February 13th, 2021

9mm Carry Pistol Comparison: Glock, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson

Sig P365 Glock 43 Smith Wesson Shield 9mm 9x19mm luger pistol

Over the past year, large-scale social unrest and calls to “defund the police” inspired millions of Americans to buy their very first handguns. Pistol sales set new records. Americans were looking to acquire handguns for personal protection, both in the home and while away from the house. Thus, many folks are looking for slim, relatively lightweight pistols that can be carried comfortably and discretely. There are dozens of carry guns on the market currently. Here are three good choices, as reviewed by our friends at GunsAmerica.com. In this article, we cover three of the best “micro-compact” 9mm pistols: SIG Sauer P365, Smith & Wesson Shield, and the Glock 43.

GunsAmerica Review of SIG P365, S&W Shield, and Glock 43 »

After looking at a variety of factors, including accuracy, reliability, ergonomics, build quality, size/weight, and price, GunsAmerica’s tester Jeff Cramblit concluded that the SIG P365 was the best of the three: “Bottom Line — The SIG P365 wins this shootout in my humble opinion. The MSRP of $599 is a bit higher than the other guns but SIG brings a bit more to the game. The outstanding grip design, higher capacity, great sights, lighter trigger pull, smaller length, light weight and just a great overall feel make it a winning product. The other two guns are great, they have been the cornerstones of concealed carry for many years, and I have personally carried both of them, but SIG has changed the game.”

Choosing a Carry Pistol — Performance, Reliability, Value
This Editor owns two SIG Sauer pistols, a P226 and P232. Both are “old school” metal-framed handguns. I can attest to their quality and reliability over many years. So I’m not surprised to see that SIG’s new P365 took top honors in this recent test. But I also think the Smith & Wesson Shield also offers excellent value for the dollar. The S&W 9mm Shield is ON SALE now for $289.99 at Palmetto State Armory.

This YouTube Video Compares the SIG P365 and the S&W Shield

Accuracy with Various Ammo
In the GunsAmerica Test, the SIG P365 had the best accuracy, based on five (5) different types of 9x19mm ammo shot off-hand at 25 yards. The SIG’s average 5-shot, 25-yard group size was 1.45″, vs. 1.7″ for the Glock 43, and 2.1″ for the S&W Shield. The P365’s accuracy edge may be due in part to its lighter, 5.1-lb trigger pull compared to 6 lbs. for the S&W Shield, and 6.25 lbs. for the Glock 43.

Sig P365 Glock 43 Smith Wesson Shield 9mm 9x19mm luger pistolDimensions — Width and Weights
Size matters — particularly when it comes to a carry pistol. The S&W Shield is the narrowest of the three guns at 1.03″ wide vs. 1.11″ for the P365 and 1.36″ for the Glock 43. Though it has the highest round capacity, the SIG P365 actually has the smallest grip circumference and grip depth. Weight-wise, the Glock 43, at 18 oz. unloaded, is the lightest. The SIG P365 is 18.8 oz., while S&W Shield is the heaviest at 20.5 oz. weight.

Capacity — SIG P365 Has the Edge
The SIG P365, holding 10+1 rounds, has the highest ammo capacity. This is remarkable as the P365 has the smallest grip circumference of the three pistols. Kudos to SIG for clever design. The S&W Shield has an 8+1 capacity, while the Glock 43 only holds 6+1. Advantage SIG.

Sig P365 Glock 43 Smith Wesson Shield 9mm 9x19mm luger pisto

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Handguns, Tactical No Comments »
April 17th, 2018

Hey Rifle Guys — Why Not Try a Pistol Match for a Change?

IDPA Practical Pistol Concealed carry handgun competition

Most of our readers are rifle guys, but it’s fun to shoot a pistol match now and then. You don’t need a lot of equipment, and if you shoot IDPA (Int’l Defensive Pistol Assn.) matches, you can really win with a $400 pistol and $20.00 worth of bulk 9mm ammo. That’s a bargain compared to what you’ll spend on a competitive PRS or F-Class rig and custom hand-loads.

This Editor got his start in competitive shooting with local IDPA matches. I shot a Glock 34, and a SIG Sauer P226, and even did one match with a S&W Snubbie. I eventually settled on the SIG, as it fit my hand better than the Glock, was more accurate, and was every bit as reliable. The P226 also pointed better than the Glock for me — something that helps with target acquisition.

If you want to get into the IDPA game, Shooting Sports USA has a good article that explains the basic rules and classifications. IDPA is not your grandad’s bullseye pistol match. There is movement and action. Stages are timed, and competitors engage targets from cover if available. Singled-handed shooting is sometimes required, as is shooting while moving. You can compete with pretty much any handgun suitable for self-defense — but no $4000 Raceguns with fancy optics. The fact that you can be 100% competitive without spending a ton of money is what makes IDPA so popular.

Shooting Sports USA polled IDPA shooters at the 2016 IDPA Nationals to determine their favorite gun brands and models. The #1 choice was the 9mm Glock 34 for the SSP (Standard Service Pistol) and ESP (Enhanced Service Pistol) Classes. Next most popular was the Smith & Wesson M&P Pro.

IDPA Practical Pistol Concealed carry handgun competition
IDPA Gun Chart from Shooting Sports USA.

IDPA targetAlong with SSP and ESP, there are three other main IDPA classes: Custom Defensive Pistol (CDP) for .45 ACPs (mostly 1911 types), Concealed Carry Pistol (CCP), and Revolver (REV). All classes have a minimum power factor. Scores are based on time and shot placement on the IDPA target.

IDPA Scoring System
The official IDPA Target (right) has multiple scoring zones. If you don’t hit the target’s center mass zone or head zone (both appear green in illustration), you drop one or three points. Here’s the formula: Score (in seconds) = Time + Points Down + Penalties. In IDPA, “points down” (and penalties) are added to your time. If you hit the outer edge of the target, you get 3 points down. Nearer center can be 1 point down. Center hit or head shot is 0 points down. See IDPA Scoring for Dummies.

IDPA Practical Pistol Concealed carry handgun competition

Five Tips for New IDPA Shooters

1. Dry-Fire Practice at Home
You can improve your grip and sight acquisition dramatically with 30 minutes of dry-firing every week. Get some quality snap caps and go to it. One tip — don’t do this in your back-yard if the nosy neighbors can see. We had one friend who was dry-firing in his yard and got an unexpected visit from the local police (with guns drawn). That can turn out badly to say the least…

2. Practice One-Handed Shooting (Both Strong-Hand and Weak-Hand)
Most of the worst misses I saw during IDPA matches were during stages requiring one-handed shooting. A lot of pistol shooters have spent all their time shooting two-handed. That’s the best technique, but in an IDPA match, you may be required to shoot one-handed. If you’re a righty, shooting with the left hand only will feel really weird, and your accuracy will be poor unless you practice. We suggest starting your one-handed training with a rimfire pistol, then transition to your centerfire pistol.

3. For 9mm, Don’t Bother to Hand-load Your Ammo
This may seem like sacrilege, but if you’re only shooting one match a month, it’s probably not worth the time and money to reload 9x19mm. I did reload my 9mm ammo on a progressive for a couple years. After looking at money and time, I just started buying commercial 9mm reloads which worked fine. I was only saving a few cents per round by reloading, and that wasn’t worth the time invested.

4. Get a Good Holster That Fits Right
In IDPA matches you normally draw from holster during the match. I saw a lot of people struggle because they had Kydex holsters that would not release easily, or leather holsters that fit too tight or rocked during draw. Try a few different brands at the local store.

5. Be Smooth, Be Calm, and AIM Your Shots
Many folks come into IDPA thinking it’s all about speed. But there are score zones on the official IDPA target, so you need to focus and AIM. Don’t just “run and gun”. If you stay calm, align your sights in the center of the target for EVERY shot, you will end up with a higher score with fewer “points down”. Speed will come with time. It is better to make sure each one of your shots is a hit.

(more…)

Permalink Handguns, News, Shooting Skills 4 Comments »