The 9x19mm cartridge is the world’s most common centerfire handgun cartridge. If you’re looking for recommendations on a new handgun, semi-automatic pistols chambered in 9x19mm are at the top of many lists. Whether for self-defense, concealed carrying, competition shooting, or general-purpose application, the 9mm pistol is popular.
One of the primary advantages of the 9x19mm cartridge is its balance of effectiveness and capacity. While many calibers use larger bullets or achieve higher muzzle energy (e.g., .45 ACP, .40 S&W, 10mm Auto), the humble 9mm has many advantages.
Pistols chambered in 9mm tend to achieve higher magazine capacities than those chambered in larger cartridges. It is also a proven cartridge with decades of history with police, military, and civilian self-defense.
If magazine capacity is crucial to you, you may be wondering which 9mm pistol can hold the most rounds. The answer depends on the type of pistol you need and what applications you intend to use it for.
Defining a Pistol’s Capacity
Two factors determine the capacity of a firearm: how many cartridges of ammunition (rounds) its feeding system can hold and whether it can accept an additional round in the chamber.
For example, revolvers feature cylinders with a fixed number of chambers. A six-shot cylinder can hold no more than six rounds. A semi-automatic pistol or rifle features a magazine that may either be fixed (non-removable) or detachable.
Most semi-automatic designs can hold as many rounds as the magazine is designed to hold, plus an additional round in the chamber. The extra round is typically designated using the “+1” notation.
- Example: The capacity of a Smith & Wesson Model 10 .38 Special revolver is six rounds because it features a 6-shot cylinder. The Glock 17 9mm pistol has a capacity of 17+1: 17 rounds in its standard magazine, plus one in the chamber.
Standard vs. Extended Magazines
The majority of semi-automatic pistols produced in the last 100 years use detachable magazines. Many designs are compatible with mags of varying sizes and capacities, allowing you to change the gun’s capacity. However, it is critical to differentiate between standard and extended magazines when determining a pistol’s capacity.
A magazine is “standard” when it meets both of the following criteria:
- It is not only compatible but specifically designed to function with the firearm
- It is the most common magazine for that specific model
- It is flush-fitting, meaning it fits into the frame without sticking past the bottom at a significant distance (usually less than 0.5”)
For example, the OEM Glock 17-round 9mm mag is considered the standard magazine for the Glock 17. The original pistol was designed with this 17-round magazine in mind. All subsequent versions of the Glock 17 ship with at least one 17-round magazine.
Extended magazines are any magazines that offer a higher capacity than standard. For instance, Glock produces a range of extended 9mm magazines compatible with the Glock 17, such as the “Big Stick” 24- and 33-round models.
However, even though the manufacturer is the same as the pistol, they are not sold alongside the Glock 17 and are tall, non-flush-fitting magazines. For these reasons, Big Stick magazines cannot be standard-capacity magazines.
Full-Sized 9mm High-Capacity Pistols
A full-sized 9mm pistol is a relatively large handgun designed for duty or defensive applications. They generally feature barrels between 4.25” and 5” and have tall frames, allowing them to accept taller and higher-capacity magazines than midsize or compact models.
In the past, full-sized, high-capacity pistols chambered in 9mm were nicknamed Wonder Nines. They were defined as full-sized semi-automatic pistols with a double action trigger and a double stack magazine. In magazine terminology, “double stack” means the cartridges are arranged into two columns inside the mag body instead of just one.
Pioneering high-capacity 9mm pistols include the following:
- Browning Hi-Power: Introduced in 1935. Designed jointly by John Browning and Dieudonné Saive, it was one of the first double stack 9mm pistols, featuring a capacity of 13+1.
- Heckler & Koch VP70: Introduced in 1970. It is the first polymer-framed pistol, predating the Glock 17 by over a decade. It was also notable for its 18-round magazine.
- Smith & Wesson Model 59: Introduced in 1971. It is considered to be among the first true Wonder Nine pistols and one of the few American-made models. The standard magazine capacity is 14 rounds.
- Beretta 92: Introduced in 1975. This iconic Italian pistol eventually became the M9, serving as the standard service pistol of the U.S. Armed Forces from 1985 to 2019.
Original Beretta 92 pistols featured 15-round magazines, setting a standard for numerous other 9mm handguns. For instance, the original CZ75, H&K USP9, the original SIG P226, and the Walther P99, all of which came out after the Beretta 92, featured 15-round magazines.
- Glock 17: Introduced in 1982. Although it isn’t the first polymer-framed pistol, the G17 popularized the use of polymers in handguns and was renowned for its 17-round magazine.
Below is a list of modern 9x19mm full-size pistols for duty, service, competition, and self-defense with the highest standard magazine capacities.
1. Beretta M9A4: 18+1 Rounds
The Beretta M9A4 is the most modern version of the Beretta M9 currently available and one of the latest versions of the legendary Beretta 92-series pistols.
While the M9A4’s control scheme is virtually identical to the 92FS or the military M9, it features a range of improvements. The slide features red-dot ready indentations, the mag well is slightly beveled to facilitate reloading, the back of the grip retains the flattened angle originally introduced by the M9A3, and the 4.8” barrel is threaded.
As a variant of the Beretta 92, it is compatible with all full-size 92-series magazines, including original Beretta 92FS mags, Mec-Gar mags, and military-issued M9 magazines by Airtronic or Checkmate Industries. All of these featured a magazine capacity of 15 rounds. It will also accept the newer, 17-round magazine originally issued with the M9A3.
However, the standard magazine issued with the Beretta M9A4 features an even higher capacity of 18 rounds, despite being virtually the same height as its predecessors. While the M9A4 mag is not the first standard 18-round magazine to be introduced on the market, they are notable for being backward compatible with older M9 and 92FS pistols.
2. CZ P-10 F: 19+1 Rounds
CZ introduced the P-10 F pistol in 2019. Unusually for a handgun family, it came after the P-10 C, its mid-sized counterpart. Alongside the subcompact P-10 S and P-10 M, these pistols form the new P-10 product family, making them the most modern CZ pistols to date.
The full-size P-10 F offers many of the same features as the other P-10 pistols: a lightweight polymer frame, a Glock-style trigger and safety mechanism, and aggressive front and rear slide serrations.
As a full-sized handgun, the P-10 F stands out with its 4.48” barrel and its standard magazine capacity of 19 rounds. When counting an extra cartridge in the chamber, the P-10 F can hold up to 20 rounds of 9x19mm ammunition, making it one of the highest-capacity duty pistols on the market.
- Manufacturer: Česká Zbrojovka Uherský Brod (CZUB)
- Caliber: 9x19mm
- Capacity: 19+1
- Overall length: 8”
- Barrel length: 4.48”
- Weight: 1.79 lbs. with an empty magazine
3. Canik TP9SFx: 20+1 Rounds
Canik is a Turkish firearm manufacturer primarily known for the TP9 family of polymer-framed, semi-automatic handguns. Although the TP9 was originally based on the German-made Walther P99, Canik has since expanded upon the original design and turned it into a complete product family.
The TP9SFx is the duty and competition shooting version of Canik’s popular family of TP9 pistols. While this handgun uses the same frame as the standard TP9SF, it possesses numerous upgrades and improvements: a short-reset single-action trigger, fiber-optic sights, a match-grade 5.2” barrel, and an optics-ready slide.
In addition to these many competition-oriented features, the TP9SFx ships with two 20-round magazines, making its standard capacity 20+1. It is also compatible with all other full-size TP9 magazines, including the standard TP9SF’s 18-round model.
- Manufacturer: Canik
- Caliber: 9x19mm
- Capacity: 20+1
- Overall length: 8.27”
- Barrel length: 5.2”
- Weight: 1.83 lbs. with an empty magazine
4. SIG Sauer P320 Pistols: 21+1 Rounds
While SIG Sauer’s P320 family of semi-automatic pistols is a modernized version of the earlier P250, it is best known today for including the M17, the current U.S. Armed Forces service pistol.
The primary feature of the P320 family is its modularity. Rather than using a dedicated frame for each variant, the P320 uses a fully removable fire control unit (FCU). The FCU is the serialized part, meaning the ATF legally considers it the firearm. This system allows the user to swap parts and mate an FCU to any P320 frame, barrel, slide, and magazine without purchasing a separate firearm.
Multiple versions of the SIG P320 are tuned from the factory to offer shooters a competition-ready pistol, complete with high-capacity 21-round magazines. They include the following models:
- P320-AXG Legion
- P320-AXG Combat
- P320 Spectre Comp
- P320-XFIVE DH3
Another prominent version of the P320 offering 21-round magazines is the P320-M17, the civilian version of the military service M17 pistol. This handgun, alongside its compact versions (P320-M18 and M18 Commemorative), also ships with two standard 21-round P320 magazines.
- Manufacturer: SIG Sauer
- Caliber: 9x19mm
- Capacity: 21+1
- Overall length: 7.2” to 8.5”, depending on the version
- Barrel length: 3.9” to 5”, depending on the version
- Weight: 1.76 to 2.71 lbs. with an empty magazine
5. Springfield XDM Elite 4.5” OSP 9mm: 22+1 Rounds
The XD (eXtreme Duty) semi-automatic pistols are among Springfield Armory, Inc.’s most popular and longest-running product families. Initially based on a Croatian design, the HS Produkt HS2000, Springfield has since modernized it and produced multiple variants and sub-families, such as the XDM (Match), XDS (single-stack), and XDE (external hammer).
The XDM Elite 4.5” OSP is one of the latest iterations of the XD pistol. This handgun is part of Springfield Armory’s Optical Sight Pistol (OSP) category, indicating the slide is pre-cut and ready to accept a red dot sight. The Elite also features tall, suppressor-height iron sights, a 4.5” match-grade threaded barrel, an accessory rail, and a flared magazine well.
The 9mm version of the XDM Elite OSP is designed to accept any full-size Springfield XDM 9mm magazine. However, this handgun comes out of the box with a pair of 22-round magazines, meaning its standard capacity is a staggering 23 rounds.
- Manufacturer: Springfield Armory, Inc.
- Caliber: 9x19mm
- Capacity: 22+1
- Overall length: 7.6”
- Barrel length: 4.5”
- Weight: 1.81 lbs. with an empty magazine
6. Dan Wesson Elite Series Chaos: 23+1 Rounds
Once a standalone manufacturer primarily reputed for its revolvers, Dan Wesson Firearms is now under the CZ-Colt umbrella. Today, firearms bearing the Dan Wesson name range are primarily premium-quality 1911 pistols suited for defense, target shooting, and competition.
While Dan Wesson has produced numerous competition-oriented 1911 pistols in the past, one of the most notable is the Elite Series Chaos. This handgun is a double-stack 1911 close chambered in 9mm with every feature a 3-gun, IPSC, USPSA, or IDPA shooter could need; a large flared magazine well, a flat skeletonized trigger, a fiber-optic front sight, and an adjustable rear sight.
The Chaos accepts any double-stack 1911-pattern magazine in 9mm, such as those found on the 2011 or Staccato pistols. The magazine that ships with the Chaos is a typical 140mm 1911 double-stack magazine with a large baseplate, granting it a capacity of 23 rounds.
While significant hand-building and fitting go into a Dan Wesson Chaos manufacturing, it is effectively a ready-made, 24-shot premium competition pistol. Only a small number of competing handguns can compete with the standard capacity of the Chaos.
- Manufacturer: Dan Wesson Firearms
- Caliber: 9x19mm
- Capacity: 23+1
- Overall length: 8.75”
- Barrel length: 5”
- Weight: 2.81 lbs. with an empty magazine
Extended Magazines: A Way to Increase Your Gun’s Capacity Even Further
While selecting a naturally high-capacity handgun is a natural choice, gun owners seeking high-capacity pistols in 9mm have a second option: using extended magazines.
Numerous modern pistol designs are compatible with a range of tall, high-capacity magazines designed to hold more rounds than standard mags. Having access to extended magazines offers multiple benefits:
- They allow your pistol to carry more ammunition, which can be beneficial in itself
- Taller magazines are easier to grab, helping make reloads a little quicker
- Many competition shooting disciplines allow extended magazines, allowing you to shoot for longer periods before reloading and providing more opportunities to score points.
- Reliable high-capacity magazines can be helpful in self-defense; more ammunition improves your ability to defend yourself against multiple attackers.
Types of Extended Magazines
Multiple types of extended magazines and capacity-increasing solutions exist. Each offers its own pros and cons to allow your 9mm pistol to carry more ammo.
An extended baseplate is a replacement part kit for a standard magazine. It replaces the stock, typically flat baseplate with a taller version. While the magazine body remains untouched, the additional height provides enough space to fit additional cartridges.
A plus notation (e.g., +1, +2, +3, etc.) indicates how many extra rounds it adds. For instance, a +2 baseplate increases the magazine capacity by 2 rounds. Some extended baseplates require a longer magazine spring to fit the extra space.
Classic Extended Magazines
The traditional extended magazine is a taller, longer version of an existing standard magazine. Extended magazines have existed for almost as long as self-loading firearms have.
Virtually every popular 9mm pistol platform has an extended magazine available, whether officially made or produced by a third-party magazine maker.
Popular examples of extended magazines include the following:
- Glock 9mm Big Sticks (24-round, 33-round), compatible with G17, G18/G18C, G19, G26
- Beretta 92-series 20-round and 30-round, compatible with Beretta 92, 92F, 92FS, M9, M9A3, M9A4
- Beretta APX 9mm 21-round and 30-round
- SIG P320 30-round
- CZ P-10 32-round
- H&K P30 / VP9 30-round
- S&W M&P9 32-round
- Springfield XDM 35-round
Full-size Magazines in Compatible Compact Guns
Many pistols belong to a family or series that accept magazines of the same basic design but with different heights to fit each frame size.
If you own a compact or subcompact 9mm pistol designed for concealed carry, you may be able to insert a full-size pistol magazine to extend its capacity. This solution makes it similar to using classic extended magazines but instead uses mags that would be standard in a larger pistol.
For example, the full-sized G17, compact G19, and subcompact G26 share the same 9mm magazine design. Each pistol can accept its own magazine plus those of the next taller model. If you own a G26, you can replace the standard 10-round magazine with a 15-round G19 or 17-round G17 mag to increase its capacity.
Besides the G19 and G26 pistols, other compact 9mm pistols capable of accepting full-size handguns include:
- Beretta APX Compact: Compatible with full-size APX magazines
- CZ P-10 C/M/S: Compatible with P-10 F magazines
- H&K VP9SK: Compatible with full-size VP9 and P30 magazines
- SIG P320 Compact: Compatible with full-size P320 magazines
- SIG P365: Compatible with P365XL magazines
A drum magazine arranges cartridges in a spiral inside a round, drum-shaped housing. This arrangement allows drums to fit more cartridges within a given height. While drum mags are more commonly associated with submachine guns and rifles, such as the iconic Thompson or AK drums, they are also available for 9mm pistols. Most drum magazines for 9mm pistols hold 50 rounds.
While fewer manufacturers offer drum magazines for handguns, some popular examples include the following:
- The original Glock 9mm family (G17, G19, G26)
- Beretta 92-series (92FS, M9, M9A3, M9A4)
- H&K P30 / VP9
- SIG P320
- SIG P365
- S&W M&P9
- Ruger Security 9
- Springfield XDM 9mm
C-MAG Twin Drum Magazines
Produced by the Beta Company, the Century Magazines (C-MAGs) are a family of unique, twin-drum magazines. A typical C-MAG comprises a central body resembling a short box magazine connected to two drums, one on each side. Although their design is up to 4 times as wide as a compatible firearm, it can hold up to 100 rounds. This extreme capacity makes the C-MAG one of the highest-capacity firearm feeding systems ever created, rivaled only by machine gun belts.
Beta primarily produces C-MAGs for rifle platforms such as the AR-10/SR-25, AR-15/M16, AK, H&K G3, FN SCAR, or FN FAL. However, some pistol-caliber versions have also been produced, such as the MP5, Colt RO635 (9mm SMG), and Uzi 9mm C-MAGs.
Only one of these systems has ever been adapted to a pistol: the Glock 9mm C-MAG, compatible with Glock 17, Glock 19, Glock 26, the Glock 18C machine pistol, and pistol-caliber carbines designed to accept G17 magazines.
Because of this, models in the original Glock 9mm pistol family are the 9mm pistols that can theoretically hold the most rounds. With a fully loaded C-MAG, a Glock 17 can hold up to 101 rounds of 9x19mm ammunition, more than any other handgun.
Find Your Next 9mm Pistol at IFA Tactical
Shop at IFA Tactical and find the best 9mm handguns on the market. Our inventory includes a large selection of high-capacity pistols chambered in 9mm, ensuring you have enough ammunition for any application: self-defense, sport shooting, competition, or fun at the range.
Whether you love Glock, SIG, H&K, Springfield, Beretta, or Smith & Wesson, we carry guns from the world’s most trusted gunmakers. Contact us for all your gun-related questions.