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Compact 9x19 Suggestions

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by JShirley, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    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.


  2. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

    Kahr P9

    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.]

  3. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member


    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.
  4. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

    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.
  5. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    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.
  6. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Well-Known Member

    I'd check out the Taurus Millennium Pro and the Taurus Slim. Great guns, and exactly what you're looking for IMO.
  7. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    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.
  8. Chindo18Z

    Chindo18Z Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    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.
  10. carbonyl

    carbonyl Well-Known Member

    Of those on your list I have the SR9c and it's been perfect through more than 1000 rounds.
  11. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    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?

  12. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator

    Im a big fan of the CZ 75 compact. Can be carried cocked and locked. or the P-01
  13. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    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! ;)
  14. CrazyO

    CrazyO Active Member

    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.
  15. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    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....
  16. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Well-Known Member

    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.
  17. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

    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 .
  18. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    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.

  19. Coop45

    Coop45 Well-Known Member

    Kahr PM9 with the seven round magazine. No problems 800 rounds
  20. TarDevil

    TarDevil Well-Known Member

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

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