TFBTV Subcompact Showdown PART 1: Glock vs. S&W M&P vs. Ruger vs. Kel-Tec

In this first episode of a two part TFBTV series, James compares four popular doublestack compact 9mm handguns:

-Glock 26
-Smith & Wesson M&P9 Compact
-Ruger American Compact
-Kel-tec P11

James ranks each of these guns and assigns points based on the following criteria:

Part I:
Round 1: Dimensions: Size and weight against capacity – which gun is the most efficient?
Round 2: Trigger: Trigger weight and feel.
Round 3: Mechanics: Charging and discharging/loading and unloading the gun.
Round 4: Fit & Finish: Quality of finish, external machined features, overall fitment.

Part II:
Round 5: Sights: Quality and practicality of sights.
Round 6: Value: Cost-to-performance ratio.
Round 7: Shooting Performance: How well do all of the other factors coalesce into producing a functional shooting machine?

Also, James announces two new TFBTV features:

First, TFBTV will start a monthly “mail call” program. Viewers can send anything they want to TFBTV at TFBTV’s PO Box in New Orleans. Send (a) The Item; (b) A Short Description of the Item, and; (c) (OPTIONAL) Your Name and/or Contact Information. We will open everything on camera and read your description.

Second, TFBTV is going to roll out a comment competition. *This is for subscribers or Patreon supporters only, so make sure you are a sub and we can view your subs in your profile.* The best comments will get a random item that was sent in to the mail bag (feel free to request a hand-pick, we will do the best we can).

The comment competition for this video is:
*”Which of these guns should win the Subcompact Showdown and Why?”*

Good luck!

Official Rules for Mail Room and Comment Competition:

TFBTV Mail Room Rules:
– Please send an (1) An item; (2) A description, and (3) (OPTIONAL) Your name and contact information.
– Sending in an item does not guarantee that it will be shown on air.
– Postage is the responsibility of the sender.
– Any item sent to TFBTV becomes the property of TFBTV.
– Sender assumes all liability for sending any unreasonably dangerous or illegal material to TFBTV.

TFBTV Subscriber Comment Competition Rules:
– Comment competition is open to subscribers only. TFBTV will verify the commenter’s subscription before sending any prizes.
– TFBTV reserves the right to select any comment as the winning comment based upon any criteria whatsoever. While “thumbs up” counts are helpful, TFBTV recognizes that earlier comments tend to accumulate more attention than “better” comments that are submitted later.
– TFBTV is under no obligation to deliver any prize whatsoever and does not guarantee that the winning commenter will receive any prize, regardless of any comments or actions made by TFBTV stating otherwise. (For example only, if the winner’s package is lost, or stolen, or TFBTV deems the prize impractical to send for whatever reason, TFBTV has no responsibility to replace, reimburse, or in any way compensate the winner). Accordingly, do not act in reliance upon a promise that TFBTV will be sending the winner a prize.
– The winner accepts and uses the prize at his own risk and agrees to release TFBTV from all liability for use or possession of the item. The winner will be responsible for verifying the legality of the item in his or her locale.

Thanks to our sponsors:

Proxibid – Shop For Home Defense Pistols Online Here

 Ventura Munitions – Retailer of quality ammunition.


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Transcript ….

[coming soon]

James Reeves

• NRA-licensed concealed weapons instructor, 2012-present
Maxim Magazine’s MAXIMum Warrior, 2011
• “Co-Director” [air quotes] of TFBTV
• Former Regional Sales Rep, Interstate Arms Corp., MA
• Champion, Key West Cinco De Mayo Taco Eating Competition
• GLOCK® Certified Pistol Operator, 2017-2022
• Lawyer
► Instagram: jjreevesii
► Twitter: @jjreeves
► Vimeo: JJReeves
► 500px: JJReeves


  • John

    Compact == subcompact. Give the showdown people want to see:
    Glock 43 vs M&P Shield vs Ruger LC9 vs Kel-tec PF9.
    Also for part two add Beretta nano, Walther PPS, Kahr CM9

    • Jared Vynn

      LC9S, and add in the sig P238/938.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      Subcompact typically refers to a double stack with a 2 finger grip.

      There really isnt a proper term for the size class youre talking about. Some just call them single stacks, some pocket pistols (but try and fit a Shield in your pocket), and others lump them in with subcompacts. But either way I an as interested as you in seeing a comparison of them.

      • James Reeves


  • Bill Revoir

    James, how about including a CZ Rami in part 2?

    • Czperfection

      That isn’t in the cards. The Glockboys around here would have a cow at “perfection” being shown to be what it is by when included in the godly graces of a CZ.

    • James Reeves

      I hate saying this but I have never been a fan because it’s a quarter pound heavier than the G26 with the same capacity. I’m willing to give it a second look, though.

  • john huscio

    Glock 26 gen 4 ftw

  • 22winmag

    Can’t wait for the PPS to stomp their guts out.

    PPS M1 of course, not the hideous M2.

    • Sean

      If Walther would have marketed the PPS M1 much more aggressively, the Shield would have either never existed or would be on life support by now. The PPS was the first single-stack subcompact on the market and came out years before Shield. I have a feeling that S&W screwed Walther since they distributed Walthers at the time.

      Build quality on a PPS vs Shield is like comparing a BMW to Pontiac. PPS has much better accuracy, is more comfortable, has more features, and the paddle release is more comfortable to use since you don’t have to swing your hand around to reach the damn button, and is ambi out of the box. PPS mags are made in Italy by Mec-Gar while the Shield mags use the crappy unfinished metal look S&W loves to use.

      The PPS M1/M2 is the best single-stack subcompact pistol on the market today, especially for the price. The Sig P938 would be my 2nd choice and G43 would be my 3rd.

  • car54

    If you;re going to do compact double stacks you have to include an XDc

  • Nashvone

    James, you have to be the only person on the planet that I’ve ever heard say that a Ruger had the best trigger out of the box….EVER!

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      Well it is going against the M&P, Glock, and Kel Tec. Hardly models known for their great triggers.

    • James Reeves

      Have you tried the American trigger? It’s really not bad.

      • Nashvone

        I’m not saying your opinion was wrong as compared to the other pistols. I’ve just never heard anyone ever say Ruger had the best trigger out of the box. To answer your question, no I haven’t tried the American trigger. I’m sure I will at some point though.

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    How did the P320 not end up in the comparison and the Kel Tec did? Everyone knows what the Kel Tec is and does. We all know its not the best. Its a Kel Tec. The only thing its really good at is being better than a sharp stick (and comparatively priced too). The P320 is actually a contender for the best. Im already invested in it, but I sure would have liked to see how it stacked up against its 3 main rivals.

    • Sean

      I guess they ran out of money and couldn’t get a quality gun to compete with the Glock

  • Robert Kruckman

    James I am a huge fan of U. Keep up the good reviews. I ownone ofthese pistols, and agreeon the trigger. Space bar has issues. I wonder how U get acces to so many guns?

  • Dougscamo

    Okay, TheNotorius….here’s your chance to score some gear with comments!

  • Big Daddy

    Go shoot the Glock for a few thousand rounds the trigger really smooths out. I have shot Glocks with tens of thousands to one that has over 200,000 rounds. It’s amazing how the trigger gets better. Ya gotta shoot your guns, especially ones you are going to sue for self defense.

    • Rick O’Shay

      Shoot ANY gun for a few thousand rounds and the trigger really smooths out. Honestly, this is literally the first time I’ve seen/heard a reviewer s*** on a Glock trigger over an M&P trigger, and aftermarket upgrade triggers not getting any kind of mention as a justification for choosing one over another.

    • n0truscotsman

      I really dont see how glock triggers are so terrible. Theyre not match grade 1911 super race gun triggers, but they are *consistent* and break the same. Thats what they were designed to do after all.

      They’re better than the factory M&P ones, which suck IMO (and I’ve been EDCing a Shield and training with a M&P 9 for the past 2 years way more than any Glock i’ve owned). Walthers are quite good.

      • Sean

        I have absolutely no problem with the stock Glock trigger. The problem is theat competition shooting has perverted the defense shooting since everyone now wants a hairline 3 pound 1911-like trigger with no travel on their defense gun. Too many people like mixing the two together.

        And yes the Glock trigger is better the M&P trigger, even when compared with the 2.0

  • Hoplopfheil

    James, what’s with that weird clothlike material covering your arms?

    • James Reeves

      I think it is called a “jack it”, that’s what the guy who sold it to me kept calling it. But I took it off right after that intro because I started having an allergic reaction in the shoulder to wrist region.

  • oh look, tfb wanted to end the day with a big ol’ catfight in the comment section

  • Madison J Coleman

    The Glock 26 should win. Not because it is the best gun, but because the glock fanboy butthurt if it loses will be 10x than it would be if any other gun wins. It’s better to just let them think they won.

  • BBMW

    There should be at least a few more guns in the comparo, so if you do a chapter 2…

    As someone said below, the SIG P320SC and CZ Rami should be in the mix. Also, how about the HK 2000SK and or P30SK. The FN FNS Compact should be in there. And for budget gun buyers what about the Taurus PT111 G2?

  • iksnilol
    • Dougscamo

      The temperature must have plunged to 70 degrees….Fahrenheit…for this to happen in such a shocking manner!

  • Disarmed in CA

    G26 FTW … or For The Only Choice on the Ca Roster of ‘safe’ handguns… You all should do these comparos for the ‘stuck behind enemy lines’ crew. Then the RAMI, P2000SK would fit

  • A.WChuck

    Probably should have added the Ruger SR9c into the mix. It’s still in the lineup at Ruger and is a bit slimmer and lighter vs the American.

  • Rimfire

    Honestly, I much prefer the written word over a 20 minute video. I realize that you do a great job, but I may want to skim an article to determine it’s worthiness.Any vid longer than 3 minutes will seldom catch my interest. Just my $.02

    • Dave

      I completely agree with this, but apparently we are the minority. Another advantage of text is the ability to search for a term of interest, without fast forwarding a bunch of introductory blather and other content.

  • Charles Meredith

    I have owned and shot my P-11 Kel-Tec since the beginning.
    It is totally reliable and accurate.
    Also, I have a P-40. Yes,,,,.40 sw caliber!
    Issued this one and kept it into retirement.

  • Bigbigpoopi

    I like how he no longer wears tight shirts after the nipple comment

  • jonp

    there is a reason the kel tec is the cheapest. It’s junk

  • jonp

    I’m wondering how useful rails are on a sub compact. It would seem to me to defeat the purpose to hang anything on one.
    Win so far? M&P for aftermarket parts and palm swell. It makes for a more controllable pistol

  • Greg Kosakowski

    The Kel-tec has 12 round magazines available the come with the 10 end because certain states do not allow higher cap magazines. Comparing trigger pulls on a DAO and a striker fire is comparing apples to coconuts .. clearly he hasn’t thought this part through.

  • Walt Mather

    Byline is wrong….M&P Bodyguard not included…… need an editor son.

  • Jason Lewis

    The Smith M&P Compact is kinda retarded. I have one as a back up. It’s like Smith wanted to make a compact/subcompact in the same gun. Don’t really know what Smith was thinking.

  • John Cheek

    I have the KelTek P11 for “discreet” concealed cay. I run a 12 rd mag w/1 in chamber. I’m wondering why you give praise to the ones with a rail. Since when would you hang a laser or other option under a concealed carry to take up so much space and possibly hang up on clothing. The shape and sleek design of the slide on the P11 giving the gun’s rounded corners less restriction and taking less space IWB, made my choice. The heavy trigger can be swapped out and improved cheaply. Personally, I prefer the overall shape of a Walther PPK for smooth and ease of extraction from hidden locations. Not a fan of all the square cornered designed concealed carry pistols now. And yes, why is the KAHR not included? I can carry my RIA 1911 in 9mm or 45 SUPER just as well. Or for that matter, my 8045 Beretta Mini Cougar in 45, 10rd mag + 1.

  • Sean

    Really….. putting a Glock against a S&W, Ruger, and Kel-Tec is like comparing a Benz to a Buick or Lincoln. They need to put the G26 Gen4 against other quality offerings like the Walther PPS, HK P30SK/VP9Sk, and Sig P938/P320SC

  • Simcha M.

    Let’s see more of Krinkov the cat!