Top Defensive Handguns According to Readers

Last month we asked our readers what their top defensive handgun was according to brand. Within a week we had thousands of responses and a good grasp on what our readers choose for a defensive pistol. Here are the results, ranked by popularity.

Glock – G19 and G43

Glock G19X with magazine in a field of green grass

Suns out, guns out with the Glock G19X, which has proven much more popular than people thought it would at launch two years ago. (Photo: Chris Eger/

The name that is perhaps most synonymous with polymer striker-fired guns offered no surprises. For years the G19 has been a staple defensive pistol and for good reason. The mix of accuracy, reliability and capacity has made this a fan favorite for concealed carry and home defense. The G43 was the runner-up but didn’t even register half the tally of the G19. Here are some things that our readers had to say about one of the most popular pistols ever made.

“Accurate enough for match work (USPSA and IDPA) and it just points more naturally for me than any other gun I have ever held. Got my first G19 when they first hit the U.S. market and I’ve been carrying one since then.”

“It’s small enough to conceal but large enough to easily handle the recoil and accurately place quick follow up shots.”

“Why a Glock? Because I can trust it with my life. When you pull the trigger, it goes boom every time. Reliability is priceless.”

Perfection. That’s the slogan for Glock and fans seem to think it lives up to the hype. Looking for a G19 in your life? We have plenty in stock right now, check them out by clicking the button below.

GET A G19!

Smith & Wesson – Shield 9mm and M&P 9

S&W Shield 9mm

Ol’ reliable. The S&W Shield has been a concealed carry staple for years. (Photo: Scott Gara/

The overwhelming favorite from S&W was the Shield 9mm, with the M&P9 coming in behind its smaller sibling. People love the reliability and weight of the gun, among other features. It’s a popular concealed carry choice among new and seasoned vets of concealed carry, including some of the editorial staff at

“M&P Shield 2.0 9mm with laser. Fits in the front pocket of my work overalls. Never had any issues with it.”

“In the holster on my right hip. Easy to conceal, shoots like a dream.”

“S&W Shield 9mm, strong side IWB, in a DeSantis SlimTuk. The Shield for a balance of cost, performance and concealability, the SlimTuk for a simple clip type holster. I also carry a spare magazine.”

Safe, dependable and easy to conceal, the Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm is one of the most popular carry pistols for good reason. To find both original and updated 2.0 models click the button below.


Sig Sauer – P365 and P320

P365 SAS

The P365 comes in many flavors, including the SAS model pictured here. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

The darling of the sub-compact concealed carry world for the past two years, the Sig P365 offered no surprises slipping in as one of the top dogs. Though popular, the larger P320 didn’t register half the votes of the P365. People love the concealability and capacity of the P365, not to mention plenty of aftermarket support. Check out what else fans of the P365 have to say about it:

“365 or 365 SAS, 124-grain Speer Gold dot ammo. Light, fast, accurate, excellent pointability and of course reliability.”

“EDC is the Sig P365 with an IWB holster appendix carry, with a spare mag in my back pocket and small 800 lumens flashlight in front left pocket.”

“I haven’t changed anything on the pistol. I would have added night sights, but they came with the gun. I choose it because it’s comfortable to carry and has good capacity with the flush fit mag and carry the 15-round mag for back up. It’s accurate and fun to shoot for such a small pistol.”

With praise like that it’s no wonder that the Sig P365 won numerous awards and has seen record sales since its launch. Now available in a number of varieties including the 12+1 XL variety. Find all flavors of P365 by clicking the button below.

GET A P365!

Ruger – LCP and LC9

Ruger LCP

The LCP is a popular carry pistol due to its small size. (Photo: Don Summers/

The Ruger LCP and LC9 are among the most affordable and reliable handguns you can get. People love these guns for their proven track record, size and easy concealment. The LCP received just 9 more votes than its bigger sibling, the LC9, a close race for Ruger. Here’s what Ruger fans had to say about the LCP:

“Convenient and easy to carry pistol, equipped with laser sights. Great grips for my small hand.”

“The Ruger LCP is a nice small handgun that fits in my pocket very easy. The .380 caliber, at close range, is still a good size for stopping a threat. I catch this one on sale below $200.00, so the overall package was just what I needed.”

“LCP custom – has great sights and very easy to conceal in an office environment.”

The LCP has many different variations and even a model that comes with a laser. Check out what we have in stock by clicking the button below.


Springfield – XD-S and XD-M

Springfield XD-S

The Springfield Armory XD-S offers a familiar XD design in a small package. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Springfield Armory has been a staple in the concealed carry world since the release of the XD series in 2001. Both the XD-S and XD-M are featured in a variety of calibers and fans enjoy the reliability and concealability of these guns. The XD-S was the clear winner from Springfield but the XD-M also tallied a large number of votes as well. Check out what fans had to say about the XD-S specifically:

“I was looking for a sub-compact .45 ACP pistol. This one felt the best in my hand, the short grip is easier to conceal, the double-stack mag carries 9 rounds (over the 6 typical in a single stack), and the grip extension on the larger magazine is very comfortable to shoot at the range.”

“I use for both CCW and home. I chose Springfield armory because of its reliability.”

“I carry the XD-S .45 in an OWB holster that came with my Viridian green laser because it draws smoothly and activates the laser. I love shooting this gun because it is so accurate.”

Find all the variations of XD pistols by clicking the button below.


Beretta – M92 and PX4 Storm

Beretta 92S by a Asiatic Hybrid Lily

Even an old circa 1970s Beretta 92S needs to get out among the Asiatic lilies. (Photo: Chris Eger/

The Beretta 92 has been a go-to defensive pistol since the sidearm began production back in 1975. The unique Brigadier slide cuts down on the weight of the gun while ensuring reliability and smooth feeding. This handgun is one the most reputable guns in the world and its track record reflects that — having been adopted by militaries and law enforcement the world over.

The 15+1 round capacity makes this an ideal gun for any defensive situation you might find yourself in. The pistol has gone through a number of iterations over the years, including an upgrade for competition in the LTT variety. Check out why the readers enjoy this pistol:

“To me DA/SA in the AIWB is more reassuring than a striker-fired pistol. Using 18-round Mec-gar magazines allows me to carry 36 rounds in two magazines.”

“I like the 92FS safety and decocker system and it being double action in case of light primer strikes. I carry two spare mags and find its size, construction, capacity, accuracy, and ergonomics meet my needs excellently.”

“The Marine Corps chose it for me. Years of training… why re-learn another platform?”

Whether you’re looking to fill that 1980s action movie itch or you simply want a reliable gun, the Beretta M92 is here for you. Check out our selection by clicking the button below.

GET A M92!

Kimber – Micro 9 and Pro Carry

Kimber Micro 9

The Kimber Micro 9 has proven to be a popular carry choice among Kimber fans. (Photo: Don Summers/

Fans of Kimber enjoy the brand’s 1911-style controls, featured on all its pistols, and it shows in the comments. They must be doing something right because Kimber claims to be the largest producer of 1911 pistols in the world. Besides being a well-built gun, Kimbers are known for their stylish looks. Check out what our readers had to say about the Micro 9:

“Very accurate, comfortable, fits my hands the best, safety location and operation. I prefer double action and single stack for carrying.”

“Easy to conceal, comfortable to shoot good sights and laser grip set up included at a great price.”

“Kimber micro 9 due to size and extremely easy to conceal, not mention reliability.”

To see all the Kimber Micro 9 pistols we have in stock simply click the button below.


Walther – PPQ and PPS

Walther PPQ

The Walther PPQ is a great gun for competition or defensive scenarios. (Photo: Taylor Thorne/

Walther fans have raved about the PPQ for years. Lovers of the PPQ call specific attention to the trigger and the ergonomics as reasons for why this gun stands above others. The 15+1 capacity and Picatinny rail also allow it to be customized to the end user’s delight.

Though the PPQ was a clear winner, Walther’s PPS wasn’t far behind, bringing in nearly 70% of the tallies. Check out what our readers had to say about the PPQ:

“PPQ tactical with a Holosun optic. The Walther has good capacity and an excellent trigger and ergonomics.”

“5-inch version, with Trijicon HD sights and a Surefire x300. Its trigger is perfect and it has never failed me. shoots straight as a laser and I trust it to work.”

“Basic 4-inch barrel PPQ with tritium night sights. It is one of the most comfortable handguns I have ever shot, even in .40 S&W. The trigger is smooth as butter! It is accurate and easy to control on follow up shots.”

To see all variations of the Walther PPQ we have in stock, including competition models, click the button below.


Heckler & Koch – VP9 and USP


The VP9, known as the People’s Pistol, is a 9mm chambered semi-automatic handgun from Heckler & Koch. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

HK is the first German firearms manufacturer to hit the list with the VP9, popular among many HK fans — including our own Ecommerce Manager, Leah Roberts. Just like the first two on this list, the VP9 clocks in with at 15+1 capacity of 9mm. Seeing a trend here?

Fans of the VP9 compliment its ergonomics, accuracy and ambidextrous mag release as reasons for owning this gun. The USP was a close runner up, coming in fewer than 10 votes behind the VP9. Check out all the reasons people love the VP9 from our readers below.

“HK VP9 and secondary magazine in T-Rex Arms sidecar holster, Ares Gear Aegis enhanced belt. After several years of carrying (appendix) different firearms and holsters, this is the most comfortable and best concealment set up for me. Little to no printing under most garments and I don’t feel like my pelvic bone is crushed at the end of the day.”

“Compact, reliable, ambidextrous, fits my hands perfectly.”

“Chose HK due to weight, accuracy, and ease of cleaning.”

With feedback like that it’s no wonder that it has become the official sidearm of the Berlin police. If you’re looking to find out why people love the VP9 and own one for yourself just click the button below.


Honorable Mentions

We definitely missed some brands when we sent the survey out, but you let us know about it. The CZ-75 and P07 series were very popular. From Taurus the Millennium G2 was a choice that rose to the top. Colt fans voiced that their 1911s should have been included in the list. FN 509 and FNX-45 both got a lot of love as well.

Many other brands also popped up, showing the diversity among gun owners. It’s great to see so many people actively taking a step toward defending themselves.

Thanks to all the readers from who participated in our survey and be sure to sign up for email notifications if you’d like to take part in future surveys.

An overhead look at some of the most popular defensive pistol brands chosen by readers.

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