Buying your first handgun can be overwhelming and downright confusing. We have decided to help you and break down our top five picks for the best all around handguns.
We are presenting this list in countdown order, and we're going to start from the bottom. They are all 9mms. We know that's a smaller caliber for self-defense, but that's for a good reason.
While you might beat your chest about how different calibears like .357 magnum or 10mm are far superior, good luck finding ammo. I want the odds of any ammo I find fitting my gun to be high, and with 9mm they will be. And I love .45 ACP as much as anyone, but it's heavy and bulky in addition to less available and more expensive. It's a simple cost/benefit decision.
So without more delay, before you head to the gun store, here's the list of the best first handguns a firearm owner can buy.
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5. Sig Sauer P226
This semi-automatic pistol has elite military and law enforcement proven reliability, both pluses for a first time handgun owner. It's almost impossible to make one jam.
With a standard 15-round magazine for the 9mm, it has adequate capacity. This gun will serve you day and night without fail. So why in the world is it sitting at the bottom of the list at #5?
Mainly because its complexity may be a bit much for new shooters. The SIG has numerous controls that unfamiliar shooters might struggle with. And if you need to perform any maintenance beyond a field-strip, you're in trouble. So, the P226 might be the most beautiful lady on the list, but she's high maintenance. The P226 is also the highest priced gun on our list, and part of the reason for sitting at the bottom.
4. Springfield Armory XD Mod.2 9mm
The XD® Mod.2® is now available in a 4" Service Model. The 4" Service Model is a slim and ergonomic pistol that packs even more amazing capacity. Featuring the GripZone®, the handgun is ready for duty, a day at the gun range, and even concealed carry.
With high visibility low-profile sights and a slim-contour frame, the XD® Mod.2® Service Model is a feature packed, full sized, double-stack pistol.
At just two tenths of an inch wider than the industry's slimmest single stack polymer frame pistols, the Mod.2® offers 16+1 rounds of 9mm. The noticeably slim profile and other features combine to make the Mod.2® Service Model a pistol that offers excellent ergonomics and serious firepower in a surprisingly concealable full sized carry gun. Plus, you can choose between two attractive finishes: all black, or bi-tone.
It's a natural shooter, handles the recoil very well, and has minimal external controls. It is also a dependable duty-proven design.
3. Smith & Wesson M&P 9
The modern M&P line is well proven as a duty gun, and is hugely popular in the civilian market. Especially as a first pistol for newbies. The ergonomics, minimal controls, and excellent reliability make this pistol a great choice for a bug-out handgun. Add the bonus of ambidextrous slide-stop control (and reversible mag catch) and thin feeling grip, and you have a flat shooting pistol that most anyone can handle well.
Because remember - unless you're bugging out alone, you may have others in the family or group that will need to be able to use this gun if the wolf comes to the door. I'm talking full-sized with a standard 17 round magazine and 4 ¼" barrel. There is a good chance of finding parts in the wild - the M&P 9 will get it done.
2. Glock 19 Gen 4
Hugely popular is not always a guarantee of quality, but in the case of the Glock 19 it certainly is.
The G19 is the quintessential concealed carry 9mm pistol and the one by which all others are still judged. With a combination of a 15-round magazine, thin and light frame, simplicity and reliability, the G19 rightfully earned its spot as the go/no-go gauge for EDC handguns.
The drawbacks to the G19 as a sole survival sidearm, though, are some of those very same qualities. Because this handgun size is smaller and lighter, that means a little bit more recoil, and if other family members need to "take the watch," it might be more intimidating for them. It also holds less capacity with standard magazines. Spare parts should be available in the wild, given the number of G19s out there, and it's a Glock - which means simple controls and easy maintenance.
The GLOCK 19 Gen4 introduces revolutionary design changes to the pistol that has found worldwide acclaim with security services both private and public. The Modular Back Strap design lets you instantly customize its grip to adapt to an individual shooter's hand size. The surface of the frame employs the new scientifically designed, real-world-tested, Gen4 rough textured technology.
Internally, the new GLOCK dual recoil spring assembly substantially increases the life of the system. A reversible enlarged magazine catch, changeable in seconds, accommodates left or right-handed operators. The G19 Gen4 9x19mm retains the GLOCK accessory rail for your attachments. It's also available in MOS configuration.
This gun was nearly in a tie with the #1 choice, but a decision had to be made...
1. Glock 17 Gen 4
There are a lot of handguns that are prettier, ones that chamber more powerful rounds, and models that bear brand names you might like better. But the Glock 17 is the best choice, and here's why: It's durable and reliable.
While not as concealable as a subcompact,, the Glock 17 is the AK-47 of handguns. In unknown conditions for extended time, I want a gun that will run no matter what. It is also the single most popular (and therefore most plentiful) handgun ever made. This means that there will be lots more of them out there for parts, extra magazines, holsters, you name it.
Designed for professionals, the GLOCK 17, in 9x19, is the most widely used law enforcement pistol worldwide. Because of its unsurpassed reliability, above-average magazine capacity of 17 rounds in the standard magazine, and its low weight, it is trusted by law enforcement officers and civilians for home defense around the globe.
With the revolutionary "Safe Action" trigger system, the G17 9x19 pistol is safe, easy, and quick. It's just what you need in high-pressure situations. The downside is the lack of a manual safety makes some people nervous. We suggest trying one at the range first to make sure you're comfortable with that.
Whether Gen4 or previous, you should be able to scrounge parts. And practically every gun shop will have parts or be able to service it. You can disassemble the entire gun with just a paperclip. Simplicity - there are two controls on a Glock, the slide stop and the trigger. Unless you've been on another planet you know what each does and where it is. Anyone in "the group" that needs to use it will be able to.
Why did the G17 edge out the G19, for the best handgun on this list you ask? Mostly because of the spare parts consideration, but also because the slightly longer barrel will give gun owners a wee bit more velocity, energy, stopping power and a longer sight radius.
You might need to hunt small game with your handgun and the size and capacity advantages of the G17 are worth its slightly larger size. I don't think deep concealment is going to be the biggest consideration in a survival situation, and the Glock 17 can still be tucked away pretty well.
So there you have it, a full top five list, and help with where to find them for a good price. Check out Wasatch Guns for more info and more guns.