These are the best handguns you can buy in the Golden State.
The state of California has some of the most restrictive gun control laws on the books in the United States today. If you care about the second amendment or self-defense, the gun laws there can make it a tough place to live.
We're not going to debate the right and wrongs of terminology on "assault weapons," "bullet buttons," "gun show loopholes," gun violence, waiting periods and background checks. We're also not going to touch their prohibitions on open carry or their convoluted concealed carry laws. Let's just forget about the politics for a minute and save that fight for the NRA and other organizations.
This list is simply meant as a guide for gun owners trying to find a California compliant handgun they can buy in their state. For reference, we are double-checking the guns we put on this list with the State of California Department of Justice website.
Glock 19 Gen 3
Unfortunately, California law doesn't allow for Gen 4 or Gen 5 pistols from Glock to be sold. So, don't even bother asking your local firearms dealer. Don't let that get you down. The Glock 19 G3 is a solid handgun. In fact, some people prefer it to the newer versions. This is a semi-automatic striker-fired, polymer handgun that easily assembles and disassembles without the use of tools. The standard magazine capacity of this gun is usually 15+1, but in California, you're limited to 10-round magazines. This one is still a favorite of law enforcement agencies across the country. This is a solid choice for a first handgun.
Sig Sauer P220 Combat
The P220 Combat has a capacity of 8+1 rounds which means the magazine is compliant right out of the box. This is one of the best .45 ACP pistols on the market today. It weighs in at a manageable 31 ounces. The barrel length is 4.4 inches. The frame is aluminum and the slide a nitro-coated stainless steel. The picatinny rail allows you to add some aftermarket accessories. Like the Glock, this gun disassembles easily with no tools to make maintenance and cleaning a breeze.
Ruger LCR Double-action revolver
We know getting a concealed carry permit in California is tough, but this gun is a solid option for anyone with a permit that wants a firearm that is simple to operate. This is a "hammerless design," that means there are less things places for this gun to snag if you need to draw it in a hurry. It weighs just 17 ounces, making it light enough to be a purse gun. It's also very easy to use, making it perfect for newer gun owners. The .357 Magnum rounds are also powerful enough to stop any threat.
CZ 75 B
Ceska Zbrojovka, also known as CZ USA, makes some of the finest quality handguns on the plant. They also make versions of their guns specifically for residents of California. The CZ 75 B low capacity model has a 10-round magazine. This steel frame gun has plastic grips and a fixed three-dot sight. The cold hammer forged barrel is 4.6 inches long. The gun itself has an overall length of 8.1 inches and a width of just 1.4 inches. It has a three-safety system with a stop on hammer safety, firing pin block safety and a manual safety. Besides that, the gun has a fantastic reputation for being an ultra-reliable and accurate tack driver that won't let you down when you need it.
Smith & Wesson SD9 VE
This gun is a solid and affordable striker-fired pistol no matter where you live. The polymer SD9 VE is sold in a California legal package that includes a 10 round capacity magazine. It has an overall length of 7.2 inches and weighs just 24 ounces. The one we've linked here is chambered in 9mm Luger ammo, but this gun is available in .40 S&W too if you're looking for a little more firepower. For safety this gun has a loaded chamber indicator. A picatinny rail allows you to add small accessories. One of the best parts of this gun is just how affordable it is at $329.
Springfield Armory Mil-Spec
This .45 ACP is specially made by Springfield Armory to be California compliant. This classic 1911-style handgun features a 5-inch match grade, stainless steel barrel with a 1:16 rate of twist. The slide and frame are forged carbon steel. This gun just has a nice look with the black frame and wooden grips. It comes with two seven-round magazines standard. It's also one of the more affordable 1911 pistols you'll find at $649.
Kimber Stainless Ultra Carry II
A compact concealed carry gun with the stopping power of .45 ACP. Like most firearms from Kimber, this gun has a sharp look thanks to the two-tone finish and rosewood grip. The frame is aluminum while the slide is stainless steel. This gun has a fiber optic front sight and a beavertail grip safety. It has a seven-round capacity and weighs in at just 25 ounces. Online reviewers praise this gun for being extremely easy to carry while packing a punch.