February 2018

Service-Sized 9mm Handguns Shoot It Out for Carry Honors

We test new guns and new versions of top 9mm handguns: The Vicker’s Tactical Glock 17, a Beretta 92FS with Wilson Combat upgrades, the Arex Rex Zero 1 Standard, and CZ-USA’s P-10 C.

Service-Sized 9mm Handguns Shoot It Out for Carry Honors

These were four reliable handguns with different firing characteristics. Top row, left to right: Beretta 92FS with Wilson Combat Upgrades and the Arex Rex Zero 1 Standard. Bottom row, left to right are the Lipsey’s Vicker’s Tactical Glock 17 and the Best Buy of the group, the CZ-USA CZ P-10 C.

We recently tested a quartet of 9mm-chambered full-size firearms suitable for daily carry: the Lipsey’s Glock 17RTF2 Vickers FDE based on the Glock 17, a Beretta 92FS with Wilson Combat upgrades, an Arex Rex Zero 1 Standard, and a CZ-USA CZ P-10 C. Each one could be thrown into any mix of handguns and do well. But there are specific differences that will make one pistol or another preferable for an individual, and that is what this shoot out is all about.

Full-size 9mm handguns have an impressive reserve of ammunition, they handle recoil well, and offer real power with +P loads. For home defense, a 14- to 18-shot 9mm handgun is effective, perhaps the best all-round home-defense handgun for a trained shooter. In this test, each pistol is an example of a popular carry gun as well, with many shooters concealing a Glock 17 or even a Beretta 92FS for daily carry. Here, all had faultless reliability, which is a prerequisite for a defense firearm in our testing. We also learned the Lipsey’s/Vickers Glock gave excellent results on the combat course, and the Wilson Combat-upgraded Beretta aced the field in accuracy. We trust these pistols, but only one was the best performer overall for our shooters. For certain preferences and duties, each has advantages, which we note in detail below.

All handguns tested for personal defense must be proven on the firing range. We tested two examples of upgraded service pistols. A special-run RTF texture Glock 17 from distributor Lipsey’s has a Vickers Tactical package added to it, with components suggested by or supplied by well-known trainer Larry Vickers. Likewise, we tested a Beretta 92FS updated with Wilson Combat parts. The results for both are better range performance, especially when performing rapid magazine changes because each package features a magazine guide and magazine base pads.

We matched the Glock and Beretta against the new CZ P-10 C, a polymer-frame striker-fired pistol, and the Arex Rex Zero 1 Standard, which is considered by some to be an improvement over the SIG P226 9mm handgun. We had a mix of two double-action-only polymer-frame striker-fired pistols, a double-action-first-shot pistol with a decocker, and a selective-double-action pistol with decocker.

In the end, the Glock’s highly advanced sights provided excellent results on the combat course. Perhaps the RTF frame was another plus. The Beretta 92 provided exceptional accuracy, which we felt was due to the improved trigger action. The CZ is an affordable and reliable handgun, and the Rex Zero is a good example of European craftsmanship. All in, it was hard to isolate a winner among these top-flight handguns with good performance. We think that most shooters will find the Glock 17 to be the best overall handgun for personal defense and home defense. Just the same, the CZ P-10 C is a good buy. Those seeking top-flight accuracy will find the Beretta to be a good fit. The Rex Zero has a quirk we did not like regarding reach to the magazine release, but the Arex is a good performer for some shooters, outperforming the Beretta in combat shooting. As usual, the devil is in the details, so here we go.

To continue reading this article you must be a paid subscriber.

Subscribe to Gun Tests

Get the next year of Gun Tests for just $24. Don’t wait another minute to get the knowledge you need to make the best possible firearms investment. Our offer is guaranteed. You can cancel at any time and we'll send a full refund for any unmailed copies. No strings, no hassle.

Or get 12 months of Gun Tests Digital. You get unlimited access to everything on the site including all current and past monthly issues in PDF format.

Subscriber Log In

Forgot your password? Click Here.

Already subscribe but haven't registered for all the benefits of the website? Click here.