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These 12 handguns are some of the most frequently purchased semi-auto models in the country. They span the gambit, from modern polymer frames to a classic 1911.

Smith & Wesson M&P Series

Smith & Wesson M&P Series
A great choice for competition, law enforcement, and personal protection. mfg photo

Introduced less than a decade ago, this high-capacity striker-fired semiauto has earned high marks for ergonomics, reliability, and soft recoil. Available in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, it is a great choice for competition, law enforcement, and personal protection.

Smith & Wesson Shield

Available in 9mm and .40 S&W, the Shield is a slenderized single-stack version of the highly acclaimed M&P. mfg photo

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Available in 9mm and .40 S&W, the Shield is a slenderized single-stack version of the highly acclaimed M&P. During a trip to a well-known shooting academy, this writer took a new 9mm Shield out of the box and fired over 500 rounds in two days without a single malfunction.

Glock G29

Glock G29
A handy trail gun for those wandering through bear country. mfg photo

This striker-fired semiauto isn’t much bigger than a compact 9mm, but the 10mm cartridge that it’s chambered for delivers power levels approaching those of the .41 Magnum.

The Glock G29 is a handy trail gun for those wandering through bear, wild boar, or mountain lion country.

CZ-USA 85 Combat

CZ-USA 85 Combat
Competition or personal defense, this high-capacity 9mm is an excellent choice. mfg photo

A highly refined version of the classic steel frame, inertia-fired 9mm CZ 75B, this model features fully ambidextrous controls, adjustable sights, and a drop-free magazine.

Whether the goal is competition or personal defense, this high-capacity 9mm is an excellent choice.

Dan Wesson Specialist

Everything you could want to adapt John Browning’s classic design for personal defense. mfg photo

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Designed for law enforcement use, this .45 ACP 1911 is equipped with tritium night sights, 1913 accessory rail, ambidextrous thumb safety, and just about everything you could want to adapt John Browning’s classic design for personal defense.

Ruger MK III

Available in several different configurations. mfg photo

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The classic Ruger Standard .22 LR pistol became the launching pad for one of America’s greatest firearms manufacturers. The MK III is a refined version.

Available in several different configurations, it will handle anything from competition to plinking to small-game hunting.

Magnum Research Micro Desert Eagle

Magnum Research Micro Desert Eagle
An excellent choice for a small personal-defense handgun. mfg photo

Subcompact .380 ACP pistols have a reputation for being finicky. The Micro Desert Eagle, due to its unique gas-assist operating system, is anything but.

During extensive testing, this writer could not get it to malfunction. It’s an excellent choice for a small personal-defense handgun.

Springfield Armory XD(m)

Springfield Armory XD(m)
The polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol is rapidly gaining a following. mfg photo

A recent refinement of the original XD model, the XD(m) is available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP, and in barrel lengths of 3.8, 4.5, and 5.5-inches.

The polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol is rapidly gaining favor among competitive shooters and those concerned with personal defense.

Colt Defender

The frame has a tough Cerakote finish. mfg photo

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This sub-compact 1911 features a 3-inch barrel and is available in either .45 ACP or 9mm. It comes with Novak Low Mount Carry Sight and is built from stainless steel. The frame has a tough Cerakote finish.

Glock G19

Reliable under all conditions. mfg photo

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A 9mm compact, 15-shot, polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol, the G19 is considered to be one of the best guns Glock has ever produced.

It is reliable under all conditions and is an excellent choice for personal defense.

Ruger SR1911

An excellent stainless steel 1911 that comes at an affordable price. mfg photo

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When Ruger decided to build a 1911 .45 ACP, they kept the best of John Browning’s original design and only added refinements that were necessary.

The end result is an excellent stainless steel 1911 that comes at an affordable price.

Browning Buckmark

Its features that make it an excellent shooter. mfg photo

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If you like shooting handguns, a .22 rimfire pistol is a lot of cheap fun, and the Browning Buckmark .22 LR is a top choice.

It features a crisp trigger, adjustable sights, a target crowned barrel, and other features that make it an excellent shooter.

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