9mm Subcompact Pistol Roundup – Because You Asked for It

Gentlemen:
Have you reviewed the Sig Sauer P938 yet? I would like to own a small lightweight 9mm, however I’m having a challenge finding one with great reviews.

-Sam

Thanks for your question, Sam. We saw and handled the SIG/Sauer P938 last January at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas but we haven’t had a chance to shoot or review one yet. We’ve reviewed (or owned) almost every other SIG/Sauer model ever made, but a factory P938 hasn’t found its way to our FFL guys yet. However . . .

Single-action pistols aren’t always the best choice for concealed carry, because carry options are limited because you must use a holster to avoid accidental discharges (preferably one with a thumb-break) but choices are limited for proprietary subcompacts like the P938. Don’t panic, though: there’s a veritable Las Vegas-size Buffet of quality CCW 9mms out there to choose from.

Kahr

Kahr sells their CM9, PM9, and CW9 subcompacts at various price points from $500 to $800. The CM9 and PM9 are among the smallest commonly available 9mm pistols.

This Kahr CM9 is that maker’s ‘cheapest’ subcompact 9mm, with a street price of around $500. It’s extremely similar to the more-expensive PM9 but it has fewer frills. The barrel is conventional instead of ‘match-grade,’ the machining and markings aren’t as fine, and your targets will never be able to tell the difference because it shoots about the same. Our reviewer Destinee had an issue with the magazine build quality of her sample, and she found the recoil to be pretty snappy.

The$750 Kahr PM9 shown below is the pricier sibling to the plain-Jane CM9, and our man Eric reviewed it a few months ago.

Notice the fancier markings on the barrel and grip frame, and the slightly more rounded edges? They’ll cost you an extra $250 over the price of the CM9. Eric didn’t have any magazine issues with his test gun, and the gun  proved completely reliable with everything except Wolf steel-cased 9mm from Russia. Which is odd, since the PM9 shot Russian Tulammo steel-cased 9s just fine. Don’t worry, though; you’ll never use either brand for self-defense.

Beretta

Destinee really liked the $450 Beretta Nano, and was amazed by the tiny gun’s lack of muzzle flip:

I shot the Nano at this year’s SHOT Show, and was equally amazed by its composure under fire. It’s a little chunkier than some other subcompact 9mms, but the Nano is among the most comfortable and the easiest to shoot well. It’s also +P rated and very easy to take down and reassemble.

Ruger

The Ruger LC9 has been a huge commercial success, and our testing confirms that it’s a compact and extremely reliable pistol for daily carry. Our pseudonymous reviewer is a firearms and law enforcement professional, who carries the LC9 daily as his concealed carry gun.

SIG/Sauer

The SIG/Sauer P290 is another miniscule SIG 9mm, and our man Ralph was very impressed by its accuracy and reliability. It’s substantially thinner and lighter than the short-but-chubby P250 sumcompact that I carry daily. I’ve been tremendously satisfied with the P250, but it’s a double-stack (12+1 round) pistol that’s just a bit smaller and lighter than a Baby Glock. Since your original question was about the P938, I’m guessing that a shortened full-size 9mm is not what you’re looking for.

Diamondback

The Diamondback DB9 is another contestant in this ‘Little Britches’ 9mm rodeo. It rode well enough out of the gate in Tim’s first review, but it done fell of its horse when it broke down critically after 500 rounds. Like the PF9 which comes up next, it hasn’t proven itself reliable enough for defensive use.

Kel-Tec

I was initially impressed by the Kel-Tec PF9. It it is very small and light, but after owning and shooting one for nearly two years I can no longer recommend it as a carry gun. My PF9′s initial break-in problems (failures to ignite many 9mm primers) eventually worked themselves out, but other feeding and ejection issues emerged. Kel-Tec’s customer service was excellent, but this pistol is still less than dependable even after replacing several crucial parts. It is now perfectly reliable with steel-cased Tulammo  9mm FMJ, but this ammo would be a very poor choice for defensive use.

Kimber

Kimber’s $765 Solo Carry is petite and elegant. It’s also the most expensive pistol on this list. Ralph’s review was favorable, but other Interwebz reviewers have found plenty to complain about and Farago’s FFL guy had to send his whole gun back to the factory because it wouldn’t fire. If you’ve got the money, and if you can find one in stock, you can give it a try. For this kind of money, however, I think a customer deserves something just about perfect.

Smith & Wesson

Smith & Wesson has recently entered the subcompact 9mm market with their 9mm Shield subcompact, and Ralph found it to be excellent: slim, comfortable, accurate and reliable. Take note: the $450 Shield and the Ruger LC9 are the only two pistols reviewed here which feature manual safeties. Some shooters want them while others abhor them, so pay attention while you decide.

The Takeaway

As you can tell by now, the ‘Tiny Niney’ market (why am I typing that? I hate that term) is well-populated with reasonable choices. Very few of them will be as light as an alloy J-Frame Smith & Wesson, but they’re all smaller and thinner and lighter than any double-stack Glock. I hope this has been helpful!

83 Responses to 9mm Subcompact Pistol Roundup – Because You Asked for It

  1. avatarBrian says:

    I own a K9, EDC in a desantis scorpion kydex. It disappears even under a tshirt (a handy thing here in the heart o’ Texas summer). 5 years and several thousand rounds later I’ve only had 1 FTE with cheap Winchester range ammo. More accurate than I am by a long shot. The gun and magazines are a bit price-y, but I fully expect to will this metal frame monster to my kids.

  2. avatar2Wheels says:

    I take issue with this statement…

    “Single-action pistols aren’t always the best choice for concealed carry, because carry options are limited because you must use a holster to avoid accidental discharges (preferably one with a thumb-break)”

    Not sure what you’re trying to say here or why you’re singling out SAO guns, since using a proper holster that protects the trigger and keeps the gun secure is more or less standard practice for the vast majority of people who conceal carry, regardless of what style gun they carry. SAO guns aren’t special in that they go BANG when the trigger gets pulled accidentally (arguably, they’re safer then safetyless guns like Glocks).

    And you really don’t need a thumb break to carry a SAO gun. I and many many others carry 1911s or other SAO guns without thumb breaks. I also pocket carry a P238, condition 1, in a pocket holster.

    From what I understand, some P238/Colt Mustang holsters will work with the 938 (they’re pretty darned close in size), though I’d definitely try them out in a store if possible and not order a P238 holster online and pray it fits.

    • avatargabba says:

      glocks are SAO fyi

      • avatar2Wheels says:

        Although the striker needs to be partially reset by the slide, Glocks aren’t considered by most people to be single action, and I doubt the author was including Glocks when he referred to single action guns not being good choices for concealed carry.

      • avatarmashashin says:

        no Glocks are striker fired which is a completly diffrent mechanic

      • avatarJoe Simeone says:

        Glock’s are not single action. The trigger does two things (#1 finish the cocking of the striker,#2 release the striker). When a round is chambered in a Glock the striker is only partially cocked, pulling the trigger finishes the cocking and then releases the striker. I know of only 2 true single action striker fired guns is the Taurus OSS and the Walther P 99. The new PPQ might be also. The OSS can be carried cocked and locked, and is not a SAO but has a singel action trigger in sa mode. Most all striker action are DA.

    • avatarsnortlebull says:

      Agreed. Thumb break on a concealed holster isn’t just unnecessary, it’s a dumb choice regardless of the action type.

  3. avatarLeo Atrox says:

    Springfield Armory XDs?
    Taurus 709 “SLIM?”

    • avatarElliotte says:

      check the title, the XDs isn’t in 9mm (yet).

    • avatarDon says:

      Yeah, the 709 slim is nice as well as inexpensive. I know several people with them that like them.

      • avatarnicki says:

        I’ve purchased Taurus handguns in the past and never any troubles so when I was looking for a sub 9mm, Taurus PT 709, right out of the box went bang, bang, bang 100 rounds not 1 issue, fits the hand good, low recoil, easy break down, and on target. 11/21/2012

        • avatarsnortlebull says:

          Taurus revolvers can be a bargain. Taurus pistols beyond the Beretta clones are crap with high failure and repair rates including the 709. 100 rds is hardly a good test of reliability. Try 1000 and then strip and inspect for wear. Better yet, run the pistol in a high volume pistol class before you consider trusting your life to it.

  4. avatarNathan says:

    I’ll throw my vote behind the CW9. Had mine for 6 months, put around 500 rounds through it, and not one failure of any type. The trigger is very long, but I don’t mind since it’s essentially a pocket gun with no manual safety. The trigger is very smooth as well, no overtravel or stacking. It’s a little longer in the grip, so compared to the p938 the CM9 is closer in size and capacity. Almost the exact same gun, except the barrel is 0.6 inches shorter.

  5. avatarTrust no one says:

    Thanks for the line up I want the lc9 pretty bad.

    • avatarJim Barrett says:

      Take some advice on the LC9 (and any other sub-compact) go shoot it before you buy it if you can. I owned an LC9 for a few months and eventually sold it because it was not a good pistol for me. I’m not saying is was not a good gun – just not a good one for me. The muzzle flipped something fierce, my accuracy after a mag or two was pretty good, but my first few shots every time I took the gun to the range sucked. Wouldn’t want to bet my life on it. Finally, after putting 100 rounds or so through it each shooting session, my hand felt like I had stuck it into a hornet’s nest.

      I’m waiting (not so patiently) for the 938. I absolutely love the P238, but want something with a bit more firepower. As for holsters, it may turn out that many P238 holsters will fit the P938 as the only difference in gun dimensions appears to be length of the barrel, so this may simply translate into a bit more gun sticking out from the end of the holster. Time will of course tell.

  6. avatarTrust no one says:

    Thanks for the line up I would love to own the lc9

    • avatarTim Fairbanks says:

      I disagree. I have had an LC9 for over a year. I bought it to replace my Kahr P380, which has been sent back to the factory twice for FTF, light strikes, and failure to return to battery. Kahr installed stronger springs and the gun still has all the above mentioned problems after sending another 300 rounds of quality 95 grain Remington ammo thru it. As far as the Ruger LC9, I have put over 500 rounds of various makes, including Tula, through it with only one FTE (an ammo issue). IMHO the Ruger is superior in dependability and safety. It has a safety lever, but because of the long trigger pull, it is not needed. The only caveat is that it takes practice (a requirement anyway for any CCW holders) to get the correct feel for the long trigger pull. I am selling my P380 because it is not dependable. That one failure to go “bang” could end a life.

  7. avatarEdgehill says:

    I have the PT709 Slim. Nice little gun. Sights are pretty accurate, but it is a little picky about the ammo.

  8. avatarDale says:

    Another one to consider is the Walther PPS. I was looking for a compact 9mm. I had tried several (as in actually shot them) and was seriously considering the Kahr CM9 until a friend handed me a PPS and it just “clicked”.

    • avatarC. Walther says:

      Amen to that. I own one in .40 (hence the name), and it’s probably the greatest concealed-carry weapon I ever have, or will ever, own. Put into a DeSantis Sof-Tuck holster at 3:00and I literally *cannot* make it print, even with just a t-shirt on. The fact that it handles more like a compact than a subcompact is an awesome bonus.

  9. avatarjkp says:

    “Single-action pistols…carry options are limited because you must use a holster to avoid accidental discharges….”

    Um…you really need to use a holster for any kind of pistol, regardless of the type of firing mechanism it uses.

  10. avatarJoe Doakes says:

    Walther PPS? I f-ing love that piece . . .

    :)

  11. avatarEric says:

    My PM9 had issues with the seven round mag more that Russian ammo. I swapped the seven rounder for a six rounder, bought three more six round mags and the gun had been 100% with all of them.

    Around 1000 rounds total through my PM9 at this point. No failures except when running the seven round mag.

  12. avatarsdog says:

    i got to handle the first m&p shield that came into the gun shop i patronize, man that thing is cool so narrow and the trigger is pretty good. here in md pistols have to get on the approved list before they can be sold, so they are just now becoming available in MD. the owner told me that in his experience in trying to get them to the store, that the 9mm version is pretty much impossible to get currently, and that the 40sw is the only one that he could get a hold of, the one that i checked out. as i was in there, another guy came in an immediately bought it. the trigger on the nano is pretty good as well, but man is it ugly as sin. the lc9 grip is too narrow IMO too. i want that p938 pretty bad myself.

    TTAG you guys reviewed the p238 in the past correct? yall should do one on the p232, pretty cool gun.

    • avatarPatriot 68 says:

      The LC9 is my preferred gun for EDC. I also have a Ruger SR9c, a Glock 26. All of these guns shoot accurately and 100% reliably, but the LC9 is lighter, slimmer, and therefore more easily concealable than the other two. The only negative is the 7+1 capacity vs. 10+1 for the other two, but it is just as accurate and reliable for defensive carry. I also can’t understand complaints about recoil. I’m a 69 year year old retiree that never shot a handgun until last summer, and I don’t notice any difference in recoil among my 3 guns, nor do I find any of them objectionable.

  13. avatarTR says:

    SR9c? Small enough to conceal very comfortably, large enough to add extra accuracy, less recoil, and one of the thinnest double-stack magazines I’ve seen. Also cheaper than several of the above-mentioned guns.

    • avatarC. Walther says:

      Having owned the SR9c and at the very least fondled most everything else presented above…compared to most of the options on the list, the SR9c is closer to a compact than a subcompact.

      That said, it is still my all-time favorite carry gun, second only to the Walther PPS. Even then, the Ruger has its advantages.

  14. avatarGreg Camp says:

    I have a Kel-Tec P-11 that is my main pocket gun. The manual says not to feed it too much +P ammunition, so I don’t, but it’s taken everything else that I’ve given it. It holds 10 + 1, same as a Glock 26 in a smaller package, and it accepts Smith & Wesson M59 fifteen round magazines. Will it work forever? There’s no way to know except to keep practicing with it, and so far, so good.

    • avatarGS650G says:

      I have a P3AT which is hated around here but I’ve never had a problem with mine. I’ve got over 300 rounds through it so far and not one mistake.

  15. avatarMike in NC says:

    I’ve been looking into the pocket portable 9′s myself. At the top of my list is the new Sig P290RS (true double action / restrike capable revision of the P290).

    Some of the models that I am looking into beyond those listed in the article are:
    Taurus 709 (as others have mentioned before me)
    Kahr MK9 (all metal Kahr and emergency boat anchor)
    Kel-Tec P11 (largest magazine in the group with 10 round capacity)
    Walther PPS (a bit big for a pocket, but still planning to look at it)

    and will consider if I can find one gently used:
    S&W Chief’s Special 9 (the smallest of the 3rd gen S&W semis)

    • avatarnicki says:

      I have a Taurus PT-709, Right out of the box went bang 100 times, fits the hand nice, low recoil, price is right, just use good ammo, in any sub 9mm.

  16. avatarHSR47 says:

    No Rohrbaugh? No Boberg? No MK9?

  17. avatarKR says:

    You *absolutely* need to use a holster for pocket carry, regardless of gun design, to keep the gun oriented at a consistent angle, protect the trigger guard, keep debris out of the gun and to keep the sharp edges of the front sight from tearing a hole in your pocket that could cause the gun to fall out.

    A lot of the mini-9s are actually too big to be practical pocket guns, unless you wear cargo pants with oversized pocket openings.

    If it doesn’t fit in a pocket, carrying a mini 9 in an IWB holster is no real savings over carrying a 4″ like a G19 or M&P, but you give up a lot in capability with the smaller gun. 99% of those choosing the mini 9s have never evaluated (by shooting a standardized drill to compare results) what capability they give up by choosing the small gun over a larger model. Most people assume that however good they shoot is “good enough” – the standard is defined as however good they shoot with the gun they’ve chosen because it inconveniences them the least. That’s totally the wrong thought process for selecting life-saving equipment, but a very popular one.

    The recent viral video of the 71 year old defending himself in Florida against two armed attackers is a good example of the pros and cons of the itty bitty carry gun. Pro: he had the gun with him, and simply drawing it and firing a few poorly aimed rounds, using pretty terrible technique and bad tactics, resulted in them running off. Con: In addition to having a tiny gun, he was carrying w/o a round in the chamber and had to rack one in before he could shoot. Then when he started shooting, he didn’t hit anything vital on the bad guys – they both ran off.

    • avatarNot Too Eloquent says:

      JWM: Who the heck are you to internet-criticize that 71yo gentleman? He was going with what was comfortable for his situation and it worked out just fine for him and his wife. I love all these mini Jeff Cooper wannabees doing the post-DGU internet autopsies.

    • avatarMike says:

      “If it doesn’t fit in a pocket, carrying a mini 9 in an IWB holster is no real savings over carrying a 4″ like a G19 or M&P”

      I know that a few ounces makes a difference if you have hip or knee problems.

      • avatarKR says:

        The Shield and the PPS both come with two different mags, one that’s essentially a grip extender. Using that mag, even though it may add weight, seems to make a big difference in ease of drawing from concealment and shooting.

    • avatarnicki says:

      From what I heard he did in fact hit each one of them.

    • avatarBB says:

      You make many good points Sir. However, you seem to contradict yourself somewhat when you mention the 71 yr. old gentleman who was successful at extracting himself from a potentially Bad Experience, albeit with bad form. Predators are cowards that want everything in their favor before engaging…failing that they run like Rats…the odd thing about that fact is, that it is good advice for the intended victim as well. Or, as a former Vietnam Vet. working in a Gun Store said to me once about the current rage for sub-compact canons and unexpected engagement is…and I quote, “the idea is Bang,Bang, run like Hell”. Very good advise…and nobody bothers to mention the adrenaline rush!…

      I searched long and hard for the perfect 9mm Deep (24/7/365) CC because I wanted one caliber in the house (I have a 9mm Glock in our bedroom)…and I went thru a few…Kahr, Kel-tec, Sig, Ruger, and finally the Walther PPS…if you’re more clever than I, then it’s (Walther) by Far the best out there, but still too big for Super Easy every day carry in all climates…My point being that convenient means that you Will carry daily, or as Often as you feel you need to regardless.

      So, end of post…I dropped to the 380 Cal. because it shoots a 9mm bullet with less punch. They are out there, just choose your flavor. I chose the Ruger LCP. Avoid the new one if possible (too many lawyers), but of course, choose for yourself.
      Regarding the older LCP, Polish the feed ramp well and use ’rounded over hollow point’ only…hate to say it but it is a trifle bit finicky. Having said that I have 500+ down range in mine W/O a burp.
      Be well and stay safe.

  18. avatarjwm says:

    his tactics were a charge at the bad guys. he said that he was protecting his wife. so he took the fight away from her. and if his bullets hit nothing vital then caliber is a moot point.

    • avatarGS650G says:

      Notice how Amos and Andy didn’t stand their ground, they beat their feet instead.
      Maybe instead of a .380 the perp will get a little brown sugar in his backside.

  19. avatarJM says:

    Which one is the best or good for a left handed person? Most seem to have switchable magazine eject buttons but the safety and slide lock release for a number of guns is for right handed only. Right now due to this I am leaning towards a Glock 26.

    • avatarKR says:

      The M&P series of pistols has a left hander friendly slide lock lever and reversible mag release.

    • avatarOODALOOP says:

      Want the best? Walther PPS. No external safety at all and it uses the Walther P99 “under the trigger guard” magazine release. I love the PPS!
      I’m a Southpaw and I endorse this message

  20. avatarjwm says:

    if you’re left handed test drive before buying. where the gun throws the brass can be a problem for lefties. i have a brother and daughter that are lefties, it does cause some small problems with autos.

  21. avatarjwm says:

    not to eloquent. i was not critizing the man. iwas responding to kr’s comments. i have nothing but respect for him as i believe i made clear on the original spot showing the film. and i wasn’t doing an autopsy. i was repeating what the man himself said in an interview. his concern was to protect his wife, so he took the fight to them. maybe i didn’t make myself clear on that point.

  22. avatarRalph says:

    I’ve shot every one of those pistols and reviewed several. All I can say is that there’s not a bad gun in the above-described bunch.

    We have more good choices today than we know what to do with. Ain’t that great!

  23. avatarsoccerchainsaw says:

    I’ve been lusting after the Sig P239. It’s bit larger than the pocket rockets but I like the double action/single action with a decocker that operates just like my full sized Sig. No retraining required for me.

  24. avatarAir Force TSgt says:

    I like the Beretta PX4 sub compact, it’s slightly larger than these. I’m a big guy (6’6″ – 245lbs) and it fits my bear claws well and is easy to conceal. I also like that it comes in .40 :)

  25. avatarChris Dumm says:

    I deliberately left out the double-stack ‘subcompact’ 9s which are based on larger models. There are lots of them and most of them are fine guns in their own right, but they didn’t seem to meet Sam’s size criteria. Besides, I I tried to include them all I’d be writing well into next week.

  26. avatarIntheNC says:

    I own both the Sig 938 “Nightmare” and a Kahr PM9. Got the Sig about a month ago, was the first my dealer had seen.

    The Sig failed to feed for the first 10 rds, after that its been rock solid, and very accurate. Have about 200 rds through it, and prefer the 938 to the PM9. It’s smaller and with me shooting more accurate.

  27. avatarJeff says:

    I’m guessing that if the Rohrbaugh had been included it wouldn’t have been much of a contest.

  28. avatarThe CDR says:

    I had a Diamondback DB9. The frame cracked somewhere around round 625. It is not reliable. I don’t recommend it for anyone.

    The Sig Sauer P938 is a reliable gun. Accuracy is limited by your ability to handle recoil. I conceal carry it in a pocket holster. It takes quite a bit of pressure to release the safe and it takes about 8.5 lbs to pull the trigger. I’ve been very pleased with it. As long as the safety is engaged, and your trigger guard is covered, then it’s safe. I don’t recommend this for a beginner, though.

  29. avatarDoug says:

    I had been carrying a LCP (I LOVE the small size!), and wanted something in 9mm instead.

    I was choosing between the Shield and the LC9. I fired both, and for me, the Shield was the clear winner. Better trigger, fit my hand better, and it shoots more like a full-size gun than the LC9. I agree, a PPS is nice, but a little bigger and a little more expensive.

    I also agree…the only guns on this list I would have no interest in carrying are the Diamondback and Kel-tec. The Diamondback has received consistently poor reviews, and the Kel-tec’s reviews are mixed at best. I like Kel-tec’s innovative rifles, but their pistols just feel “cheap” and are not always 100% reliable.

  30. avatarBuddhaKat says:

    Has anyone ever shot the SCCY CPX2? I’m considering getting one for my wife for an EDC. I’ve heard the first generation of this gun had problems, (the CPX1), but from what I can find online, the reviews of the CPX2 are pretty positive. They corrected the issue with the CPX1-Gen 1, but the CPX2 actually doesn’t have a safety on it. Better for her in an emergency I think.

    I’d get her one of the better known brands but money is an issue. I is po white trash. The CPX2 can be had for a couple of hun. Yes, I know, how much is her life worth, but when you ain’t got it, you ain’t got it.

  31. avatarAge Quod Agis says:

    I like the S&W Shield. Didn’t see it, but I like the PX4 Storm sub-compact (Beretta) too, although I’d consider the Nano

  32. avatarKenW says:

    I own both a Sig P238 and a P938, A previous commenter is correct, make sure the P938 fits in the holster do not assume since it fits a P238 it will work. The factory leather holster for the P238 will not fit the P938 for example.
    Shooting wise, the trigger on my p938 is stiffer than the p238s and I feel affects my aim a bit. While I do not hit real low and to the left like the boyz on YouTube did I do shoot a little low for the first shot and quickly bring it towards the center. With Fiocchi 124 ball ammo the kick is a bit more noticeable than the P238 using 95 grain fiocchi ball but a lot less than my buddys LC9 with the same ammo felt to me. . With 124 grain +P speer gold dot it was snappy, I do not think I’d want to shoot several hundred rounds of it in one sitting. We could not try that ammo in his gun. It’s easy to break down and clean and so far I’ve run 250 rounds though it with no hiccups. It will even fire 1 round of 380 when you f up and load the magazine with the wrong ammo. I noticed the gun seemed to fire soft and pulled the magazine and ejected the 380 round which had cycled in, How many more I might have been able to fire I have no guess but I suspect it would have quickly jammed.

  33. avatarFrank Roberts says:

    The Kimber Solo has a manual safety also….on both sides! I was purchased one as a gift…..I had read mixed reviews but have had all or most of the others mentioned…so here we go….this little gem is so well machined and made. It fired EVERYTHING I fired through it. Premium or not. Only fifty rounds but still…and the accuracy is “killer”… yes pun intended. I thinks the kinks got worked out REAL WELL.
    Regards

  34. avatarMike says:

    I have a few carry options. My main carry is a Kahr P9. It’s my favorite, after having worked through a couple of other compact 9mms. First was a Smith 3913. Good gun, reliable, but I couldn’t hit with it. I don’t know if it was a grip angle thing or what, but I wasn’t as accurate with it as I would’ve liked.

    Next was a SIG P239. It was outstandingly accurate and reliable, but I found it just a bit too large and heavy for me to carry comfortably.

    I think my next purchase is going to be the Kahr CW45. Bigger bullets are better. Oh, and a snubby .357. I’ve read that in the snubnose, a .38 plus P is preferable because the Magnum doesn’t achieve full velocity in the short barrel. Is that true?

    • avatarJeff Lee says:

      I have a kahr p9 with a fist small in the back holster. I am looking for something smaller like the sig 938 or sig 290 or maybe just the kahr pm9. I like the sig 938 but not a fan of the cocked and locked. How do you carry your p9? Thanks

  35. avatarWayne says:

    If you haven’t shot a Glock 26, you don’t know sweet comfort. Very accurate at 60′.

  36. avatarAndrew says:

    Thanks for putting this succinct little list together- looking forward to seeing how the XDs compares when released in 9mm.

  37. avatarrob e says:

    I’d like to get your impression on a SCCY CPX9. I’d been looking for a pocket gun and looked at most of the guns you’ve reviewed but, after a lot of reading, almost settled on the Kel-tec P11 until I held the CPX9 at my LGS. It just “felt” better, looked like it was finished better and the trigger pull, even though still long, was smoother. So, back to the reviews. I guess there were some issues with the earlier model, mostly with the safety, but they had been addressed in the CPX9 so I picked one up. 500 rounds later, no light strikes or FTE’s but then I stay away from TulAmmo and shoot mostly WWB. I’ve run through 10 rnds as quick as I could and no hiccups. I haven’t shot +P but have had no problem with Federal LE Tactical HST JHP, both 124gr and 147gr although it seems to like the 124 better so that’s what I carry … either that or the Winchester Ranger LE bonded. I can hit a clay pigeon at 25 m, not consistently but close enough to worry it a lot but that’s not the guns fault. Like any gun, treat it right and it’ll take care of you.

  38. avatarM1a says:

    My wife wants wheel gun and will probably buy K frame. My daughter likes shooting my S&W BodyGuard .380. I love the utility and feel but with the mushy long trigger pull I can’t group at 10 yards. She can control it so go figure….
    I like the Springfield XDm 3.8 compacts and own a .40. After shooting a friends XDs .45, Ive decided to buy one. This will replace the expensive pretty, heavy and smooth triggered MK-9 I currently carry. The KAHR has been flawless for 500+ rounds so It will go back into safe for keeping. The XDs becomes the daily beater. I’ll consider a XDs 9mm when they’re available.

  39. avatarKevin says:

    I recently sold my Diamondback DB9 and bought a Sig P290RS to replace it. I can’t tell you how much better I like the Sig. It is a little bigger and heavier but still easy enough to conceal in your front pocket which is where I normally carry. The Sig shoots so much better than the DB9 that it’s almost not fair to compare them. I got mine with the laser, extra 8-round mag and paddle holster for $499 which I thought was a good deal.

    The longer trigger pull takes a little getting used to but I have yet to have a single FTF, FTE, etc. I love this gun and look forward to carrying it for years to come. This one’s a winner.

  40. avatarChrissy says:

    RE: Sig 938
    After testing out several subcompact 9mm tge Sig P938 “Nightmare” won my heart.
    As a woman with small hands it fit perfectly and the safety was well placed.

    My only complaint is the texture of the trigger. It is not smooth and after about 50-100 rounds I’d given myself a small blister.

    It is a bit picky when it comes to ammo, the cheap stuff just will not do. After firing about 100 rounds of wally mart special 9mm it started having problems. When I got home and began cleaning it, it was absolutely filthy. DO NOT USE CHEAP AMMO!
    I always use federal full metal jacket brass only.

    Since switching to good ammo I’ve not had a problem since.
    It fits my hand perfectly with the factory hogue grip.
    Recoil isn’t too bad.
    Sights are good.

    The P938 SAS is a bit more comfortable for conceal carry since the edges are rounded….but I Love the Sig Sauer P938 Nightmare…may have to have some work done on the trigger to smooth it a bit, but for now she is perfect.

  41. avatarEast_TN_Patriot says:

    Where is the Walther PPS??? That slim and compact 9mm was the predecessor to many of the sub-compact single-stack 9mm pistols on the market today. The XDS and Shield appear to have been modeled after the PPS. Yeah, a PF9 and Sig P250 SC are better options than a PPS.

  42. avatarMrMachinist says:

    Sorry, but I have to call B.S. on Mr. Dumm claiming a single action gun with a safety is more dangerous to pocket carry than a double action with no safety.
    There are a lot of reports out there of people accidentaly discharging their “safe action trigger” safety-free wonder guns.

  43. avatarMartin B says:

    Oh well, you are all lucky enough to live in a country which allows concealed carry. I don’t and I can’t. I guess I just have to behave myself and watch my P’s and Q’s while out and about. But what what I’ve gleaned from reading various people who have hands on experience: S & W Shield – shoots the best; Beretta Nano – small, concealable, some issues; Ruger LC9 – great except for trigger, which can be fixed; Bersa BP9 – most examples excellent, some have issues, very light trigger so holster a must; Walther PPS – a trifle large but excellent; various cheaper examples e.g. SCCY and Kel Tek, but all require fettling to ensure reliability and durability.
    The best equipment is the brain and being aware of your surroundings and the behaviour of people around you. Being unthreatening and affable helps. The fact is that maybe once every 500 years the average person could face an armed confrontation. I hope these odds favour you.

  44. avatarJohn Morgan says:

    The last word in subcompact 9mm or .40 S&W is the Walther PPS – superior in every way. Period. Don’t waste time arguing with me, check it out for yourselves. This is representative of the consistently glowing reviews:
    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/06/daniel-zimmerman/fns-9-contest-entry-walther-pps-review/

    If you prefer a wheel gun, the Ruger LCR in .357 is clearly head and shoulders above the competition:
    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/09/ryan-finn/gun-review-ruger-lcr-357-revolver/

    Don’t be fooled by high-intensity marketers like Glock and S&W. They tend to be conservative and sell on their now-outdated reputations rather than continuing to try new improvements. Remember when Microsoft out advertised, price-fixed, and outsold Apple a jillion to 1? Now we know that Apple was the superior product all along, it was just ahead of its time and cost a bit more for a number of factors, some of them related to MS anti-trust violations.

  45. avatargreg says:

    WHERE IS THE GLOCK 26…. LOOK AT THE SPECS…. LOOK AT THE DIMENSIONS, IT IS A SMALL OR SMALLER THAN ABOVE GUN. YES AT 1.18″ IT IS THICKEST, BY 0.18″…… SO WHAT…… IT IS A SUB COMPACT AND THE BEST OF THE BUNCH !!!!!! THE GLOCK HAS MORE OPTIONS IN MAGAZINES FROM 10, 15,17,19 AND 3 ROUNDS….. MODS AND ACCESSORIES WIDELY AVAILABLE AND CHEAP……. RELIABILITY? NO QUESTIONS. TRIGGER? BEST IN CLASS. THE GLOCK 26 SHOULD BE ON THE LIST.

  46. avatar7541west says:

    Great article with nice reviews to give information to start your hunt for the ccw that fits both your hand and needs. I find it curious that posters will write “this weapon is the one and only one to have” and everything else is trash. Sounds as if they have real issues that have nothing to do with firearms…interesting but sad.

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  49. avatarGunner123 says:

    Hi, I really like my SCCY. 5.9″ long 10+1. Got it for $250 with a free third magazine. Shoots great and what I like about it is the long revolver type trigger. Much safer I think. I would not carry a handgun with a short light trigger with a round in the chamber (such as a Glock) for safety reasons.

  50. avatarMikC says:

    Have a Beretta Tomcat in 32. Would like a 9mm but anything I have tried can not beat the Tomcat for me. Maybe some day…

  51. avatarCapt.Dennis Opah says:

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