5 Best Striker-Fired Handguns
Every striker-fired pistol pretty much looks the same...but which ones are the best?? We've got the rundown on the best striker-fired pistols.
Whether you are a fan of striker-fired guns or not, they are what’s hot, what’s hip, and they are here to stay. But what has all that popularity gotten us? Well, a lot of black polymer pistols that look really similar.
There is a dizzying amount of striker-fired pistols on the market today, and it can be tough to figure out what sets them apart from the competition and, more importantly, which one might be right for you.
Keep reading to see what we recommend! Now, onto our favorites in no particular order!!
Walther PDP Last but definitely not least is the Walther PDP, and boy, does it have us in a lather. To be honest, we love these guns, but for a good reason. The PDP comes in various configurations, and we love them all. Walther’s Performance Duty Trigger has a little bit of take-up to a defined well, then a very clean break right at around 4-4.5 pounds, and a very short reset. This is one of the best striker-fired triggers on the market, only matched by guns like the Canik Rival (a Walther clone). All PDPs come with optics-ready slides, but the downside is that you have to submit a request to Walther to have them mail you the adapter plate for your specific red dot. As usual, Walther implemented excellent ergonomics in the form of good grip texture and chunky Super Terrain slide serrations. Users with small to medium-sized hands will also appreciate the extended, easy-to-reach ambidextrous slide release. While it lacks traditional finger grooves, there are raised portions on the grip that act as “suggestions” to help guide hand placement. The PDP is also available in various barrel lengths and also with full-size (18+1 capacity) and compact (15+1 capacity) grip sizes. Additionally, Walther has recently introduced the PDP-F, which features a reduced grip to trigger reach and an easier to rack slide. Accuracy and reliability are hallmarks of all Walther duty guns; the PDP has that in spades.
BEST OVERALL: Coming from a Glock guy that says a lot!!
Still not sold? Check out this 10,000-round review video of the PDP below
You knew it was coming. I knew it was coming. What list isn’t complete without a Glock 19? The one and only Glock 19, in the flesh. Many designs have come and gone, but the Glock 19 has remained and is widely considered the gold standard of striker-fired pistols.
Why is that? One word — reliability. With decades of military and law enforcement use under its belt, the Glock 19 is the most time-tested handgun on this list, in addition to being the most popular handgun in the world (with the biggest aftermarket). Glock’s widespread usage means you can get all the aftermarket bells and whistles you can dream of. Its 15+1 capacity and 4-inch barrel have become the industry standard size for compact pistols. The trigger isn’t the best and is pretty spongy by today’s standards, and the ergonomics are a bit blocky for our taste. However, these guns still point well, shoot well, and their simplicity and ease of use can’t be understated. Those who put a premium on reliability, flexibility, and simplicity will be hard-pressed to find a gun that does those better.
MOST RELIABLE: You can literally throw this in Sheol and it would still shoot!
Check out this 3,500-round review of the Gen 5 Glock 19!
Sig Sauer P365 X-Macro
The X-Macro is Sig’s latest evolution of their ultra-popular micro-compact P365, and we have to say…it delivers. The X-Macro packs a ton of features in a small package. Even though it is only 1.1 inches wide and 5.2 inches tall, the X-Macro has a mind-boggling capacity of 17 rounds of 9mm. No other manufacturer has managed to stuff this many rounds in a gun this size. Features include an optics-ready slide that lets you keep the rear sight when a red dot is installed, X-Ray night sights, a full 1913 accessory rail, extended beavertail, and an integrated compensator. The integrated compensator makes follow-up shots a breeze. Additionally, Sig was able to retain the full frame, slide, and fire control unit compatibility with previous versions of the P365. Overall, the solid ergonomics, a good trigger, and the compensator make the X-Macro far easier to shoot than you might expect, making it an excellent choice for those wanting to maximize capacity without getting a full-size pistol.
BEST FOR CONCEALED CARRY: With the narrow size and 17 round capacity this is pretty much a no brainer.
Don’t forget to check out this great review from the guys at PewPewTactical of the P365 X-Macro full review!
Sometimes guns punch above their weight class, and we definitely feel that way about the CZ P-10C. It may look like another Glock 19-type clone, but in the end, you are getting more for your money. While it may look run-of-the-mill, the CZ P-10C feels far from it.For starters, users will find a surprisingly nice striker-fired trigger on the P-10C. Secondly, CZ worked their ergonomic magic to produce a gun that avoids that blocky 2×4 feeling of some other polymer pistols. Aggressive grip texturing and slide serrations, a deep beavertail, and mild palm swells help this pistol feel like it ”locks in” to your hand.
The P-10C shoots flat and fast, even in its stock configuration. Metal sights are also a nice upgrade over much of the competition, and optics-ready versions are also available. Metal 15-round magazines are also standard. The result? A super flat shooting, comfortable pistol with great features that comes in under $500.
BEST VALUE: the only pistol on the list new under $500, with the Walther coming in second
Want to know more? Head on over to see another great review of the CZ P-10C!
I know it sounds like heresy, but HK’s best gun just might be their cheapest one — the VP9. The VP9 came later to the game than many of its contemporaries, but it came to play. Why is that, you say? Well, they finally made a handgun to compete for civilian sales rather than trying to lock down military and agency contracts. Taking aim at other striker-fired guns on the market, the VP9 set out to do a lot of things better, and it did. The trigger is excellent, and the trigger guard offers generous room for those who shoot with gloves. For starters, the VP9 has one of the better striker-fired triggers on the market. It is relatively crisp, with a predictable break and a fairly short reset. Old models used 15-round magazines, while newer models have a 17-round capacity. Where this gun truly shines is ergonomics. Not only are the backstraps interchangeable, but the side panels are too. This allows left or right-handed users to adjust the palm swell to fit them perfectly. Good ergonomics means a good grip, and a good grip means better shooting. Standard VP9s sport an ambidextrous paddle magazine release. It can take some getting used to, but it is quick and intuitive after the switch is made. For those that prefer a traditional button release, HK also produces a VP9-B variant. Additionally, you get good slide serrations, as well as rear cocking wings that make racking the slide a breeze. These guns are accurate, comfortable, and still deliver the famed quality and reliability that HK is known for. It is capped off with a sizeable ambidextrous slide release, making this one of the most lefty-friendly guns out there.
MOST ERGONOMIC: One of my biggest complaints about Glock is what the HK nails. Plus I am a lefty so the ambi appeals to me!
Wondering if this is the gun for you? Take a look at the full review of the VP9!
Narrowing it down to just five pistols was challenging; unfortunately, not everything could make the cut. With that in mind, we snuck in two pistols in the video that didn’t quite make our best of but that we still like.
Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0
Metal Life is better with a bit of heavy metal, right?
It’s aggressive. It’s mean. And it’s fun to shoot. Smith and Wesson took their venerable M&P and glammed it up with an all-metal frame and an improved trigger to create the M&P 2.0 Metal. With good looks in tow, it also has a jaw-dropping performance to match. These guns are extremely accurate, fast shooting, and soft-recoiling. They are a bit heavy for duty use for some and are on the slightly pricier side for a striker pistol, but they run.
Grand Power Q1S
The Grand Power Q1S is by far the strangest inclusion on the list, but hey, some of us are strange people. Grand Power may not be at the forefront of most people’s thoughts when it comes to handguns, but they offer some great features at reasonable prices. Much like the Beretta PX4, the Q1S features a rotating barrel design that helps reduce muzzle flip. With a smaller 3.6-inch barrel, the recoil reduction is both noticeable and welcome. Additionally, the gun has a shockingly good 3.5-4lb trigger that breaks cleanly at 90 degrees. Consider the fact that you get metal sights, fully ambidextrous controls, and three 12-round magazines for around $400, and you have a real sleeper on your hands.
Striker-fired pistols have improved so much in the last 15 years that it is hard to pick just five and keep the list manageable. The good news is that striker-fired pistols are so popular there is definitely one out there for you. If you didn’t see a specific gun here, be sure to check out our other articles, as we might just have what you are looking for.
What’s your favorite striker-fired handgun? Sound off in the comments below.
The founder of Instinctive Advantage saw a hole in training in the firearms community and wanted to spread more extensive knowledge to get new shooters more involved with self defense and home protection. Instinctive Advantage classes are based on a combination of law enforcement training and 30 plus years of firearms experience.