Discover the Best Handgun: Ultimate Handgun Comparison Guide!
The first recorded use of a handgun in history was in China in the 10th century. It was a simple tube on the end of a spear which was filled with gunpowder and shrapnel, and then ignited. Within about a century a version which was specifically held in one hand was invented resulting in the first real handgun as we think of them today. Early handguns were problematic because they depended on having access to a source of fire in order to be discharged. This need was addressed around the 15th century and evolved into the familiar flintlock pistol. Handguns were still difficult to load and very inaccurate. With the development of the metal cartridge, a revolving cylinder that permitted loading several rounds at once, and a rifled barrel, handguns became a much more viable means of self defense. The last major change in handguns came in the 1880s when Hiram Maxim modified his recoil powered machine gun principles into handgun design. The result was the semi-automatic handgun, which could utilize more rounds than a revolver. If you are looking for the ultimate personal protection device, a good handgun may be just what you need.
The military, police and even concerned citizens are looking for the best handgun which fits their needs. Since the list of handguns is so long it can be very difficult to find the perfect handgun that suits your needs. Between the caliber, grip, and barrel length, it can be a challenge to pick out the best handgun. If you find yourself in an unexpected situation, what kind of handgun would want at your side? Honestly, you would probably be happy to have ANY handgun with you. But obviously since you are reading this, you are someone that plans ahead, and you don’t want just any old handgun, you want the best handgun possible.
The interactive chart of over 75 handguns below and the analysis that follows will help you decide what the best handgun is for you.
We all have our personal preferences on what makes a good handgun for Target Shooting or just to add to the collection, but in an extreme situation you want the absolute best handgun possible, and so we’re here to help.
What is a Handgun?
A handgun is the essential tool that can be used in the event you find yourself in a situation were you need to defend yourself or others.
A handgun is a firearm designed to be held and fired with one hand. Unlike a rifle or shotgun, the more compact size has made handguns the weapon of choice for personal protection since the mid 19th century. When selecting the best handgun to suit your needs, you can choose one handgun for home defense, another handgun for personal protection in public, and still a third handgun for sport, and maybe even a fourth handgun for target shooting. The primary consideration in selecting the best handgun is what you want to use it for.
Do you really think that Clint Eastwood in DIRTY HARRY would have made it through all the gun fights without his trusted Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum model 29 in his hand? Even Hollywood knows that you need the best handgun for the job.However, a semi-automatic handgun or small revolver is more likely to be in everyone’s price range and still provide many of the benefits that perhaps an “ideal” handgun would.
How To Find a Handgun That Meets Your Needs
In selecting handguns for personal defense in public, a handgun with a 2 inch barrel is preferable, to prevent a potential attacker from being able to grab your handgun in a close quarters encounter. Handguns for home protection, where you would expect to be a greater distance from your attacker, would make a hand gun with a 4 inch or 6 inch barrel preferable. Any handgun selected for personal protection should be a semi-automatic of larger caliber such as a 9mm or .45 caliber weapon; these weapons have the necessary firepower to stop an intruder. Guns selected for hunting need to have longer barrels so they may be equipped with sights. Handguns for target shooting should be .22 caliber weapons, to keep down the cost of ammunition.
Below you will find an interactive comparison chart of over 75 of the top handguns on the market today. But before you start drooling all over your next metal companion, lets take a look at what’s on this guide. Overall, rather than taking some guys advice on YouTube about what the best handgun is, look at the options and criteria to help you make the appropriate buying decision.
So, below you will find the Ultimate Handgun Comparison Guide to help you find the perfect handgun for you.
Ultimate Handgun Comparison Guide and Key
Included in the matrix are 8 columns:
- Handgun pictures
- Handgun brand and name/model
- Barrel Length – inches
- Weight – handgun weight in ounces
- Gun Action
- Shot capacity
- Price – MSRP
- Rating – The average user rating. This can be very helpful in deciding if people are satisfied with their purchase.
*Click on any of the columns to sort the data to help make your decision easier
|Smith & Wesson model 29||.44 Magnum||6.5"||$1129||5.0|
|Kimber Solo Carry DC||9mm||2.7"||$747||5.0|
|Taurus Milennium Pro||9mm, .40 S&W, 45 ACP||3.25"||$467||5.0|
|Springfield XD||9mm, .357 SIG, .40, .45 ACP||3",4",5"||$549||5.0|
|Springfield Loaded||9mm, .45 ACP||3"-5,6"||$1,055||5.0|
|Smith & Wesson M&P||9mm, .357 SIG, .40, .45 ACP||3.1"-5,5"||$449||5.0|
|Smith & Wesson 629||.44 Mag, .44 special||5"||$949||5.0|
|Smith & Wesson 617||.22 LR||6"||$829||4.0|
|Smith & Wesson 67||.38 Special||4"||$749||4.0|
|Smith & Wesson 64||.38 S&W Special +P||4"||$289||5.0|
|Smith & Wesson 36||.38 S&W Special +P||1.875"||$350||5.0|
|Smith & Wesson J-Frame Revolver||.22 LR, .22Mag, .38 Special, .357Mag||1.88"-5"||$549||3.5|
|Sig Sauer P250|
|.380 ACP, 9mm, .357 SIG, .40, .45 ACP||3.6"-4.7"||$450||5.0|
|Sig Sauer P238||.380 ACP, 9mm, .357 SIG, .40, .45 ACP||2.7"||$643||4.0|
|Sig Sauer P232||.380 ACP||3.6"||$649||5.0|
|Ruger Mk3||.22 LR||4.74"-6.88"||$379||4.0|
|Glock 30S||.45 ACP, 10mm||3.77"||$637||3.5|
|Clock 20||.45 ACP||4.6"||$637||4.0|
|Beretta M92||9mm, .40 S&W||4.9"||690||5.0|
|CZ75 Pro Duty||9mm, .40 S&W||3.8"||$499||4.0|
|CZ75 SP -01||9mm||3.7"||$660||4.0|
|Smith & Wesson 686 6"||.357 Mag, .38 S&W||6"||$829||4.5|
|Stoeger Cougar||9mm, .40, 45 ACP||3.6"||$469||4.5|
|Magnum Research Desert Eagle 1911||.45 ACP||4.33", 5.05"||$853||4.0|
|Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield||9mm, .40||3.1"||$449||4.0|
|Ruger LCP||.380 ACP||2.75"||$379||4.0|
|Ruger LCR||.22 LR, .38 Special, .357 Mag||1.88"||$525||5.0|
|Smith & Wesson M&P 45||.45 ACP||4.5"||$599||4.0|
|Wilson Combat Carry||.45 ACP||4"||$3,205||4.0|
|Sig Sauer P239||9mm, .357 SIG, .40||3.6",4"||$858||5.0|
|Sig Sauer P226||9mm, .357 SIG, .40||4.4-6"||$900||4.0|
|Sig Sauer P250||.380 ACP, 9mm, .357 SIG, .40, .45 ACP||3.6-4.7"||$468||4.0|
|Sig Sauer P290||9mm||2.9"||$758||4.0|
|Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380||.380 ACP||2.75"||$419||4.0|
|Ruger SP101||.22LR, .327 Fed Mag, .38 Special, .357Mag||2.25-4.20"||$639||4.5|
|Heckler & Koch P30||9mm, .40||3.85-4.44"||$1,054||4.0|
|Sig Sauer P938||9mm||3"||$795||4.0|
|Kahr PM45||.45 ACP||3.24"||$855||4.0|
|Kimber Crimson Carry II||.45 ACP||3"-5"||$1,176||4.5|
|Sig Sauer SP2022||9mm, .357 SIG, .40||3.9"||$400||4.0|
|Kimber Super Carry||.45 ACP||3"-,5"||$1,557||4.0|
|Springfield XD-S||9mm, .357 SIG, .40, .45 ACP||3-5"||$669||3.7|
|Smith & Wesson SW1911||9mm, .45 ACP||3-5"||$1,019||5.0|
|Kimber Tactical II||9mm, .45 ACP||3-5"||$1,285||5.0|
|Wilson Combat X-TAC||.45 ACP||4",5"||$2,760||5.0|
|Springfield XDm||9mm, .40 S&W, 45 ACP||3.8"-5.25"||$639||5.0|
|Springfield XD||.45 ACP||3.3"||$559||5.0|
|Sig Sauer P220||.45 ACP||3.9"-5"||$1,125||5.0|
|Sig Sauer P210||9mm||4.7"||$2,199||4.0|
|Taurus 24/7 G2||9mm, .40 S&W, 45 ACP||3.5"||$498||5.0|
|Springfield EMP||9mm, 40||3"||$1,345||4.5|
|Beretta 3032 Tomcat||.32 ACP||2.4"||$390||5.0|
|Auto Ordanance 1911||.45 ACP||5"||$637||4.5|
|Dan Wesson Titan||10mm||5"||$3,829||4.5|
|Magnum Research Micro Eagle||.380 ACP||2.22"||$467||3.5|
|Sig Sauer Mosquito||.22 LR||3.9",4.9"||$390||3.0|
|Rossi R85||.38 S&W Special +P||4"||$389||5.0|
|Taurus DT||.357 Mag||2"||$445||3.5|
|NAA .22 Magnum||.22 Mag||1",1.3",1.63"||$219||4.0|
|Springfield Operator||.45 ACP||4",5"||$1,387||3.5|
|Wilson Combat .38 Super Sentinel||.38 Super||3.6"||3875||5.0|
The handguns included on this chart actually only begin to scratch the surface. So many different manufacturers and models exist that there is no way that we could have listed everything. However, many exceptional handguns are included at every price range and from a wide variety of quality makers.
Most of the handguns included are automatic which many feel is an essential criteria for choosing a proper handgun. However, you will indeed notice several rovolver handguns that also make good options.
Review of the Top 5 Handguns
Honestly, most of the handguns included above are excellent options; but there are a few that we just need to point out as our favorites. Below you will find our top 5 picks for overall best handgun along with more and more detailed review of each. So, pull up a chair, lets dig into these options.
Wilson Combat .38 Super Sentinel
Bill Wilson’s latest handgun offering from Wilson Combat is the Super Sentinel in .38 Super. This caliber is not often seen today, but the .38 Super was developed as the first issued carry weapon for the FBI. It was the first single-stack magazine design for the 1911 platform, which makes the gun slimmer and easier to conceal. An advantage for the fledgling FBI of the 1930s was the ability of the round to penetrate bullet proof vests and car doors as well.
Springfield XD 9mm
With all of the excellent weapons out there, what does this one have to recommend it? If you go by reviews online, most users praise the gun’s reliability, noting apparently without exception, that there are no problems with the gun jamming. Most users also comment favorably on its light weight and note in their comments the fact that this handgun is extremely accurate. Surprisingly, many users also comment on the comfortable fit in their hand.
The high capacity magazine and 9mm capacity make it an excellent handgun for personal protection. It has enough firepower to deal with almost any situation. When it comes to practicing with the XD, the 9mm caliber means you won’t have to go to the bank for a loan just to buy ammunition. A final advantage over some other makes and models is that you don’t need any tools to break down and clean the weapon. The general consensus among the buying public is that this is an excellent weapon for the price.
Kahr Arms introduced the CW380 compact handgun at the 2013 Las Vegas SHOT Show to good reception by the firearms press. At less than five inches overall length and less than four inches in height, its small size makes it perfect for carry as a backup. The single stack magazine makes for a very slim handgun.
The .380 lacks the sheer power of some more common calibers such as the 9mm or the .40 Smith and Wesson. A weapon of this type is designed for use at very close range, across room sized distances. The .380 has more than enough punch to do that job with ease.Kahr has done a great job on the fit and finish of this handgun, and it handles and points well. Recoil is brisk but not overbearing, a very important consideration when firing a weapon of such small size. Reports are that this gun stays on target very well and its recoil does not interfere with that.The CW380 offers lots of quality in a price that makes owning it as a second or backup piece an easy decision. The small size, slim cross section and light weight make the CW380 attractive for an everyday concealed carry weapon as well.
Taurus Millennium Pro
Taurus International has long been known for its ergonomic handgun design. These guns are designed to fit the hand securely and to point well. They have a solid heft and feel, the balance is good and the price is right.
The Taurus Millennium Pro carries this tradition forward, and brings in quick handling due to its short length overall for the class. This handgun is available in several different calibers including 9mm, .40 Smith and Wesson and .45 ACP. One attractive option in .45 ACP offers a single stack magazine design for a slimmer overall weapon.In 2008 there was a flap over safety issues with one Millennium Pro model, the PT145. This appears to have been raised by the somewhat complicated safety system. This is not a mechanical issue, as there is a firing pin block that does not uncover the cartridge until the trigger is actually pulled. Even with the complicated safety, common sense gun handling rules tell you not to touch the trigger without a reason. Many gun shops will only recommend the Millennium Pro to experienced handgun users.The Millennium Pro is solidly built, lightweight, handles well and Taurus guns have a reliable reputation. This weapon is a good choice for its price, especially for experienced gun handlers.
Kimber Solo DC 9mm Carry Handgun
Kimber is a name synonymous with quality when it comes to a handgun featuring the 1911 Browning design. Military Police and beat cops alike are fans of the Kimber Solo, and it’s easy to see why.
Similar in size and shape to the Springfield XD, the Kimber Solo is one handgun that features ergonomic design with very thoughtful placement of necessary items such as the safety and the magazine release. Speaking of the magazine release, the magazine easily falls and clears the well when the release is pressed, making magazine changes quick and worry-free.
The grip design and geometry is comfortable and easy to manage when drawing the handgun out of its holster or putting it away. You can always replace the grips with new plus there are some other great accessories that go along with this gun.
Like every Kimber, the new Solo is a real eye pleaser. The satin finish and available fine wood grips complement each other perfectly. This piece is a joy to handle and the quality of workmanship is evident in its heft and finish.
Kimbers are well known for shooting reliability, and the new Solo is no disappointment in that department, either. Feeding problems, cartridge hangs and stovepipes are virtually non-existent when using a Kimber Solo.
The new Kimber Solo is definitely worthy of the family name. See what Guns&Ammo magazine has to say about this gun.
Because of highly publicized school and workplace shootings, gun owners and gun ownership have come under attack. What is completely ignored is the good that handguns do. Many people, particularly women, are afraid to own a handgun. Perhaps you would like to share with us what features prompted you to buy the gun you have, or maybe submit a review of a new gun on the market you are thinking of buying. When it seems that everything has been thought of, some manufacturer will come up with an improvement which will move their product to the top of your list.