There are hundreds of 9mm pistols available for purchase these days. Let’s explore some of the better known models, as well as some of the lesser known ones, and detail the best 9mm pistol at every price point. I’ll only be talking about stock pistols in this post.
But first, let’s have a little history lesson.
The 9mm (9×19mm Parabellum) round was first developed in Germany in 1901. It was specifically designed to be a larger round for the Luger pistol, which was using a smaller 7.65×21mm Parabellum round. Its short size and small diameter allowed the pistol to have an eight round magazine, which was a higher bullet capacity than the average revolver of six. The speed, low recoil, and the flat trajectory of the round made it a highly effective pistol round.
After World War I many countries adopted the round for pistols and sub-machine guns. By the early 1980s there were some spectacular all metal pistols like the Browning Hi-Power, Beretta Model 92, and the CZ-75. In 1982 NATO standardized the small arms round to be the 9mm. In 1985 the U.S Army choose the Beretta M9 (the military version of the Beretta Model 92) as the standard sidearm, replacing the Colt 1911.
Also in the early 1980s, Glock produced the first polymer striker fired pistols that were widely accepted. They were not the first to produce a pistol that had a polymer plastic frame, but the light weight, high reliability, and the lower cost of the Glock changed the pistol world completely.
Now just about every firearm maker has a polymer framed pistol. Some of the more popular ones are the Glock, Springfield XD(M), and the Smith and Wesson M&P to name a few.
Here is a table of the different price ranges, followed by my chosen 9mm pistols.
|Price||Pistol||Manufacture’s Site||Affiliate Link|
|Under $200||Taurus G2C||Taurus USA||Brownells|
|$250 to $450||Glock G43||Glock||Brownells|
|$500 to $600||FN 509||FN America||Brownells|
|$650 to $1000||CZ P-09F||CZ USA||Brownells|
|Modern All Metal 9mm Pistol $1000 +||CZ Shadow 2||CZ USA||none|
|No Price Limit||STI DVC-O||STI Guns||yeah, right|
Best 9mm Pistol Under $200
The lowest price point 9mm pistol that is worth buying is just under $200 and it is the Taurus G2C. I honestly never thought I would ever recommend a Taurus pistol on this web site. But for an inexpensive small pistol that would be a good conceal carry option, the Taurus G2C is a great little pistol. It holds 12 rounds and even has an adjustable rear sight.
Overall Taurus has a reputation of lower quality firearms. But they really hit the ball out of the park with this one. Hop on Google and YouTube and search for the pistol. You will be surprised how many good reviews you will find.
Plus it is under $200?!
Best 9mm Pistol at $250 to $450 Range
The width is just over an inch wide and the overall length of the pistol is only 6.26 inches.
The Glock G43 is easy to conceal in a variety of belt holsters or a purse.
Best 9mm Pistol at $500 to $600 Range
The majority of 9mm pistols bought in the United States are all between the $500 to $600 price point. This is the price that the average home owner looking to buy a pistol for home defense should pay for a good pistol. Yes, there are cheaper options out there. But if you plan to shoot the pistol sparingly, only going to the range monthly or even quarterly. Go ahead and save up for the minimum $500 price so that you know it will work 100% of the time.
I’ve owned all of the popular ones including a Glock 17, a Springfield XDM, and the Smith and Wesson M&P. Each has its pluses and minuses. But all of them are also great pistols. The nice thing about modern polymer pistols is that they just work. You can put 500 rounds through one without needing to stop to clean it. I’ve done it with all of them.
The obvious choice would be the Glock. With the unlimited aftermarket upgrades available out there, your plain jane pistol can be upgraded to your heart’s content. Including an Apex trigger, a new Victory barrel, a Zev magwell, or your grip stippled.
But for the same price there really are much better pistols available. My brand loyalty would push you to the next higher price range and the CZ P-10. Everything about the P-10 is better than all of the aforementioned pistols.
But if you prefer to stay at this price point, you should really look at the FN 509. Both the full size and the mid-size versions are exceptional.
Best 9mm pistol in the $650 to $1000 Range
My biggest complaint about polymer pistols is the trigger. More specifically what they call the “safety” trigger. Glock popularized them. They are the simple solution to preventing a pistol from accidentally discharging when they are dropped. But, after learning to shoot a pistol on an old school CZ-75 that had a wonderful SA/DA trigger, the safety style triggers have always disappointed me.
It wasn’t until recently that manufactures really offered another option. The most notable among them is the Sig Sauer 320. This was the “modular” replacement pistol that the U.S. Army replaced the aging Beretta M9 with. If you have had a chance to shoot it, you know that the trigger on this pistol is a huge upgrade over the typical safety trigger. But ironically had issues with accidental discharges when dropped.
Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever drop a pistol. So this really wasn’t an issue for me. But Sig Sauer fixed the problem, and after shooting several variations of the Sig 320 I thought I’d decided to buy the Sig Sauer 320 TACOPS Carry. But thankfully the owner of my local shooting range pointed me to another CZ. The CZ P-09F is a polymer framed pistol that is not striker fired. It actually uses the same trigger style as my old CZ-75. So you have the best of both worlds; the lightness and reliability of a polymer with high quality hammer trigger.
Plus they make a supressor version of it.
Oh and it is $100 cheaper than the Sig Sauer.
AND it shoots like a dream. Undoubtedly the CZ P-09F Supressor-Ready is the best polymer pistol I have ever shot.
Modern All Metal 9mm Pistol $1000 +
When you spend over $1000 for a 9mm you are typically getting into the entry level competition pistols or the high performance duty pistols. They are typically all metal. No more polymer pistols at this price range.
The never ending argument of which pistol is better a Glock 9mm or a 1911 .45 is really not relevant anymore. Modern all metal 9mm pistols are just as accurate and reliable as the old school 1911. With more than twice the rounds available in a double stack magazine.
The obvious pistol is the STI 2011 Staccato-P.
But once again, CZ comes through with a spectacular pistol. The CZ Shadow 2 is a masterfully built pistol that does everything right. Perfect fit into your hands. Great sights and a trigger that is as good or better than the high-end 1911 triggers.
If you go to any IDPA competition, where you must use a stock pistol, you will find lots of CZ Shadow 2s. Ask the people shooting them and they will tell you that “out of the box” they are the best shooting pistol available.
No Price Limit 9mm Pistol
I would lean towards a highly customized competition race pistol. I know it is not really practical. If I was being practical I guess I would end up with a Wilson Combat Tactical Supergrade. Which is essentially a high-end 1911 that just happens to be available in 9mm.
But why limit yourself! Have you ever seen a race pistol?
When 100% of the pistol components are specifically made for speed and accuracy, you end up with a pistol that is only limited by your skill level. Unfortunately my shooting skill level never really justifies the purchase of such a pistol. But if it did I would go for the Texas made STI DVC-O.
I enjoyed writing this post. There are so many great 9mm pistols available these days. It was really hard to choose my favorites.
I also wondered if this would be a good topic. Some people don’t like the 9mm because they don’t think it has the stopping power of some of the larger rounds out there. But with modern powder and bullets, you can really get a 9mm round that does whatever you want. Here is a great video that explains that better. So I decided to go ahead and write it.
Hey, remember these are my opinions. I would really like to hear your opinions about the subject. So please post details of your favorite 9mm pistols, especially if your preferences are different from mine.