The Top 5 Compact 9mms

A couple of weeks ago, we ran a Top 5 .45 ACP Concealed Carry Pistols article that stirred up a lot of controversy. That isn’t surprising. A lot of you have already formed your own opinions. I expect this list will be just as contentious, if not more. The list of compact .45s is limited, as there aren’t that many out there. 9mm is a different story. There are a lot of compact 9mms–choosing the best five requires a lot more thought. But we’re up top the task.

Here’s my list of criteria:

A compact 9mm has to be compact. I’m not considering the sub-compacts, even though the definitions of these two adjectives is up for some debate. But there’s a mid-range of pistols that are not as long as full-sized duty pistols, and not so small that they are hard to handle. And they still have respectable capacity.

I’m only looking at double action pistols. I’m not considering the wealth of single action 9mm 1911 types. I’m also not considering the 9mm revolvers. I’m trying to keep the basic comparisons logical.

My GLOCK 19. Seahorse case, Multi-Holsters rig,'s foam...don't leave home without it.

My GLOCK 19. Seahorse case, Multi-Holsters rig,’s foam…don’t leave home without it.

The GLOCK 19

I have to start with the undisputed reigning champ. The King. If the GLOCK 19 were Coca-Cola, there would be no Pepsi. Every other gun would be in that RC Cola category of competition. The GLOCK 19 is the standard to which all of the other guns wish to rise. If you don’t agree, you’re deluding yourself. I’m not insinuating you have to like the 19, but you have to respect it.

The 19 is big enough to handle any duty requirement, yet compact enough to carry concealed. It is at home OWB as it is IWB. The blocky design makes summer concealment more complex, but the blocky design makes handling reliable. Recoil is modest, and the 19 will eat up rounds, any rounds, without fail, and is very forgiving. You don’t have to baby the gun, or even clean it all that often. Retailing around $600, it is affordable and one of the easiest guns to find. And everyone makes holsters and accessories for it. The last benefit has more to do with GLOCK–it is one in a long line of identical guns, making moving up or down in size or caliber a no-brainer.

The H&K VP9

HK has the second spot on my list, if only because of Jacob Epstein’s review for us. Jacob cut his teeth on a GLOCK, but I know what’s in his holster now. The HK is one of the latest, and most anticipated 9mms of 2014. It is a striker fired gun, something HK hasn’t done in a while.

The VP9 has some distinct advantages over some of its competition. The grip is deeply contoured, and well textured. It fits the hand very well. And the slide is also aggressively textured. The serrations make manipulating the slide easier. All of the early performance reports from the VP9 are glowing. When it becomes widely available, the price should settle out in the high $600s.

The ergonomics of the M2 are top-notch.

The ergonomics of the M2 are top-notch.

The Walther PPQ M2

I’ve carried a PPQ M2 for a while, and I have nothing bad to say about the gun. The PPQ M2 is fast. While some compact 9mms have snappy recoil impulses, and excessive muzzle rise, the PPQ is easy to hold down and fast. MY split times and accuracy are faster with the PPQ M2 than with any other compact 9mm. As far as reliability goes, I’m several thousand rounds in with no serious issues.

Here’s the rub…. I see a lot of Walther’s PPQ in the HK VP9. Ergonomically, they are very similar. The Walther has an edge on price, though, as the PPQ M2 hits the market about $100 less than the VP9. But there’s more. The CCP, Walther’s newest pistol, should be making an appearance shortly. The CCP feels even better than the PPQ M2 (but I’ve yet to shoot it), and it promises a redefined recoil system that should make it even easier to shoot. When it hits, we’ll cover it. If the CCP does what Walther says it will do, the price on the PPQ M2 should get even more competitive.

The XD(M) 3.8 is a bit more compact than some of the competition.

The XD(M) 3.8 is a bit more compact than some of the competition.

The Springfield Armory XD(M)

This one is going to be really controversial, but I’ll try my best. Springfield Armory makes uncompromising pistols. If this were the .45 ACP top five, the XD-S would dominate. That single stack powerhouse is a compact beast. They make it in 9mm, but it isn’t going to make this list, even though it is a rocking gun. The reason, and I feel like its a sound one, is capacity. The XD-S in 9mm holds only 7 rounds.

I’m less concerned about minimal size. There is a race (albeit a slow moving race) to make large calibers work in smaller frames. As a result, you end up sacrificing capacity. But if there’s an XD-S with 7 rounds of 9mm on one hip, and an XD(M) with 13 rounds on the other, I know which one I’m going to draw first. What are the size differences? .28″ of width. About half-an-inch more length. I can live with those dimensions.

And the XD(M) is a rock-star. This gun flat out flies. If you want more barrel, the XD(M) line offers more sizes. In fact, the Springfield line has multiple options that are all very similar. The XD-S, the XD, the XD(M)–it is easy to find the pistol with just the right fit, girth, texture, etc. All are competitively priced, and the 3.8″ XD(M) comes in well under $600.

The serialized insert allows for modular use of frame sizes, calibers, and grip sizes, too.

The serialized insert allows for modular use of frame sizes, calibers, and grip sizes, too.

The SIG P320C

The last in my list is another gun that’s full of potential. While I like the P226, I think the P320 is one of the most innovative designs of 2014. The basic premise is this. Buy one serialized lower, and you can change frames and calibers at will, without the need for more paperwork. One frame insert will allow you to carry full sized, compact, subcompact, and (eventually) in 9mm, .40, .357 SIG, and .45 ACP.

Is this the wonder-gun we’ve all been waiting for? I’m not 100% sure. I still prefer the ergonomics and trigger of a full-sized P226. But the possibility of modularity has its appeal. Sales of the P320 haven’t taken off yet. I think some folks are waiting to see how well the gun stands up to abuse. But everything I hear is positive. The price is competitive, too, in that $600 range. And for what you get, that is a bargain.

In the end

Is this the golden age of the compact 9mm? I think so. I’ve got personal experience will all of these guns. And I’ve limited the list to just 5, which knocked out some of the other compelling competition (Smith, Kel-Tec, Beretta, Bersa!, Ruger…). There are so many, and reliability has reached a point that it is almost an afterthought.

But here we are at the end, and I know you’ve got something to say…

{ 117 comments… add one }
  • RugerDan July 13, 2017, 11:01 am

    I was disappointed at not seeing the Ruger SR9c in this list. Obviously I’m a Ruger fan and I really like my SR9c for general shooting and concealed carry. It fits my hands nicely, has great balance, has a really nice trigger, it’s accurate, and does not have any noticeable muzzle-flip, even when shooting +P+ loads. I like the safety switch on it for concealed carry because in an extreme scenario where someone happens to get a hold of the gun (Heaven-forbid) during a struggle, it might give you the opportunity to reacquire your weapon before the bad guy figures out how to deactivate the safety. I’ve used mine in Practical Shooting leagues and it performed very well. It is easily concealed and does not “print” very much through a shirt when using a pancake style holster. Most notably, it’s built like a Ruger…I mean…a tank. Rugers have a reputation for being able to take higher chamber pressures than other comparable guns, which means this gun may last longer with proper care. Most of all, I just like the way it looks and especially like the fact that it just feels good in my hands. Just my $.02 worth.

  • Eric October 20, 2016, 10:49 am

    Here’s the rub…. I see a lot of Walther’s PPQ in the HK VP9…. the VP9 was released in 2014 and the PPQ was released in 2011… I think you meant to say that you see a lot of the PPQ in the VP9. Clearly HK copied Walther, not the other way around… I love my HK and the fact that the mags are interchangeable with the P30, but the mag release is smaller and the trigger is almost as nice as the PPQ.

  • Pat October 7, 2016, 11:35 am

    I recognize this article is a little dated, however, having ANY H&K on a concealed carry list is irresponsible. DO NOT get me wrong – H&K makes some awesome guns; however, unless you own and train exclusively with H&K’s, in a high-stress situation where one must do a rapid reload, you are at risk of resorting to the vastly more common “push button” mag release and fail to drop the empty mag because of H&K’s unique “paddle” mag release. Also [again because of the dated info], one is unable to simply purchase a .45 ACP conversion kit for the Sig P320 to change calibers. One must purchase the serialized firing mechanism specifically, and exclusively, in .45. The only calibers “swappable” in the single serialized trigger mechanism are .9mm, .357 Sig and .40.

    • Eric October 20, 2016, 10:44 am

      This “irresponsible” comment needs to be addressed… I carry a Walther PPS, PPQ M1 and multiple HKs due to their “unique” paddle design. Someone whom carries the European preference could say that carrying a gun with a push button release is irresponsible. That IS Almost all of my guns are ambidextrous and one could argue that the ambidextrous features are better for battle situations. My wife is left handed, so fully ambidextrous handguns are a must. Furthermore, paddle magazine releases were invented to stop accidental mag releases. This is all personal preference, but I also like a paddle release because I don’t have to change my grip during reloading. I believe that if it were invented first, the paddle release would be more popular. Now the push button is preferred because “that’s the way we’ve always done it”… usually not a great ideology.

  • Justin Stevens October 7, 2016, 1:12 am

    You should probably visit the old reliable FNH FNP9. I find it ergonomics are far superior to a glock and it’s trigger both SA and DA are very nice. It is extremely reliable and accurate. Your review seems like it was bought by Glock.

  • Jeremy October 7, 2016, 1:05 am

    Ruger SR9c. Awesome shooting gun.

  • Jerry D Smith May 16, 2016, 2:01 am

    I thought this was a best of COMPACT guns? Not one of these guns are compact. They’re all thick and only concealable under a jacket. I call BS.

    • Brian K September 10, 2016, 9:07 pm

      I really don’t agree. I am an average size guy (6’2″, 195lbs) and I can conceal the G19, XDM (as pictured) or the 320C with a T-Shirt, no problem.

    • Logan July 11, 2017, 4:03 am

      The G19 is so easily concealed, i find your opinion grossly irrational.

      I carry AIWB in a kydex rig, concealed by UnderArmor shirts daily.

      I am baffled by your train of thought.

  • Rollo May 15, 2016, 11:26 pm

    Maybe I am misunderstanding your terminology, but it seems like none of the guns on your list are “double action” and the only compact listed is the Springfield.

  • John Baker May 15, 2016, 3:08 pm

    I know a lot of people will chuckle, but the Taurus millennium g2 is a great 99mm semi-auto. It eats all ammo without a single failure. Ive had 3 different kinds and 3 different types of ammo in same magazine, blazer brass 115 grain, fiocci 124 grain CMJ and winchester +p and each round hit center mass. With its contours its great for conceal and it only cost me $250 out the door. Great gun!

    • Tobin November 27, 2017, 6:10 pm

      There are always the Taurus haters. So many that I don’t even mention my collection of Taurii anymore except to people I know. The Millenium line are great pistols, but i love my PT 8xx line of pistols and my PT1911 is spectacular.

  • Treiz December 10, 2015, 11:27 am

    How the hell did the M&P 9c get left off this list? NONSENSE!!! 13 rounds + full size backup mag, if you have a hard-on for the G19 size just get a +2 or +3 base plate and done. > . <

    • Nikki May 21, 2016, 10:07 pm

      You crazy glock 19 and th glock 26 are the best I owe the glock 26 and it holds 11 bullets and with 30 round holder its th best there is.

  • Sean December 5, 2015, 2:47 pm

    CZ’s ya CAN’t omit…..don’t forget about the performance shields….and my favorite the (S)Styer 9mm striker (s for subcompact)compact,great price,ergonomics,trigger,high bore axis, hammer F barrel (same as CZ)…,
    So in my opinion you missed a few…unless you were looking for low quality AND price…,

  • xrey November 9, 2015, 2:28 am

    As a CZ fan, I’m glad the CZ is finally getting it’s worth notice. I don’t like the P07 in .40SW though., But I have the CZ 40p. I also likes Glocks, ike the 19, 26, 17 and 18. But I think it’s the shooters that will decide. I’m glad people like you gives out recommendations and reviews.

  • Hrttrmphl July 20, 2015, 3:40 am

    I would take good old CZ 75b before any of these mentioned ones.

  • Ed May 19, 2015, 7:28 pm

    I think you hit it right on… I wish the XD would lose the grip safety.and the VP9 came with a shorter slide and more capacity… I would like to see your list on sub compact 9mm… G26, Ruger LC9S Pro, or XD MOD 2

    • Paradox September 12, 2015, 11:35 pm

      The length of the VP9 is the same length of a Glock 19 Gen 3. Capacity is 15 rounds, same as the Glock 19.

  • Moe December 30, 2014, 10:40 am

    Where’s the Smith and Wesson shield 9mm? It’s a great compact 9mm. It’s small, easy to conceal, accurate and very dependable.

  • Richard Marchitto December 29, 2014, 8:18 pm

    Last week I picked up the HK vp9 and I have to say it is a very nice firearm! After reading this article I decided to go out and buy a Glock 19 I shot them at the range today I love them both and now I have two fantastic 9 millimeter compact pistols…

  • The Yankee Marshal December 23, 2014, 6:29 am

    Funny how two new and unproven guns managed to make this list of “best” 9mm compacts.

  • Northman December 22, 2014, 1:47 pm

    I don’t know the exact timing of release dates vs when you wrote this article, BUT, I believe that you may have left out unjustly Springfield’s latest offering, the compact (Sub-compact?)Mod. 2 version of their excellent pistol platform. The barrel is “only” 3″ in length. And it’s width is only 2/10ths of an inch wider than the XDs, but it holds 13+1 rounds of 9mm! And has an extension magazine that holds 16+1! I believe that this “may” become the #1 concealed carry pistol on the market in the near future. I just bought one from for less than $500!

    Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Glock fan. I own a very large variety of their groundbreaking pistols. And I love my Gen4 Glock 19! However, I have often said that the Springfield XD (M)(S) and now Mod. 2 are what the Glocks SHOULD be. I rarely “upgrade” anything on the Springfield XDs that I have purchased over the years. However, when I buy a Glock, I immediately change the sights, the guiderod assembly, the slide stop, and generally these days the trigger assembly ( And sometimes the barrel!! By the time that I am done, my $500-600 Glock is now a $1K Glock!

    So, if the Mod. 2 Springfield lives up to its hype (and I have been impressed with my other Springfields) , this pistol may well replace all of my current concealed carry pistols (well, most of them anyway 🙂 ), AND may become my IDPA pistol of choice. In fact, I “may” even put up several of my other pistols that I have accumulated over time for sale! (my wife will be happy!) Come on Christmas!!

  • Shoobear December 17, 2014, 7:12 am

    CZ75 Compact. Great ergonomics, bore axis, reliability, durability and accuracy. All at a price that won’t break the bank. As an all metal pistol, sure, it’s a bit heavier–all the better to get back on target with you follow-up shots!

  • Steve December 10, 2014, 4:51 pm

    You can’t call the 320 “one of the most innovative designs of 2014” for its serialized chassis, as Beretta has been doing that for years with the Nano. Sure, Beretta never moved beyond the 9mm like they said they would, but the point stands: The Nano with it’s interchangable chassis existed before the Sig 320.

    • Eric October 20, 2016, 10:54 am

      How about this then… the Nano was released in 2011. The P250 (striker fired version of P320) was released is 2007. The P320 is about 95% interchangeable with the P320

  • No_man December 8, 2014, 8:35 pm

    Close but no cigar. Absolutely agree with the Glock 19 as undisputed king but the rest of the list looked almost like a paean to recent “latest and greatest”; the H&K VP9 is a striker fired substitute for the (better IMH) P30. I’ve fired the PPQ-M2 and found FTF’s, a surprisingly cheap feel to the polymer and accuracy/features topped by the CZ-P07. The XDM I can probably agree on though I prefer the S&W M&P (in “compact”) as I dislike the grip safety on the XDMs and finally, the SIgP320 is a striker substitute for the P250, neither of which is eclipsed by the very fine CZ P-02.

  • jc December 8, 2014, 5:48 pm

    Wha can you tell me about the 92A1 4.9 17+1 prieto barretta?

  • Steve Richardson December 8, 2014, 6:01 am

    I agree with all of the SR9C lovers. It should have made the list. I bought one for my son on his 21st birthday. He loves it and i fell for the way it feels and shoots so i purchased it’s brother the SR40C since I already have another Ruger 9.

  • Jonny Nam November 30, 2014, 11:59 pm

    I love my VP9 since the moment I picked it up. It’s grip feels like it was custom molded to my hand! Had upwards of 700 rounds through it so far and not a single failure!

    That being said… Id never put it on a “best compact 9mms” in a million years. It’s not compact. Period.

    Just sayin

  • JtothaK November 24, 2014, 6:26 pm

    I own or have owned Sigs, XDs, M&Ps, a Hi Power clone, a really nice Les Baer TRS (fav 1911) and various other pistols but my trusty old Gen III Glock 19 is my bed side, go-to, hiking, 3gun, etc. pistol for a reason. It just feels right and literally never fails. Plus I have like 50 mags for it including the 30 rnd G18 mags and a bunch of 17rnd G17 mags. Versatility, easy to find parts, simple but robust engineering and accessories complete the package. Shooting it (and other Glocks) is just muscle memory.

    That being said, if I was to switch teams, I would probably run a PPQ.

  • Browning was God before Clapton November 24, 2014, 2:31 pm

    Beretta Cougar L
    Browning Hi-Power, Alloy-Framed
    CZ-75B Compact, Alloy-Framed (Israeli Contract)
    CZ-75D PCR
    H&K P7 PSP
    Sig Sauer P228
    S&W 6906

    Own them all, shoot them all. Never a malfunction with any of them. Carry them all (not at once, obviously) with Kirkpatrick’s TSS OWB holster (TP7 for the P7). If, for some reason, I have to go IWB I naturally reach for either the Hi-Power or the P7.

  • woody mcclendon November 24, 2014, 2:19 pm

    there are many fine guns, that’s for sure, and a lot of opinions. let me give you my 2 cents. I got in the ok nat guard right after korea and I was 16 and 3 months old, we were tankers and I got tired of waiting in line every night at summer camp to check in a “clean weapon” so I bought my own and threw it in my locker at night and took it out the next morning, no waiting in line and no sweat. I bought my colt 45 in a downtown okc pawn shop for 35.00 dollars in 1960 and it was used then, I have fired many many rounds thru it over the last 50 plus years and never had a single misfire, jam, stove pipe or whatever you want to call it, not one problem in all those years, it is not an army issue but you sure cant tell the difference, this has to be an all time winner. it sure has been for me.

  • Gregg November 24, 2014, 12:51 pm

    The Sig P320C was an interesting choice…Don’t forget its predecessor…the P250C. Same grip module and magazines as the P320, same butter-smooth DAO (again, with re-strike capability), Sig reliability and accuracy. The major difference in the FCU (fire control unit) and slide is the P250 has a bobbed hammer and conventional firing pin, the P320 is striker-fired.
    For a carry gun it’s a good choice, espcially if you’re transistioning from revolvers. I have a couple and can change them from 9mm to .40S&W to (my favorite) .357 Sig in seconds.

  • J.Paul November 20, 2014, 12:35 am

    CZ 75 p-01 is better than all those plastic pieces of crap, I’ve shot many polymer pistols and the barrel flip is MUCH worse than the cz,get an all metal pistol with a little heft to it,you will shoot much better.

  • John Fernald November 19, 2014, 11:13 am

    Buurga, I could not disagree more. The couple of hundred dollars at risk in the event of a shooting is a small sacrifice compared to having the right gun in your hand when your life is at stake. If there was a $3k gun that was significantly better than the $600 gun I carry now, I would purchase it in a minute.

  • BUURGA November 3, 2014, 10:36 pm

    Any gun over 400.00 dollars to be used for ccw purposes is a waste of money. The ‘combat’ life of this type of gun is 1-2 mags at most. In a self defense shooting the gun will be confiscated for evidence and it can be weeks or months before it is returned. If a fatality is involved the gun will likely not be returned at all. Save your money for a good range gun to keep your skills sharp. Do you really want to hand over any of the fine pistols mentioned to judge?

    • JtothaK November 24, 2014, 6:44 pm

      This particular “buy a cheap gun in the event it gets confiscated as evidence” logic is non-sense. What you’re stating is that one should to buy a gun with the sole qualifying factor of being cheap enough to not care to lose in case of confiscation. What is the chance of being involved in a shooting? More precisely, what is the chance of being involved in a shooting that also results in a permanent loss of a firearm? Less than .0001 of a %? Reliability, ergonomics, performance, accuracy, etc., you know, all the real world attributes that affect the other 99.9999% of the time be damned.

      Not only that, the fact that a $600 Glock or even a $1000 H&K gets confiscated would probably be the LEAST of one’s worries in the event of a justifiable force court case.

      Nothing personal Buurga, you just regurgitated this same BS argument that continues to bounce to and fro on the internet.

  • Mike October 28, 2014, 11:39 am

    The M&P 9C is very definitely a compact 9mm; the Shield is the S&W sub-compact. The 9C is comparable in every way to the 5 guns reviewed, including quality, is usually less expensive and is made in the US.

  • Mr. Bill October 28, 2014, 1:13 am

    Thank you for a well written, balanced, biased article. That is, I haven’t found anybody that doesn’t have their own bias favorites, so, I’m glad they are represented here. Several years ago, I got back into shooting, with a focus on CCW, (my first bias is nothing smaller than 9mm). Merrily off to purchase my Glock 19, I was stopped by the “Hand Dragon.” The revered G19 did not sit happily in my hand. I was subsequently overtaken by the G23 Gen 4, which uses the SF (short frame), the 4th gen double coil recoil abatement Glock perfected in the 30SF and others, and by then I had drunk large quantities of Glock Kool-Aide. In almost no time I was looking at the ugliest gun on the planet thinking, “I really like my Kimber, but I love my Glock.” Subcompacts have cleared the Kool-Aide out of my system, and just yesterday, I gave up the one gun I thought I would own forever, the G23 (for which I also acquired/sold both 9MM barrel & .22LR slide for — did not get the Sig357, I mean, if you shoot a .40 caliber, why bother?). I expect to fully recover. But I don’t begrudge a single Glock-Fan Boy (or Fan Girl) their fantasies. The gun always goes bang, pristine clean or dirty and mean. They always morph from pug ugly to beautiful, once you point it down range and find it has become a part of your arm, as you repeatedly punch holes like driving tacks — at least it did for me. The Kimber, the Shield, and the Sig P938 are all equally rotated in my CCW with deliberate care, but whenever I was just going out for a minute, I always grabbed my wallet, car keys, and Glock, like Glock-work… Thanks, again for a great review and forum discussion field.

    • Russ October 28, 2014, 1:11 pm

      I like your attitude Mr. Bill.
      And thanks for making me smile and chuckle a bit with your humor.
      I don’t do that much these days.

  • GreyFox73 October 27, 2014, 9:27 pm

    I have owned and operated a Ruger SR9, now own and operate a PPQ and have ordered out a CCP. By design it looks like the CCP will be as good as the others and also the only one which can be considered a “compact” Never liked Glocks because the
    triggers are impossibly heavy. I think Glock is trying to change that, but until then….. I also no longer regard 17-19 rounds necessary. They weigh too much. The CCP, as advertised, may actually be fun to shoot. Waiting to try the recoil reduction system.
    Can’t worry about terms like striker fired vs. double action. If it shoots well and I can control it, who cares about semantics? As far as the selections all being foreign made, I believe S&W and Walther had a joint venture going on for awhile. No longer. If American gun makers were not so unreasonably scared off by their own lawyers we would already have smoother and lighter
    triggers. In Europe triggers are not an issue because there lawyers don’t bribe their parliaments to NOT undertake tort reform.

    I agree that there are many good, reliable handguns out there. I’ve been shooting for almost 60 years so I remember when outfits like Ruger made guns of such poor quality I once took off a Ruger 30 cal. rifle barrel, replaced it with a Liltje and used the old barrel for a tomato stake. Sent a pic of same to Ruger. Gee, I wonder why they never replied? Now, I just took a Ruger American (.308 Win) to the range and fired three shot groups under 1″ MOA all afternoon w/factory ammo.

    I once purchased a S&W 586, in .357M that came to me w/o a side plate on the grips. Seems shocking now, but true. Thanks to CNC machining we are living in the golden age of firearms (not to mention the Platinum age of Concealed Carry).

    Blessings on you all.


    PS: Speaking of Golden Ages, I recall with nostalgia being a newly minted Sergent E5 on my way over to the ‘Nam. I purchased a Walther PPK–by mail– for, you won’t believe it, $86 shipping included! Oh, those were the days!

  • Justin October 27, 2014, 8:32 pm

    My carry weapon of choice is the cz75 compact. Before I bought it I rented the HK vp9 and springfield xds 9. Did not love either. Guy suggested trying cz75. Was in love at first squeeze. Highly suggest it.

    • TPSnodgrass October 28, 2014, 12:54 pm

      The CZ 75 platform and its’ variants are excellent all steel firearms for the faux snobs who turn up their noses at “plastic” firearms. The CZ 75 has outstanding ergonomics, better than any other pistol out there. I’m waiting for mine to get here. Still love my FrankenGlock 26 though. There are now, too damn many manufacturers making too many outstanding handguns these days!

  • Betty October 27, 2014, 6:47 pm

    I learned to shoot with a Glock 26 9mm. I like the gun but I want a larger one for competition. I am considering the Glock 34. Does anyone have any experience with the 34?

  • Russ October 27, 2014, 6:42 pm

    Since the <<>> was left off the list (should have been at the top)
    I thought I might lay it down here for you to evaluate. What a Glock guy thinks about it;

    • Russ October 28, 2014, 1:45 am

      <<>> <—–that's what I typed, somehow it was ommitted

      • Russ October 28, 2014, 1:03 pm

        Above, I’m trying to print S&W M&P SHIELD
        And it still isn’t being posted.
        Maybe the admin hates it and that’s why it’s not on the list?
        LOL, just watch the video.

  • bill October 27, 2014, 4:30 pm

    XD 40…my choice. Its a nail driver and the 40 power. I trust my life and my family life with this gun.

  • AW Scott October 27, 2014, 2:51 pm

    Seriously, you had pick a pistol from a foreign country for every single gun in your Top 5?!
    I’ve shot a lot of guns in my 40 years as peace officer and hands-down one of my all time favorites is the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm Compact! I’ve found it far superior to the Glock and Walther models, not only for comfort range (sizeable backstrap) and grip angle, accuracy, trigger and carry. I suspect you limited your choices without sufficient research.

    • Russ October 28, 2014, 2:21 am

      That’s hilarious

    • Russ October 28, 2014, 2:49 am

      That was my response to Craig Ramsey
      My response to you AW ; Didn’t you know Walther and S&W merged? Glocks also now made in America.
      And that the Q has interchangeable back straps?
      I say the M&P Shield is more compact for CC, but there’s nothing more comfortable in your hand than a PPQ M-1
      The angle is like pointing your finger. Best trigger & quickest reset. Extreamly accurate (snipers pistol).
      I urge you to go try it out, you’ll love it.
      I know we’re talking 9’s but 10 rds. of 10mm in the compact Glock 29 is a real ass kicking CC

  • Roy October 27, 2014, 12:37 pm

    Wish I had a Glock so I could sell it and buy a real gun. I’ve fired them a few times and after 1 mag the muscle between my thumb and index finger hurt like crazy. That’s because of the awkward angle that you have to hold it. I can shoot my XD all day long in complete comfort. Watch a slo-mo video of someone shooting both pistols and you’ll see that the Glock has twice the muzzle flip as the XD.

  • Craig Ramsey October 27, 2014, 11:58 am

    Plastic guns suck. Would never own one.

    • D Hicks October 28, 2014, 11:25 am

      I Agree with you Craig, I carry a REAL metal full size COLT government model and it’s not hard to hide, anyway .45 auto works. I don’t Like plastic gun s or stocks.If you gave me a Glock I’d sell it and buy more .45 ammo.

  • Bruce W. Coyne October 27, 2014, 10:21 am

    I am 72yrs old and i just purchased a Sringfiel 9mm sub compact with a 16 plus one round magazine and i love the size and everything about it, i got it with the Army o.d. green base, eventually i would like another one exactly the same to hand down to my kids and grandkids, love the idea if you have three clips that is 51 shots fairly fast.

  • steve October 27, 2014, 9:52 am

    When this world is a cold dead place….a survivor will look down and find an old pistol that still works…it will be a Glock 19.

    • Russ October 28, 2014, 12:54 pm

      That survivor will be me, and I will still be bitching about the availability of ammo.

  • AZArchangel55 October 27, 2014, 9:43 am

    Full discloser, I’m a dyed in the wool Glock guy. That being said, I have to point out the obvious, ALL the pistols being compared to the Glock can be found “Used for sale…”, never seen many Glocks!
    P.S. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I wish I didn’t have so many bullets!” ;-))

    • John Songer Jr November 12, 2014, 10:56 am

      Actually, I’ve recently was looking for a good used pistol for keeping in my tackle box in case of snakes. I do have to say, out of the 7 pawn shops & 6 firearm stores I went to, there is just as many Glocks used as any other firearm. Only thing I did notice is the prices. I live outside Dallas in gun crazy Texas and prices are at or above msrp on all the guns in the review. Shot a few glocks, as well as others but Sigs seem to naturally aim, shoot & feel better in the hand. And just so you know I am far from biased, there is now a Hi Point C9 in my tackle box. On my side however is a SD40VE Until I can afford a XD(m).

    • Butters December 17, 2016, 11:14 pm

      I see more used Glocks for sale than any other gun. What a stupid comment

  • Keith October 27, 2014, 9:21 am

    I see the author has been drinking a lot of the Glock Kool-Aid!!! There are so many options in this catagory of handguns it is almost impossible to cover them all. While I own and do agree the Glock is a good pistol, It is actually the one pistol I own that is the last one I would select due to it’s blockiness and overall un-ergonomic feel. I personally would not rate it anywhere near the top among the selections available today, 10 years ago, maybe but not now. I have owned/shot most all of the available guns in this size and the HK is one of the best. If the criteria didn’t include the requirement of a dozen rounds+ of ammo, my person favorite is the Kahr line of pistols. They are extremely accurate for their size and very well built. Not a beginners handgun though since they are built to tigher tolerances and this causes new owners to have issues. They do require a break in period!
    Being of the ‘over 50’ crowd I am still an ardent .45 acp guy and prefer to carry something in that caliber. My two top choices are my Kahr PM45 and HK HK45C. The HK is almost the same exact size as a G19 and a heck of a lot more ergonomic. Just my $.02.

  • Betty October 27, 2014, 9:17 am

    I learned to shoot with a Glock 26 and I love it except for the short grip. For competition, however, I need a larger gun but I want to stick with the 9mm. I am considering the Glock 34, gen 4. I have shot several Glocks and really like the feel of the 34. Any advice? By the way, I’m 5ft 3 in tall, weigh 114 lbs and have small hands.

    • TPSnodgrass October 28, 2014, 12:49 pm

      Betty, I do carry my Glock 26 every single day. Now that I’m retired, I can CHOOSE to carry what I want. I mitigated the “short grip”, by adding the Glock 19 magazine with a grip adapter, try it! You’ll be amazed at how nicely this snuggles into your hand and no, it doesn’t make it more difficult to conceal or to carry. I started out in law enforcement way back when you had three choices of a revolver, Smith & Wesson, Colt or Ruger. Now,m there are hundreds of manufacturers to choose from.
      try that little Glock 19/26 tip, I think you will enjoy it a great deal.

  • Your Delusional October 27, 2014, 9:09 am

    Well seeing this is just a random list with little to no evaluation on performance, specs or technical advantages and not a helpful review I’ll give my input.

    These are really NOT compact firearms. Most are service, government, sized pistols. Second, the fact that you listed a Glock above a Steyr, HK and Walther shows you have little knowledge of quality, craftsmanship and are just following the crowd. The VP-9, L9-A1 and PPQ are light years ahead of Glock 19 or any Glock for that matter.

    It is clear you are one that values low price, plastic sights, sloppy triggers, lack of design and a flawed mag release over a superb firearm.

    • JOE 0EHME November 24, 2014, 8:24 am


      • WHO CAME FIRST? December 9, 2014, 9:53 pm

        Joe, you better go back and do some research. Gaston Glock borrowed the innovations you talk about from H&K (Polymer frame and striker fired) along with design elements of other pistols from various other manufactures, modified them and rolled them up into the Glock 17 pistol.

        So in essence, without the other gun manufactures, there would be no Glocks today, and the polymer pistol landscape would look nothing like it does today, what with so many great choices and at reasonable prices too.

        We can all agree there is a gun out there for everyone that wants one, for we are not all Glockaholics.

  • Steve Turner October 27, 2014, 7:48 am

    I have owned or do own Glock, Springfield, and S&W. The M&P9c is my favorite, the XDm40 is 2nd, and I sold the Glock.

    • Mike October 27, 2014, 8:24 am

      That M&P is a nice pistol. It’s great to see S&W getting it right in semi-autos finally, but I still prefer the XD.

  • Steve Turner October 27, 2014, 7:47 am

    I have owned or do own Glock, Springfield, and S&W. The M&P9c is my favorite, the XDm40 is 2nd, and I sold the Glock.

  • Bill Elliott October 27, 2014, 7:43 am

    Get your hands on aRuger LC9S, best trigger in the striker-fired market.

    • Russ October 28, 2014, 2:11 am

      You must not have shot the Walther PPQ.
      Best in the world…… still…….LOL (not kidding)
      LC9 6 x 4.50—-PPQ 7 x 5
      Pick that up!

    • Marc December 26, 2014, 3:06 pm

      Bill, just bought one but have not had a chance to run some rounds yet. Just ordered a Veridian Green laser holster combo that is supposed to turn it on when drawn. DeVor had a good price. If you own a LC9s, what SD ammo are you using?

  • mike kolendo October 27, 2014, 6:36 am

    sorry, but I disagree. I think if the XD came along first Glock would run a not so close second in every category. It is stone cold reliable, more accurate, less expensive, has more safety features has a better trigger, and is much more ergonomic. Glock is a good gun, no doubt, but the XD is a vast improvement.

    • S. Patrick October 30, 2014, 11:09 pm

      Had an XD, good ergonomics but absolutely hated the trigger, way to soft, borderline mushy. By comparison the trigger on my Glock 19 feels so much tighter, has a much crisper break, and more positive reset.

      • TPSNodgrass November 24, 2014, 4:13 pm

        I have both the Glock 19 and the Springfield XD 4 inch. Both are excellent pistols, I do not favor one over the other. I find the differences between the two to be negligible.

  • mike kolendo October 27, 2014, 6:34 am

    sorry, but I disagree. I think if the XD came along first Glock would run a not so close second in every category. It is stone cold reliable, more accurate, less expensive, has more safety features has a better trigger, and is much more ergonomic. Glock is a good gun, no doubt, but the XD is a vast improvement.

  • Jeffry Westbrook October 27, 2014, 5:45 am

    How about the Steyr C9-A1?It is very ergonomic,reliable and points well.It is also very accurate.The price is also very affordable.

    • DrDollar December 29, 2014, 1:36 pm

      Agree about the Steyr. Great balance and a nice crisp trigger break that is unlike any other on the striker-fired market (Sig P320 is close). I have two 9mm M1-A1s for my older daughters, both of whom prefer it to both the Gen3 and Gen4 Glock 19 and the Walther PPQ. Recoil control is superior to both competitors. The new Sig P320 full-size in 40 cal has a great out-of-the-box trigger that is one of several characteristics that make it superior to the Glock 22 (my carry firearm. The 9mm model with its nice balance must be a dream to shoot! With proper training and practice, any serious shooter can master any of these firearms. It boils down to personal preference and in-the-hand comfort. For the average shooter, the rest is like comparing apples to oranges.

  • dustin October 22, 2014, 2:39 pm
  • Dudley October 22, 2014, 12:34 am

    Smith & Wesson 9mm Shield is a very fine carry weapon. I can not believe you left that out.

    • Barrett October 22, 2014, 11:44 am

      Agreed. I love mine. Although based on the author’s review of the Springfield line, I would think he would prefer the M&P 9c over the Shield.

      • Roy October 22, 2014, 1:34 pm

        I’ve shot quite a few of these and for the money I would take my Shield anyday. I love my M&P40c as well but nothing rides as good in my Alien gear holster as the shield. As far as reliability I have fed it about anything you could imagine and no FTF after probably over 500 rounds.

    • jesse October 22, 2014, 9:45 pm

      M&P 9c(not the shield) is not sub-compact and is > the rest of the field.

    • Robert October 27, 2014, 11:32 am

      The M & P Shield 9mm was my choice for concealed carry because it still has enough grip to control the recoil and is accurate. Good amgazine release and adequate sights. I carry it alternately with my Sig Saur P238 .380 which is a single action built like the Colt .45 and very nice. Can carry it on my waist of leg holster.

    • Chris December 15, 2014, 3:10 am

      How about glock 30 sf? , it very conceal carry all day everyday. I love mine!

  • jake October 21, 2014, 11:33 pm

    I second that. What kicked the m&p9c off the list? It has better ergos than the glock and has better balance than the springfield by far

  • Jon October 21, 2014, 10:02 pm

    I agree 100% on the Glock 19. I own a 3rd and 4th generation. Simply the best.

  • David October 21, 2014, 8:09 pm

    I want that GLOCK 19 so bad I can taste it! 🙁

    • Steve October 21, 2014, 8:57 pm

      I LOVE my G19, get one, you owe it to yourself!

    • Ari October 28, 2014, 12:48 am

      Don’t do it David, buy a G23 instead that way you can have all three calibers on the same platform. I got a G23C and put a Barsto ported 9mm barrel on it and added a Taran Tactical grip job. Now its hard to put down. I’m planning on buying a .357 barrel for it soon.

    • Russ October 28, 2014, 12:47 pm

      want a GLOCK 29 so bad, I already crapped it out.

  • TannerAnders October 21, 2014, 8:02 pm

    How on Earth did you leave off the M&P9c?

  • zach murphy October 21, 2014, 7:56 pm

    How are the PPQ and VP9 considered compact?

    • Rick October 22, 2014, 7:15 am

      Exactly my thought.

      • Russ October 28, 2014, 1:56 am

        I own a PPQ m-1, and it’s not a compact.
        But the Q is 1/3 in. shorter than the G-19, and 1/4 in longer than the XD(M)
        The top C-9mm. IMO is not listed—-S&W M&P SHIELD

        • Robert December 13, 2014, 7:25 pm

          Amen to that. I literally just left a gun show with 2 of the S&W Shield 9mm for me and my wife. I have an XD .45 ACP and the Smith 9c, the Springfield XD(M) and basically any of the above so called “Compact” 9mm’s are not much better than that for true concealed carry especially if you live in the South where it is warm most of the time. That .25 inch width and extra length, not to mention extra weight of 13 in mag does make a difference. If you don’t practice enough to where you can deal with a threat with 8 rounds of hollow points then you might not want to carry….or get to the range more. Buy extra mags if it makes you feel better but this article was off. Should have included true compact carry……otherwise why bother. If you don’t have to carry concealed then you are in LE of some kind in which case carry a nice Kimber 1911

    • Rien October 27, 2014, 10:42 am

      PPQ is the same size as the G19.
      But the VP9 is the same size as the G17; they are full-size guns.
      And then for the XD(M) 3.8 they used a picture of the Compact, which is actually a sub-compact but weasel-says “the product line has many sizes.” So how about naming the “compact” model for this list?

      Maybe that’s why he said the list would be controversial? He sets his definitions for 5 guns, then picks 2 that don’t meet the criteria and excludes 2 that do?

      • Paradox September 12, 2015, 11:14 pm

        No, the VP9 is not the same size as the Glock 17. The Glock 17 is a half inch longer, with a 4.48 in barrel. VP9 has a 4″ barrel.

  • kal October 21, 2014, 7:50 pm

    Love my Kahr!
    Saw an ad for C.C. in Virginia, they showed one of your holsters.

  • justin October 21, 2014, 7:48 pm

    I was drooling over the Walther p99c, until they came out with the ppq. Then the VP9 came out and I was excited for that. Now I’ve heard about the CCP. while I don’t like the name, it should be exciting.
    But by the time I find the money in my sofa cushions something else will be out anyway.

    • Russ October 28, 2014, 12:40 pm

      Justin, Go do yourself a favor and go get a PPQ M1 before you can’t find them any more.
      Not a M2 with the old button mag release. That one has some polymer that sticks out around the button that may irritate your middle finger.
      The M1 has the best paddle mag release of all pistols, and is effortless to operate.
      Your trigger finger travels less than 1/4 in. off the trigger to move it.
      For a pistol .40 cal. or 9mm. it is superior to all others in every aspect.
      One could only argue more visible sights.
      Snagless and nothing sticking out, yet ambidextrous and most efficient slide release and takedown levers.
      I can take it down in 3-4 seconds and you have 5 parts; mag, frame, slide, barrel, guide rod/spring.
      Materials and craftsmanship are top quality and it has excellent accuracy.
      Best grip stippling and slide serrations. You will notice that the bumps on the side of the grip fit your inner palm knuckles on one side and your finger tips on the other.
      The safeties except on the trigger where it belongs, and I just now measured the trigger travel for the reset, it’s 1/8 inch !
      None better, period. (right now everyone is measuring and finding this out)
      Justin, I can guarantee you, if you buy one you will be completely satisfied.
      You might just be bummed you didn’t buy two.
      Even Walther is moving away from this innovative design to appease the old school safety police.
      It’s a real sad/bad decision by them, and why for higher calibers I would go S&W,GLOCK or SPRINGFIELD.
      Grab that PPQ M1 before they’re gone. It’s worth twice what you will pay.

  • Josh October 21, 2014, 7:48 pm

    I think you’re doing a huge disservice leaving the Ruger SR9C off the list. While the G19 is the undisputed champ, and I shoot an XDm in competition, the SR9C is my go to concealed piece when I want more capacity than my XDs .45 provides. Couple the fact that it’s built like a tank with probably the best out of the box trigger I’ve shot, it’s small size and thickness make it a great carry gun. All in all, good write up, thanks!

    • Richard October 21, 2014, 11:27 pm

      i was going to say the same thing Josh said! How could you leave out the Rugar SR9C?? Great weapon! I also enjoy carrying my Smith M&P Shield 9 mm!!

      • Nicks87 October 22, 2014, 2:34 pm

        The shield is a sub-compact but a great CCW for sure.

      • Ralph October 28, 2014, 10:59 am

        I have used the 19, the PPQ M2, and the 320C of my friends; better still they’ve used my SR9c and the one thing we all agree on is that the SR9c is better. How did you leave this off the list? I’ve a simple answer… you didn’t test them all, you “read” your choices.

      • Ross December 22, 2014, 4:52 pm

        This is a ridiculous list. The guns that were left out have already been mentioned, but I have shot the S&W Shield in .40 and anyone who can’t handle that is just a plain sissy. What a great, powerful carry weapon. Better than anything mentioned here.

    • Ian Smit October 22, 2014, 11:44 am

      Smith and Wesson M&P 9c is much better out of the box and long term than any Glock. How did it get skipped from your list?

      • Nicks87 October 22, 2014, 2:33 pm

        I believe the M&P 9c is considered a sub-compact. A great gun but too small for some folks.

        • TannerAnders October 22, 2014, 7:43 pm

          Not at all.

          I’m a very big guy (6’4″, 350#) with very big hands (XXXL gloves, and I use a 6″ touchscreen phone one-handed with ease), and the M&P9c is incredibly easy for me to shoot. The finger extension on the magazine, combined with the large backstrap that comes with the gun fill my hand very well.

          • Wes December 2, 2014, 6:44 pm

            I agree it’s a shame that the M&P didn’t make the list but he’s right, It’s not a true Glock 19 sized compact.
            Most people want a Glock 19 sized M&P just for that reason.

    • Brett Biggerstaff October 27, 2014, 4:11 am

      All of these are excellent choices, and I’ve carried a few of them. But I still have a problem with the author (and the industry) referring to these striker-fired handguns as “double-action”. I now carry a SIG P250SC, which is a true hammer-fired DAO pistol. Of course, I grew up with DA revolvers as my mainstay. Still love the Ruger and S&W .357’s with a four inch barrel.

      • John Fernald November 19, 2014, 10:53 am

        I agree. To me, double action means the trigger does both jobs: cocks the hammer/striker and releases the hammer/trigger. All of the guns in the article have triggers with only one function: release the hammer, thus they are single action.

        • Corey M December 10, 2014, 8:47 pm

          Except that striker fired is not classified as single action, they are classified as DA

    • Sean October 30, 2014, 6:11 am

      Po7 9mm cz75……styer M9A1….? Hammer forged barrels…designed by??? …c’mon you know thin one…

      • Gregg Brewer December 30, 2014, 9:19 pm

        I agree with the CZ P-07. Similar in size to the G-19 with the same capacity, DA/SA, can be carried cocked-n-locked if desired, hammer fired and costs less than a G-19. What’s not to like? I own a G-17 gen 2 and have shot a G-19 gen 4 and was impressed but not enough to spend the extra scratch when a less expensive, quality CZ product will do.

    • Touve December 2, 2014, 9:10 pm

      Don’t have too much experience with a lot of 9mm’s. Would have to agree with the G19 – it’s on my short list as one to get, but I really love my SR9c. It disappears in a High Noon tuckable holster, is light, has good capacity (and bigger mags) is more accurate than I can shoot it, and has yet to fail in about 2,000 rounds. Price? got it for about $400 new.
      One last item on the G19 – you can ALWAYS find parts, mags, accessories when SHTF – they’re all over.
      thanks for the article. (can’t believe all the love for the VP9…might have to check it out)

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