The answer to the deceptively simple question of “which handgun is the best?” has so many factors - empirical, emotional, etc. - that it almost might as well as be rhetorical. Although one might cut through the Gordian Knot with the equally deceptively simple response of, “Whichever I shoot the best.”
Speaking of deceptive, the purpose of this post is NOT to address the above question, as I’m far from being qualified in terms of experience and inventory to even begin to adequately address! With all that said, I’d like to document the dry fire exercises that I’d recently conducted with a handful of 9mm handguns.
All of these were done at 7 yards, no holster draw.
Obligatory Huge Caveat
Yes, these are also all dry fire runs using an inexpensive laser cartridge, so until I’m able to do a nice side-by-side at a range with proper ammo, take these with a sack of salt.
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9 (1.0)
A few weeks after completing the PST 101 class at the Clackamas PSTC last June, I purchased my very first firearm, the S&W M&P 9 Shield (O.G. 1.0, not the newer 2.0). I find it to be a great intersection of price, concealability, capacity, and utility; however, its trigger - which has a pretty hard break - makes it a challenge to make consistent, smooth presses.
I got to dry fire the Shield 9 2.0 at the FLGS the other day, and while by all accounts the update improved the trigger, it felt a lot like the 1.0. But then, there’s also a prolonged break-in period on the 1.0 to consider.
Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Compact
I completed the PSTC PST 101A class with the S&W M&P 9 Compact, which is a dual-stack, 4" barreled, striker-fired handgun. The shooting experience is significantly improved over the Shield, which shouldn’t be a surprise given its greater mass, longer sight radius, (almost too) aggressive grip texture, and smoother and lighter trigger. I’ve recently noticed that the trigger reset is a bit “wobbly” - a highly technical term that inadequately describes the wee bit of slack before the reset clicks.
Sig Sauer P365
When I participated in an IDPA match in February, I used a Sig Sauer P365 in the Backup Gun category. While its short barrel wasn’t conducive to longer range accuracy, I think I did reasonably well with it, especially for a first-timer. While almost twice the price of the Shield 9, the P365’s higher capacity, night sights, and solid trigger make it my preferred concealed carry choice.
Glock G19 Gen 5
The PSTC PST 102 class is a two-day affair, and I completed the first half* (and passed the course exam) with the Glock G19 Gen 5. The superlatives praising and condemning the G19 (and Glocks in general) are as numerous as they are equal in number, and personally I’m a fan of its many positive traits (and acknowledging of its shortcomings). I do like the reset on the G19 trigger better than the M&P, while I’d have to say that I may be more accurate with the M&P overall.
* The second half of PST 102 was completed using the P365