In this issue, we test four compact handguns chambered for the 9mm Luger cartridge, the most popular defensive cartridge, according to sales figures compiled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The 9mm offers real power in a compact high-pressure cartridge. The handguns that chamber the cartridge are often very reliable, and modern loads have a lot going for them. A service-size pistol is too large for many people to carry concealed and are unwieldy in home-defense situations for others as well. As a result, the ideal 9mm handgun would seem to be a compact version of the service pistol. These are service handguns with a shorter grip and slide that makes the piece easier to carry and for many of us, easier to handle under pressure. But the short slide radius may make precision shooting more difficult.
Some prefer a decocker on their double-action-first-shot handguns, but there is a smaller, but dedicated, group that prefers the selective-double-action type and others perhaps would like to have both. These shooters do not care for the Glock or a double-action-only system and often choose a CZ or SIG-type handgun. We fired off a variety of compact 9mm handguns and came to a conclusion, based on the opinion of our testers, as to which handgun is the best suited for most shooters, with the emphasis on the beginning, but still competent, shooter. Some of the choices are subjective, but the objective components accuracy and reliability are most important. If a compact 9mm fits your needs for self defense, one of these handguns will be a good choice, and one will be the best choice, we believe.Read More