Top 10 Handguns to Own in 2023
Handguns are highly popular, even if you’re not a gun enthusiast, you must be thinking at least once about getting your handgun. For home and oneself protection at least.
However, going out to a gun shop or exploring the web for a perfect gun, you probably get bombarded by a huge offering of different kinds of handguns.
Going through the seller's offers you realize that except for different calibers, there are many more factors to consider when choosing a handgun.
Through this guide, we will help you better understand these firearms and at the end provide our top picks and list of best handguns you should own in 2023.
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Factors to Consider When Choosing a Handgun
First and foremost, why are you choosing a pistol? For what purpose?
When you’re going to buy a handgun, know why are you getting it: for concealed carry, home defense, sports shooting, etc.
This is a huge factor you shouldn’t ignore and choose those meeting your specific demands.
The relationship between you and your handgun is deeply personal.
When considering the right pistol for yourself, it’s important for it to feel comfortable and natural while you’re holding it in your hand.
The main factors to consider here are texture, grip size, and overall design.
A seamless connection between you and your firearm improves accuracy and confidence.
Talking about a handgun's size can be a topic on its own. However, if you’re a first-time buyer, you probably doubt which one will be the best choice.
As for any other firearm, everything starts with one thing - purpose.
A common misconception is to match the gun size, with the person. We often see boyfriends/husbands buying their wife/GF a pocket pistol, aka a subcompact/compact pistol.
Although it will get cute points, it does them a colossal disservice because smaller guns require more grip strength to control and shoot. Its other major downfall is its lack of firepower, as most only allow 6-7 rounds.
Here comes the barrel length into play. For example, With a longer barrel, the powder-burning process is better, resulting in reduced muzzle flash.
Also, with a handgun in full size, you’ll feel less recoil and have better control of your gun.
However, when it comes to concealed carry, you must look for something compact unless you want your handgun revealed.
Practice and familiarity will be critical components of purchasing your new firearm.
This is why we recommend new gun owners purchase something that they can take to the range and shoot regularly. Consider things like standard issues, availability, and pricing.
If you’re a new gun owner, you will need a lot of ammo. This is because you will be spending a lot of time practicing on the range to become both familiar and comfortable with your new firearm purchase. 9mm ammo will be a good start.
9mm is a very popular caliber for gun owners in general. This wide demand makes ammo more available wherever you live. That popularity also makes it cheap enough that you can get more training shots in during your range time.
Handguns as well as big rifles can be equipped with different types of sights.
In this case, supported and most popular choices are iron sights and optics.
Iron sights are the most commonly used type of pistol sights. It consists of two parts: rear sight and front sight.
Iron sights are simple, they don’t provide magnification, but they also don’t require batteries. Most of the time, they are made of plastic or steel.
On the other hand, optical sights include red dot sights and scopes. Red dot sights use batteries to power their electronics which project aiming reticle onto a lens. They don’t have any magnification, they are smaller and lighter than those made for rifles.
Scopes, however, are less common on handguns. They are mostly used for hunting or long-distance target shooting.
All in all, iron sights are a better option for daylight shooting, while optics may be a better choice for nighttime shooting. However, this is just a recommendation, as you have the final word when purchasing a handgun or accessories.
The Best Handguns
So, as we promised, here’s the list of our top picks:
- SIG Sauer P365 SAS Pistol Nitron
- GLOCK 48 MOS
- Staccato 2011 C2
- Colt 1911 Government Series 70
- IWI US MASADA Pistol
- SIG Sauer P320 X-FIVE Legion
- Wilson Combat WCP320 Full
- Heckler & Koch (H&K) VP9
- Shadow Systems XR920 Combat
- Beretta 92X Performance
1. SIG Sauer P365 SAS Pistol Nitron
The Sig P365 series of handguns has revolutionized the world of concealed carry (CCW) pistols. These compact firearms offer high capacity and gained a devoted following among gun enthusiasts.
The Sig Sauer P365 SAS is a pistol that introduces some changes to the platform.
The SAS stands for Sig Anti Snag meaning this pistol comes with some anti-snag capabilities.
The P365 SAS comes with a fantastic embedded sight called the FT Bullseye Fiber Tritium Night Sight. Compared to the traditional iron sights, this one is integrated with the slide giving you a smooth and flush profile.
To aim, you simply align the green dot with the target and pull the trigger. This makes it a very intuitive and efficient system.
The P365 has a smooth exterior. Controls are seamlessly integrated into the pistol and feature flat and flush button controls to maintain a snag-free design.
Overall, the Sig P365 SAS is a great addition to the P365 line, representing an evolution of the platform. It retains the outstanding qualities of the P365 which includes a trigger and ergonomic grip.
The standout feature is undoubtedly the embedded sight which will surely increase your shooting experience.
However, there are a few downsides you should probably be aware of. The ported slide and barrel are effective in reducing recoil, but if not handled properly may cause discomfort or even burns.
Additionally, flattened controls, made to minimize snagging, may require more effort to operate compared to traditional controls. This can be more expressed if you’re already the owner of a handgun with traditional controls.
2. GLOCK 48 MOS
Glock has always been popular across the world, among both gun enthusiasts and those who are not. His height and length are the most important things that made it so popular.
Glock 48 is a slimmer variant of the standard Glock handgun coming in standard height and weight but with a reduced width. The length of this Glock is 7.28 inches weighing 20.60 oz when empty. The pistol is chambered in 9mm caliber so you won’t have to worry about ammo shortages as this ammo is widely available to purchase.
Also, the gun weighs 24.97 oz when loaded, less than 5 oz in overall weight is added.
One of the best features you can find with this gun is compatibility with Glock 43X’s ten-round magazine. Additionally, it has a slightly longer barrel (4.17 inches), resulting in improved bullet velocity.
Glock has made recent changes to its 48 MOS variant by incorporating built-in optics modularity. The slide is cut to accept micro red dot sights like Sig Sauer Romeo Zero for example. Very useful feature considering the rising trend of micro red dot sights.
Glock 48 MOS features a sleek silver stainless steel finish but is less reflective compared to the ordinary Glock 48.
Generally, Glock 48 MOS is very similar to Glock 19, however, its slimmer profile makes it easier to handle and shoot. Also, thanks to its dimensions, it’s possible to use it as a CCW without leaving traces if you’re wearing it with you.
3. Staccato 2011 C2
Another handgun on our list comes from Staccato 2011, particularly the model C2. As you can guess, this gun is a bit pricey, so if you’re not willing to break the bank, just skip this section and move to the next one.
Compared to the previous model (Glock), C2 is a little bit bulkier in all directions. It’s 7.5 inches long, 1.3 inches in width 5.5 inches in height. In hands, it feels bulkier even than a standard Glock 19 pistol, however, depending on your personal preferences, this pistol may be very comfortable for you.
Staccato 2011 C2 features ambidextrous safety levers meaning you can easily handle this pistol whether you’re a left or right-handed shooter. The shape and position of the safety levers are designed to be ergonomic, and their engagement is crisp and positive.
You may need additional training to get used to manual safeties, however, an additional level of safety is a great feature when carrying the gun.
C2 is chambered in standard 9mm caliber with a mag capacity of 16 rounds.
The mag release is positioned on the left side with the possibility to reverse it for left-handed users. The magazine is ejected with good force, it is not forcefully thrown out of the gun.
Overall, the Staccato C2 provides a great shooting experience and is valued among lots of shooters. The pistol is a great combination of safety levers, reliable grip safety, and an excellent trigger (which is a great feature on all Staccato pistols), and all of them contribute to the reputation of Staccato.
However, to own this gun, be ready to spend more money than usual.
4. Colt 1911 Government Series 70
We can’t write this list without mentioning one of the most iconic handguns ever made. Colt 1911 has a long history behind it including its use in two world wars and many other after.
Through the US army, about 2.7 million of these were procured since it was made.
However, if you've never owned this gun, we’ll write a summary of what you can expect from it.
Basics first: it’s chambered in .45 ACP caliber with 7 + 1 mag size. It’s made of stainless steel and it has a great corrosion resistance capabilities.
The sides of the gun have a polished finish while the top and bottom of the slide feature a matte finish.
Despite having a well-known name and its legendary status, Colt 1911 Government Series 70 doesn’t have any rails or support any new sights. It has front and back iron sight and that’s it.
However, the Series 70 demonstrates excellent accuracy due to its natural point of aim, balanced design, mild recoil, light trigger pull, and fixed barrel configuration, which differs from the tilting barrel design of more modern pistols.
All in all, Series 70 is a very nice replication of the original M1911A1 pistol. It provides great reliability, quality, and accuracy so if you go with this one, you can be sure you didn’t make a mistake.
5. Iwi Masada
IWI Masada is a polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol that gained popularity in recent years.
One of the key features of IWI Masada is its ergonomics. It’s designed to fit comfortably in the hand with good balance and grip texture providing a secure hold. Its overall length is 7.1 inches with a 4.1-inch long barrel.
Chambered in 9mm Parabellum ammo, ammo shortage won’t be a problem if you become an owner of this handgun. The magazine capacity is 17 rounds, which is great.
As for the trigger, we are amazed by its crips and consistent break with a short reset making it conducive to rapid and accurate follow-up shots.
Other features we would like to mention are an ambidextrous slide stop/release and a reversible magazine release. So left-handed or right-handed, doesn’t matter, this pistol fits both situations.
Also, there is a trigger guard which allows for easy access, even if you’re wearing gloves. All these features are just a contribution to overall user-friendly design.
If you were wondering about optics, the answer is yes. IWI Masada has an optic-ready design. However, if you still want to go with a raditional iron sight, in that case, you can rely on the three dots used on the front and back sight to assist you in target acquisition.
We also made a review about IWI Masada. Check out our full review!
All in all, IWI Masada offers a variety of features and won’t cost you a lot. However, as it’s polymer-framed you can expect the pistol to be lighter which can result in higher recoil.
6. SIG Sauer P320 X-FIVE Legion
Sig P320 X-Five Legion is a full-size pistol coming with impressive features. Starting with a weight of 43.5 ounces, Legion is quite a heavy type of handgun which some shooters may not find very comfortable.
The elongated trigger frame allows easy access, especially when wearing gloves. The beavertail enhances the ability to establish a solid grip. The grip texture differs from the standard P320, lacking a thumb finger groove, but it still feels great in hand.
On the other hand, it features a tungsten-infused polymer grip which provides great ergonomics making it very comfortable to hold. However, the frame is not interchangeable with other P320 handguns.
The slide and frame are made of stainless steel, the barrel is made of carbon steel. The slide stop is ambidextrous.
The top of the handgun features a 1913 Picatinny rail which provides support for accessories. If you’re not into that, there’s a steel iron sight with fiber optic on the front. In combination with clear back sight, you’ll have one clear dot helping you in aiming and acquiring targets.
As for controls of this pistol, there is no physical safety, you’ll have to rely on trigger control for safety. Magazine release features a large button easy to operate, something similar to other P320 models.
The X5 Legion is chambered in 9mm caliber.
If you’re wondering about concealed carry, X5 Legion can be used as a CCW you’ll just need the right holster. However, weight may be a problem if you’re not used to carrying heavy handguns, and also, in the long run, it can put more pressure on your joints.
7. Wilson Combat WCP320 Full 9mm Pistol
Wilson Combat is a famous handgun brand known for its unique approach to gun customization. While they offer their own designs like the popular 1911 platform, they also specialize in improving stock pistols from other brands such as Beretta, Glock, and Sig Sauer.
WCP320 is another example of their custom work which is, as you can guess, based on the Sig P320 platform. It’s a slide and barrel have a durable black DLC finish.
The WCP320 features a custom frame offering a full-height grip for better handling. It has also a barrel length of 3.9 inches. The X-TAC pattern on the frame and slide provides a secure grip.
The grip module houses two X-Series magazines, each holding 17 rounds. The pistol is chambered in 9mm caliber.
For better recoil control and balance, you can add weights to the rear of the mag. The WCP320 Carry offers a natural grip angle, allowing for efficient target acquisition.
General, the WCP320 mixes the craftsmanship of the Wilson Combat with the reliability of the Sig P320 platform, resulting in a highly customizable and improved handgun suitable for concealed carry, home defense, or competition shooting.
8. Heckler & Koch (H&K) VP9
The HK VP9 is a new-generation polymer-framed striker-fired gun that offers a range of features.
The HK VP9 has a great build and ergonomics with grips that offer not only great comfort but also a good texture. You can also change the grip for other alternative options.
The slide is made of stainless steel. On the top is an iron sight with 3 dots making target acquisition easier. The slide also features a Picatinny rail which supports mounting various pistol accessories including mini red dot sighs made specifically for handguns.
The barrel length is 4.09 inches while the pistol is chambered in 9mm caliber.
However, VP9 has a paddle mag release which can require a little bit of accommodation to this design. On the other hand, it’s ambidextrous. We personally like button mag release, but everything depends on your personal preferences.
In conclusion, the HK VP9 is a highly durable and aesthetically pleasing firearm. Its exceptional ergonomics, accuracy, and reliable performance make it a solid choice.
9. Shadow Systems XR920 Combat
We can’t avoid the fact that Glock has left a huge impact on the firearms industry leading to the appearance of different brands trying to make a better pistol with a very similar design and approach.
As a result of that influence, we have an XR920 pistol made by Shadow Systems.
The XR920 is a combination of MR920 and DR920. Combination implies a full-size frame from the DR920 and a compact slide from the MR920.
The pistol comes with an iron sight: a metal black sight and a tritium dot front sight with a green outline. As you probably know by this far, this helps in target acquisition and improves your aiming. Also, you can add red dot optics if you prefer this way of aiming.
The full-length grip provides better comfort if you have larger hands and allows you the use of 17-round magazines that sit flush. XR920 is chambered in 9mm too.
Overall, the XR920 from Shadow Systems provides a reliable and versatile option for those seeking a pistol with a combination of compact slide and full-size grip frame, along with the ability to mount various optics for enhanced aiming capabilities.
10. Beretta 92X Performance
The Beretta 92X Performance is just a variation of the well-known Beretta 92. Compared to it, this model is quite improved but still remains in the scope of Beretta 92.
If you take a closer look at this handgun, you can see a Brigadier slide that has weight-reducing cuts. The handgun slide and frame feature a silver Nistan finish.
Beretta 92X weighs 47.61 ounces, features a steel frame, and has a 15-round magazine for 9mm caliber bullets.
The grip has been improved with a rounded trigger guard, an extended beavertail, and a modified grip angle for a comfortable high grip. The frame is optimized for competition with ambidextrous frame-mounted safety, oversized controls, and checkering. It also meets IDPA regulations by removing excess material.
92X Performance comes with improved balanced and reduced recoil. Muzzle flip is minimal. The pistol has a bright red fiber-optic front sight, adjustable and removable sights, and a prepared slide for a red dot sight.
If you came this far, till now you probably know how to select the best handgun to meet your needs. There are various options to consider and choose from, so we made this list as a starting point.
Whichever option you choose from this list won’t make you regret spending money on it whether going for the most expensive option or one most affordable from this list.
And, of course, ammo shortages won’t bother you as pistol ammo is most widely available.