I’ve been a fan of mini 9mm pistols for concealed carry since before they became a market niche all their own. A pocket 9mm is hard to beat for size, power and accuracy and that’s why they make a lot of sense for ordinary people who want to carry a pistol day in and day out, in their ordinary clothes.
Which is kind of funny, because these guns aren’t really that fun nor easy to shoot. They’re easier to shoot than a pocket .380 to be sure, but because of their size and weight (and Newton’s Three Laws of Motion…) they’re most likely a suboptimal gun for beginners to learn on (and don’t EVEN get me started on the “Here, little lady, why don’t you start out with this .38 snubbie…”). There is definitely a market out there for the mini 9mm and the pocket .38 but (IMO) both are best when used in conjunction with a larger-sized pistol and/or a similar .22LR for practice and training.
Because of their popularity, the market for compact 9mm’s has become VERY crowded as of late and as part of my series on the Smith and Wesson Shield, I thought it important to show what other comparable pistols to the Shield are available right now.
|Pistol||Action||Capacity||MSRP||Avg. MSRP||% +/- Avg. MSRP||Suggested
|AMT/High Standard Backup ***||DAO||5+1||$525||$540||-$15||Pocket
|Beretta Nano||Striker||6+1||$475||$540||-$65||IWB Holster|
|Diamondback DB9||Striker||6+1||$490||$540||-$50||IWB Holster|
|Kahr CW9||DAO||7+1||$485||$540||-$55||Pocket Holster|
|Sccy CPX-1||DAO||10+1||$319||$540||-$221||Pocket Holster|
|Sig Sauer P290||DAO||6+1||$758||$540||$218||IWB
|Sig Sauer P938||SA||6+1||$809||$540||$269||OWB
|Walther PPS||Striker||8+1||$599||$540||$59||IWB Holster|
|IWB = Inside the Waistband holster. OWB = Outside the Waistband Holster.|
|Pistol||Length||Height||Width||Weight (oz)||Loaded Wt *||Soda Can Equiv.**|
|AMT/High Standard Backup ***||5”||4.1”||1”||24||27.97||2.03|
|Kahr P9||5.8″||4.5″||0.90″||15 oz.||18.53||1.35|
|Kahr PM9||5.42″||4.0″||0.90″||14 oz.||17.53||1.27|
|Kel-Tec P-11||5.6″||4.3”||1”||14 oz.||18.85||1.37|
|Kimber Solo||5.5″||3.9”||1.2”||17 oz||20.01||1.46|
|Sccy CPX-2||5.7″||4″||1.00″||15 oz.||19.85||1.44|
|Sig Sauer P290||5.5″||3.9″||1.10″||20.5||23.59||1.71|
|Sig Sauer P938||5.9”||3.9”||1.10″||16 oz.||19.09||1.39|
|* Assuming 0.441 ounces for each 124gr 9mm cartridge and .355 ounces for each .380 100gr cartridge|
|** A full can of soda weighs about 13.76 ounces|
|*** I couldn’t find a review for the AMT Backup in 9mm. If you know of one, leave it in the comments|
First Impression? That’s a lot of guns. I’d wager there weren’t that many “wonder nines” out there when IDPA created the SSP division, which makes me wonder if a rule change isn’t in order so as to make the “Defensive” part of IDPA a bit more relevant in today’s world.
Second Impression: The Shield does a good job holding its own against the competition. Yeah, there’s cheaper (Kel-Tec, et al) but for a “name brand” gun, it has all the features you want at a very nice price.
There’s two big surprises on that list. The first is the Glock 26, which we don’t often think as part of the “mini 9mm” group but is right in the middle of the pack when it comes to size, weight and firepower. The second is the Kel-Tec P3AT. I put that on the list to compare a true pocket pistol to the “pocket” 9mm’s, and the Kel-Tec is far smaller, skinner and lighter than the smallest 9mm. It’s also a LOT harder to shoot accurately.
And why weight in soda cans? Because I suck at judging weights, that’s why. In my mind, there’s not heavy, heavy and “lift with the legs, not with the back.” But a can of soda? I know how heavy that is. Imagine carrying around two full cans of soda on one side of your belt all day long (like a Glock 19), and you’ll know why these guns are so popular for concealed carry.
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