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Published Oct 27, 2022 2:50 PM

If you’re in the market for a 9mm pistol (especially your first), sifting through gun store racks to find the best one will feel like drinking from a fire hose. There are lots of excellent, dependable 9mm pistols on the market, and what’s best for you might very well differ from what’s best for the next person. Just like shopping for the best 9mm ammo, your choice will depend on what you’re using it for and your own preferences.

For any guide to 9mm pistols, it’s impossible to give proper credit to all the great pistols on the market. In picking the “best” ten 9mm pistols by category, I’m forced to omit other excellent guns that I like. That’s what narrowing the field is about though. Picking the best 9mm pistol for you will considering several factors, as well as your own personal tastes. You might be drawn to different pistols than I am, but each of these picks is a solid starting point for anyone.

Things to Consider Before Buying a 9mm Pistol

Intended Use
The most important thing to consider when you’re buying a 9mm pistol is your intended application. Shopping for a dedicated carry pistol versus a competition gun will mean totally different pistols and feature sets. The first thing you need to figure out is what you want to use the pistol for.

Fit and Feel
To buy a 9mm pistol that will work well for you, you need some hands-on time with it. Ideally, if you can shoot one that a friend has, or test fire the same model at a range that has rentals, you’ll get the best feel for how the pistol handles for you. At a minimum, take a few minutes to thoughtfully handle one in the store, note features you like or don’t like, and what you find comfortable. Don’t buy until you’ve looked at—and handled—several different pistols.

Budget
Everyone is working with a different budget, and that plays a big role in what 9mm pistol is the most optimal purchase for you. Expensive pistols are nice, and you’ll generally get a higher-quality pistol for the higher price, but there are some excellent and perfectly dependable budget-friendly pistols on the market.

READ NEXT: The Best 9mm Ammo

Best Compact: Sig Sauer P320 XCompact RXP

Tyler Freel

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Why It Made the Cut
The Sig Sauer P320 XCompact RXP is comfortable for concealed carry, has excellent ergonomics, and is highly customizable.

Key Features

  • Capacity 15+1 rounds
  • Size: 7 inches (L) x 5.75 inches (H) x 1.25 inches (W) (with optic)
  • Weight: 26 ounces
  • Barrel Length: 3.6 inches
  • Action: Single action, striker-fired
  • Frame: Polymer Sig Sauer XCompact
  • Grip: Stipple texturing on front, rear, and sides
  • Accessory rail: 3-slot
  • Sights: Sig Romeo1 Pro red dot, steel co-witness night sights
  • Price: $979

Pros

  • Comfortable grip with good texturing
  • Steel, co-witness night sights are visible through optic
  • Compatible with other P320 upgrade parts
  • Fire control group is removable for cleaning

Cons

  • Stock trigger is a little mushy

Product Description
The P320 XCompact RXP from Sig is part of a dizzying array of P320 models but has become my favorite carry pistol as of late. The XCompact is similar in size and class to the compact 9mm Glock G19 and comes with 15-round magazines. I own both pistols, have sent lots of rounds downrange through both. I like the Sig better.

The P320 series has a couple different grip profiles, and the XCompact has the slimmer X-frame grip (compared the wider rounded grip of the M17/M18). The XCompact is comfortable and points more naturally than Glock’s forward-pitched grip angle. The subtle stipple texturing provides a secure grip without being too abrasive. The beavertail on the back of the grip helps manage recoil, and combined with the slide height, allows you to choke up on the pistol without getting the web of your hand cut.

Sig P320 XCompact RXP and Glock G19
The author’s Sig P320 XCompact fitted with a GoGun Gas Pedal, next to his Glock G19 with modified and stippled frame and XS sights. Tyler Freel

Like other P320’s, this one has a removable fire control group, and is compatible with upgraded Sig P320 triggers and other parts like the GoGun Gas Pedal. The RXP comes with the Sig Sauer Romeo1 Pro reflex sight, but also includes steel night sights that are co-witnessed through the optic in case it fails.

The P320 XCompact RXP is reliable, comfortable to shoot, and points very intuitively for me. Several design and function details make this a great pistol. The fire control group is easily removed from the frame for cleaning, and disassembly does not require you to pull and dry-fire the trigger. Another small but noticeable characteristic is that the fully loaded metal magazines lock into the pistol with less effort than some other pistols. Many pistol magazines won’t fully seat without a hard tap, but the P320 magazines seat easily. Like many other striker-fired pistols, the trigger has some take-up, but it’s not bad. The flat trigger shoe is comfortable, easy to control, and the reset is strong and crisp.

Best Full-Size: Glock G17

Tyler Freel

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Why It Made the Cut
The Glock G17 is one of the most proven, dependable, and simple full-size 9mm pistols ever.

Key Features

  • Capacity 17+1 rounds
  • Size: 8 inches (L) x 5.47 inches (H) x 1.26 inches (W)
  • Weight: 25 ounces
  • Barrel Length: 4.49 inches
  • Action: Single action, striker-fired
  • Frame: Polymer
  • Grip: Checkering on front and back strap, interchangeable back straps.
  • Accessory rail: 1-slot
  • Sights: White dot front, white “U” notch rear
  • Price: $549

Pros

  • Comfortable grip
  • Standard-setting reliability
  • Great aftermarket parts compatibility
  • Low bore axis and soft shooting

Cons

  • Factory sights aren’t great

Product Description
There’s simply no “best” list about 9mm pistols without including Glock. In many ways, Glocks set the standard for striker-fired 9mm pistols, and that’s especially true for full-size pistols and the G17. It’s a simple striker-fired, polymer-framed pistol that comes with 17-round magazines and a reputation for utter reliability.

The G17 is certainly one of the best 9mm pistols of all time—known not just for reliability, but simplicity as well. It has a low-profile slide stop lever and a magazine catch button, but no other external controls. The trigger features a safety bar, but the Glock has no other external safety—a trademark-like characteristic that many striker-fired pistols emulate.  

The only feature not to like about the factory Glock G17 is it’s set of polymer sights. They’re perfectly functional, but a good set of night sights or high-visibility sights like the XS Express Big Dot are an instant and worthwhile improvement.

Glock G17 with modified frame, aftermarket barrel, sights, and magazine extention
Ugly, but effective. Many shooters modify the frames of their G17’s, and aftermarket parts like threaded barrels, magazine extensions, and sights that are readily available. Tyler Freel

Many Glock shooters customize their pistols with aftermarket parts and upgrades like steel guide rods, improved barrels, trigger upgrades, and grip sanding and stippling are common. The Gen 5 G17 features a smooth front strap on the grip, and interchangeable backstraps to optimize fit. Although many like to modify the G17 platform, it’s still one of the most reliable and functional factory 9mm pistols out there.

The G17 is comfortable to shoot, and its full-size stature makes 9mm recoil easy to control. If you haven’t shot Glock pistols much, you’ll find that they have a relatively steep grip angle, and compared to 1911-style pistols, you must tilt your grip farther forward to line the sights up on target. Some shooters refer to it as “pointing downhill” because if you’re used to other pistols, it feels like you’re pointing the muzzle more towards the ground—but it’s just the angle of your grip that’s changing.

Best Glock Clone: Shadow Systems XR920 Elite

Tanner Denton

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Why It Made the Cut
The Shadow Systems XR920 Elite is a quality, affordable pistol that is what many shooters want a modified Glock to be—right out of the box. It’s a tricked-out, slimmed down Glock clone with upgraded parts.

Key Features

  • Capacity 17+1 rounds
  • Size: 7.25 inches (L) x 5.25 inches (H) x 1.2 inches (W)
  • Weight: 21 ounces
  • Barrel Length: 4 inches
  • Action: Single action, striker-fired
  • Frame: Polymer
  • Grip: Stipple texturing
  • Accessory rail: 1-slot
  • Sights: Fixed, front green outline Tritium Dot, rear black serrated
  • Price: $889

Pros

  • Excellent stipple texturing on grip and on frame
  • Weight-reducing slide cuts
  • Optics ready
  • Coated and fluted barrel

Cons

  • Because the slide is lighter than a standard Glock, recoil is a bit sharper

Product Description
Glock’s motto is “Perfection,” but many shooters still believe there’s room for improvement on stock models. An entire segment of the 9mm pistol industry has risen out of what were once custom modifications to Glock pistols to make them more shooter friendly. I’ve swapped parts, ground down and stippled frames, and ordered custom-cut slides myself, so it’s great to see clones that already have those mods incorporated into affordable production pistols.

The XR920 Elite is one of those pistols—and it’s a good one. You get the classic Glock feel, but off the shelf you get an excellently textured grip, good-looking and effective cocking serrations, quality sights, springs and guide rod, an improved barrel, and it’s optic-ready. For less than $900, you’d have a hard time assembling that on your own.

fluted barrel on the Shadow Systems XR920 Elite
The XR920 Elite packs many upgrades into the basic Glock platform, including a fluted barrel. Tyler Freel

The XR920 Elite is fed from Glock and Glock-pattern 17-round magazines, but the slide and barrel are closer in size to the compact Glock G19. The idea is that you can have a more compact slide and barrel for concealed carry without sacrificing capacity or grip size. It also features a slightly flared magwell for easy reloads and a carefully shaped trigger guard that allows for a tight, close grip on the pistol (something that many custom frame carvers do to improve the fit of OEM Glocks).

This pistol was a hit at our 2022 Outdoor Life gun test and got high marks in performance, design, and value. The improvements are a tangible benefit on the range, and although its lighter weight translates to snappier recoil, the ergonomic improvements to the pistol are a net benefit.

Best Modern Hi-Power: Springfield SA-35

Tyler Freel

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Why It Made the Cut
A few smart updates to this classic design make the SA-35 even better, but still true-to-origin—and at a great price.

Key Features

  • Capacity 15+1 rounds
  • Size: 7.8 inches (L) x 4.8 inches (H) x 1.25 inches (W)
  • Weight: 32 ounces
  • Barrel Length: 4.7 inches
  • Action: Single action, hammer-fired
  • Frame: Steel
  • Grip: Checkered walnut
  • Accessory rail: N/A
  • Sights: White dot front, adjustable serrated rear
  • Price: $656

Pros

  • Comfortably contoured walnut grip scales
  • Great factory trigger
  • Improved feed ramp
  • Hammer profile adjusted to eliminate “hammer bite”

Cons

  • Corner of beavertail at top of grip is too sharp

Product Description
The Browning Hi-Power has only been out of production for a few years, but several gunmakers have invigorated a new interest in this classic 9mm pistol. There have been several “new” remakes of the Hi-Power, or P-35 (which was first released in 1935), but one of the most notable of recent years has been the Springfield Armory SA-35.

Springfield wanted to build the SA-35 with everything shooters loved about the P-35, but also incorporate some smart changes (most of which were mods often made to original Hi-Powers). What they came up with is a simple but sharp-looking pistol with great ergonomics and a parkerized-type finish. It stays true to the pistol’s Hi-Power roots and is about half the price of the current FN model, which has a barrel and takedown mechanism that’s more like the FN 509 than the original Hi-Power.

The Springfield SA-35's redesigned hammer
The slightly re-designed hammer profile on the SA-35 prevents the hammer from “biting” the web of the shooter’s hand (older Hi-Power models would pinch the hand between the hammer and beaver tail. Tyler Freel

The biggest improvements Springfield made when designing this pistol were a redesigned 15-round magazine, removal of the magazine disconnect (which resulted in a better trigger), streamlining of the feed ramp, and re-profiling the hammer to prevent the shooter’s hand from being pinched. The checkered walnut grip scales are contoured to be comfortable and match up perfectly with the lines of the pistol’s frame.

I’ve put over a thousand rounds through a couple different SA-35’s and have been wonderfully pleased so far. We shot the hell out of one in our 2022 Gun test, and I wrote an in-depth review of the pistol in early 2022. It’s a fun pistol to shoot, but also a relevant and modern nod to the classic design. My only dig on the SA-35 is that the bottom corner of the beavertail is a little sharp, and it tends to dig into the web of my hand with high-volume shooting.

Best 9mm Pistol of World War Two: Radom VIS P-35

Tyler Freel

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Why It Made the Cut
A mix in design of the Browning Hi-Power and 1911, this VIS P-35 was one of the best-made, and most comfortable-to-shoot 9mm pistols of the early 20th century.

Key Features

  • Capacity 7+1 rounds
  • Size: 8 inches (L) x 5.3 inches (H) x 1.25 inches (W)
  • Weight: 36 ounces
  • Barrel Length: 4.6 inches
  • Action: Single action, hammer-fired
  • Frame: Steel
  • Grip: Polymer grip scales
  • Accessory rail: N/A
  • Sights: Fixed, front ramp, dovetail-fitted notched rear
  • Price: $1,000-$3,000

Pros

  • Trapezoidal grip is comfortable and quick pointing
  • Crisp single-action trigger
  • Grip safety and other ergonomics are familiar to 1911 shooters
  • Slim overall width

Cons

  • Sights aren’t nearly as visible as modern pistols
  • You can get hammer bite if your grip is too high

Product Description
Contemporary 9mm pistols are more capable than ever, but there’s something special about vintage wartime pistols that were machined and assembled by hand. One of the finest of World War Two was the Polish VIS P-35. This pistol wasn’t in production for long but is held in high regard by those who have spent any time firing them.

 The Vis P-35 was designed with heavy influence from both the early Browning Hi-Power (which was also dubbed the P-35, being introduced officially in 1935) and the 1911. The VIS entered service in Poland in 1935, and production continued under German occupation until the end of the war when the Red Army destroyed the factory (and all the tooling).

The VIS P-35 a single-action hammer-fired pistol with a grip safety like a 1911, but no other external safety. Pre-war and early-war pistols featured both a de-cocking lever on the side of the slide, and a slide-locking takedown lever where the safety on a 1911 would be. Later in the war, the slide-lock lever was removed. The VIS P-35 features an early self-contained guide rod and recoil spring and locking lugs atop the barrel like the Hi-Power uses. It’s fed from a single-stack 7-round magazine and uses an internal extractor like the 1911. The slide stop lever looks like those on 1911’s, but the pistol has no barrel bushing or spring-loaded detents between what would be the safety and the slide stop lever.

A disassembled Radom VIS P-35
The VIS P-35 has barrel locking lugs like the Hi-Power, a grip safety like the 1911, a de-cocker, and an early captured guide rod and recoil spring assembly. Tyler Freel

The VIS P-35’s can be picky about ammo and were originally designed for 124-grain ball. I have one that my grandpa brought back from Germany that digests everything flawlessly, but another VIS I bought required some feed-ramp work to keep hollowpoints from sticking. After some file and polishing work to match the profile of the feed ramp on my grandpa’s pistol, it runs like butter—particularly with Hornady American Gunner 115-grain XTP loads.

If the tooling hadn’t been destroyed, I think this pistol would have achieved greater popularity after World War two. The early-war VIS P-35’s I’ve shot are far-and-above nicer and more shooter-friendly than the period 1911’s, P-38’s and Luger’s I’ve used.

Best Entry Race Gun: CZ TS2 Racing Green

Tanner Denton

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Why It Made the Cut
The TS 2 Racing Green is a heavy, very accurate pistol that’s built to go fast.

Key Features

  • Capacity 20+1 rounds
  • Size: 8.86 inches (L) x 5.86 inches (H) x 1.93 inches (W)
  • Weight: 49 ounces
  • Barrel Length: 5.23 inches
  • Action: Single action, hammer-fired
  • Frame: Steel
  • Grip: Anodized aluminum grip scales
  • Accessory rail: N/A
  • Sights: Fiber-optic front, adjustable rear
  • Price: $1,950

Pros

  • Over-sized trigger guard and crisp, light trigger
  • Over-sized controls and thumb rest
  • Magwell for fast reloads
  • Low bore axis for excellent recoil control

Cons

  • Would like to see higher magazine capacity in a dedicated race gun

Product Description
The TS 2 Racing Green is a pistol that won our hearts at the 2022 Outdoor Life gun test, and for good reason. It’s pure joy to shoot. It’s a 9mm pistol dedicated to competition and adds some out-of-the-box upgrades to the ergonomics that CZ’s Shadow and 75 have. As it comes, it’s optimized for the USPSA Limited, or IPSC Standard division.

This pistol is a single-action, hammer-fired 9mm, which is part of the reason it has such a light, crisp trigger break. It features green anodized grip scales with an aggressive machined texturing. You get a nice magwell, over-sized magazine catch button, safety, and slide stop lever. The TS 2 Racing green also comes with three 20-round magazines with green anodized base plates. We’d like to see extended base plates for 23- or 24-round capacity, but the magazines are high quality.

shooting the CZ TS 2 Racing Green
The TS 2 Racing Green is heavy, flat-shooting, and fast. Tanner Denton

Since thumbs rests are now permitted in some of these divisions, this pistol includes a robust one. The thumb rests allow you to apply recoil-fighting pressure with your support hand thumb. This helps you reduce muzzle flip and fall back on target more quickly.

All these upgrades make this a pistol that nearly drives itself, and our test team hardly let the barrel cool off for several days straight. It won our editor’s choice award this year, and for less than $2,000, it’s an excellent and competitive entry point to the action pistol game. You can read a full review of the CZ TS 2 Racing Green here.

Best Budget: Taurus G3X

Tanner Denton

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Why It Made the Cut
The G3X is an unassuming, affordable 9mm pistol that hits way above its class. It’s size, competitive features, and shooter-friendliness is unmatched for the price.

Key Features

  • Capacity 15+1 rounds
  • Size: 6.3 inches (L) x 5.2 inches (H) x 1.2 inches (W)
  • Weight: 22.6 ounces
  • Barrel Length: 3.2 inches
  • Action: Single action, striker-fired
  • Frame: Polymer
  • Grip: Stipple texturing
  • Accessory rail: single-slot
  • Sights: Fixed front, drift-adjustable, serrated rear sight
  • Price: $242

Pros

  • Ultra-compact 3.2-inch barrel
  • Beveled corners for concealed carry
  • High-quality magazines
  • Re-strike trigger capability

Cons

  • Serial number engraving is sloppy

Product Description
There probably wasn’t a 9mm pistol that shocked the Outdoor Life test team at our 2022 gun test more than the Taurus G3X. We had a wide field of pistols to test and approached them all with reserved skepticism. At under $250, the G3X is modestly priced, but each member of our test team independently remarked how well this pistol shot and functioned.

The G3X is a simple polymer-framed, striker-fired 9mm compact pistol that has pretty much all the feature’s you’d expect on a more-expensive gun. It has a trigger-bar safety, Glock-style takedown mechanism, single-slot accessory rail, and steel sights. You’ll often see corners cut on cheaper 9mm pistols, but everything about our sample exceeded our expectations.

The Taurus G3X has grippy stipple-textured panels on the sides, front, and back of the grip, and is easy to control with sweaty hands. There are lots of compact 9mm pistols on the market, and although the G3X has the same capacity as stalwarts like the Glock G19, it’s slightly more compact with a 3.2-inch barrel. Our test team also noted that the two steel magazines included with the G3X were nicer than we expected for a pistol of that price. We never needed to use it, but the G3X also has “restrike” capability. That means that if you had a misfire or light primer strike for some reason, you can simply pull the trigger again and it will re-cock and release the striker again.

For someone looking for an ultra-affordable pistol that’s actually a good value, the G3X is a great option. You can read a full review of the Taurus G3X here.

Best Micro: Kimber R7 Mako

Tanner Denton

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Why It Made the Cut
The R7 Mako is an excellent and reliable micro 9mm pistol that’s built well and shoots even better.

Key Features

  • Capacity 11+1 rounds (flush magazine), 13+1 rounds (extended magazine)
  • Size: 6.2 inches (L) x 4.3 inches (H) x 1 inches (W)
  • Weight: 23 ounces (with optic and empty extended magazine)
  • Barrel Length: 3.37 inches
  • Action: Single action, striker-fired
  • Frame: Polymer
  • Grip: Stipple texturing on grip, frame, and magazine baseplate
  • Accessory rail: no-slot micro rail
  • Sights: Tritium Pro night sights, and Crimson Trace CTS-1500 red dot
  • Price: $550 (without optic) $799 (with optic)

Pros

  • Grip texturing provides a superb grip on the pistol
  • Good trigger with a sharp reset
  • 14-round total capacity with extended magazine
  • Great value for the price

Cons

  • Some shooters don’t care for the closed-top ejection port

Product Description
One of the most competitive fields in the 9mm pistol market recently has been the micro-compact category. Excellent pistols like the Sig Sauer P365, Smith & Wesson CSX, Springfield Hellcat, Glock G43X, and others provide lots of options for the discerning shooter. There’s no one best answer for everyone, but of the reviews and testing we’ve done, the Kimber R7 Mako is consistently up at the top in this category. My colleague John B. Snow wrote an in-depth review of the Mako, and we ran it hard alongside it’s best competitors at our 2022 gun test.

The R7 is Kimber’s first striker-fired 9mm pistol, and they took over three years to bring it to market. That time and attention to detail shows. The pistol might not look as sexy as Kimber’s micro-9mm 1911-style pistols, but it’s all utilitarian. The polymer frame is covered with a light, grippy stippling texture, which extends alongside the top of the frame to the back of the accessory rail. The extended magazine also features some of this stippling. It gives the shooter ample real estate to plant and maintain firm contact with the tiny pistol.

John B. Snow shooting Kimber R7 Mako
Shooting Editor John B. Snow shooting the tiny-but-potent Kimber R7 Mako. Tanner Denton

The magazines are built well and when fully loaded, they click securely into the Mako’s frame without too much pressure. The 11-round magazine sits flush with the short grip, and although the extended magazine extends the length of the grip slightly, it’s not by much, and the 14-round total capacity isn’t far off the 16-round standard for most larger compact pistols.

The R7 Mako is easy to shoot and control, and it functions perfectly with a wide variety of ammunition. Through hundreds of rounds of mix-and-match ammunition, we didn’t experience a single malfunction at our gun test. In-fact, we were impressed enough to give it a double-award, both the Editor’s Choice, and Great Buy. It’s a high-quality pistol, and at its price, we don’t feel that there was another micro-compact 9mm pistol we tested that was appreciably better.

Best 2011: Staccato P

Staccato

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Why It Made the Cut
The Staccato is what first comes to mind for many when thinking about the increasingly popular 2011-style 9mm pistols. The P model sets a great standard and example of high-end performance and price for a 2011.

Key Features

  • Capacity 17+1 rounds or 20+1 rounds
  • Size: 8.1 inches (L) x 5.8 inches (H) x 1.5 inches (W)
  • Weight: 33 ounces (steel frame), 28 ounces (aluminum)
  • Barrel Length: 4.4 inches
  • Action: Single action, hammer-fired
  • Frame: Steel or aluminum
  • Grip: Polymer with design texturing
  • Accessory rail: single-slot rail
  • Sights: Dawson Precision fiber-optic front, Staccato 2011 T.A.S. II rear
  • Price: $2,449

Pros

  • Steel or aluminum frame options
  • 1911-style function with double-stack 9mm capacity
  • 4.4-inch heavy bull barrel is stable and accurate
  • Optics ready

Cons

  • Magazines and parts are expensive

Product Description
The 2011-style 9mm pistol is a fast-growing segment of the 9mm pistol market that is starting to expand beyond its historic cult following. Now, it’s hard to have a conversation about 2011’s without including the Staccato P. The 2011 is inspired by and shares many characteristics of the 1911, but they are double-stack 9mm pistols with plenty of modern upgrades. When early 20th century pistols like the 1911 were designed, handguns weren’t intended to be driven two-handed—the same way we shoot them today. The 2011 has better ergonomics, recoil control, accuracy, and capacity.

The Staccato P is Staccato’s flagship full-sized duty pistol, issued within numerous law enforcement agencies. It is available with either aluminum or steel frames, but the frame only extends down to the top portion of the grip. The grip and trigger guard are one piece and made of polymer. A 1911 has grip scales, not an entirely polymer or non-metal grip.

Like the 1911, this pistol has both thumb and grip safeties, and an excellent single-action trigger. The grip angle and shape are optimized for recoil management, and the pistol has an extended beavertail to help with that as well. There’s no traditional barrel bushing, but the P model has a heavy profile bull barrel and a cap to keep the recoil spring on the guide rod.

Out-of-the-box, the Staccato P DPO is optics ready and comes with 2 17-round magazines and a 20-round magazine. Additional magazines are available, but they aren’t cheap.

The Staccato P is expensive, but attainable for many shooters, and most find it to be worth every penny. It’s a slicked-up, nice pistol that’s built for duty.

Best to Suppress: Beretta M9A4 Centurion

Tyler Freel

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Why It Made the Cut
The Beretta M9/92 is a time proven pistol that has a non-tilting barrel. That makes it exceptionally smooth shooting with a suppressor, and the M9A4 comes optics and suppressor ready.

Key Features

  • Capacity 18+1 rounds
  • Size: 8.3 inches (L) x 5.6 inches (H) x 1.5 inches (W)
  • Weight: 32 ounces
  • Barrel Length: 4.8 inches
  • Action: Double and single-action, hammer-fired
  • Frame: Steel, Vertec profile
  • Grip: Thin Vertec grip scales
  • Accessory rail: three-slot rail
  • Sights: three-dot white, steel, adjustable rear
  • Price: $1029

Pros

  • Non-tilting threaded barrel is great for suppressors
  • Optics ready
  • Vertec Grip is more vertical and slimmer than older models
  • 18-round magazines

Cons

  • Not everyone cares for the de-cocker and first round double-action trigger pull

Product Description
The Beretta M9/92 is one of the most recognizable handguns of the 20th century and was originally inspired by the Walther P38. The M9 enjoyed a long tenure as a standard-issue U.S. military pistol, and although it’s been replaced in that capacity by the Sig M18, the design is still relevant and evolving.

The M9 has never been my favorite all-around pistol because I don’t care for the double-action first trigger pull after the M9 has been de-cocked. However, it makes one of the best suppressor hosts that I’ve shot. Glocks, Sigs, 1911’s, and others can all work great with suppressors, but the M9’s non-tilting barrel makes it one of the smoothest-shooting suppressed 9mm pistols.

Beretta M9A4 with Silencerco Osprey 2.0
The non-tilting barrel of the M9A4 reduces muzzle jump and vertical stringing with a suppressor—and sometimes eliminates the need for a recoil booster. Tyler Freel

Because the barrel of the M9 doesn’t tilt, it often will cycle without a recoil booster. Not only does the recoil booster make pistols jump off target because it helps the gun cycle, the tilting of the barrel with the weight of the suppressor hanging off the end makes it difficult to shoot quickly without stringing shots out vertically.

The M9A4 Centurion isn’t exactly the pistol we associate with chocolate chip BDU’s and ugly O.D. green fold-over holsters. Sure, the M9 basics are still there, but it’s got a flat dark earth coating, 3-slot accessory rail, and the frame and grip have been re-designed to provide a more vertical, 1911-style feel. Grip scales have been slimmed down and the trigger has been improved. It comes optics-ready with a threaded 4.8-inch barrel. Paired with something like the Silencerco Osprey 2.0, it will put a smile on your face.

Final Thoughts on Best 9mm Pistols

The good thing about shopping for 9mm pistols is that it’s a buyer’s market. No “best” list could ever encompass all the fantastic options on the market, and as the end-user, you can pick exactly what’s best for you. Other great pistols from companies like Smith & Wesson, H&K, FN USA, Walther, and others shouldn’t be written off because they weren’t at the top for me. Even if nothing on this list is the best for you, use it to think about what your application will be, and the characteristics that will help you pick the best 9mm pistols for your needs. That’s what’s most important.