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Compact Pistol Recommendations

4055 Views 23 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Ducman
There's been a bit of a sea change, and I'm looking at purchasing my first pistol in the near future. My "wish list" features are:
* Traditional SA/DA with external hammer and safety
* Polymer Frame
* Chambered in 9x19
* Compact/subcompact size (9-10cm barrel)
* Price tag $800ish or less
* Not a Sig or a GLOCK

So far the contenders are the Beretta 9000, the Beretta Px4 Storm, and the H&K P2000SK and the Magnum Research Baby Eagle. I'm also considering the Walter P99(c) because, though they are striker-fired, they are far and away the most comfortable guns I've ever fired.

Are there any weapons I'm overlooking in my search?

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I had considered explaining the rationales behind my criteria in my post, but left them out for brevity. If it helps:
* Traditional SA/DA with external hammer and safety (Personal preference; I'm something of a control freak; I like to be able to tell the status of the hammer at a glance as well as "tell" the pistol to go to safe)
* Polymer Frame (I find poly pistols more comfortable to shoot, plus it will be lighter should I decide to start carrying.)
* Chambered in 9x19 (The MAIN reason I'm buying is to go target shooting; 9x19 is cheap enough to shoot all day, but still a capable combat caliber, should I decide to press it into service as a defensive pistol)
* Compact/subcompact size (9-10cm barrel) (As mentioned above, I may use this as a carry gun)
* Not a Sig or a GLOCK (I can't hang with the control placement on Sig's, and I can't shoot GLOCKs worth a damn [I blame the grip angle])

I'm rather a fan of the USP, but even the compact would be a bit bulky for carry for me. The P2000SK is esentially a USP compact, but a half-inch smaller in length and grip length AND with God's very own design feature: Interchangable Backstraps.

What's wrong with the Beretta 9000? It looks to have the same general anatomy as the 92, but smaller. Are you sure you're not thinking of the Px4 with its wacky rotating breech design?

As for the EAA, it's not on the CA "good guns" list; otherwise it would have been a great gun to evaluate.

Thanks for your replies, folks! Any other takers?

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While the EAA's may not be on the CA white list (likely secondary to their readily changable barrels), the CZ 2075 does have some appeal; I think I'll check that puppy out as well. Thanks for the tip!

Ducman said:
I would look into multiple guns, especially if target shooting in going to be your primary. Get a decent long barrel gun and a small carry gun. nothing is more frustrating than trying to shoot groups with a compact
Unfortunately, that is not a financial option at the moment. Hence, the 90-100mm barrel parameter in my search; it's on the long side of compact, and thus a decent compromise, I think.

Ducman said:
if you are in CA is CCW a viable option?
I'm actually in a better-than-average position to get my CCW due to my exact geographical location and my vocation. Plus, I'll likely be moving to a more gun-friendly state in the next few months.

Ducman said:
And one tip, beware of the false sense of security of safety. Guns only go bang when the trigger is pulled, don't rely on the safety as a backup.
I would posit that guns only SHOULD go bang when the trigger is INTENTIONALLY pulled. There are several people suffering from GLOCK leg who would be happy to point out that is not always the case.

jamz said:
Bretta cougar (or mini-cougar) model 8000? It's not polymer, but it's lightweight aluminum.
They are decent guns, to be sure, but I don't quite like the feel. Thanks for the recommendation, though!

speaker said:
I second both the comments on thd Kahr & Beretta 9000. The Beretta does not feel right in my hand. Too chunky. It feels awkward to me. I'm sure it is a fine shooter but you should lay hands on it first & see if it feels comfortable to you.
I actually like the handling of the 9000, and despite its short barrel, it shoots pretty straight for me.

I ADORE the aesthetics and price tags of the Kahrs and Tauri (as well as the Taurus warranty), but DAO is just no fun at the range.
Taurus and S&W have that nifty feature where you can lock the weapon up with a special key. Are those the only manufacturers that offer that setup?

Drumroll, please!

The pistol that survived my Highlander-like selection process is....

The Smith and Wesson M&P in 9mm

*the assembled crowd gasps, then murmurs shockedly*

Now, gentle Gunatics, please let me explain myself before you judge me*.

I realize the M&P only meets 66% of my outlined selection criteria. It is a full-size pistol with an 11cm barrel. After consideration of some of the comments here, I decided I should look for a gun more suited to its primary purpose of target shooting. The M&P's a longer barrel and adjustable rear increase its suitablity for bulls-eye shooting. The increased size of course decreases its concealability, but I think a CCW is so far in the future, a second gun purchase (or trade-in for an M&P compact) would not be unreasonable.

I also decided to go for a semi-precocked DAO style pistol. When I really got honest with myself about why I wanted a SA/DA c external safety, I concluded that it was a macho thing; that the more complex controls would either speak of my increased level of expertise, or help me develop such expertise. Having put 100 or so rounds through an M&P at the range, I don't find the slightly heavier trigger pull to be a detriment to accuracy.

Also, since I would be less like to carry the M&P, I can afford the potential for decreased realiablity that some additional saftey features can potentially represent. I appreciate the peace of mind that come with the magazine disconnect and integral trigger lockout, as well as not having to pull the trigger to strip the M&P.

Look for my range report on 19 Feb.


*Statement for comedic effect only; I'm not implying that you are a particularly judgemental lot.
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