Almost nobody wants to be in the sort of emergency situation where they have to fire their handgun. However, in life it often pays to prepare for the worst even while you hope for the best. For many, that will mean owning a gun and training with it regularly so as to be able to use it to protect themselves and others.
For that task, you need the right tool. We want to help you to find the best handgun for everyday carry or home defense so that in a crisis you can be sure that it won’t let you down.
How We Reviewed & Determined which Handgun was Best
In order to help you find the best handgun for you, we compiled a list of some of the handguns suitable for everyday use and home- and personal-defense.
These handguns are all ones from reputable brands and which came highly recommended by their users. We have provided an overview of each handgun’s key features, a list of pros and cons, a rough price, and a link to where you can find more information on buying one.
Overall Prices of Handguns
The guns we reviewed ranged in price from the very affordable to the most expensive. However most were available for an affordable price. Prices of handguns of the same model may vary depending on the handgun’s finish, barrel length, magazine capacity and the size of rounds that it takes.
What We Reviewed
- Walther PPQ M2
- CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical
- Springfield XD MOD2
- Colt 1911
- Ruger 1707 GP100
- CZ P-10 S
- Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
- Sig Sauer MK25 P226
- Gen 4 Glock 19
- Beretta M9
- Taurus TX22
Walther PPQ M2
This pistol, a product of German precision engineering, incorporates a range of features such as striker fire action, three automatic safeties, and a loaded-chamber indicator, with accuracy, durability, and reliability.
It has almost negligible recoil, making it one of the best handguns for women or other users with less wrist strength or who have conditions such as carpal tunnel.
This handgun may be just slightly too big for concealed carry unless you are a large framed person yourself, but in almost all respects it’s a good gun. However, some users may want to switch out the plastic sights for something a bit more durable.
- Great bonus features
- Less recoil
- Plastic sights
- Slightly too big for CC
This handgun is well suited to a range of tasks, such as personal defense, home security, and law enforcement. The frame is made of a tough polymer, but the barrel and slides are stainless steel, allowing users to get the best of both worlds.
It can be racked with either hand, meaning that it can be used easily by left handed shooters. On the downside, the grips are rather large.
Plus, some users reported that the grippy texture began to cut into their hands after they had been through a few magazines.
- Polymer frame
- Stainless steel slides and barrel
- Option to add red-dot sight
- Very large grips
CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical
CZ, the Czech gun manufacturers claim that “CZ 75 Pistols are used by more government, law-enforcement, military and security agencies than any other pistol in the world.”
This model was designed to take the best features of military service pistols from around the world to create a tough, reliable, and accurate handgun.
Many users describe it as the best handgun they have ever owned, and it was very hard to find any criticisms of its design or performance. However, you might find it hard to get hold of.
- Great ergonomics
- Consistently accurate
- Restricted availability
- On the heavy side
Springfield XD Mod.2
This slimmer “sub-compact” new model in Springfield Armory’s XD range is comfortable in the hand and as a concealed-carry firearm.
It has a short trigger and short reset, meaning that follow-up shots are as accurate as the first shot.
The XD Mod.2 has a corrosion resistant Meltonite coating which gives it a rugged semi-matte finish.
- Corrosion resistant
- Very compact
- Requires a firm grip to fire accurately
- Difficult to rack
This pistol, sometimes known as “The Government” has a long and glorious history within the world of American Firearms. The single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed pistol fits comfortably in the hand and “points” well.
It can be easily modified and customized, including the ability to fine-tune the trigger action; one of the reasons it is loved by gun enthusiasts.
However, the pistol may be too large to be gripped comfortably by some users. Additionally, the lack of a de-cocker in the pistol means that great care must be taken when lowering the hammer.
- Easily modified and customized
- No de-cocker
- Costly maintenance
Ruger 1707 GP100
Ruger’s range of Centerfire revolvers are well-known for being dependable, reliable, and accurate.
This Ruger, the only revolver on our list, features a smooth-cycling triple-locking cylinder making sure of an accurate shot every time you fire.
The grip is designed to reduce recoil and make firing the gun comfortable. The revolver is available in a range of chamber sizes and finishes.
- Great balance
- Trigger too stiff
- Not easy to clean
CZ P-10 S
If you are looking for a flawless 9 mm striker-fired pistol for home defense look no further than the CZ P-10 Subcompact (S) optics-ready model (2019 release).
This beauty comes with flawless performance, stupendous accuracy, and one of the softest recoils in its league to date. This pistol is not only beautiful but performance-oriented too. There’s also a bigger version, the CZ P-10 Compact (C), and a full-sized model, the CZ P-10 Full Size (F), so the possibilities are endless.
The CZ P-10 S is an alternative to the beloved Glock 26, as they both fit 12+1 rounds of ammo and are very similar in size and design.
The P-10 S is a polymer gun with an amazing trigger pull that is real pleasure to fire. It was built to work flawlessly so you don’t have to worry about misfires when there’s a break-in on your premises.
- Insanely accurate
- Soft recoil
- Polymer gun
Smith&Wesson M&P Shield
This Smith & Wesson model is the handgun of choice for many military and law-enforcement personnel because of its rugged build, reliability, and accuracy.
This is one of the best handgun choices for a concealed-carry gun because of its compact frame. This handgun comes with two magazines of different sizes so you can decide which you want with you on any given day.
- Small but powerful
- Suitable for concealed carry
- Handgun of choice for many military and law-enforcement personnel
- Difficult to rack
- Trigger requires a lot of pull
Sig Sauer MK25 P226
This German-made pistol, with black hard-anodized aluminum frame and extra-grippy ergonomic grips is the choice of a wide range of law enforcement and military units, including the Navy Seals.
It is a ruggedly built, extremely tough gun that is easy to strip down and clean. It has no safety-catch and is designed to be carried with a round in the chamber and the hammer de-cocked so that it can be drawn and fired with ease.
Though there is little danger of the gun firing accidentally, this feature of the handgun may be a little too intense for some.
- Ergonomic grips
- Black hard-anodized aluminum frame
- Negligible recoil
- No safety
Gen 4 Glock 19
Glocks are well known for their reliability and performance. This latest version of the Glock 19 featured a rough textured frame and grips, and three backstraps to customize the fit.
The handgun boasts a stronger-than-steel polymer frame coated with Tenifer to make them impervious to all kinds of bad weather.
The magazine release buttons are large and reversible to make the Glock 19 suitable for ring- and left-handed users.
- Small enough to serve as carry-gun
- Tough polymer frame
- Plastic sights
- Trigger may need replacing
The Beretta M9 was developed with input from military, police, and other law enforcement personnel to create a gun suitable for use in any sort of crisis, even meeting the requirements of the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Beretta M9 is available with single or double action. The handgun can be disassembled and reassembled without any tools.
It comes with two magazines so you’ll always have a spare. However, some users reported that their accuracy with the Beretta was far below that of any other of their guns, which may be a serious cause for concern.
- Developed to military specifications
- Single or double action
- May be less accurate
The Taurus TX22 is one of the gunmaker’s best .22 semiauto pistols for absolute beginners to date. The TX22 was designed as a plinker that feels like a full-size, feature-rich centerfire but a lot lighter (17 ounces) and with very low recoil, which makes it a perfect pick for new shooters.
This is also a gun that you can use for target shooting when you’re not in the mood of using your big boy gun (the 9mm, .308, .40 etc). Nowadays, rimfire rounds are readily available and a lot cheaper than centerfire ammo. This gun also comes with an additional 16-round magazine, it is suppressor ready, and has an adjustable rear sight.
When it comes to safety, this pistol has 3 safeties – the thumb safety (which is optional, depending on the model, and can be used by left-handed users too), the striker block, and the trigger safety. Fortunately, the manufacturer didn’t add the annoying, failure-prone key-lock internal safety, which many users deeply dislike.
And because the Taurus TX22 is so lightweight and low recoil, it can also be an excellent handgun for a lady’s delicate joints.
While some critics might argue that a .22 plinker is not the greatest option for home defense, don’t be deceived. A .22 LR might not have enough energy to insta kill a home invader, but killing people is not the point of self- and home defense. Your goal should be to slow down or stop the attacker, and the TX22 will elegantly just do that.
Plus, its current price (around $350) is hard to beat as you can buy this gem for as low as $300. And have we mentioned that it is USA made?
- Compact, lightweight, low-recoil
- Extremely reliable, fast, and feature-rich
- Cost effective
- Synthetic magazines
We’re loathe to make any definitive statement on the best handgun, because it’s such a subjective field. Nevertheless there were a few standout candidates in this field of ten.
The best handgun if you prefer a revolver is the reliable and compact yet powerful Ruger 1707 GP100. Amongst the pistols, we thought the best handgun for concealed carry was the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, and the best handgun overall was the CZ P-10 S.
When you go to try out handguns that you find that something completely different is to your liking, but whether you go for one of these guns or not, we hope that this was a good place to start.
Frequently Asked Questions about Handguns
1. What is the best handgun?
This question is probably impossible to answer. If you ask a hundred handgun owners what they thought was the best handgun, you could easily come away with a hundred different answers. The key things in finding the best handgun for you are to know yourself and know the use to which you plan to put your handgun. If you have unusually large hands, you may need to take that into account. If you want to use your gun for concealed carry, you’ll definitely need to take that into account; you don’t want to end up buying an enormous long-barreled gun when what would suit that task is something compact. Essentially, the best handgun is the one that works best for you.
2. Should I get a revolver or a semi-automatic handgun?
This is one of those questions that never gets old. Once again, the answer needs to be qualified with a question: what do you want to use it for? If you are looking for a handgun to keep in your house, then an automatic pistol which has on average twice or three times greater magazine capacity than a revolver may be your best choice. However, many gun-owners who want a gun for everyday or concealed carry prefer the reliability and heft of a compact revolver, ever though they have fewer shots.
3. How much does a good handgun cost?
As with many tools, with handguns you do to a certain extent get what you pay for. A hundred dollar gun may be better than nothing if you can get nothing else, but is likely to let you down when you really need it. We would say that decent quality, reliable handguns start from over $300, though these lower priced models will still be fairly basic. Finding the best handgun for you is an area where it is worth trying to get a good quality product that will last rather than an inferior cheaper product that you’ll end up having to replace.
The P226 MK25 is identical to the pistol carried by the U.S. Navy SEALs, the fleet’s special warfare operators. The railed P226 chambered in 9mm and engraved with an anchor on the left side of the slide is the official sidearm of the SEALs. It’s a true beauty of both aesthetics and craftsmanship. No wonder a highly trained team such as the Navy SEALs have chosen to rely on this particular model.
5. What is the most accurate 9mm pistol?
Widely regarded as one of the most accurate and best 9mm Luger pistols in the world, the Sig Sauer P210 is a sleek modernized update to the vintage 1947 model. It has a precision-machined stainless steel slide and frame with a lightweight target trigger. The Sig Sauer P210 is adopted by many sport shooters because of its outstanding accuracy and controls. It only fits an 8-round magazine but those rounds will be on target every time. The trigger is crisp and smooth (like breaking a glass rod), and is arguably the best feature of the pistol. It’s no surprise that the NRA named the Sig Sauer P210 the 2019 Gun of the Year.
6. What caliber handgun is the best?
By far the most popular caliber for handguns is the 9mm. Developed in the early 1900s by Austrian designer Georg Luger, the 9mm cartridge is the most widely used round in the handgun realm. Capable of running alongside full-sized handguns, compact pistols, and even pistol caliber carbines, the versatility, affordability, and prevalence of 9mm has secured it a top spot in gun owners’ hearts. The cartridge, which is especially popular among concealed carry and self-defense enthusiasts, can be found in some of the most popular defense handguns like the Glock 19, Sig Sauer P365, Smith & Wesson Shield, and Ruger LC9S also.
My articles appear in Marketing Edge Magazine, on Gizmogrind, and with various Medium publications. But one thing hasn’t changed in all of my life: no matter where I was or what I was doing. I’ve always loved to be outdoors.
A man needs nothing more than a good flannel shirt, a well-worn pair of jeans, and comfortable hiking boots. I don’t go for all the fancy luxury stuff. Suits are uncomfortable and shaving sucks.