5 Best 9mm Handguns

When it comes to handguns chambered in 9x19mm, they have earned their popularity in the United States for several compelling reasons. These pistols are favored for their high capacity, affordability and accessibility of 9mm ammunition, manageable recoil, and effectiveness in self-defense situations.

In this guide, here are some of the best 9mm pistol that accommodate different uses and preferences.  There are so many options, and here is some guidance on selecting the right one for your needs.

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Types of 9mm Pistols

The terms "9mm Luger" and "9mm Parabellum" are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to the same cartridge. The confusion arises from historical naming and branding, rather than any fundamental difference in the ammunition.

One common misconception is that all 9mm pistols are identical in terms of performance and design. In reality, there are various manufacturers and models, each with their own unique features, materials, and quality standards.

Concealed Carry Pistols (CCW)

Concealed carry handguns are specifically designed to be lightweight, compact, and easily concealable. These pistols come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from pocket-sized single-stack models to compact combat pistols. 

Home Defense Handguns

When selecting a firearm for home defense, you have the advantage of not needing to prioritize concealment. Thus, you can opt for larger, bulkier handguns that offer increased capacity and better recoil management. For trained individual, a concealed carry size handgun can also get the job done.

Range Guns

Range guns cater to a variety of purposes, including recreational shooting, competition shooting, and building an extensive collection for range use. They can be plinkers for casual fun or specialized firearms optimized for shooting events. 

Editor's Choice of the Best 9mm Pistols

The model recommended based on overall popularity and editor's preference. 

Glock 19 - Best Overall 9mm Pistol

  • [Glock 19]: This 9mm pistol offers exceptional reliability, accuracy, and ergonomics, making it a well-rounded choice for various applications. Its high-capacity magazine and robust construction ensure durability and consistent performance.
  • Tons of aftermarket customization and upgrades readily available.
  • MOS model is optic ready

Sig Sauer P365 - Best Concealed Carry 9mm Pistols

  • [Sig P365]: With its compact size, lightweight design, and slim profile, this concealed carry pistol excels in discreet carry. It features a reliable action, comfortable grip, and enhanced safety features, making it an excellent choice for personal protection.
  • Optic ready
  • Crisp trigger break and reset right out of the box
  • Modular grip module for future upgrade

Canik TP9 - Best Low Cost 9mm Handguns 

  • [Canik TP9]: Combining affordability with reliable performance, this budget-friendly 9mm pistol offers excellent value for the price. While it may lack some advanced features, it delivers decent accuracy and dependable functionality, making it a suitable option for those on a tight budget.

FN 509 Tactical - Best Home Defense 9mm Handguns

  • [FN 509 Tactical]: Designed specifically for home defense, this 9mm handgun boasts a larger frame and increased magazine capacity. Its sturdy build, enhanced ergonomics, and accessories for mounting lights or lasers make it an ideal choice for effectively addressing potential threats within your residence.
  • Tight barrel lockup for improved accuracy
  • Optic and suppressor ready

Walther PDP - Best 9mm Pistol for the Shooting Range

  • [Walther PDP]: Built to excel in the shooting range environment, this 9mm pistol offers enhanced accuracy, a smooth trigger like an aftermarket trigger upgrade, and features 1911 style grip angle tailored for fast follow up shooting. If this is under $500, then it will absolutely be excel the best overall.
  • Its ergonomic design, adjustable sights, and superior performance make it a top choice for shooters aiming for speed and precise shot placement.
  • Optic ready models available

Selecting the best 9mm pistol depends on your specific needs and preferences. Whether you require a concealed carry pistol, a home defense firearm, or a range gun, understanding the intended purpose of each type will help you make an informed decision. By considering factors such as reliability, ergonomics, capacity, and affordability, you can find the ideal 9mm pistol that suits your shooting style and requirements. Remember to prioritize safety and proper training when owning and operating firearms.

Why Choose a 9mm Gun?

  • Balanced Size and Capability: 9mm handguns strike a perfect balance between size and capability. The 9mm round offers potent combat performance with a wide range of weights and velocities to choose from. This allows you to select the ideal load for your gun, considering factors such as recoil, muzzle flip, and downrange performance.
  • Ease of Control: 9mm guns are known for being easy to control. The manageable muzzle rise and recoil make them suitable for shooters of all experience levels. Only exceptionally small handguns may cause discomfort or handling issues.
  • Logistical Convenience: Opting for a 9mm pistol brings the advantage of simple logistics. The round enjoys tremendous popularity, with numerous manufacturers producing it. This availability extends to practice, self-defense, suppressor use, and competition loads. Furthermore, most 9mm ammunition is affordable and widely accessible.

Understanding the "9mm" Terminology

  • The term "9mm" encompasses various rounds, so it's important to clarify. The most common 9mm round goes by multiple names: 9mm Luger, 9mm Parabellum, 9mm Para, 9×19, and 9mm NATO all refer to the same round.
  • However, there are other 9mm rounds that are not compatible with the traditional 9mm. Examples include the 9mm Makarov, 9mm Short (also known as .380 ACP), 9mm Winchester Magnum, 9mm Japanese, and 9mm Largo. While these variations are less commonly encountered, it's good to be aware of them.

What to Consider When Choosing a 9mm Handgun

When selecting a 9mm handgun, several factors should be taken into account beyond the initial purpose of the firearm:

Reliability and Durability

  • Reliability: A reliable handgun functions flawlessly, consistently firing, extracting, and functioning as intended. For defensive firearms, reliability is paramount. An unreliable firearm is nothing more than a paperweight. To ensure reliability, it's recommended to consult reputable sources, read reviews, and consider recommended models.
  • Durability: A good handgun should remain reliable over an extended period before encountering any significant issues. While most modern firearms possess both reliability and durability, it's essential to verify this through research and user experiences. To gauge durability, it's advisable to test the firearm with various types of ammunition, including those intended for self-defense, firing at least 200 rounds without failures.


  • Modern firearms are designed with safety in mind, preventing accidental discharges unless the trigger is intentionally pulled. While this is rarely an issue with contemporary weapons, caution should be exercised when dealing with older firearms or imported surplus pistols. Conducting thorough research beforehand can prevent potential safety hazards.


  • Consider whether the manufacturer of your chosen 9mm handgun offers a warranty and, if so, what type of warranty it entails. A company that stands behind its products provides shooters with reassurance, particularly in the event of a malfunction or component failure.

Available Aftermarket Support

  • Although seemingly insignificant, the availability of aftermarket accessories such as holsters, sights, and spare magazines can significantly impact your overall experience. Popular firearms typically enjoy a wide range of aftermarket support, making it easier to equip your weapon for carrying or home defense.

Proper Cleaning and Maintenance for Your 9mm Pistol

To ensure optimal performance and longevity of your pistol, regular cleaning and maintenance are essential. Here's a step-by-step guide for cleaning and lubricating your firearm:

  1. Gather the necessary tools, including a suitable gun cleaner and gun oil designed for your specific pistol.
  2. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for disassembling your 9mm handgun.
  3. Thoroughly clean each component using the gun cleaner, paying particular attention to the barrel, slide, frame, and magazines.
  4. Remove any fouling, debris, or carbon buildup using appropriate brushes, patches, and cleaning rods.
  5. Apply a thin layer of gun oil to the relevant parts to ensure smooth operation and prevent corrosion. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for oil application.
  6. Reassemble the pistol following the manufacturer's instructions, ensuring all components are securely in place.
  7. Perform a function check to verify that the firearm operates as expected.

By maintaining a regular cleaning schedule, you'll ensure your 9mm pistol remains in peak condition, delivering consistent performance and reliability.

The Advantages of Owning a 9mm Pistol

  • Unparalleled Versatility: Until a superior alternative emerges, the 9mm remains a top choice due to its versatility. The wide availability of 9mm guns and the affordability of ammunition contribute to its enduring popularity.
  • Speed and Shot Placement: As professional shooters understand, speed and shot placement are crucial factors in firearm effectiveness. The 9mm round, with its manageable recoil and widely available ammunition options, allows shooters to achieve faster follow-up shots and more accurate placement, enhancing overall performance.
  • Longevity and Proven Performance: Over time, the 9mm has proven its worth. Its reliability, ballistics, and track record in combat situations make it a trusted choice for both professionals and enthusiasts.

A well-chosen 9mm handgun offers an unbeatable combination of performance, reliability, and accessibility. With the information provided here, you should now be equipped to make an informed decision when selecting your next 9mm pistol.

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