1.  Glock 19

2.  Springfield Armory XD-M

3.  Sig Sauer P320

4.  Heckler & Koch VP9

5.  Springfield Armory Hellcat

6.  Ruger American Compact

7.  Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ

8.  Mossberg M2C

9.  CZ P-09

10. Beretta 92FS

 

When it comes to backup or self-defense sidearms, you can’t beat the versatility of 9 mm pistols. But if you want to concealed carry your pistol, you’ll need a compact 9 mm firearm rather than a standard size firearm.

Fortunately, plenty of the best firearm manufacturers in the world make excellent 9 mm compact pistols for a variety of users, budget levels, and personal needs. Today, let’s break down the eight best 9 mm compact pistols you can find on the market in 2021.

 

What is a Compact Pistol?

There isn’t a single definition for what constitutes a “compact pistol” beyond the fact that they are smaller than full-size or standard duty service pistols, like those used by many law enforcement officers.

But in most cases, firearm manufacturers create compact pistols that have barrel lengths between 3.5 inches and 4.5 inches. As a result, their barrels are slightly smaller than full-size barrels from bigger firearm counterparts. Compact 9mms are great for holstering in tight, concealed holsters because of this.

Additionally, many compact pistols have grips that fit users’ hands without magazines. When you hold a compact pistol, you’ll see less of the weapon’s grip exposed beneath your fist. Because of these size differences, many compact pistols weigh less than full-size pistols and are typically constructed for smaller calibers of ammunition.

Fortunately, you can find plenty of 9 mm compact pistols for sale today!

One last note: compact pistols are not the same thing as subcompact pistols. Subcompact or mini pistols are even smaller than compact pistols. They frequently feature even shorter barrels and their grips will vanish inside your fist when you hold them. Many firearm enthusiasts will use either compact or subcompact pistols for concealed carry or self-defense needs.

But because they are smaller, subcompact pistols can’t always use the same calibers of ammunition as their compact counterparts.

 

What to Look for in a 9mm Compact Pistol?

While there are plenty of great compact pistols to check out, you should also keep some key factors in mind when shopping. By doing this, you’ll know exactly what to look for in the perfect compact 9mm for your needs.

 

Mag Capacity

For starters, consider the mag capacity that a 9 mm compact pistol boasts. Many 9 mm compact pistols can only fit between 10 and 14 9 mm cartridges depending on the size of their grips. Naturally, more magazine capacity means you can fire more shots before you have to reload.

However, larger magazines also impact the weapon’s weight. If you want a smaller, more compact firearm, you may have to compromise when it comes to mag capacity.

 

Good Grip

You should also keep the grip quality and/or texture of a 9 mm compact pistol in mind when buying. The best pistol grips will be textured and easy to hold, even if your palms become sweaty after several hours on the range or in a tense self-defense situation. Textured grips make the pistols they’re installed on harder to drop.

However, some 9 mm pistols may also include exchangeable grip plates. These allow you to customize your grip to some extent depending on your palm size and personal preferences.

 

Sights

Next, keep the optics or installed sights for a given 9 mm compact pistol in mind. Some pistols come with excellent iron sights or other optics, such as front sights with tritium lamps. These optics are great since they don’t rely on batteries and can provide you with aiming assistance for years to come without needing any maintenance.

However, you may also want to consider whether your pistol can take additional optics or accessories. If you like to customize your firearms or add sights or suppressors, you’ll need a 9 mm compact pistol that has the barrel space and/or rail to facilitate these additions.

For the best results, try to find a 9 mm compact pistol that features either a top or under the barrel rail already installed. If your firearm doesn’t have a rail installed by default, you can purchase a Weaver or Picatinny style rail for many firearm models, though this will take some work on your end to install.

 

Durability

Lastly, you’ll want to investigate the durability of a 9 mm compact pistol before buying. Some of the best 9 mm compact pistols will include exterior finishes that add even more durability and weatherproofing functionality to the firearms. Weatherproof pistols can be relied upon even in inclement weather, like rain or snow, making them great for hunters or individuals who want reliable self-defense backup firearms.

But it’s a good idea to get durable pistols no matter what since you’ll spend less money purchasing replacement pistols over the years to come. Stainless steel and durable polymers are two of the best material types to prioritize in your search.

 

The 10 Best 9mm Compact Pistols

Not sure which 9 mm compact pistol will be perfect for your unique needs? Here are 10 excellent choices we think most firearm fans will appreciate.

1. Glock 19

The Glock 19 is one of the best 9 mm pistols overall, but it’s also a stellar compact pistol choice thanks to its small size and durable build. This popular Glock offering is used by many law enforcement agencies and government officials around the world.

With a magazine capacity of 15 rounds with another in the chamber, the Glock 19 ensures you always have plenty of ammo to take down an attacker, even though it’s a compact firearm.

There’s a lot to like with this firearm, including a textured grip and safety-focused trigger that only pulls completely when you put pressure on the center of the lever. A specialized thumb indentation makes this Glock even more comfortable than previous generations.

Many also appreciate the Glock 19 thanks to its customizability, as you can add optics to this gun without too much trouble. However, it lacks a rail for lasers or lights, so you may need to get one separately.

 

Specs:

  • Price: $589.99
  • Manufactured by: Glock
  • Action: DAO
  • Barrel Length: 4 inches
  • Overall length: 7.28 inches
  • Weight: 23.63 oz.
  • Caliber gauge: 9mm Luger
  • Capacity: 15+1

2. Springfield Armory XD-M

You can’t have a complete review of the best 9 mm compact pistols without at least one Springfield model. The XD-M is a phenomenal choice if you don’t like the Glock 19 for whatever reason, as it’s not too expensive and it comes with a curved, textured grip that is distinct in this industry.

 

The XD-M is a recent evolution of the standard XD, and it retains the prior model’s accuracy and reliability. It features a reasonable capacity of 14 cartridges in the mag and one in the chamber, and its barrel length is quite short at 3.8 inches. The fiber-optic front sight is accurate and the trigger is smooth, crisp, and safety-oriented.

 

This pistol can be chosen with an extra-capacity magazine with enough space for 19 cartridges, though keep in mind that this may make it incompatible with certain concealed carry holsters.

 

The XD-M® Elite Precision is designed to deliver amazing performance downrange. Combining a match-grade 5.25″ barrel with the excellent META (match enhanced trigger assembly) trigger system — the finest factory trigger available in a polymer-framed pistol — the Elite Precision stands out from the crowd. Combine this with improved slide serrations and an extended and flared magwell that mates up with an amazing 22+1 capacity, and you have the finest polymer-framed pistol available today.

 

Specs:

  • Price: $614.99
  • Manufactured by: Springfield Armory
  • Action: Semi-Automatic
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Barrel Length: 5.25 inches
  • Weight: 1.88 Lbs.
  • Capacity: 22+1

3. Sig Sauer P320

Sig Sauer is a favorite firearm brand for law enforcement professionals in the US, and for good reason. Their P320 9 mm compact pistol is an excellent firearm through and through, featuring a textured grip with removable panels you can swap out for different textures or shapes according to your preferences.

 

This pistol also features a thick if short barrel, with an underside mounting rail for attachments. The pistol overall is made of a durable and long-lasting polymer. The weapon comes with front and night sights by default, but you can also add additional optics after the fact if you prefer a different setup.

 

The X-Series Straight trigger may not be as safety-oriented as some of the other models we’ve seen so far, but it is crisp and feels extremely satisfying to pull.

 

Specs:

  • Price: $519.99
  • Manufacture: Sig Sauer
  • Action: Semi-Automatic
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Barrel Length: 3.9 inches
  • Weight: 26 ounces
  • Capacity: 15+1

4. Heckler & Koch VP9

The HK VP9 is another reliable and well-made 9 mm pistol, featuring a durable chassis and a thick grip that includes finger grooves for easier holding each time you pull the trigger. It has a capacity of 10 rounds in the mag plus one in the chamber, although it is a little heavy at 1.6 pounds relative to other compact 9mm pistols.

 

The VP Series is well suited for civilian sport shooting and is also used in law enforcement. A nitride black finish will resist corrosive damage and the pistol is further bolstered by an under-the-barrel rail where you can add lasers or other aftermarket attachments depending on your preferences.

 

Specs:

  • Price: $663.99
  • Manufactured by: Heckler & Koch
  • Caliber 9mm Luger
  • Action: Semi-automatic
  • Barrel Length: 4.09 inches
  • Weight: 25.6 ounces
  • Capacity: 10+1

5. Springfield Armory Hellcat

Springfield returns once again with the Hellcat pistol, a small firearm that only stands 4 inches tall and 6 inches long. Due to its small size, it has a smaller than average capacity of 11+1, but it makes up for it with a light weight of just 17.9 ounces.

 

The magazine sits flush against the grip, making it a perfect choice for concealed carry magazines. You also have the option of choosing a 13 round magazine if that suits your needs better.

 

Regardless, each Hellcat comes with a durable polymer frame, an adaptive grip texture, and a beavertail beneath the slide to help control recoil. A matte black finish rounds out this pistol’s exceptional attributes.

 

Specs:

  • Price: $499.99
  • Manufactured by: Springfield Armory
  • Action: Double
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Barrel Length: 3 inches
  • Weight: 17.9 ounces
  • Capacity: 11+1

6. Ruger American Compact

The Ruger American compact is considered by some to be an ultra-compact pistol, although in our eyes it sits right on the border between the compact and subcompact categories. In any event, it features a short, 3.55-inch barrel and a reasonable capacity of 12+1.

More importantly, this pistol has a stainless steel slide and a matte black nitride finish to facilitate long-term durability and corrosion resistance. The fixed sights are low and perfect for ensuring a smooth draw if you use this firearm with a concealed carry holster. Users will also like the under-frame rail mount with three locking points, the ambidextrous manual safety and slide stop, and the safety lever in the center of the trigger.

Specs:

  • Price: $499.99
  • Manufactured by: Ruger
  • Barrel Length: 3.55 inches
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Weight: 1.8 Lbs.
  • Capacity: 12+1 or 17+1 Rounds

7. Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ

Smith & Wesson’s M&P9 Shield EZ is a variant of the classic M&P9, featuring a relatively low-capacity magazine but offering an easy shooting experience that will be quite preferable for those without a lot of practice. This is a perfect gun if you don’t have a lot of physical strength, as it features an easy-to-retract slide and easily accessible controls.

It only weighs 23.8 ounces and has a reversible magazine grip. You can choose a regular or ambidextrous thumb safety, and the firearm’s three-dot sights come customizable for windage so you can compensate for this variable when shooting outdoors. The frame also boasts a Picatinny rail mount if you want to add a laser or light after the fact. The Shield EZ is also quite easy to disassemble, as you don’t have to pull the trigger to take it apart for regular cleaning.

 

Specs:

  • Price: $555.99
  • Manufacture: Smith & Wesson
  • Action: Semi-Auto
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Barrel Length: 3.675 inches
  • Weight: 23.8 ounces
  • Capacity: 8+1

8. Mossberg M2C

Mossberg’s MC2C compact 9 mm pistol is a high-capacity model with 13 rounds in the magazine and one in the barrel, plus an option for an extended 15 round magazine. It’s a little taller than other compact weapons, but it features a lot of excellent design choices, including a center-trigger lever for extra safety and an optional crossbow safety located behind the trigger itself.

 

This pistol also features a stainless steel barrel and slide, a few choices for a black finish, and low-profile three-dot sights. The trigger-pull, you should note, is fixed at 5.5 pounds and it only travels about half an inch.

 

Specs:

  • Price: $449.99
  • Manufactured by: Mossberg
  • Barrel Length: 3.9 inches
  • Overall Length: 7.1 inches
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Weight: 21 oz
  • Capacity: 13+1

9. CZ P-09

At the risk of sounding like a bunch of CZ fans, the P-09 is an amazing addition to the world from the Czechs.

If the SP-01 with its alloy frame is a little too old-school for you, the P-09 might solve everything with its polymer frame — but still retains the 75/SP-01 feel.

Double-action/single-action trigger, 1913 rail, 19 rounds in the magazine (or more if you get extended mags), and several flavors from night sights to suppressor-ready models, the P-09 is in every way a modern combat pistol.

While most polymer pistols can feel very monotone in your hands, like they are all almost the same, the P-09 stands out with better out of the box ergonomics than basically any other polymer pistol on the market.

It might not feel exactly like something from the CZ-75 family, it is very close.

One of the biggest design features it shares is the very low bore-axis — meaning your barrel is closer to the top of your hand than normal.

This dramatically improves handling and reduces muzzle flip making follow-up shots faster, smoother, and more accurate.

If you want a polymer pistol that feels like a real gun, try the P-09 on for size.

Larger size for ease of use, models that come standard with night sights or suppressor-ready, a rail for a light, and a huge magazine capacity from the factory — this is what sets the P-09 a step above the rest.

 

Specs:

  • Price: $682.99
  • Manufactured by: CZ
  • Caliber: 9MM
  • Barrel Length: 5.2 In.
  • Action: Semi Auto
  • Weight: 1.9 Lbs.
  • Capacity: 21+1

10. Beretta 92FS

There is a good chance that you have seen the Beretta92FS or a similar model in action movies.

The 92 series, which is famously featured in classics such as Die Hard and Lethal Weapons, is one of the most popular and widely used pistols by both military and police forces.

A full-sized, alloy framed, double-action/single-action trigger, 9mm using a falling locking block for incredibly mechanical accuracy — this is hands down one of our favorite guns.

Beretta has made many improvements to the 92 series over the decades. The 92FS was the original, while the M9 was adopted by the US Military in 1986. Modern incarnations like the M9A3 and the 92X have taken the competition world by storm in recent times.

All of them are good choices for both beginners and experienced shooters.

The M9A3 would be my top choice if I had to choose one of them over others. The 92FS/M9 is still an amazing model, but this model has some new features and addresses the common grip thickness issue.

A slightly redesigned frame with slimmer grips, a 1913 rail for mounting lights, and sights that are easy to replace — the M9A3 is the final iteration of their military/police-grade pistols and is simply great.

 

Specs:

  • Price: $650.99
  • Manufactured by: Beretta
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Barrel Length: 4.9 In.
  • Action: Semi Auto
  • Weight: 2.2 Lbs.
  • Capacity: 10+1

Wrap Up

As you can see, you have a lot of choices in terms of quality 9 mm pistols. Take a look at the options above and consider your choices carefully before making a final purchase – that way, you can be sure that you’ll be satisfied with your buy and will enjoy your firearm for years to come. Good hunting out there!