Last Updated January 15th 2024
Affiliate Disclaimer: We earn a small part of the sale when you buy through our links. You won’t pay anything extra for products and services, and your purchase helps support the site
Winners at a Glance
The Glock 19 is still the benchmark compact 9mm pistol. But there are others to consider these days.
Sig Sauer P365 XL
Smith & Wesson M&P
Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro
Palmetto State Armory Dagger
This is it, the battle for the best compact 9mm pistol for sale in 2024. We’re not focused on tiny micro-compact handguns here, although you can stow them. These are slightly bigger and comfier.
9mm handguns are the volume sellers. They’re the big business for the likes of Glock, Sig, HK, Walther and more. It’s a battleground for a reason and it just got more intense.
Glock rested on its laurels, but those times are over. The new entry is sharper and slicker than ever, but this is a cut-throat market and the opposition has some seriously innovative alternatives.
So what are the leading lights?
1. Glock 19
- RRP: $539.99
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Capacity: 17+1
- Overall: 7.28
- Barrel Length: 4.02
- Width: 1.34
- Weight: 1.8lb
We used to pride ourselves on basically having no Glock as outright winners. The Gen 4 wasn’t good enough, but the Gen 5 Glock 19 really is a near perfect pistol.
The Glock 19 Gen 5 is light years better than the outgoing Gen4. It’s a great trigger pull, the grip texture works well and yet the G19 still conceals as well as it ever did. The ability to slip relatively unnoticed into a waistband was always a strength, as was the zero maintenance and insane reliability.
This is the new benchmark for the United States handgun industry. You know it, Law Enforcement knows it. And that’s why they are approved duty pistols for just about every law enforcement agency.
Others can claim the odd victory, It is just too hard to beat as a package. Especially the Glock 19 MOS that is ready for micro red dots and extended double stack magazines.
2. Sig Sauer P365XL
- RRP: $599.99
- Overall Length: 7.2
- Barrel: 3.7
- Weight: 1.3lb
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Capacity: 12+1
A Close Second
The new battle really is coming down to Sig vs Glock, but the simple Sig Sauer P320 Compact was looking a little long in the tooth. No problem, the Sig Sauer P365XL and X Macros are here to fight for honors and this is an awesome gun.
The grown up version of the groundbreaking Sig P365 Nitron fits bigger hands. It is less snappy and is generally a more complete pistol. It’s still easy to conceal as well,
Night sights and an optics ready stainless steel slide are all options.
The longer Sig P365XL is a real viable alternative to the modern 9mm Glock 19 polymer striker fired trigger action pistols as the best CCW. Read the pistol review sections online, especially if you’re new to shooting.
If you want to spend a little more then the Sig P365 XMACRO is a great option. But then the P365 XMACRO will cost you around &800. So be prepared for that.
People still love the Sig P320 compact by the way. It used to be the only mainstream Glock alternative, but now there’s a lot of competition for the Sig P320. And now Sig is even competing with itself.
3. Smith & Wesson M&P9
- RRP: $494.99
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Overall Length: 7.4
- Barrel Length: 4.25
- Weight: 1.48lb
- Rounds: 15+1 Rounds
Iconic Old Favorite
The second generation smaller Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm handgun is easily a match for more any more celebrated gun on this list.
Now the Smith and Wesson M&P9 Shield is one of the lighter semi-automatic pistols on the market.
The grip module is just stippled enough, without going for the blocks that can and will print. Basically, we like the full size 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P Series for home defense and the smaller S&W M&P Shield Plus for CCW.
The S&W was designed not to stand out.
Of course that can actually cost it in terms of PR value and visual impact in the photos, even though the S&W M&P Compact works for a carry gun and the gun reviews love it. And the full sized M&P & compact and the Co increasingly common service pistol & duty gun.
For a full review of S&W M&P Shield handgun and other pistols, go here.
4. Springfield Hellcat Pro
- RRP: $549.99
- Overall Length: 6.6 inch
- Barrel: 3.7 inch
- Weight: 1.3lb
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Magazine Capacity: 17+1 Rounds
The New Potential Glock Killer
This is the bigger version of the Springfield Hellcat for larger hands, and this polymer framed handgun might just be the perfect carry pistol.
It is like the Glock that has just got back from the custom shop, off the peg. The barrel is match grade, it is optics ready with heavy slide serrations and there’s an accessory rail too. Also, it’s pretty comfortable to shoot with reduced felt recoil and the grip angle is just, well, better.
The compact size 9mm is a great gun and could tempt you to holster that Glock permanently., especially with micro red dots up top
5. Heckler & Koch HK VP9
- RRP: $499.99
- Barrel: 4.09 inch
- Total Length: 7.34 inch
- Weight: 1.6lb
High End Compact Pistol That’s Worth The Extra
The HK VP9 doesn’t get much love on these pages and it’s down the list here once again. And yet it’s a fantastic semi-automatic pistol. So what gives?
It’s purely a pricing issue. I think the H&K VP9 is every bit as good as anything here. Better than most even. But it isn’t that much better, and the H&K VP9 is normally significantly more cash.
Sometime we find deals, though, so then the Heckler & Koch VP9 becomes a hidden bargain and arguably the best here. It all comes down to timing.
Look at the VPL with the longer slide and compensator, too, if you want the next gen John Wick special.
Lots of serious enthusiasts also love the HK USP Compact handgun, which is a rare find on the open market. But if you spot a HK USP Compact then by all means buy it, you won’t regret that purchase for a second.
6. Taurus GX4XL
- RRP: $369.99
- Barrel: 3.7
- Total: 6.43
- Weight: 1lb
The Taurus GX4XL has stormed past the PSA Dagger to take the honors in the budget compact 9mm handguns class.
It is about the same price, better and more fun to shoot. So the Taurus GX4XL has made quite an impression, then.
We still love the G2C, but this full size Taurus GX4XL is a great handgun.
7. Palmetto State Armory Dagger
- RRP: $349.99
- Barrel: 3.9
- Total: 7.15
- Weight: 1.4lb
Top Tier Cheap Handgun
Palmetto State Armory has made its name with budget rifles and AR pistols. Now, with the Palmetto State Armory Dagger, the company has gone after the polymer framed pistol market. And with pricing this aggressive, it’s almost certain to be a smash hit.
The Palmetto State armory Dagger does look like a budget DIY Glock to be honest, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Lots of people build their own Glocks to a price point.
Here, Palmetto State Armory has just done the work for you and you can order your perfect spec with night sights, a ported slide, new front sight and contrasting colors on your double stack magazine baseplates.
8. Walther PDP Compact
- RRP: $599.99
- Barrel: 3.5
- Total: 7 inch
- Weight: 1.38lb
- Capacity: 15+1
Top Target Shooter
The Walther PDP has put Walther right back in the conversation. It is a competition spec pistol, that sits in an IWB holster.
The Walther OEM trigger pull is the stuff of legend and the brand has a hardcore following because of the best triggers. Always remember, though, that is a vocal minority saying the Walther PDP is better than a Glock 19…
Walther’s devotion to match pistols pays off at long range, too. Because underneath the carry handgun exterior is a target shooting pistol and range star of a compact pistol just trying to get out.
9. Beretta APX A1
- RRP: $449.99
- Barrel: 4.25
- Weight: 1.8lb
- Capacity: 17+1 Rounds
The first Beretta APX just sucked. It was an ugly mess, but this A1 is a mid-life refresh that has totally transformed it into a gun you might genuinely consider.
Now the slide is leagues better and the frame is has better grips, an accessory rail, a flush fit magazine with 17 rounds, just about everything.
The Beretta PX4 Storm Compact is another great option if you find the right gun deals. But honestly the APX is taking over from the Beretta PX4 Storm full size compact now. If you want to go Italian, the new gun is the right choice.
The Beretta APX Centurion micro compact striker fired pistol is also an option if you want to a small gun.
SubCompact Pistol Taking Over
We basically had to shoo the subcompact handguns and the pistol offerings to one side, or they would take over everything.
The new breed of subcompact 9mm pistol has turned into gun store favorites and hit the sales of the traditional Glock 19 hard.
Get a full review here, but here are our top picks.
1. Glock 43x
- RRP: $448.99
This one could have sneaked in to the main event, but it would probably have won again. The Glock G43x is that good that we’re holding it back to give the G19 a chance.
With the 3.4″ barrel, this fills a sub-niche and bridges the gap between high capacity micro 9mm sub-compact and the longer barrel G19.
For home defense, look at the full size Glock 17 with a longer slide, or more Glock pistols for sale. And for deep concealment the single stack Glock 43 could be a winner.
You can get an extended magazine release and slide stop pretty easily, too, as well as an extended mag with 20, 30 or 100 rounds if you really want higher capacity than the standard capacity flush fit magazines. Even without this, the glock G43x is a beast.
2. Sig P365
- RRP: $499.99
The Sig became the best micro-compact handgun benchmark and still is arguably the best gun on the market.
Shorter than the Glock, this is about as compact as CCW gets without resorting to gimmicks. The x is an evolution with an extended beavertail to help stop slide bite, an optics ready stainless steel slide and flat faced trigger for these prolific and popular pistols.
Optics really do help at long range, with the high front sight as a co-witness, and are great for rapid target acquisition in low light with compact 9mm handguns. Muzzle flip is an issue with these, but you can upgrade the captive recoil spring, full length guide rod assembly and firing pin with these P365 accessories.
3. S&W Shield Plus
- RRP: $399.99+
The smaller S&W Shield Plus with a double stack magazine is a firm favorite for many of us as a CCW and there are plenty of reasons to choose one over a Glock or Sig.
It all comes down to personal preference, of course. But the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield can come with a thumb safety, plenty of you prefer the grip angle.
This is a complete CCW for less money than the big names if you find the right gun deals. That’s what we’re here for.
4. Taurus G2C
- Price: $225.99
The G2C rewrote the rules when it comes to cheap subcompact handguns with a high capacity. This one is actually good.
There is a proper manual safety and lots of other things to like. But the price tag is obviously the USP. If you’re on a budget, these are the best micro compact 9mm pistols here. Especially with the extended mag with the pinky extension for a firmer grip.
The Taurus GX4 is better with a great trigger, something you cannot say bout this gun. So I’d spend my own money on the Taurus GX4, for our mone they’re the best 9mm micro compacts in the line up.
5. Springfield Armory Hellcat
- RRP: $529.99
The polymer frame Springfield Hellcat micro compact 9mm handgun has emerged as a true contender in the best micro compact pistols class.
It is optic ready for micro red dot sights and is high price, high quality all the way. It could well be the best gun in its class and it’s easily one of the best 9mm pistols for concealed carry. At one time this was the highest capacity micro compact handgun, too.
We like the Hellcat RDP Rapid Defense Package with custom features like a compensator for a reduced recoil system and Hex Wasp micro red dot.
The standard firearm is fine, though. Especially when you have to be State Compliant and you’re limited to about 10 rounds inside that Adaptive Grip Texture with the flush mag. There is a 12 round mag as well, if you live in friendly states and don’t need to worry about flush fitting magazines and restrictive laws.
The small size makes it a solid choice for appendix carry and the molded beavertail helps control this snappy carry pistol for more accurate follow-up shots.
6. Ruger Max 9
- RRP: $299.99
The polymer frame Ruger Max is the new sub-compact from the best-selling company of value products.
Normally Ruger offers simplified pistols on a budget. But the modern striker-fired Ruger is a serious contender in the best micro compact 9mm handguns sector.
The fiber optic sights are top class, the slide comes ready for optics like a red dot sight, there’s a cold hammer forged barrel and this is a comfortable grip.
The Ruger isn’t picking fights with the off-brand stuff. It is set to take on the Sig P365 and Hellcat for a place in your IWB holster.
Is the super reliable Ruger Max 9 the premier concealed handgun in Ruger’s arsenal now? Yes it really is a great gun with a slightly longer sight radius.
We could have included the likes of the Ruger EC9s 9mm handguns. And the LCP Max, but then we’d have a never ending list and these are the best 9mm micro compacts they sell anyway…
7. Kimber Micro 9
- RRP: $655.99
The Kimber Micro 9 used to be an oddity, but its reputation for reliability is slowly improving. So this mini 1911 chambered in 9mm is an increasingly popular EDC.
If you want a hammer fired single action trigger mechanism and an aluminum frame metal handgun with more traditional controls, then you might want to try this single stack pistol that is surprisingly light, comfortable to carry and easy to shoot with a crisp single action trigger.
You get lots of design choices and these are great choices these days for daily carry. The best budget option with white dot sights goes right through to $1000 designer handguns with all the bells and whistles. There are pros and cons to these unique and arguably the best 9mm micro compacts…
8. Taurus G3C
- RRP: $245.99
The Taurus G3C is a shorter, smaller version of the G3 and it does look suspiciously like the G2C, there’s no getting round it.
But, trust us, the budget option Taurus G3C is slightly different. So different that the miniscule differences in frame size and profile mean they don’t even share holsters.
The compact handgun also gets a durable Tenifer finish on the slide and an adjustable rear sight. Big stuff, huh?
But they are popular pistols, so here we are.
What Else Can We Help You With?
Do you need bolt-action hunting rifles to go with your hammer fired pistol? Maybe a 9mm AR pistol might be more logical, but you know, you do you.
A bolt action rifle firing rounds of 9mm handgun ammo is even an option, with exceptional ballistic performance, but we would still recommend the modern Pistol Caliber Carbine.
Then get sights, lights, parts & accessories or a Crimson Trace with us too. Optics, scopes, iron sights, red dot sigts, we got em all for your full size 9mm and compact handguns.
We even have a list of the best air rifles and airsoft accessories somewhere, but not too many, and gun safes and things.