Beretta 92 – 9mm
The Beretta 92 is the standard sidearm for most conventional U.S. military forces. Listed as the M9, it’s an extremely reliable Single Action/Double Action pistol with good magazine capacity and easy maintenance procedures. However, more and more law enforcement agencies are ditching it in favor of striker-fire Glocks and Sig Sauers. What gives?
The Good: Reliable. Good magazine capacity. Decent factory sights.
The Ugly: The pistol’s default grips are mediocre. It’s very barebones all around – but sturdy.
The Bad: Trigger pull is inconsistent between first shot and second due to its SA/DA nature. This creates a lack of confidence for law enforcement and military – forcing them to either pull back the hammer or risk throwing their aim off.
Glock 19 – 9mm
The Glock 19 is the slightly shorter little brother to the original Glock 17. This Austrian workhorse has become the quintessential striker-fire duty pistol for law enforcement and security. Swift, accurate, and it can take a beating. What’s not to love?
The Good: The Glock 19 is highly customizeable. There are a lot of Glock fans and there are a lot of companies who produce accessories and custom parts to turn each person’s Glock into a unique firearms experience. Stock, it runs like a greyhound at the track. So no assembly required.
*Yes, we’re aware this is the Glock 17 Gen 3 – not the Glock 19. Same basic mechanics and definitely similar performance. Worth a watch!
The Ugly: It’s often critiqued for its less than visually appealing look. Call it ugly or call it beautiful, it’s still an amazing firearm.
The Bad: The only real critique a lot of shooters experience is the default grip – which can be ergonomically uncomfortable for some – and the polymer recoil spring rod. The latter almost never comes up for the average user.
If you like the Glock 19, you’ll love the conceal carry G26 or G43. Both are chambered in 9mm and the G26 accepts Glock 19 magazines. The G43, however, is single stack and extremely slim.
Colt 1911 – .45 ACP
The original Colt 1911 has been around since – you guessed it – 1911. That let’s you know the difference between it being a passing fad and a legend. Since it’s early days, it’s been improved upon, restructured, customized, and gotten all sorts of face lifts, tummy tucks, and cosmetic surgery. It’s still relied upon as one of the most effect, hardcore handguns out on the market today.
The Good: Because the 1911 has been out so long, there are literally hundreds of thousands of customizable parts available on the market. Everything from match-grade barrels, springs, and triggers to intricately designed frames so beautiful you’ll want to take it out on a date – the 1911 has it all and still performs par none as stock.
The Ugly: It’s an original single stack .45 ACP. Since its inception, plenty of companies like Glock and FNH have improved on magazine capacity and various design elements that clearly out perform the 1911.
The Bad: Because nearly any manufacturer is allowed to make their own version of the 1911, there are dozens of different brands out on the market. Some good, some bad – they’re not all the same.
If you like the full-size 1911, a lot of companies – like Kimber – make short frame versions for concealed carry.
CZ-75B – 9mm
CZ USA continues a fantastic lineage of CZ handguns. They’re intuitive to use, extremely reliable, and able to accurately and smoothly put rounds down range.
The Good: The CZ-75B is an extremely popular, often produced full-size pistol chambered in 9x19mm. It’s a great choice for a duty pistol or just a full-size home defense gun.
The Bad: Breakdown. This is a harder pistol to break down for routine maintenance and the instruction manual that comes with the pistol (if you didn’t buy one used), isn’t very helpful.
The Ugly: Production finish. One of the biggest dings against CZ is that they charge full price for a product that’s mechanically sound but aesthetically ugly. A lot of users have noticed that the finish wears off quickly and doesn’t hold up at all. The mechanical pieces – however – will likely last a lifetime.
If you like the CZ-75B, check out the CZ P-07. It’s a much more compact, easy to conceal version with all the same firing capability of the original.
Ruger SP101 Revolver – .357
The Ruger SP101 is synonymous with a full duty Magnum. Possibly one of the most reliable, versatile revolvers out on the market – not much has come along to upset it from its well-earned top rankings. Best of all, it is concealable – something most full-size pistols struggle with.
The Good: Nothing is more reliable than a revolver. It’s SA/DA, which means you get to select how you want that first round to come out of the chamber. The SP101 has a smooth frame which slides easily out of holster and back in.
The Ugly: The revolver grips often need to be changed or upgraded if the shooter wants a more reliable, slip-resistant grip.
The Bad: Sights on the SP101 are atrocious. They’re streamlined for fast draw – not for aiming. It will take some range time for the shooter to acclimate to its front sight post.