9mm pistols and ammo

Best 9mm Pistols | A Complete Guide

The 9mm pistol has long held a reputation as a great round for target shooting and competition. Its greatest surge in popularity has occurred over the past 30 years or so as more concealed carriers have adopted it as their favorite.

The 9mm caliber has several names, a few such as the 9×19 Parabellum, 9mm Luger, and 9 mil. It chambers the 9mm pistol which means the caliber has a diameter of 9 millimeters. The 9mm pistol gained its popularity because of its perfect balance of defensive stopping power and capacity. It was adopted by law enforcement and military officers worldwide, which was later adopted by civilians. Its reduced recoil is a huge advantage as it helps in faster target reacquisition and accurate and faster follow-ups. In addition, because of its small caliber, it can hold about 10 to 30+ rounds in one pistol. Plus, 9mm ammunition is cheap and easy to find. It is also lightweight and versatile. Many shooters use it for competition, self-defense, range use, and for concealed carry. It shoots faster and more accurately, packs a lot of firepower, and has less felt recoil.

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Types of 9mm pistols

There are many types of handguns that may be categorized according to their use, shape, size, and others. But for the 9mm caliber, we’ll give you a shortlist of the three common pistol types. These are the following:

  • Concealed Carry Pistols: An ideal pistol for concealed carry is light, compact, robust, and reliable. This is also to ensure you can conceal and store it comfortably and efficiently for a long period.
  • Home Defense Handguns: Guns you use at home can be as large as you want as you don’t need to conceal them. You just need to be comfortable using the gun.
  • Range Guns: Guns for the range often come in full sizes. People often use these types of guns for plinking and competition.

How to choose the best 9mm pistol?

In choosing your 9mm handgun, you should take a few factors into consideration.

  • Purpose: Determine your objectives to get the ideal gun that you need.
  • Reliability & Durability: Reliability ensures your gun functions efficiently. Durability is your gun’s ability to withstand wear and pressure.
  • Accuracy: The sights must be well aligned and adjustable. You can also test accuracy by practicing using the gun first before buying it.
  • Storage & Safety: Guns shouldn’t cause harm or fire without pulling the trigger. Getting a pistol means that you should also consider where to store it safely and securely.
  • Warranty: It’s best to look for a company that offers a warranty to give you reassurance in case something happens.
  • Price: Make sure that the price is reasonable with the gun’s features and quality.
  • Insurance: It’s best to get insurance if you’re using the gun for concealed carry. This is important for your safety.

9mm pistol: Pros and Cons

  • Large magazine capacity
  • Easy to conceal and store
  • Cheap ammunition
  • Low felt recoil
  • Easy to shoot
  • Quick reload time
  • Prone to jamming
  • Has low energy
Best Concealed carry gun
Ruger LC9S
  • 6” x 9” x 4.5”
  • Barrel 3.12 inches
  • 17.2 ounces
  • 7 + 1 rounds
$249 Shop NowClick to read my review
Best Budget Concealed Carry
Taurus PT111 G2/ Taurus G2C
  • 6.3” x 1.2” x 5.1”
  • Barrel 3.2 inches
  • 22 ounces
  • 12 + 1 rounds
$382 Shop NowClick to read my review
Best home defense
Taurus G3C
  • 6.3” x 1.2” x 5.1”
  • Barrel 3.2 inches
  • 22 ounces
  • 12 rounds
$340 Shop NowClick to read my review
Best Subcompact gun
Glock 43
  • 6.26” x 1.06” x 4.25”
  • Barrel 3.41 inches
  • 18 ounces
  • 6 rounds
$489 Shop NowClick to read my review
Best micro compact everyday carry
Sig P365
  • 5.8” x 1” x 4.3”
  • Barrel 3.1 inches
  • 17.8 ounces
  • 10 + 1, 12 rounds
$448 Shop NowClick to read my review
Best general pistol
Glock 19
  • 7.36” x 1.26” x 5.04”
  • Barrel 4.02 inches
  • 23.63 ounces
  • 15-, 17-, 19-, 24-, 31-, 33- rounds
$589 Shop NowClick to read my review

Other Interesting Guides

  1. I love reading your articles and have relied upon your wisdom before every weapon related purchase I’ve made since the day I first discovered your works. This is also the first (and only) article thus far featuring a grammatical error, but at least I now know your are human. Thank you for all you do, Mike.
    -Cam Caveman Frye
    U.S. Army Special Operations (Ret.)

    1. Cameron,
      Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for your service to our country! I’m glad I could help you. I strive to put good information out for all to read, and I’m always glad when something I write is beneficial. So you bought specific guns based on my articles? That’s awesome…again, I aim to help in these decisions and I’m glad I could help with yours. I’ll have to re-read the article to find the error – I’m picky about such things! 🙂 Thanks again!

      1. The paragraph under “let’s look at some guns”. “Some folks are can be pretty OCD”. Ironic lol.
        Thank you for your reply, sir. As a writing enthusiast myself, I look forward to many more great articles in the future!

        1. I will do my best to keep you reading, and, yup, sometimes I can be OCD myself! (You should have been in on my decision as to which .45 ACP to buy…ended up with the XDM. THAT was an experience, even for me!)

  2. Just read your article about the G2C and clicked over here after reading the recommendation to do so. I must admit I’m surprised to not see the Sig 938 here. I also checked the “best single-stack Subcompact” article and saw it as an honorable mention at the very bottom. I think your articles are great and we are all entitled to our opinions, but I personally think the 938 is the best subcompact pistol on the market with only 1 draw back. Price! I got mine on sale out the door for $500. That’s cheap for a 938 but still ALOT of money imho. I also have always been a big fan of the 1911 platform, and when I was a “first starting out shooter” I had some issues with accuracy when it came to double action only and even some striker fire guns. I like the little to no travel and very light triggers. I have since remedied that, but only after I got my 938.

    Regardless, I have put hundreds and hundreds of rounds (probably getting close to 1000) through my sig and never had any issue. Not one! I also have carried it every day for the past 4 years both in the waste band, out, and in the pocket. It’s amazing! I can make one 3-4 inch hole in a target at 7-10 yards and put 90% of my rounds on a silhouette at 25 yards. I have had a glock 26 and 27, RM 380, S&W Shield, Ruger EC9S and sold or traded all of those. (good guns, don’t get me wrong, but I kept my 938 through all of that).

    Anyway, I don’t know if you have a lot of experience with the 938, and if that’s the case, I’d encourage you to work with it and maybe even give us a review! It’s definitely top of it’s class (in my experience).

    Thanks for what you do!

    1. Ken, first thanks for writing. I always value what readers have to say. As for the 938, I really haven’t had much experience with one. I hold just about everything Sig makes in very high regard and the 938 is no exception. I’m glad you’ve had such great results with yours – they are a quality piece, no doubt. I was just trying to write about mostly striker-fired guns in that article since those are what are hot right now. I love 1911s – I’ve written an article or two on them and have owned a few – but I was just trying to narrow it down a bit. Who knows…maybe I can do a review on a 938 at some time! Thanks for your comment!

  3. The best 9mm?
    That works 24 7 365 10years..
    Because you will not need it 9 years, but then the one moment…
    My Cz p10? Sig 226? a rubbish 9mm Revolver?

    I prefer the old Walther ppk cal 32, ( my Ruger Gp100 44 S is antitank but…)
    And here in Austria many don`t like the Glock-marketing, sorry but there was a
    Styer much better, but not the big dope show. ( Like my Porsche 991t is and not
    the glimpi pimpi supa hefti..you know, WORK LIVE BALANCE)
    And for all this,we all do not want to kill, but have the save, if, we do not must…
    Fine your articles are made in real solid, because ERGONOMICS is it.
    If not, my stone old Colt Walker would do it, loud and..” one Moment please, bad guy with your B&T 223..

    Fine Side of what works.

    1. Joseph, interesting take on things. I look upon the Sig 226 and just about any CZ with great respect – they make very good guns. (I own a variant of the CZ compact). As for the Walther PPK, it is good in any caliber. I understand the .32 is probably more popular in Europe than over here – the PPK is an excellent example. Also, your comments about Glock marketing are very interesting – you’re coming at it from the standpoint of them being fairly local, unlike in the U.S. where we do have a Glock presence, but not the headquarters. And – you really own a Colt Walker? THAT was a handgun! Thanks for writing!

  4. Taurus® now offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty on their G2c pistols.

    “The following Taurus handguns, previously covered under a one-year warranty, will now be covered under a Limited Lifetime Warranty:
    Taurus® G2c, G2s, TH series, Taurus TX22, 1911 Commander, 1911 Officer, Taurus Spectrum®, Raging Hunter®, 856, and 692 revolvers.”

    Read more at https://www.taurususa.com/taurus-limited-lifetime-warranty-2/

    1. K. O., Taurus is really upping their game. The warranty is a big part of their upgrade. Customer service is better, too. I appreciate your comments-thanks!

  5. I REALLY appreciate the photography on this website when it comes to close-ups of the guns! I have been through some professional photography training and also shoot a lot of close-ups and ultra-fine detail shots for my job, so I know what makes a good photo. Whoever does these pictures is great about getting us shots of guns that the manufacturers don’t always show us!

    Example: The last photo above of the M&P 9C shows me the manufacturing seam line of the polymer lower, going right down the center of the rail and back to the trigger guard. Now that doesn’t make it a bad gun by any means, but I guarantee that S&W also would never publish a photo like that because it shows the very slight manufacturing mark/line in the polymer, which lets you know it simply isn’t a $1,000 gun. This is what I like about this website- Good, Honest reviews that don’t hide anything.

    1. Ed, thanks again for the kind words. Usually, if a photo has a “snipercountry” watermark, it’s one I took. I use a Canon DSLR. I’ve been into photography for many years, but today’s equipment makes getting good pics easier than before. I do try to get the best shots I can – sometimes that works better than others – but I want to show that detail you talked about so folks can see the “whole truth”, or at least what the thing looks like up close. Thanks again for writing!

  6. Years ago now I was looking for a semi-Automatic 9MM. I knew nothing about them, since my only handgun I had was a classic S&W .38 Police Special that my Dad bought some time in ’64 or ’65. Since he passed away in Oct. 1966, it is practically new.
    I kept it in a drawer and I’d get it out and clean it just for fun.
    The semi-auto I purchased was a low cost SW9VE. The next thing I knew the SD9VE came out and the SW9 was like leprosy, nobody wanted them.
    So now, I seem to have a pistol that is dangerous and I can’t sell it.
    What is wrong with it? Thanks

    1. Chaplain, I’m not sure that the SW is dangerous, I don’t see why it would be. It might have had some reliability issues (mostly magazine-related) and a less-than-perfect trigger, but those issues were fairly easily fixed. I owned 2 SD9VEs and they worked well, and were based on the SW. I don’t know why you can’t sell it, unless your gun exhibits some malfunction you haven’t mentioned…check gunbroker.com for some prices. Thanks for writing!

    1. John, interesting mix. I like the Rugers – I reviewed the P90-series .45 on this site. The Hi=Points tend to be very reliable, as well. Appreciate your comments!

  7. I love all your articles!! I’m looking to buy more guns but I’m curious as to what you think of the canik tp9 elite sub compact. I’ve never fired this gun but it feels great in my hand! You guys are detailed! Thank you!!

    1. Jim, I really like Canik guns. I owned another Turkish-made gun, a Sar K2P – the review is on the site here. Politics aside, the gun is well-made, for not a lot of money, If you get one, reply back and tell us how you like it. Thanks for writing!

  8. I picked up a KelTec P11 at a gun show years ago that apparently was a law enforcement turn-in. I never got a feel for it and ultimately let it go in trade for a PT111 G2C, which I absolutely love! In fact, my son had one that became a dust collector after he fell in love with Glocks, so I bought it from him. They are great pistols right out of the box, and I’ve never had a problem with either one of them. With the G2 and G3 models now, and people’s fascination with the latest model of anything, a PT111 would be a good buy and a great addition to anyone’s collection, as well as a good carry gun.

    1. Max, you are right. I owned 2 G2cs and now have a G3c. The trigger is better and the sights are steel but otherwise it’s pretty much a G2c. Glad you like yours- thanks for writing!

  9. Great read. Have you had the opportunity to handle and fire the Walther PPQ pistols Mike? The trigger is a unbelievable. It remains the only gun I can consistantly double tap with. I own the .40 S&W, my son owns the 9mm version and his department’s armorer signed off on him using it as his off duty carry.
    If you get the chance to try one, I’d like to hear your take.
    The SIG P365 you covered is my CC weapon now. Though I tried SIG’s proprietary ammo designed for the gun, Hornady”s Critical Duty was superior for accuracy and functioned flawlessly, so that’s what I use.
    Keep up the good work

    1. Bemused, yeah, I’ve shot the PPQ – I reviewed herein. I really liked it. It is a daily carry gun for a good friend – he shoots it well. Thanks for writing again!

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