Looking for coverage of this year’s show? Here are the Best New Hunting and Trail Handguns from the 2020 SHOT Show.
I have spent the first day of the 2019 SHOT Show walking Vegas’ massive Sands Expo Center, looking for the year’s best new handguns. And there have been lots to look at. Whether you’re a hunter, soldier, competition shooter, or a professional mom looking to protect yourself and your family, there’s a new-for-2019 handgun that’s right for you, with prices ranging from $400 to a whole lot more. Here are my favorites, in no particular order.
Defensive handguns don’t have to be tactical-black and soulless. Some folks live in three-piece suits or dress slacks and have a flare for fine things. So it stands to reason that professional men and women might want an everyday carry gun that looks a little more elegant than what your typical Tier One operator carries. Enter the RM380 Executive. This all-metal, 12.2-ounce, semi-auto, chambered for the 380 Auto, features a satin stainless slide, black anodized aluminum frame, and laminate Macassar grip panels. Its ready to go from the boardroom to the back alley, but at $405, it won’t break the bank. Remington.com
This elegant rimfire semi-auto with 5.5-inch barrel features a blackened-stainless, slab-sided barrel with polished flats. The laminated rosewood-colored grip panels have Browning’s Buck Mark symbol, checkering, and tasteful scroll work, which lets you bring a little extra sophistication to the range or the field. But the gun isn’t just for looks; with a Pro-Target adjustable rear sight and TRUGLO/Marble Arms fiber-optic front sight, it’s built to punch the ten-ring on competition targets or poke a jackrabbit in the eyeball. $510; Browning.com
Direct from CZ’s American-based Custom Shop, the new CZC AO1-LD has a 4.9-inch, match-grade, 416-stainless bull barrel and comes standard with a blued frame that’s been hammer-forged and CNC-machined. The gun is purpose-built for competition, featuring a deep beavertail grip tang, undercut trigger guard, raised 25-LPI checkering, and an integral magwell. By pairing classic CZ 75 ergonomics with a massively heavy dust cover, the AO1-LD also keeps recoil and muzzle rise to minimum, so you can shoot better, faster. All told, it’s a racecar of a range pistol, and ships with two 19-round P-09 magazines. But with a suggested retail of $2,247, you’ve got to pay to play. CZ-usa.com
All the 1911 aficionados out there know that commander-sized pistols, like this one, live right in that sweet spot where shootability and concealability meet. The new TCP combines a match-grade, ramped, bull barrel with Wesson’s new railed alloy frame. The compact, stainless slide has been attractively tri-topped—a feature previously found only on high-end custom 1911s—with aggressive serrations to maximize shooter interface. A Dan Wesson one-piece magwell, square hammer, and flat K-style trigger round out this sharp-looking but down-to-business pistol, which is available in 9mm or .45. Prices start at $1,575, which sounds like a lot, but really isn’t bad for what you get. Danwessonfirearms.com
Available out of the box with a Trijicon Rugged Miniaturized Reflex (RMR) sight milled into the slide, this rugged 10mm 1911 has a forged National Match frame and slide that’s precision-fit to a match-grade, stainless-steel, fully supported barrel. As well-suited for hunting as competition shooting, this one will turn heads on the range and smack a pork chop right off a hog. It comes with your choice of a 5- or 6-inch barrel. It ain’t cheap, but you get a lot for your money. Prices start at $2,507; Springfield-armory.com
The new Q5 Match incorporates all the same great features you’ll find on the company’s excellent PPQ family, but on a machined steel frame. This premium-quality handgun delivers unparalleled performance with the famous Quick-Defense Trigger, which many consider the best out-of-the-box striker-fired trigger available. Weighing 41.6 ounces, the Q5 Match will recoil flat and allow you to shoot with blazing speed and precision. It looks a bit otherworldly, like something out of a futuristic Sci-fi movie, but if competition is your game, this blaster might just lead you to the winner’s circle. Waltherarms.com
You want options? This 9mm has them. The optics-ready pistol comes with a factory milled slide and co-witnessing suppressor-height iron sights. Or you can buy it with a Vortex Venom red-dot sight pre-installed. And the pistol comes standard with two barrels—one threaded and one not. You won’t find a more versatile handgun that sells for $700 or less. If you want a quality, affordable concealed-carry gun that can pull double duty for your part-time secret-agent work, this is it. Springfield-armory.com
As the US Military goes, so does the American shooter. The Army’s adoption of the Colt 1911 made that pistol famous, and when they switched to the M9 Beretta, many patriots followed suit. And now, if you want to own the latest pistol our troops will trust their lives to, here it is. For 2019 Sig Sauer is offering a commemorative version of the P320-M17, which shares the same components, coatings, and markings as the model that was awarded the U.S. Army contract. But if you want one, like any red-blooded American should, you’ll need to get in line fast, as Sig is making only 5,000 of these pistols, serialized M17-0001 through M17-5000. The gun has a suggested retail of $1,122 and is sure to hold its value—if you leave it in the box. But few will; you just got to shoot a pistol like this. Sigsauer.com
The innovative new Firehawk is the latest in Nighthawk’s long line of purpose-built 1911s. By combining a recoil-taming, single-port compensator, a bull barrel, and a full-length guide rod that adds weight to the front of the pistol to reduce muzzle rise, Nighthawk has maintained the standard stroke of a 5-inch 1911 for reliability. Yet a lightened slide reduces reciprocating mass and delivers flat-shooting performance without increasing size. Initially available in 9mm or .45 ACP, the Firehawk has a gold-bead front sight and Heinie Ledge rear. In a nutshell, it is a high-class, high-performance 1911, suitable for combat or competition. Nighthawkcustom.com
Lipsey’s has worked with Ruger to offer a wide range of limited-edition firearms, and for 2019 they’ve come up with a powerhouse revolver chambered for the 10mm, which is finally seeing the popularity it deserves. This 38-ounce, six-shot GP100 has a 5-inch half-lug barrel, Roper-style walnut grips, adjustable rear sight, gold-bead front sight, blued finish, and ships with three six-shot full-moon clips. Though I’m sure some tough guys will shove it in their waistband for concealed carry, this is an ideal hunting gun or trail revolver to be carried in bear country. Lipseys.com
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Somehow Glock takes their astoundingly reliable, popular, and simple pistol design, and offers something new year after year. For 2019, they’ve brought out two new pistols in their Slimline series, the first of which is the G48. With a 4.17-inch barrel and an overall length of 7.28 inches, it’s a direct competitor to any commander-sized 1911, but offers 10+1 capacity and a loaded weight of only 25 ounces. The G48 comes standard with a black-and-stainless two-tone finish and a reversible magazine release. It’s also available with a variety of sight options, and will likely prove to be even more popular for concealed carry than the great Glock 19. $580; US.glock.com
Glock’s other new Slimline offering for 2019 is the smaller G43X. Probably inspired by the success of the Sig Sauer P365, this new sub-compact 9mm weighs only 23 ounces—and that’s with a 10-round magazine. It has a 3.41-inch barrel and an overall length of only 6.06 inches. As with the G48, the contrasting black polymer frame and stainless slide is visually striking. Available with standard sights, Glock night sights, or Ameriglo BOLD sights, this little pistol should please the many handgunners who believe Gaston Glock speaks directly to the ghost of John Browning. $580; US.glock.com
One hundred years after building they’re last handgun, Mossberg has finally made another, and they did the research to make sure they got it right. The MC1sc is a sub-compact, striker-fired, single-stack, polymer-framed semi-automatic that weighs only 19 ounces. The slide measures less than an inch wide, and the pistol ships with two see-through magazines, so you’ll always know how much ammo you have on board. The pebbled and serrated grip has a nice palm swell, and the magazine release can be positioned on either side. But the pistol’s best features are its trigger, ease of disassembly, and cost. With a real-world price of about $375, this—like all Mossberg offerings—is a gun the workingman can afford. Mossberg.com