Best Factory Single Stack 9mm Ever? Honor Guard (NEW GUN)

Check out the new guns at Honor Defense:

Honor Defense. You’ve never heard of Honor Defense? You’re not alone. But I bet you’ll be hearing a lot about the new company.

First, let me set the scene. When the last hurricane was pummeling the east coast and dumping on inland South Carolina, I was standing ankle deep in red clay mud trying my best to keep the rain out of my eyes. There were a hundred of us out on the sodden firing line, shooting everything from vintage WWII era machine guns to modern full autos. There were pumpkin-sized bags of binary explosives going off as fast as the rifle shooters could pick up the modest targets in the mix of smoke and driving rain. Even with my hearing protection, I was having trouble handling the booms. I couldn’t stop flinching.

And then someone handed me a pistol. For a split second, I’d assumed it was a custom mod of something like a GLOCK 43. But no. It was not a custom gun. It was, in fact, the Honor Guard. What appears to be a custom pistol, isn’t. This is how the gun is going to come from the factory. And it certainly isn’t a GLOCK. And my initial assessment is that the gun is nothing short of brilliant.

The Honor Guard from Honor Defense.

The Honor Guard from Honor Defense.

Why the effusive praise?

After I’d shot the Honor Guard a few weeks ago, I thought about coming right back to the computer and penning a fan letter to the folks at Honor Defense, but I didn’t. I wanted to see the gun again. And I got that chance this week at the annual NASGW show. All of my positive first impressions were backed up to my satisfaction. The Honor Guard is one of the most fully realized designs I’ve ever seen.

And just so no one thinks I have some sort of brand-bias, I’ll say this. I’m not a hater. I often carry a GLOCK 19, and a 42. I have carried the Nano, Ruger’s LCP, 9mm Kahrs, Smith’s venerable Shield, the single stack Bersa…. My XD-S is a .45, but I’ve carried the 9mm version, too. I’ve got a lot of trigger time behind most all of the single stacks on the market, and there are points about each that I find worthy of praise. There are also points on each gun that I’d change, if I could. The Honor Guard is the first stock single stack I’ve seen that has everything I’d want–perfectly executed–out of the box. And the retail price will come in somewhere around $450, depending on the model.

I realize that this is partially opinion based. No denying that. But here’s how I see it. You can buy an almost perfect gun and live with it–that’s what 99% of us do. Or you can buy an almost perfect gun and spend a boatload of cash to make it perfect. Now, you have one more option–100% American made, competitively priced, and exceptionally well designed. They will be hitting stores soon–and should be available all across America well before the end of the year.

All five of the models. Guns will be on shelves soon--before the end of the year.

All five of the models. Guns will be on shelves soon–before the end of the year.

So what makes it different?

We’ll start with the frame. The first thing I noticed was the model with the FIST feature. FIST stands for Firearm Integrated STandoff. This frame protrusion functions as a stand off. Theoretically, you can shoot at actual contact distances without running the risk of pushing the slide out of battery when you jam it into a bad guy. We’ll test this with some volunteer bad buys soon, and let you know how well it works.

Looks like a locomotive with a cattle pusher.

Looks like a locomotive with a cattle pusher.

The FIST should make it easy to shoot from contact distances and from inside cover.

The FIST should make it easy to shoot from contact distances and from inside cover.

The second feature of the frame is the excellent texture. The thin frame has a stippled feel, but the texturing wraps all the way around the grip and up the frame (out past the trigger guard). This allows you to find extra grip for a shooting finger that is off the trigger, and for the support hand.

The texture runs all the way up the frame, which allows for more control for the support hand.

The texture runs all the way up the frame, which allows for more control for the support hand.

The lines are very clean.

The lines are very clean.

It is a single stack, so it is thin–under an inch. The magazines are steel and resemble those of the Shield. The gun comes with a 7+1 and an 8+1. The controls for the magazine are ambidextrous, too. In fact, all of the controls are ambidextrous.

The smooth strip both adds a bit of contrast and points the way to the over-sized mag release.

The smooth strip both adds a bit of contrast and points the way to the over-sized mag release. And note the slight finger groove on the grip, and the indention on the base-plate of the magazine (useful for ripping out a stuck mag).

The controls are low profile, but still easily accessed.

The controls are low profile, but still easily accessed.

Sights. The front sight on the Honor Guard is a big fat orange dot. As this is a pistol built for concealed carry, fast sights are a must. There’s nothing subtle about the dot, and it is easy to pick up–even in the driving rain. The rear sight has two features that I like. The first is the shelf that allows for one-handed manipulation. The second is the wing that wraps around the back of the sight. It offers a bit of protection for the dots themselves. They’re aluminum, too–not plastic.

Big orange pumpkin dot.

Big orange pumpkin dot.

Easy to see between the white dots.

Easy to see between the white dots.

The rear sight is protected by the sight's inset design.

The rear dots are protected by the sight’s inset design, which is cut with the slant in the correct direction to prevent draw snags. Why is this so hard for other sight makers to grasp? The ramp should be on the back, not the front.

And the front edge has a nice flat ledge for one-handed manipulation.

And the front edge has a nice flat ledge for one-handed manipulation.

One of the nicest features is the generous texture provided by the slide serrations. They wrap over the top. The slide itself has been milled to remove some of the bulk. The combination provides generous grip surfaces and weight reduction. But they haven’t cut the slide down to a skeleton.

The serrations wrap around the frame

The serrations wrap around the frame.

There's still a small gap in the back-strap.

There’s still a small gap in the back-strap.

One of the more subtle features has to do with take-down. You don’t have to pull the trigger to take the gun down. While we highly suggest unloading your firearm before you attempt to field strip it, some shooters get a bit lax and try to take down their pistols with a round in the pipe. If you have to pull the trigger to get the slide to release, this presents a serious safety issue. Bonus points for the Honor Guard.

The interchangeable back straps are executed flawlessly, and look good.

The interchangeable back straps are executed flawlessly, and look good.

The slim strap and the curved strap.

The slim strap and the curved strap.

What else is tucked away in there? A short reset on the trigger. Dual recoil springs. The serialized portion is a frame insert, like on the Sig P320s, that would allow you to switch frames and barrels if needed or desired. The back-straps are interchangeable, and the texture pattern is matched well so it still looks like a solid grip.

The guide rod is 416 SS with a FNC (ferritic nitrocarburizing) finish.  The barrel is 410 SS with heat-bath PX-5 finish.  The slide is 416 SS also with FNC.

Every gun is tested with a over-pressure round, which is included in the case. They paint the case red so you know you shouldn't reload it.

Every gun is tested with an over-pressure round, which is included in the case. They paint the case red so you know you shouldn’t reload it.

Steel guide-rod.

Stainless Steel guide-rod.

The pin that holds the extractor on is not drilled through, so there's no way it can shoot loose and fall into the action.

The pin that holds the extractor on is not drilled through, so there’s no way it can shoot loose and fall into the action.

And the claw is huge.

And the claw is huge.


There are five different models. Three, really, but two models are available with or without safeties. The main distinction is the length of the frames and barrels. You can go with the subcompact, the compact, or the sub with the FIST. The sub compact has a 3.2″ barrel. The compact is a 3.8″. The FIST combines the two: 3.2″ barrel, on a modified Compact frame.

All five. All nines.

All five. All nines.

Right now, the guns are only chambered in 9mm. You have to start somewhere, and the venerable 9mm is as good a place as any. My bet is that other calibers will follow. And with the modularity of the serialized frame insert, we may be able to play with calibers and sizes without the added expense or paperwork of a new gun.

This is the serialized part.

This is the serialized part.

It is easy to remove and clean.

It is easy to remove and clean.


This is the section where, if it were a typical review, I’d wax poetic about the sub-moa groups I shot with the pistol–cause I’m that good. Actually, you’d likely see a target with a bunch of holes in a fist sized group low-and-left. Whenever I start moving fast, I can’t keep enough of my fat finger off the trigger.

I shot the Honor Guard in the hurricane I mentioned earlier. I had a limited number of rounds to run through the gun, and it was a prototype. So I’m not ready to make a full on report at this point. We’ll have that as soon as we get a review gun in-hand. In the meantime, I will say that I have no complaints about how the gun handled. There could hardly have been worse conditions in which we might test a gun. But the grip functioned flawlessly, and the slide was easy to rack–even when it was wet.

We did have one issue with the gun returning to battery. Again, I’d like to point out that it was a prototype gun. The spring in this particular gun was not the production spring. Honor Defense has beefed it up and changed the material composition. Even so, the issue happened only once, and the gun had been running in the rain, almost non-stop, for at least three hours. We saw a lot of guns-that-never-fail lock up, hiccup, burn up, and stop.

We’ll have the full-on review ASAP.

The sub-compact FIST and the Sub Compact.

The sub-compact FIST and the Sub Compact.

If I have one criticism at this early stage it would be the size of the branding.

If I have one criticism at this early stage it would be the size of the branding.

The takeaway?

It isn’t everyday that we get a brand-spanking-new gun brand. And of those new guns, I could count the stunning debuts on one hand. This is an impressive debut. Could the Honor Guard end up being the best single stack 9mm of 2015? As this has turned out to be the year of the single-stack, that title might be fairly highly coveted. But I think we have a contender–a late entrant in the 2015 race.

Eight and seven round mags included.

Eight and seven round mags included.

Easy to service and clean.

Easy to service and clean.

The frame is simply a shell, but it is anything but simple. The feel is very similar to that of custom mods.

The frame is simply a shell, but it is anything but simple. The feel is very similar to that of custom mods.

There's nothing pretentious about the box.

There’s nothing pretentious about the box.

The barrel.

The barrel.

The double-spring that has proven crucial for the success of some compact 9s.

The double-spring that has proven crucial for the success of some compact 9s.

The bottom of the fist. It sticks out like the lip on a bulldog.

The bottom of the fist. It sticks out like the lip on a bulldog.

The mags are welded stainless.

The mags are welded stainless.

The Compacts, with or without a safety.

The Compacts, with or without a safety.

The Subs.

The Subs.

{ 128 comments… add one }
  • Michael Bystrzycki November 3, 2017, 5:50 am

    I get tickled by the way single stacks are lifted up as something new. I’ve owned and carried a “single stack” 9mm for 30yrs. It’s a Model 39 S&W. An all American made pistol with an LEO & and combat proven pedigree.

  • BRYANT BRAY January 26, 2017, 3:36 pm

    Will Honor Defense be building a 45acp any time soon? This is a great pistol I just like a little more horse power.
    Once again GREAT Little carry pistol it’s replaced my custom glock 27. The best part is by Veterans for Veterans.

  • Larry Campbell January 13, 2017, 8:16 am

    Just a comment to the author. I don’t mean to come across as being disrespectful or a know-it-all. And I know that I need improvement in punctuation, but the word venerable means worthy of respect, regardless of age. So when you used it to describe the 9mm cartridge, that was, in my opinion, used correctly. But I do not think that it was used correctly when it was used to describe the S&W Shield. Just my opinion…and I am just trying to be helpful. Thank you.

  • Burns December 25, 2016, 3:59 pm

    Why? Why do we need yet another single stack 9mm pistol, with 7-8 rounds exactly? How about something different? I don’t care if this is a great little gun, it has no name, the billboard is tastless, and if you are that close to someone that you need a piece of the gun to make sure it fires, you are too close. Silly, To bad, maybe in 45 or 22 magnum it might have sold. You need more rounds or a larger caliber. It’s the opposite of the Sphinx, which is a thousand dollar, 15 round 9mm, like we needed that also.The CZ does the same thig for 5 hundred.

  • ANTHONY BRUNO FIREARMS December 9, 2016, 12:34 pm

    I wrote this letter to the owner of Honor Defense.
    Hey Gary It’s Tony, Hope all’s well with you and your family. Just wanted to follow-up with you regarding the results of the Honor Guard range shooting with my 4 daughters and I, that we talked about over the phone a few weeks ago. All 5 of us fired 2,000 rounds of 115, 124, and 147 grain FMJ thru my Guard with-in a 2 1/2 hour shooting session This pistol ate-up everything my daughters and I fed thru it, WITH NO FAILURES OF ANY KIND. The Guard passed our test with flying colors

    Gary, this is one outstanding firearm. My daughters absolutely loved this striker-fire, sub-compact 9 over any other firearm they’ve shot. Even far superior than what all 4 of my daughters carry now. My oldest carries a Glock 43, my twins,1 carries a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield with-out safety, the other a Springfield X-Tream Duty Mod2 with-out safety. My youngest carries a Walther PPS M2 with-out safety.. Now I have to buy 4 more HONOR GUARD subs, just for my children, I have 2 in the front case at my shop, but they can’t have them, lol The HONOR GUARD Sub-Compact is by far the best striker-fire 9 I’ve ever shot. As a 20 year FFL dealer , I’ve shot every striker-fire 9 on the market.

    The Honor Guard is now, and will continue to be my, (and my 4 daughters) personal CCW. I don’t know if I mention that I’m left handed, so are my twins. Besides being a dealer, I’m also a 15 year certified master-smith. With that mention, I made a few changes to the Honor Guard I carry

    As you know the barrel is 410 S/S, and the slide is 416 S/S. So I stripped the PX-5 finish off barrel, bright polished then hand fit barrel to the slide. Stripped off the FCN finish, all but the top of the slide (so no reflection along sight radius during shooting). Then added matt black porcelain finish with-in slide serrations. Hand polished slide to a satin finish, then hand fit slide to frame. Being left handed, I detailed stripped the chassis, and tacked on a tiny extension bead on the right slide stop lever using my mig welder, then hand filed and matt black finished. Deeply under-cut trigger guard, to get a firmer grip purchase with my big hand. And last, added XS Sight Systems: big dot front and back tritium night sights. The XS Sights that’s designed for the Glock 42 fits perfectly. Both firearms have the same sight radius, along with same rear dove-tail cuts.

    After 3,300 rounds, my GUARD runs flawlessly. Measured trigger pull using my Lyman Gage: With 3/8″ take-up, trigger breaks at a crisp 6.4 lbs. re-sets at 1/8″. A Beautiful-Beautiful TRIGGER, after thousands and thousands of rounds fired thru my Guard. Sending a few pictures of my finished HONOR GUARD SUB-COMPACT (she’s a beaut) .It was a pleasure speaking with you per our phone conversation a few weeks back Gary, can’t wait to see what’s coming out next from your shop at Home Defense.

    Lords Blessings,
    Bruno Firearms, LLC

    • Leothehandyman December 12, 2016, 7:44 pm

      I want to see the picture of your mods on this gun! PLEASE!!!!!

      • Larry Campbell January 13, 2017, 8:22 am

        I agree. Please post some photos.

  • kevin November 22, 2016, 7:21 pm

    just read the article in my American riflemen, don’t have one yet, but will be checking into it,looks like my kind of conceal carry

  • Bimmerland September 21, 2016, 6:17 pm

    Looks like a clone of a shield. With prices of the shield in the low $300 range this gun would have to have a fantastic price point before it will make a dent in shield sales. But let’s see what happens.

  • Dave August 27, 2016, 4:38 pm

    Just purchased one of these FIST models today can’t wait to shoot it! I really like how it feels in my hand and purchased a holster for it on eBAY since the gun shop really did not have one that fit properly the Shield holster didn’t work well maybe because of the FIST design? I plan on carrying this as it seems to be the perfect size and weight for me. The looks of it seems very cool and I like the big logo it sets it apart from the same ole same ole.

  • Floyd Burdett July 4, 2016, 10:27 pm

    First off, of course, is my SURPRISE about this Company…which is only a few miles from my home!
    I LOVE that all of the models are ‘Ambi” — not just because I am left-handed, but because I think ALL pistols should be!
    {Actually, rifles too…} We need to be able to shoot from either side! Whether it is because the other hand is engaged with an assailant or because of the available cover or an injury to our ‘strong hand’…
    I guess we will always be dealing with the ole saying about you can’t please all the people all the time… But I WOULD like to see three things ‘added’ …
    First, I MUCH prefer a trigger safety so I can safely carry with a round in the chamber! {Or a grip safety}
    As a left-handed shooter, I HATE having to ‘hunt’ for a thumb safety on a right-handed handgun…so I have become accustom to leaving thumb safeties OFF and only using models with trigger safeties. So I would like for this pistol to “work just like the rest of my pistols” so I don’t have to “think about it” each time I am carrying it…ESPECIALLY in an emergency situation, to have to ‘remember’ the safety.
    Second, I think it would actually reduce some production cost and complication to make all of the models with the short ‘rail’ under the barrel…then you would only need 3 frames rather than 5…and several ‘universal’ laser models could be fitted.
    And third, it would be GREAT to use a 3.8 barrel on the FIST model with the 3.2 slide…and thread the 1/2″ that protrudes!
    It would STILL work with the ‘extended chin’ because the barrel does not move back with the slide and would actually provide a bit MORE ‘shielding’ against push-back…and it would improve accuracy a bit while also allowing a silencer at the firing range or sport shooting for fun…
    Anyway…it looks like a Great Carry pistol, and sounds like it backs that up with performance and quality! I will definitely be giving it a close persona look!

  • Jim June 1, 2016, 1:30 pm

    I really hope these take off for a couple of reasons. First, it is nice to see an upstart company succeed, and second, it is good for new competition that gives something other than the same as everyone else. I will be anxious to see multiple reviews how it performs. One feature I rather like that has been completely amiss in the market would be a double action single action with decocking button (such as on the p99). Biggest issue I am seeing is the price point. If these are going for more than the competition (both s+w shield and lc9 can be found for sub $350), then a lot of people who would be its primary market sector are going to go for a name brand rather than an upstart (“I know Ruger. Who is this Honor Defense, and why should I pay $100 more for them”).

  • Chuck Bowman March 24, 2016, 10:18 pm

    Anxious to see it first hand and try it on. I don’t dislike the ‘HONOR GUARD” on the slide; at least it is well done. Compare the CW Kahr’s where it looks like they stamped the name in with a screwdriver and hammer. Someone earlier wrote that they’d like to see the “HONOR GUARD” in a slanted format to match the serrations – I like that idea. Good luck to them, it’s a crowded field but there is always room for a quality product at a competitive price!

  • Albert M. SIGSAUER all day!!! Mark25 p226 February 25, 2016, 10:18 pm

    If it’s not available in California then I’m not interested!

  • Dave K. January 24, 2016, 3:05 am

    Disagree… Trigger pull at 7# is good for me with non-safety carry. It’s not a sharpshooter weapon. More important for the short reset. Those features I like.
    Agree… The BIG, no … HUGE block letters are cheap looking. Put some style into it (please). Give us form to match the (apparent) function.
    Would like to see… While your orange/white contrast sights are better than most, I’d pay a little more to have a factory installed Tritium night sight. Installing after market on my weapons is expensive and sometimes difficult to do.
    I look forward to seeing one at my gun store.

    • Larry Campbell January 13, 2017, 8:25 am

      I agree with the large lettering. S&W did this on their early 1911’s and then changed to font size.

  • Andrew December 14, 2015, 10:23 pm

    Interesting looking weapon. The FIST deal could be a life-saver for people not trained in combat arts. I say this because the untrained often do not respond until an assailant is upon them, or very close to it. This is understandable as factors such as normalcy bias tend to cloud one’s response time as the brain attempts to make heads of what is going on. Therefore, having the ability to jam the weapon into an attacker without neutralizing the weapon seems like a very good idea to me.

    The only question that remains to be proven is whether the protrusion can become the source of other potentially dangerous interferences. Time will tell, I suppose.

  • Steve A. December 9, 2015, 8:29 pm

    Gary I would love to be a beta tester for your pistol. Pistol looks great I can only see a few minor machining changes I would make. Being in machining for thirty years.

  • Bob December 7, 2015, 12:42 pm

    It looks like a well thought out design. I especially like the large serrations on the slide, very easy to grip. The sights are perfect. The logo needs to be smaller, a lot smaller. For the asking price it’s pretty decent, but I don’t see it replacing my M&P compact any time soon.

  • RTM December 7, 2015, 8:15 am

    I like the look and it sounds like a winner to me. I’d certainly be willing to give one a try. If it shoots as good as it looks I’d ad one to my carry rotation. Nice to see a totally American company come out with a good product for a very reasonable price. Good job.

  • Steve H December 7, 2015, 1:53 am

    The big logo would look a lot better if the letters slanted in the same direction of the serrations… It would blend in with the overall look.

  • Army127 November 28, 2015, 3:02 pm

    I have to agree with the huge name on the side, its waaaay too much! I also counted the companies name on the pistol and the magazine 6 times from what I could see in the pictures, that’s just entirely too much usage of your name on a pistol. The market won’t support this type of branding right now, as customers are looking for clean guns with minimal sized company name, and one spot on the frame is plenty, or maybe your logo behind the rear cocking serrations and eliminate everything else. The other thing I saw that no one else commented about is the poor welding on the magazine. As a custom and factory rifle manufacturer, the magazines need to be improved, the trigger pull needs to be around 5.5-6lbs Max. I would keep the name to a minimum on the pistol too, as many more customers will purchase it this way. It has that toy feeling with the huge name. If you are outsourcing your mags you need to talk to whatever company about much better welding. There are plenty of companies out there that make mags that you could never tell were even welded. I do feel the all around design has something going for it and with all the extras you get, if the price stays around 450.00-475.00 it should sell well, with those few improvements you will have a top notch pistol that may get those 2015 honors. Oh I also served 15 years in the US Army so I am coming from that angle too. Good luck gentlemen and you guys really do have what looks to be an excellent 99% done pistol here.

    SSG G. OUT
    NRA Patron Life Member
    NRA Life of Duty Member

    “Death Waits in the Dark”

  • glenn beecher November 20, 2015, 12:10 pm

    Best of luck to ’em. Really? ANOTHER 9mm compact?! Whatever..Lol

    • Gary Ramey November 22, 2015, 1:24 pm

      Unfortunately, half the people in this world are below average in intelligence.
      And in our litigation happy environment, every safety precaution has to be taken.
      No trigger pull or tool is a key feature that may save a life, so it is important.

      Personally, I hated it when seatbelts became mandatory, but sure appreciate them now that I’ve had an accident.

      • Ryan Jackson November 27, 2016, 7:35 pm

        Half the people are below median intelligence, not below average. Maybe you should have paid more attention during math class Gary.

  • James Lambert November 15, 2015, 3:50 pm

    Would like to purchase one as soon as they are available. Let me know. Thanks.

  • gcollins November 8, 2015, 6:13 pm


    • Gary Ramey November 9, 2015, 6:12 pm

      Don’t take offense. Virtually every firearms manual recommends against re-loading.
      Because we live in a lawsuit happy world and there is always some dipswitch that screws it up.
      If folks knew the cost of product liability to try and protect against the stupid ones, you might be shocked.
      It’s in the manual because of folks that use brass over and over again, and then they make extra hot loads and get hurt.

    • Andrew November 21, 2015, 7:17 am

      It said do not reload the included case (painted red) because it was an over pressure test round.

    • BUB February 28, 2016, 9:46 am

      Reading comprehension?

  • m November 4, 2015, 7:49 pm

    Another striker fired Glock/M&P/XD/Kahr/Ruger/HK/Sig////….
    We need another one of these! HA
    Nothing new here different texured plastic doesn’t say “grip Zone” or bullet Zone or trigger zone nothing to see here that hasn’t been done 1000 times already except the ridiculous extended frame.

    • glenn beecher November 28, 2015, 11:01 pm

      I agree! Wanna take bets on how long THIS company lasts? Remember Rohrbaugh & Boberg..

  • WillyT November 4, 2015, 10:43 am

    I’d like to know where it says in the article or on the video’s that the trigger pull is 7.5 lbs.. Also it stated that the firearm was a prototype, so the one that will be released to the public for sale can be different than the one tested. As for the FIST system I would imagine that 99.5% of the people that use this firearm will not need that, but the .5% that do need it will appreciate it greatly (as can be seen in the demonstration on the video). Also I don’t believe any one can manufacture anything that everyone likes because of so many different tastes, opinions and likes.

  • evi1joe November 4, 2015, 1:54 am

    Looks good to me.
    Can’t wait to try out the trigger (though I’d probably file down the mag-release on the right-side for fear I might accidentally hit it). However, with the Shield at $339, the PPS at $370, and the G43 at $439, I’m worried people won’t pay more than $350 for a new, unproven brand. But competition is great, and it looks like a winner. Too bad the FIST wasn’t removable for those who like the option (though I guess, with a dremel, it is technically removable)–seems like that could be done simply.
    The Steyr like single-finger-groove and adjustable grip-size, the front-serrations (that would cost an extra $150-$200 to get done on a G43), Grip-stipple, Modular, melted edges, g43 sight compatibility, made in America.
    Kinda heavy compared to competitors (3-6 ounces heavier–which also helps with recoil though!), a bit pricey for a new company’s first gun–no one likes to be beta-testers and even the G42 and Shield had teething issues, with a HUGE budget for testing; bore-axis appears a bit high (not sure how it compares to the 3 main competitors), logo is overly huge, likely won’t get AS MUCH aftermarket support as the big companies for quite awhile–G43 has at least 5 companies just working on extended mags/followers.

    Can’t wait to check this one out.

  • Pro2Aguy November 3, 2015, 8:35 pm

    That may be a first, associating not just a new model firearm but new Manufacturer to boot as “The Best.” I have to admire the man’s passion and the article reflects such to be sure. I’m not a big fan of single-stack 9mm’s myself but the more choice the better as competition breeds success.

  • gym November 3, 2015, 3:29 pm

    Glock and XD had a kid and used the old Thompson letterhead

  • Jerry Jones November 3, 2015, 12:39 pm

    Sorry……I already own the perfect single-stack 9mm…. When the time comes for the full review, let’s see if as reliable as, and can outshoot a Walther PPS 9mm.

  • Rodney November 3, 2015, 10:39 am

    For the price point, I would like to see Tritium sights vs. an orange pumpkin. I bought a Sig P290 for under $300 and it came with night sights…

  • JimmyJack November 3, 2015, 12:47 am

    I see a couple of good ideas, but the quality of parts just doesn’t appear to be there, especially the barrel.

  • Pudge Lach November 3, 2015, 12:12 am

    Didn’t see any weight numbers….I like the take-down lever vs a pin and would consider a .40 if they made one in tu-tone.

    • joe November 4, 2015, 1:56 am

      Weight is 22 ounces with unloaded mag. A tiny bit heavier than a PPS, Shield or G43 (I think the G43 is 22 ounces loaded).

  • Scott Syverson November 2, 2015, 6:00 pm

    A fantastic concept! I know what I’m looking for in a gun and this has it all. If the quality and reliability are there, I’m in. But to me the real genius is all the features are highly attractive for females. Single stacks are more conducive for a female grip and I’m always looking for a better pistol to replace my wife’s single stack Sig Sauer. This has everything in a size and length combined with the features that a man wants on his wife’s gun that’s sized so she can handle it. Even the gold/bronze finish is more attractive than cold blue steel. The first one is going to my wife because I know she’s just going to take it anyway.

  • jeffrey Ristrom November 2, 2015, 5:48 pm

    How great can it be? It misfired the first view in the picture.

  • jeffrey Ristrom November 2, 2015, 5:48 pm

    How great can it be? It misfired the first view in the picture.

    • Hickeroar February 22, 2016, 10:10 pm

      That’s not a misfire. It’s a “FIST” frame type. The FIST frame stands for Firearm with Integrated STandoff. They have more information on their website.

  • praharin November 2, 2015, 4:57 pm

    I can’t be the only one disappointed that there is no way to mount a decent light on this thing. That’s my 1% imperfection with the Shield. The only one out there is the POS Viridian. Someone please?!

    • joe November 4, 2015, 2:06 am

      The one with the barrel that’s .6″ longer DOES have a standard light rail. It’s only the 3.2″ barrel that doesn’t.

    • Gary Ramey November 18, 2015, 11:55 am

      Crimson Trace has designed a laser to fit under our frame and clasp to the trigger guard.
      And they have a version with a light AND a laser coming our shortly.

  • bmaverick November 2, 2015, 3:53 pm

    Well, the number of rounds for a single stack passes the NYS mustard. That doesn’t say much really. I love the XDM 9mm with the short and long magazines. Wonder if there will be something like a 10 or 12 round mag in the future. I know, this is a rather new company on the market. Big plans and ideas must take time to polish into a new product successfully. I’ve sent this pre-reivew to all of my range Glock, Springfield, SIG, and Walthers buddies. Hope it does draw some positive attention. Thanks for the heads-up! If the MSRP is close to what you had posted, keeping these things on store shelves will be difficult.

  • Stormy November 2, 2015, 3:03 pm

    I’m intrigued!

    However the large letters make it look like it is from the cheapest of the cheap firearm company. A whisper from one that is respected gets more attention than a screaming fool.

    • tom July 31, 2016, 11:11 am

      That last sentence sez everything!

  • C. Randall November 2, 2015, 1:57 pm

    Will this be available in the peoples republic of californiastan?

    • Gary Ramey November 9, 2015, 6:08 pm

      Sorry C. Randall…no Californiastan for this firearm company.
      Maybe one day when it is returned to the United States of America.

  • Russ November 2, 2015, 12:52 pm

    Low grip tall slide is reminiscent of beretta nano. And this was my reason for selling nano. That is one big downside right there.

  • David Richardson November 2, 2015, 12:46 pm

    I can tell by the picture that grip will not fit my hand. Like a block of wood.

  • sjamos8541 November 2, 2015, 12:25 pm

    WOW, normally I get a gun and assuming it fits my hand there is ALWAYS something I’d like to change etc. IF these guns are accurate, and I am a picky ass about it being accurate. I WILL GET ONE. I would like TRITIUM sights however and if possible an ADJUSTABLE sight. Until recently I would say the HK P7 was the best all time single stack, having shot one all the way back in 1985, including a suppressed version at HKs headquarters in Chantilly VA, in their basement 100M range. LOVE the P7, but this gun mite be up there with it!

  • Irondoor November 2, 2015, 12:02 pm

    What do most guys want? Excellence in design, materials and craftsmanship and the perfect execution therof. Now, this gun can’t please everybody but it’s a good start. I like the overall features, magazine capacity, sights, and the choice of a non-safetied EDC gun. No safeties for me in a desperate self-defense situation. While the FIST is unique and may appeal to some, I’ll pass on it. Also the neon lettering. Looks mean something. Their website goes into depth on some WWII logo issues, etc, which are fine and patriotic, but won’t help sell the gun unless for a collector. Shooters want quality, functionality, clean lines, under 6# trigger pull, dead-on accuracy, no-fail shootability and a gun you want to take to the range. For comparison, I carry a Glock 43 and am open to considering this gun in its future derivatives. Hopefully they’ll take comments such as those on this page to heart.

  • Gerry November 2, 2015, 11:58 am

    Is there anything except for the “FIST” that makes it anything but a reworked Shield with a better takedown? I’m all for new guns, but this just seems like a Smith & Wesson from a different CNC program. Now, I do like the results (although the “FIST” would take some getting used to – and it’s kind of ugly, in a traditional-design kind of way,) and I’d love to have some of the cosmetic features on my Shield, but I don’t see it as a “must-have” if one already has the S&W.
    I’d definitely like to see one in person!

  • Steve November 2, 2015, 11:46 am

    Looks exactly like my S&W Shield with a few cosmetic tweaks, The magazines are almost an exact copy as well. I see a lawsuit coming.

  • John November 2, 2015, 11:33 am

    “HONOR GUARD” Seriously? What is that supposed to mean? Can we use live ammunition?

  • Chief November 2, 2015, 11:28 am

    That cattle catcher on the front is UGLY .The rest of the gun looks nice .

  • Jerry November 2, 2015, 11:24 am

    I thought the reason most people used 9mm for personal defense was to have more rounds to put down range. ex: Beretta 92FS. Why go with a single stack 9mm? Wonder if this is supposed to attract the ladies?

  • M L Barnes November 2, 2015, 11:10 am

    Just buy a Springfield 9mm compact of some sort and trust that all will be good and you can trust or sure

  • wade November 2, 2015, 10:33 am

    Is this only available in striker fired or is there going to be a SA/DA model with a hammer?

  • Bill November 2, 2015, 10:24 am

    The gun itself looks nice… The name honor guard to me is tacky looking, and weird…. Why do they have to take a cool design and ruin it with the stupid name stamped on the side in huge lettering??? If I could buy one without the big tacky lettering on the side I would do so… As long as they have it though, I won’t touch it with a 10 foot pole, as it borders on phony patriotism, and is annoying as hell.

    • Murgatroyd November 2, 2015, 11:04 am

      They should paint it neon green so it stands out even more.

  • gary November 2, 2015, 10:12 am

    I’ll keep my ruger lc9s thanks but no thanks!!

  • Heavy10mm November 2, 2015, 9:52 am

    Dear Lord you could commit suicide by leaping off of that slide. It makes a Sig look sexy and streamlined!

  • John Everrett November 2, 2015, 9:25 am

    What do you mean the “Shield isn’t ambi? The slide release is on both sides
    of the pistol. The mag catch is reversable. How much more “ambi” can you

    • joe November 4, 2015, 2:03 am

      Yeah, but that means you have to switch it to ONE side. This one has it on both already–so it’s better for ambidextrous people, especially those who want to shoot with one gun in each hand. Or if they want to push BOTH at the same time to make sure the mag drops free. ;o)
      NOTE: I would file it down on the right-side just to avoid accidents or having it poking me.

    • Lee November 4, 2015, 2:07 pm

      First off, the Shield does not have an ambidextrous slide catch; it is only on the shooter’s left-hand side of the pistol. Secondly, a reversible mag release is not ambidextrous as you can still only use it from one side at a time. The beauty of ambidextrous controls is that you can run the gun with strong hand only or support hand only and still have access to the controls in the same fashion. Fully ambidextrous controls may not be useful to everyone or in every situation, but it is still a nice feature to have, especially if one of your hands/arms were to ever become injured during a fire fight.

  • Rick Chartier November 2, 2015, 9:19 am

    I agree that the pistol looks pretty sweet. That is except for the too large logo on the slide. It’s unnecessary and tacky. Everything else is spot on though!

  • DanGoodShot November 2, 2015, 8:55 am

    Looks/sounds like they took some of the best features from 3 main gun makers. S&W(heavily), H&K, and Sig. So I don’t see how they could’ve gone wrong. I really like the basket weave type stippling. But I have to agree with the reviewer about the branding. Holy huge batman! I’ll wait for a full size though. (With smaller lettering on the slid.) Better yet, just put the company logo with the modle on it.

  • KH November 2, 2015, 8:41 am

    Holy Honor Guard! The giant logo needs to go!

    • James Calico November 2, 2015, 11:49 am

      Sounds good but like everything I would test driver it in the production model !
      #2 The Big brand on the side would have to go !

  • Bryan November 2, 2015, 8:36 am

    All the concern over the trigger weight and reset… a compact defensive pistol, not a competition pistol. Good ergos?, good reliability?, accurate to poa?, comfortable to carry?, good customer service? , good enough for me.

    I shoot a lot of Dao and da/sa, so maybe I’m just a bit more well rounded than most that shoot only sa/striker guns…some people don’t like something and they stop trying to be better at it.

  • Dave November 2, 2015, 8:25 am

    Sounds like they’ve got a slim 9 up to the carry usability of snubby revolver, without proven reliability yet.
    I wish them well.

  • Ven November 2, 2015, 8:13 am

    I get so tired of people complaining about having to pull the trigger to take down a firearm. If you can’t make sure your pistol is clear before taking it down, you shouldn’t own one.

    • Jay November 3, 2015, 4:50 am

      I quite agree. A case of relying on mechanics to replace common sense, training and just plain paying attention to what you are doing. Always apply the 1st law, “Never point a weapon at anything you do not want to destroy.” and you’ll be all right. I’ve carried some form of Glock for nigh onto 20 years and never had a problem yet.
      I have one little trick to offset the old “rack the slide, drop the mag, OOPS!” an error which can happen to a carrier of any type of semi-auto. I drop the mag and then always rack the slide twice. If I see TWO cartridges pop out, I know I’ve screwed up. (Haven’t done that yet either but, an ounce of protection as the old saying goes.)
      Back when I was in the army, every MP building had a barrel outside half full of sand. The drill was clear your pistol, point it into the barrel, THEN pull the trigger. My variation on that theme is to step outside and point it at the ground in a safe direction if at all possible. If I have to do it inside, I make certain I point to an outside wall. (Nearest neighbor is half mile away so no sweat on that account.)
      That’s my oh-2

  • B November 2, 2015, 8:08 am

    I’m not clear on why you would label it the best when you haven’t done a full evaluation. Oil stick with my PM9.

  • El Mac November 2, 2015, 8:07 am

    The FIST thing is stupid. The trigger pull is crap. The billboard on the slide needs some neon.

    • joe November 4, 2015, 2:01 am

      Where did you get to feel the trigger pull? The G43s are about 7.5lbs, and not too bad…though with the Edge or Pro connector it comes down to about 5.5lbs.

    • Gary Ramey November 9, 2015, 6:05 pm

      El Mac,
      You may not be aware that if a semi-auto slide gets pushed back a slight amount, the firearm is no longer functional.
      The FIST frame reduces that risk by extending beyond the slide.
      While you may think it’s “stupid”, it was suggested by a member of a very special military community, we designed it based on his suggestion. He apparently does not think it is stupid.
      Different strokes for different folks. Go figure.
      On the trigger, as you probably understand, there is a balance between striker springs and recoil springs to get proper slide speed, racking force, striker energy and keeping a product liability attorney happy.
      We think 7.5 lb crisp trigger with a short re-set and a slide that is easier to rack than others is the right answer.
      Let us know your thoughts after you have had a chance to dry fire the pistol.

      • Jim McCarthy December 8, 2015, 2:28 pm

        Is it possible to get trigger work done to lighten the pull? I wondered as I like everything I have seen and would like to try one as soon as they are available. I am a fan of light trigger pulls below 5.7 lbs. That is not to say I dont own a few with heavier pulls. Having the option is always best. The FIST is not stupid in my opinion. Most guns fights are up close and personal. with the FIST feature you have eliminated one more possible malfunction when you cannot afford it. BRAVO!! keep us posted.

        • Frank August 29, 2016, 7:31 pm

          I have the same question as Jim McCarthy. I am in the market for a pistol this size. Looking at the FIST option and is it possible to get a lighter trigger and reset?
          I am fine with the HONOR GUARD logo on the side. Side Note: I was on a FIST team in the Military. (Fire Support Team) .

  • Michael November 2, 2015, 7:47 am


  • Keith November 2, 2015, 7:45 am

    The FIST design is interesting, but it seems to me a hammerless revolver solves the same problems, without a casing discharge.
    Plus, I have to agree with Larry’s first comment.
    Without night sites and/or a laser configuration, it hardly seems like the go to weapon, right out of the box. Especially for someone who doesn’t have the time to spend hours at the range to get smooth and calm enough to protect themselves in that moment of panic.
    My home defense gun is a full size M&P 9 with night sights AND a light/laser combo hanging on the rail.
    I carry an LCP with a laser, but am currently in the market for a carry 9 that I can duplicate at least one of the “helpers” I have on my M&P so I feel a bit more confident in the dark, where I expect is the most likely place a bad guy situation would occur.
    I have other guns for tight groupings at 50 feet or more, and I can do that.
    But in a panic situation where I NEED to hit a violent large target within 15 feet, I’ll take all the help I can get.
    And because of that, I will say, we all need to train and practice with the guns we depend on for protection, not just the one’s we “like to shoot”.

    • Gary Ramey November 9, 2015, 5:57 pm

      You carry some nice iron! Would like to point out that we do a have a version that is laser-equipped from Crimson Trace.
      For folks that like a longer barrel and a rail, we have that as well.

  • Dave November 2, 2015, 7:34 am

    1) My congratulations to the new company and the due diligence they put into their design. I wish you all the best.
    2) The “static” features are good, really good, now I’m waiting for a range report.
    3) How smooth is the action and trigger? For me that is what makes the final decision on whether to purchase and use or not.
    4) One thing the article does not mention is the chamfer/target crown on the end of the barrel; that is another normally additional cost feature that is standard.
    5) Any plans to make a 4.5-5″ barreled “full size” version?
    PS – I own a P320 and DA/SA Sigs so I am quite interested in how the Honor Guards compare In Action, not just statically.
    Thank you for the article and introduction to this company and their pistols. I hope they are successful!

  • Kenneth A. Jenkins November 2, 2015, 7:29 am

    I like the logo. Could they please make it BIGGER?

    • Chief November 2, 2015, 11:24 am


    • Tig November 5, 2015, 9:45 pm

      That isn’t an attractive feature at all…

    • Gary Ramey November 7, 2015, 11:33 am

      We tried, but ran out of room!
      Oddly enough, we are receiving about 4 compliments on that to every criticism.
      But we have noticed the folks questioning that.
      But it is also functioning should someone grab there for racking.
      And no sense for being shy.
      Our slogan is “All American, No Apologies”.

      • Dee June 20, 2016, 5:03 pm

        SORRY BOYS, IT’S A GIRLY GUN! Lol LOVE THE COLOR, love the choices with so many additions…the FIST gun is a great idea especially for girls! And let me add, I hate pink guns. I’m 74 years young and I think it sounds fabulous can’t wait to see one. For me I’m looking at Glock ( a manly gun) and this one….the signage is perfect it will be hard to pick which design, that’s the hard part for women! I want a leather paddle stlye leather holster with HUGE LOGO! Women love HUGE! Lol guns!!

  • Al LaTour November 2, 2015, 7:21 am

    For it to be the perfect carry gun I want night sights! Other than that it looks good.

  • atillaDhun November 2, 2015, 7:12 am

    Long heavy trigger pull and long reset, kills any small self defence carry pistols. That is why I prefer a d/s. with one in the pipe, safety on. The light, short, trigger pull and short reset is a lifesaver!!!!!!

  • John Deahl November 2, 2015, 6:58 am

    I have a Taurus TCP 380 and Bersa Thunder Plus 380. But I would really like a CC 9mm for the convenience of the 9mm round. So far I have purchased several CC type 9mm’s and I don’t like any of the 9mm for various reasons. I have another one on order. A Bersa Thunder 9mm UC that should be in tomorrow.

    It turns out I like an exposed hammer and decocker. I also found out the shortest/lowest distance from the top of the hand to the center line of the barrel reduces recoil. My XD subcompact has none of those features and kicks the worst. The Taurus M G2 and the SAR B6P is also lacking.

    I wish Beretta still made the Tomcat 32 auto.

    At any rate, I will be interested to see this pistol in the stores!

    • David D Hartman November 2, 2015, 10:20 am

      Based on your specific likes, I would highly recommend you take a look at the CZ P-07 OR P-09.

      • Wolf November 3, 2015, 11:43 am

        P07 is a superb firearm for carry.

  • Greg November 2, 2015, 6:50 am

    The reason I didn’t buy an M&P Shield was because it wasn’t ambi. Thanks for thinking of us lefties. I’m with many others–what does the trigger feel like/night sights? Can’t wait to see a follow up review.

  • Lowndes November 2, 2015, 6:41 am

    Looks like a very small groove in the FIST frame directly below the muzzle end of the slide, goes all the way around, under the frame extension. Is this just for cosmetics, or is this a break away, and why??

  • Kyle November 2, 2015, 6:33 am

    What was the trigger like? No trigger safety so is it going to be drop safe or have issue like pt111 g1?
    Two stage or single? Only thing I saw mentioned was a short reset.

  • Rouge November 2, 2015, 6:29 am

    I second Mike’s comments. Looks good so far and the price mentioned is attractive as well.

  • Raymond November 2, 2015, 6:19 am

    Looks and sounds like a well made firearm from this review. I am a devout XD owner and carrier and would like to at least give one of these a try. I wonder if the Honor Guard will have the all famous “Lifetime” warranty as the others do?

  • ezkl2230 November 2, 2015, 6:09 am

    Does it incorporate a drop safety, and does it also have a magazine disconnect? I like drop safeties, but I’m not wild about magazine disconnects.

    • Gary Ramey November 22, 2015, 1:17 pm

      It does not have a magazine disconnect safety…..
      We don’t like those either!

  • TommyG November 2, 2015, 6:08 am

    Looks like it might be a good piece to use for self defense. Two things I saw that I didn’t care for is the barrel bushing (or lack of one) leaves the barrel loose and out of center in the slide. Not so sure how that will affect acccuracy or not. I agree on the logo being a bit much, but it’s not a deal breaker for me IF it shoots to point of aim okay. Looking forward to the full test in a future issue of Guns America.

  • Brian Manns November 2, 2015, 6:06 am

    Do they have any rail area to attach a laser????

    • Gary Ramey November 18, 2015, 11:52 am

      We have a long slide version with a rail.
      Also, Crimson Trace has a laser system that has been designed to fit onto trigger guard and frame.

  • Theron Ballard November 2, 2015, 6:02 am

    With the short reset and metal trigger it looks right, it will be interesting to see if the trigger is as smooth as the Kahr triggers with their really long resets.

  • Charlie November 2, 2015, 5:31 am

    The only problem I see with it is the 7.5 lb. trigger pull. That will keep me from buying this firearm. That is also why I don’t own a XDS. Anything over 6 lbs. I will not buy or keep if I did.

  • Chris November 2, 2015, 5:29 am

    It looks like a reworked Shield…

    • Miles November 2, 2015, 7:05 am

      I think it looks like a shield too the mags are dead triggers except color nut it’s interesting

    • Gary Ramey November 18, 2015, 11:51 am

      Other than both having a barrel, slide and magazine, they are nothing like a Shield!
      Honor Defense has:
      – Modular Stainless Steel Chassis
      – Ambidextrous Slide catch
      – Ambidextrous Magazine release
      – Ambidextrous Safety (on safety equipped models)
      – Custom serrations over the top
      – Custom texture
      – No Trigger pull for dis-assembly
      – No Tools needed for dis-assembly
      – Two back straps for custom grip
      – Bright orange front sight for target acquisition
      – Short crisp 7.5lb trigger
      – Short trigger re-set
      Best of all, all of Honor Defense parts are made in the USA.

  • Steve K November 2, 2015, 5:14 am

    Looks GREAT!

  • Larry November 2, 2015, 5:11 am

    It doesn’t seem to have night sights and no mention of trigger function. If the trigger pull is like that of the P250 it isn’t worth consideration. Long heavy trigger pulls are a no go in my book. If it doesn’t at least equal an M&P or a Glock trigger it is a no go.

    • Gary Ramey November 7, 2015, 11:29 am

      The trigger pull clocks in at 7lbs. and it is a short pull.
      The re-set is also very short.

      We agree, long trigger pulls are pointless.

  • Billy Tyson November 2, 2015, 4:28 am

    I already LOVE this gun. Your review of the prototype is excellent! Please keep us updated as to when the gun will be available and of course, the estimated prices. I have never even considered that the 9MM could be improved, but the FIST sub-compact model sure sounds like a worthwhile modification. Thank you!

  • Dick karr November 2, 2015, 3:47 am


  • Dick karr November 2, 2015, 3:46 am


    • KMacK December 7, 2015, 3:49 pm

      So do I, but I live in California. Still, I can look, can’t I (they haven’t made THAT illegal yet… I think…)

  • MC November 2, 2015, 3:13 am

    Wonder what the price point(s) will be. Competitive with the Springfield Subs?

    • praharin November 2, 2015, 4:47 pm

      The article states around $450

    • Steve T November 5, 2015, 11:45 am

      @ $450 I am not sure how competitive that is for a brand new name on the circuit. When I can walk into any Quantico Tactical across the nation and pick up a Shield for $319.

      • Gary Ramey November 7, 2015, 11:27 am

        Steve T.,
        $319 for a Shield is a great price and the Shield is a great gun.
        If you are buying a pistol based on price, that’s a good value.

        But Honor Defense line of pistols are dramatically different.
        Honor Defense firearms feature:
        – NO trigger pull or tools for dis-assembly
        – Exchangeable back straps
        – Ambidextrous magazine release
        – Ambidextrous slide catch
        – Ambidextrous safety (Manual Safety is optional)
        – Rear sight is snag free sights for withdrawal
        – Rear sight has flat forward face for one-handed racking
        – Orange luminescent front sight
        – Stippled grip so you can hold it without it slipping
        – Serrations that go over the top like custom pistols
        – Stainless steel modular chassis inside
        – Our Striker housing is machined metal (not plastic)

        Just as important in our view is Honor Defense firearms are also 100% made in America with American parts and by American owned companies. We don’t outsource to foreign companies with American subsidiaries that send the work overseas. Doesn’t sit well with us.

        One dealer called yesterday and said we have a custom gun right out of the box.
        We thought that was a nice way of saying it.

        • Bill December 20, 2015, 6:32 am

          This pistol sounds very promising. A lot of new items are coming out, but this one seems interesting. Are the on the open market and can I purchase one thru my FFL Dealer?

  • Will Drider November 1, 2015, 11:59 pm

    I’m not warm and fuzzy on the Fist configuration. I do like everything else put into the overal design. Maybe they will go with a full size double stack and wake up the other manufactures too. There is more inovation out there then polymer and interchangeable backstraps. Honor Defense is producing features most people never knew they needed, till now! WELL DONE.

  • Mike November 1, 2015, 12:02 pm

    Looks like a very well thought out design. Looking forward to seeing some more evaluations on these firearms.

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