Compact 9x19 Suggestions


February 24, 2012, 03:41 AM
I am looking for suggestions and feedback for a 9mm with a barrel length over 3" and less than 4". This will be for my girlfriend to use when we attend classes at a major firearms school, and if we manage to escape to a Free State, to CCW carry. Note: I am not going to just buy a handgun for her, I just want to have several suggestions ready for her to try, and see if one feels right to her. Also note that I don't care if you want to suggest a revolver. She carries an automatic in the Army every day, and "revolvers are great for newer shooters" falls down the instant you try to do a fast reload under pressure. Revolvers are more intuitive to understand...and that's about it.

The goal is to find a handgun that's small enough to conceal fairly easily under every day dress on a slender frame, but large enough to shoot well and be comfortable when taking a high-round-count class. Some potential candidates:

Beretta 8000 Cougar
Bersa BP9CC
CZ 75 P-01
Glock 26
Kahr P9
Ruger SR9c Compact
SIG Sauer P239
Smith & Wesson M&P 96 9mm 3.5
Smith & Wesson Model 908

I do have a CZ Compact and 1911 9mm Commander for her to try, as well.



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February 24, 2012, 03:55 AM
I have a Kahr P9.

It came with a 7-round mag and an 8-round mag.

I have only about 100 rounds through it, but I've had no failures.

I was surprised at the accuracy and comfort. I was able to shoot hand-sized groups at engagement distances, shooting near-rapid-fire. The gun points naturally for me. I have medium-smallish hands.

The felt recoil was considerably less than I expected. Given that I have arthritis in my strong hand (well, both actually) and in the trigger finger, I was pleased that the trigger was smooth and that the little pistol didn't punish the hand.

The gun is solid, light, compact, and fits in a tiny "fanny pack" that's too small for a compact pistol. I guess that makes it a sub-compact.

I can endorse the P9.

[Note: I can also offer the Taurus PT111 as a shooter (similar performance to the above), but its 12-round capacity has a cost: it's thicker and would be harder to conceal easily. My wife picked the PT111 because it fit her hand so well. Her hands are smaller than mine.]

February 24, 2012, 03:58 AM

Yeah, a Kahr would be a strong contender. Slim profile for smaller hands, and good trigger pull.

The Taurus, if it's the one I'm thinking of, has a pretty terrible trigger pull.

Brian Williams
February 24, 2012, 04:05 AM
I have worked with 2 9mms, a G19 and a p-11, I could not justify getting a p-11 when the G19 was about the same size, probably equal to the G26.

I really like my G19 and have a number of different mags for different carry possibilities.
here is a list
4 normal G19 mags
3 G19 mags w/ +2
2 G17 mags w/ +2
A G19 is a great gun, just need to know the trigger.

I would like to like the P-11 more but I have to get better with the "revolver" trigger.

February 24, 2012, 04:12 AM
I like the G19 a lot. When I had a G23, it was my favorite all-around handgun.

I do think the G26/27 with +2 magazine is not noticeably smaller than the 19/23. I think the "compact" Glock is still too large for everyday carry for someone who probably weighs 124 lbs soaking wet.

The P11 is another piece I wish I hadn't sold, when I enlisted in 2001. I don't think the little, short-barreled, long, (and gritty, if not worked) trigger pull will be a very good choice for a 800-1000 round class.

Ragnar Danneskjold
February 24, 2012, 04:48 AM
I'd check out the Taurus Millennium Pro and the Taurus Slim. Great guns, and exactly what you're looking for IMO.

February 24, 2012, 04:57 AM
I appreciate the suggestions, but neither seems appropriate for a 800-1000 round-count handgun class. I had a difficult enough time using 1911s, much less a double-action with a 3" barrel.

February 24, 2012, 04:58 AM
I'd vote for:

CZ P-01 (I have one)

Glock 19 (I used to have one)

S&W 2nd or 3rd Gen Auto (my suggestions would be the 908, 3913, or CS9...which are all variations of the same gun); I have a Model 39-2...the slightly larger ancestor to all of them.

Honorable mention...Ruger LC9

The Glock 19 is still a few ounces lighter than the alloy framed P-01, but I actually prefer the ergonomics, DA first shot, and the decocker function of the CZ. I'm a CZ hound anyway and own several others (75, 85, SP-01). As she is already used to a DA/SA from the military, training with either the CZ or a Smith makes a lot of sense.

For something to be carried more than shot the Ruger LC9 is a P-11 sized 9mm. It disappears in any kind of concealment holster. I'm pleased enough with my little .380 LCP to definitely consider the slightly larger LC9 9mm for future purchase. It might not be the ticket as primary for a shooting course for the same reasons you discounted the P11...long trigger pull with reset. She could certainly run that gun through a course, but it wouldn't have the same speed of follow-up shots provided by some of the previously mentioned suggestions.

February 24, 2012, 05:03 AM
We'll revisit the CZ Compact, and see how she feels about it, after the deployment. I'm probably getting a full-sized CZ anyway, so I could take the regular CZ 75, and she could take the Compact, if she likes it well enough. That would ease ammunition and magazine constraints.

Don't get me wrong: when I practiced frequently with my P-11, it dramatically improved my shooting when I used other firearms. I just know the class is hard enough, without starting at a disadvantage.

February 24, 2012, 05:09 AM
Of those on your list I have the SR9c and it's been perfect through more than 1000 rounds.

February 24, 2012, 05:12 AM
Oh, good to know. How's the recoil? I had a couple of hulking 6'+ firearm instructors complain about the recoil of my P-11, and refuse to try it with the P-40 .40 "upper" on it. :D

What ammunition have you tried in it?


February 24, 2012, 05:43 AM
Im a big fan of the CZ 75 compact. Can be carried cocked and locked. or the P-01

February 24, 2012, 05:55 AM
I shot one when I shot an IDPA match at Sam and Ken's last year.

I wasn't the fastest, but I had the most holes in targets of anyone. :D

My motto: when in doubt, keep shooting! ;)

February 24, 2012, 06:21 AM
If you have a CZ compact, how about the CZ 75D PCR? With the alloy frame it reduce the weight. And it is a VERY accurate shooter.

February 24, 2012, 09:53 AM
I have a BUNCH of compact 9mm pistols. My wife has small hands, and while she loved the PF9 and CW9 in the store she loved shooting them a lot less than other pistols due to their snappy feel and longish trigger pulls. She preferred the PCR and the P6/P225 over most of the choices, both for their relative shooting comfort and for their trigger. Of those two choices, she liked the reach of the P6 over the PCR.

We (well, me moreso than she) have recently been playing a lot with the SR9c and think very well of it. It's actually no smaller in the grip than the fullsize SR9 but it's shorter/lighter feel makes her more confident wielding it. I've banged out a BUNCh of rounds through several, and they just flat out work.

I am quite convinced that if I ever handed her a Kimber Aegis, she would absolutely fall in love with it. Sadly, she will never shoot enough to really master a SA-only manual of arms for self-defense and so we are sticking to DA or DA/SA choices....

February 24, 2012, 09:58 AM
Have you considered the Taurus pt709 Slim?

Its very nicely sized for a smaller hand and, while I'm not very sensitive about recoil, I don't feel any significant difference between shooting it and shooting my DH's S&W, M&P 9 despite the latter being so much heavier.

February 24, 2012, 10:03 AM
You may want to add the kahr cw and cm series to your list. It would depend on the grip lenght with the cm9 is it is a 2finger grip but the cw9 is both affordable and easy to control offering a full grip for must mid and small hands. I have around 1800 rounds thru my 2 kahrs with no problems .

February 24, 2012, 10:10 AM
The course we're planning in 2013 after deployment will force shooting out to at least 25 yards (I actually made about a 70 yard shot, while going through the simulator, but was told I'd made the longest shot of anyone in our group). The closer to 3" the barrel gets, the less likely it is that the piece will be a good choice for shooting at least 800 rounds from in 5 days.


February 24, 2012, 10:23 AM
Kahr PM9 with the seven round magazine. No problems 800 rounds

February 24, 2012, 10:29 AM
I've been extremely happy with my SR9c. Feels very slim for a double stack, accurate, flawless (500 rounds so far), soft recoil.

February 24, 2012, 11:01 AM
Walther PPS.

February 24, 2012, 01:10 PM
G19. I don't find it any harder to conceal than a 26 unless I want to use SOB carry, which is rare. Especially with a +2 on the mag, the grip is then the same size as the 19. The barrel is rarely the difficult part to conceal, it is the grip. Go with the 19 because it is softer shooting, has a longer sight radius for ease of aiming, and has the rail if you use it as a nightstand gun with a light. My sister-in-law is 4'10", weighs 98lbs and conceals a Sig P229 in FL year round, so a G19 is not difficult.

February 24, 2012, 01:22 PM
The Cougar is a great gun, but I wouldn't call it compact (other than the shortish barrel), it doesn't have a small frame. Though I guess if she carries an M9 it has the same manual of arms.

Personally being a fan of metal framed guns, I'd go with the P239 (my dad carries one in .40S&W). Awesome gun, compact enough to hide but big and well built enough to actually shoot on a regular basis even in .40S&W.

February 24, 2012, 01:30 PM
I've been extremely happy with my SR9c. Feels very slim for a double stack, accurate, flawless (500 rounds so far), soft recoil.
This. Just bought mine this week, and am happy with it so far. I wanted something I'd feel comfortable shooting, and any gun I've tried that's smaller (LC9, LCP, etc.) has simply felt wrong.

February 24, 2012, 01:45 PM
Glock 19.

Pietro Beretta
February 24, 2012, 01:51 PM
Just go to a range with a lot of rentals and have some fun, let her choose what she wants.

February 24, 2012, 02:12 PM
Of course it's her choice, but finding the range with the "lot of rentals" you describe could be the problem...

February 24, 2012, 03:15 PM
SR9c...I really like mine, very slim for a double stack and has been flawless for me.

February 24, 2012, 03:24 PM
My short list of guns for this role are:
Glock (26 or 19) - I DO see a big difference between the two for deep concealment.
CZ (Have you considered the Rami?)(I have several of the 75 compact variants, all great guns).
Sig (P6/225) Sig P6s are on sale for $400 at Wideners.|1012|1026

I bought two and they are in great shape. While I haven't shot them, I expect Sig quality/reliability. Single stack 9 rounds of 9x19.

One thing to consider is that with certain frames, as you know, larger brother/sister model mags will work. For instance in my G26 the full sized 17 round mags work. So you can carry the low profile smaller gun, but have larger mags as backup mags. And mags are easy to conceal.

I don't have one in 9x19, but I have a Bersa Thunder in .380 and it's a nice gun.

PS - keep your head down in the 'stan.

Pietro Beretta
February 24, 2012, 03:31 PM
I like the SR9C -- Don't forget it does have a manual safety that puts a lot of people off but the trigger really is nice, in another post someone mentioned a gritty reset and I did not find that to be true in the model I fired, it was a really nice trigger. Thinner grip then a glock and adjustable sights.

The Glock 26 is an obvious choice and a good one too.

The SR9C will be less expensive in the beginning; however the magazines costs around 40$ a piece for the 10 rounders, as apposed to the glocks 20$

Bartholomew Roberts
February 24, 2012, 04:26 PM
I generally use either a Hi-Power or a Glock 26. I bought the 26 just after I got my CHL on the belief that I needed a compact pistol for carry, as well as to have a pistol while I had work done on the Hi-Power. I quickly discovered that I needed a good holster more than anything and have only carried the Glock 26 sporadically since making that discovery. My thoughts:

1. To date, women overwhelmingly prefer shooting the Glock 26 over the Hi-Power (100% - no dissenters) and are better shooters with it as well.

2. The Glock 26 with the +2 or finger groove mag extension is basically the same grip length as the Glock 19.

3. So far I've only found two places where the slightly smaller dimensions of the 26 were useful for concealed carry - one is when I carry OWB with an untucked polo shirt or similar type garment. The shorter barrel doesn't expose as easily. The second place is pocket carry, which is possible with the right pair of pants and the Glock 26; but still not ideal.

4. I regularly wish the 26 had a slimmer slide. I once bought a tuckable holster for the 26 (a now discontinued Galco design) that used J-hooks. Between the thickness of the Glock and the bad holster design, it looked like I had some physical abnormality, even though the gun was completely concealed, you could see the belt jut out awkwardly if you happened to catch it at the right angle.

My general thoughts from shooting with different women over the years, most all of them at a novice level of shooting, is that most of them appear to do better with polymer framed guns. I think the polymer helps them with recoil management as does the lower bore-axis of the Glock compared to the Hi-Power.

February 24, 2012, 04:32 PM
I was about to say, "I'm surprised nobody has mentioned a Walther PPS" yet, until I saw Water-Man's post.

February 24, 2012, 04:39 PM
Walther PPS
Bersa Thunder 9 Ultracompact

Pietro Beretta
February 24, 2012, 04:39 PM
I had a CZ75 Compact that I got through a group buy here actually. I have small hands, very small hands. The CZ75's grips were too wide, and I was reaching for the trigger. Buying thinner profile grips did help, but that trigger was just too far forward for my trigger finger and I would have to reach for that trigger, that obviously threw off my shot.

I ended up selling her, 100% reliable though.

February 24, 2012, 04:55 PM
I suggest for a girl to consider Sig P938 and Diamondback DB9

February 24, 2012, 08:11 PM
You know my friend I tested and evaluated the Kel-tec 9-11 for some "special folks. You know me, and my sharing with you...and my real deal testings...

That said, I suggest a S&W 3913 my friend.

Take care John, and stay low and what your your back as our mutual friend Denny H shares.


February 24, 2012, 10:15 PM
If you want compact, 3.12" barrel, good sights and reliable along with a decent price it would be hard to beat the Ruger LC9. After 800 rounds of various ammo mine hasn't hiccuped yet. Steel at 25yards isn't difficult with this gun either. It's a DAO hammer fired pistol with a smooth, long trigger pull. It has a safety but really isn't necessary.

February 24, 2012, 10:55 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions. Bartholomew Roberts, there is absolutely no way this woman will be able to conceal any kind of Glock in a pocket! I'd have a hard time doing it, and I outweigh her by about 30%.

The P-11 is a good close-range gun, but it would be extremely difficult to do fast shots at 15 yards and further with it.

Thinking the 3913 and SR9C are on the short list. I wonder if newer Glocks will have a somewhat slimmer grip~ stuff to try. :)


February 24, 2012, 11:16 PM
Beretta PX4 Compact.

February 24, 2012, 11:37 PM
The range near the house has G19 and 26, and Sig 239. It's a start.

February 25, 2012, 02:38 AM
I've shot everything on your list except the Bersa.

With the training in mind, my recommendations would be the S&W M&P 9c, followed by the 908 and then the Kahr P9, with the Kahr switching places with the 908 if you upgraded to the K9

February 25, 2012, 06:20 AM
Okay, I think the range near the house has the S&W M&Ps for a decent price. Don't know that they have one to rent, though. :(

February 25, 2012, 06:45 AM
I have no experience with a Bersa, or, the particular Beretta you mentioned.
I have several Glocks, and they have never missed a beat, but, for ME, they are too "blocky" to carry.
If you managed to get a good CZ, that's great, if you have to deal with their warranty dept., good luck. No more CZs for me.
S&W M&P series pistols have been good to me,and are comfortable in MY hands.Another plus for the M&Ps is that Crimson Trace makes a laser that replaces the backstrap, which is about the same size as the medium, which fits me.
SIG 239. I bought one when they first came out, and still have it. Pretty accurate, for a smallish gun, not terribly hard to conceal, reliable, and of course, mine has Crimson Trace lasergrips on it.
Rugers are well built guns, at a decent price, but, I don't like the way they fit in MY hand, and generally have pretty nasty triggers, that take a lot of work to master.
I looked at Khars, because I wanted something smaller, lighter, and easier to conceal than my SIG 239, and M&Ps, but, when I fondled a Kimber Solo, I HAD to have it. For a tiny pistol, it is surprisingly accurate. Kimber says they are capable of 3", or less at 25 yards. I'll never be able to do that with my poor eyesight, and the short sight radius, but, can easily make head shots at 15 yards with it, and another plus for the Solo is that Crimson Trace makes lasergrips for it. The negatives, for the Solo is that so far, Kimber hasn't actually come out with their 8 round magazines yet, and it stings a little to shoot it.

If I was looking for one that I was going to take to a class that involved a high volume of shooting, it would be a tough decision between an M&P, and the SIG 239.

Bartholomew Roberts
February 25, 2012, 07:31 AM
One other thought on the Glock 26... when I used to shoot IDPA, we had a woman who shot with a G26. She eventually decided to upgrade to a G17 for IDPA use and started having a lot of limp-wrist stoppages she never had with the G26. Something to do with slide mass/recoil I think as the problem got even worse with a G34; but went away with a G35. I just mention it since you had a couple of Glocks on the list.

February 25, 2012, 07:35 AM
Ruger sr9c..very good shooting gun...and for about 70 bucks u can buy drop in trigger parts to make it an even better shooting gun at much less than a flock....sell for 380-420 around here...comes with a 10 round for carry and 18 for target with a grip extention..have 2...did I mention the fact that they look 10 times better than the ugly blocky glock ...not putting glock down its a great gun..but you can gets great gun for less than the over priced glock

February 25, 2012, 09:03 AM

I was actually just talking ( about that phenomenon today!

It's because shorter Glocks have a more vigorous slide movement.

February 25, 2012, 09:16 AM
Based on my most recent purchase, I've got to champion the Springfield EMP 9....I've found the recoil to be very surprisingly low and believe I could shoot it several hundred rounds at a time before tiring. Certainly 50 at a setting doesn't leave my hand feeling anything. And if she has small hands, she'll like the grip.

February 25, 2012, 09:25 AM
I don't think she was very wild about how my Commander grip felt, and I think a 3" barrel is not a very good choice for full-on handgun course like Gunsite 250 Handgun.

(I liked how the EMP felt, though. ;))

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