Gun Review: Top five single stack, striker fired 9mm handguns

In a world of skinny jeans and tight t-shirts, sometimes the only option for concealment is a slim style, single stack. Not ever gun owner, though, wants to relegate themselves to .22 or .380 to achieve flawless concealed carry – enter the 9mm.

Notable for their low-profile and lightweight designs, the following single stack, striker fired handguns top our list as some of the best in the biz.

1. Smith & Wesson Shield

The Smith & Wesson Shield is a bare bones pistol but packs enough features to make it well worth its value-driven price tag. (Photo: Smith & Wesson)

The Shield has cemented itself as one of Smith & Wesson’s most popular subcompact models for a reason. It’s slim, lightweight and ergonomic build pair with the 9mm round to deliver a quality, reliable slim stack with some sass. Featuring a 3.1-inch barrel on an overall length of 6.1-inches, the polymer gun tips scales at just over 20-ounces.

In its stock configuration, the Shield comes equipped with standard white dot sights, slide stop/release, mag release and optional manual safety. Shipping with two magazines, the 9mm Shield packs either a 7+1 or 8+1 round capacity.

The most affordable gun on this list at $449, the Shield expertly balances features, reliability, concealability and price.

2. Glock 43

The Glock 43 boasts that standard Glock reliability, functioning consistently and efficiently. (Photo:

It wouldn’t be a gun list if Gaston’s baby wasn’t included. The Glock 43 marked Glock’s entry in the single stack, subcompact universe with its small frame. The 43 is ever so slightly lighter than the Shield, weighing 18-ounces unloaded; however, it’s ever so slightly longer as well. The G43 measures 6.26-inches in overall length with a 3.39-inch barrel.

Where the Glock shines is its reliability. Throw it in mud or dirt, kick it around and it still gets up and keeps firing. It’s downfall, however, is its stock sights and its squishy, uneven trigger press. Those faults can easily be cured, though, with aftermarket kits and accessories.

The 43 is a Glock and that name carries an expectation, and rightly so. If you’re looking for a gun that just works, Glock is it — reliable and accurate on the range. The 6+1 capacity Glock 43 slides into the market with a retail price hovering around $500.

3. Ruger LC9S

The Ruger LC9S is a snappier pistol, but conceals well under clothing. (Photo: Academy Sports)

The Ruger LC9S has proven to be a veritable contender in the concealed carry market. The Ruger LC9S is a no muss, no fuss single stack with a 7+1 capacity. Measuring 6-inches in overall length, the LC9S Pro has shorter barrel length of 3.12-inches. The Ruger shaves some weight off, coming in lighter than the G43 or Shield at 17.2-ounces.

Though the LC9S is a concealable gun with its slim and light design, but the trade-off to its small statute is its feisty nature on the range. Particularly speaking, the Ruger is a snappy pistol with some sizeable recoil. While it is a factor that most shooters can learn to accommodate, those with weaker hands or wrists may find it more difficult to shoot.

The Ruger LC9S’ strength comes in the form of concealable package paired with an adequate round count. The single-stack LC9S retails for $479.

4. Walther PPS M2

The PPS M2 by Walther sports the company’s signature design in a slim package. (Photo: Walther Arms)

The PPS M2 by Walther Arms boasts a slim profile featuring Walther’s signature style. The ergonomically designed PPS M2 touts a 3.18-inch barrel on a 6.3-inch overall frame. Weighing 21-ounces, the Walther uses its weight to help reduce recoil from the 9mm round.

The PPS M2’s strength comes from its comfortability. The texturing is such that it withstands sweaty palms at the range, but isn’t too aggressive as to peel skin off while shooting. Outfitted with standard three dot metal sights, the sights also keep to the CCW theme with a low-profile to prevent snagging on clothes.

With the most variety when it comes to capacity, the PPS M2 offers three styles of magazines to accommodate as little as six or seven rounds or as many as eight rounds. The Walther PPS M2 slips into the mid-price range with a MSRP around $469.

5. Springfield Armory XD-S

Springfield Armory’s XD-S sets itself apart with unique texturing and a fiber optic front sight. (Photo: Springfield Armory)

Springfield Armory finishes out this list with its subcompact XD-S. The heaviest of the crew, the XD-S weighs in at a hearty 23-ounces with an overall length of 6.3-inches. All this encompasses a 3.3-inch steel barrel which is encased in a polymer frame.

Shipping with two magazines pushing capacity to 7+1 or 8+1, the XD-S has a very ergonomic feel which rests comfortably in the hand. For gun owners who prefer the trappings of a safety equipped gun without the traditional lever style safety, the XD-S is the perfect fit. Designed with a grip safety nestled into the frame, the gun cannot be fired unless that rear safety is engaged by the palm achieved with a proper grip.

Rounding out the XD-S features is the fiber optic front sight, a step up from the other pistols’ sights on this list. The fiber optic sight is easy to see, day or night, and makes targeting a little easier on the eye. The XD-S packs in a little more features than the previous models but keeps its price around the same point, retailing for $499.

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