Loaded with features like advanced locking technology; a low bore axis; a flat-faced, short-reset trigger; a polymer frame with an integral beavertail; a Picatinny rail; and aggressive grip frame texturing, the innovative 9mm Type B pistol from Archon Firearms could reshape industry standards. This pistol handles extremely well in rapid fire and has a 4.29-inch barrel while measuring 7.59 inches long and weighing 29.6 ounces unloaded. Uniquely, the gun comes with four 15-round magazines.
With its polymer 2011-style frame and steel slide, the 9mm Titan Operator takes the original Titan competition pistol and adds tactical features to make it ready for duty and self-defense. These include a DLC-coated, tri-topped and lightened slide, a 5-inch KKM bull barrel, a 19+1 capacity, a tactical rear sight and a Picatinny rail. Heavy-duty springs and a 3- to 3.5-pound trigger pull complete this setup. Although considered a custom gun, the Titan Operator ships within three months.
Billed as a service-grade pistol, the polymer-framed, striker-fired APX debuted last year. For 2018, Beretta has added a Flat Dark Earth (FDE) version in 9mm to its lineup. The modular frame allows you to fit the pistol to your hands, and the slide has wide cocking grooves along its entire length. Its 6-pound trigger provides both an audible and tactile short reset. The barrel is 4.6 inches long while the gun has an overall length of 8.5 inches and an unloaded weight of 33.3 ounces.
Used by military and police units, Turkey’s Canik pistols have garnered a good reputation. The newest version is the TP9 Elite Combat, which comes ready for a sound suppressor with elevated sights and a threaded barrel. It’s also designed to accept a miniature reflex sight. The striker- fired TP9 Elite Combat has a 4.9-inch barrel, a 7.28-inch overall length and an unloaded weight of 28.32 ounces. The gun also comes with an FDE finish, ambidextrous controls and interchangeable backstraps.
Caracal is now offering American-made Enhanced F 9mm pistols with threaded 4.64-inch barrels, elevated three-dot sights and durable polymer frames. Each pistol is 7.5 inches long, and the slide has a QPQ nitride finish for enhanced corrosion resistance. Finally, the ergonomically designed polymer grip frame allows for smooth handling and lower felt recoil.
A visual knockout, the Draco NAK9 is an AK-platform 9mm pistol that will accept Glock magazines—like the 33-round magazine provided. It’s made in Romania and has a blued, stamped-steel receiver with a top-cover-mounted accessory rail, a synthetic pistol grip, a hardwood forend, adjustable iron sights and a rear sling mount.
Last year, Colt introduced the Competition Pistol based on the Series 70 1911. A new limited-edition version from the Colt Custom Shop takes this a step further and adds a fully adjustable rear sight embedded into the slide as well as a fiber-optic front sight. Other features include front and rear slide serrations, a Commander-style hammer, an extended beavertail grip safety and thumb safety, and action tuning for smooth operation.
Renowned for its .357 Magnum 1911s, Coonan Arms has adapted its design to create a stainless-steel pistol to take the popular 10mm Auto cartridge. It comes with a 5-inch barrel, a unique full-length dust cover, black walnut grips, Novak sights, a skeletonized Commander-style hammer, an extended thumb safety and slide stop, and an 8+1 capacity. The MOT 10 is 8.6 inches long and weighs 39.2 ounces unloaded.
Crafted by the CZ Custom Shop, this new version of the CZ-75-based Shadow 2 ups the accuracy level with a 1911-style “AccuBushing” that anchors the barrel to the slide. The custom skeletonized hammer makes the DA/SA trigger lighter and smoother with a hand-fitted disconnector providing a short reset. The pistol also has a 4.89-inch barrel, a fiber-optic front sight, a HAJO rear sight and an ambidextrous thumb safety.
If you want a Commander-sized 1911 that weighs less, consider EAA’s Witness Polymer 1911 series. The company is now offering 4.25-inch-barreled versions with polymer frames in 9mm and .45 ACP. You’ll also notice an accessory rail, a flat mainspring housing, an extended beavertail, a conical barrel and a windage-adjustable rear sight. An Officer’s-sized model is also in the works.
From Slovakia comes a service-sized, polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol with a 4.3-inch rotary-locking barrel for reduced recoil and muzzle flip, front and rear slide serrations, an ergonomically designed polymer frame with interchangeable backstraps, a Picatinny rail and ambidextrous controls. This 9mm has a 15+1 capacity, an overall length of 8 inches and an unloaded weight of 26.1 ounces.
The big stainless-steel “Classic Edition” autoloader used by Dirty Harry is back in .44 AMP, with other versions on the way. Out of production since 1982, this big pistol has a vent-rib, 6.5- or 8.5-inch barrel, an overall length of 11.7 to 13.7 inches and an unloaded weight of 53 to 58 ounces. A hammer-fired semi-auto, it features an adjustable rear sight, a target trigger, textured G10 grips (as well as other options) and an 8+1 capacity.
Want a competition-ready pistol right out of the box? The new 9mm Rex Alpha is for you. Hammer-fired with a fine-tuned, short-reset trigger, a steel frame, ambidextrous controls, a flared mag well, front and rear slide serrations, an accessory rail, an adjustable rear sight and a fiber-optic front sight, it also has a 20-round magazine.
For 2018, FN has unveiled several limited-edition pistols with Flat Dark Earth frames and black slides and other components. The model shown, the FNX-45 FDE/BLK, offers a 15+1 capacity in .45 ACP and comes with a 4.5-inch barrel, a DA/SA action, ambidextrous controls and fixed three-dot sights. The pistol is 7.4 inches long overall and weighs approximately 33.2 ounces unloaded.
After unveiling its new Gen5 models, Glock recently released the G19X, essentially the pistol the company submitted for the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System trials. Basically, Glock took a full-sized G17 Gen5 frame and mated it to a compact G19 slide for better handling without sacrificing any capacity. It also features a Glock Marksman barrel, an ambidextrous slide stop, a “nPVD” slide finish and a smoother 5.8-pound trigger pull.
While Hudson Manufacturing unveiled the all-steel 9mm H9 in 2017, the company has now introduced the H9A, an aluminum-framed version with polymer grip panels and a matching backstrap for reduced weight—only 26 ounces unloaded. Like the H9, this pistol has a 1911-style grip frame and straight-back trigger pull paired with a striker-fired mechanism, a unique barrel-camming system and an exceptionally low bore axis.
Reflex sights are becoming more and more common on handguns destined for defensive and law enforcement use. If you’re a 1911 devotee and want a red-dot-equipped .45 ACP pistol ready to go right out of the box, the Aegis Elite Pro (OI) is a great option. Its milled slide carries a Vortex 6-MOA Venom reflex sight, elevated iron sights, Aegis-pattern serrations and textured G10 grip panels. With a 4-inch barrel, it’s only 7.7 inches in overall length and weighs 38 ounces unloaded.
A top-shelf 1911, the new Agent 2 is meticulously crafted to provide match-grade form and function. It’s chambered in 9mm or .45 ACP with a match-grade, 5-inch barrel; a faceted slide with windows and front and rear slide serrations; an accessory rail; a Heinie Ledge rear sight; a fiber-optic front sight; RailScales G10 grips; a one-piece mag well/mainspring housing; and a smoke Cerakote finish.
Alluding back to the Security-Six, a .357 Magnum service revolver introduced in 1972, the new Ruger Security-9 will appeal to budget- conscious cops and legally armed citizens. With a 4-inch barrel, an overall length of 7.24 inches and an unloaded weight of 23.7 ounces, it’s compact but has a 15+1 capacity of 9mm rounds. Ruggedly built with a glass-filled nylon frame and hardened steel slide, it has fixed sights, a rail and a textured grip.
Rigorously tested by the factory and police units, the Turkish-made 9mm SR9 has withstood 200,000 rounds and extreme environmental trials. It is a polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol that has proven tough and reliable. It has a 4.4-inch barrel, is 7.5 inches in overall length, weighs 27.1 ounces unloaded and has a 17+1 cartridge capacity. The grip frame has an integral accessory rail and textured side panels, and the slide boasts front and rear serrations as well as fixed three-dot sights.
For out-of-the-box competition or range use, the X-Five is a full-sized 9mm pistol with a 5-inch barrel. It’s 8.5 inches long overall and weighs 35.6 ounces unloaded. Its many features include a polymer grip frame with removable weights, a funnel-type mag well, a high backstrap and an accessory rail. Striker-fired, it has an X-Series straight trigger. The slide has front and rear serrations, and the fiber-optic front sight is paired with an adjustable rear.
Smith & Wesson is now offering an upgraded version of its M&P M2.0 pistols with Flat Dark Earth finishes and TruGlo TFX sights. Both 9mm and .40 S&W versions are currently available. The polymer frame has a stainless-steel chassis and 18-degree grip angle. Designed for a low bore axis, the striker-fired pistol has a 5-inch barrel and a fine-tuned trigger with an audible and tactile short reset. Both 9mm and .40 S&W guns are 8.3 inches in overall length and weigh 27.4 ounces unloaded.
The Range Officer (RO) Elite Operator comes in 9mm and .45 ACP with a 5-inch, stainless-steel, match-grade barrel, a crisp Gen 2 trigger and a GI recoil system. Its thin textured G10 grips provide a comfortable and secure hold, and Springfield Armory includes a fiber-optic front sight and a white-dot rear sight. The slide has front and rear serrations, and the entire gun has a “Black-T” finish. Finally, a rail is built into the dust cover for accessories.
Taurus has upped the ante on its service pistol line and introduced the TH9. This full-sized pistol has a 4.27-inch barrel, an overall length of 7.72 inches and an unloaded weight of 28.2 ounces. It holds 17+1 rounds of 9mm ammo and is a hammer-fired gun with a manual safety/decocker. The polymer grip frame sports an accessory rail, and the Novak sights are drift adjustable. A compact version is also in the works.
Announced late last year, this competition-ready pistol rolled out in 2018. Built on the polymer-framed PPQ platform, the steel slide can accept optics mounting plates for popular reflex sights. It also hosts a fiber-optic front sight, an adjustable rear sight, front and rear serrations and a threaded 4.6-inch barrel. The gun holds 15+1 rounds of 9mm ammo and weighs 25 ounces unloaded. There’s also a dust-cover accessory rail, and the Quick Defense trigger has a 0.1-inch reset.
Every year, America’s firearms manufacturers introduce a variety of new full size, semi-auto handguns. Full size handguns pretty much always have at least a 4-inch barrel. The longer barrels help accuracy, and the additional weight reduces felt recoil. Additionally, full size handguns just feel great in the hands.
Here are 25 full size handguns that came out in 2018 for your enjoyment and consideration. These pistols are big, powerful and beautiful, and would make a great addition to your battery.
The bug out bag takes on a different meaning with Pat McNamara, who discusses...
by Pat McNamara / Sep 3, 2018