Guns

Best Subcompact Pistols Buying Guide

I was feeling the need to changeup my conceal and carry weapon. Not because of lost confidence in my current pistol, more because I was looking for a reason to buy another gun. I wanted the best subcompact pistol that the market has to offer.

I have a go to person in my life when it comes to finding the best subcompact pistol, or any firearm for that matter. Chester, he is a lifelong friend who is a prepper. He lives in today’s society, but he prepares and practices for living life off the grid. “When the kids go to college, we’re out of here,” is his favorite mantra.

Chester is a great mix of both worlds. He stays current with adapting his two realms in life. Chester has his opinions on the top subcompact pistols, he even owns a few, so his advice is always appreciated. I was able to catch up with Chester a couple of days before he headed to the woods for 10 days with his wife and the boys. He’s always happy to show me his arsenal, or to visit the shop at the local range.

The five pistols were looked at and tested fired were ones we considered the subcompact pistols available to us. Chester talked me through each one pointing out the features. I think everyone should have a Chester in their life, or be a Chester in someone’s life.

Top 5 Best Subcompact Pistols

#1 Springfield XD Mod.2

The first gun out of the case was a Springfield. I love Springfield’s entire portfolio of weapons. They have a great reputation with not only subcompact pistols, but with most weapons. The XD Mod.2 is a 9mm model, and just a joy to pick up. It reminded me a lot of the regular XD, only smaller and lighter. Under two pounds in weight, this pistol looked like it was just an extension of my hand.

It seems to be ergonomically designed to fit my big hands specifically. It has GripZone, a unique texturing that covers every part of the weapon that you’ll handle while operating. This goes beyond the hand grips. One of the best attributes making this one of the best subcompact pistols is how this is basically a scaled down version of an older sibling. It is slimmer, and shorter, but designed to be just as maneuverable as a standard sized gun.

  • Make: Springfield
  • Model: XD Mod.2
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 13
  • Barrel Length: 3”
  • Finish: Melonite
  • Length: 25”
  • Magazine Type: Removable

Recoil doesn’t seem to be an issue. This pistol from Springfield doesn’t kick a lot, and it is designed to position your hands into the best possible way to absorb most of the blow back. It shoots as effortlessly as you expect a Springfield to shoot. Consistently, and accurate when you employ the low profile rear sight with the fiber optic front sight. The magazine holds 13 rounds, or employ the 16 round extension.

The model Chester and I fired that day was a black Melonite finish, Springfield offers in a Bi-Tone and FDE finish as well. Overall we were happy with the pistol that Springfield offers. It is retailing at just a bit over $550, but shop around to see what kind of deals you can take advantage of in the way of free gear to really make this one of the best subcompact pistols you will own.

#2 Taurus Millennium PT-140 G2

  • Make: Taurus
  • Model: Millennium PT-140 G2
  • Cartridge: .40
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Barrel Length:25”
  • Finish: Matte Stainless Steel
  • Length: 125”
  • Magazine Type: Removable

Next out of the gate into our scope of the best subcompact pistols is the Taurus Millennium. Designed in a traditional sense, and offered as a 9mm, .45 or in a .40, we tried the .40, the Millennium was a straight and consistent shooter. This gun just wouldn’t quit.

Lightweight, 21 ounces, and easy to wield, and not as much kick as you might expect from a .40. The gun seems to be constructed to help absorb a lot of the punch it might hand out. Operate as a single action or as a double action with the PT24/7 pro trigger system. The Millennium also has the Heinie straight eight sights.

Designed with ambidextrous grips adding to the versatility of the best subcompact pistol. Safety features include a loaded chamber indicator, which doesn’t interfere with your operation but allows you to verify where you stand with just a simple glance. Another trait that is now coming on Taurus weapons is the Taurus security system that gives the user the ability to secure the weapon with the turn of a key. This freezes the pistol from discharge and prohibits the use of the trigger until it is opened back up.

The Millennium worked efficiently, with no misfires, no jamming, and broke down easy to clean and maintain. The magazine holds 10, and you can chamber 1 for a strong sense of security. Moderately priced at just under $500, the Millennium is one of the best subcompact pistols you can buy.

#3 Sig Sauer P320 Subcompact

  • Make: Sig Sauer
  • Model: P320 Nitron Subcompact
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 12
  • Barrel Length:6”
  • Finish: Stainless Steel
  • Length: 7”
  • Magazine Type: Removable

Sig Sauer never disappoints, and it’s a favorite of Chester, so I knew we’d get around to this weapon one way or another. The P320 is a beautiful pistol, one of the most popular subcompact pistols out there. Classic design and strong features brings this piece into perspective.

Smooth and steady is the best description of how this weapon fires. The striker trigger system, reacts to 6.5 pounds of pressure. We worked with the 9mm model, and that comes with a 12 round magazine. Lightweight and easy to maneuver, this fun traditional looking subcompact pistol weighs in at about 25 ounces.

Chester is biased about Sig Sauer, but it isn’t difficult to agree that the movements are predictably consistent and accurate with either option offered of the SIGLITE night sights, or the contrast sights. An optional accessory rail is also available, but not on the model we pulled out.  Another feature found on this weapon that adds to being one of the best subcompact pistols is the simplicity that comes with breaking it down, and building it back up to its former self. Cleaning and maintenance is a breeze with the Sig Sauer P320.

What I loved about the Sig Sauer the most I think is how it is definitely a subcompact pistol, but when you put it into your hand, it doesn’t feel that way. In fact, you tend to forget you have a subcompact until you realize how light it feels in your hand. That attribute helps to put it into the discussion of the best subcompact pistols you can own.

The Sig Sauer is priced at around $675, a little higher than some, but a great addition to any collection. Chester loves them, and owns several Sig’s, including a P320. He will attest to its innovation, safety and dependability.

#4 Smith & Wesson M&P 9C

  • Make: Smith & Wesson
  • Model: M & P9c
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 12+1
  • Barrel Length:2”
  • Finish: Armornite
  • Length: 7”
  • Magazine Type: Removable

The M&P 9C by Smith & Wesson is certainly in the running for one of the best subcompact pistols. More of a compact pistol than a subcompact, but worthy of the designation in my book. The M&P is a classically built pistol. Designed with intimidation at its core. The black armornite finish is impressive and draws you to it. The M&P is built for personal protection, and it meets that requirement easily. It weighs in at under 25 ounces, so you can walk with it holstered, and forget that it’s there. Once pulled out, it becomes a natural appendage to your hand.

This 9mm works with a 12 round magazine to provide enough protection to the user so you can confidently feel secure with your actions. One of the best subcompact pistols that offers you the option to interchange grips to customize according to your personal preference. You can also change the magazine to a finger groove style to make it more comfortable. The high strength polymer frame, works in conjunction with the stainless steel barrel to push out each round without misfiring, or jamming up, all while absorbing the recoil from each trigger pull.

No thumb safety on this model. This pistol contributor offers a lot for the user. Security, and reliability are the primary indicators. This made in the U.S.A. pistol comes with the backing of the Smith & Wesson lifetime service policy. You can find this, an example of one of the highest rated subcompact pistols priced at under $575.

#5 Ruger SR9c

  • Make: Ruger
  • Model: SR9c 3313
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 17+1
  • Barrel Length:4”
  • Finish: Brushed Stainless
  • Length: 85”
  • Magazine Type: Removable

The Ruger SR9c was the last pistol we tried out that day. It is also worthy of the moniker of the best subcompact pistol available. Coming in several finishes, we tried the two tone brushed stainless barrel, over the black matte frame. This was probably the smallest of the weapons we handled, weighing in at 23.4 ounces. The dovetailed, high visibility 3 dot sight with a raked forward front sight brings each target into the user’s realm. With relative ease the trigger brought one of the top subcompact pistols to life, and this weapon reliably and consistently operated with no issues.

The manual safety and the magazine is maneuverable to both right and left handed users. The chamber indicator gives the shooter the convenience of knowing when you are close to running empty, allowing you to prepare for the next reload. The pistol ships with a 10 round and a 17 round magazine with a grip extension for your choice of use.

I was looking for a carry weapon, but an attribute that makes this one of our most wanted subcompact pistols is that it accepts most full sized accessories and magazines with ease, making this a very versatile piece. That includes mounting lights, lasers and tactical accessories. Priced accordingly at under $575, this pistol is a great deal.

The Best Subcompact Pistol is….

At the end of the day I was left with a hard decision among these subcompact pistols. Chester leaned naturally towards his Sig Sauer, but in truth each was a standout in one way or another. Versatility, dependability, accuracy, affordable and comfort all came into play. This left me to decide which of these pistols to bring home. I went with the Springfield. I trust their efforts with so many other weapons, but the rest of the group performed just as well. In the end I followed my heart, and all the other attributes that stand out in the best subcompact pistols.

Last word is that the top subcompact pistols are only as good as the user. The gun doesn’t make the shooter better, the shooter makes the gun better. So, if you want to keep your subcompact pistols performing at that level, keep practicing with them. Good luck and have fun, from both Chester and I.

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