5 Best 9mm Handguns for Self-Defense

One of the most popular calibers for self-defense handguns is the 9mm, which is known for its low recoil and magazine capacity. Used among law enforcement, military, and civilians, 9mm handguns are proven favorites for self-defense situations. In this article we’ll focus on all defense scenarios for 9mm.

Self Defense Handguns Explained

Being prepared to defend yourself is always important. While all of these handguns offer ample protection, having a handgun optimized for your specific needs is very important. Here are some of the pros and cons of each style of 9mm handgun for self-defense.

Compact Handguns

Compact 9mm Handguns are a popular choice for concealed carry purposes. They are lightweight, easy to conceal, and specifically designed for close-quarters defense situations where every second counts. We carry compact handguns from countless manufacturers, like Sig Sauer, Kimber, Smith & Wesson, and more!

Full Size Handguns

Full size handguns are great for defense situations where precision and accuracy count. They are generally more accurate than compact handguns and have less felt recoil. They can also be easier to customize with accessories to improve accuracy and shooting performance.  Full-size handguns generally weigh more and are not as easily concealed as compact handguns. The choice of size for your handgun will depend on your needs and preferences, along with carry laws in your state or area.

Self Defense Revolvers

Revolvers are still a popular choice for many self-defense enthusiasts. Their simple designs are easy to use and highly unlikely to malfunction in times of need. Double-action revolvers are point-and-shoot handguns and can help eliminate the chances of user error in situations where your life may be on the line.

Handgun Accessories

Red Dot Sights

Red Dot Sights are a great way to add precision and versatility to your defense 9mm. They are generally easy to use, offer a range of settings, and provide long battery life for unmatched reliability.

Laser Sights

Laser Sights allow for pinpoint accuracy in a wide range of scenarios. Lasers are designed to easily mount to your handgun and provide a reliable alternative to traditional open sights or red dot sights.

Weapon Lights

Weapon lights allow you to positively identify your target while also disorienting potential threats. You’ll find plenty of quality weapon light options from brands like Streamlight and Olight!

The perfect 9mm defense handgun for your needs will come down to several factors, including personal preference and skillset, compatibility with accessories, laws and regulations, and budget. This list is our best 9mm handguns for self defense ranging from full-size to compact pistols from several top brands.

1

Glock 19X Semi-Automatic Pistol

Glock's first ever "Crossover" pistol, the Glock 19X, combines the best features of two of its most popular and most trusted field-tested platforms. The full-size Glock 17 frame and the compact Glock 19 slide have joined forces to produce the ideal pistol for all conditions and all situations. The 19X comes in the coyote color with the first-ever factory colored slide, finished with an improved nPVD slide coating to prevent corrosion. Additional features include the Glock Marksman Barrel (GMB), no finger grooves, ambidextrous slide stop levers and lanyard loop. Included with the 19+1 capacity pistol is a standard 17-round magazine, two 17+2-round magazines and coyote-colored pistol case.

Features

  • Safe action trigger system
  • Coyote colored pistol case
  • 3 Magazines
  • nPVD slide coating
  • Glock marksman barrel

What Customers Are Saying

A good shooter

This my EDC gun... it does very well as Glock always does...it stays in my truck don't leave home without it...
- Roadhound, 3/2/2022

About Glock

Glock was founded in 1963 by Gaston Glock, an Austrian engineer, successful businessman, and manufacturer of injection molding parts and components. Originally designed for the Austrian Military, Glock has grown to be one of the most popular firearms brands in the world, trusted by civilians, militaries, and law enforcement agencies all over the globe. Glock is known for their ultra-reliable and budget-friendly semi-automatic handguns as well as their gun parts and accessories. Some of their most popular handgun models include the Glock 19, Glock 17, and Glock 43. Glock also offers training aids, magazines, storage, apparel, and more. Glock's pride in its design and precision is reflected in the company's motto: "Glock Perfection.”

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2

Springfield Armory SA-35 Semi-Automatic Pistol 9mm Luger 4.7" Barrel 15-Round Matte Blued Walnut

The Springfield Armory SA-35 is based on one of the most prolific and popular pistols in small arms history, the P-35 "Hi-Power". Springfield Armory's SA-35 gives today’s shooters a modern take on a revered classic. Featuring subtle but significant upgrades to John Moses Browning and Dieudonne Saive's original P-35 design, the 9mm SA-35 captures the appeal of the “wood and steel” era of arms making while offering the upgraded enhancements of today’s defensive pistols. The SA-35 features rugged forged steel parts for strength and durability, improved ergonomics and enhanced controls, a factory tuned trigger, modern sights, an improved feed ramp design, and an increased 15-round capacity.

 

Features

  • Checkered Walnut Grips
  • Matte Blue Finish
  • 4.7" Cold Hammer Forged, 1:10 twist barrel
  • Modern sight configuration with a white dot front and serrated tactical rack rear

What Customers Are Saying

Well executed at this price point

The raw accuracy of this pistol is very good. Balance, handling and ergonomics are excellent for my hands as I expected from a High Power clone. Machining quality is very good, something I am coming to expect more with CNC equipment commonplace. The matte finish is not fancy, but very practical and well done. I, too, found a lot of (very light) rust on and around the recoil spring and guide rod. Cleaned it off with Kroil and no problems so far. The trigger is not as good as I was hoping for. A lot of creep before a solid and clean break, almost like a two stage trigger. This is not a target gun for me, so I can live with the trigger for now. Over all I would say the pistol is well done especially at this price point. It is like shooting a slightly smaller 1911 with less recoil and 15 rounds. What's not to like?
- 1911 guy, 4/2/2022

About Springfield Armory

Resurrected in 1974 by the Reese family, Springfield Armory has grown to become a premier manufacturer of quality firearms. Their obsession for improved manufacturing techniques and cutting-edge design allows them to develop products loyal to Springfield’s heritage while ensuring progression in American firearms. Springfield Armory is the leading maker of our country’s iconic 1911, SA-35 and M1A models, the exciting SAINT series of rifles and pistols, the custom-grade Model 2020 bolt-action family of hunting rifles, the Echelon Pistol, and the Hellcat Pistol. Anchored by our rich history and inspired to break new ground, our proudest legacy is giving you the tools to defend yours. striker-fired solutions, every Springfield Armory firearm is built on a foundation of excellence.

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3

Glock 19X Semi-Automatic Pistol

Glock's first ever "Crossover" pistol, the Glock 19X, combines the best features of two of its most popular and most trusted field-tested platforms. The full-size Glock 17 frame and the compact Glock 19 slide have joined forces to produce the ideal pistol for all conditions and all situations. The 19X comes in the coyote color with the first-ever factory colored slide, finished with an improved nPVD slide coating to prevent corrosion. Additional features include the Glock Marksman Barrel (GMB), no finger grooves, ambidextrous slide stop levers and lanyard loop. Included with the 19+1 capacity pistol is a standard 17-round magazine, two 17+2-round magazines and coyote-colored pistol case.

Features

  • Safe action trigger system
  • Coyote colored pistol case
  • 3 Magazines
  • nPVD slide coating
  • Glock marksman barrel

What Customers Are Saying

A good shooter

This my EDC gun... it does very well as Glock always does...it stays in my truck don't leave home without it...
- Roadhound, 3/2/2022

About Glock

Glock was founded in 1963 by Gaston Glock, an Austrian engineer, successful businessman, and manufacturer of injection molding parts and components. Originally designed for the Austrian Military, Glock has grown to be one of the most popular firearms brands in the world, trusted by civilians, militaries, and law enforcement agencies all over the globe. Glock is known for their ultra-reliable and budget-friendly semi-automatic handguns as well as their gun parts and accessories. Some of their most popular handgun models include the Glock 19, Glock 17, and Glock 43. Glock also offers training aids, magazines, storage, apparel, and more. Glock's pride in its design and precision is reflected in the company's motto: "Glock Perfection.”

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4

Smith & Wesson Equalizer Pistol

Level the playing field with Smith & Wesson's best-performing micro-compact to date. Next-gen EZ technology, low recoil impulse, and versatile magazine capacity all in a compact footprint, make the EQUALIZER™ an ultimate CCW. This 9MM offering provides the perfect balance of power and capacity across 10, 13, and 15-round magazines. The EQUALIZER™ features a single-action trigger that allows for a short take-up, clean break, and fast reset to make follow-up shots quicker. The slide operates using easy-to-rack technology to cater to a wide variety of needs and the frame includes a picatinny-style rail to mount lights or lasers for any defense scenario. A new optic cut pattern allows the user to mount their choice of sight for enhanced accuracy and the 3.675” barrel gives a longer sight radius for increased iron sight precision. The EQUALIZER™ also features a new grip texture and pattern designed to give you more control when firing and more comfort when carrying.
Features

  • Easy-to-rack slide
  • Slide cut for optics
  • Reversible magazine release
  • Loaded chamber indicator
  • Crisp, single-action trigger with tactile and audible reset
  • Optimized grip texture allows the user to manage recoil, keep a firm grip and it’s comfortable when concealing
  • Picatinny-style equipment rail for light or laser
  • Optimal 18-degree grip angle for natural point of aim
  • Disassembles without pulling the trigger
  • Armornite® durable corrosion resistant finish
  • Maglula UpLula® magazine speed loader included
  • Easy-to-grip, deep front and rear slide serrations
  • Ships with (3) Magazines: 10, 13, and 15 Round

 

What Customers Are Saying

I would buy ag

Great
- Vance, 12/7/2023

About Smith & Wesson

Since 1852 Smith & Wesson has empowered Americans with the freedom, equality, and security promised by the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. It is this sense of safety and security that frees us to pursue our goals and dreams, define our future, and fulfill the promise of America. Smith & Wesson has been manufacturing some of the finest revolvers, pistols, and rifles for decades and is a trusted brand by law enforcement agencies and civilians around the world. They also offer many pistol and rifle parts and upgrades, as well as magazines, knives/tools, training aids, cleaning kits, and much more. MidwayUSA is proud to offer many popular Smith & Wesson Models like the M&P Pistols, 629 Revolvers, Model 500 Revolvers, and more!

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5

Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 Competitor Pistol

Built for competition right out of the box, this metal-framed 9mm pistol is designed to give competitive shooters the edge. The Competitor comes with a 5-inch barrel, has an enhanced sear for lighter, crisper trigger let-off, and includes a flared magazine well for fast and efficient reloads. Boasting a new look, the aggressive lightening cuts on both the top and sides of the slide ultimately reduce the amount of weight in front of the chamber and, in return, help improve the recoil balance point. The slide is cut for optics, includes a fiber optic front sight, and blacked out serrated rear sight. The Competitor comes with an oversized mag release that is reversible for both right and left-handed users and ships with a total of four magazines. Smith & Wesson is proud to introduce the Performance Center M&P9 M2.0 Competitor.
Features

  • Metal frame design with 5" barrel
  • Slide lightening cuts on top and sides
  • Optimal 18-degree grip angle for natural point of aim
  • Four interchangeable palmswell grip inserts for optimal hand fit and trigger reach - S, M, ML, L.
  • Textured polymer front strap
  • Flared mag well for fast reloads
  • Fiber-optic front sight and blacked-out rear sight
  • Reversible over-sized magazine release
  • Slide cut for optics
  • M2.0 flat face trigger for consistent finger placement that allows for more accurate and repeatable shooting
  • Enhanced sear for lighter, crisper trigger let-off
  • Picatinny-style rail
  • Forward slide serrations with new aesthetic
  • Low barrel bore axis makes the M&P pistol comfortable to shoot, reducing muzzle rise and allowing for faster aim recovery
  • M&P’s patented take-down lever and sear deactivation systems allow for disassembly without pulling the trigger
  • Comes with four 17-round magazines

 

What Customers Are Saying

If youre trying to decide, just do it.

Love, love, loooove this gun. Absoloute beast of a multi-purpose pistol. Rock solid. You can spend all day shooting it and not get bored of looking at it.
- Mech, 9/21/2023

About Smith & Wesson

Since 1852 Smith & Wesson has empowered Americans with the freedom, equality, and security promised by the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. It is this sense of safety and security that frees us to pursue our goals and dreams, define our future, and fulfill the promise of America. Smith & Wesson has been manufacturing some of the finest revolvers, pistols, and rifles for decades and is a trusted brand by law enforcement agencies and civilians around the world. They also offer many pistol and rifle parts and upgrades, as well as magazines, knives/tools, training aids, cleaning kits, and much more. MidwayUSA is proud to offer many popular Smith & Wesson Models like the M&P Pistols, 629 Revolvers, Model 500 Revolvers, and more!

Shop Now