Finding a reliable carry gun doesn’t have to break the bank. Sure, you can opt to spend extra coin on a beautifully machined and visually stunning wonder gun, but you don’t have to. There are plenty of solid carry guns on the market with street prices well under $500.
Here are a few 9mm compacts that have done well in our testing.
While the Smith & Wesson Shield is also available in .40 S&W, I’d choose the 9mm version for two reasons. With either the standard or extended magazine, you get one more round (7+1 or 8+1 for the 9mm models). More importantly, the 9mm version is much, much easier to control. Empty, this is a 19-ounce gun and physics is physics when it comes to recoil. While most people can fit all three firing hand fingers on the Shield, it’s still a bit of a handful when using higher pressure and heavier bullet weight .40 S&W ammo.
I also like that the Shield is available in a variety of models to fit user preference. You can order one with or without a manual safety lever according to your comfort level. California and Massachusetts-compliant models are available too. Last, you can order models with factory installed Crimson Trace Laserguards.
I like to carry Speer’s Gold Dot Short Barrel ammunition in this one. The +P 124-grain loads will exceed 1,100 feet per second, and the bonded core projectiles expand reliably. The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck convertible IWB / OWB holster is a great complement.