Is a 9mm Handgun the Best Self Defense Carry Gun for You?

Overview of the 9mm Handgun for Self Defense

When it comes to self-defense carry guns, there are many options available on the market, but a 9mm handgun is a popular choice for many gun owners. It offers a balance of power, capacity, and affordability that makes it a versatile choice for both experienced shooters and those new to self-defense.

A 9mm handgun is a semiautomatic pistol that fires bullets that measure 9mm in diameter. Its popularity can be attributed to the fact that it is powerful enough to stop an attacker, yet its recoil is manageable, allowing for accurate follow-up shots. Additionally, 9mm ammunition is widely available and relatively inexpensive, making it a popular choice for those who want to practice without breaking the bank.

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of 9mm handguns, compare them to other popular handguns, and examine the factors you should consider when choosing a self-defense carry gun. We will also provide you with a list of the best 9mm handguns available on the market today.

Pros and Cons of 9mm Handguns

When it comes to choosing a self defense carry gun, the 9mm handgun is a popular choice. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of this caliber? Let’s take a closer look.


Ammunition Availability and Cost

One of the main advantages of the 9mm is the availability and cost of ammunition. 9mm rounds are widely available, making it easier to find them in a variety of stores and online retailers. Additionally, due to the popularity of the 9mm, the cost of ammunition is relatively low compared to other calibers.


Another advantage of the 9mm is its moderate recoil. This makes it easier to control and shoot accurately, especially for new or inexperienced shooters. The 9mm also has less recoil compared to other popular calibers like the .45 ACP or .40 S&W, which can make it a more comfortable shooting experience.


The 9mm’s size allows for a larger capacity magazine compared to other calibers. This means you can have more rounds at your disposal in case of an emergency. In a self defense scenario, having more rounds means you have a better chance of stopping a threat.


Stopping Power

One of the main criticisms of the 9mm is its stopping power. While it is a popular caliber, some argue that it lacks the necessary power to effectively stop an attacker. However, advancements in bullet technology and the availability of high-quality ammunition have helped to mitigate this issue.


Another disadvantage of the 9mm is its tendency to over-penetrate. This means that the bullet can pass through the intended target and hit something or someone else. This can be a concern for those who live in apartments or other places with thin walls.


The 9mm’s ballistics, or the way it travels through the air, are not as impressive as some other calibers. This can result in slightly less accuracy at longer distances. However, for self defense scenarios, the 9mm’s accuracy at close range is generally sufficient.

When considering a self defense carry gun, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each caliber and firearm. The 9mm is a popular choice for good reason, with its availability, moderate recoil, and higher capacity magazine. However, it’s important to also consider its potential disadvantages, such as stopping power and penetration. Ultimately, the choice of the best self defense carry gun for you will depend on your personal preferences, needs, and circumstances.

Comparison to Other Handguns

When it comes to self defense, there are a variety of handgun calibers to choose from. In addition to the 9mm, some of the most popular calibers include the .45 ACP, .380 ACP, and .38 Special.

.45 ACP

The .45 ACP is a larger caliber than the 9mm, which means it has a larger bullet and typically higher recoil. While the .45 ACP is known for its stopping power, it also has a lower capacity than the 9mm. Additionally, the larger size of the .45 ACP can make it more difficult to conceal and carry for some individuals.

.380 ACP

The .380 ACP, also known as the 9mm Short, is a smaller caliber than the 9mm. It has less recoil and is easier to handle for those with less experience shooting handguns. However, the .380 ACP typically has less stopping power than the 9mm and a lower capacity. This can be a concern in a self defense situation where multiple shots may be necessary.

.38 Special

The .38 Special is a revolver cartridge that has been used for self defense for over 100 years. It has less recoil than the 9mm and is generally easier to handle. However, the .38 Special also has a lower capacity than the 9mm and is limited to the number of rounds in the revolver cylinder.

Ultimately, choosing the right caliber for your self defense handgun is a personal decision that depends on a variety of factors. It’s important to consider your level of experience, comfort with recoil, and ability to conceal and carry the firearm. Consult with a knowledgeable firearms dealer, and be sure to try out different calibers before making a decision.

In the next section, we’ll explore some key factors to consider when choosing a self defense carry gun.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Self Defense Carry Gun

When selecting a firearm for self defense, there are several factors to consider. Each individual has their own preferences and needs, so it’s important to choose a gun that fits you best. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:


If you plan to carry your firearm concealed, size matters. You want a gun that is small enough to hide under clothing, yet large enough to provide adequate firepower. A compact or subcompact 9mm handgun is a popular choice for concealed carry due to its ease of concealment and effectiveness.

Comfort and Control

You want a gun that is comfortable to hold and easy to control. The grip should fit your hand well, and the weight and balance of the gun should feel natural. A gun that is too heavy or too light can be difficult to control and may affect your accuracy.


Recoil is the force that pushes the gun back when you fire. The recoil of a 9mm handgun is generally manageable for most people, but it can be affected by several factors, such as the weight of the gun, the type of ammunition used, and the skill of the shooter. It’s important to try out different guns and ammunition to determine what works best for you.


The capacity of a gun refers to the number of rounds it can hold. A higher capacity gun can provide more firepower in a self defense situation, but it may be larger and more difficult to conceal. A 9mm handgun typically holds between 10 and 17 rounds, giving you plenty of ammunition to defend yourself.


The cost of a firearm can vary greatly depending on the brand, model, and features. It’s important to set a budget and choose a gun that fits within it. Keep in mind that the cost of the gun is just one factor to consider, as you will also need to purchase ammunition, a holster, and other accessories.

By considering these factors, you can choose a 9mm handgun that is well-suited for your needs. Keep in mind that the best self defense carry gun for you may not be the same as someone else’s, so it’s important to do your research and choose a gun that you feel comfortable with and confident using.

Best 9mm Handguns for Self Defense

When it comes to choosing the best 9mm handgun for self defense, you have a lot of options to choose from. Here are some of the top picks:

Glock 19

The Glock 19 is a popular choice for self defense due to its reliability, ease of use, and versatility. It has a 15+1 capacity and is known for its accuracy. The Glock 19 is also compatible with a wide range of 9mm self defense ammo, making it a great choice for those who want to be able to use different types of ammo.

Sig Sauer P320

The Sig Sauer P320 is another excellent 9mm handgun for self defense. It has a modular design that allows you to easily swap out the grip module, barrel, and slide. This makes it easy to customize the gun to your specific needs. The P320 also has a 17+1 capacity and is known for its accuracy and reliability.

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is a popular choice for concealed carry due to its small size and light weight. It has a 7+1 capacity and is known for its reliability. The M&P Shield is also very affordable, making it a great option for those who are on a tight budget.

Springfield Armory XD-S

The Springfield Armory XD-S is a compact 9mm handgun that is perfect for concealed carry. It has a 7+1 capacity and is known for its accuracy and reliability. The XD-S also has a slim profile, making it easy to conceal.

CZ P-10 C

The CZ P-10 C is a newer entrant into the 9mm handgun market, but it has quickly gained popularity due to its reliability and accuracy. It has a 15+1 capacity and is known for its comfortable grip. The P-10 C also has a low bore axis, which reduces recoil and makes it easier to control.

Ultimately, the best 9mm handgun for self defense will depend on your specific needs and preferences. When choosing a handgun, it’s important to consider factors such as concealment, comfort and control, recoil, capacity, and price. By doing your research and trying out different guns, you can find the one that is right for you.

Conclusion: Is a 9mm Handgun the Best Self Defense Carry Gun for You?

After reviewing the pros and cons of the 9mm handgun and comparing it to other popular self defense carry guns, you might be wondering if the 9mm is the best choice for you.

Ultimately, the answer depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for a handgun that is easy to conceal, has manageable recoil, and offers high capacity, then a 9mm handgun could be a great option for you.

Of course, it is important to keep in mind that no single handgun is perfect for everyone. Factors like your level of experience, the type of ammunition you choose, and the type of holster you use can all impact your ability to effectively defend yourself in a high-stress situation.

If you are new to self defense and looking for a handgun that is easy to use and offers good stopping power, a 9mm handgun could be a great choice. Similarly, if you are an experienced shooter looking for a reliable, versatile handgun that can be used for both self defense and target shooting, a 9mm handgun could be an excellent addition to your collection.

Ultimately, the best way to determine if a 9mm handgun is the right choice for you is to try one out for yourself. Visit your local gun store or shooting range and test out a few different models to see which one feels the most comfortable and natural in your hand.

And remember, whether you choose a 9mm handgun or another type of carry gun, the most important thing is to practice regularly and stay prepared for any situation that may arise.

Darren is a proud and patriotic individual who firmly believes in upholding the principles of the Second Amendment. As a concealed gun carrier, he understands the importance of personal protection and the right to bear arms.