January 2019

9mm Striker Gun Shoot-out: Beretta, Glock, and SIG Sauer

We test the Beretta APX Compact, Glock 45, and SIG P320-M17 to see which of these pistols might be the best choice for civilian shooters who carry concealed and who need personal defense.

9mm Striker Gun Shoot-out: Beretta, Glock, and SIG Sauer

The contest was in some ways between the 1970s aluminum-frame Beretta, right, and modern polymer-frame handguns like the Glock 45, left. In the judgment of our raters, the striker-fired handguns won the contest, but the Beretta 92 is far from retired, and it will be many years before it has fired its last shot in anger.

To replace the Beretta M9A1 (M9) and later variants in military service, the U.S. Army tested several handguns and chose the SIG P320, which is designated as the M17 in military service. The Glock 19X was also a participant in the military trials. While not chosen by the military, the full-size-grip short-slide Glock has enjoyed commercial success. The new Glock 45 is a direct result of Glock’s experience in the military trials and also a result of criticism of the 19X. A third handgun, Beretta’s APX, was also not adopted, and like the M17, is a modular design. We elected to test these three striker-fired polymer handguns head to head to determine which might be the best choice for concealed carry and personal defense for civilians. To add some historical texture, we also shot these firearms side by side with a full-size Beretta 92, or the M9 in its military appellation. The Beretta won’t carry as easily as the APX and Glock, but it’s comparable to the P320-M17 in size. If we’re looking at them as home-defense guns, then size is less of an issue.

As we collected data and choose firearms for inclusion in these shoot-outs, we met old-line shooters and even young shooters who feel that the polymer-frame striker-fired market is crowded, and these handguns are much the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. Beretta, CZ, HK, SIG, Smith & Wesson, and Glock offer different features and different fits and feel for their products. Those who have not tested the pistols extensively and who have not taken time to compare features may feel these pistols are cut from the same cloth, but by assuming that, those shooters abrogate a lot of responsibility in choosing the handgun that suits them best.

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