Big 9mm Shootout: Glock, CZ, FN, and Springfield Compete
We test four of the best-handling handguns we have fired in some time. These big semi-autos are a joy to use and fire due to their inherent accuracy and low recoil. But which is the best for you?
Handguns are designed to give the user a certain amount of useful power in a portable configuration. For home defense, the limits on “portable” are less restrictive than those for concealed carry under covering garments. Weight is a big issue for carry, but length competes with mass as the dimension that causes the biggest pain in the back. But for performance, length is helpful when it allows for a longer barrel that will make for greater velocity and energy, and up top, a longer slight radius on the slide generally improves accuracy. Also, a longer front end tends to dampen sight movement during recoil, important when chambering a more powerful cartridge such as the 357 SIG. As such, a certain class of handguns — long barrel/long slide models — answer a lot of needs for home-defense shooters, and for the right people, could even be carried. In this report, we looked hard at four 9mm Luger pistols that are among the longest offerings in their respective stables, they were:
- the CZ-USA CZ P0-9 91620 at 8.1 inches in overall length;
- the FNH FNS-9L Longslide 66725 at 8.25 inches OAL;
- the Glock G34 Gen5 MOS PA3430103MOS at 8.74 inches OAL;
- and the Springfield XD(M) 4.5 XD(M)T9459FDEHCE Threaded Barrel, whose 5.3-inch-long barrel contributes to its 8.3-inch OAL.
The CZ P0-9 is a longer version of the CZ P0-7, yet in this group, the barrel is the shortest of the test at 4.54 inches, or 0.79 inch longer than the CZ P0-7’s. This pistol also features an elongated grip that holds 19 rounds in the magazine versus 15 for the P0-7. An important difference between this pistol and the smaller P0-7 is that the P0-9 is supplied with interchangeable backstraps. To put it in scale, the well-known CZ 75 B is also 8.1 inches long, but the 75 B is 0.4 inches shorter than the P0-9 and holds three fewer rounds in its magazines. Interestingly, the pistol retails for an average $100 less than the smaller P0-7. This product from Ceská zbrojovka Uherskı Brod is a polymer-framed pistol, but unlike the others tested, the P0-9 is hammer fired. We expected the CZ pistol to handle differently from the striker-fired guns, and it did.
FN America pitches the FNS-9 Longslide as a competition gun (as does Glock for its G34), saying the Longslide has been “tested in every type of major shooting event, from high-speed IPSC/USPSA and grueling 3-gun matches to precision bull’s-eye and actions events like the NRA Bianchi Cup.” Okay, none of that scares us if we’re looking for a dependable, easy-to-shoot self-defense handgun.
The Glock G34 Gen5 is likewise designated as a competition pistol, but it’s not Glock’s largest 9mm by quite a bit. The G17L Long Slide gets that honor with a 6.02-inch-long barrel and an OAL of 9.53 inches.
Oddly, Springfield’s XD(M) 4.5 TB (now discontinued in the two-tone color scheme) is longer than what the company designates as a competition handgun, the 5.25-inch-barrel XD(M)95259BHCE Competition Series 9mm. Despite its nomenclature, the threaded-barrel XD(M) version we test here has a 5.3-inch-long barrel to accommodate the threads and is 0.05 inch longer overall than the 5.25 Model, according to company specs.
Here’s what we found out about these longer-than-average handguns.