Mini 9mm Roundup

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
Bersa BP9 DAO 8+1  $429  $540 -$111 OWB
Diamondback DB9 Striker 6+1  $490  $540 -$50 IWB Holster
Kahr CM9 DAO 6+1  $517  $539 -$23 IWB
Kahr CW9 DAO 7+1  $485  $540 -$55 Pocket Holster
Kahr P9 DAO 7+1  $739  $540 $199 OWB
Kahr PM9 DAO 7+1  $786  $540 $246 IWB
Kel-Tec PF9 DAO 7+1  $333  $540 -$207 OWB
Kel-Tec P-11 DAO 10+1  $333  $540 -$207 IWB
Kimber Solo SA 6+1  $747  $540 $207 IWB
Ruger LC9 DAO 6+1  $443  $540 -$97 OWB
S&W Shield Striker 8+1  $450  $540 -$91 IWB
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
Taurus Slim SA/DA 7+1  $483  $540 -$57 OWB
Walther PPS Striker 8+1  $599  $540 $59 IWB Holster
IWB = Inside the Waistband holster. OWB = Outside the Waistband Holster.
Other Comparisons
Glock 19 Striker 15+1  $649  $540 $109  
Glock 26 Striker 10+1 $543  $540 $4  
Kel-Tec P3AT DAO 6+1 $318  $540 -$222  
CZ P07 SA/DA 16+1 $496  $540 -$44  
Pistol Length Height Width Weight (oz) Loaded Wt * Soda  Can Equiv.**
AMT/High Standard Backup *** 5” 4.1” 1” 24 27.97 2.03
Beretta Nano 5.63″ 4.17″ 0.90″ 17.7 20.76 1.52
Bersa BP9 6.5” 4.8” 0.94” 21.5  25.47  1.85
Diamondback DB9 5.6″ 4.0″ 0.80″ 11 14.09  1.02
Kahr CM9 5.42″ 4.0″ 0.90″ 14.0  17.09  1.24
Kahr CW9 5.9″ 4.5″ 0.90″ 15.8  19.33  1.40
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 PF9 5.85″ 4.3″ 0.88″ 12.7  16.23  1.18
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
Ruger LC9 5.97″ 4.46″ 0.90″ 17.1  20.19  1.47
S&W Shield 6.1″ 4.6″ 0.95″ 19.0  22.97  1.67
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
Taurus Slim 6″ 4.53″ 1.08″ 18.5  22.03  1.60
Walther PPS 6.3″ 4.4″ 1.04″ 19.4  23.37  1.70
Other Comparisons
Glock 19 6.85” 5” 1.18” 21 28.05  2.05
Glock 26 6.29” 4.17″ 1.18” 19.7 24.60 1.79
Kel-Tec P3AT 5.2” 3.5” 0.77” 8.3 10.65 0.77
CZ P07 7.3” 5.1 1.5” 27.2  34.70  2.52
* 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. 

Update: Hey, if you’re new to the site, feel free to stick around and/or give me a Like on Facebook.


Mini 9mm Roundup — 8 Comments

  1. Thanks for this. My wife picked up a Walther PPS the other day and commented that that was the first pistol she’s really felt comfortable holding. So I’ve been looking, ad hoc and without definite method, at various slim pistols for her to compare. Now I have a list of possible candidates, and I didn’t have to work to get it 🙂

  2. Pingback: SayUncle » Pocket 9 round up

  3. I’m almost embarrassed to admit I own one, but I bought a Kel-Tec PF-9 slightly used and very cheap off a guy at the range we instruct at. I suspect the owner grew frustrated with it; the magazine was faulty.
    In any event, I got new mags, broke a couple of parts before things settled down, and now, it pains me to say, it sort of almost replaces my beloved, modified 1969 Colt Detective Special.
    Not just thinner, but two more rounds on board. And really, I get hits with the PF-9 just about as well as the DS. It runs perfect with Gold Dots. And yes, it’s really darned thin.
    Concealed is all the more important.

    • Hey, if it works, use it! 😉

      Interesting you mention the Detective Special. Someone (Caleb, maybe?) suggested awhile ago that mini 9mms are the new .38 snubby, and that sounds about right to me. All the reasons that made pocket .38’s popular back when wheelguns were the norm are true today, when wonder nines are the gun du jour.

  4. I love and carry a Glock 26. I shoot it well with or without the pinky finger mag extension, and it pocket carries well enough with pants that fit and an uncle mike’s pocket holster. I tried several pocket 9’s and couldnt find anything I liked as much as the Glock. Plus it eats out of my hip-carry Glock 19’s magazines.

    I liked the +/- average analysis. I wish you would do that for all of the stats, not just the MSRP. I’m officially adding that to my analysis bag of tricks.

    Excellent use of real-world info with the soda can anology.