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Honor Defense is days away from shipping its first production pistols, some of which were at the SHOT Show 2016 Range Day. Three sub-compact models are available — manual safety, no manual safety, and the FIST pictured above. I was impressed with the . . .

…weave-like crosshatch pattern molded into the frame. It feels like a perfect, aftermarket stippling job. Excellent grip and ergos.


FIST stands for Firearm with Integrated Standoff. In practice, this means an extended dust cover so the gun will function properly even during contact shots. It ain’t exactly a gimmick, as there’s definitely a percentage of revolver owners who eschew semi-autos for fears of it going out of battery when the muzzle is pressed up against something.


One note I wasn’t aware of: the Honor Guard employs a very easily removable, serialized chassis. This is the “firearm,” so the frame can be swapped for other ones and does not require an FFL.


It shot well, and initial impressions are positive.


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  1. Nice name. Most people who have their own honor guard are dead. There’s a joke in there somewhere.

    • If it actually runs well, this gun could have a lot of potential if it weren’t for that stupid name

    • During the naming process, it came down to two names.
      Murrdog or Honor Defense.
      We flipped a coin……

      • As a once exclusively 1911 guy who switched to Glocks and XDs and has never looked back, yours is the first new offering that interests me in a long time…The ergos and shape look great for my hands, with nicely blended and ramped sights, no snag and thin for concealed carry…I like the look of the molded in crosshatch pattern on the stock…Looks like about the right combo of grippy yet comfortable, no 60 grit feel after a day at the range…Looking forward to getting my hands on one…I don’t find the name branding objectionable in size; it’s subdued enough it doesn’t draw the eye directly…Personally, I think the more innovation in gun designs the better…That’s one of the ways our art advances…Anyway, looks are subjective, and I want something I can trust and goes BANG! every time I press the trigger…I wish you guys all the success in the world, Gary!

  2. I hate to be this vain, cause I think the GRIPZONE snobs are retarded, but DAMN! Why does it have to have such a cheesy name and if it has to have a cheesy name, why make it so big on the slide???? Please! Seems like a decent pistol and concept but apparently I’m to vain to like it as is. 🙁

    • Exactly my thought as well. I’m all about making sure people can identify the maker of the firearm, but not the entire length and width of the slide.

      • Good thing we added serrations over the top for better racking….or there would have been more room for the branding!!!

        • It might be a good idea to listen to potential customers and take note of the design criticisms for your next revisions instead of making comments that make you seem less like a serious company.

        • I’m not saying he is, but Gary could just be a troll. On the otherhand It wouldn’t be the first time a ceo of a smaller company has made a fool out of themselves over something silly. The gun has so some nice features if it is priced right and is reliable I think it would do OK, I haven’t seen anything that would make we want to ditch my P320 for this. And yes you can have a p320 with the extended nose, I’ve contemplated doing it, my concern is the nose breaking if the contact is to hard potentially cracking the frame.

    • Well guys, am not a troll.
      I am the President of the company.
      And while you may not like the name, what you need to realize is we stand for something. And have aligned ourselves with veterans groups and charities that support veterans.
      As you might imagine, the firearm industry is filled with Monday morning quarterbacks. No matter what you do, you get criticized.
      So let’s do this, we are all ears for constructive conversation and open to suggestions.
      But rather than dump on something, tell us how to make it better, throw out a suggestion. Feel free to give me a call and I’ll explain why we are doing what we have done. Always open to a conversation about firearms. Phone number at office is 678-943-8035

      • Gary, congrats and I do mean that sincerely. You have brought a gun to market, made it to SHOT, and have garnered the attention of national press. From what I can see of the product, it looks good in many ways – more than can be said for a lot of the stuff we see.

        You’re either a true believer, or a really good con. I’m generally good at smelling a hustle, so until I see otherwise, I’ll assume you to be a good guy. I understand that true believers really do hang their hats on words like ‘honor’, as well they should. Here’s the rub, charlatans do as well. Rightly or wrongly, that’s what people think, and it does you no favors because it appears to be raw jingoism. And that, is a sleight to the product – especially if it actually is good. Bottom line, it’s a gun, don’t give people reasons to object before they even try it.

        I know there is a market that you (theoretically) can never go broke underestimating. Maybe that is your target market, maybe they really do have $499ish to throw at your family of guns. But I doubt it. My fear for you is this – that you really have a nice offering, and it gets the short-shrift by the majority of folks because of the branding. I’m not advocating abandoning your values, hell, double-down on them. But let your corporate deeds do that talking, don’t try to brand it on the pistols – they can’t carry the weight. The deeds will do the heavy lifting that the product can’t.

        Most folks have reservations about ‘limited editions’ that are too over the top “patriotic”. They prefer, like many of the patriots out there, to have a gun be a gun, not an overt political statement. Guns are enough of a statement on their own – if you took the ASP2000 and renamed it the ‘God Bless America’, it would be worth just about chump change. Doesn’t matter how good it is, branding is perception, and perception is reality.

        • Points well taken. People only see what they see.
          And we receive compliments that far outweigh the negative comments.
          Having made a career in launching new products and being professionally engaged in the firearms industry, I have learned that “vanilla” is bland and does not do well.
          Our firearm is not for everybody, some love Hi Point, some ridicule it. Some are favorable to Ruger or Smith or HK, and some are not.
          We do listen to people before/during design, but loud voices online after the design is complete make it seem as though we do not.
          Interesting case in point, the FIST Frame was designed at the suggestion and with input from a Command Master Chief from DevGru. We garnered input from professionals that carry a firearm for a living. We listened to professionals.
          Again, not for everyone, but it’s not intended to be.

        • So, you have not addressed even one of my salient points, merely smeared some BS on the wall and called it “paint”. Or maybe, you don’t even understand the points I made. .

          Regardless, I wish you the best of luck, but with that attitude, I don’t see you in the future, and that ‘future’ being next SHOT.

        • 16V,
          I appreciate your comments, really do.

          You don’t like the name….got it.
          We like the name,
          – Others like it.

          You don’t like snarky…got it
          Internet is for snarky
          – if you don’t like snarky, stay off the internet

          Sounds like we just aren’t what you are looking for in a firearm… it.

        • Did not pass by at all, heard it and actually enjoyed it.
          When YOU design a firearm, give us a call, we’ll be more than happy to help.
          We’ll be more than happy to share some experience.
          The proof of a firearm is when it is used.
          So for those criticize without shooting it, well, that’s known as an uneducated opinion.
          But you know all about that.

        • Just had to come back, your hubris was too tempting a target.

          Product marketing has precisely sweet FA to do with ‘teh feelz’. Your product-identification will be a self-limiting factor in it’s sales, and it will not be good. BS “support” from FB dolts means nothing, all that matters is Bob down at the gun shop/show actually buys one. At $499 MSRP, you’re in rarefied air with a product named ‘yee-hah!’. I can tell you how that will play out as dozens of others before, but apparently you need to learn for yourself.

          I’ve explained in detail how your naming is going to make people just turn you off. Sad you still don’t get it.

          As to the rest , it makes no difference what I have, or have not designed. I know that I have used several things for decades that the gun industry is finally starting to do. And you still have no idea what they are. Regardless, it’s a logical fallacy, it has nothing to do with the fate of your company. Which, as far as can be told, will simply depend on how long the investors wish to lose money.


        • name is fine…. its the fact its written in big cheesy letters on the side. it distracts from the firearm imo. rock island had the same crap on the sides of their GI 1911 then went with the smaller logo it. much more appealing. again, just my opinion.

      • Gary, thank you for stopping by and for making what looks like a genuinely innovative firearm. From the pictures, that gun looks about as comfortable as my living room recliner. The proof will be in actually holding one of course but the ergonomics look very, very impressive.

        Needless to say, I’m definitely intrigued. Any guess as to when I should be able to find one at my local gun store?

      • Gary,

        Not sure if you are still following this thread of comments, but I wanted to voice my support and wish you well. We are in another field of manufacturing and I can sympathize with the incoming you are taking. We had similar comments and haters when we introduced our products. I love the fact that you are making these in the US. I love the 416 steel choice and the price point is quite reasonable for the features. I’m keeping an eye on availability and will buy one as soon as they hit the market.

        Congrats on your progress and I respect your tenacity! Starting a company in a crowded market is never easy, but it sounds like you have the experience and attitude that will make Honor Defense a success.

      • Gary I like your attitude. I believe you handle yourself well and I hope the best for your company.

      • I’ll call but for the record to all I like the name.
        How is it different from Glock? Walther? Smith and Wesson? Taurus? CZ? Mossburg? Colt? Hi Point ? or…
        With a sense of humor just imagine the jokes that can be made about them!!
        Not bashing any of them but cmon folks quit being so d….n serious!

      • Sorry Gary, just ignore all the negative crap….. some people just seem to have to foul the air!!
        I appreciate your attitude, your respones and your gun!!….. looking forward to putting one in my pocket!!

      • Wondering if there is going to be a double stack on the way for the trigger assembly to fit into? Looking like a great gun!!!!! Too many people get hung up on aesthetics or names.

  3. I like the idea of that extended frame, and the looks of that grippy grip. AFAIK, it ain’t nevah bin dun befoah.

  4. It would be cool if it could be extended and snap into place on the draw, so you don’t ruin the profile and length of the gun while it’s concealed.

    • I hear what you’re saying, but in general, one needs to keep mechanical designs as simple as possible for personal defense.

      Perhaps round it up some?

  5. It sure looks like serialized fire control groups are officially a ‘thing’, now.

    That gun’s FCG looks rather simple in design, I wonder how easy it would be for a low-tech machine shop to crank those things out by the hundred.

    If you get my drift…

      • No doubt they’d handle it with intelligence and consistency, just like everything the ATF does. They surely wouldn’t just start making shit up as they went along.

      • Hawkeye,
        Time for a trip to the Optometrist for you.
        There are some differences you may not notice from a picture, unless you have shot and compared both pistols.
        Different weight, different size, different barrel length, different fire control design, different serrations, different sights, different grip pattern, and Honor Guard has a serialized chassis, ambidextrous controls, no trigger pull or tool needed for disassembly.
        Other than the fact they are completely different, they both have a 9mm hole in the barrel.
        If you get what I mean.

        • So … The price and calibers are not going to be similar to the best-selling single-stack CCW piece out there?

          I mean, if you don’t want to be competitive, you are free to go down that path. But I’m not going to spend $600 on a .25 auto.

        • Good one. I think it’s awesome you are involved with this conversation. Sales and marketing starts with a great product and the belief that it I s great. People buy from people hearing what you have to say certainly says something about you, your company and your product. Hopefully I can can have one soon. Ill even sell my SIG to replace it with an HONOR GAURD (wish I had a bold button). Stay on the high road and fight the good fight. Nice job Gary.

        • Newshawk, you have a good eye.
          If you took the best consumer features and brought them into the subCompact single stack 9mm category…..that’s our pistol.
          MSRP is $499 and you’ll likely see retails in the $449 range. The dealer sets the final price.

        • @Gary Ramey: This is beginning to intrigue me. I’d like to try one and see how it compares to a P320. I could see a place for it, being it’s single stack vice the SIG’s double stack.

      • I don’t get it, man. One moment you’re making a snarky comment about the gun being a clone of the M&P:

        “Identical to the M&P Shield.
        If you get what I mean.”

        Then when you get called on it, you criticize the guy for NOT cloning the Shield:

        “So … The price and calibers are not going to be similar to the best-selling single-stack CCW piece out there? I mean, if you don’t want to be competitive, you are free to go down that path. But I’m not going to spend $600 on a .25 auto.”

        I gotta say, I’m ashamed at the snarkiness and borderline hostility present in parts of this thread. We’ve got what looks like genuinely interesting and innovative product AND we get the CEO of the company in the thread, and a few people just want to give the guy grief.

        We’ve got plenty of people in this country that if they had their way, Gary couldn’t legally start a firearm company. Save your hostility for them, guys.

  6. Looks interesting, but I’d want to be able to remove the “standoff” device. To me, it ruins the look of the gun. My standoff is created by movement and / or my support hand, anyways.

      • Yes, that’s optional. Also keep in mind that the frame is not the serialized part. You could own both the FIST and normal frame and switch back and forth between them literally in about 60 seconds.

      • Do they have a version with both a front and rear standoff as well? For “standing off” the entire slide cycle, if shooting in pocket? That seems to be a more common revolver shooter non-negotiable than a simple contact shot.

  7. Kinda reminds me of my Sig Sauer P250… Betcha I coul do the same thing with my subcompact slide and a compact frame (minus the ridges, though.)

  8. That extended frame needs to be pointy-er, and made of steel. So if I stick it in your ribs, or forehead, pain will be forthcoming.

    • It’s got teeth on the end, so it looks like it would be painful if you rammed it into your head.

  9. I will say, I do like the looks of this pistol I also like this mini-wave of new gun startups. Now if only some of them would make a gun that fills a niche other than the already crowded single stack 9mm CCW.

    • I can just hear it now…

      “Watcha doing today, Bob?”

      “Well, I’m fisting my honor guard. Wanna join me Steve?”


    • We love Skyy at our shop and have a blue box to show that.
      Skyy is a great vodka.

      If you meant SCCY, they are ‘t even close.

  10. Has S&W filed a lawsuit yet? If they use the same lawyer that went after Brownells/Apex. I am pretty sure this will be called the Smith & Wesson M&P Honor Defense by the next Shot Show. They could have at least tried to use their own mags and base pads.

    • Mlk18, am sure it is hard to make an intelligent assessment without holding a pistol or seeing it. Unless you were at SHOT Show Range Day, you haven’t seen it or shot it..
      Your comment is a parallel to saying you look like Joe Biden and should be arrested for impersonating the VEEP.
      The magazines are proprietary and only work in the Honor Defense pistol. They don’t work in other firearms and other magazines don’t work in these pistols either.
      You may have also noticed this pistol is different from the other 20+ subcompacts, because it features all of these:
      – simplified FCG
      – serialized chassis
      – ambidextrous slide catch
      – ambidextrous magazine release
      – exchangeable backstraps
      – snag-free sights for drawing the pistol
      – flat front edge of rear sight for racking the pistol

      • One other difference is that none of the other manufacturers send representatives into gun forums to make snarky replies to comments about their guns.

        We’re just a bunch of anonymous dudes making japes to amuse ourselves, Gary. If you’re really representing Honor Defense, you might want to adopt a more professional, less defensive tone. Answer questions, dispel misconceptions, but don’t get into pissing contests. Just some friendly advice from someone who has seen this kind of thing play out before, and it usually ends up making the company involved look bad.

        • Exactly. It is our place to be unprofessional, not yours. As stinkeye noted, come in, look around, but fight the temptation to get snarky. It looks terrible for the company, which is already credibility challenged enough with a hokey name like “Honor Defense”.

          You guys named the company and the products. If you couldn’t foresee the comedic implications of having an ‘Honor Guard’ that gets a “FIST”, you need to make some changes in marketing ASAP.

        • Guys, every time someone makes an uninformed remark, and we respond like this, we get supportive emails.
          Thank you!

    • Dude, S&W got sued by Glock for doing the same damn thing!

    • Been writing OPRs all day? That’s the only place I’ve ever read “soonest”, and I’ve never failed to chuckle.

  11. If they can do a serialized FCG with a reasonable bore axis, they’ll have the SIG P320 beat. I’m a CZ guy, so I’m picky about such things.

  12. Pffftt, another jonny come lately that will no way compete with Glock quality. XD pistols have a standoff built into the recoil guide rod where it doesnt look like the wrong slide is on the frame. Relegate these to the Caracal dustbin of history.

  13. Personally, I like this Gary Ramey guy. Answering stupid/uninformed comments with humor and bite is fine by me.

    I also like the features of this gun. Sure, it’s ugly, but so are Glocks. What matters is how it performs. I’d like to see TTAG put it through its paces.

    • Thanks ING,
      Manufacturers like to have fun once in a while too….
      In fact we often talk about posts we read (good ones and bad ones)
      They are monitored and considered….

  14. These guys are based in my home town. Im really looking forward to getting my hands on one to check it out. I want one for two reasons. One is I love handguns, two is I want to support my hometown business.

  15. I am a glock guy. I really have been looking forward to getting a hold of one of these for two reasons. One, overall opinions seem favorable, two I want to support an American gun company that makes a solid reliable 9mm. Yes I am aware of companies like Ruger, Smith, etc, but can there ever be to many quality American gun makers? I think not.

  16. A billboard down the slide of semi autos have looked crappy forever. I’ve never met a gun lover who didn’t appreciate a few small letters but the entire length of the slide is too much. I’m going to be sticking with my current favorites. Good luck

  17. Honor Defense HG9 would have been a good name for 9mm version. Then you can say that HG stands for Honor Guard.

  18. Gary,
    I think if you removed the billboard on the side of the gun and have your company symbol and /or HG in place it would mAke for a more finished and professional look. I am really interested in this platform but wondering what the customer support is like if there are problems? It’s a new company, new processes and new employees. The learning curve is just beginning.

    Best of luck,

    LtCol USMC

  19. As a soon to be first time pistol owner, I am impressed with the initial reviews, ergonomics, manufacturing origin, attention to detail, price and company response. I made an inquiry by email and received a personal callback from Gary within about 30 minutes. Very nice gentleman and he answered my questions objectively without the over-the-top sales response that you might expect. My only problem is getting my hands on one, as only one gun store near me in Indiana has heard of it and actually has one on order, but with no ETA. Thanks Gary for your innovation and guts to start a new company in the USA, as I have retired from a manufacturing company after 40 years. By the way, I think your pistol looks great and I could less about comments from those who have never fired and tested your pistol.

  20. Well I am amazed, then again maybe not, by all the snarky comments. I have reading the reviews on this pistol and am looking forward to getting my hands on one. As for the name, I could care less. I want something for concealed carry that shoots well and reliably and all indications are this does. It is 100% American (can’t say that about a lot). It is obvious a lot of little things went into this gun.
    Hey 16V those emails translating into sales. Yep. Probably got one here when I can get my hands on one. The people that have actually fired it seem to have lots of good things to say. I am questioning how many of the snarkers have actually fired one. If the name is your big issue, then I don’t know what to say.

    Gary – Get one in the Raleigh area (see my FB post) and I will be heading over to put it in my hands. (Oh and don’t let these folks get to you.

  21. I’ve been scouring the web for single-stack 9s with an ambi safety. The Honor Guard looks good to me. Is the ambi safety still in your plans?

    I haven’t seen a spec on trigger pull force. Anyone know?

  22. Dave Foley, to Gary and others. All the important features look good to me, could give 2 shits as to whats logo’ed on the slide as long as it goes bang every time. I doubt the BG if I need to use it will care either. Waited since November for one and mine will finally be here in a couple days.

  23. Just saw this gun today at my local FFL. It is eye catching and feels good in the hand. The quality of the craftsmanship is better than one would expect from a new manufacturer. I dry fired it in the store and it is a sweet trigger.

    This is a perfect addition for anyone that is looking for a quality CCW. I am not a big fan of striker fired guns but I might make an exception. After holding it, I gotta have one!

    I have seen any information on the safeties for this gun. I would like more information about that. Once the consumer market finds out about this company, sales will sky rocket!

  24. The honor Guard has some interesting and good features and issues about branding aside, I think it looks good. Gary, your humorous comments were just that; I am glad to see a CEO with a sense of humor. Some suggestions. For the FIST frame why not use the extra real estate to also mount a weapons light or small laser? For the manual safety version make it low profile and ambidextrous or at least reversible. The trigger is different; I assume that if the trigger were pulled back without pushing the tab behind it or vice versa the gun won’t fire. What is the trigger pull and reset like?

  25. Looks like a lot on internet non shooters and posers are responding. Does a handgun go bang each time I pull the trigger? Does it continue to function reliably in all sorts of weather, conditions and through different types of ammo. If it does, it doesn’t matter what is written on the side. I’ll take one if it meets my criteria, put it next to my Glocks, HK’s, Sig’s, etc.

  26. Names are important. Would you rather drive a truck with an emblem that said “Job-Rated” or one that said “Power Wagon.” Guns are a lot like trucks.

  27. JUST FOUND A USED HONOR GUARD FOR SALE HERE IN INDY.It will look great sitting by my Raging Bull.Now that’s a name my buds make fun of.Until they shoot it.Good luck with the branding.Some of us think the proof is in the pudding,yummy pudding.

  28. I had one in my hand while at a nearbye Pa. gun shop a few weeks past and departed very impressed and with a receipt for my deposit on a HG with safety
    I selected it over the Perfomance center Shield which too is a fine pistol but the HG simple felt better and had a better
    trigger which fit my large hands better as well.
    While a good thing for Honor Defense I suppose the pistol is darn hard to find and one with a safety is even more so and I hope I can get one before my pistol purchase permit expires here in the People’s republic of NJ.
    I’m a NRA certified RSO and Pistol instructor as well as a retread LEO now working nearly each day at a busy local range and have seen many pistols of quality — the HD is right up there with them all in my opinion based on what I saw .
    Had I wanted one without a safety I’d have it already — but to each their own.

  29. I am very impressed with the photos and reviews of this pistol. I plan to purchase one soon. I hope the company continues to use American materials and workers to build it. If so, they will have long term success. I have had a Keltec for years and gladly supported them as a US based company. This gun appears to be finished much nicer and ill be excited to see one “in the flesh”.

  30. I’ve been informed by HD it is NOT making the pistol with a safety as of yet and won’t until late summer.
    In as much as my purchase permit expires on the 8th of May and I don’t wish to spend the twenty bucks and yet another 30 day wait I elected to purchase the HD without a safety and will acclimate to it I suspect.
    I hope to have it by this Saterday and in that it will be deliver to the range where I’m a RSO and a full function fire report will follow soon after.

    Rich K

  31. I like mine.
    Their are a few thing I would change. Just my .02.
    I would make the cocking serrations more aggressive.
    My gun has some play in the mag well. The mag will move forward and backward. However my gun is 100% reliable.
    Shot steel case ammo and reloads in mine.
    It used glock G42/43 sights.
    I called Honor Defense before I bought. Great people. I felt that if their ever was a problem they wouldl be their to take care of it.
    HG is the only one with a ambi slide release. For us left handed shooters THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!
    Good Luck I hope you guys/gals at Honor Defense the best

  32. Gary, nice to talk with you last week. Been a bit since I was at Edinboro in Pa. I find the comments posted here by those who have never shot the Honor Guard to be immature at best. I have my sub compact for approx 3 months with 1000 rds of almost every type of 9 mm available fired in the Honor Guard. No issues of any kind to report. I intend to purchase one with the ambi safety. I have several Sig Sauer, XD and 1911. I carry the Honor Guard with several extra mags.

  33. Gary, for what it’s worth this new HG looks like you took the best ideas from several proven platforms and added some good old American inovation to produce a serious CCW pistol. As a consumer, and retired police officer who has carried a pistol every day for the last 40+ years I’m really interested in this new addition to the market. I own Glocks (talk about an ugly pistol), Smiths, Rugers, and Springfields. The common ground for all of them is that they are dependable and have great after sales service.
    It’s your company your branding for your first offering matters very little to me. The individuals who say they wouldn’t buy because of the name are too focused on aesthetics over function. My personal opinion, if it works as well as it looks you have a winner.
    All the reviews I’ve watched on the web are very favorable, including one on your service.
    I want one so get it on the list of firearms in commnist California.
    Best of luck in your new business, this country is in short supply of men and women like yourself. Treat your customers well, deliver a quality product, and the rest will take care of itself. Regards.

  34. I’ve had mine since Early May and have run about 2k rounds of assorted ammo through it without an issue.
    I also helped sell two at the range where I work and the buyers are pleased.
    I have installed a pinky extension ( designed for the Shield ) as well as a magazine spring kit which allows for an extra round to be loaded.
    It too was for the Shield but works just fine in the HG and seems to allow for easier loading of the mag as well.

    I see the extended slide HG in my future. 🙂

    Rich k

  35. I just received my HG after reading multiple positive reviews. With 200 rounds through it today, I did have some issues with non-brass rounds jamming. I used this same ammo in my Springfield XD-M w/o any problems. It will take time to get used to this gun but I am impressed with the ease of rapidly finding the front/rear sites. For me the shorter mag didn’t fit well for my hands and I also found my finger sliding too far past the normal resting point. The clip did appear to be sloppy in fit as it moved around as if it wasn’t seated properly.

    I can’t believe the BS written about the name of the gun although it is imprinted way to large on the gun.

    So far for me this will be my CC gun after I get a proper holster.

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