first published on February 28, 2020 by Josh
Everyday Carry is serious business. For serious business, comfort, for me at least, is sometimes one of the most important factors in any purchase decision I make. That’s why when it comes to casual EDC, I choose a single-stack 9mm almost every single time. At the end of the day, the best handgun you can carry is the handgun that you will always carry regardless of the situation.
That’s why I’m making this article for you. We’re going to go over some of the best sub-compact 9mm pistols that exist on the market as of right now for EDC purposes. You can agree or disagree, this is simply my opinion. That said, there are certain situations where I choose to carry a full-size or regular compact pistol like a Canik TP9 Elite Combat, or a Glock 19. It really all depends on you and your current situation.
Either way, I hope you leave this article slightly more informed, and with a better purchasing direction and guide.
If you’re using a single-stacked magazine, you aren’t just using ancient technology. It is true that you are making a sacrifice from double-stacked magazines to get reduce the width of your gun, but you’re also picking up a few great benefits.
With that reduction in width, you are getting a far thinner base to your weapon. This makes the firearm easier to conceal, more comfortable carry, and far less taxing to pick up and carry for a long duration of time. There is also a certain level of ease that comes with carrying a smaller firearm. This makes it less likely that you will create an excuse for yourself to simply not carry on any given day.
Let’s be honest here for a minute. Any person who carries every single day has had moments where they just didn’t want to strap up. It doesn’t matter if that moment was a quick trip to the gas station in your pajamas to top-off your tank, or a trip to McDonalds to get your fat and nasty on. At some point, you’ve had a moment where you said to yourself, “I’ll only be out a minute, I don’t need my gun.” Telling yourself otherwise is most likely a small lie you’re telling yourself to feel cool.
A small sub-compact pistol eliminates this excuse, and is definitely a massive upgrade to your EDC game.
My answer to this question is 100% yes. A single-stack sub-compact 9mm is perfectly fine for a self-defense pistol when you look at the bigger picture. A majority of people around the world go out every single day thinking that the police are their first and only line of defense against criminals. If the only gun you are carrying is a $300 single-stacked LC9S, you are more responsible for your own self-defense than a very high percentage of people on this planet.
Good for you! If anyone faults you for not carrying a full-size G17, or a .45 ACP 1911 that runs $2,000, they’re simply being elitists. Everyone has the right to self-defense. Everyone has the right to make the decision based on their own needs and capabilities.
The list below is a list of our favorite single-stack 9mm pistols from around the office. The list is in no particular order, and we believe they all accomplish the mission of being a casual EDC firearm. These pistols vary in price, so regardless of your budget there should be something here that fits your wallet size and need. I have personally fired every single one of these pistols, and can vouch for both their reliability and comfort as an EDC option.
It’s also worth noting that the links to the firearms below are based on the best price we were able to find at the time of this publication. If we weren’t able to find a solid deal, we simply didn’t link to a purchase location for the firearm. It may also be worth it for you to search around the internet or your local firearm dealerships to find a better deal. If you don’t want to do the searching though, we will be keeping this article updated with the best prices we can find on a fairly re-occurring basis.
Now, let’s get into what you really came here for. Single-stacked sub-compact 9mms. We have included video reviews of each firearm from some of the awesome content creators on Full30. Make sure you give those a look if you see something that strikes your fancy.
Did you really think this list would start any other way? The Glock 43 is a reliable option from a storied manufacturer. It took us a while of pressuring Glock to get here, but after the demand was apparent they finally caved. As a result, we got the Glock 43, which is a thinner version of the Glock 26. The G42 was nice as well, but a bit of a disappointment when it dropped due to the fact that there isn’t as much demand for the .380 caliber.
If you’re looking to get a single-stack sub-compact, but also just want another Glock, the 43 is where you turn. We’ve actually done a full review of this firearm in the past. If you want to read more about it, go ahead and click this link. The too long, didn’t read version is that we really like it.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the 43, we have the P938 from Sig. This thing has style, class, and reliability all in one package. If what you’re looking for is a single-stacked sub-compact that will serve you well, and look good in the process the P938 is exactly what you want. Bonus points goes to this firearm for those of you who are familiar with the 1911 family of pistols. You’ll find your way around this little gun with ease.
That said, this thing does tend to run on the more expensive side of this list. Buy in confidence if this is what you’re looking for. We also have a completed review of this pistol you can check out here. It’s been a main stay in my casual EDC line-up for the past year and a half, and I love it.
The M&P9 Shield is a no-brainer for this list. It’s also one of the largest handguns to be featured here. We chose to use it because, let’s be real, not everyone enjoys having their little finger hanging off of the bottom of their EDC handgun. If you have larger hands, this is definitely a must look to fill this role in your load-out.
All in all, this a great handgun to own. It has a fantastic trigger pull, a great grip, and a little less snap to it than some of the others listed here. One of the sacrifices you make carrying a smaller handgun is that you have slightly increased recoil from the short barrel lengths. It’s only 9mm though, so the recoil is more of a harsh snap that you can feel as the round exits the barrel. The M&P9 Shield from Smith & Wesson is one of the few without that drawback being clearly present.
One of the problems with the single-stacked sub-compacts is that they just aren’t made for bear paws. If you’re like me, and you have big hands, the Springfield XD(S) 3.3 might be for you. The firearm itself has a larger, well textured grip. As a result, even with big hands like mine, you can get a nice firm grip around the firearm without any obnoxious pinky overhang.
I have to admit, out on the range this is one of my favorite little handguns to shoot. It is specifically because of its grip that I enjoy it as much as I do. That’s why the Springfield XD(S) 3.3 is on our list. Not every shooter is capable of fitting their gigantic hands on a bone-stock single-stacked sub-compact 9mm pistol.
Ruger and single-stacked sub-compacts are two things that just go together. They have been in this game for ages, and they know what they’re doing.
The Ruger LC9S Pro is a great little handgun with a magnificent trigger pull. If you’re familiar with some sub-compacts, the trigger pull can often leave you wanting, but not here. With the LC9S, you’re looking at about ¼ the total pull, with a much faster reset after the trigger breaks. This translates on target as well, because a longer trigger pull can lead to a lapse in fundamental marksmanship.
If what you’re looking for is a firearm with a clean crisp trigger from a company with an excellent reputation, stop now. The Ruger LC9S Pro is exactly what you are looking for.
The Sig Sauer P290RS is the final handgun we’re going to feature on this list. It has interchangeable grip inserts which allow you to better fit the firearm to your hand. This is a massive plus in the realm of mini sub-compacts. If you have small hands, you use smaller inserts. If you have big hands, you use larger ones. Quite a simple theory actually, but one that not every firearm of this size and caliber has adopted yet.
It also features a stainless steel slide coated with Nitron. This helps the firearm be more resistant to wear and corrosion which in turn makes it so your firearm will last longer and decrease the amount of money you might have to spend replacing it after several years of constant use.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what you carry every single day. As stated earlier, the best handgun you can carry is the handgun that you will carry every day. If you’ve ever found yourself without your full-size handgun at the gas station because you were too lazy to strap it on, then one of these firearms might be for you. In my own personal day to day activities, I’ve found that a single-stack sub-compact in 9mm eliminates the excuses I would give myself when I didn’t want to carry my Glock 19 or Canik out to dinner with me.
That’s just the opinion of one firearms enthusiast though. Let me know down in the comments section what your thoughts are on this topic. Are there any firearms that you think should be added to this list that we may have forgotten? As a community we can bring our knowledge together and create a more comprehensive guide for newer members of this space. Let us know down below what your thoughts are.