The Best Bargain in CCW: Honor Defense’s Honor Guard 9mm

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The CCW market is one of the fastest growing segments of the firearms world and has held that position for years. It should come as no surprise then, that a good chunk of it is snake oil and hyped up nonsense. Sadly, grifters naturally gravitate to any segment of the market based loosely on fear, and that is a motivation of CCW. Between mass shootings, Antifa attacking people with the wrong haircut or bumper stickers, and good old regular crime, it makes sense. None of us carry an extra 4 pounds of steel on our hips because we think we live in rainbow fairyland. Start-ups in the industry are rare, given the dominance of major players with a vested interest in retaining the market. Hence, most of what we see that is new is actually hot garbage. Fortunately, this week we found an exception.

Enter Honor Defense.


Honor Guard Long Slide with Compact Frame

SPECS

  • Type: Striker-fired; double action only semiautomatic
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 7+1 rds.; 8+1 rds. (extended)
  • Trigger Pull: 7 lbs.
  • Weight: 25 oz.
  • Barrel Length: 3.8 in.
  • Overall Length: 6.8 in.
  • MSRP: $499
  • Manufacturer: Honor Defense

I am a bit of a gun snob, and I didn’t think I would like this pistol. I don’t reside in the high-dollar 1911 for CCW camp, but I take potential combat tools very seriously. I also have a hard time trusting new firearm manufacturers, there is too much at stake. How was a tiny company from Gainsville, Georgia, going to win me over? Turns out, by building a fantastic product at a very attractive price.

Honor Defense is a small company that focuses on producing high-quality products. They also have a policy that they only employ veterans to work on the firearms, operations and assembly lines. All parts are made and assembled in the United States. Not one piece is outsourced, sans the Clinton gun lock. The box itself is red white and blue, while the company logo is best described in their own words.

History of the Honor Defense logo

The China-Burma-India Theater (CBI) has been referred to as “The Forgotten Theater of World War II.”  Flying over the Himalayas was also known as “The Skyway to Hell” and “The Aluminum Trail.”  Many pilots would also call it “Operation Vomit”.

Our logo is designed after the shoulder patch worn by American soldiers based there.  This patch helped MP’s identify American personnel during the frequent ‘issues’ with British personnel.  Although morale was low and the challenges were difficult, these American heroes served with bravery and honor.

Our logo pays homage to these brave Americans and all those that serve our country.

We thank them for their service, and we will never forget or take their service for granted.”

That is all well and good, but irrelevant to the discussion of how well their pistols run. If Carlos Hathcock owned Payless shoes, I still wouldn’t recommend them for hiking boots.

Range Time

Before my first trip to the range with the Honor Guard pistol, I was still skeptical. I was sent the Honor Guard Long Slide with a compact frame that features a 3.8-inch barrel. The gun feels a little bit top heavy unloaded, and I wasn’t sure about the grip size. Shooting it, however, changed my opinion rapidly. The trigger is slightly heavy but very crisp. That translates to easy hits. The extra 5 ounces of weight over most in its class alleviates recoil as does its double-spring recoil system. The pistol remains flat, points naturally, and runs like a sewing machine. I hammered targets faster with this pistol than I would have believed. I came away very impressed. And at a price tag of $499 MSRP, this is an easy win. The best way I can describe what they built here, a single stack Glock 19. Basically everything the 43 should have been, at a price anyone can afford. I can’t think of higher praise than that.

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The grip has a unique style of texture, which is a good look. Functionally, it offers better grip than most factory pistols, but it’s not too aggressive for a CCW weapon. The texturing goes all the way to the front of the trigger guard. Backstraps are interchangeable with a small punch, offering two sizes. I preferred the large grip. I also liked the included 8-round extended magazines. The extension allowed me a full fingered grip on the gun.

The magazine release and slide release are fully ambidextrous, which is great in a modern pistol. Unlike a major player earlier this year, both sides work on the Honor Defense. The mag release is a teardrop shape, offering plenty of real estate for your thumb, but doesn’t protrude so far as to cause accidental drops. In all my shooting, I had no problems with it. The grip offers some very subtle finger grooves, and the gun feels great. Every contour has a purpose, and not just to avoid the blocky feel of other weapons. This is a gun you have to hold to appreciate.

The slide is rounded almost to the point of being a tri-cut. Cocking serrations are on the front of the pistol and wrap all the way around the top of the slide. This is pretty unique and prevents any sharp edges from being present. The sights are rear white dot and a front orange bead, standard post, and notch. The factory sights are fine but did show the only bit of fit and finish flaws. The black coating on mine already shows wear through to the metal below, which is rather odd. The good news, anything sight that fits a Glock 43 also fits these, so options are available.

A look inside the gun shows some unique thoughts on a firearm system. The barrel is very thick with a nicely machined angled crown. This is not something you see everyday on a pistol at the price point. The recoil system is a double spring, which helps to cut down on felt recoil tremendously. This gun shoots very flat, and this is part of the reason. Most curiously, the trigger group is modular. A $499 chassis gun? You betcha. Other frames and slides aren’t available yet, but Honor Defense is clearly looking to the future.

Lasting Impressions

I don’t often give new gun companies an endorsement like this, but you need to shoot one. Dollar for dollar, this is probably the best deal going in CCW. We still need to field this one longer to be sure of durability, but that is coming up. Given the attention to detail and initial quality, I don’t think that will be a problem. Look for a thousand round check upcoming soon.

For more information about Honor Defense, click here.

For more information about SIG Sauer ammo, click here.

To purchase an Honor Guard pistol on GunsAmerica, click here.

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