Which Handgun Manufacturer is Best?

Reader Discussion Time.

What is the best handgun for self-defense?

OK – before we start World War III with this discussion, let me set a few ground rules.

1. Be constructive – while simple responses of ‘Glock is best’ or ‘I like Smith &Wesson’ might be easy – tell us WHY you like a particular manufacturer and handgun.

2. Respect each other’s opinions – there’s no right or wrong answer here – different attributes of the different manufacturers and handguns will appeal to different people. Argue your case strongly if you like – but let others hold their own opinions also and keep it civil.

3. Give examples – tell us more about the handgun you’re talking about if you’d like. The more information and the more specific it is – the more we’ll all learn.

Feel free to have fun with this discussion – I’m sure it’ll cause some debate. My hope is that through it that those on hunt for a new handgun will learn a thing or two and go into their purchase more informed.

So which handgun and manufacturer do you like best?


  1. therotor says:

    Absolutely true Patton. Just back from a Boy Scout camp teaching survival in hte Desolation Wilderness (near the Rubicon trail for you Jeep buffs). Making a fire without a light _looks_ easy in the book until your try it. Pretty quick you learn that its ALL about the tinder.

    Also, also Patton noted, in talking with other adult leaders at this camp, the level of likemindedness and prepping is MUCH higher than what I see in the GP (general population).

  2. OLD SCHOOL says:

    Well I have had shot a lot of pistols. But my choice is Colt 1911, Combat Commander .45 ACP.

    I have added custom trigger, extended mag release, amb. safety, titrium sights.

    The weapon holds well in my hand and points quickly for me. I only shoot 230 grains and they are very accurate. The weight is good for me with a loaded mag and it has shot well since I purchased it.

    I think the fit in your hand is important for quick shooting.

    Other may choose another hand gun, but for me, the Colt is the best.


  3. The question may be a tad broad. Best for what? Is cost no object? What time frame – today, in the past 10 years, ever?
    So, for example, I have a pre-lock S&W model 686-4 with an incredible trigger. It is a joy to shoot. S&W doesn’t make as good a revolver today. However, I have a blue 6″ Ruger GP100 short shroud that is scary accurate that I’d want to use if distance was an issue because of the longer sight radius. It is also very durable. Then, again, I’d prefer to hunt with a Freedom Arms single action in a larger caliber. But not wanting to spend that kind of money on a revolver I’d likely stick with a Ruger Blackhawk. Of course if it was a purely social occasion I’d likely opt for a semi-automatic by CZ or Springfield unless my budget limited me to Ruger. (I’m beginning to feel like Vizzini in The Princess Bride so I’ll stop)

  4. Prepping is damned expensive. Most of it is not all that much fun to boot. On the other hand, guns are fun!

    It is way too easy to justify buying our dream weapons. One of my criteria is parts interchangeability for spare parts, mags and ammo. So we decided we needed 2 new pistols that we (the wife and I) both liked to shoot.

    All this means price is a big issue, along with reliability, hardiness, and working well if it gets a little dirty during the course of the day. Concealment on our person(s) is also a huge deal to us.

    We settled on the Kel Tec P11. Under $250 each brand new. A bit of Dremal work (feed ramps and so forth) and they were good to go. We have fired just under 1200 rounds through each so far, and after the first 50 rounds and the Dremal, we have no problems at all. Spare mags from a S&W 59 work well, hold 15 rounds, and we each carry two of those with the factory 10 round mag in the pistol. Oh yeah, these suckers are very light!

  5. I like my Springfield XD .45 ACP Compact because it has the same grip angle as a 1911 and has 10 round mags and 13 round mags. Whenever i can effectively double the high speed metal downrange, I like it. I have 1100+ rounds without FTF or FTE so the reliability is there.

    • Surgassist says:

      I love my XD! No mods yet and has been great to shoot. 13 rds might make it heavy for some people but for my hands that double stack mag works wonders!

  6. Well, I chose a Sig P226 (9mm) because of the sights and the feel (handling).

    But I also bought the .22 kit for economical practice/shooting.

    All around it suits my basic handgun needs.

  7. Glock is best.

    Exceptional reliability (any contrary argument would be around the .40 chambering.. I have minimal experience with .40 glocks, but, that experience is also flawless) I have personally witnessed the high end of several hundred thousand rounds collectively through about 6 firearms with only minimal issues. Trigger spring, slide lock spring are about it. Most of the 6 saw little, if any, routine maintenance (including even minimal lubing — shudder)

    Parts readily available. Stock, out-of-the-box, is ready to go; no work needed for improved reliability. The most common work is cleaning up the trigger feel — nice but not required.

    Simple design allows for most anybody to be able to do any part replacement repair with only minimal tools. This is a big deal for a “SHTF” gun.

    Good accuracy, fair comfort/ergonomics.

    For a SHTF gun, a .22 would be nice. Glock doesnt make one. Such is life.

    • jk,

      I’ve often wondered why Glock doesn’t make a .22 I’m sure it would prove very popular.

      • J Stuart says:

        I once read that Glock stayed away from the small guns because the weapons had to be imported and must be classified as sporting handguns, thus the original sights not well suited for combat. Apparently there are some weight and size requirements that must be met along with adjustable sights. Glock didn’t want to bastardize their design to get there since the polymer design made the weapons too light in small sizes.

        At least that is what I remember reading in a book on Glocks.

  8. The “best” is a tough call. There’s the best money can buy, and the best *I* can buy … and feed, maintain, get spare parts for etc.

    Personally, I’d say kel tec. I like their designs, their prices, and they have amazing customer service (or so I’ve heard), replacing entire guns no questions asked in case of trouble.

  9. Best for all around carry and conceal? S&W snub nose .38 revolver with shrouded hammer, airweight. Yeah, it only holds 5 rounds, but it’s small, few moving parts and very light. For conceal and carry purposes, you don’t need to pack a 1911 as though you’re entering a Vietnamese underground hideout.

  10. Preppin says:

    I carry an M&P 9 compact because it feels comfortable in my hand, and because 9mm ammo is relatively cheap to shoot. Not sure there is a best gun, but there is definitely a best gun for each person. To find this, the person should ask themselves what feels comfortable in their hand, what recoil is manageable, and are parts readily available for the weapon. I also think you need to take reliability data into account, and shoot a couple of thousand rounds in YOUR gun to make sure it functions flawlessly. The 9mm vs .45 debate is silly. Find the gun that works best for you, and learn to fight with it!

    – Prepster

  11. I like the GLock 23 simply because it shoots real well for me.

    I also have Ruger GP 100 that shoots very well to.

    I think you should shoot what you like and like what you shoot.

  12. F. M. Jacket says:

    I agree each of the weapons posted so far are fine equipment. I am partial to my Kimber Pro Carry SS.

  13. Hi-point is a “made in the USA” manufacturer, their guns are not pretty but they function well, I have a .40 SW and it is as reliable and accurate as any handgun I have ever fired. It cost less than $150.00 and comes with a forever 100% guarantee. If anything ever breaks they fix it, update it or replace it NO CHARGE!

  14. I tend toward Glocks. There are a lot of reasons that I like them for carry and training, but there are also some long term survival reasons that I like them.

    1 – Parts are inexpensive, common, and modular. Most OEM parts in a Glocks cost less than $30. They are available in gun shops all over the country and online. There is no reason not to stock up. Perhaps, most important is their modularity. The majority of Glock parts are identical across all models and none of them require hand fitting. This makes it easy to stock up on parts for several different models.

    2 – Glocks are incredibly simple. There are very few parts and all that is required to completely disassemble a Glock is a 3/32″ punch. They are ridiculously easy to work on. Being able to do your maintenance is a huge plus when goods and services are not readily available.

    3 – They are reliable, durable, and accurate. The 9mm models are the most reliable. The .40SW models have had some very public issues but these issues can be mitigated. The .45ACP models run very well. Their durability is well documented. While they are certainly not match accurate, they are still very accurate.

    4 – They are relatively inexpensive. It is not unusual to find used Glocks in the $375-$450 range. Cost of ownership is very low thanks to many of the factors listed above. Magazines can still be found for less than $20. Buy a Glock, add metal sights (preferably night sights), and go.

    5 – They are available in the most common calibers for auto loaders (9mm, .40S&W, and .45ACP) and the controls are identical across all calibers. You can buy one or two of each caliber. That way you are prepared to shoot whatever ammo you can scrounge and your training is applicable across all calibers. You can also purchase a .22LR caliber conversion for inexpensive training and small game hunting.

  15. Glocks and Keltecs are nice, keltecs are light, usually reliable. Glock is good because it functions right out of the box, and only costs about 650+- or so and any other money can best be spent on other more important items like a m1a, fal, hk91. Read Boston’s Gun Bible, he breaks it down very well.

  16. Paranoid says:

    I’m with SHTFblog – .38 S&W snub nose hammerless. I added Crimson Trace laser grips. Bought it at the “friends of NRA” banquet so it is a commerative but I paid less than at a gun shop for a standard one (ignorant people think you need a hand cannon – they must be bad shots!). As a carry gun, it can’t be beat. Light, mechanically simple and with hollow points – deadly. Laser sights extends it effective range beyond 10-15 yards out to 20-30 yards. My wife liked it so much, we bought her the .357 version – don’t mess with Mom.

  17. Ruger they are reasonably priced,accurate,reliable.I have Never had any Ruger product let me down.


    • Chinasyndrome – Do you (or anyone else) have any feedack on the Ruger SP 9mm compact? Have you handled it or practiced with it? Just curious what you think.

  18. OhioPrepper says:

    I’ve been an NRA instructor for a little more than 20 years, and teach the Ohio concealed handgun course among others. Having handled nearly every firearm out there at some point, I can truely say that there are no best handgun manufacturers (although there are some not so good ones, e.g., Raven .25 ACP). When choosing a handgun for concealed carry and self defense you need to keep a few things in mind. The first of these is fit. The gun must fit your hand in such a way as to be comfortable and controllable when fired and it must be light enough to be carried for long durations without fatigue. The expertise you’ll have with the gun, which reflects mainly on how often you’ll be seriously practicing with it also, plays a part. By practicing I don’t simply mean shooting it at the range, but actually handling the gun in a real scenario. Drawing the gun, clearing, reloading, etc. are all key items. If you don’t have the time, place or inclination to practice, I recommend a revolver. It has fewer moving parts and generally has less to go wrong. When it goes click (assuming it isn’t empty) you simply pull the trigger again. The downside is the capacity, typically 5 or 6 rounds, but can be reloaded quickly from a speed loader with practice. An autoloader OTOH has a lot of things going for it including capacity, but requires constant practice to recover from jams, etc. The size of the gun and the person carrying it also needs to be taken into account. Some of my larger friends can carry a full sized 1911. I unfortunately cannot. Then there’s cost. The gun costs something either new or used, and the care and feeding also costs. You need to balance all of these things. Finally there’s the religious battle on caliber. A gun that fits you in a caliber you can consistently and accurately handle is the right gun. Two 9mm placed center mass beats 6 .45 ACP lobbed over the head, every time.

  19. AZ rookie prepper says:

    I like the Berreta 92 in 9mm. I know it has its detractors and certainly isnt the cheapest firearm made, but I shoot it well, I like it, doesnt give me problems, and I hit what I aim at. I want to get a good quality 1911, but that is for another day when the budget allows.

  20. cowboyinidaho says:

    Which “MANUFACTURER” is the best? Hard to say….most of the products I see out there are pretty poor quality.

    Revolver wise, Freedom Arms builds about the best quality I have seen. Semi’s would probably be either Colt or Kimber or Springfield and THAT depends on the individual gun.

    I just remind folks that the QUESTION was “MANUFACTURER” not “which one do you LIKE?”

    Glock? I TESTED the things when they first came into the US…good reliable handgun. If you had to pull one out of the case and go to war….Glock.

    What do I like….S&W 25-5, pin barrel, 45LC, 4in.


  21. axelsteve says:

    I like smith and wesson relvolvers, and the 1911 patterned guns.Ruger makes a Good gun however cowboy guns do not fit my hand well.I have not warmed up to the polyguns yet.Maybe someday but I have never cared for the metric system iether. I like 357mags and 45.I would like to try a 44 mag sometime. Steve

  22. The handgun Mfg. is not as important as what works best for you. I have three handguns at present. A Colt .45 MK IV Series 70, purchased in 1970 when I returned from RVN. I have fired thousands of rounds from it with only a few problems, due to Ammo or operator error. It lives in my headboard loaded with Hollow point silver tips. I have a Coonan .357 Mag Pistol as backup. They are back in business again after the guy who bought them tanked. This pistol has become more reliable as I shoot it more. I probably have put around a thousand rounds through it. It is really tight and now can nail the bulls eye for all shots. My last is a Ruger MK II .22 with a scope. That is my wife’s gun when she will shoot it.

    You need to consider Shotgun and long arms also. I bought an AR 15 years ago. I also Have an old High Standard 12 GA Riot gun, a .410 side by side Squirrel gun and a Rossi .357 Lever gun that shoots the same Ammo as my Coonan, and also .38 Spl and ++. That is my approach for home defense. I am not fond of plastic guns. Stocks…OK. Frames etc, not.

    BTW I have owned several revolvers over the years. I hated the recoil of the .357 Mag

  23. I won’t pass judgement on guns I don’t own, and am secure enough not need to belittle others simply to make myself feel better. Of the ones I own and carry, the toughest allways go bang is my Ruger Old Army, with a .45acp conversion cylinder, the one I allways carry, at least when I am wearing either belt or pockets is my NAA .22 WMR with laserlyte. this thing mostly rides in my watch pocket, allways. The main drawback, lousy sight picture, fixed by the laser. Between my 9’s the Zastava [TT-33] is toughest, 9 round mags and single action limit carry options. Single stack thin design make it great for small hands though. My S&W model 59 double action, double stack is a great carry gun, if I don’t mind printing as it is somewhat thick and in the heat hard to hide. [not a lot of coats, jackets, etc. here] My prefered gun is my stainless Rossi 971 in .357 mag It’s from the interarms era of Rossi’s so it lacks the troubles of later models. SA/DA revolvers are simply the simplest to operate, clear misfires, etc. if it don’t go boom pull the trigger again. For pure intimidation it’s hard to beat a 20 gauge double barreled Howdah [BP tiger pistol] Which is best, when and for what? Each one has it’s place or purpose. Anyone that disagrees with me [aside from being wrong] is welcome to send me their favorite gat and I will throughly test it for a decade and get back to you. ;0)

  24. Here is my take to my own question – the Glock model 19. It’s light weight, conceals easily (about the same as a .38 snub), holds 15 in the magazine + one in the chamber, grip is large enough to get a full hold. 9mm is one of the cheapest centerfire rounds available. The Glock 19 also makes a good backwoods carry gun in a hip holster (my choice for open hip carry is the Springfield xd9). The Glock 19 is a great all around handgun.

  25. Everyone has their favorites, just like they have their favorite vehicle ( Ford ,Chevy and on ) This is long, but I need to tell you,

    Having been a competition shooter and a police tactical firearms instructor for a major police department for 28 years and on patrol for 10 years, I’ve shot almost every handgun there is. Started out in the day with a S&W mod. 19 … almost the best gun, doesn’t jam and more accurate than most, very controllable, I would take a 50 yard shot with it. But only 6 shots, multiple assailants forced most departments away from the 6 shooter.

    Early on luck ran out and I got in my first shootout with the 19 … ran out of bullets fast .. now think about trying loading a revolver from belt loops while someone is shooting at you, had 12 in loops .. loaded 4 .. dropped 5 .. got back in the fight … the next day after that I bought a Browning High Power ( that’s all there was back then) . 13 shots .. and I began to learn to shoot. ( the Browning was a horrible gun ) and soon went to the Colt 45 because it had magazines and I could carry several .. I practiced a lot, had a good gunsmith work it over, shot real good, then what the old shooters told me, happened, it jammed … out of a thousand round, maybe 2 jams. Turns out that all conditions have to be perfect to reliably run the Colt 45, can’t break your wrist, it recoil operated, has to be clean or the action will run slow … Jam .. on and on ..I love the gun, but if I have to fight two men while rolling around on the floor ..I have to know it will work.

    Next up the Berreta 92, great gun, shot it thousands and thousands of rounds ..2 jams.. couldn’t be anything but bad ammunition … started shooting this gun just after I quit shooting competition and got glasses .. ( To make a point, I hold two National Shooting Records and I’m an NRA Distinguished Medal holder) …. Ok, now I’m older, but I still keep my skill up.. I notice that I no longer am able to shoot a 4 or 5 inch group at 25 yards and I barely can keep my shots in the 8 ring ( 12 inch group ) at 50 yards … I shoot like this for several years thinking that’s all I got ….

    One day a young officer asked me to sight in his new gun .. in most cases it’s never the gun, it’s the shooter… Crap, I used to be able to show off a little, now I’m worried that I’ll embarrass myself .. the first 5 shots were in the 10 and X ring at 25 yards .. Ok, even a blind pig can find an acorn every once in a while .. should I quit now and look good .. No, the shooter in me got the best of me .. 5 more, another 5 .. 10 more rounds 20 to 30 rounds later I’m out in the 9 ring only twice, borrowed another officers gun and shot as well .. the next day I bought a Glock.

    I figure I shot that gun around100 thousand rounds over 10 years ( Ya gotta love free ammo), once I just wanted to see how long that gun would go with out cleaning .. 6000 rounds .. then cleaned it. Accidentally backed over it with my truck at the range no harm .. will feed and shoot any kind of ammo.

    Here’s what I have learned, and if it helps you, even better. To survive in a combat situation you have to train, be mentally prepared, and above all else, you have to have the right equipment… the revolver is good for a secondary weapon, but not enough rounds. A weapon with high capacity that is junk is worthless. A big caliber weapon all tricked out is waiting to fail. And every one of these guns have a safety or a safety-decocker … No mater how well you train or how mentally prepared you are, when bad men come at you or your in real combat for your life. You don’t need to think about, is my gun going to function, is it accurate enough, will it jam. I’ve seen veteran officers that have been around guns for years get nervous and forget to take the safety off at the qualification range. What would they do in the real thing .. what would you do. So, this is why I went to the Glock, it’s been around for a long time, it’s not that “new gun on the market” ironing out a few problems. It will shoot and keep on shooting, I know, It’s easy to take COMPLETELY apart, not like some guns, and for me, the most important thing … It’s the no brainer gun, something happens NOW, you don’t have time to think about taking the safety off or making sure you depressed the grip safety enough … put your finger on the trigger .. fire .. take you finger off the trigger when it’s over .. and you know that it’s going to work ..

    thanks for reading my thoughts….

    • Very, very well said.

      Overall, Glock is the best choice for combat readiness / carry-ability for the COMMON man.

    • Surgassist says:

      Great piece CL, Thank you.

    • J Stuart says:

      This is an excellent post and pretty much says all things needed to explain why the Glock is a top choice.

      Revolvers are nice as a last ditch belly gun but there is nothing like having firepower starting at 15 or more rounds with fast reloads.

      The Glock is truly the AK of handguns.

  26. axelsteve says:

    I agree completly with you cl. Nothing beats training and mental prepardnes.My friend inhierted his dads 2 browning hi powers and the cool thing with those guns were they were consecetive serial numbers.I love the kimber pistols. My stepdad was an m.p. and liked the 1911 except for the gi sights. I enjoyed this thread Steve

  27. Mechanic in Illinois says:

    First,I’m not kissing up to M.D. My choice is Glock. The pistol I use is the Glock 19. It will handle the 9mm+p+ loads and is an easy carry. Also what doesn’t hurt is it is the choice of the Israeli Massad.

  28. Patriot Farmer says:

    I own several 1911’s, revolvers, and polymer handguns and I like, carry and practice with all of them. Springfields, Smith& Wessons, Rugers, I like all of them. But if I had to choose one, my preference for an all round handgun is the Springfield XDm9. The gun fits my hand perfectly, is smooth operating, accurate and extremely reliable. The 9mm round has moderate recoil allowing for quick follow up shots and as MD has stated 9mm ammo is fairly cheap and plentiful. About two years ago I read an article in “Guns & Ammo” magazine and they called the 19+1 Springfield XDm the “perfect zombie gun”. I knew at that moment I needed to own this gun. You never know when zombies will attack.

  29. 3 good choices for autos:

    Older Model SIG P-series. Heavy duty, reliable, and accurate. P220, P229

    HK USP. Not as heavy duty, but still reliable and accurate. USP40

    Glock. Cheap, reliable, accurate, interchangeable and nearly indestructible.

    Revolvers are good too, but I have less experience on that side. So far S&W and Ruger seem to be doing well by me.

  30. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    I like old Rugers and pre-lock S&Ws in centerfire revolvers. Glocks in autos. Kel-Tecs in hideouts.

  31. I go for milsurp when I can.

    Pistol of choice: Makarov. Underpowered but accurate, reliable and simple. Improved sights recommended.

    Rifles: SKS, Ishapore 2A, Marlin Glenfield Mod 60

    Shotgun: Mossberg Mod 195 (bolt action 2 3/4″ w/ polychoke)

    I like what I’ve got.

    CZ 75 was the best pistol I ever had, but sold it years ago.

    • J Stuart says:

      I liked the Makarov but lost faith when I had a stovepipe and while attempting to clear it and manipulate the safety learned about a serious design flaw. The safety fell off and the firing pin spring left the gun at high speed, rendering it useless, and permanently disabling the weapon until repaired. Bad vibes with that so I sold my collection of them and only keep one for play and practice. Recoil on this weapon is high considering the weaker round than a 9mm. Check out the Glock recoil vs the Mak and you’ll reconsider.

      Also, a fall on the front of the barrel when loaded can cause a discharge due to firing pin momentum according to what I’ve read.

      If you have an East German one you can fetch about $350 for it used and buy a used Glock to replace it. The Glock is comparably a much better weapon. Check the weight of the Mak 26 oz empty w/ 8 round capacity against the Glock 21 oz empty or 30 oz loaded to 15 rounds and you’ll also see the advantage of the polymer frame.

      • J Stuart says:

        I was describing the Glock 19 specifications on the previous post.

      • Makarovs don’t have a firing pin spring. Also, the mass of the firing pin is so small that even the People’s Republic of California couldn’t ban them. Repeated test drops from heights up to four feet failed to fire a cartridge. Due to the location of the center of mass, barrel end hits are almost impossible.
        To each their own. I like the simplicity, the lower perceived recoil (my opinion,) the narrower grip, the outstanding accuracy, and the durability. Nothing against Glocks, mind you, but if you’ve got to choose between a shot-out beater Glock or an unissued Bulgarian Mak…I mean I’m on a budget here.
        The Mak round’s definately weaker, but I don’t want a blockbuster for home defense. If I can’t take someone out with eight rounds of Pow’R’Ball or XTP then I’m toast anyway.

  32. Perfect timing on this post. I’m currently in the market for another handgun. Thanks for all the comments; they have been very helpful. (Looks like the Glock 19 is in the lead)

    • J Stuart says:

      The Glock 19 is by most measures an ideal concealed carry weapon. Complaints about stopping power ignore currently available combat ammunition.

  33. templar knight says:

    Great post, MD. I really don’t know where to start, as I have acquired numerous handguns over the years, and have pretty much liked them all.

    My personal favorite is a Kimber CDP-II in .45ACP. It is small, concealable, and packs a punch, although 7 shots might not suit some, it has always seemed enough for me when it comes to concealed carry. I just love this little pistol. I also have 2 Colt 1911’s, one a Combat Commander and the other a Government Model. I wouldn’t feel underarmed with either.

    I have 2 new pistols that I also like a lot, one of them a Glock-36 and the other a Taurus .357 magnum. The Glock is great, I can’t speak highly enough of it, and the Taurus is a 7-shot revolver. I like that extra shot.

    I also want a Glock in a 9mm, and am studying which one I want. MD and many others like the Model 19, so that’s where I’ll start. Are there other 9mm’s that people here like?

    • J Stuart says:

      Depends on your hand size. The 19 is ideal for small to medium hands while the 17 is great for big hands. I like the 19 for concealment. The trigger pull is great for revolver fans. It is stone cold reliable with cleaning optional-almost. It is all but corrosion proof.

  34. I like the little KahrPM40 that my wonderful husband got me for Christmas. It is small and easy to conceal carry no matter what I am wearing. It seems natural for me to aim. It is accurate, dependable and fits easily into my hand (I have rather small hands) and it is easy to shoot. I really liked my High Point 9mm but it wasn’t as comfortable and I wanted something a little more than a 9mm for protection. I alsolutely love this little pistol.
    The only bad thing that I have to say about it is that the extra magazines are pretty spendy.

  35. I urinate on all handguns but the 45 acp and the American 38 special and above. It is a PROVEN manstopper and not like the sissy nine which requires you pump round after round into a man and then hope you can get away before he fires his 45. I have no idea why everyone including the US Army would chose a european gun over an American handgun especially in a woman’s caliber. Give a 45 or let me go home to America.

  36. Google 9mm stopping power for a comparsion.

    • My argument is that there is no substitute for shot placement. case in point, more people are killed world wide with a .22lr than any other caliber in existence (largely due to how prolific it is, but non the less, shot placement is everything). A .45 wont knock you down (or “stop”) you any faster than a 9mm, thats hollywood buddy. A 9mm hole in the head or the heart is just as effective as a .45 hole.

      Now if we are talking about ballistic performance through solid materials, such as auto glass, then I will listen to your argument that the .45 is a superior round for such situations.

  37. There are a ton of people that love glocks, but I’m not a big fan. Broke my wrist a few years back and any limp wristing at all with glocks usually leads to a stovepipe. I put about 200 rounds through my buddy’s (which is his duty gun for his police department) and i stovepiped about 10 times and had 2 doublefeeds. I ended up getting a S&W M&P 9mm in the Spring and haven’t regretted it. It has 3 different sizes of grips that come with it, and since i’m pretty big i put the large backstraps on and it works like a charm. I’ve put about a 800 rounds through it so far and haven’t had a single stovepipe, double feed, etc. Actually, I haven’t had any problems whatsoever. I know that 800 rounds and 4 months is still pretty young in terms of a gun’s life, but so far I am pretty happy. Just buy what fits your hand good and has a decent reputation. Any gun that fits your hand “like a glove” and is chambered in something that you can handle (recoil wise) is probably going to yield better results than something that doesn’t feel right in your hand and is way overpowered (.357 mag for some people) or underpowered (.22)

  38. First choice: H&K Usp. I have 20 thousand plus rounds through it and no problems jams or other malfunctions. It is also highly accurate. It is a bit pricey which will deter some, however, it is worth every penny. Mine is an HK USP 45acp with trijicon night sights.

    I did however recently buy a glock 17 but the jury is still out on it. it is the new fourth generation. With the gen 4 glock fixed a few features, susch as a larger mag release, improved grip, interchangable back straps, and Mine came with trijicon sight which I prefer to the glock sights which i loath with a fiery passion that burns deep within my soul. Glock also included a recoil reduction system in the 4 gen models (not that the nine milli needs less recoil), I also like that it carries 18 total rounds (17+1) and you can purchase the 33 rounders, instead of the 13 in my hk. So far, the glock is definately my number two, but at this point it hasnt proven itself to me pesonally over my trusty and accurate usp.

  39. For a SHTF gun, I have to give the nod to the Glock (9mm or .45, the .40s not so much, I’m not convinced that they are totally fixed yet). From what I’ve seen, a Glock will take some serious abuse and still keep on ticking. I am told by some people I trust (who would know these things) that with some care and a hand full of cheap parts (and a very little mechanical ability) almost anyone can keep a Glock running practically forever. That being said… I HATE THEM! Well… hate is probably too strong a word for it. Really, I just think they are as ugly as a firearm can get, blocky, plastic… well you understand.

    Eventually, I will have to buy a Glock. For now, I like my Walther P99, even though it is also (yuck) plastic, but I know that in a TEOTWAWKI situation, once it breaks, it’s gone. Parts just aren’t anywhere near as common for it and even if parts could be found, it’s complicated enough that I’m not sure that I would be able to fix it reliably. I have found a few books covering the Glock along with it’s innerds, whereas I have found none for my Walther P99. I don’t see the Walther as a survival pistol.

    As a second choice, a decent 1911 would probably be just as good, provided you did your homework and learned how to maintain/repair them. Parts are commonly available, and good instruction books are likewise available. While, IMHO, they aren’t quite as durable as a Glock (think survival situation with possibly less time for maintenence/cleaning while on the run) if you have one that is reliable, it tends to stay that way.
    I like the Kimber and the Springfield Armory pistols, although I don’t have the dough to own them. One thing to be said for a Glock… They are CHEAP! (in the good way).


  40. Michaelangelo says:

    I find that all the comment posted are true. All of these choices are good if the gun fits your needs. Fit, Capacity, and price. For some like me, price is important. I chose a 1911 45acp and a high power 9mm clone made in Brazil. Most parts are interchaingable with the original. All of the choice are meant to do one thing. Stop something bad happening to you or those you love. PRACTICE-PRACTICE-PRACTICE

  41. I agree with Ohio prepper. Very practical correct info there. One thing I would like to add is safety. I have been a Sig 226 proponent for many years. The Navy SEALS use that pistol, so I am a believer. But recently, I started to look at the Glock type of system with the internal hammer. I trained heavily with the Sig 226 (external hammer) and found that after shooting over 5,000 rounds, I felt very competent with that system, until I was put under some real pressure and went to put the gun back in my holster with the hammer back. This is how people shoot themselves in the leg and foot. The reality is that the internal hammer system is, in my opinion, a safer system. CC

  42. FlatSix says:

    The best MANUFACTURER… I would pick Glock due to their reputation for reliability, simplicity, safety & product selection. Glocks are downright ugly, IMHO, but they can’t be beat for reliability, handling, cost, maintenance & accessory selection. I have a G-17 full-size and a G-26 compact. If for any reason the G-17 malfunctions, I can drop the mag & use it in my G-26 backup without a hitch.

    My personal FAVORITE is another story: S&W Model 60 Chief’s Special in .38spl, 1 7/8″ snubby. It’s small, beautiful, lightweight and always ready to shoot.

  43. Obviously there are many factors to consider when selecting a handgun but its my opinion that reliability trumps all other factors when it comes to making the final decision. If it doesn’t go BANG when your life is on the line, you’re just more food for the maggots.

    I don’t care to write a book on it but I’ve fired lots of brands and calibers, many with great features. Even though I love 1911s along with a few revolvers, I choose Glock products to save my ass because they will if I do my part.

  44. MOFreedom says:

    Best for hand-outs Hi-Point. If they didn’t need a hand-out, they would have brought their own! Having said that, they are quite good, but not-so-pretty. Some have tested 5,000 rounds before a failure WITHOUT cleaning! Try that in a Kimber.

    Best for personal use based on value and parts interchangeability: Rock Island – uses all Colt parts and costs half as much. (2 is 1 and 1 is none and all of that)

    Best revolver: S & W or Ruger, lots of good choices there. I like options. You never know what ammo will be available so diversity is our friend.


  45. domestic terrorist says:

    any gun that puts a gaping hole in whatever you are shooting is the best

  46. Mungo_The_Hairy says:

    The BEST weapons manufacturer is the one that makes a weapon that you are comfortable, confident and proficient with, Period. Any other comments are just dick waving for your personal favorite. In fact, that should have been the question to begin with, “What is your favorite Pistol Manufacturer.”

    • That, and “whatever one you will actually carry.” There are a lot of people in love with the 1911, but, it’s like carrying a brick – even with a good holster – and it’s not very concealable, I don’t care what anyone says – it’s not for MOST people.

      So, the gun you will actually CARRY every day everywhere. That’s the ONE.

      • Mungo_The_Hairy says:

        If you are lucky enough to live in a state that allows you to carry every day, and every where. Some of us are not so lucky.

  47. I tend to think a bit ahead …. what caliber of handgun ammo would be cheaper and more common after an economic collapse. My opinion is 9 mm.
    Next I look for capacity. S&W 9 mm Sigma fits the bill. 16 round mags: 2 with the purchase and a rebate offer for 2 more mags. 64 rounds carry capacity.
    Composite materials in the construction make it lighter. Some users state that the trigger pull seems heavy– my Tippman paintball markers have a heavier trigger pull! With a heavy trigger pull and the saftey built into the trigger, the effect is EXACTLY what you want for precision shooting: a slower more deliberate squeeze of the trigger up to the round firing. This is good fire discipline.

  48. J Stuart says:

    Agree, a hit with a 9 is better than a miss with a .45.

    • templar knight says:

      J Stuart, I really don’t understand what you mean when you say a hit with a 9 is better than a miss with a .45. I could turn it around and say a hit with a .45 is better than a miss with a 9, and that would be true as well. Either statement is correct.

      A hit is what you want, and I am as likely to hit someone or something with my .45 as I am with whatever 9 I decide to buy. There is no reason an average size person can’t shoot a .45 as well as a 9, as my wife is 5’3″ tall, weighs 135 pounds, and has no problem shooting our .45s very accurately. It just takes practice….and more practice.

      The only advantage I see a 9 having over the .45 is the number of rounds available in the magazine, and that has been somewhat alliviated by the full size Glocks in .45 and a couple of other makers of 1911 style pistols with double stack magazines. If that is a concern.

      I don’t want to get in a pissing match here, but just want to point out that practice is the key to hitting the target, no matter the calibre.

      • J Stuart says:


        I kept my comment short, but I was agreeing with someone that said that for many it is simply too difficult for your average shooter to handle a .45 as well as a 9mm and therefore making regular and consistent hits become a priority over stopping power.

        No doubt there are experts with a .45 that wouldn’t do any better with a 9mm. In my case I found the .45 too heavy for regular carry but without the extra size and weight the recoil became problematic for follow up shots, and not so with the 9mm. So I would say that for those of us not absolutely sure of making the 1st hit with a .45 there is comfort in knowing that follow up shots are fast and plentiful with a 9mm hi cap.

        Given a choice, I’d send the largest cross sectional density downrange that I could, but practical limitations stops me at 9mm. I’d consider .40 but don’t want to spend the money on the upgrade. The .45 weighs too heavily on my hip and my wallet to justify the increased stopping power.

  49. "Big Jim" says:

    I’ve got 8 handguns..would’nt have them if I did’nt like them all , but
    there is one that just seems like I was born with it. When I shoot it ,I
    don’t wonder if it’s on the mark…I know it is ! It’s just 2nd nature or
    an extention of my pointing finger….10 shots in a 3″ group in less than
    3 seconds time after time @ 25 yards .And yes it is my bedside sunday go to meeting best buddy….It’s a 1970 Colt Combat Commander in the
    just about forgotten caliber of 38 Super ! This one stays on my hip and
    in my vertical shoulder holster I carry a Glock 17 that shoots almost as
    good….but everyone has to try enough variety to find the right handgun
    for them ! Gear up and Gun up / or Give up !!!

  50. I purposely skipped over all of the other comments so I wouldn’t be influenced or distracted when making my picks.

    Best if so subjective. I like my Glock 19 for its reliability, simplicity, and firepower. But if I had to choose just one gun I own as “the best,” it would be my S&W Model 19 4″. That gun has the best trigger of any gun I’ve ever owned or fired, much better than my Colt Python, as nice as it is. I acquired on trade the S&W 19 from a gun shop. It was used, but in very good shape. It is extremely accurate, especially with my cast-bullet handloads. Earlier this week, I tried it out at 100 yards and it easily kept all of the rounds on a man-size target with my .38 Spl. handloads. While my Glock 19 is excellent at what it does–reliable self defense–my S&W 19 is the gun I reach for when I want pure shooting pleasure.

  51. Twister says:

    Glock for its reliability, simplicity and price.

  52. My favorite all around carry is a Bersa thunder 380, in a clip on thumbreak holster. It is light, accurate, and I can carry a round under the hammer for quick use if need be.
    For farm use, I am partial to a S&W model 19, 357mag. I occassionally come across snakes, coyotes, and wild dogs, and the 158 grain JFN fired by the ultra dependable model 19 is a neccessity.

  53. Glock for simplicity and ability to put it in someones hands and within minutes have them covering an area if needed. The lack of switches, levers, carry methods etc has made it the weapon I use to start new shooters. They may switch later based on hand size, cost etc. but the ability for me to train a large group and get rounds on target in a short time is what i feel makes it the best!

  54. charlie says:

    I can’t tell you what is best but I can tell you what I intend to buy.

    First I’m not a handgun person. While I have owned long guns since I was 10 years old (50 years now) I have just never had the desire or need for a handgun. I have shot a few over the years.

    However, with age and a bad knee I can no longer follow my dad’s advice that a good run is better than a bad stand and given the times we live in, it’s time for me to own a handgun.

    I’ve looked at a bunch of them from revolvers to 1911’s and plastic semi-autos. I never saw one that I really liked or had a desire to own for any reason other than to have a handgun until I looked at the Springfield XDm.
    When I saw them online I was attracted to it. It just looked like it would fit my hand (large and chunky) well and I liked all the features. The more I read about it the more I became convinced that Springfield had found and improved a weapon that takes “plastic” guns to a new level.

    Then finally I got a chance to hold one. The one I held was the 4.5 inch barrel version in .40 S&W. It was everything I hoped it would be. It fit beautifully into my hand with the standard backstrap although I suspect I will change that out for the larger one. The gun is well balanced and just seems like it fits me.
    I’m sure it will not do anything that a Glock wouldn’t but I like this gun and don’t particularly like the look and feel of a Glock. That’s not a put down of Glock. Just a preference and a rather uneducated one at that.

    I think I’m going to go with .40. It has more punch than 9mm and holds a few more rounds than the .45. Plus the ammo for the .40 is a bit cheaper and more easily available than .45.

    I’m not trying to sell anyone on this gun. I don’t know enough about it or handguns in general to do that. I’m just telling you what I like and I figure if I’m going to spend that kind of money it should be on something I’ like.

  55. My opinion, based on what’s in my gun safe and what I carry:

    Autoloaders: Glock – simple, durable, effective, reliable

    Revolvers: S&W – pre-lock N frames, J frames. I love the old Smith’s, but unfortunately the company has a spotty record of quality control, although they always fix their mistakes without problems.
    For the Glock equivalent in revolvers, I’d have to vote for Ruger. Simple, durable, effective, reliable. The SP101 is a workhorse.

  56. Quoted from a sig line from The Firing Line forum “Your gun is like your nose, it is just wrong for someone else to pick it for you!”

  57. I have several handguns including Glock, Colt and others and I like them all. I’m sure all manufacturers excel in one way or the other and they have all their own merits and limitations. In fact, I’m thankful that they do comprehensive R & D to ensure that they have the right elements in their product for safety, reliability, accuracy and ergonomics.
    It’s just that I feel very comfortable with my old S & W 910 (9mm) and Rossi M88 (.38 Special). I shot thousands and thousands including various loads and pressures with the S & W 910 and I have not experienced any malfunction. It is also very accurate and consistent. It remains stock. The only thing I have done with it is to refinish it with Duracoat since the original finish got worn off due to extensive use. I like that it is a double action and has a decocker. I like the combination of composite and steel as the weight is properly distributed and balanced. It is also easy to disassemble and assemble for regular maintenance.
    The Rossi M88 snub nose has a very nice stock trigger and just the right size in my hands. The only change I made is to replace the wood with rounded rubber grips. My wife also likes it a lot. I have also shot various pressures, weights and different loads including multiple slugs. Both the S & W 910 and Rossi M88 have the right feel and heft in the hands. Both of them can be good carry and house guns.
    I also like the .22 Taurus 94 for kit gun and plinking. I used it to teach my children and they love it.

  58. Not sure what the “best” would be, but I have a CZ75B that I like well enough, and the model in general has a rock solid rep (which is why I picked it).

  59. David M Pilcher says:

    Please help me out guys.I was stupid purchasing this firearm bicause it makes me nervouse. SW40VE no safety! I like that click what do you hard core guys think about this? I like to keep this thing in my side pocket.

  60. First off get a good holster even for pocket carry. One that holds on to the gun well, and covers the trigger completely. This type of pistol is called a Double Action Only [DAO] the trigger is long and heavy to prevent inadvertent discharge. Safety is a misnomer, no gadget can make a gun safe. Only safe gun handling can do that, 1, allways treat a gun like it is loaded, 2, allways keep the muzzle from pointing at something you don’t mean to shoot, 3, keep your finger off the trigger till you are ready to shoot, 4, be aware of your target what is near it, beyond it and behind it, 5, safeties aren’t safe see rule 1. The DAO has it’s upside, fewer things to remember, or go wrong when you need to defend yourself, the striker is internal and can’t be struck by accident. The downside is those with limited hand strength can find it hard to shoot well.

  61. David, if you can’t handle that SW40VE, I’ll take it. I love my S&W 9VE, it’s a glock copy, has been very reliable, never jammed on me and is as accurate as anything else I could shoot and I’m a fair shot! The 12 ga pump just has a pistol grip, does that count?

  62. Which handgun manufacturer is best ?
    Wow what a hard question to answer .Guns handguns or rifles are all first and foremost tools and selecting the proper tool for the job demanded is the first question that should be answered. You would not use a screwdriver to drive nails at the same time you would not carry a .50BMG bolt action rifle over a .32 derringer for personal defense.
    As with any tool you buy one based on the reputation for reliability, ease of operation and maintenance, and customer service after the sale should something go wrong with the product in question, And the ever deciding factor cost. all that combined with consumer preferences in ergonomics and aesthetics I don’t think its possible to decide on one manufacturer . I.E. a Baer 1911 Ultimate Master Combat Pistol, Compensated, in .45acp lists for $2790 where as a hi-point in .45 acp goes for $136 bucks both are reliable pistols and both will get the job done . but can I say id prefer the jail house shank over Excalibur? I think not. but both can equally get the job done .

    Now we can get into gritty details to define what would be the best and if i had to narrow it down to one sub category it would have to be standardization . What guns would fit the bill of hundreds of units being completely disassembled dumping all the parts in a box. Cleaned inspected and then reassembled with parts that were formally in other weapons ,and it function reliably for decades of combat use . That limits the list of manufacturers substantially.
    Only a handful of names come to mind . Colt/Springfield for their contribution for the 1911. Beretta for the model 92. and the only two polymer variants being Glock and Springfield XD /HS2000 . These designs have been tried and tested and come out on top in my opinion. and thousands of soldiers might agree .

  63. I personally own Glock, Colt, Beretta, Ruger, Smith & Wesson and H&R. I have not had any truoble with any of them. I like all of them.

  64. Which handgun mfr is best? The one that gives you the best, most reliable pistol for the least amount of money!

  65. Patrick Giaquinto says:

    Until a few short months ago, I knew nothing of hand guns! I purchased and now practice with a Glock 17, in my opinion, the best hand gun available!

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