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The concealed carry pistol market has exploded in the last few years. Single stack striker-fired 9mm handguns specifically designed for concealed carry are especially hot — GLOCK has the G43, S&W has the Shield… The list goes on. One new manufacturer in this market is Honor Defense, a small business that’s bringing out their very first handgun: the Honor Guard. It’s a mixture of a few of my favorite things, and one of the very first production models just landed on my desk . . .

I’ve shot it before and liked it a lot. Jeremy S. agrees, and said so in his earlier post about the gun. That’s a good start, but there’s a lot more under the surface for this handgun. The Honor Guard handgun is like the ungodly love child of a SIG SAUER P320 and S&W Shield. The overall design is very similar to the Shield; a svelte handgun that fits well in the hand and shoots just as nicely as it looks.

Under the hood it has a removable chassis system like the P320, an innovation that I’m legitimately surprised more manufacturers haven’t used in their designs. The ability to swap out the grip to exactly fit your hand and your mission is a huge benefit — especially when there’s some nifty options available.


One model of this gun that RF particularly likes features a protruding snout, something that Honor Defense calls their FIST or Firearm with Integrated Standoff. The idea is that at bad breath distance, you can press the muzzle directly into the bad guy and the firearm will continue to cycle, since the FIST keeps the barrel from directly contacting the target.

It’s a simple, slick idea and very practical in a gunfight, but I’m not sold on how comfortable that is to carry every day. Thankfully, with the interchangeable chassis system you aren’t stuck with your decision, since you can swap out the frame with the push of a couple buttons and add or remove the FIST as needed.

I’ll be taking it to the range this week to put it through its paces, but I already have a pretty good idea how well it shoots. The real question is whether it will stand up to the abuse of a heavy firing schedule, and how well it works as an everyday carry gun. Stay tuned.

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  1. I cannot remember how many DGU’s have ended with a gun jammed or unable to fire because of contact with the bad guy. Zimmerman/Martin come to mind. This gun tries to address that issue.

    Looks functional in a compressed cheez whiz sorta way.

    • If I recall correctly, Darren Wilson testified that he pulled the trigger several times during his struggle with Brown then the gun finally went off, perhaps suggesting the gun was out of battery then returned to battery.

      • He explained that the gun did not fire because the gun was being grabbed, not because the muzzle was contacting something. The FIST wouldn’t have helped in that situation.

    • I’m a big fan of the built-in standoff the FIST provides. With a decent holster, the protrusion shouldn’t be an issue for the carrier at all.

  2. You know what would be freakin awesome? If they made that stand off spring loaded so that it popped out when you pulled the trigger and stayed out till you manually retracted it. It would profile and conceal better… and it would be freaking awesome.

    • I like that idea. It wouldn’t be too complicated or heavy, and it’d be simple, and solve the carry/conceal issue.

      • No one says you have to retract it immediately after you’re done shooting, or that it would require you to stick your hand in front of the muzzle.

        • Or when you reholster it, you could press a secondary release button to have it go back in with a firm press down into the holster

  3. Thats a slick looking pistol. I like the snout idea, one of concerns about the auto simply solved.But if its for self defense, whys it in 9mm.?…… lol

  4. The ability to swap out the grip to exactly fit your hand and your mission is a huge benefit — especially when there’s some nifty options available.

    Also, it makes cleaning soooo much easier. Maybe this is just me as a former military guy who likes a clean gun, but is also enough of an amateur that I am reluctant to disassemble the little fiddly bits in a pistol, but I just think that Sig 320 is a joy to clean.

    • Getting a P320 is like getting a smart phone… you really don’t know how you got along without it. It is so freaking easy to pop out the whole guts, blast it with gun scrubber, rub some lube in and throw the whole thing back together.

  5. I want this pistol to be successful. The creators seem like good people, and you can never have too much free market competition! My only questions are: MSRP? And where are you going to find a holster for this one?

    • There are custom makers who will build a holster for anything. I would be more worried about availability of magazines, parts and alternatives to standard sights as well as the quality of customer service should there be a problem with the gun.

      I’m especially interested in three things from the review:
      * Weight and quality of the trigger.
      * Height of the bore axis with respect to the hand.
      * Length of the front strap measured from the bottom of the trigger guard. (2-1/4 inches is long enough to fit all three of my fingers.)

      • Minus the standoff part, the gun looks so similar to a shield (nearly freaking identical) that I wouldn’t be surprised if it fit in holsters designed for the smith

    • If you go to Honor Defense website, they have a list of several holster manufacturors that will work. Specifically, I really like They make a high quality Kydex holster. I have one for my HK45. It’s really nice. And they make one specifically for HG9. One note, fitted holsters and fully or partially closed muzzle holsters WILL NOT WORK with the FIST frame.

  6. Nick,
    Thanks for the comments, and the upcoming review.
    For clarification, I am not a veteran.

    One of the greatest honors in the world is to serve our nation in some capacity.
    Supporting these heroes is why we exist.

  7. I noticed you guys didn’t include a picture of the other side of the gun. I was looking forward to all the comments about the gaudy engraving of “HONOR GUARD”.

  8. I’ll have to want this one from afar. Been wanting a solid concealed 9 for carrying at work. I’m sure this was addressed when the P320 came out, but it would be legal/ possible for them to release a carbine chassis would it not? Going from handgun to rifle, as opposed to the reverse, is ok amiright?

  9. I got to actually hold one of these yesterday at my LGS. It felt very solid in hand and had a pretty decent trigger. Price was $420.

  10. I had an opportunity to shoot this in both standard and FIST. Really no difference in shooting.

    The gun is amazing. I’ve shot G43 and Shield and this gun tops them both. The build quality, engineering and trigger are top notch and much better than the competition. Incredibly comfortable in the hand and no long term grinding or chaffing. Shot over 100 rounds and zero malfunctions. Trigger is nice and smooth, but perhaps a little long on reset. Sights are great with big ole orange dot up front. Definitely recommend this gun. Going to pick one up soon.

    Also, in person, the HONOR GUARD logo is not nearly as pronounced as it is in the photos. Barely noticeable, seriously. Internet photos do it no justice.

    And Mr. Ramey has been very professional and approachable to some feedback i provided him.

  11. I just handled a FIST version yesterday, and A-B’d it with a Shield. HOW the HG folks got this to market w/o Smith suing their pants off, I don’ tknow. The external lines and look are obvious. The rear of the slide and striker cover plate appear to be a duplicate. The mag tube and follower seems to be a clone. The critical difference is that the latching on the HG is done on the front of the tube to deal with their ambi release button. The difference in the hand is between the two is huge. I’ve always felt that the distance from backstrap to front strap on the Shield is awkwardly long. The HG’s reduced this to ‘just right’! Their frame texturing is amazing. Trigger reminds me a bit of a stock 1911, with a short, heavy release. I THOUGHT the sharp edges would bother me, but at least it didn’t surface in a few dry-snaps. Sights are amazing! Closest to what you may have seen elsewhere is the Bersa BP, where the front dot is visually larger than the two at rear. Save this front is blaze orange.

    • Vic, thanks for the compliments on the gun and noticing the differences. On a sub-compact pistol, the rear-end of just about all pistols look the same because you have to accommodate sights and action of the striker housing. But we are glad folks notice there are remarkable design, material, operational and comfort features.
      Btw, if you look inside, you’ll note that ours is machined stainless steel and not plastic.
      The Honor Guard also has a stainless steel chassis (no one has a thicker stainless chassis). And we designed it so there is no tool or putting your finger in the breech to move a lever or a
      trigger pull needed for disassembly.

  12. “If you go to Honor Defense website,”

    Is this part of the TTAG style manual, they don’t put a link to the website of the manufacturer of the gun they review?

    I guess its better than Firearm News, where they barely even proof their articles…

  13. I fired mine for the first time today. Love it! I’m a newby and had a trainer by my side. I clustered my shots from 15 yards in a tight ball just low and left. Did have a couple of issues, so emailed company using online contact form. That was about 5:30 PM Central. I had a personal reply from Gary before 7:15 PM Central. Today!

  14. Everything here sounds great for a lefty like me, any shops in Virginia that have an Honor Guard I could look at?


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