Col Ben’s Best 9mm Pistols by Category (2018 Edition)

Col Ben’s Best 9mm Pistols by Category (2018 Edition)


I want to share my opinions about what I consider to be the “Best” 9mm pistols, based on my ten criteria and my reviews of the 62 pistols below which I have studied and tested at the range over 2018 and the past couple of years. I thoroughly reviewed each of them, comparing them to my criteria and my personally-preferred features, and shot every one of them. I own and shoot all of the pistols below, except the five marked with a **. But, I am still saving my allowance to consider them.

And every year the “latest, greatest, and best” innovative 9mm handgun comes out. Of course, my ideas and opinions of the “Best” will probably differ from yours and that is fine and expected, but at least what follows is my list of my top-rated 9mm handguns at this time to help you get started and save you time to build your favored 9mm list and narrow down the many hundreds of 9mm pistols. Of course, you do want to consider how you will use the 9mm, either for concealed carry, home defense, personal protection, competition, or fun plinking, as well as how you will handle and carry the gun.

As you certainly know, the criteria and preferences for pocket carry significantly differ from your expectations for a 9mm home defense gun. And specialization and unique needs usually dictate a specific gun with certain features and functions for a given purpose, so you can own more than one 9mm pistol, and one may not meet all needs or purposes. Be sure and tell this to your spouse, roommate, or significant other. This helps for my justification to my wife’s purse.

As the Scottish Political Economist Adam Smith said in his book “The Wealth of Nations,” growth and progress is rooted in the division of labor and specialization concepts, which recognize the necessity of using the right tools and resources to get the right jobs done. We may need a pistol with a 3″ barrel, shorter height, only 7 rounds of capacity, that weighs just 16 ounces to easily and comfortably fit in our pocket. Or, we may need to use a longer 5.3″ barrel pistol that weighs two pounds to help with accuracy and felt recoil, with sufficient height that allows 17 rounds to handle multiple attackers in our home. It depends… on you and your needs, goals, and preferences.

Well, what follows are my favorite 9mm pistols by selected categories of frame size, barrel length, weight, height, and capacity. I wanted to present a variety of frame sizes to help you decide on a 9mm pistol for a given purpose you may have, which is usually very much related to these factors. So I include Ultra Sub-Compact, Sub-Compact, Compact, Mid, and Full-Size frame 9mm categories.  These are just some of my criteria, albeit important ones, to help you decide. My other criteria, like accuracy, reliability, trigger, press, quality workmanship, etc. are all present in all of these 9mm handguns, in my opinion. You can reference my in-depth opinions and reviews for the pistols and my criteria in my reviews on this website, other websites, and in my book “Concealed Carry and Handgun essentials for Personal Protection.”

Best Ultra Sub-Compact 3″ Pistols of 2018

Best Sub-Compact 3.5″ Pistols of 2018

Best Compact 4″ Pistols of 2018

Best Mid-Size 4.5″ Pistols of 2018

Best Full-Size 5″ Pistols of 2018



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