Smith & Wesson has been going strong since 1852 and it’s inevitable that it sells some of the best handguns, pistols and revolvers on the market today.
But what are the best S&W handguns?
Here are our top picks.
1. Smith & Wesson M&P9 Metal
- Price: $849.99
- Caliber: 9mm
- Action: Striker fire
- Barrel length: 4.25 inch
- Length: 7.2 inch
- Weight: 1.87lb
- Capacity: 17+1 rounds
The polymer framed striker fired Smith & Wesson M&P Metal 2.0 is the next generation service pistol at a great price.
Now the metal can be a launchpad for a competition pistol. Or it can simply be a stronger, sexier compact pistol. We can see a lot of Law Enforcement Officers going for this optics ready gun, especially if the discount is good enough.
It is an all metal handgun with a Tungsten Cerakote finish on the slide and frame.
Contrasting grip texture and palmswells that help tailor this compact pistol to your hand combine with a flared magwell to give it a race gun look when you’re shooting targets. You also get closer to the bore axis.
There’s a fiber optic front sight, loaded chamber indicator and lots of other performance features on this new gun.
Of course you can order the full sized Competitor version of the best Smith & Wesson M&P9 with the integral compensator in the slide and match grade barrel for recoil free target shooting with this single action target shooter.
The red dot ready compact 9mm is the one we would go for, as it is a concealed carry as well, at a push.
And the Smith & Wesson M&P Series 9mm always had stunning and brave slide serrations.
The full length scallops look like the work of a custom gunsmith and there’s an RMR plate up top so you can fit red dot sights to your striker fired piece of perfection. It is one of the best 9mm pistols of 2023, without a doubt.
2. Smith & Wesson Model 629
- Price: $1,126.99
- Caliber: 44 Magnum
- Barrel: 4
- Weight: 2.59lb
- Capacity: 6
The S&W 629 has turned into a whole model line now, and some of the modern day Performance Center model wheelguns will blow your mind. But the S&W Model 629 is the original, almost.
This is the same basic recipe that the Model 29 and its precursor, Smith & Wesson’s first 44 Magnum revolver, in 1956.
Production methods are much better these days and the 6 in the name indicates the switch to stainless steel. So this concealed carry revolver is much stronger now, but essentially this is the old school six shot revolver that we all know and love.
You can get a shorter barrel, or a longer barrel, but this is the meat and potatoes S&W 44 Magnum.
If you want something a little wilder, have a look at the Performance Center pistols for sale here:
3. S&W M&P Shield Plus Optics Ready
- Price: $399.99
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Barrel length: 3.1 inch
- Action: Striker fire
- Length: 6.1 inch
- Weight: 1.26lb
- Capacity: 10+1 rounds
The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus has evolved into one of the best sub-compact 9mm pistols for concealed carry, and you can still find gun deals for the single stack version if you want deep concealment for even less money.
Now this second gen handgun has a much better trigger, slide serrations and the fatter grip with the double stack mag transformed this M&P Shield 9mm carry pistol from an also ran into a real contender.
With a fatter grip, the subcompact Smith & Wesson M&P Shield can go head to head with the likes of the Sig Sauer P365 and Glock 43x 9mm pistols. In many people’s eyes, it’s the best gun and you can order one with an ambidextrous manual safety.
These Smith & Wesson 9mm pistols aren’t the most spectacular handguns here. But it is the best seller and great carry pistols, and the Plus with the Optics Ready slide has really taken an old favorite to another level too.
Performance Center Versions and a Single Stack
Again you can spend a little more and get the match grade PC version of the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. Or spend less and get a Basic M&P9 Shield. The standard polymer frame Shield has less ammo and the trigger pull is not as sweet, but you could save big money and you can get one with a manual thumb safety.
4. Smith and Wesson SW1911 Scandium
- Price: $1,438.99
- Caliber: 45 ACP
- Action: Single action
- Barrel length: 5 inch barrel
- Length: 7.95 inch
- Weight: 1.85lb
- Magazine capacity: 8+1 rounds
Lightweight material science has slashed the weight of a modern 45 ACP 1911 and turned the Scandium steel frame pistol into a potential everyday carry.
This is one of the best 1911 45 ACP pistols under $2000.
You can go for a slightly more expensive and undoubtedly high quality PC handgun, too, with a ported slide, a rail gun or other performance features for home defense or concealed carry gun use.
Of course you can order a Commander size 4 inch barrel, too.
All of them are handfitted by in-house engineers and are reliable, accurate and easy to shoot single action 1911s. You get the beavertail grip safety and manual thumb safety, fish scale slide work, and checkering that borders on sharp.
See the full line here:
5. Smith and Wesson Model 340 PD
- Price: $1,109.99
- Caliber: 357 Magnum
- Barrel: 1.875 inch
- Total: 6.3 inch
- Weight: 0.74lb
- Capacity: 5
The lightest 357 Magnum revolver in the world is a double action concealed carry revolver that slips into your waistband until you need to point and squirt.
Now this best selling revolver really can trace its lineage back to the J Frame 38 Special revolvers of the 1950s. They became the Model 40 Airlite and finally this 0.74lb concealed carry revolver with a Scandium alloy frame.
The enclosed hammer means this is strictly a double action trigger pull and a defensive pistol. It’s also a 357 Magnum revolver with a barrel less than 2 inches.
So recoil is a real thing here and some people think it’s just too intense with this concealed carry revolver. That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself.
You get red ramp sort of night sights, but you can order a Crimson Trace red grip with a laser that makes missing more complicated than not. For new shooters, we’d recommend the Crimson Trace red approach honestly. If the Marines aren’t too good to paint a target, neither are we…
6. Smith and Wesson M&P Full Size
- Price: $561.99
- Caliber: 9mm
- Barrel: 5 inches long
- Length: 8.3 inch
- Weight: 1.7lb
- Magazine Capacity: 17+1
The full size pistols Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 is an absolute workhorse for home defense.
It offers high magazine capacity, a simple grip texture that a lot of people would take any day over the famous Glock grip angle, nicer ergonomics with interchangeable backstraps and a proper manual thumb safety.
Law Enforcement and lots of military carry the best 9mm handguns as a duty gun in some form or another. The metal version is sexier, but the polymer pistol is still the volume seller in the Smith and Wesson M&P series.
This semi-automatic pistol is a great beginner handgun too, with an external manual safety and simple finishing touches that all help with hand placement. Merely firing a few shots with the polymer framed M&P line at the range has been enough to convert some former Glock lovers on the spot and that thumb safety is a big deal for some.
S&W M&P vs Glock
“It just fits better…”
You hear that a lot with these semi auto pistols.
A beveled slide, rear cocking serrations and a rail for a light or laser underneath make these fantastic 9mm pistols for defensive duties. Optics ready slide versions cost a little more, but might be worth it for the added accuracy and ease of use.
It all depends on if you carry this gun, or keep it stored for ‘special occasions’. An extended high capacity magazine, Tritium front sight, a threaded barrel, extended slide stop and other parts & accessories are easy to come by, of course.
The M&P9 2.0 Compact is a great handgun, too, obviously, and honestly more people will buy the 2.0 Compact than the full sized gun. And that’s fine too, we still like this version more.
Don’t Forget the M&P 380 Shield
The M&P 380 Shield semi-automatic pistol is a compact, low recoil concealed carry gun if you don’t want a Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol in your IWB holster for whatever reason – normally recoil. The M&P 380 Shield features on our list of the best 380 ACP pistols on sale, naturally.
7. SW22 Victory
- Price: $396.99
- Caliber: 22LR
- Action: Single Action
- Barrel: 5.5 inches
- Length: 6 inch
- Weight: 2.3lb
- Magazine capacity: 10+1
The Smith and Wesson SW22 Victory is a favorite with recreational target shooters. If you’re exclusive, shooting targets and nothing else, you can get seriously deep into this range shooting rabbit hole with these semi-automatic pistols.
The Smith and Wesson Performance Center SW22 with the carbon-fiber barrel is wild. But the standard brushed stainless steel 22LR pistol with the 5.5 inch threaded barrel is a high quality institution at gun ranges around the United States.
Low recoil plinking with a single action semi-automatic pistol with a super comfortable grip angle is a lot of fun and can be addictive.
8. Smith & Wesson CSX
- Price: $549.99
- Caliber: 9mm
- Barrel: 3.1 inches
- Length: 6 inch
- Weight: 1.2lb
- Capacity: 10+1
If you want a hammer fired S&W 9mm micro-compact pistol, well do we have something for you.
The Smith & Wesson CSX 9mm is arguably the best marriage of compact 1911 and micro-compact 9mm polymer framed striker fired pistols we have seen.
It isn’t perfect. There are pros & cons to these Smith & Wesson 9mm pistols. Like the flat faced trigger is a heavy trigger and other oddities aren’t to everybody’s liking. Of course that single action trigger can be modded.
We certainly don’t think it’s even close to a spiritual successor to the Chief’s Special revolver that gave it the name. It’s just different.
But this Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol is a quasi 1911 concealed carry gun that is just 6 inches long with a proper manual thumb safety, options for the palm swell and 3.1 inch barrel. That’s basically micro-compact. And it is different, cheaper than a full on Colt Defender or Kimber Ultra Carry, and lighter too.
9. S&W M&P Sport
- Price: $899.99
- Caliber: 5.56 NATO
- Barrel: 7.5 in barrel
- Length: 25 inch
- Weight: 5.5lb
- Capacity: 20+1
The optics ready Smith & Wesson AR pistol is a cost effective firearm that has been built to a price point.
Like the M&P15 Sport rifle, it does everything well and nothing spectacularly.
That’s the point of this entry level AR pistol under $1000.
10. S&W SW1911 Pro Series
- Price: $1,282.99
- Caliber: 45 ACP
- Barrel: 3 inch
- Length: 6.9 inch
- Weight: 1.6lb
- Capacity: 7+1
The SW1911 Pro Series comes as a 45 ACP or 9mm pistol and is a real, cut down Officer size 1911.
Of course the Smith and Wesson Pro Series is a Performance Center firearm and really it’s a carefully selected package of performance mods to the basic SW1911 frame.
You can order a full sized 1911 Pro Series too, but we do like this single stack 1911 for its purity of purpose and the design.
11. S&W 500
- Price: $1,975.99
- Caliber: S&W500
- Barrel: 4 inch
- Length: 10.25 inch
- Weight: 3.5lb
- Capacity: 5
This big old lump of stainless steel with a ported barrel is generally considered the most powerful production revolver in the world.
Of course the Magnum Research BFR 45-70 Government is an issue, but that’s when you get into the fine print of what makes a production revolver. The simple truth is this is more gun than most of us will ever need.
If you live in Alaska, these are legit bear defense guns and count as a winter coat concealed carry. Anywhere else, this is more or less a fun toy to play with at the range then spend the night nursing your wrists.
The optics ready long barrel revolvers are a different story and people us them for big game hunting and deer hunting all across the United States.
Check out the other hunting handguns on offer from S&W and more and get a revolver with a ported barrel and more.
Best Place to Buy a Gun
We did this pretty advanced post about the best gun stores and they’re pretty much the best places to buy Smith & Wesson 9mm and any other caliber, with a few caveats.
1. Palmetto State Armory
The folks at Palmetto State Armory just keep getting better. The home brand guns and the best AR-15 upgrades & accessory store sits side by side with one of the biggest gun stores on the internet.
Palmetto State Armory are not so big on revolvers, but you can get a massive amount of semi-automatic pistols, shotguns, rifles and more.
Ammo is a big deal at Palmetto State Armory too. You can buy bulk ammo deals for your S&W 9mm, or your Sig Sauer 45 ACP, scopes, optics, pistols, revolvers, safes, storage, that kind of thing. Maybe even a Springfield Armory bolt action rifle.
In short, Palmetto State Armory is pretty great, for all your firearms needs. Palmetto State Armory also offers handpicked daily gun deals and exclusive coupon codes. You can read more gun reviews online, too, as customers tend to comment.
2. Primary Arms
Primary Arms is another specialist supplier that offers more handpicked daily gun deals and exclusive coupon codes.
You’ll find some cheap AR-15 deals on Primary Arms, and parts & accessories scopes, optics etc. Important stuff…
If you need an extended slide stop, range gear, night sights or you want to shop carry holsters, we can help. Open carry holsters, concealed carry, ankle holsters, we can help with that too.