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Firearms guide: What are the top 10 handguns?

Table of Contents

Introduction

If a person is looking for an effective weapon, handguns are one of the most popular choices.

But why do so many people prefer to go with a handgun, especially when there are far more powerful guns available?

This is most probably because their compact size makes it easy to store a handgun right next to your bed in a handgun safe specifically designed for getting it quickly in situations that may make a difference between life or death. The size of handguns also is convenient for use if you find yourself in tight quarters, such as in a hallway or stairwell.

While rifles are more accurate and shotguns more powerful, handguns are more than accurate enough for close to mid-range encounters and are able to be drawn quickly when your life depends on it.

It is much more difficult to decide which handgun is the right choice and the best for defending your home and family. After all, when your life is on the line, you need a gun you can trust.

Choosing the best firearm for the right purpose

When you start a selection process to obtain a firearm and want to put together a list of the very best, the main factors you may want to consider would include the overall quality, reliability, accuracy, capacity and ease of use for each gun. It may help to talk to experts and also friends and other shooters to find out what they have found to work very well every time and put shots on the target.

You may also take stopping power into account, but there are some misconceptions about this concept, like the belief that a 9mm is much weaker than larger rounds, such as the popular .45ACP. Although this was true in the 80s, ballistics technology has improved dramatically since and a 9mm is now much more effective.

In reality any handgun has enough potential to stop someone, provided you hit the right area.

Ten of the best choices of handguns

While a first home defence handgun may be of any caliber, experts often recommend a 9mm as a first home-defence handgun because 9mm handguns typically have a larger capacity than handguns with larger rounds. A 9mm often has a 15+1 or 17+1 capacity, compared to a 7+1 or 9+1 capacity for a standard .45ACP.

A higher capacity may be beneficial to have since it is not easy to hit a target in a high-pressure situation, like during an attack. In general, 9mm rounds are cheaper too, which means a person can practice with his or her gun while spending less.

The following is a discussion of ten good choices, the Walther PPQ M2, FNX-45, CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical, Springfield XD MOD2, Colt 1911, Ruger 1707 GP100, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, Sig Sauer MK25 P226, Gen 4 Glock 19 and Beretta M9.

BERETTA M9
BERETTA M9
  1. BERETTA M9

Caliber: 9mm

Capacity: 15+1

is an excellent all-purpose handgun. In 1985, it became the sidearm of choice for the United States Armed Forces, and the military doesn’t choose a handgun unless it’s reliable and effective.

It features a unique 3-Dot Sight System for swiftly acquiring a target. The internal magazine bevel is designed for quick tactical reloads in combat scenarios. At 33.3 ounces, it’s lightweight and easy to handle.

If there’s anything negative to say about the M9 it’s the cumbersome safety/decock lever. The reason I say this is because it requires a two-handed grip to take the safety off which, as some M9 owners have pointed out , could be time-consuming in a sudden self-defense situation.

The longer trigger pull is also a slight drawback as the shooter may miss their target due to premature anticipation. Other than that, the M9 is a viable option for home defense purposes.

It’s very accurate straight out of the box, has a reversible magazine release to accommodate right and left-handed shooters, and it’s sweat-resistant to help you keep a solid grip on the gun.

GEN 4 GLOCK 19
GEN 4 GLOCK 19
  1. GEN 4 GLOCK 19

Caliber: 9mm

Capacity: 15+1

Glock has long been a trusted name in handguns and its flagship gun is known for being simple, effective and easy to use.

The Gen 4 pistol comes with three magazines and boasts enlarged reversible magazine releases. The Model 19 has interchangeable backstraps and rough-textured frames to enhance grip.

This one is good for all weather conditions and outperforms previous models in terms of ergonomics and performance.

Any generation of the Glock 19 is a great gun, but we like the G4 as Glock has consistently found ways to improve upon it. It features night sights so you can aim well even in the dark and has a variety of holster options.

 

 

SIG SAUER MK25 P226
SIG SAUER MK25 P226
  1. SIG SAUER MK25 P226

Caliber: 9mm

Capacity: 15+1

The Navy SEALs carry the P226 as a side arm and this MK25 matches what they use. The gun comes with night sights and one thing you’ll notice right away is how ergonomic it is, fitting snugly in your hand for maximum control.

It has a hard anodized aluminum frame that’s durable and attractive, as well as a Nitron-coated stainless steel slide. It also features an integral accessory rail and a one-piece grip The 9mm model can hold fifteen rounds whereas the 40 S&W version only has a 10-round mag.

There are several different variations on the P226 available, but they’re all comparable in quality, and the version you choose comes down to which features you want and the holster style that suits you best.

 

 

SMITH & WESSON M&P SHIELD
SMITH & WESSON M&P SHIELD
  1. SMITH & WESSON M&P SHIELD

Caliber: .45ACP

Capacity: 7+1

This Smith & Wesson M&P Shield may have a lower capacity than some of the other guns on this list, but it’s a reliable performer and, best of all, it’s super compact, making it comfortable to conceal inside a waistband.

This centerfire pistol features a factory ported barrel and slide and has a 5.3” fiber optic sight radius for fast tracking and immediate action.

Its eighteen-inch grip angle provides the shooter with smooth, dependable operation.

The nine milli is is a small profile weapon with durable corrosion-proof polymer frames.

The barrel length is just 3.3 inches, and you can stash this handgun just about anywhere.

 

 

RUGER 1707 GP100
RUGER 1707 GP100
  1. RUGER 1707 GP100

Caliber: 357 Magnum

Capacity: 6

Our list has been short of revolvers to this point. When it comes to six-shooters, we love this Ruger and our preference is the GP100 with the 6-inch barrel which comes in handy for aiming.

The 1707 model has a stainless steel finish and a smooth-cycling triple-locking cylinder. Ruger’s patented transfer bar mechanism prevents against accidental discharge, making it the ideal firearm for those who have small children in their home.

The Black Hogue Monogrip significantly reduces recoil which is a very attractive feature for people who aren’t used to the harsh blowback of many firearms.

Since you’re only getting six shots with a revolver, barring a select few that carry more, it makes sense to go with a heavier round, and the 357 Magnum definitely fits the bill.

COLT 1911
COLT 1911
  1. COLT 1911

Caliber: .45ACP

Capacity: 7+1

It doesn’t carry the most bullets, it’s a heavy gun and it’s a bit larger than your typical handgun. All that being said, there’s a reason so many people love the 1911 Reliability is this gun’s strong suit, but another benefit is its safety. Every 1911 has an upswept beavertail grip safety, requiring you to grip it firmly to fire the gun. This makes it much harder to have an accidental misfire.

Colt Defender Series model has low-mount carry sights with dots that make it ideal for concealed carry. Essentially, everything is enhanced here from soup to nuts…or hammer to flared ejection port.

Its dual spring recoil system contributes to the longevity of this pistol while reducing the blowback.

SPRINGFIELD XD MOD2
COLT 1911
  1. SPRINGFIELD XD MOD2

Caliber: .45ACP

Capacity: 13+1

You’ll love the way the “Grip Zone” on this gun feels in your hands, helping you control the recoil. For a .45ACP, the Springfield XD has a great capacity, and the 4-inch barrel makes it another compact, lightweight option, perfect for close quarters.

Melonite finish on this bad boy makes for complete corrosion resistance while the three-inch barrel length puts it in the top pantheon of easy-to-conceal firearms.

Accessories include a stainless steel flush fitting and a full-size XD Gear Mag-X Tension magazine. If you’re in the market for a compact pistol with a comfortable grip and you’re on a tight budget, the Mod 2 is the way to go.

CZ 75 SP-01 TACTICAL
CZ 75 SP-01 TACTICAL
  1. CZ 75 SP-01 TACTICAL

Caliber: 9mm

Capacity: 18+1

The CZ 75 isn’t just an excellent first home defense gun, it’s also a favorite among firearm enthusiasts. Like the Sig Sauer P226 (and its smaller cousin, the 238), there are different variations available, allowing you to find one with all the features you want.

The SP-01 Tactical variation has a side-in-frame design that offers recoil management. It’s another pistol that’s perfect for shooters who are looking for a comfortable grip as it features rubber grip panels.

There are also a huge range of holsters for the CZ 75, ranging from ankle, IWB and OWB, and shoulder holsters, made from a variety of materials.

The fixed night-sight system ensures that you’ll be able to see your target clearly under the blanket of night, and its cold-hammer-forged barrel is paired with a smooth double-action trigger.

With a comfortable grip, sharp accuracy right out of the box, a smooth trigger pull and an affordable price, this handgun truly checks all the boxes.

 

 

FNX-45
FNX-45
  1. FNX-45

Caliber: .45ACP

Capacity: 15+1

If you’re looking for a gun that fits the term “hand cannon” without being so large that it becomes unwieldy, the FNX-45 is the right choice for you.

It packs a serious punch, and even though it’s big, it remains fairly steady when it comes to recoil. Even though it’s a .45ACP, its capacity is on par with most 9mm handguns.

It’s got 3-Dot Night Sights and a serrated trigger guard. The best part is how inclusive it is—this one is fully ambidextrous from safety levers to magazine release.

And if you’re looking to add a red dot, this one comes with two mounting bases. It’s truly a versatile firearm that is adaptable to any environment.

 

 

WALTHER PPQ M2
WALTHER PPQ M2
  1. WALTHER PPQ M2

Caliber: 9mm

Capacity: 15+1

Walther is well-known for producing high-quality, dependable guns that can go through thousands of rounds without a misfire and the PPQ M2 is their finest handgun yet.

It has an ergonomic grip, but the real highlight is the trigger, perhaps the smoothest you’ll find for a handgun.

This handgun is available with a 4 or 5-inch barrel. Although we like the 5-inch barrel for aiming, but you can’t really go wrong with either one.

This centerfire pistol boasts striker fire action and an extremely light trigger pull. For this reason alone, it’s an excellent choice for beginners who aren’t used to the throwing their weight behind firing a weapon.

It’s got a Piccaninny equipment rail, three automatic safeties, three interchangeable sculpted-grip backstraps for custom fit and a fast audible reset.

Conclusion

If you’re having a tough time deciding between the handguns on this list, we recommend visiting your local gun range and renting a few of them.

But of course, don’t think that you’re only limited to the guns we’ve covered on this list.  There are many other great options out there as well, including some that can be had on a budget, such as the Taurus G2C or Canik TP9SF.

That being said, you’ll likely be happy with any of these guns, but the best way to decide which one is right for you is to try them yourself. Happy hunting.

Why a Revolver is still a Smart Choice for Personal Defence

Before anyone assume semi-auto is the only way to go, it is worthwhile to consider the personal defence revolver too.

In today’s world of high-capacity, polymer-frame, semi-auto pistols, we often forget about the original repeating handgun. While the roots of the revolver go back to the revolving arquebus, produced in 1597, it wasn’t until 1836 that Sam Colt figured out how to make it work reliably. Once Colt started making revolvers, the world of repeating handguns changed forever.

A revolver is still one of the top choices in a handgun. For personal defence, a double-action revolver may be a bit less popular nowadays, but it still is every bit as good a choice as it ever was.

What laws regulate the possession of firearms in South Africa

South Africa’s firearm ownership is regulated by the Firearms Control Act of 2000 (FCA) as well as its subsidiary legislation, the Firearms Control Regulations (FCA Regulations).

FAQs

Who is allowed to legally own a gun in South Africa?

Any citizen or permanent resident 21 years old or older, with no criminal record or disqualifying mental illness, is allowed to own firearms.

Who needs to go through the licence application process?

Before anyone may possess a firearm, he or she must obtain a firearm licence from the South African Police Service. Potential firearm owners must first successfully undergo the prescribed training at an accredited training institution and obtain a training proficiency certificate.

Why do you have to go through a licence application process?

Possession of a firearm is only possible after a competency test, background checking of the applicant, inspection of an owner’s premises, and licensing of the weapon by the police.

What is a competency certificate?

A competency certificate issued by SAPS declares a person competent to own firearms in accordance with the stipulations of Chapter 5 of Act 60 of 2000 as amended.

Can a person under the age of 21 qualify to obtain a firearm licence?

Yes, in certain circumstances, where a need for such a person to own a firearm can be proved, it is possible.

What happens while a competency certificate is being processed?

Before a person can apply for a firearm licence, and while waiting for the competency certificate to be approved, there are a few things that he or she will need to prepare. The applicant can choose and purchase a firearm at any point during the process, but it needs to remain in the dealer’s (or owner’s) custody and the new owner will only be able to take possession of it once his or her licence has been granted.

Is there a way to “streamline” your licence application?

No, there is no way to streamline the process or obtain a licence to own a firearm except for completing the two processes. The two phases cannot be done at the same time too.

What are the advantages of making use of an agency providing these services?

Authorised agencies are well established and driven by years of experience in this industry to handle any type of matter you may refer to them with regards to the Firearms Control Act. They can refer an applicant to the best firearm trainers, dealers, associations, and more and in the case of your application being turned down, assist you in an appeal procedure or new application process.

How long will it take to obtain the Competence and firearm license take from the SAPS?

This process depends on the load they have, approximate and normally 12-15 weeks for the competence and another 3-6 weeks for the license if there are no other delays.


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