What is the Best Full-Size 9mm Pistol for Beginners?

There has been a rise in interest by civilians to become first-time gun owners, whether for self-defense or competition shooting on the range. Buying a gun for the first time can be an intimidating experience and the many existing options can be overwhelming to new gun owners. It is important to know what kind of gun you want, what purpose you need it for, and how much you’d like to spend ahead of time.

When picking out a handgun, one of the main considerations is the caliber of the gun you are looking to buy. Lower caliber guns are less powerful, but easier to shoot, control, and rapid fire while remaining on target. Higher caliber guns have much more power and have significantly more recoil than lower caliber guns, making them difficult to shoot for beginners.

Handguns can come in a range of calibers, including:

  • . 22 Long Rifle
  • . 380 ACP
  • 9mm
  • . 40 Smith & Wesson
  • . 45 ACP
  • . 38 Special
  • . 357 Magnum
  • . 44 Magnum

Using the firearm, whether at the range or in a real-life self-defense scenario can be even more daunting. For most new gun owners, a 9mm caliber firearm provides you with good stopping power and good control.

Other Reasons Why You Should Buy a 9mm Gun

Most 9mm handguns have a nice, easily controllable recoil, making them a great gun for inexperienced shooters. They are also widely used, and 9mm rounds can be found at any gun store.

While more experienced gun owners may advocate for .40 or .45 caliber guns for self-defense, the 9mm has been used universally for this purpose and is a great option for many users. The 9mm models of firearms are usually the most budget-friendly, making the purchase more accessible for a beginner.

Best Full Size 9mm Guns

There are a lot of great full size 9mm handguns available, and each have their own advantages and disadvantages for beginners. It is important to do adequate research before buying a gun. Consider your purpose for buying one, and see which models best suit that purpose, whether it is for self-defense, concealed carry, or sport shooting. In addition, visit your local gun range to safely try out and test different full-size handguns, as well as learn about gun safety from a trained professional. Here are some great places to start.

Sig Sauer P320

The Sig Sauer P320 is a polymer frame handgun that weighs very little. Most shooters find it a great first gun. It is easy to use, with a consistently smooth trigger pull as well as fast and accurate firing. This full-size semi automatic gun delivers the best of both worlds, providing strong and reliable fire power, while being small enough to comfortably conceal. Furthermore it’s equipped with a number of safety features that make it a great choice for concealed carry. It is comfortable to hold, and it’s contoured grip prevents slippage even with sweaty hands.

This pistol is particularly modular and customizable, allowing you to build it in a way that makes sense for your purposes. The gun’s frame has a Picatinny rail, so you can attach lights, scopes and night sights. It also features a stainless steel assembly that allows you to switch out grips that better fit your hand. So with the Sig Sauer P320, you can customize a gun that you can hold and shoot exactly the way you like it.

It features a Nitron-coated stainless steel slide, which further resists corrosion and damage. It comes with front and back serrations that make it easier to pull the slide back to load or clear the action. It’s sites are fully adjustable, allowing you to quickly pick out targets. Furthermore, it’s streamline design allows it to be comfortably and easily concealed.


  • Barrel Length – 4.7 inches
  • Overall Length – 8.0 inches
  • Width – 1.4 inches
  • Height – 5.5 inches
  • Weight – 29.4 ounces
  • Standard Magazine Capacity – 17 rounds

Beretta 92FS

This heavy duty handgun is made completely of metal and is Beretta’s most popular handgun. It has been the general issue handgun for the United States military since 1985, and has been used all over the world for tactical purposes in deserts, jungles, and by the sea, as well as by local and foreign police and law enforcement officials.

Because of its metal frame, this gun does a great job of absorbing the recoil of a 9mm, making it a great choice for beginner shooters who may be unaccustomed to handling recoil. The 92FS has an innovative open slide design that additionally lowers the amount of recoil or muzzle rise, making for the smoother possible shot. This Beretta model can use 15, 17, or even 32 round magazines. Military testing has found that these guns can fire 17,500 shots on average without damaging the gun. Most shooters would never fire this many rounds through any one gun during a lifetime.


  • Barrel Length – 4.9 inches
  • Overall Length – 8.5 inches
  • Width – 1.5 inches
  • Height – 5.4 inches
  • Weight – 33.3 ounces
  • Standard Magazine Capacity – 15 rounds

Glock 17

The Glock 17 is the gun that popularized the polymer-frame striker-fired pistol. It is commonly used by police officers and military personnel in part to its straightforward yet rugged design. However, other than just looking and feeling good, this very light full sized handgun is small and slim enough to conceal easily and has a high magazine capacity of 17 rounds.

Additional configurations support 10, 24, and 33 round magazines. In addition to being popular among concealed carriers, Glocks are great guns for competition shooting, as they are accurate and easy to shoot.

They are surprisingly light for their size, providing an added benefit for beginner shooters. Drawing, gripping, and firing a lighter gun can be a lot easier to control for a first time gun owner. For those seeking an even lighter alternative, the Glock 19 is a compact 9mm gun that offers the same benefits in an even smaller gun.


  • Barrel Length – 4.49 inches
  • Overall Length – 7.95 inches
  • Width – 1.26 inches
  • Height – 5.47 inches
  • Weight – 24.87 ounces
  • Standard Magazine Capacity – 17 rounds

Springfield Armory XD(M)

This Crotian made striker-fired 9mm pistol is a great option for first time gun buyers looking for a quality handgun at a budget. It is highly accurate, has great control, and is a lot of fun to shoot. It has a number of safety features, including three safeties. In addition to the trigger safety and manual safety included on many guns, this model also has a passive grip safety, adding an additional degree of safety for when the gun is not held in fire mode.

The XD(M) is light, thin, easy to carry, and to conceal. It has a clean and sleek look and feel, even with a double stack magazine.


  • Barrel Length – 4.0 inches
  • Overall Length – 7.3 inches
  • Width – 1.18 inches
  • Height – 5.5 inches
  • Weight – 28 ounces
  • Standard Magazine Capacity – 16 rounds

CZ 75

The CZ 75 is a hammer-fired semi-automatic 9mm gun that brings together the best in practicality and design. This pistol is very popular among many European law enforcement agencies due to its well-crafted design, featuring slide rails within the frame of the gun. This feature helps lower muzzle rise, making it much easier to accurately fire shots in quick succession.

It’s all-steel construction does a great job of tamping down recoil, providing the shooter with great control and a smooth shooting experience.

It is comfortable to hold and has a natural feel, reliably fired by a smooth trigger. Since it uses a hammer fired system, it can be fired in double action and single action (DA and SA). It uses a standard magazine of 16, 9mm rounds.

Due to its metal design, this gun is a little heavier than others its size, and may be more challenging to conceal. However, it excels for tactical uses or situations where accurate rapid is needed, such as range or competition shooting. This can also make it an attractive feature for self defense.


  • Barrel Length – 3.88 inches
  • Overall Length – 7.2 inches
  • Width – 1.4 inches
  • Height – 5.0 inches
  • Weight – 27.2 ounces
  • Standard Magazine Capacity – 16 rounds

Heckler and Koch VP9

The Heckler and Koch is another well designed striker-fired 9mm handgun that feels and handles wonderfully, especially for beginner shooters. One great feature about this gun that makes it very attractive for first time gun owners is a safety feature that makes the gun impossible to fire unless intended. It features an additional mechanism in the trigger shoe that needs to be depressed, usually by the correct grip of the pistol, before the trigger can move back to its place. This creates a safe and easy to carry and fire handgun.

Its accuracy is another feature that makes it attractive to beginners, known to be one of the most precise firearms. The HK VP9 features an innovative gas distribution system that helps reduce recoil and muzzle rise. Its safety, accuracy, and beautiful design are great selling points for any gun users, but all the more attractive for a first timer.


  • Barrel Length – 4.09 inches
  • Overall Length – 7.34 inches
  • Width – 1.32 inches
  • Height – 5.41 inches
  • Weight – 26.56 oz
  • Standard Magazine Capacity – 17 rounds

Smith & Wesson M&P

Law enforcement officials all over the world have popularized this gun, which was specifically designed with them and mind. The M&P, which stands for military and police, is a handgun created so be used tactically and in the field. Built with a reinforced chassis, advanced ergonomics, left and right handed controls, and high quality safety features, this is a great gun for first time owners.

The M&P is a light, easy to handle weapon that has proven itself as a great option among concealed carry handguns.

Its striker-fired system provides a short trigger pull, giving you a consistent response every time you fire. This system also prevents the gun from being fired accidentally or if dropped. The pistol is polymer-framed, but reinforced with a stainless steel chassis to provide strength, durability, reduced recoil, and a light carry.

This gun is made for the safety and protection of military and police officers, and will more than deliver for a first time gun user.


  • Barrel Length – 4.25 inches
  • Overall Length – 7.4 inches
  • Width – 1.18 inches
  • Height – 5.5 inches
  • Weight – 24.25 ounces
  • Standard Magazine Capacity – 17 rounds

Walther PPQ

The Walther PPQ is a redesign of the P99 pistol, made famous by James Bond and his legendary firearm. Aside from being well-known in films, the P99 is one of the finest striker fired handguns available, its claim to fame being that it combines double action and single action trigger modes, allowing the first to be a long trigger pull and all subsequent ones to be short. The PPQ further innovated one of the most popular handguns, adding certain features similar to those of a Glock, to make it more versatile.

The Walther PPQs are also well known for being one of the most comfortable pistols to hold, incorporating advanced texture and ergonomically designed to promote a natural grip angle. One of its most characteristic features is the 5 pound trigger pull, that makes firing this gun very light and easy, providing a great break and easy reset. It is highly durable, resistant to rust and corrosion, making it a great choice for variable conditions.


  • Barrel Length – 4.0 inches
  • Overall Length – 7.1 inches
  • Width – 1.3 inches
  • Height – 5.3 inches
  • Weight – 24.5 ounces
  • Standard Magazine Capacity – 15 rounds

Ruger SR9

The Ruger SR9 is one of the newer 9mm semi-automatic guns and is a great option for a first time gun owner. It’s lightweight, made out of a polymer frame, and is convenient to conceal carry. It features two safeties, both of which need to be disengaged, making it very safe to carry. This safety feature can also be helpful for those less familiar with handling a gun.

It has a smooth and easy trigger pull, comparable to many guns that have been in the market for a long time.

One attractive feature of the Ruger SR9 is the value and cost. This American made gun may lack a long standing reputation among big name gun brands, but offers a highly comparable shooting experience, for a fraction of the price.


  • Barrel Length – 4.1 inches
  • Overall Length – 7.6 inches
  • Width – 1.26 inches
  • Height – 5.5 inches
  • Weight – 26.5 ounces
  • Standard Magazine Capacity – 17 rounds

The Takeaway

Learning what the differences in each model are, how those differences will affect your use of the firearm, and whether you prefer to conceal carry or not are all factors that determine what gun works best for you.

The 9mm is a great starting point for most beginner shooters, as they offer the ability to conceal, minimize recoil, and provide great power and accuracy. At IFA Tactical, we provide the best full-size 9mm handguns for self-defense, concealed carry, and competition shooting.

Browse our online inventory and buy from the convenience of your home. For more information about any of our firearms give us a call at (586)-275-2176.