Best 9mm Subcompact


May 24, 2009, 03:14 AM
Okay, so I was at the NRA event last week here in Phoenix and checked out more guns than I can remember and picked up a ton of reading material. I currently have an LCP that I am not liking too much since the trigger pull is way too long and hurts to shoot. I have little confidence I would hit anything as I probably would flinch.

Anyway, I love my SR9 and feel comfortable with the 9mm round.

So what is the best subcompact 9mm. I live in a hot climate and want something that can be concealed quite easily while obviously being reliable.

At the event, R Lee Ermy told me that of his 100+ guns, ten are Glocks which between him and my cop friend have me leaning toward Glock and possibly the Model 26.

Or should I go with the 357 Sig, since the Model 33 is the same size?

Hhhmmm. Decisions, decisions.

By the way, R Lee is the man and talked to us for a good five minutes even though the line was huge.

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May 24, 2009, 04:13 AM
The Glock 26 is a very good gun.
I like mine alot, but there's a bunch of good choices out there so see what feels good in your hand.

May 24, 2009, 06:04 AM
of wfat i've had, i'd say an EMP

May 24, 2009, 06:55 AM
The Glock model 26 is a great subcompact, but only if you have medium to large hands, and you already have a Glock 17, 19 or 34 to share big magazines with.

The Glock 33 is a handful, and ammo costs twice as much as 9mm to practice with. If you can afford the ammo and don't mind a snappy little gun, the .357sig is fun.

If not, I'd recommend something like a Kahr because it's half the width.

IMO double stack "subcompacts" aren't so subcompact.

dirty dave
May 24, 2009, 07:02 AM
Try the springfield xd compact,comes with 10 round mag and a 13 round mag with extended grip,works great for me.

The Lone Haranguer
May 24, 2009, 07:58 AM
"Subcompact" still swings a fairly wide loop WRT size and shape. I would put these into two subcategories - belt and pocket. Belt subs include the Glock 26/27, S&W M&P compact, Springfield XD and H&K P2000SK. They can be pocket carried in a pinch or for brief durations, but are really too "thick and chunky." The smaller/thinner 9mm subs like the Kahr PM9 and Rohrbaugh can be easily pocket carried.

May 24, 2009, 08:19 AM
Walther ( makes 2
PPS* - very slim, uses different length magazines in 6/7/8 round. 6 round is flush, 7/8 offers more grip
P99/P99C - thicker, P99c takes P99 magazines with a grip extension sleeve, so you don't sacrifice capacity after a reload.
Kahr ( and KelTec ( make small 9mm pistols
Glock ( makes thick, chunky, 9mm pistols that are very reliable, assuming you like the grip angle and can hide the thickness
Rohrbaugh ( makes a pocket 9mm, pricey but tiny
Some 1911-style 9mm pistols offer reliability and familiarity - Springfield ( makes the EMP, and a few other 1911 makers offer a 9mm
Heckler and Koch (spelling?) make a few nice offerings, I drool over every P7 I come across, and their current production is supposed to be nice as well.
Springfield ( makes the XD line as well, good pistols but still somewhat thick.

*I have the PPS, because I like thin and am comfortable with 6+1 and a 7 round reload.
But you don't want what I like, and you don't want what R Lee Ermey likes, or what a cop friend likes. You want what YOU like to shoot, and what YOU are willing to conceal.
Get out and rent, find out what friends have small 9mm pistols and offer to supply the ammo at the range (heck, offer to help clean, so you get to see the field-strip procedure)
If it is reliable and happy in your hand AND waistband (or however you intend to carry), go for it, but don't assume you are ever done pistol shopping.
If you aren't thinking of carry, 9mm for HD is adequate, but why worry about compact models? For that matter, if you don't intend to carry, why not go with the biggest, baddest, hand-cannon you can shoot reliably and accurately for home defense? I'll be honest, compact 9mm pistols generally have more recoil than a full-size pistol, and lose some accuracy. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed shooting my PPS, and amazed that I could hit a standard silhouette at 50 yards (benched) every time, it is far more accurate than it needs to be for defense.

May 24, 2009, 08:30 AM
The G26 is a great subcompact. Probally the most reliable sub out there. Forget about pocket carry its nearly as big and heavy as a regular compact like the Glock 19/23/32. I'd put it in a MTAC holster, the one with the open end that fits the 26,19,17.

The 27 and 33 are a bit snappy.

While Glock rules the high-cap compact CCW market with the G19/23/32, but there's better choices for sub compact:

Keltec PF9- Thinner, small, light, 9mm. The smallest sub I'd recommend. Some are built real ugly, but they're getting better. Plenty of good ones out there.

Walther PPS-a little bigger than the PF9, but still conceals very well and is better built than the Keltec and more reliable.

I'm done with pocket carry, 2 pounds of steel in my pocket swinging around got old real quick. Not to mention printing through the pocket. I'm haveing better luck with thin Crossbreed, MTAC, and Spartan holsters.

A Keltec PF9 and a Glock 19/23/32 covers just about all the whole CCW range from sub to fullsize. My main is a G23 that conceals nearly as well as the 26 and a Keltec p32 for deep concealment. I will be adding a PF9 to my collection.

May 24, 2009, 08:47 AM
So what is the best subcompact 9mm.

The answer is; HK P2000SK

Honorable mention; Walther P99c, Glock 26, Kahr K9

May 24, 2009, 09:08 AM
I will vote for the Glock 26. My brother has and carries the sub-compact XD in 9mm and prefers the feel of it over my Glock, and while it is a neat little gun, at the end of the day I prefer my G26 even with the floating pinkie and all!

May 24, 2009, 09:14 AM
If you want a compact, reliable, and rock solid platform that is easy to maintain, then get the Glock 26 with night sights.

May 24, 2009, 10:25 AM

Just personal preference, but having owned both the Glock 26, and the Walther P99c/AS I personally think the Walther pistol is basically the Glock 26 with the negatives (or negatives to me) corrected.

The grip on all Glocks simply did not fit my hands. (medium sized).. The grips on my Glock 26's (I had two) were blocky and not ergonomic at all. The ever"lite" Glock trigger/striker was not to my liking (I'm basically a traditional da guy) and I never felt comfortable carrying one concealed in my iwb.

Later I read up on the Walther P99c/AS and bought one, and the grip ergonomics are excellent.. Replaceable grip backstraps offer the owner choices and I think most folks would be amazed at the improvement over the "feel" in the hand of the P99c/AS over the Glock.

The "AS" (anti-stress) trigger/striker of the Walther is fantastic. Basically a TDA w/choice of a very short trigger pull in the AS mode. Much safer, imo, for the non-leo, non-professional as a carry choice.

My Walther P99c/AS was definitely more accurate than my Glocks, for me.

In fact with the exception of my P7's the Walther P99c/AS was the most accurate cc 9mm pistol I've ever owned, or shot.

No offense to the zillions of Glock lovers, just my personal experience.

Best Wishes,


sigma 40ve
May 24, 2009, 10:31 AM
I have a G26 and G33. I use the 26 in GSSF events. I ccw the 33. It can be done with cargo shorts easily with the Desantis pocket holster, if you prefer pocket carry. I have even done the pocket carry before in loose fitting jeans. During the winter I use a Sidearmour IWB holster or Don Hume slide, depending on how I am dressed. I have a SA XD sc9, but I prefer the Glock for ccw.

May 24, 2009, 10:33 AM
I've carried quite a few different pistols and revolvers as concealed personal defense handguns. My two favorite pistols for this application are the Glock 26 and the Sig P239 SAS DA/SA in 9mm. IMO, working out an effective method of carry is as important as the selection of the handgun. Personally, I prefer IWB carry in the appendix position with a low ride holster. With either the G26 or P239, this carry mode provides excellent concealment, all day comfort, and weapon access when driving. I also highly recommend the GAP finger rest extension for the G26. It greatly imporves weapon control without adding length to the grip.

May 24, 2009, 11:10 AM
Kahr K9.

May 24, 2009, 01:23 PM
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the CZ 2075 Rami. External hammer, one version w/manual safety like a 1911, one with a decocker, and one in poly. Great reviews from what I've seen, but very hard to find. Any opinions?

May 24, 2009, 02:21 PM
Put down another vote for the Glock 26 here. I'm on my second one, after stupidly trading off my first one. :banghead:

I have fired an MK-9, a Glock 27 (.40 S&W), a Kel-Tec P-11 and a P-32. I also own a PF-9, which is great in it's own right but has more limitations than the Glock. Of the whole bunch, the G-26 offers the best balance of controlability, reliability, accuracy, durability and ease of concealment IMO.

As said, in a pinch the 26 will go into a pocket. Unfortunately, I find this greatly limits my ability to carry anything else in my pockets at that point. It works great on a belt, and I use a Don Hume slide for this purpose, and occasionally with it's big-brother G-17. I'm still looking around for a good tuckable IWB, as I think this would be one of the best ways to carry the baby Glock.

In my hands I suffer very little to no loss of accuracy and speed with the 26 versus the 17. With either I can make 50-yard hits on steel, standing using a modified Isosoceles hold. At close range, inside 7-10 yards, there is no difference shooting at speed.

Now, a PF-9 can be carried without a belt (tuck an IWB into your waistband and go, even on a mountain bike! ;) ), tucks into a pocket with ease and is generally easier to carry. But hits on target come a lot slower, my accuracy with it past 15-20 yards drops off severely and mine doesn't have the reliability the Glock has when fired in contorted positions or a less-than-perfect grip. With a good firm grip, it works just fine, yes.

Don't think I'm a Glock fan boy either. I believe skill and mindset are infinitely more valuable than your choice of hardware. As long as what you have works, it will do. I just find I can depend on my Glocks above just about everything else, even a couple of my S&W revolvers.

May 24, 2009, 02:42 PM
Buying a gun because a celebrity recommended it to you is akin to buying a gun because someone in an online gun board told that it was "the only way to go." In fact, "the only way to go" is to try out a number of guns for youself and then get the one that best fits your hand and eye and picket book. This will take some time, and some range work, and some money for rentals and the like. But the investment will pay for itself in the long run because you'll have the right decision for you right off the bat.

Good luck.

May 24, 2009, 03:56 PM
I do love the G26 but you have to remember its R lee ermey's job to hype the glocks as he is their spokes person.

I got to talk with him at the shot show this year, great guy/good hand shake.

desert gator
May 24, 2009, 04:09 PM
Im a fan of slim grips even with my large hands. I ccw a walther pps and am going to start switching it out with a kahr p9. I

May 24, 2009, 04:47 PM
Don't forget to eyeball/handle an XDSC-may be a bit on the thick side for some concealment, but you'll have to decide.
My main CCW is an XD40SC, but I wish I'd had a 9 to test fire-think I might like the 9 better for less muzzle flip?
I also had to add a Pearce Grip Extender as I don't like my pinky dangling, although if you're looking for ultimate size reduction (mebbe an oxymoron with an XD?) you can go with the OEM mag floorplate.
My extra mags are the extended models-I figure if it can't be handled with the smaller magazine in the gun and I have to reload, I'm probably gonna be wishing for all the ammo I can carry! The extended mags give you a few extra rounds if/when you reload.

I kinda like the grip safety-when holstering (which is where some Glock folks seem to be getting into trouble) I place my thumb on the back of the slide, which removes the web of my hand from the grip safety.

I'm finding it hard to believe as many AD/ND as seem to be occurring with Glocks are a case of everybody having their hand on the trigger-I'm wondering if some/many of these cases aren't caused by something hanging the trigger when holstering etc (think someone reported one case of a windbreaker drawstring hanging a trigger?).

Brother J
May 24, 2009, 06:39 PM
S&W M-P 9c: 12+1, accurate, good ergonomics and easy to carry. Here's mine lounging inside a home made IWB:

May 24, 2009, 06:50 PM
So what is the best subcompact 9mm.

Far too subjective of a question. Therefore, I will give you my "opinions" regarding the various 9mm weapons I have handled. But, my opinions are not "fact." Keep in mind, other responses will probably fall within the same category.


The Glocks seem decent (fit) and based on rep, very reliable (regarding the 9mm anyway). However, for me, the Sig P239 simply felt the best out of any such weapons I tried and is a solid shooter (the XD-9 was nice though and certainly a close second). The Sig P239 DAK is what I ended up buying, for certain reasons; the P239 DA/SA was a bit easier to shoot, however.

May 24, 2009, 07:14 PM
The first subcompact pistol I actually enjoyed shooting was the Glock 26. I liked it because I could use all the mags I had accumulated for my G19. Then I discovered the P2000sk -- great gun too
So I have a 1 & 1a

May 24, 2009, 07:41 PM
Glock 26.

May 24, 2009, 09:09 PM
S&W M-P 9c: 12+1, accurate, good ergonomics and easy to carry. Here's mine lounging inside a home made IWB:

+1 for the M&Pc 9mm I trust my life to this firearm day in and day out as my daily conceal carry gun.

May 24, 2009, 10:06 PM
the Kahr PM9, XD9sc, Walther PPS, and Beretta PX4sc. I carry the PM9 every day in my front pants pocket with a DeSantis Nemisis holster.

model of 1905
May 24, 2009, 10:39 PM
I wouldnt call the M&Pc a subcompact, it still is a fairly good sized gun.
I like the Kahr PM9, its my backup to my EDC M&Pc 357 auto.

May 24, 2009, 11:09 PM
HK P2000SK
Walther PPS
Kahr PM9

May 25, 2009, 11:24 AM
love my pps

May 25, 2009, 02:25 PM
My present CCW is the G26. Most of my other weapons sit at home or go to the range on occassion.

May 25, 2009, 10:21 PM
Before I laid hands on the KT PF-9 for cc I'd have mentioned some of the others, but the PF-9 is IMO the best ccw available. Powerful, small, well made, inexpensive, reliable, plenty of accessories available, and made in USA what more do you need?

May 25, 2009, 11:05 PM
If not, I'd recommend something like a Kahr because it's half the width.

A Kahr is 1.1" wide, a G26 is 1.18, hardly HALF the width.

Both are good guns, both similar in size, if the OP wants really small, get the Rohrbaugh, the smallest 9mm to date

EOD Guy in VA
May 26, 2009, 12:56 AM
I have the S&W M&P Compact in both 9mm and 40S&W and have found them to be 100% reliable. The M&P40c replaced my P239-DAK for carry because the additional 3 rounds it holds and the ability to customize the grip.

May 26, 2009, 08:27 AM
Compact 9mm? Except for price it's tough to beat the Para PDA with the LDA trigger. The spurless hammer makes it easier to pocket carry than the EMP and since it's 1911 based, it's very thin.

May 26, 2009, 09:02 AM
Nothing wrong with the subcompact Glocks...I personally prefer how the XD sub compact fits my hands...and my wife likes it even more!


May 26, 2009, 12:04 PM
Any of the chopped 9's that have 'big brothers' are awesome. I've found the Glock subs handle nearly as good as their compact & full size stablemates. I actually shoot my subcompact G27 better than my compact 23...

The G26 would get my vote since it shoots just as well as a G19, can use the mags from the larger guns for 15-19 shot refills, and the holster support is the best in the biz.

May 26, 2009, 02:47 PM
Kahr PM9, has to be one of the best pocket guns out there. top quality through out, not cheap but just the kind of gun u can trust and shoot until the cows come home.

I know I have alittle over 20,000 rounds through my PM9 without one hitch, and it rides in my front pocket 24/7..

I realy don't know how they call the Smith M & P subcompact a compact or even the glock 26, it's certainly is a compact compared to the G 19 maybe but not to the PM9. XD's are no different either..

My but the power of advertising

June 2, 2009, 11:57 PM
Thank you all for your feedback. And yeah, I know Ermey is there to sell glocks. But hey, I've been a fan for a while, so right or wrong I listened to what he had to say. has a cool LCP and P3AT holster that they claim some guy qualified for his ccw with it as its made to shoot from. Maybe I'll try that before investing in yet another gun.

June 3, 2009, 11:01 AM
G26, you were on the right track, get a used one for $375 and pick up some g17 mags and the adapter grip, then you can carry wtih 11+1 and a 17rd reload!

I carry mine almost daily!!! (when I can't fit my uspc 45)

Also might consider the glock 27, and buy a 9mm barrel, and some mags, I should have done that....

Then you have a .40 and a 9mm, and if you are getting a wolf barrel you can shoot lead

Coltman 77
June 3, 2009, 11:33 AM

June 3, 2009, 11:57 AM
I had a Para carry 9, nice gun, certainly not a compact IMO compared to somthing like the kahr PM9 or the kel tec guns. Weight damn near twice what my PM9 did to. nice gun but a waist band gun only.

Mine was a real shooter,but it just did not like me, so I sold it.

June 3, 2009, 01:30 PM
I am going with the G26. With Mag grip extender or using the converted G-17 mags with the adapter. It works for me and what I use it for. I have been a big fan lately of the Fobus type holsters for the Glocks.

June 3, 2009, 05:11 PM
Glock 26.. Got to go with experienced reliability.. For self protection, I just don't trust the 15oz or less pistol.

June 3, 2009, 10:42 PM
I have a Glock 26 and it's a great reliable pistol. I have fairly large hands and I have never added a grip extension nor any tape to the grip. I took a friend's advice and just learned to shoot it as it's made. It was very easy to do so. It's one of the few semis I trust to carry as a defensive weapon. I have a friend who is a former law enforcement worker. He has a G27 which he also likes, and which was his primary work pistol.

I've also had great luck with the Ruger LCP. I had almost purchased the new micro EAGLE (which makes the Ruger, Kel-Tek, et al; look big). However, I believe the LCP is the correct choice. It feels good in the hand and is extremely accurate in spite of having no real sights.

There are many great pistols out there. Read the reviews and find one which is reliable, and then find the one you enjoy holding and viewing. It's a great pleasure to enjoy the sight of your guns, especially if they work well. There's nothing worse than a great looking gun or car which performs like crap :). I have found that in reading the fora (forums) that if 80 percent of people say a pistol or revolver is great - it probably is in spite of the 20 percent who have problems.

June 3, 2009, 11:14 PM
Glock 26 and Kahr PM9. I own both.

Cpt. America
June 4, 2009, 12:42 AM
If your set on a Glock you might as well just stick with your SR9. If you want a slim 9mm that will be comfortable carry in a hot climate you may want to look at Kahr, Walther pps or Kel-tec PF9. My brother "carries" a Glock 27 it spends more time gaurding the glove box and his socks. He's a stout guy but living in FL its hard to carry a heavy bulky gun. If your set on a Glock though look at the G36, its not a 9mm but would be more comfortable to carry than the 33, 26 or 27.

May 23, 2010, 12:16 PM
I understand that I am not seeing mention of Kimbers or even more expensive Wilson's , Ed Brown's, etc. but I literally went into hock for my recent purchase of a Kimber Aegis Ultra 11, 9MM, 1911 compact 3" barrel. Have put through about 500 rounds of about everything. Amazingly dependent and Kimber legendary match accuracy especially with the night sights. Very concelable, in my Milt Sparls Officers ACP, with 8 round mag. I suggest buying 1-2 Wilson combat #500,9c mags for this gun, and a lot of Kimbers in all claibers need Wilson or MCcormick mags. Great gun,but mags have some to be desired , which I believe are farmed out to Metaform? very tinny, and not substantial. That 4LB trigger is a delight. It's a shame it has to be concealed because it'sa piece of functional art. Worth every penny, which is how I'll have to pay it off, in pennies.

May 23, 2010, 12:19 PM
On that Hemingway quote, I don't think there was aday he was sober, since his childhood. Should have practiced what he preached. Brilliant anyway. Mike

harmon rabb
May 23, 2010, 12:35 PM
At the event, R Lee Ermy told me that of his 100+ guns, ten are Glocks which between him and my cop friend have me leaning toward Glock and possibly the Model 26.

In a recent interview in a gun magazine, R Lee Ermy said that the army should go back to a sidearm chambered in .45 because, with a .45, 1 shot = 1 kill, whereas with a 9mm, it takes 4-6 shots and you "might as well be shooting them with a .22."

I wouldn't take him as ANY sort of authority on ****.

May 23, 2010, 12:58 PM
The Glock 26 is no doubt a great subcompact. I've shot one and it does shoot very, very nicely. Oddly comfortable, too.. Only Glock I've fondled so far that I thought felt good.

I feel thought that I should poke you in the direction of the subcompact Beretta Storm. A friend of mine has it and I will shoot it today, but she is giving it nothing but absolutely great reviews.

May 23, 2010, 01:01 PM
If you really like your SR9 get an SR9C, its trigger is much improved the gun is about the same size as a glock 26 and shoots like a dream. With the spacer that comes with the gun you can even use your SR9 magazines if you want 17 rounds.

May 23, 2010, 11:07 PM
oddly enough I shot both my EMP 9mm and my Glock 26 yesterday. The EMP is simply sweet, accurate, and what a great trigger. The G26 is simply a very comfortable Glock with all that implies. You can get a G26 and a SA xd sub compact for the price of the EMP.

I also find the glock 26 oddly comfortable and easy to shoot.

My Kahr pm9 gets my vote for the best small 9mm at the moment. Mainly because of it's size and great trigger.

All the weapons i've mentioned could easily considered Best in class.

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