May 2009

Two Big 9mms: High-Capacity, Full-Size Self-Defense Picks

At the range, S&W’s M&P9 had a great grip that was comfortable to hold and shoot. The double-action CZ 75B had plenty of good points, but we got a sore finger from shooting it.

While many of us prefer full-caliber cartridges in full-size pistols, there are many reasons and many mandates to pack a large, high-capacity 9mm handgun. There are plenty out there to choose from. For this test we chose one of the oldest, a double-action CZ 75 B ($597), and one of the newest, the S&W M&P9 ($679) to compare. Both held a lot of rounds, 16 and 17 respectively, and both were big handguns by any measure. They approached the bulk of a full-size 1911 45 ACP, though both were shorter and the M&P was a good deal lighter… unloaded, of course.

We tested them with Fiocchi 115-grain jacketed hollowpoints, American Eagle 115-grain full-metal-jacket rounds, and Black Hills’ 147-grain full-metal-jacket bullets. We "broke them in" with a mix of other types of ammo to get a feel for the guns before serious accuracy and function testing. Here is what we found.

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