It is a common interest for those wanting to carry concealed to want a compact pistol. Their size is easy to conceal and most of them on the market are pretty easy-going on the recoil. However, it is also a common theme for these people to get sucked into standards that are niche and unnecessary. I want to explore some of these using the firearms displayed in the featured photo. This is not meant to promote or sell any brand or type of pistol, but to help people understand the real story behind these different types of compact and subcompact firearms.
First firearm to cover is the inexpensive but very popular budget firearms from SCCY Industries. You can get one of these pistols for around $200 and they tend to be pretty reliable. The pistol comes in around 1lb and has a double action only trigger that can throw off those used to lightweight target triggers. As an example, this pistol is a pretty good option for those in search of a lightweight firearm that offers good reliability, a 10 round capacity, and a relatively low recoil impulse.
In my experience of using this firearm, I have had a few parts breakages. Most of them have been the ejector, which actually caused the ejection pattern to be very consistent, but making it difficult to manually eject a round. Other issues I experienced was an out of spec extractor, and a hammer spring that snapped after tens of thousands of dry fire repetitions. The latest issue I had was a broken firing pin that saw these tens of thousands of dry firings without the aid of a snap cap, which surely would have saved it from this tragedy. Though the firing pin breaking is not an uncommon issue for firearms.
Despite the issues, I had with the SCCY CPX2, I have been pretty happy with its reliability and the customer service department with their no questions asked warranty. They are quick to respond and repair your pistol, which minimizes frustration and increases confidence in the pistols ability to continue chugging along. This pistol is not made for incredibly high round counts, but the pistol handles the potent 9mm cartridge in stride very well. Overall, I have changed my tune on budget pistols to be more open-minded and give them a chance, which has only been to my benefit. Price based judgement has become an outdated concept in reality. It still exists but it is mostly without merit, in my opinion.
In the single stack 9mm market, many people choose the Walther PPS due to the comfortable feeling of the grip and soft trigger pull. It satisfies the current market trends pretty nicely, and offers a good pistol at a pretty fair price. The PPS M1 I have shown above was a pretty big deal when it came on the market. It was easier to conceal than the other pistols on the market at the time, and it had recoil more comparable to a full sized pistol. The newer PPS M2 has enhanced ergonomics, but comes with a flush fitting 6 round magazine and an 8 round magazine that is commonly used as a spare. The new pistol still has real low recoil, but is actually taller than the SCCY pistols mentioned above. Along with being heavier than other pistols on the market, it also is pretty slim and slightly niche.
Single stack pistols the size of the PPS are one of the most popular on the market for their size efficiency and ability to handle the recoil and feed ammunition of all types reliably for high round counts. The one problem they have is limited capacity to deal with the large number of attackers we are seeing an influx of these days. I assume the market is going to start shifting to favor double stack pistols like the Sig P365 which holds 10 rounds and is no larger in grip and size than an M&P Shield. I don't think these single stack subcompacts are going to go completely out of style, but I do think that people are going to follow the latest and greatest trends that claim to offer more capacity and options without the weight. But until technology catches up with the demands, people will continue to invest in these small and functional pistols with well placed confidence.
The P365 shown above is one of my new favor pistols as far as the concept is concerned. This compact, single stack pistol holds one more round in the magazine but offers a full size grip and firing characteristics darn near indistinguishable to their full size brethren. This pistol is not very popular these days for a few reasons. It is a bit heavy, and it only offers one more round. I think what is being missed is that the pistol is very concealable and is even more comfortable and controllable than the smaller pistols on the market without much more added height to the frame. There are a couple of pistols like the Sig P239 on the market with similar characteristics, such as the revived P225-A1 the Walther CCP. Both are the same size and the P225-A1 is actually just an older version of the P239. I don't understand how the P239 was shucked off the line up of Sig pistols while the less popular P225 is still offered.
Unfrortunately, I think that I am seeing many people turn down designs like the P239 due to the illusion that other pistols just offer so much more. I have found that most people making these claims are slapping in an 8 round magazine into their little pistols, making them the same height as the P239 and they for whatever reason think it is still better and more concealable. However, this is ridiculous and untrue since they typically are adding on a good amount of height and making a less comfortable grip. Not to mention that they are neglecting the point of the small pistols they bought. Here is my advice: If you want a single stack pistol that holds 8 rounds, just get a pistol that has that capacity standard. Don't be the on who looks like a duffus carrying a tiny pistol with an extended magazine. Just my recommendation...
In conclusion, my hope is that people understand that pistols like these small pistols each come with capabilities that are valuable to the user if they understand how to and when to use them. Most buyers may not understand the idea behind the designs of such pistols but I hope that I was able to educate you slightly and clear up some misconceptions.
Do It Rite
Alaska-Based Youtube Vlogger, Retired Marine, gun enthusiast, and passionate firearm and gear evaluator.