What are the 5 Best Military Handguns? Time to find out as we go down this list of guns that have been issued to members of the US military! You might be surprised at how the list shakes out. We’ll go in reverse order, from number 5 to number 1!
5. Colt SAA Opening our list of the 5 best military handguns at number five, we have the legendary Colt Single Action Army. Prior to the Colt SAA, the US Army used a hodgepodge of different handguns, as individual soldiers and officers would often supply their own pistols. The Colt SAA changed that. It also started America’s love affair with big bore handguns for military and defensive purposes.
4. Sig Sauer M11 A lesser known entry on this list is the Sig Sauer M11. Until the Modular Handgun System was adopted in 2017, the Sig M11 was the standard service pistol for the US Navy’s NCIS agents, the USAF’s OSI agents, and was available for unit purchase as well. There are photos of Navy EOD personnel using the M11 in deployed environments, for example. To take the 4 spot on our list of the 5 best military handguns, the Sig P228-derived M11 has an excellent combination of shootability, ergonomics, and concealability. Those are vitally important for plaincloths special agents that were frequently armed with this pistol.
3. Colt M1911A1 The only reason that this gun should be a surprise on the 5 best military handguns list is that it’s number 3. The M1911 is legendary, and a cursory google search will turn up quite the collection of “two world wars memes.” The 1911 was designed to replace the Colt Single Action Army that was featured earlier, and it did an excellent job of that. Despite the US Army adding some odd features (the grip safety), the 1911 served well. 1911s have finally been phased out, as the last holdouts in US SOCOM have switched to a different pistol.
2. Beretta M9/A1 That’s right, the second best service pistol the US military has ever had is the M9. While there were early teething problems with the design, the Beretta M9 and its Marine Corps variant, the M9A1, have endured more continuous warfare than any other pistol design in the US military inventory. The M9 served first in Desert Storm, then the Balkans conflict, and of course in the ongoing 20 year Global War on Terror. While it’s finally being phased out by the M17 and M18, the Beretta M9 earned its place among the 5 best military handguns.
1. Glock 19 Remember earlier when I said US SOCOM had switched pistols? They switched to Glock 19s. In fact, the whole reason the Modern Handgun System program was implemented is because US SOCOM wanted to stop buying handguns out of their own pocket, and start just getting them from Big Army/Navy/Air Force’s budget. That…backfired and we got the Sig M17 and M18 instead, but SOCOM kept their Glock 19s. They’ve been used in countless special operation missions, and of course have an amazing reputation in the USA among domestic law enforcement. It’s the platonic ideal of a fighting gun, and that’s why it’s number on the 5 best military handguns.
Before we go, the reason the M17/M18 platform doesn’t crack the top five? It hasn’t done anything yet.