What's the worst 9mm pistol

Pistol comparison 9mm Para

Factory-left utility pistols in 9mm Luger are among the most commonly shot handguns. VISIER compares 10 pistol models from the most popular manufacturers. How do the "established" compare to the "current"? Update // Further tests of 35 pistols in 9mm can be found in the VISIER SPECIAL 76, which was published in March 2015.

Andreas Wilhelmus and Markus Emmel / Photos: Michael Schippers

"Which standard 9 mm Para pistol should I buy?" - The VISIER team does not hear a question more often during the hotline question time. It was therefore obvious that the revival of the VISIER comparative test would first have to involve handguns of this caliber.

No pieces tuned for special purposes, but what every beginner can do as much as possible, be it an athlete, be it a hunter. Pistols that are just as suitable for target sports as they are for the IPSC Production Class.

With the specifications in mind, the VISIER team chose quite arbitrarily: well-known models are also in the line-up as are some “blank pages”. All-metal stands next to polymer construction, external taps next to firing pin locks.

The ten test items are priced between around 650 and around 1,150 euros. And now in medias res.

None of the standard designs examined were completely convincing in the category. None of them got the full number of ten points.

The SIG Sauer P228 was tested as a replacement candidate from the editorial team. Unfortunately, the P 250 ordered in Eckernförde did not arrive on time.

Some of the test pistols came up with very different trigger variants: Both Beretta and CZ pistols as well as the Heckler & Koch USP and the SIG Sauer P 228 competed with single-action / double-action triggers and an external stopcock.

The safety lever of this Taurus PT 24/7 OSS DS is inclined upwards to "secured". The integrated gun lock can be seen above the lever.

The Taurus PT 24/7 OSS DS also came with an SA / DA trigger, but with a firing pin lock. Safe Action System from Glock and Reset Action from Steyr are not only similar in terms of the center tongue - Wilhelm Bubits had a hand in both of them.

The Walther P99 AS has very long slide catch levers on both sides of the handle. The magazine release levers on the trigger guard are also longer than usual.

Walther also sent his current P 99 AS into the race. AS stands for anti-stress. It is intended to prevent unintentional gunshots in extreme situations. This is done through an extremely long pull-out with a quasi-built-in intermediate stop about halfway through the withdrawal path.

What is supposed to prevent accidents in the authorities' practice acts as a precision killer on the shooting range. Since with the first shot you have to apply twice as much force in addition to the double path, it also tears out regularly. In addition, the trigger scratched badly with the subsequent shots in the so-called reset mode, did not stand dry and fell through a good millimeter after the trigger.

Therefore, the examiners only awarded five of the possible ten points.

The CZ 75 B couldn't book any more. The lock is not fixed there. The parts involved in the shooting move with the trigger. The result: a very spongy and jerky preferred route in SA, a hackeliger in DA operation. And then the trigger finger has to overcome too high five and a quarter kilograms without pre-tensioning.

The CZ SP-01 Shadow rests in roughly the same way at the DA resistor, but the CZ-75 B's kinks just mentioned are already driven out at the factory. It came with a dry SA trigger that triggers at just over 1.5 kilograms in the main operating mode. So the Shadow secured a whopping nine points here.

The Beretta Px4 Storm achieves the same value. It convinces in DA, but loses one point because of its noticeably scratchy advantage and slightly sagging tongue.

The 92 FS from the same stable scratches a little more. With her, the finger can also feel the automatic firing pin safety being pushed up. Although the trigger does not demand more than five kilograms when it is pretensioned, it feels significantly less when the trigger is released.

So there are still eight points in total for the 92 Beretta. Taurus PT 24/7 DS and USP also received eight points. With the Taurus, the preference in SA and DA mode jerked too much. With the USP this was only the case without pre-tensioning, but the DA trigger weight was a little too high.

For the latter, the SIG Sauer P 228's Lyman fume cupboard was no longer sufficient. But it should still be above the 5500 g specified by the manufacturer. That cost the pistol three points, while there was nothing to complain about with the SA characteristics.

The testers also only granted seven points to the Glock 17 and the Steyr M9: Both bumped, did not stand dry or failed.


This category reflects the impressions of testers with three different hand sizes.

The jurors immediately agreed on P 228 and Walther P 99 AS. The pistols were all equally good and comfortable. Walther also includes interchangeable handle backs as standard. So the P 99 AS, like the SIG Sauer P 228, received a full five points, all other four points.

With the USP, Beretta 92 FS and CZ 75 B, the verdict was: a non-slip, but uncomfortable feel. The Shadow's rubber grips felt better, but the checkering on the front and back of the handle was displeasing. It was too slippery.

The texture of P x 4 and M9-A1 slip in your hand.

The trigger guard on the Glock and Taurus is too small. And the finger drags along the inside of the temple when you bend it.

With the exception of the Glock 17, all pistols forfeited one of the possible five points when the aiming device was checked, indicating that height adjustment is only possible with a file or by replacing the rear sight or front sight.

Both CZ-75 variants also attracted attention due to the front sight being inserted at an angle and thus lost another counter. The Steyr M9-A1 also had to be satisfied with three points in the sights category: The examiners judged the combination of triangular front sight and trapezoid rear sight, which was designed for fast target acquisition, to be too delicate for medium and long target distances.

All other models, on the other hand, provided a high-contrast, clear visor image. In normal shooting range operation, it made no difference whether it was white, colored or luminescent contrasting inserts.


Here, too, as with the trigger, the main thing is the characteristics. The evaluation is based on the accessibility and user-friendliness of the levers and pushers on the weapon. In this case, “available” means that VISIER does not lose any points from a weapon without a manual safety device because of a missing safety lever.

However, from the design point of view, operating elements that are necessary but only attached on one side hit the office if this could result in loss of time during competitions. Of course, the parts should also work properly.

Only the P 99 equipped with long slide catch levers on both sides and magazine release buttons received the full ten points in this category.

On the Shadow, the safety lever is a bit too thick and makes access to the catch lever, which is only attached to the right, more difficult.

In order to classify it as crystal clear as a utility pistol, Heckler & Koch simply called this handgun universal self-loading pistol, or USP for short.

The USP has a magazine release with very small buttons that can be operated on the left and right. However, the catch and release lever can only be reached by the thumb of right-handers.

The same applies to the P 228, which, like USP and Shadow, scored eight points each. On the P x ​​4, the safety and release levers on both sides have a bit too sharp edges, the catch lever should be a bit longer.

With the 92 FS, small hands found it rather difficult to clamp. The tiny Glock sliders make dismantling a weapon a stress test for fingernails.

The small dismantling lever of the PT 24/7 also calls for sturdy nails. After all, the catch lever can be reached better here than with the Glock or Steyr.

The latter also showed sharp edges on the catch lever. This leaves seven points for both Berettas, Glock 17, Steyr M9 and Taurus PT 24/7.

The CZ 75 B received six points. In addition to the single-sided and small-sized controls, there was a magazine that did not fall out of the weapon by itself.

Nobody needs something like that - neither in everyday work nor in sporting disciplines, where a quick magazine change is important.


For the precision test, VISIER was able to engage the handgun specialist and top shooter Markus Emmel again.

In order to ensure equal opportunities between the candidates, the testers refrained from checking the performance of the pistols with steel frames from the Ransom Rest. Instead, the steel models and the polymer pistols were allowed to prove their precision in the seated stop on the sandbag support.

Five factory loads served as food for all test persons.

On the Steyr M 9-A1, the dismantling lever is on the right-hand side of the handle. Thanks to finger grooves on both sides, even small hands can easily reach the trigger.

Emmel shot the narrowest scatter circle of 39 millimeters from the USP (Geco 154 Grains truncated cone full jacket). Behind it was the Steyr M9-A1 with the same grade and 47 mm. Most of the other weapons remained within the acceptable range for service pistols of less than 70 mm.

Despite the longest sight length, the PT 24/7 did not come under 90 mm. The P 99, the anti-stress trigger, is likely to have given the worst scatter circles. Her best was just under the ten centimeter mark.

Repeating sequence / safety

First of all - in this category all pistols tested received the maximum number of points of ten points. All fuses did their job - provided that this could be checked by the testers without endangering their own safety.

So there were no drop tests or the like. At the shooting range, there were no feed or functional problems with the loads used, neither with slow-paced precision shooting nor with rapid firing sequences.


The quality of the parts and materials used is worth a total of ten points for VISIER. During the evaluation, the testers investigated various questions:

To what extent can tool marks be found, are cast parts badly deburred, do they or milled parts have unnecessarily sharp edges? How are the assemblies fitted, do moving parts have too much or too little play? Are there any signs of wear and tear during the test?

Based on the questions, the Taurus PT 24/7 can be identified as the bottom of this category. The pipe locked in the ejection window showed a clearly noticeable side play. Both the edges on steel and some polymer parts were relatively sharp. A look inside did not reveal any serious signs of wear and tear from the test. There were no more than six points in total.

The P x ​​4 Storm got one point more. Here, sharp edges and unprocessed cast seams on the plastic parts led to the minus. In addition, there was the unsightly transition between the matt handle and shiny black coated metal parts.

The outside of the CZ 75 Shadow was flawless. However, there was no surface finishing on the inside. Still, it was enough for eight points.

The Beretta 92 FS Inox and the Glock 17 stood out with ten points. In terms of workmanship, nothing could be discerned here.

The other five pistols had minimal blemishes - minor tool marks or minor cast seams. They each achieved nine points.


Final settlement

With a total of 89 points and the grade “very good”, the Heckler & Koch USP came out on top.

It was followed by the Steyr M9-A1 and SIG Sauer P 228 with 84 points each.

The Glock 17 (82 points), Beretta P x 4 Storm (81 points) as well as 92 FS Inox and CZ 75 Shadow (both 80 points) were also rated “very good”.

The CZ 75 B (74 points) and the Walther P 99 AS (70 points) received a “good”.

The Taurus PT-24/7 comes with 68 counters on a full "satisfactory."

There is no clear price-performance winner here: measured by their production method, equipment and workmanship, all pistols are worth their money.

Only the P 228 would have fallen out of line here as an extremely expensive variant. However, it was left out when assessing the price-performance ratio, as it is only available second-hand.

And finally: the testers neither gave nor withdrew any additional ratings.


This is how VISIER tests large-caliber pistols

Large caliber pistols in 9 mm Luger (series weapons only) go through the VISIER test program. A maximum of 100 points can be achieved, which add up from the following individual tests:

  • Precision: From the sandbag support (no ransom rest to maintain comparability with polymer pistols), five-shot groups with several loads are shot at a distance of 25 meters. The distance to the center of the outer bullet holes is measured. In the 9 mm caliber there are a full 50 points for a group of five up to 27 mm (= three times the caliber value) One point is deducted for every three millimeters more. A 51-millimeter group brings 42 points, a group of 99 mm only earns 26 points.
  • Function: The function is determined (wherever possible arithmetically) from what at least three testers / editors determine independently of each other for the respective aspect and award points. There is a maximum of 40 points to allocate here: ten points are allocated to the repeating sequence and safety (does the pistol run smoothly, does it hook, is there any feed failure? Is there a possibility of an unintentional triggering of a shot, or is the pistol even over-secured?) Another ten points can be awarded for the trigger characteristics (corresponds to the subjective trigger weight of the weapon type, if the trigger is dry, does it fail, what is the preference?). The trigger-grip design (how does the pistol lie in the hand, does it “bite”, hit or slide in the shot?) Is worth up to five points to the examiners. The characteristics of the control elements (are all levers and pushers easy to reach and easy to use and fulfill their purpose?) Can have up to 10 points and the sights (does it allow a quick target acquisition, does it offer a high-contrast sighting image?) With a maximum of five points to book.
  • Processing, a maximum of ten points: This evaluation deals with the quality of the components and materials used, their finish, fits, stability and the coordination with one another.

A maximum of 100 points can be achieved, and regardless of the number of points, up to six “ratings”. These tiny crosshairs also honor the price-performance ratio of the product. For a particularly good price-performance ratio, the weapon receives up to two additional ratings (but a maximum of six). If, on the other hand, it is too expensive for its performance, up to two ratings are deducted and it may slip into a lower class. The classes in

individual:

  • 100 to 90 points: "excellent"
  • 89 to 80 points: "very good"
  • 79 to 70 points: "good"
  • 69 to 60 points: "satisfactory" (fewer points have never been awarded ...)

Update:

Further tests of 36 pistols in 9 mm can now be found in the current VISIER SPECIAL 76, which was published in March 2015.

An All4Shooters contribution by


Subscribe to Newsletter

Click here for more information about:

Pistol magazine VISOR short guns