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The Best Handguns for ____

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This collection of standouts includes offerings from Arex, Bersa, BUL Armory, Canik, Ermox Defense, Grand Power, Mossberg, Sig, and Tisas
This collection of standouts includes offerings from Arex, Bersa, BUL Armory, Canik, Ermox Defense, Extar, Grand Power, Mossberg, Sig, and Tisas

...of recent memory. We've reviewd about 400 handguns and most of them are good at what they were intended for, but some stand out for one reason or another. In this piece we'll take a look at some of the best we've reviewed. Exclusion from this list does not mean that a handgun isn't great, it's just not in recent memory. Additionally it's important to remember that with time and experience our tastes change. What was great in 2019 is likely still great, but our attention has been drawn elsewhere.

By Category, and in no particular order, here are some of the best we've handled, categorized by application as we see it. Options for higher and lower budgets deliberately chosen. Primary firearm link is to our compelte reviews, but prices listed here are current as of the date of publishing. For more information about a particular firearm I recommend opening the full review link in another tab.


Categories include:

Wow on the Range

General Purpose

Bedside Blaster

High Value Proposition

Comfy Carry Options


The Grand Power X-Caliber and the BUL Armory SAS II TAC 4.25
The Grand Power X-Caliber and the BUL Armory SAS II TAC 4.25

Wow On The Range: These are the pistols you absolutely enjoy on the range and that others are likely to ask about and want to try. Depending on your own personal preferances they may serve other rolls, but a universal trait is that they make for incredible range sessions.


BUL Armory SAS II TAC 4.25
BUL Armory SAS II TAC 4.25
  • BUL Armory SAS II TAC 4.25 This pistol makes shooting silly-easy as long as you can handle 1911-style operations and accept that they need more maintenance more often than the polymer striker-fired guns we've all grown lazy with. Bonus points if your range partner is proud of his Stacatto and learns you spent much less for a pistol with more features and is also reasonable for concealed carry.


Grand Power X-Calibur
Grand Power X-Calibur
  • Grand Power X-Calibur Less recoil than the common Bronwing action, a fluted rotating barrel, and made in a country that most Americans can't find on a map. An exotic experience from an exotic firearm. When the Mk23 models finally make it to the US they'll also be optics-ready.


The Grand Power K100, Canik METE SF, and Sig P365 X-Macro (shown with the Sharps Bros grip module)
The Grand Power K100, Canik METE SF, and Sig P365 X-Macro (shown with the Sharps Bros grip module)

General Purpose: This is a tough role to fill because the gun must have balance between traits that make them great for the range, or carry, or bedside.


Canik METE SF
Canik METE SF
  • Canik METE SF all of the METE line features, but in the classic 4" barrel, 15-round capacity size made famous by the Glock 19. Teya just used this at the Guardian Conference because it was close enough to her carry MC9, but a little softer to shoot and fit a basic Canik holster. Teya ran the METE SF with the Shield RMSC optic.


Grand Power K100
Grand Power K100
  • Grand Power K100 This has been a carry, training, and range favorite of mine for years though the 4.25" barrel may make it a little long for some to carry. No flutes on the barrel, but all of the amazing features that make Grand Power pistols so awesome to shoot. The single action may be a bit on the light and short side for some, but unless we get a wave of people demanding the decocker models we're unlikely to see them on the US market.


Sig P365 X-Macro
Sig P365 X-Macro
  • SIG P365 X-Macro While undeniably carry sized, this development of the P365 is also great on the range. The extra noise from the compensator is a factor to consider if you want ot carry it (LOUD indoors), but the good news is if you already own a P365 you can take advantage of the modularity to swap grips or slides to fit your needs for less than the cost of a new firearm. Our has been modified with the Sharps Bros grip module and a Holosun micro dot and really handles more like a mini race gun now.

As a complete pistol:


The Extar EP45, Bersa TPR9, and Arex Zero 2S
The Extar EP45, Bersa TPR9, and Arex Zero 2S

Bedside Blaster: It needs to have a rail for a light, and preferably a DA/SA trigger to keep things safe, but ready. Size is not as much of a factor, nor is weight, but reliability can not be questioned. Generally I prefer "house guns" be larger as that tends to afford better control and higher capacity. These options also serve well on the range.


Arex Zero 2S
Arex Zero 2S
  • Arex Zero 2S It's like a Sig P226, but with enhanced ergonomics and controls. These are beautifully built guns with that critical DA/SA capability. Their mass and size soaks up recoil for excellent control.


Bersa TPR9 also features completely ambidextrous controls.
Bersa TPR9 also features completely ambidextrous controls.
  • Bersa TPR9 Offering a little more muzzle velocity that the Arex, and with ambidextrous controls, the TPR9 has been one of our beside choices for years.


Extar EP45
Extar EP45
  • Extar EP45 while large-format pistols may not often come to mind, having something easy to handle with high capacity and plenty of rail space is a great option. Why 45acp? Thought more expensive for range time, once you have your defense ammo let it sit. 45acp has less chance of over-penetration, and out of a longer barrel like the EP45 the extra velocity helps ensure that hollow point is going ot expand to the maximum.


The TIsas PX-9 Gen 3 Duty, Ermox Defense X-Fire, Arex Delta M OR, and BUL Armory Axe C Cleaver
The TIsas PX-9 Gen 3 Duty, Ermox Defense X-Fire, Arex Delta M OR, and BUL Armory Axe C Cleaver

High Value Proposition: What gets you a great gun at a competitive price? What can you buy without regretting cost or what you get out of it?

Tisas PX-9 Gen 3 Duty
Tisas PX-9 Gen 3 Duty
  • Tisas PX-9 Gen 3 Duty Overall size is the only thing that keeps this from being a cary option as I know many of you prefer to carry something smaller. The PX-9 Gen 3 is one heck of a pistol, especially at its price point. This pistol was also in our list for Best Striker Triggers. The PX-9 Gen 3 Duty could also serve well in the "general purpose" category.


BUL Armory Axe C Cleaver
BUL Armory Axe C Cleaver
  • BUL Armory Axe C Cleaver Imagine a $1,200+ custom Glock 19 from 2017, then make it better, then offer it for less than the cost of a basic Glock 19. All the improvements one mgiht want to make the Glock platform done well and at a very reasonable price.

  • Arex Delta M The Delta M is also a good carry option, but the real treat of this pistol is that it's also a chassis-system pistol meaning that grips and slides can be swapped out to transform the same "firearm" into other sizes. The Delta is also slimmer and lighter than most of its competition. This might make for slightly more recoil, but also more comfort in carry.

Ermox Defense X-Fire
Ermox Defense X-Fire
  • Ermox Defense X-Fire A newcomer to the US market, I bought one taking a chance and was very impressed with performance, even more so for the low price. The barrel and magazines are interchangable with Gen 3 Glocks. That's great news for magazine availability, but I wouldn't dare downgrade the barrel with a swap. The X-Fire is heavier than I care to carry, but is a spectacular range gun and the uniqueness could warrant it a spot elsewhere on this list.


The BUL Armory SAS II UL 3.25, Lone Wolf Arms Dusk 19, Canik METE MC9, and Mossberg MC2SC
The BUL Armory SAS II UL 3.25, Lone Wolf Arms Dusk 19, Canik METE MC9, and Mossberg MC2SC

Comfy Carry Options: Of course comfort and what one desires in a carry gun can vary greatly, but these picks fit a range of budget and tastes. Ammunition and Firearm manufacturers seem to want us to forget that 9mm loading specifications assume a 4" barrel. If you opt for something shorter I suggest seeking either +p ammo or that which is specifically formulated to perform at lower speeds.


BUL Armory SAS II UL 3.25
BUL Armory SAS II UL 3.25
  • BUL Armory SAS II UL 3.25 I carried this all summer because it's lighter weight and surprisingly has higher capacity than my K100. If you can train to run a 1911 (and maintain it) this is a great option that shoots like a bigger gun than the weight and 3.25" barrel would have you expect.

Canik METE MC9
Canik METE MC9
  • Canik METE MC9 A favorite of Teya's, this "micro compact" is practically a sub-compact, but that also means it's a lot more enjoyable to shoot. Acceptance of regular Canik magazines is a bonus for anyone who already owns a Canik pistol. As with most of the Canik line the price is competitive, but the kit that comes with it offers more. Holster selection was the reason Teya chose the METE SF over the MC9 for the Guardian Conference.

Lone Wolf Arms Dusk 19
Lone Wolf Arms Dusk 19
  • Lone Wolf Arms Dusk 19 With more than two decades of aftermarket Glock parts experience it only makes sense that Lone Wolf would offer a complete pistol. The Dusk 19 incorporates all of the things folks want done to a Glock and some that can't be done. The end result is a shooting experience unlike any Glock and a profile that is slim and sculpted well to melt behind clothing for carry use.

Mossberg MC2SC
Mossberg MC2SC
  • Mossberg MC2SC Easily one of the most under-rated pistols on the market, and unfrotunately as a result also under-served with holster options. The Mossberg line of pistols are all incredibly comfortable to shoot and handle, plus their melted lines should make for a great carry option if you can find an appropriate holster for it.


What Other categories are you looking for? What has been your best find, or even what you ended up with in each category? I realize that as reviewers we have the opportunity to try more guns than most local shops even carry, let alone that a regular consumer can try. If your pick suits you then there's nothing wrong with it, the list above is simply curated based on our experiences and the ability to consider different options.

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7 Comments


Donny Muraco
Donny Muraco
Nov 10, 2023

Stay away from BUL Armory. The company is corrupt. My uncle worked in a small Miami office. They use cheap materials and charge premium prices. They get away with paying no taxes. I forgot how. But it was definitely crooked. There's some Israeli guy named Gal who tried to solicit a 12 year old boy at a gun range. The case got dismissed but still not cool. My uncle quit after learning of the pedophile behavior of Gal. After doing some research the guys name is Gal Gadon. Child molester. There's so much more I can divulge about the shady business of BUL. BUL-crap is what they are.

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Graham Baates
Graham Baates
Nov 12, 2023
Replying to

Your spam comments have been fact checked and found false. Take your garbage elsewhere or be banned.

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SRGross
SRGross
Oct 06, 2023

Greetings, I am looking at getting a Grand Powers p1, I was wondering which one had the decocker, aka model number. Thank You

Scott

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Graham Baates
Graham Baates
Oct 06, 2023
Replying to

The information I have for Grand Powers is all here: https://www.gbgunsdepot.com/post/the-grand-power-pistol-guide the decockers haven't been imported for a while. Please let Global Ordnance know you're looking for one. I think is even just haf the people that told me they want a decocker told Global Ordnance, we might have more imported.

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Now 71 (when did THAT happen?) I’ve already made the decision on a replacement for my beloved P365XL, when that time comes. The P365 380, which was so well reviewed by GBGuns. All I’ll have to do is slide my Holosun 407k over from my P365XL. Even the XL holsters will work, should I so desire. I got it shortly after the GBGuns review and it was love at first sight. It’s fully tested and ready to go.


Here’s the thing, I’ve test carried it a few times and I’m sorely tempted to make the switch now. It’s so light and unobtrusive I can almost forget it’s on my Kore Essential belt in the summer. It’s also so small…

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GB;

In the EDC size category, I like my SA Hellcat Pro better than the various larger sizes of my basic P365 that I 'franken-gunned' with a P365XL Wilson Combat grip module. And, with the 17-round magazines now directly available from SA, I no longer need the 'pinky extensions' I got from NDZ Performance to fit my XL hand, with 2 more rounds in the stack.

On the other hand, I'm fond of the Beretta APX A1 I bought for a net cost of $279 after the recent rebate - it's a duty-sized pistol that's tough to find a holster for, but a DeSantis Variable made for a Sig M18 fits it just fine.

Another duty-sized pistol I'm really fond…

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Stu Pine
Stu Pine
Sep 29, 2023

The MC2SC works well with a Sticky holster!!

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