Some of the most popular items that we sell, are Sub Compact Pistols. Often times at GunBuyer.com, we receive phone-calls from valued customers requesting information on carry and concealment firearms. Predominately, customers are asking about the differences between the Glock 43, the Ruger LC9s, and the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield, and XD-S, hence the Top 4 Sub Compact Pistols. With all these different models to choose from, how do you make the best selection for you when buying online?
First of all, when doing any comparison between firearms, disregard price until the very end. The first thing you want to do if possible is pick up the gun and see how it feels in your hand. One of the biggest issues involving accuracy is how the weapon fits in your hand, both in comfort and functioning ergonomics. An improper fitting weapon will almost always give you the worst results when it comes to accuracy and consistency. But again, you are buying online and may have no idea what these firearms feel like, so I will do my best to inform you.
The Ruger LC9s
Starting with the Ruger LC9s, right away you will notice that the pistol grip is extremely thin, and even thinner around the upper neck of the grip. For someone with very small hands this is a great factor. It is also great for concealment purposes as well. However, with my “medium sized” grip, I find myself adjusting my grip and taking extra time to make it feel “right.” This is something you should be aware of. If you are taking extra conscious time trying to make the weapon feel “right” in your hand, it is most likely not the right one for you. It should feel “right” the instant you grip the weapon the correct way. One thing I did notice is that the slide has a very low profile as it sits on my hand. This is a great thing when having to compensate for recoil because the lower the center of gravity is in your hand, the less “violent” the recoil will feel. This will also cause the force of the recoil to be absorbed throughout your entire arm, and not up-and-back out of your hand. The easier it is to manage recoil, the easier it will be to accurately re-engage your target as fast as possible.
Another thing I noticed is the amount of “creep” there is in the trigger before you feel that solid “click” and the action is engaged. This isn’t entirely a bad thing; in fact, some people actually prefer the extra creep in the trigger because it helps them maintain their focus and constancy. But for others, having that extra travel before the trigger engages is more time for something to go wrong. Having that extra pull in the trigger could cause a slight change in your grip, which could potentially throw off your shot. The amount of movement needed to reset the trigger for your next shot is considerably long as well with the LC9s, making you take more time to re-engage your target. Other than that, it is a good all around firearm. It is made with high quality polymer and metal finishing, and the sights are extremely easy to see as well. It is also backed by Ruger’s lifetime Warranty. Click here for full Specs.
Smith and Wesson M&P Shield
Moving on to the next Sub Compact Pistol we have the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield. This particular firearm comes in both 9mm and .40 S&W and a huge amount of different performance variations. I particularly love this firearm and personally own one in 9mm, though I will try to be as unbiased in my review as possible. As you grip this particular firearm, you will noticed that it has much bigger grip compared to the Ruger LC9s. With someone with medium sized hands like I do, or larger, this may be a better choice for you than the Ruger. Your bottom 3 fingers wont feel as cramped either with the standard extended magazine that comes with it. Smith and Wesson unfortunately only gives you one of these, the other is just a flush mag; which is good for concealment purposes, but you may struggle to keep your pinky on the grip if you have larger hands. You will also notice the texture on the grip, which is great if your hand tends to get sweaty when out at the range. One thing you will notice is that the M&P Shield is the largest of the four firearms in this review. It sits the “tallest” in your hand, so the recoil will be a little more noticeably compared to the other 2, but one of the biggest advantages this gun has is its outstanding trigger. There is about ¼ the amount of creep in it compared to the Ruger LC9s, and the reset is equally as impressive. The other thing you will notice too is the solid “click” when the trigger engages the action. It isn’t as soft as the Ruger and extremely crisp. I can tell you I hold better groupings with this gun than compared to the Ruger because my trigger finger moves half as much when engaging my targets. The sights on the M&P Shields are extremely clear and visible as well, providing ease of proper sight alignment.
Overall, like I said, I own one of these badboys and would recommend it to everyone. The polymer pistol grip feels solid and the metal finishing’s hold up very well over time as well. And, like all Smith and Wesson’s, it is also backed by a lifetime warranty. But again, if you are looking for the smallest choice for concealment purposes, then remember that it is the largest of the 3. Click here for full Specs.
Available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP, the Springfield XD-S is a versatile Sub Compact Pistols. Immediately when you see the XD-S, the first thing that stands out is the aggressive stippling that wraps around the pistol grip. You will also notice the solid feel it presents as you grip it in your hand, much more predominate, I feel, than the other 3 models in this review. However, it does seem like the stippling is overly aggressive – each stippling ridge is so big that they each seem to have their own flat surface, defeating the purpose to accommodate for a sweaty hand (my moderately sweaty grip still slipped). This feature was much more to noticeable when wearing gloves. One thing the I love about the Springfield XD-S is the sights. The front sight comes stock with a Red Fiber Optic, as well as extra Red AND Green replacements for you to swap out for different environments. It also comes with one extended magazine as well which is very nice. The trigger has a crisp, clean break after you take up the small amount of creep, and the reset is just as short and quick. The Springfield XD-S weighs the most however at about 23 oz., which is only 3 oz. heavier than the next heaviest, which is the Shield, so not too bad. Just keep that in mind. But an excellent choice should you decide to go with it. Click here for full Specs.
Now on to the fourth and final firearm of this review – the Glock 43. While being the newest to market of single stack sub-compacts, it has already become one of the most popular of Sub Compact Pistols. Like any Glock, it is almost guaranteed that it will feel perfect in your hand. It has a nice full grip, and a lower center of gravity in your hand, much like the LC9s, and provides a great ergonomic fit for recoil management. It also comes standard with 1 pinky-extension magazine, and one flush mag. It is roughly almost the exact same size as the LC9s, though like I said, it has a much more “full” grip that includes the new Gen4 stippling and enlarged magazine release. Sadly though, it has a little more creep in the trigger than the Shield. However, the reset is slightly shorter than the Shield, making it slightly quicker to re-engage your targets. The standard Glock sights, though not my favorite, still are relatively easy to sight in. Overall, it feels pretty good in your hand, as long as you are using the pinky extension magazine. The Glock 43 also comes in as the lightest among this review at 16.2 oz., beating out the Ruger LC9s by about a 1/2 oz. Overall, like the other 3, the polymer pistol grip feels tough and durable as well as the metal finishings. Click here for full Specs.
As you can see, there is some similarities as well as some very distinct differences between these four models. This could also explain why they are our top 4 best sellers here at GunBuyer.com. Know that whatever choice you make out of these Top 4 Sub Compact Pistols, you are going to end up with an excellent firearm that is both consistent, and reliable.
I hope this helps you in your selections and feel fee to call us at GunBuyer.com for more information.