Throughout the years, I’ve reviewed a fair number of handguns. And plenty of those have been 9mm. So it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with which 9mm is best, right? But I soon realized choosing from the hundreds of pistols of different sizes and configurations currently available would prove difficult. I decided the best route would be to break the best 9mm into categories based on size — micro, mid-sized and full-sized. Once the self-defense firearms were narrowed down, it was (slightly) easier to determine the best 9mm.
Best Micro 9mm
My choice for the best micro 9mm pistol is the SIG Sauer P365. You can read the full review from March 2018. It was one of the first micro compact 9mms and undoubtedly one of the best. It has a magazine capacity of 10 to 12 rounds. With a barrel length of 3.1 inches and weighing only 17.8 ounces, the P365 lives up to its “everyday carry” name. It’s an excellent pistol: flawlessly reliable, accurate and has a superb trigger. Since my original test, SIG has added an optional ambidextrous 1911-type manual thumb safety, which I prefer.
After nearly three months of almost daily carry, I believe the 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Compact 4-inch 9mm with tall sights and optional 1911-type ambidextrous thumb safeties is the best mid-sized 9mm pistol. The M&P M2.0 has a 15-round magazine capacity and weighs 25.8 ounces. The M&P series can be disassembled without pulling the trigger.
This is the first pistol I’ve used with a Crimson Trace CTS-1250 Red-Dot sight attached, and it has made me a believer in red-dot pistol optics. This combination is outstanding and makes me wish I had this pistol available while I still was working as a law enforcement officer. The balance is superb, the trigger is good, the overall feel is excellent. With a full load of 50-grain Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense 9mm aboard, it is still very lightweight! The only place I can’t carry it is on my ankle.
Best Full-Sized 9mm
Choosing the best full-sized 9mm was the most difficult. Three pistols were in the running: SIG Sauer M17, Beretta 92 and Glock 17. The Beretta 92 was once the primary pistol of the L.A.P.D. and L.A.S.O. and has been the U.S. standard military pistol since 1985. It was replaced by the SIG Sauer M17. I chose the Glock 17 as the best full-sized 9mm pistol because, in addition to its reliability and near-universal standard as a police duty pistol, it is easy to customize — especially since Glock added its system of interchangeable back straps.
I have a Gen 2 Glock 17 that was purchased by my parents in 1994. Over time I have customized it with Crimson Trace Green Lasergrips, XS R3D Night Sights, an Arachnigrip Slide Spider, an extended slide release and a Glock Ghost Trigger. This particular Glock 17 is now tailored to my tastes without permanent changes or modifications. Since the Glock pistol system, and particularly the Glock 17, has been around since the late 1980s, aftermarket modification and the companies that provide them abound. And the best part is average gun owners can install the parts and make the modifications themselves. After all, if I can do it, just about anyone can!
This pistol is lightweight at 24.91 ounces, accurate and reliable. Plus, the polymer 9mm is about as indestructible as it gets.
Drum Roll Please…
Out of these three, my pick for the best overall 9mm pistol is the Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Compact 4-inch! I’ve found I can carry it everywhere in comfort and I feel more than capable of addressing any threat with it. I also know I am packing a pistol chosen as the official duty gun of many law enforcement officers across the country. It does a lot of everything well!
I know there are a lot of other choices out there. Now that you have my opinion on the best 9mm handgun, which one is yours? Leave your picks in the comments!