April 04, 2022
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Back in the day—more than 100 years ago—the 9mm Luger was only found in large belt-size pistols like the 8-shot German Luger and 10-shot Mauser Broomhandle. John Browning came up with the idea of increasing capacity and his Hi Power held 13 shots. Small, concealable guns were relegated to less powerful calibers like the .25 ACP, .32 ACP with the most powerful the .380 ACP—at least until recently. Now, the 9mm is found in those small, pocket-size pistols, with capacity right there with the big belt pistols. Many are smaller, though, offering 7 or 8 shots in a full power 9mm the size of yesteryear’s .32s and .380s. Here are eight micro 9mms worth considering, presented from least expensive to most expensive.
1. Taurus GX4
Innovative Brazilian maker Taurus offers a new twist in polymer-frame pistols with the GX4 striker-fired micro-compact. The GX4 is built on a stainless frame covered with a polymer grip. To ensure structural rigidity and reliable cycling in such a scaled-down foundation, the polymer receiver bolsters an integral stainless-steel framework to eliminate flex or deformation when firing. The GX4 provides 11+1 capacity in a pistol only 5.8 inches in length with its 3.06-inch barrel. The GX4 is unique in that it offers two sizes of palm swell with the pistol, and the larger one will increase overall length just a hair. Height is 4.4 inches, width is 1.08 inches and weight is 18.5 ounces. The slide is steel alloy while the barrel is stainless steel. The polymer frame is nicely textured for a sure grip. Sights are a drift-adjustable, serrated rear sight and fixed white-dot front. There is no manual thumb safety, just the trigger-blade safety. Taurus recently announced a T.O.R.O. version that easily accommodates red dots.
- CALIBER: 9MM Luger
- CAPACITY: 11+1
- FRONT SIGHT: Fixed
- REAR SIGHT: Drift Adjustable
- FRAME SIZE: Micro-compact
- BARREL LENGTH: 3.06 In.
- OVERALL LENGTH: 6.05 In.
- OVERALL HEIGHT: 4.40 In.
- OVERALL WIDTH: 1.08 In.
- OVERALL WEIGHT: 18.50 Oz. (Unloaded)
- MSRP: $392
- MANUFACTURER: Taurus USA; TaurusUSA.com
2. Glock G43 Gen 5
The 10+1 capacity Glock 43 9mm is more of a subcompact than a micro-compact, but how could we ignore them? Besides, many of the dimensions run true with the micro compacts above. Barrel length is 3.41 inches, and overall length is 6.5 inches. Height is 5.04 inches and width is 1.1 inches. Weight is 18.55 ounces. Glocks feature the Safe Action trigger, a design all the others have adopted using a lever in the center of the trigger. Sights consist of a white dot front and a white outline square notch rear. The G43X offers the company’s Modular Optic System for mounting a red dot. starting at $539, us.Glock.com
3. Springfield Armory Hellcat
Springfield Armory packs more punch into the least amount of space with the Hellcat and its 11+1 or 13+1 magazine—plus a 15-round magazine is an add-on option. The striker-fired, polymer-framed micro compact is only 6 inches long, and half of that is the 3-inch barrel. Height is 4 inches with flush-fitting 11-shot magazine, and a 13-shot mag is also included. Width is just an inch, although the optional thumb safety adds just a little bit. Weight is 17.9 ounces. Hellcats can be had with a plain-topped slide, optic ready, or with a Springfield Hex Wasp or Shield RMSc mini reflex sight factory installed. There’s also an RDP version with Hex red dot and a removable compensator. All models come standard with a white-outline U-dot rear and tritium-powered front sight. starting at $569, Springfield-Armory.com
4. Ruger Max-9
The striker-fired Ruger Max-9 comes in two versions with either a pair of flush-fitting 10+1 magazines or 12+1 magazines with an extension on the base. Barrel length is 3.2 inches, and overall length is 6 inches. Height is 4.52 inches (slightly taller with the 12+1 magazine), and width is 0.95 inch. Weight is 18.4 ounces. The frame is made of glass-filled nylon, and the slide is through-hardened alloy steel finished in black oxide. The trigger incorporates a safety, and there are models with and without a manual thumb safety. Base models there’s an optional ambidextrous thumb safety model available. A tritium/fiber optic front provides great visibility in any lighting condition, and the rear sight is plain. An optics-ready slide is standard. starting at $579, Ruger.com
5. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus
The S&W M&P line offers the new Shield Plus 9mm, a polymer-frame pistol with flush-fitting 10+1 and extended 13+1 capacity. The Shield is only 6.1 inches overall with a 3.1-inch barrel, just 4.6 inches high with a width of 1.1 inches. Weight is only 19.3 ounces. Both the barrel and slide are stainless steel and treated to an Armornite finish for corrosion and wear resistance. The flat-face trigger incorporates a safety lever, but for those who also want a manual safety, versions with that are offered. Sights are white three-dot, but Performance Center versions incorporate fiber-optic sights. Optics-ready slides are available in both standard and Performance Center models, and the latter also offers versions with barrel/slide porting. starting at $595, Smith-Wesson.com
6. Kimber R7 Mako
Long known best for its 1911 pistols, Kimber has entered the striker-fired micro-compact market in a big way with the R7 Mako, a 9mm offering a flush-fitting 11+1 magazine and an extended 13+1 magazine. The gun has a 3.37-inch barrel, and overall length is 6.2 inches. Height is 4.3 inches, and it’s an inch wide. Weight is 19.5 ounces. The glass-filled nylon frame has a stainless steel central block, and the slide is stainless with a black FNC finish. There’s a slide release on both sides for right/left-hand use, and the only external safety is the usual one in the center of the trigger. The pistol features Kimber’s Performance Carry trigger. The R7 is optics-ready and comes standard with TruGlo Tritium Pro Night Sights that incorporate an orange front ring with a tritium vial and white-dot rear tritium dots. There’s also a model with an optional Crimson Trace CTS-1500 reflex sight co-witnessed with the TruGlo sights factory mounted. starting at $599, KimberAmerica.com
7. CZ P-10 S
CZ-USA’s entry into the 9mm micro market is P-10 S, a 12+1 shot striker-fired pistol with a fiber-reinforced polymer frame. The pistol has a 3.5-inch barrel and is just 6.6 inches overall length. The gun is 1.26 inches wide and weighs 24.4 ounces. The basic frame is black, but it can be had in optional OD green or flat dark earth for an extra charge. The only external safety is on the trigger, and the pistol has a new reversible magazine release. Sights include a tritium front sight for low-light/nighttime use, and the rear is serrated to eliminate glare. There’s also an optics-ready version. starting at $629, CZ-USA.com
8. SIG Sauer P365
The P365 turned everyone’s ear upon its debut a few years ago and is currently one of the best-selling guns in America. The base gun offers 10+1 capacity, with optional magazines boosting round count to 12+1. And now there are multiple versions with lengthened frames for which 12-round magazines come standard (where legal, of course). The base gun, called the Nitron Micro Compact, has a 3.1-inch barrel. Overall length is 5.8 inches, width is 1.06 inches and height is 4.3 inches. Weight is 17.8 ounces. Sights are the company’s outstanding X-Ray 3 day/night sights, and a manual thumb safety is available as an option. Other models, of which there are seven, offer the longer frames, red dot capability, have different sighting setups or come with a red dot mounted, compensated barrels and more. starting at $680, SIGSauer.com