We all know that the best AR pistols, long pistols, best AR-15 pistols, whatever you want to call them, are awesome tools for home defense. Yet still the law enforcement & military agencies and more retained the humble 9mm AR pistols.
That’s because it’s the best tactical tool for sweeping buildings. So it’s arguably the best weapon for the home, 9mm isn’t wild. It’s precise, super precise. You can suppress it well, it fits in a compact package and 9mm is available just about anywhere.
300 Blackout has certainly made a play for the 9mm market in recent times and that caliber is starting to take over for the military units and SWAT teams out there thanks to its flexibility. But it’s expensive, it’s new tech and 9mm is pretty much as good in the right circumstances.
So the trusty 9mm carbine, the 9mm SMG, the 9mm AR pistol, whatever you want to call it, is still revered, loved and bought in massive numbers around the world. Which one of the 9mm AR pistols is the best pistol though?
1. CZ Scorpion Evo 3
- Price: $1000.99+
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Barrel: 5 inch
- Total Length: 16 inch
- Weight: 5.7lb
The CZ Scorpion Evo 3 is a legendary battle pistol, and rightly so. It’s our budget pick by a mile, even though that price has steadily crept up, and the gun reviews online go crazy for it. This is a truck gun, a range plinker and it’s under a lot of beds in this fair nation.
Honestly if you just want a general purpose 9mm long pistol, then you’ll struggle to beat the trusty CZ for anything like the same money.
You can get a CZ Scorpion 9mm pistol caliber carbine in Black, olive green, Coyote Tan and several shades of grey. And the long rifle version is high quality as well.
2. Sig Sauer MPX Copperhead 9mm
- Price: $1,900.99
- Barrel Length: 3.5 inch
- Total: 14.5 inch
- Weight: 4.5lb
- Capacity: 20+1
The Sig MPX Copperhead is the best 9mm AR pistol for self-defense. There, we said it. It’s the best
That 3.5 inch barrel with the integrated muzzle brake is borderline ridiculous. Yet Sig has managed to create an accurate weapon that consistently pounds the bullseye out of targets at 100 yards in vaguely competent hands.
In skilled hands, this rear charging compact AR is an absolute titan of a high price, high spec close quarters firefight specialist.
The PDW brace is different. It’s the new Pivoting Contour Brace (PCB). Essentially it pivots with a patented swivel operating system. Of course the ATF would like a word about that and you might opt to remove yours from your Sig Sauer Copperhead battle pistol, just for clarity’s sake…
Short Barrel MPX is Brutal
The Copperhead with the Coyote Tan cerakote finish is basically a conceal carry 9mm. Now that could once again give 9mm ammunition the advantage in the sub-machine gun world.
Back in a civilian setting, this Coyote Tan cerakote finish miniature weapon of war could be the best gun for defense, plinking at the range and just about everything else.
You get a Monolithic Elite Series upper receiver and an integrated stock knuckle lower receiver sets.
A short stroke gas-piston system means the Copperhead semi auto pistol can cycle through pretty much all grades of 9mm ammunition, from crappy steel right through to high end rippers that could turn this into a truly evil 9mm AR pistol.
It could also be the best concealed carry pistol in the world. Load this up with the best 9mm ammo and you’ve got a real weapon here.
3. HK SP5
- Price: $3,229.99
- Barrel Length: 8.86 inch
- Total Length: 17.8 inch
- Weight: 5.1lb
Is this the ultimate SMG for civilians? If not, the best-selling HK SP5 is certainly close. This is the civilian version of the legendary HK MP5 that has gone into battle with Special forces teams all round the world.
Adopted by 40 nations for law enforcement & military duty, this has been a Hall of Famer for decades. Does that make it the best gun? It certainly counts.
Price and availability are the only things keeping the roller delayed blowback HK off the top spot. Because even if you have decided to spend the $2,699 full retail price for the Heckler & Koch 9mm, or more, finding one for sale in 2023 can be a separate issue.
Where to Buy a HK SP5?
Everyone lists them, very few actually have them in stock and you may have to back order. Or pay over the odds here.
4. Freedom Ordnance FX-9 9mm Luger
- Price: $804.99
- Barrel: 4.5 inch
- Weight: 4.5lb
The Freedom Ordnance FX-9 9mm Luger might not have the history of the HK, but it has still become a modern day icon and one of the most popular pistols in America.
Inevitably the rear charging FX-9 9mm Luger takes the double stack Glock magazine. And it looks like there’s a suppressor up front, but it isn’t really. The barrel is clearly on the small size and that makes this a real contender for concealment.
The KAK tactical brace fits perfectly with a lightweight like this, but your Freedom Ordnance might ship without a brace in these times. There’s a consistency, a purity of purpose, that puts the Freedom Ordnance FX-9 9mm Luger right at the top of this list. Well, close…
5. Christensen Arms CA9
- Price: $1,649.99
- Barrel: 7.5 inch
- Weight: 5.5lb
- Capacity: 30+1
Christensen Arms is slowly emerging as one of our favorite custom gunsmiths.
Everything is just that little bit lighter, that tiny bit better than the average firearm. And lightweight material science is at the core of everything it does. We like that, especially the carbon fiber barrel.
This is substance and style with your ARP guns. Here that takes the form of a carbon-fiber barrel. Or a thin stainless steel barrel wrapped in a Carbon Fiber sleeve, to be precise. It allows for a thinner barrel and saves pretty much grams here.
But it’s this near symbolic commitment to engineering excellence that gives us confidence in everything Christensen Arms does. Even names like Midnight Bronze for the finish sound fine when you’ve got carbon fiber and other trick materials on your semi auto pistol.
6. Battle Arms Development XIPHOS 9P
- Price: $1,560.99
- Barrel: 8 inch
- Total: 26 inch
- Weight: 5.5lb
This supplier makes some of the sexiest 9mm, AR-15 pistol and AR15 rifles on the market these days. So it’s no surprise that it has a blowback AR-style pistol that might just take your breath away.
Depending on which end you’re looking down at the time, normally…
The 7075-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum lower receiver on this semi auto pistol is machined from billet, in-house.
BAD has a free float rail system, with the signature notch cut in the Picatinny rail, joins forces with a proprietary lightweight buffer tube and other goodies.
There’s a full size 9mm rifle, too, which we love almost as much as these compact tactical CQB guns & gear.
9mm AR-15 Pistol Build Tech
An extended magazine release, Teflon coated trigger and tool-less breakdown thanks to enhanced takedown pins all mark the BAD pistol out as good. The SBA3 brace is fairly standard, but we know it works.
Even with an 8 inch barrel, it’s still lighter than many here, too. So it’s a lightweight long pistol in the true sense, one of the best 9mm AR pistols on sale and a damned fine addition to gun safes across the land.
7. Angstadt Arms UDP-9 Pistol
- Price: $1,329.99
- Barrel: 6 inch
- Total Length: 22 inch
- Weight: 5.9lb
Angstadt has built an outsized reputation in short order in this niche, and a lot of people prefer this to the better known options thanks to the super light recoil, lightweight construction and reliability.
As more and more of us have Glocks in the house, the ability to use the Glock magazines in an AR-style semi-auto pistol is a big deal. I mean a lot of guns on this list do the same, to be fair, it’s not the actual USP.
Receiver sets machined from billet aluminum, the low recoil blowback operation, near fetishistic attention to detail and the compact tactical nature of the carbine length gas system UDP-9 pistol are the real selling points.
Things like the flared magwell that help reload that fraction faster help as well.
In short the Angstadt Arms UDP-9 pistol is a winner.
8. Foxtrot Mike Products FM-9
- Price: $638.99
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Barrel: 5 inch
- Pistol Length: 27 inch
- Weight: 6.4lb
Foxtrot Mike Products are a relative newcomer, but it has made a big impression with high value and feature rich ARs. The stubby AR-9 is no exception.
This is the middle of the litter and you can opt for a 3 inch barrel or 7 inch barrel, depending on your needs.
With better optics then you should get to the outer reaches of your driveway at least with a Foxtrot Mike FM-9. More with laser sights or a good optic. Close up you can shoulder it comfortably and move it round your home. Or really cold looking fields…
Easily Controlled Chaos
It’s a low recoil round designed for snubnosed pistols in one hand. With a brace, classic pistol grip and two-handed operation, muzzle lift really isn’t a thing.
So what separates the Foxtrot Mike FM-9 from the herd? Attention to detail, for a start, with receiver sets machined from billet aluminum. In this price range, that’s impressive.
All that work and it’s tailored to the humble double stack Glock magazine. That makes it a versatile gun, a great 9mm in its own right and a Preppers favorite.
9. CMMG Banshee 300 MKGS 9mm Pistol
- Price: $1,634.99
- Barrel: 5 inch
- Total: 18.9 inch
- Weight: 4.6lb
The best-selling CMMG Banshee MKGS 9mm is an absolute smash hit and is some people’s pick for the PCC of the year. It’s certainly among the best 9mm AR pistols.
Radial Delayed Blowback or Not to Radial Delayed Blowback?
Mostly it depends how you feel about the radial delayed blowback operating system that was hailed as a step forward. If you like it, then this is for you. If not, if you think radial delayed blowback is some newfandangled thing for the kids, then that’s OK too.
Frankly it hasn’t turned out to be the gamechanger we hoped for. It’s just a good gun. But we all need those, right?
This Banshee MKGS 9mm is finished in Burnt Bronze Cerakote, but you can choose from almost any color, including matte black Cerakote that goes with the polymer pistol grips on your semi-auto pistol.
A Range of Popular Calibers for CMMG Banshee MKGS 9mm
You can also choose from a mind-blowing number of calibers for your sort of Sub Machine Gun, including armor piercing 5.7x28mm rounds. Because why not? And AAC Blackout, which features on our favorite AAC Blackout pistols list.
The CMMG Banshee Mk4 MKGS 9mm is the shortest barrel in an extensive CMMG line-up that encompasses pretty much all the best AR-15 pistols calibers. It works pretty well concealed, if you need that much firepower under your jacket. And inevitably it takes Glock style magazines.
It’s also a great gun at the range and for personal defense. Others seriously think this CMMG Banshee is the best gun here.
Now the brace regs have resulted in the monolithic CMMG Dissent Mk4 launching and that is a real budget rival to the Sig Copperhead.
10. Diamondback Firearms DB9R
- Price: $929.99
- Caliber: 9mm
- Barrel: 4.5 inch
- Total Length: 13.5 inch
- Weight: 4.6lb
Diamondback Firearms has made waves with a series of great budget AR-15 rifles. It has simply followed the same plan to create a hugely competent 9mm long pistol at a price that will ruffle some feathers.
These best-selling 9mm pistols are made in the USA, almost entirely at Diamondback Firearms’ own CNC machining facility. Investing heavily in manufacturing has helped the company slash the unit costs. That means you get a great pistol, and awesome gas system, for the right price.
We like the commitment to low weight with the tailhook pistol stabilizing brace, too.
Nobody has reinvented PCCs here, but this is a cheap and effective gun and you can get them in a range of colors, from Midnight bronze cerakote finish, basically posh Flat Dark Earth to solid Armor Black. That’s all some people need.
11. KRISS Vector Gen 2 SDP Enhanced
- Price: $1,699.00
- Barrel: 6.5 inch
- Total Length: 18.5 inch
- Weight: 7.28lb
The KRISS Vector Gen 2 is a damned sight better than the first gen and it really is living up to the ambitions of a design team that set out to break new ground.
It is fast turning into a dream gun and this 9mm Carbine has already achieved celebrity status in Hollywood.
This was the centerpiece of Cable’s futuristic firearm in Deadpool 2, while the aggressive styling means it’s a regular in blockbuster movies.
12. Palmetto State Armory Gen 4 PDW
- Price: $699.99
- Barrel: 4 inch
- Weight: 6.4lb
Palmetto State Armory is a specialist. It produces cheap guns that have developed a ferociously loyal customer base and the hardest thing in the world to achieve: repeat business.
Seriously, Palmetto State Armory customers tend to have an arsenal of PSA firearms. Probably 2 or 3 separate build kits of parts.
That has allowed the company to produce new guns like the PSA Dagger, a striker fired 9mm handgun. Palmetto State Armory has also ventured into larger calibers, like 308 Win, and PCCs.
With an SB Tactical PDW brace or Maxim Defense pistol brace, this gun also looks different to most of the opposition here. We like that, although Palmetto State Armory will sell you a Gen 4 in about five different configurations.
Palmetto State Armory will also sell you complete rifles and kits for DIY projects. Look out for BLEM PSA products, which come with small blemishes and big discounts.
13. Rock River Arms RUK-9BT Pistol
- Price: $1,051.99
- Action: Semi auto
- Barrel: 4.5 inch
- Length: 24.75 inch
- Weight: 5.6lb
This company keeps finding its way into the hands of professional users artound the world. LEOs, military and more love the brand, and it’s easy to see why.
This is a high end pistol with billet receivers, threaded barrel and just about every other finishing touch you might need. It’s also a supremely reliable AR-style pistol with a pretty basic mil-spec finish.
14. Kalashnikov KP-9
- Price: $996.99
- Caliber Pistol: 9mm
- Barrel: 9.25 inch
- Total: 18.25 inch
- Weight: 5.62lb
- Capacity: 30+1
A Kalashnikov 9mm in the classic AK-47 pistol layout has proved to be a massively popular addition to American gun culture.
Full size AK-47 rifles, too. There’s just a perverse amount of appreciation for rifles and pistols produced from pig iron and wood that made America’s life so difficult back in the day.
The AK-47 has become an icon in its own right with . It might just be the most famous gun of all time and it is still in active service around the world with that lever action safety and last round bolt hold open locking mechanism.
7.62x39mm bullets can make a hell of a bang and a mess, though. Hearing protection and maybe sunglasses are absolutely essential.
So 9mm offers much-needed control to a stunning basic design. This is a good marriage. It works.
This Kalashnikov is based on the Vityaz-SN Sub Machine Gun that the Russian military uses today. That is really an evolution of the classic AK, right down to the oversized safety lever action and sturdy pistol grip.
It is also one of the most popular machine guns ever.
15. Wilson Combat AR9
- Price: $1, 969
- Barrel: 8.3
- Weight: 5lb
Wilson Combat has been on a tear of late with relatively affordable AR rifles and pistols that still hold true to the company principles.
Affordable is a fluid term, we know, and around $2,000 is a lot of money. But it’s less than the HK and this might just be a better personal defense weapon. Or at least it’s close enough…
Billet receivers, match grade barrels that are either 8.3 or 11.3 inches, depending on your preference, a Shockwave brace and the legendary starburst pistol grips are all spectacular. But this Wilson Combat Protector Carbine exceeds the sum of its parts and the finished pistol is art and engineering in one package. Maybe it is the Art of Engineering.
The company wanted to set new standard for reliability, as well as accuracy, and believes it has done that. We just know the Wilson Combat AR9 is one of the finest 9mm pistols on sale. And we also know we can’t find one to sell you, which is why it’s down here…
Want a Large Caliber AR pistol?
A 9mm AR pistol has emerged as the favorite defensive tool if you’ve got other people at home, and an extreme concealed carry pistol. But you might want an AR pistol with a bit of added kick, and we can help you there too.
That’s when you get into the Daniel Defense and Patriot Ordnance Factory firearms that we love so much.
You’ll be surprised by what’s out there. Radical Firearms, Palmetto State Armory, DPMS, Springfield Armory, Smith & Wesson M&P, a Midnight Bronze Cerakote finish Rock River Arms and Ruger are all waiting to give you a cheap AR-15 pistol that works. They’ll also sell you gas blocks or accessories, upper parts, lower parts and more as well, to be fair.
Radical Firearms hasn’t quite done the same good work in the 9mm sector yet. One day. they could be the low budget champion here as well.
Polymer pistols and rifles like the ATI Omni Maxx have also started to make a major impression. That’s because they’re not just cheap. Plastic is also much lighter than machined aluminum.
What About Parts?
If you’re looking for a bolt hold open device, parts kits, gas blocks, gas tubes, PDW pistol brace, triggers, barrels, muzzle devices, parts kits, complete uppers, upper parts, lower parts, AR15 mags, drum magazines, we can help.
Accessories, parts kits for your Armor Black cerakote finished upper receivers, pistol braces, charging handle and all that jazz. Yeah that too. And shotgun ammo, 9mm ammo etc.
Primary Arms tend to be the best for the specialist parts, although Brownells has a great stock list. Palmetto State Armory has a solid list of spares and repair items too. If you’re looking for drum magazines, Gunmag Warehouse is a good place to start for magazines, drum magazines etc.
Guns.com tends to be the best for complete guns.
Now the 9mm is largely based on AR tech, but the gas tubes, charging handles, bolt carrier group and more are subtly different. And of course the Glock style mags.
Glock style magazines and buffer kits even, have turned into a spin off industry and high capacity Glock mags are a serious thing now. If you want to remove the last round bolt hold open, you can do that too.
45 ACP Ammo is Another Favorite Caliber
A lot of military units round the world go for the additional stopping power of a short barrel 45 ACP AR Pistol build.
The CMMG Banshee Mk4 MKG 45 ACP is turning into a scene star, and the B&T APC223, APC45 Pro and GHM45 are both awesome options for your home firearms.
The CMMG Banshee MK4 MKG 45 ACP is the most affordable of those choices, if you’re interested. But organise the price low to high with a good search on Guns.com and you might be surprised what you find.
Some Other Posts You Might Like
The traditional AR-15 pistol, 9mm left to one side, is the next logical step up, but we have a big soft spot for the 300 Blackout pistol, and cheap bolt action rifles. We can hook you up with 5.56x45mm NATO pistols, too.
Check out these posts and see which one fits your mood…
Gun Cleaning Stuff and More
Sometimes you just need screws, magazines, muzzle devices, gun cases, laser sights, lasers, lights, Bolt Carrier Groups and other stuff for your short barreled rifle SBR. Or AR pistols, bolt action rifles, shotguns, pump guns, buffer tubes, any of them really.
Optics, scopes, spotting scopes, rifle scopes too. Rifle parts, shotgun parts, handgun parts, buffer tubes. It’s all here with daily deals and sometimes free shipping.
What About a Black Powder Rifles, Pistols?
Black powder pistols really don’t belong in this conversation, but apparently, Google thinks they do. That’s literally the only reason this black powder pistol is here.
I mean I’m not even sure how these old world black powder pistols relate to cutting edge PCCs, and yet here we are…
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Great site, well done comprehensive reviews. As a first time buyer looking to purchase a 9mm primarily for as a PDW cost is certainly the primary factor but also reliability , accuracy, and ease of use in a home defense environment. Currently interested in Extars EP9 as it seems to fit the stated requirements. However as I’m sure you may be aware they have a limited production schedule making the limited purchasing ability to a first come served situation being placed on a waiting list . So if your not closely monitoring your emails your SOL.
Any recommendations on a a relatively inexpensive PDW similar to the EP9?
The best people for PDW style weapons throughout this crisis have been Euro Optic and Guns.com. Euro Optic somehow has kept going with stock and done a great job of featuring the AR-15s and PDWs you’re looking for on the front page. Check here for the latest deals.
Guns.com has a different model. It’s an Amzon style marketplace, so that means you can find guns from obscure and boutique dealers, but you may have to pay a hefty premium. Check here for some great guns you can buy with your card right now.
What about Grand Power Stribog?
I’m with John. What about the Stribog? Looks to be a sleeping beauty flying under the radar. The A1 mag issues seem to have been seriously addressed in the A3 (of which I am a proud owner). Love the 8″ barrel. Throw a brace and a red dot on her and rock and roll!
Did I miss the Extar EP-9? Totally fun to shoot, and accurate out to 50 yards. (Haven’t tried further.) Love this gun so much, I bought 2. It just works.