To catalog the huge number of handguns designed and produced over the years would be a monumental undertaking. To narrow that list to the best pistols for self-defense becomes even more difficult. With that being said however, I am compelled to offer my thoughts on what are some of the best pistols for self-defense. The options are many, but I have trimmed down the list to include a spectrum of sizes and styles to fit just about anyone. So, in no particular order here are my suggestions.
GLOCK 26 Gen5
Earlier this year Glock unveiled its all-new Glock 26 Gen5 pistol. This updated G26 features most of the Gen5 improvements that were introduced in the G17 and G19 in 2017. These features include the Glock Marksman barrel for improved accuracy, no finger groves on the front strap and an ambidextrous slide stop. Glock has also applied a new and improved coating. The new nDLC coating covers the slide for enhanced durability and resistance to corrosion. Like the other Gen5 guns, the fire control design produces an improved trigger pull and reset. Even though it is still compact, the “Baby Glock” has grown up.
Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0
The M&P series of pistol from S&W have been enormously successful. They have raised the bar this year by offering some improvements on this platform. They include an extended stainless-steel chassis and a low barrel bore axis for reduced muzzle rise and faster aim recovery. The M&P M2.0 pistol further improves performance with a fine-tuned, crisper trigger, lighter pull and a tactile and audible reset. The pistol, available in three calibers, includes an aggressively textured grip and four interchangeable palm swell inserts for optimal hand-fit and trigger reach. It is a comfortable gun to shoot and a solid choice for self-defense.
Kimber Aegis Elite Pro (OI)
Nobody ever said that your self-defense handgun needs to be plain Jane. New for 2018, Kimber has released the Aegis Elite Pro (OI). This is a beautiful 1911 pistol with a Vortex Venom red dot optic incorporated into the gun. The optic co-witnesses white three-dot sights for rapid target acquisition. Other features of the Aegis Elite Pro include a satin silver round heel frame, black slide sporting Kimber’s new AEX serrations, 24-LPI front strap serrations, green, black and gray G10 grips, and a premium aluminum trigger. In the end it is a beautiful gun that is up to the fight.
Ruger Security 9
New this year from Ruger is the Security 9. It is a centerfire pistol that offers easy concealment with the confident handling of a mid-sized frame. It uses the familiar LCP fire control system and has a secure action hammer. The gun has a hard-coated aluminum chassis and through-hardened alloy steel slide and barrel for extreme durability. Throw in high-vis sights and alloy steel magazines and you have a great gun!
Smith and Wesson Shield 2.0
With over one million units sold, the S&W Shield has been very successful. This year S&W has updated the Shield to include many of the innovations and upgrades from the full-sized M&P M2.0. They include a lighter, more refined trigger with a crisp break, plus a distinct reset you can both feel and hear, for better feedback to the shooter and more precise trigger control. The 2.0 also has a more aggressive grip texture allowing you better control. The improvements are sure to keep the Shield at the top of many people’s lists for must-have guns!
Springfield 911 .380 ACP
The 911 represents the first .380 ACP gun that Springfield has produced. They hit the ground with a winner. It is a lightweight gun coming in at just over five inches in length and weighing only 12.6 ounces. It is concealed carry focused as it includes good high visibility night sights, ambidextrous safety and short reset trigger. While small, the gun handles quite well and is easy to manipulate and fire. The 911 is a great choice in the sub-compact gun category.
Kimber K6 CDP
While known for their 1911s Kimber has hit a homerun with their new series of revolvers. New this year is the K6 CDP (Custom Defense Package) model. This new model, chambered in .357 magnum, has a match grade trigger, improved ergonomics, black DLC coated frame with brushed stainless-steel barrel, cylinder and small parts. Most eye-catching though are the checkered rosewood grips. Add in fantastic night sights and you have a gun as effective as it is good looking!
Walther PPQ Sub Compact
Walther is well known for its classic German engineering. This year they have introduced their PPQ Sub Compact pistol. It has excellent ergonomics and a smooth single-action trigger. The PPQ SC is extremely comfortable and controllable thanks to the superior ergonomics and customizable fit of the included interchangeable back straps. The ambidextrous magazine release makes this gun a perfect fit for both right and left-handed shooters. The gun is accurate and reliable which made it an easy pick for our list.
The 19X represents Glock’s “crossover” pistol. This gun combines the best features of two of their most popular and trusted models; the Glock 17 frame and the Glock 19 slide. This is also a Gen5 pistol which means it enjoys all the same internal improvements shared by the entire Gen5 family including an improved trigger. Originally developed for the military, the G19X is a practical everyday carry pistol utilizing Glock’s combat-proven experience. Most obvious however is the unique coyote color used by Glock on this new pistol. It is a merging of several worlds but is built as a fighter. Complete with a 17+2 round extended magazine, the 19X is a 20-round fight stopper.
Nighthawk Agent 2
The final gun I will include on my list is a very good looking 1911 masterpiece from Nighthawk Custom. New for 2018 is the ultra-cool Nighthawk Agent 2. This gun is a collaboration between Nighthawk Custom, Agency Arms, Railscales, and Hillbilly 223. The Agent 2 is more than just a pretty face as it enjoys all of the exceptional quality and accuracy we find in all Nighthawk guns. From their excellent trigger to front cocking serrations and a match grade barrel, the gun is built for performance.