 ounces. On the other hand, the larger design meant more magazine capacity. The Ruger includes an impressive magazine capacity of about 17–18 rounds.
Furthermore, the manual safety and the magazine release are ambidextrous. As a result, everyone can use them without worrying about their dominant hand. In addition, the nylon grip is quite durable and makes for a comfortable fit. Also, the adjustable sights and the accessory rail allow you to customize your pistol according to your preferences.
Lastly, users were impressed by the reversible magazine disconnect and backstrap which made it easier to use. Made in the US, it is bound to last you a lifetime of service.
Watch how it performs:
- Lightweight and easy to grip
- Includes a large magazine capacity of 17–18 rounds
- Left-handed users can use the pistol with ease
- Includes durable and rugged materials such as nylon and stainless steel
- Allows you to customize the pistol with an accessory rail and adjustable sights
- Not too compact
- Older ammo may not eject very cleanly out of the chamber
Overall Rating: 4.7
The Ruger SR9 is perhaps the best 9mm pistol due to its durability and remarkable magazine capacity. Its design includes lightweight yet durable materials that increase the longevity of the pistol. Its cons aside, it can serve you quite well at the range.
Smith & Wesson M&P Semiautomatic 9mm Pistol, Carry and Range Kit
If you’re looking for the complete package at the range, the Smith & Wesson Carry and Range Kit might serve you the best. Its unbeatable ergonomic design, as well as various accessories, make it easier for you to shoot for hours on end.
- Includes a Picatinny accessory rail for scope and laser mounting
- Stainless steel barrel design and a Black Armorite Polymer grip
- Includes both front and rear sights
- An internal locking system to help keep your gun safe and secure
- A variety of accessories that come in handy at the range
What Other Users Are Saying
The Smith & Wesson Range Kit is perfect for those who often find themselves heading out to the range. The kit includes a 9mm pistol, a Blade Tech Kydex holster as well as a double magazine pouch. However, that’s not all! It also includes a speed loader, earplugs as well as three extra magazines to make those visits to the range fruitful.
Users found that the gun itself is quite durable and rugged as it includes a stainless steel construction. Also included is a Picatinny rail that allows you to add a variety of accessories to the gun. Some users were disappointed that the pistol did not come with a thumb safety. However, I feel the need was eliminated due to the excellent internal locking system.
Featuring a compact and lightweight design, the gun can easily accommodate 10–11 rounds. Lastly, the front and rear sights make it easier to hit the bullseye every time.
For the complete review:
- Durable, rugged, and ergonomic construction
- Compact and lightweight design with an impressive magazine capacity
- Includes a wide variety of accessories that make it easier to shoot at the range
- Allows you to customize the gun with laser or light
- Features an internal locking system that prevents misfires
- Does not include an external safety such as thumb safety
- The trigger is hard and gritty
Overall Rating: 4.6
All in all, the Smith & Wesson 9mm Carry and Range Kit is perfect for those who wish to train at the range for hours. It includes everything you need to make your experience smooth and accurate.
Glock Gen 3 Sub-Compact G26 9mm Semiautomatic Pistol
When it comes to the best 9mm pistols, who can forget the Glock Gen3? The G26 9mm pistol is perfect for home protection and for practicing at the range. Not only is it safe, but it is durable and lightweight as well.
- Comes with a hard case as well as two magazines
- Includes multiple safety systems include a trigger, firing pin, and drop safety
- Features loaded chamber indicators
- Black polymer grip with a black nitride finish
What Other Users Are Saying
Most users found the G26 to be extremely reliable, especially for self-defense applications. The most remarkable feature, according to users, is the multiple safety features. These include a Safe Action trigger system and a firing pin safety that protects your gun from any misfires. Also included is a drop safety which prevents the gun from discharging in case you drop it.
Furthermore, the pistol is quite easy to carry as it is lightweight and compact. However, its magazine capacity does not suffer due to this. In fact, it can load 10–11 rounds. Moreover, the loaded chamber indicators let you know when the gun is loaded. Also included is an indestructible polymer frame that can be used in all kinds of extreme weather.
The G2 comes with fixed sights that make it easy to shoot your targets at the range. In addition, the package includes a hard plastic case, two magazines, and a cleaning kit.
Watch more here:
- Safe and secure to use the gun as it features multiple safety options
- Easy to carry around due to its lightweight and compact size
- Durable polymer frame and non-corrosive finish
- Comes with a bunch of different accessories
- Consistent and reliable performance
- Loading the last round is difficult
- Very expensive
Overall Rating: 4.5
The Glock Gen 3 G26 ensures a consistent and reliable performance every time you hit the range. Its multiple safety features do not leave a lot to be desired!
Check out our review another great Glock pistol here.
Beretta 92 FS INOX Series 9mm Pistol
The Beretta is a popular name in the arms industry due to its reliable weapons. It’s no surprise that the 92 FS INOX is any less. With the ability to tackle all kinds of weathers, you can count on the FS to protect your home and make the most accurate shots.
- Anodized alloy stainless steel frame with a Black synthetic grip
- Includes ambidextrous decocking lever as well as safety
- Fixed three-dot sights
- Includes a double or single action
- Features a magazine capacity of 15+1
What Other Users Are Saying
Users noted on how reliable and durable the Beretta is. They found that it performed well in all kinds of extreme weather. They noticed that compared to other models, the 92 FS INOX is not particularly compact or lightweight. Where other models weigh merely 25 oz. it weighs about 33 oz. Even so, users found that the pistol was not too hard on their wrists.
The textured grips made it easier to hold the gun and guaranteed perfect accuracy. Furthermore, the stainless steel components add to the durability of the pistol. What users loved—especially left-handed ones—was the ambidextrous safety and decocking features. As a result, you can operate the gun with any hand.
The impressive capacity of 15–16 rounds means that you can shoot one shot after the other without reloading too much. Lastly, the three-dot sights are fixed and make it easier to shoot targets.
Watch how it compares with other industry standards:
- Textured and ergonomic grip
- Large magazine capacity reduces the need to reload
- Can be used by anyone regardless of their dominant hand
- Durable and rugged stainless steel composition
- Three-dot sights make it easier to shoot targets
- Minimal recoil and easy to disassemble
- To adjust the sight, you need to buy a separate tool
- Not overly compact or lightweight
Overall Rating: 4.5
The Beretta 92 FS INOX 9mm pistol is the best 9mm pistol for all kinds of people and all kinds of weather conditions. It might not be as compact as others, but it packs a powerful punch.
Some Other Great 9mm Pistols
- Smith & Wesson SD9 9mm Pistol
- Ruger LC9s 9mm Pistol
- Kimber Micro 9 Pistol
- Smith & Wesson Performance Center 9mm Pistol
So, are you ready to hit the range? My selection of the best 9mm pistols is bound to leave all the competition in the dust. With these reliable weapons, you can ace up your shooting game without any hassle. However, this begs the question: “Which is the best 9mm pistol?”
Well, if you ask me, the Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm pistol is the best in all aspects. Not only is it extremely lightweight and compact, but it is accurate and durable as well. With a short trigger reset, you can easily shoot multiple shots without any waiting time.
Moreover, the Takedown system requires no tool and makes cleaning a breeze. Lastly, its reliability is unmatched with rarely any misfires!
Wanna see what makes our Top 5 list of 10mm handguns? Check it out here.