Semiautomatic pistols are among the most fundamental components in any collection of firearms. The best semi auto pistol will always vary depending on the situation, but many of them are so versatile that they can be used in almost any role. Even so, there are so many different choices that it can be hard to find the right one. We’ve tried to solve that problem by building a list of ten excellent options, ranked based on their reliability, accuracy, and their overall value.
10. Beretta 92FS
The 92FS is a double/single action chambered for 9mm rounds. The gun is currently in military use, which stands as a testament to its reliability and accuracy. The 92FS has a reversible magazine release and safety that makes it convenient for left-handed shooters, and using those features does not harm the gun’s ergonomics. People who appreciate simple maintenance should also consider this weapon since it can be taken apart without special tools. Those features might make this the best 9mm semi auto pistol for new shooters, but it’s still a reasonable pick for experts who value reliability.
9. Kahr CW45
The CW45 is fairly light and might be the best semi auto pistol for concealed carry, compared to most pistols of comparable power, which earned it a spot on this list. In addition to the convenience factor, this gun also boasts a unique offset feed ramp that reduces barrel flip and boosts accuracy. The grip is heavily textured to ensure a good grip, so this is an easy gun to draw and fire quickly without losing accuracy. It is lacking in safety features, so it isn’t the best choice for a novice, but intermediate and experienced shooters should strongly consider using it for daily carry.
8. Colt Mustang Lite
The Mustang Lite may be the best 380 semi auto pistol for smaller shooters that want a carry weapon. It’s small enough to fit in a large pocket, and its locked breech system makes the recoil much lower than most guns of that size. Some users have reported unburnt powder on their fingers after shooting, which can be unnerving to a novice but not a serious problem. Small shooters shouldn’t hesitate to pick this gun, but larger shooters will want to try it before they buy to make sure it isn’t too small for them.
7. Ruger P95
The P95 was recently discontinued but is still available in many stores and from plenty of dealers. Ambidextrous features make it comfortable for most shooters, but the real reason to pick this gun is its reliability. It splits into five subassemblies without using special tools, so it’s very easy to clean in the field. A set of 3-dot front and rear sights make it easy to acquire targets, even under bad conditions. This is the best semi auto pistol for use in bad weather in the wilderness, especially by novices at gun maintenance, but there are better choices for other environments.
6. Sig Sauer P250-22 Nitron Compact
The P250 earned its place on this list by offering a great value. Like all weapons from Sig, the manufacturing quality is excellent and the gun is reliable, especially compared to others with a similar price. It can also be converted from a rimfire weapon into a centerfire, which adds even more cheap versatility. Interchangeable grip modules improve the ergonomics, making this a safe choice for most shooters. The low price and high value make this a good choice for novices or experienced shooters on a budget, but teachers should also consider this as a loaner gun for students.
5. Taurus Millenium G2
The G2 is a budget pistol with a focus on safety. It uses the Taurus Security System, which allows the owner to lock down the gun by turning a key. However, it won’t offer much additional safety in the field, but it will help to prevent accidents during transportation and storage. It also has a loaded chamber indicator for extra safety when it isn’t locked down, and an aggressively textured grip to prevent hands from slipping. Choose this if you want an unusually safe pistol, especially if you live with people who might handle it improperly.
4. Smith & Wesson M&P BodyGuard 380
|Manufacturer||Smith and Wesson|
The Bodyguard comes with an unusual set of features for a small .380 pistol. The sights are fully adjustable, the gun is second strike compatible, and there’s an external takedown lever. Some users have found that it needs a significant break-in period, but that isn’t a problem for people who practice regularly. This is not the best semi auto pistol for true novices, but this is a good choice for intermediate shooters who will use the gun’s special features on a regular basis.
3. Ruger 22-45
The 22-45 looks unusual, but the strange appearance hides an excellent weapon. The ventilated receiver makes it surprisingly light despite its sturdy construction, as does the use of aluminum in its construction. It’s simple to operate, with a one-button takedown system for easy cleaning and an ambidextrous safety for convenient use by lefties. The default sights are fairly good, but the gun also sports a picatinny rail system for people who want an upgrade. This might be the best 22 semi auto pistol for anyone who’s more inclined towards this caliber, no matter how new or experienced they are.
2. Glock 17
The Glock 17 is an excellent 9mm pistol with a balanced array of features. The grip is heavily textured, so most users can keep a firm grip even if it gets a little wet or slippery. The backstraps can also be customized to ensure a firmer and more comfortable grip. The gun is reasonably accurate, and only the top shooters are likely to notice a difference in accuracy between the 17 and a more expensive firearm. If you need a weapon that you can carry every day or use at the range, this might be the best semi auto pistol for you.
1. Browning 1911-380
The 1911 has been one of the most popular handguns in the world for more than a century. Historical value alone could earn it a spot on this list, but performance makes it the best semi auto pistol. An ambidextrous set of controls and excellent ergonomics make it comfortable for almost every shooter, while multiple safeties make it a good choice for nervous novices. It’s a great choice for novices and veterans alike, especially those that want both performance and elegance in one package.
Making The Right Choice
We could spend years shooting and still not have enough time to try every pistol, so there is a chance that we missed a contender for the best semi auto pistol for a situation. If you know a good choice that we didn’t mention, or if you want to add something to our reviews, be sure to do it in the comment section so other shooters can learn about all of their options. There are more selections of pistols that you might want to consider if this is the type of weapon that works for you.