Gunmakers stepped up their offerings in 2021. Here are Travis' top 5 new handgun picks of the year.
2021 has been one helluva year. I won’t comment on a number of things, but I can talk about the guns. Specifically, I want to talk about the best new handguns for 2021. Without a formal SHOT Show, the year seems to be lagging, right? Nope, it’s actually been one heckuva year with some awesome firearms. Here are my top 5 picks for the industry's best offering for the year.
SIG rides high on the P365. As the first micro-compact, it’s been one of the top-selling firearms for years now. The SIG P365XL Spectre delivers a highly customized variant of the P365XL. The larger XL series delivers Glock 19 capacity in a much thinner, more compact package. The Spectre design brings a high level of customization to the P365XL platform.
The Spectre is easily one of the best new handguns in the concealed carry market. We get an enhanced X-series trigger, a laser engraved grip, and a custom works slide. The Spectre series pushes the P365XL to the limit of its performance. It also delivers an extremely nice handgun compatible with P365XL and P365 goodies.
The FN 509 has become one of the premier pistols currently on the market. As 2021 came around, we saw one of the best new handguns come from the FN 509 series. Specifically, the FN 509 LS Edge. This big gun stretches the 509 series to its limits. It’s a huge gun aimed at competitive shooters and potential duty use.
The LS Edge variant comes with a lightened slide, an optic-ready design, with suppressor height sights installed. It’s a brilliant firearm with an amazing trigger and unbeatable reliability. I can’t wait to take it to a steel challenge match and push it to its limits.
The SA-35 is both one of the best new handguns of 2021 and the oldest newest gun of 2021. It’s a Browning Hi-Power refined by Springfield. The SA-35 brings us the Hi-Power in a modern platform that removed the annoying Hi-Power features like a magazine disconnect. This results in a better gun with a much better trigger.
The SA-35 delivers single-action awesomeness in a very proven platform. The SA-35 looks fantastic and performs extremely well. T’s brand new, but lots of shooters have fallen in love with the classic design. It’s a reintroduction to a winning design, and I love it.
The Ruger LCP Max brings a new degree of competency to the pocket pistol. The LCP Max is a tiny 380 ACP that takes the P365 appeal to the pocket pistol. The unique magazine design gives you 10 or 12 rounds of 380 ACP in a pocket pistol-sized platform. It’s tough not to love such a capable and tiny pistol.
The LCP Max is the first micro-compact 380 ACP and helps bring us one of the best new handguns for convenience carry. Convenience carry is the ability to toss it in an IWB holster and forget about it. The LCP Max does so and grants you ten or even twelves rounds of 380 ACP.
I’m not sure if the M9A4 has been announced, but it’s basically already out there. Beretta made a webpage, and it’s easy to see that it will be out pretty dang soon. The M9A4 takes the M9A3 and adds optic compatibility. Optics on handguns rule, and the Beretta M9A4’s compatibility with red dots promises to push the M9 series forward.
The M9A4 brings one of the military’s longest-serving sidearms to 2021. The gun features a thinner, more 1911 like grip, the same 9mm capacity the M9 is known for, as well as the awesome trigger and unique open slide design. The M9A4 delivers a modern fighting pistol built on a classic design. Much like the M1911, the M9 will continue to evolve and refine itself outside of military service.
As I said, it’s been one helluva year. It’s a year we’ve seen some real innovation come forward. The best new handguns come in all shapes, sizes, and calibers. One thing has become abundantly clear, and guns are just getting better. With that in mind, what are your favorite new handguns of 2021?
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.
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