There are many great 9mm pistols of the past and present out on the market. But, which ones are really accurate right out of the box without any customization.
We’ll be straight up with you. We did not test fire all the 9mm pistols (except a few) from the list below. The following sentiments were collected from shooters in various gun community.
We also understand these sentiments are subjective and not objective (scientific). You can take our suggestions of the most accurate 9mm pistols with a grain of salt.
As most of you all know the “Indian” is always the variable factor that has to do with accuracy and not the “arrow”. From the groups that have shot these 9mm pistols are the Joe average with maybe some military or law enforcement background. None of these shooters are newbies or of elite status like a Rob Leatham. Rob can pick up just about any pistol and be accurate with it.
As we stated earlier these reviews are not true gun benchmark from Smith&Wesson or Sig Sauer. These perspective are not from a defensive or combat shooter stand point either, just from the plinker/recreational shooter. In retrospect, if these were competitive shooters doing this accuracy test. Our list of 9mm pistols could be different or more 9mm’s added to this list.
The following are two 9mm pistol lists, the first is from shooters who just went out and shot targets without any purpose just on a “feel and where the bullet hits on target”.
The second group are the same type of shooters just different person. This group actually thought of ways to reduce human error as much as possible. For example shots were fired from a hand rest or sandbags. There were no warm-up firing, all shooting was done cold from the line. Atlanta Arms 115 grain 9mm FMJ match bullets were used. Shots were fired from 12 and 25 yards. Another thing to note, some pistols had optic sights mounted. This can affect accuracy as you find out later in the result section.
The course of fire was 5 shots at the 12 yard line and three 5-shot groups from the 25 yard.
After the smoke had cleared, the grouping is looked at to determine the accuracy of the pistol. For example, 1 inch groupings from 12 yards.
Here is the first list of most accurate 9mm pistol out of the box:
- Sig Sauer P226X5
Single action trigger, adjustable, steel barrel
- Swiss AT 84 S
Considered a CZ75 clone but many shooters feel this is more accurate.
- Browning Hi-Power 9mm
The name and reputation speaks for itself.
Straight out of the box accurate
- Sig Sauer P210
See the results from the test below.
- Beretta APX
This shouldn’t have surprised you.
In the second list some of the 9mm’s are not your regular pistol that you’d see at the local gun store, they are quality target pistols for competition shooting. I think the rationale was to see how the regular pistols and higher end target pistol compares.
S&W Performance Center 5906 PPC 9mm
Sig Arms P210-5 Heavy Frame 9mm
Sig Sauer P210 Legend Target 9mm
Sig Sauer P226S X-Five Enhanced Classic 9mm
CZ 75 Tactical Sport 9mm
Pardini GT45-II 9mm
Beretta 92 Combat 9mm
Glock 17L 9mm (3rd gen)
Based on the best group sizes, nearly all of the pistols performed well. Nearly every single pistol was capable of a group of less than 2 inches at 25 yards and less than 1 inch at 35 feet (11.7 yards). Despite the good performance, there was a clear stand out winner, the X-Five.
The X-Five shot the overall smallest group at 25 yards as well as the overall smallest average group at 25 yards and at 35 feet. This consistency, however, was likely driven by the unfair advantage of the Aimpoint T-2 red dot sight. Other pistols had excellent groups but could not get the consistency. This variability in the other pistol groups seemed highly affected by the type of iron sights particularly those used in the older pistols. Regardless of the unfair advantage, the X-Five turned in tiny group after tiny group including that 25 yard group of well under an inch.
The runner up was the S&W PPC9 6 inch. With that long sight radius, that hand built Performance Center fit, Briley bushing and excellent single stage trigger, the PPC9 excelled at accuracy. Its consistency nearly won the day. It may have been a closer race if we had mounted a red dot to the PPC9 instead of the irons.
The performance bargain was the CZ75 Tactical Sport. The TS ran competitively with pistols costing many multiples of its price and even beat many pistols costing far more. The sight radius, light trigger and weight make this a joy to shoot. For the shooter on a budget, the TS is an outstanding choice.
As noted earlier, in a better test, they would have shot three to five 10-shot groups at each range with each pistol for more statistically significant results. They couldn’t do so due to time, fatigue and other human constraints.
They began this test by trying to ascertain the most accurate pistols in this group test of high quality target pistols. They did our best to remove the human factor by shooting over support. Despite their best efforts, they ended up constrained by a very human factor: our vision and our ability to see each respective set of sights.
We hope this test was in some way helpful, but we stress that all these results should be taken with a grain of salt. This is a sample set of one of each pistol with one type of ammunition and one set of shooters. Your results may vary.
Best 25 Yard Groups
Sig Sauer X-Five Classic w Aimpoint T-2 0.893
CZ 75 Tactical Sport 1.029 inches
S&W 3566 1.381 “
Sig Arms P210-5 HF 1.622 “
S&W 5906 PPC9 6″ 1.628 “
Pardini GT45-II 1.796 “
Sig Sauer P210 Legend Target 1.829 “
Glock 17L Gen 3 2.155
Beretta 92 Combat 3.422
Best 12 Yard Groups
S&W 5906 PPC9 6″ 0.421 inches
Sig Sauer X-Five Classic with Aimpoint T-2 0.441 “
Glock 17L Gen 3 0.63 “
CZ 75 Tactical Sport 0.719 “
Sig Arms P210-5 HF 0.789 “
S&W 3566 0.866 “
Glock 17L Gen 3 0.88 “
Pardini GT45-II 0.906 “
Sig Sauer P210 Legend Target 1.002″
Beretta 92 Combat 1.181″
Other Pistol Notes
S&W 5906 PPC9 6″ By virtue of consistency the PPC9 came in second place in our accuracy test. It did not have the overall second smallest 25 yard group at 1.63 inches but it did have the overall second smallest average 25 yard group at 1.92 inches.
In addition the PPC9 has the overall smallest 35 foot group of 0.42 inches and the overall third smallest average group size at 35 feet of 0.89 inches. The 35 foot average was thrown off by a single bad group of 1.6 inches.
Sig Sauer P210 Legend Target The P210 Legend was very consistent. The best 25 yard group was a poor 1.83 inches but the average 25 yard group was a third best 2.02 inches.
The best 35 foot group was 1.00 inches and the average 35 foot group was 1.25 inches.
These were solid but not exceptional results from the German P210 and it appears that the Swiss P210 might have a slight edge on it based on best groups.
Sig Sauer P226S X-Five Enhanced Classic The X-Five had the unfair advantage of the Aimpoint T-2 red dot sight. This was reflected in the sheer consistency of group after group. We did not have the broader swings in group size at 25 yards that we had with other pistols as we settled into each new set of iron sights.
The X-Five achieved stunning accuracy. The smallest 5-shot group at 25 yards was 0.89 inches and the average 25 yard group (average of five groups) was a best overall 1.31 inches. These were both the smallest overall. The X5 also achieved the overall second smallest 35 foot 5 shot group of 0.44 inches and smallest 35 foot average group of 0.54 inches.
Even the worst groups were excellent. The worst 35 foot group was 0.65 inches and the worst 25 yard group was 1.63 inches.
The X-Five was the clear winner coming in first in nearly every metric, but we should have either equipped the other pistols with red dot sights or removed the red dot sights from the X-Five to keep the competition fair.
CZ 75 Tactical Sport The CZ Tactical Sport was the clear price to performance ratio winner.
It had a second best 25 yard group of 1.03 inches but was let down by a 2.30 inch average 25 yard group. The other four groups ranged from 2 to 3 inches.
It also had a 35 foot group of 0.72 inches and the second best average 35 foot group of 0.89 inches.
Although it did not outright win, the CZ kept up with pistols costing many times as much.