To many Texans, the Second Amendment is sacred. Such sensitivity to this matter is probably rooted in the history of these lands.
Back in the days of the Wild West, having a firearm was a matter of life and death. People needed them to defend their families and hard-earned property from trespassers and to hunt wild animals. This way of life prompted the formation of the gun culture that Texas is known for today.
In 2021, a new law took into effect in Texas. According to it, permitless open and concealed carry of a handgun is legal. We are not here to discuss this law and give assessments, though. We only take note of the development of the gun culture in this state.
It doesn’t matter whether you live in Texas or some other state. Choosing a handgun for self-defense is serious business. And if you’re a novice shooter, the beginning of the journey into the world of guns can be frustrating. The pressure of the unknown may win over your healthy desires, and you’ll end up stuck in one place.
And aspiration to safety and security is indeed a healthy desire. Texans will certainly agree to this.
So we’ll be talking about the most popular semi-automatic pistols in Texas. Wherever you live, if you need guidance in choosing the best self-defense handgun, you’ll benefit from this article. However, check your local regulations before the purchase.
Why the 9mm?
Pistols chambered in the 9mm Luger are the most popular handguns for self-defense in the U.S. Their popularity is not accidental. The 9mm cartridge provides an outstanding balance between power, size, and ease of firing.
The cartridge has a bullet diameter of 0.355 inches and a case length of 1.169 inches. It’s smaller than the other two cartridges that you often can see the 9mm compared to, .45 ACP and .40 S&W. These two have bigger bullets and longer cases. It places some limitations on the size of a handgun chambered in these cartridges and the maximum number of rounds their magazines can hold. In this regard, the 9mm has much more to offer to shooters. They can choose from a broader range of pistol sizes that boast a larger capacity in general.
Smaller bullets mean lighter bullets. It leads to the 9mm having higher muzzle velocity and slower bullet drop. The recoil from lighter and smaller cartridges is milder.
The affordability and abundance of the 9mm also make 9mm pistols more attractive.
As we mentioned above, the 9mm allows for a great range of pistol sizes to suit any defense scenario. You can pick a smaller 9mm pistol for concealed carry if you want your weapon to be at instant access. You can also choose from a variety of full-size 9mm handguns if you need a dependable, high-capacity firearm mainly for home defense.
Manufacturers classify their pistols into four types based on the barrel length. These types are as follows:
- 3 inches – Micro-pistols
- 3-3.5 inches – Sub-compact pistols
- 3.5-4.5 inches – Compact pistols
- 4.5 inches – Full-size pistols
Micro-pistols, or pocket pistols, are designed to fit pocket holsters, thigh holsters for women, and ankle holsters. Typically, these holsters don’t accommodate bigger guns. Micro pistols have a reduced capacity of 5 rounds max and are chambered in smaller calibers like .25 ACP, .32 ACP, or .380 ACP. Thus, they are often used as backup handguns.
Sub-compact pistols offer more options for concealed carry. Besides in pocket holsters, you can comfortably carry them in IWB holsters, one of the most popular holster types in the CCW community. Though these pistols can’t boast a great capacity, some models can hold up to 10 rounds.
Compact pistols are slightly smaller than their full-size counterparts because of smaller frames and shorter barrels. Many of them meet full-size pistols in mag capacity. Even if they don’t originally, many compact designs can still accept a full-size magazine. People with smaller hands can find compact pistols more comfortable to shoot.
Full-size pistols can be as big as a manufacturer wants them to be. If you need a weapon for concealed carry, a full-size handgun won’t be a good option. The only holster type that allows that is the shoulder holster.
In this article, we’ll be ascending from sub-compact to full-size semi-auto handguns so you can pick one that suits your defense scenario. Sub-compact and smaller compact handguns are preferable as EDC weapons. Bigger compact and full-size pistols will be a better pick for home defense.
Most Popular Semi-Auto 9mm Handguns for Defense
Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP
Springfield Armory markets the Hellcat as a micro-compact handgun. It has a 3 inches long barrel which technically still makes up for a pocket pistol. Besides, a 9mm micro-pistol with an 11 or 13 round mag capacity sounds far more impressive.
It’s a reliable pistol that you can carry in a broad range of holsters, from pocket to IWB. It features an optic-ready slide deck compatible with HEX Wasp Red Dot Sight. The Hellcat also has tritium night sights that include u-notch rear sight and a luminescent front sight for increased target acquisition.
A perfect balance between size and capacity makes the Hellcat one of the best concealed-carry 9mm pistols.
SIG Sauer P365X
Having a 3.1 inches long barrel, this Sig boasts a 10 or 12 round mag capacity. It’s an upgraded version of the P365, another popular 9mm sub-compact handgun. Thanks to the extended beavertail not featured in the P365, the P365X fits great and enhances your handling experience.
Proprietary X-series flat profile trigger breaks at 90 degrees and gives a shooter a lower position for a more consistent pull. The P365X also features a Nitron slide with night sights and a plate assembly compatible with Sig Sauer ROMEOZero reflex sights.
Canik TP9 Elite SC
This gun was made to enhance the concealed-carry experience. Designed snag-free, it has a smooth profile and a minimum of prominent parts and controls for a faster draw. The barrel is 3.6 inches long, but Canik markets it as a sub-compact handgun.
There are two magazine options: a 12-round mag with an optional base plate for better grip and a 15-round mag with an extended base plate. The trigger guard undercut also aids the higher grip for better recoil control.
The slide has night sights and a co-witness optic cut for mounting a red-dot interface. The slide release is ambidextrous.
Glock 19 Gen5
Glock 19 is one of the best compact 9mm handguns. This pistol is versatile and makes something in between a CCW and a big combat pistol. Besides, it offers a wide field for customization. You can put this extremely reliable pistol in whatever defense situation, and it will perform at a high level.
It has a 4.02 inches long barrel and offers a standard mag capacity of 15 rounds. Other mag options include 17, 24, 31, and 33 rounds, but check your local laws and regulations before getting too excited.
Glock 19 Gen5 features Glock’s proprietary Safe Action system that requires no manual safety.
Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0
S&W M&P handguns were targeted as sidearms for military and law enforcement. M&P stands for “Military and Police”. However, they quickly caught on with civilians who couldn’t but notice their advantages.
S&W M&P M2.0 is the second generation of M&P pistols. They have polymer frames with stainless steel chassis for better recoil control. According to S&W info, full-size models chambered in 9mm range in barrel length from 4.25 to 5 inches. The mag capacity is 17 rounds, though higher capacity mags are available.
SIG Sauer P320 RXP XFull-Size
P320 is Sig’s one of the most popular pistol lines due to the P320 modularity, which allows for greater customization. The fire control unit is the only part that has a serial number. It means you can pick all the other pistol parts to your liking.
The P320 RXP is one of the best home defense handguns. It’s a full-size pistol with a barrel length of 4.7 inches and a magazine capacity of 17 rounds. The P320 RXP features ROMEO1 PRO reflex sight and suppressor-height sights for increased accuracy and faster target acquisition
Beretta 92 is a series of the most iconic handguns of all time. The 92FS, also known as the M9, was a standard-issue handgun for the U.S. Armed Forces. First adopted in 1985, it was replaced by the mentioned Sig Sauer P320 in 2017.
Though it’s a little dated, many gun enthusiasts prefer this pistol over its more advanced modern counterparts. Reliable, accurate, and capable of delivering impressive firepower, Beretta 92FS is a great weapon for home defense. The open-slide design ensures flawless cycling without jams. No wonder this pistol is one of the ten highest-selling semi-automatic handguns in the U.S.
A full-metal Beretta 92FS has a barrel of 4.9 inches long and features a 15-round mag capacity. Higher-capacity magazines are available as well.
If you don’t know what pistols are great for self-defense, we hope this article will give you some ideas on what handgun will serve you best. Considering such a rich gun culture, Texans hold out only for high-quality, reliable handguns for protection.
Editors Note: Please use responsibly.