Merry Christmas you filthy animals and thanks for putting up with more of our 12 Days Of TFB Christmas. If you can bear with me for a few more days I promise to leave you alone on December 25th (maybe). Picking perfect pistols is a personal and polarizing topic of discussion. Some of you are comfortable carrying a five shot revolver, others require a single stack .45ACP, while the rest of you carry porcelain guns that can defeat magnetometers and have limitless amounts of ammunition in their feeding devices. I could proclaim my love for polymer and lack of manual safeties until I was blue in the face, and a good portion of you would still reach for a turn-of-the-century design. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Below are some of the pistols we have shot and reviewed this year. If for some reason your gun didn’t make the list, feel free to yell at me in the comments section below. And, yes, I know revolvers aren’t pistols, but my love for alliteration knows no bounds.
TFB’s 12 Days Of Christmas: Prancer’s Perfect Pistols
After the introduction of the Glock G19X to the commercial market, Glock saw an incredible upswell in demand, with more than 100,000 models sold in the first six months. The company followed up on this success with the Glock G45, building on consumer requests.
Each Glock G45 is constructed on a full-size frame complete with Gen 5 architecture, so shooters will notice the removal of finger grooves from past generations as well as the presence of removable backstraps. Users will also recognize an improved trigger pull in the new Gen 5 models.
- Barrel length: 4.02 inches
- Caliber: 9mm
- Weight: 1.89 pounds
- Ships with three 17-round magazines
Each Glock G45 also ships with upgraded Ameriglo night sights as a factory option. Additionally, the slide is equipped with serrations at the front and rear.
The FN 509® Tactical, an extension of the FN 509 family, is based on FN’s submission pistol that the U.S. Army tested for its Modular Handgun Trials, but includes the significant improvements to the design that were implemented in the FN 509. The pistol features the company’s patent-pending Low-Profile Optics Mounting System™ that enables the platform to accept more than ten commercially-available miniature red dot (MRD) optics that co-witness with the suppressor-height night sights and remain adaptable to future optics releases with no requirement of direct milling of the slide. The slide cap, for use when not shooting with an optic, has raised sight wings that protect iron sight alignment if the pistol is dropped or jostled, and provides a textured ramp for racking the slide against a belt loop, pant pocket or boot. An FN-signature 4.5-inch, cold hammer-forged, stainless-steel barrel with target crown, ½” x 28 threads that accept the bulk of 9mm suppressors available and thread cap with integrated O-ring to prevent loosening during use complete the top end. Lastly, the 24-round magazines, nearly identical in length to the pistol’s slide, maximize ammunition capacity without impacting carry convenience.
Sig Sauer P365
Compact Concealed Carry Pistol With Full-Sized Capacity & Features
The micro-compact, Sig Sauer P365 strikes the right balance between capacity and concealment. Rated for +P ammunition, this striker-fired 9mm pistol hold a full 10 rounds in its double-stack mag, yet retains a slender, concealment-friendly 1″ width. The fully textured polymer grip makes it easy to hang on to your P365 under recoil, while deep serrations on the stainless steel slide provide a positive gripping surface when racking the slide.
With the P365, Sig also proves that packing a small, concealable pistol does not require a compromise in trigger quality. The P365 has a remarkably clean, crisp trigger pull for a small striker-fired pistol. There is no manual safety to complicate the firing sequence; an internal firing pin block allows a round to be carried safely in the chamber for a fast first-shot capability – and an 11-round practical capacity.
- Comes with two 10-rd magazines – a flush-fit carry mag and one with an extended finger rest
- Reinforced molded polymer frame keeps weight & bulk down
- Stainless steel slide has a tough, matte black Nitron finish
- Rated for +P ammunition
The P365 is fitted with Sig’s Xray3 sights with a bright fluorescent green front dot for easy sight alignment in daylight and Tritium inserts for low light use. Further departing from the typical micro-compact carry pistol, the P365 includes an under-frame accessory rail, ready for mounting a compact light or laser.
H&K VP9SK – FDE/ODG
Adding to the sizeable selection of guns on the market designed for personal protection and concealed carry is the Heckler & Koch VP9SK sub-compact pistol, but this cutting-edge handgun has a number of elements that make it a must-have option for the discerning gun owner.
The Heckler & Koch VP9SK sub-compact pistol is based on the company’s popular VP9 design, but the modular grip has been cut down to provide a shortened profile that’s easier to conceal. Despite this, the pistol still incorporates all of the interchangeable panels that allow for full customization.
- Barrel length: 3.39 inches
- Chambered in 9mm
- FDE slide finish
- OD green frame finish
Each Heckler & Koch VP9SK sub-compact pistol ships with two 10-round magazines, as well as enhanced night sights, providing users with the perfect personal-defense option. Limited Quantities.
The U.S. military’s Modular Handgun Systems pitted pistol designs from many popular manufacturers against one another in a bid to provide the next sidearm for U.S. troops. After years of testing and evaluation, the SIG Sauer M17 won the contract, and consumers can now get their hands on a variant of the gun with the launch of the all-new SIG Sauer P320-M17.
Just like the military-contract gun, the SIG Sauer P320-M17 is chambered in 9mm and features the striker-fired action that made the entire P320 line so popular with consumers and professionals alike. Other aspects of the commercial variant match closely with the military gun, including the PVD-coated slide with a coyote-tan finish and the coyote-colored grip frame.
- Barrel length: 4.4 inches
- Overall length: 8 inches
- Equipped with SIGLITE night sights
- Removable rear plate allows for slide-mounted optics
Each SIG Sauer P320-M17 is also outfitted with the all-black controls seen on the military gun, and the gun ships with two 17-round magazines.
A product of decades of continuous evolution, the Beretta 92FS remains the standard-issue sidearm of the U.S. military and of armed forces and police agencies all over the world, as well as individuals wanting the best for sport or self-protection. It is a double/single-action semi-auto pistol with an open-slide, short-recoil delayed locking-block system that delivers exceptional accuracy and reliability. The open slide practically eliminates “stove-piping” to promote extremely reliable cycling and feeding. The 92FS consistently bests the U.S. military requirement of a 10-shot group of 3” or less at 50 meters (55 yards). This type of match-grade accuracy requires absolutely precise tolerances to keep performance consistent shot after shot. The 92FS also offers many of the most desireable tactical features that make it just as safe, easy to use, and dependable for home or personal defense as it is for military service. The reversible magazine release lets you use either hand for mag changes, while the ambidextrous safety-decocker makes it flexible for right- or left-handed persons or for shooters trying out different gripping or shooting styles. After shooting, the tool-free disassembly latch makes it a snap to take the pistol apart for cleaning. Available with a black Bruniton finish that closely resembles traditional bluing but is far more resistant to corrosion, scratches, and wear. Or for even more resistance to the elements, there’s a high-grade Inox stainless steel option.
Elegant and functional, the Model 686 Plus Deluxe pairs the highly popular Smith & Wesson 686 revolver with elegant textured wood grips in the classic look. Chambered with 7 rounds of .357 Magnum, the all stainless steel Model 686 Plus Deluxe offers compact powerful protection, sport shooting and collecting all in one.We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.