Looking for a 9mm semi-auto pistol for personal or home protection? We review the five best American 9mm autos which you can buy for less than $600.

For some, the goal of ownership of one firearm for all foreseen possible uses can be a challenging one. For me, having only one firearm to be used in every possible event which may occur, is impractical. I consider firearms as just another tool I use in my daily life of tasks and duties. In using tools for construction, maintenance and destruction, one type of screwdriver just doesn’t cut it. There are many types and sizes of screw heads so I am required to have many types of screwdrivers. The same applies for many other types of wrenches, saws, drills etc. In the tool realm of firearms the same applies.

When I get the chance, I like to go hiking in remote areas and sometimes make a camp and spend one or two nights. In these remote areas are critters who could possibly do me harm, so I like to take a firearm which will match the body weight and temperament of a possible antagonist. If I am hiking the Rocky Mountains or Southeast Oklahoma’s’ Winding Stair Mountains, I like to carry a pistol which will be effective on black bear and cougars. In Oklahoma we have an infestation of feral hogs so encountering an old protective sow with a herd of piglets is not out of the question. So I have several handguns which I use for duty, personal protection and ones which have stopping power for furry-fanged things.

However, if you are looking to be a one gun person or family, then maybe the 9mm caliber Semi-auto is the pistol for you. The 9mm round, also known as (AKA) 9×19mm 9X19 or 9mm luger, is a 0.355 inch diameter bullet and in effect is a 35 caliber. For protection from two legged critters, a 9mm Semi-auto pistol is an adequate round with proper shot placement.

Henry Repeating Arms

The factor or equation I used in selecting these five American Semi-auto pistols was the firearm had to be made in the USA with the final profit dollar staying here. The pistol had to be of excellent quality and highly reliable as well as easy to use.


Smith and Wesson MP 9mm ShieldM&P 9mm Shield Made by Smith and Wesson

I know many gun owners and professional law enforcement officers who rave about their S&W M&P 9mm Shields. I found the M&P 9mm Shield an excellent made firearm. This firearm is thin and lightweight which supports it being carried all day long. The polymer has an embedded stainless rigid chassis system for the metal slide to function on.  The Shield is a striker-fired pistol (always cocked) which facilitates a short consistent trigger pull. This model of Shield (10035) comes with two magazines, one magazine holding seven rounds and the extended capacity full grip having eight rounds. For me I would purchase an extra extended magazine as it allows a place for my little finger to rest. In fact if you are serious about personal home protection, I would have at a minimum of eight extra magazines. In this case, more is better.

The M&P Shield has a patented take-down lever and sear deactivation system making the disassembly of this firearm easy and simple. Some Shield models come with a thumb safety but the model I am reviewing does not. Unless you shoot at least once a month firing at least 100 round for about two hours practicing firing a few shots then activating the safety and holstering, the safety could be a problem. In high stress situations, your fight or flight will kick in. In that split second if you decide to fight your muscle memory will take over. If your muscle memory does not include many hours of operating the safety, you may be fighting the firearm as much as you are the aggressor. If you’re a novice shooter, get some instruction from a certified instructor. The S&W M&P Shield is an excellent pistol and can be found for under $400. For dependability, cost factor and concealability, I give the M&P 9mm Shield eight warrior shields.

Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm Shield, SKU: 10035

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 7+1, 8+1
  • Safety: Don’t pull the trigger!
  • Barrel Length: 3.1 inches
  • Overall Length: 6.1 inches
  • Front Sight: White Dot
  • Rear Sight: White 2-Dot
  • Weight: 17.6 ounces
  • Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
  • Slide Material: Stainless Steel
  • Frame Material: Polymer
  • Frame Finish: Black
  • Slide Finish: Armornite®
  • Action: Striker fired*
  • Purpose: Concealed Carry, Personal Protection, State Compliance
  • MSRP: $449.00


Smith and Wesson MP 9mm M2.0M&P 9 M2.0 by Smith and Wesson

Another excellent Semi-auto pistol is the Smith and Wesson M&P 9 M2.O. This 9mm is a full size 17 shot pistol designed for those who need magazines to carry more than eight to ten rounds. Buyers of this pistol would be typically professionals such as law enforcement, military, armed security and highly specialized personal protection agents. The M&P 9 M2.0, hereafter referred to as M2.0, is a well-designed pistol with many great features.

The M2.0 is designed so the shooter’s hand is higher up on the frame and closer to the barrel bore axis allowing for comfortable shooting with reduced muzzle rise and quicker back on target action. In addition the eighteen degree grip angle allows a more natural pointing of this firearm. The M2.0 comes with interchangeable palm-swell inserts for the grip allowing a custom optimal hand fit and trigger reach. The palm-swell inserts allows shooters with small, medium, medium to large and large hands to adjust the pistol to the shooter. In addition the grip of the M2.0 has aggressive grip texture for enhanced control of the pistol while firing with wet or sweaty hands.

Smith and Wesson gave the M2.0 a crisper and lighter trigger pull which enhances the ability to make deliberate and accurate shots. The trigger reset can be felt and heard by the shooter. As a former competition shooter I like this feature. As the shooter releases the trigger they can feel and hear when the trigger resets for the next shot. This makes for quicker second and subsequent shots. The rigid embedded stainless steel chassis reduces flex and torque from the Polymer frame when firing this pistol. All metal parts have the S&W Armornite durable corrosion resistant finish. The model shown has the 4.25 inch barrel, but my preference would be the 5.0 inch barrel for a longer sight radius. Also, a longer barrel allows for more feet per second from the rounds fired and slightly less recoil. Of the two Smith and Wesson pistols featured here, from a law enforcement needs position, I would choose the M2.0 with the five inch barrel. Great firearm you could not go wrong on. For duty and a magazine holding more than 10 rounds, I give the M&P 9 M2.0 nine warrior shields.

M&P 9 M2.0, SKU: 11521

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 17+1
  • Safety: Don’t pull the trigger!
  • Barrel Length: 4.25 inches
  • Overall Length: 7.4 inches
  • Front Sight: Steel – White Dot
  • Rear Sight: Steel – White Two Dot
  • Weight: 24.7 ounces
  • Grip: Polymer
  • Barrel Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite® Finish
  • Slide Material: Stainless Steel
  • Frame Material: Polymer
  • Frame Finish: black
  • Slide Finish: Armornite®
  • Action:  Striker fired*
  • Purpose: Home Protection, Personal Protection, Duty
  • MSRP: $599.00


Smith & Wesson

2100 Roosevelt Avenue
Springfield, MA 01104


Ruger American 9mmRuger American 9mm

Ruger has many fine models of the Semi-auto pistol flavor. In 1999 I was in charge of selecting the new issued duty weapon for an Oklahoma police agency. I chose the P95 for two reasons. The price was right and I liked the design of this duty weapon. We took one of the P95 Ruger pistols to the range. Straight out of the box with no oil added, we fired 1,000 rounds of 9mm hollow-point and ball ammo in this P95. This P95 never experienced a single malfunction or failure. I was amazed. Ruger makes excellent semi-auto pistols. Several foreign countries issue the Ruger semi-auto to their police and military.

The Ruger American 9mm has a short take-up (less trigger travel) positive reset trigger. It features a recoil-reducing barrel cam, low slide mass with enhanced center of gravity design and low bore axis. The Ruger American has been tested for sustained +P ammo use. It has been fitted with ambidextrous slide stop and magazine release for use by either hand. The Ruger American 9mm has an internal auto sear block with an integrated trigger safety. To break down this weapon you need no tools and need not pull the trigger.

The front sight has a Novak® LoMount one dot sight with the rear having a Novak® LoMount two dot system. The Ruger American 9mm comes with a modular wrap-around grip system to aid in the adjustment to various hand sizes. A Picatinny rail is affixed to the frame resting in front of the trigger guard which will facilitate the attachment of a tactical light or targeting laser. While shooting this pistol the nonslip gripping surface with slide serrations allows the shooter to have enhanced control. The Ruger American 9mm comes with two nickel-Teflon® plated steel magazines…a big plus.

I like the Ruger American 9mm because my personal preference leans towards the full size weapons. This semi-auto pistol would be excellent for law enforcement and military duty. For the sheepdogs, the Ruger American 9mm would be perfect for home, travel and personal defense. It is a very reliable weapons for those of you who decide to intervene in some dirt-bag action. Be careful when you take these type of actions as there may be a plain clothes or off duty officer/s planning on the same course of action. I rate this duty type firearm with eight Warrior Shields.

Ruger American 9mm (8605)

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 17+1
  • Safety: Don’t pull the trigger!
  • Barrel Length: 4.20 inches
  • Overall Length: 7.50 inches
  • Sights: Novak® LoMount Carry 3-Dot
  • Weight: 30 ounces
  • Grips: Glass-Filled Nylon
  • Barrel Material: Not given
  • Slide Material: Stainless Steel, Slide Finish Black Nitride
  • Frame: Glass-Filled Nylon
  • Action: Striker fired*
  • Purpose: Personal and Home Protection, Duty
  • MSRP: $579.00


271 Cardwell Road
Mayodan, NC 27027


SCCY CPX-2 9mmSCCY CPX-2 9mm

About ten years or so ago, SCCY kicked of its line of 9mm semi-auto pistols. These outstanding 9mm 10 shot pistols are very concealable. The CPX-1 is fitted with a manual thumb safety and the CPX-2 with no external safety. Now comes the best news. Ounce for ounce the SCCY 9mm is the best buy. The other pistols reviewed here are excellent firearms but so is the SCCYA at $313.00. Most gun stores have them at $290.00. Okay, I know what you are thinking. What another 9mm? Yes another 9mm semi-auto with some goodies. This very light 15 ounce pistol has a “RE-COIL CUSHION”, ergonomic finger grooves, right/left hand safety, (CPX-1) 3 dot steel rear sight system and a double action only internal hammer. The inertial firing pin design prevents accidental discharge if dropped.

SCCY, pronounced “SKY”, gives their pistols a 3.1 inch barrel which is machined from steel bar stock with seven lands and grooves having a 1:16 right-hand twist. The receiver, machined from bar stock, is made from 7075-T6 aircraft grade heat treated aluminum alloy. As previously stated, the Frame is made from Zytel polymer. The trigger has a nine pound pull, not bad for a double action only, which is perfect for those of you who are dedicated Sheepdogs and even those Warriors who like a light off-duty pistol.

The major thing I like about this product is the magazines are made by the same firearms company which makes this pistol. This is huge. Most firearm manufactures do not…I say do not make their own magazines. The first thing I do when purchasing a new 1911 .45 acp, I buy Wilson magazines. I want the best when my ass is on the line.

The SCCY pistols come with two 10 round double stack magazines with little finger extensions. Also included, are two flat magazine bases for your personal taste. A trigger guard lock for child resistant to their evil little fingers, is protection added with two keys. I give the SCCY CPX-2 TTDE 9mm a solid eight Warrior’s Shield. I have read the recoil is considerable. Once I have tested a model I will likely raise the rating. Great gun at the right price.


  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Safety: Don’t pull the trigger!
  • Barrel Length: 3.1 inches
  • Overall Length: 5.7 inches
  • Sights: 3 Dot Sight System
  • Grips: Zytel polymer, Recoil Cushion on Back Strap
  • Weight: 15 ounces
  • Barrel Material: Bar Stock Stainless
  • Slide Material: Stainless
  • Frame: Zytel polymer
  • Action: Double Action System
  • Purpose: Personal and Home Protection, Duty
  • MSRP: $313.00

SCCY Industries

1800 Concept Court
Daytona Beach, Florida 32114


Springfield XD-S 3.3 9mm single stackXD-S® 3.3″ Single Stack by Springfield Armory

Looking for a very small single stacked 9mm Semi-auto American pistol which holds seven in the mag and one in the pipe? Well look no further. Springfield Armory has developed a powerhouse in a small package. The Springfield Armory XD-S 3.3 single stack is the one for you. This compact bad-boy is only 0.9 inches wide, 4.4 inches tall and 6.3 inches long. There are no American made quality 9mm Semi-auto pistols which hold seven in the mag and one in the chamber which are this small and concealable. The extra stainless steel magazine with the mid-mag extension will hold eight 9mm rounds. So one seven round and one eight round stainless steel….magazines.

There is a quality pistol company, owned off shore, highly respected and much sought after who has a single stack 9mm which is slightly small but only holds six in the magazine and one in the tube. For the purposes of this article, we are reviewing American pistols wherein the corporate headquarters is in the USA. So the XD-S 3.3 single stack, round for round, is the smallest practical pistol. The one feature I like about this auto over the other four, is the grip safety. Yes this old warhorse loves his 1911 semi-autos so a grip safety on a compact 9mm just sweetens the deal. Yes I know, a grip safety has to be compressed before the pistol will fire. But if you grab up the XD-S 3.3 to blaze some deserving dirt-bag Satanist terrorists type and miss compressing the grip safety…well then you are an igit. Practice…practice…practice with this or any firearm you will be carrying to protect yourself and family. Due to the XD-S 3.3 being a compact semi-auto with up to eight rounds of death and destruction and grip safety, I give it nine warrior shields.

Springfield Armory

  • XD-S® 3.3″ Single Stack
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 7+1
  • Safety: Don’t pull the trigger!
  • Barrel Length: 3.1 inches
  • Overall Length: 6.3 inches
  • Sights: Fiber Optic Front & Dovetail Rear (Steel)
  • Grips: Black Polymer
  • Weight: 23 ounces
  • Barrel Material: Hammer Forged, Steel, Melonite
  • Side Material: Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish
  • Frame: Black Polymer
  • Action: Striker fired*
  • Purpose: Concealed Carry, Personal Protection, State Compliance
  • Made in Croatia by Springfield manufacturing partner HS Produkt
  • MSRP: $599.00

Springfield Armory

420 West Main Street
Geneseo, IL 61254


*Strike Fire
The strike fire system in general works like this. Once you have cleaned and re-assembled your new 9mm semi-autos pistol, read all the safety information in the accompanying manual. Once at the range or shooting area, load the magazine and insert it into the magazine well. Be sure you never point this or any firearm in the direction of others, loaded or unloaded. When you charge or load this weapon it is cocked and ready to shoot. It will remain cocked till you remove the magazine and clear the firing chamber. Making sure this weapon is not loaded, you dry-fire (pull the trigger on an empty chamber) to release the tension on the firing pin. Now this firearm is not cocked. Never carry a strike fire pistol in anything other than a holster designed for that model of firearm. Remember this firearm is always cocked and ready to fire. If you stick a fully loaded strike fire pistol in your belt, sick it in the back of your pants, as when it goes off you will only lose some ass cheek and not the family jewels.


Photos courtesy of manufactures

Ruger Firearms