With 2020 stalling for a worldwide pandemic pause, now is a great to look at new pistols for 2020. What’s the best self-defense handgun? How about the most fun pistol? What about hunting pistols? These are intros, not deep dives, so take a look and tell us what we might have overlooked. Oh, and a word on “pistols…” Given the wonderful world of braced pistols, you’ll see these mixed in with what we traditionally called handguns. Come to think about it, “handgun” is a strange label because don’t most guns require using your hands?
So, onward with our top eleven pistol picks for 2020!
1) Remington 700 Chassis Pistol
The Remington Model 700 is a classic, something that will never steer you wrong. But what if you wanted that classic bolt gun in a shorter configuration and without any SBR restrictions and red tape? Well, you can thank Remington for introducing the 700 Chassis Pistol! It’s the same 700 bolt-action we all know and love, but now it’s a pistol with shorter barrels. So what does this mean for cartridge choices? No worries, the 700 chassis pistol comes in .308 WIN, .300 AAC Blk, .223 Rem, and 6.5 Creedmoor.
You choose braced or not braced. The 700 chassis pistol still uses a 10-round detachable box magazine and comes with an M-LOK handguard. Of course, it protects your hands from a hot barrel, but with the now ubiquitous M-LOK mounting points, you can add all kinds of accessories.
MSRP: Starting at $1,020.00
2) GLOCK 44 .22LR
While I’ve never been a huge fan of GLOCKs, I decided to put my bias aside and give the new GLOCK 44 in .22LR a fair chance. It was definitely at the top of my list to try out at Industry Day at the Range, so after making the rounds, I stopped at the GLOCK booth. Given the length of the line, it appeared others were thinking the same as I was. After spending just a little bit of quality time with it, my first impressions fit my opinion of every other GLOCK I’ve ever shot. While still a .22LR, it proved a bit big for my hands and comes with an uncomfortable grip texture.
I will admit that it might make a great little plinking handgun for those just getting started who don’t want to break the bank for a .22LR. For me, though, I was done with it after the first magazine. I could see this being a great, affordable introduction to shooting and a fun toy for GLOCK aficionados, but most shooters I know would get bored after a short while and want something next level.
3) CMMG Banshee 300 Series 10mm
While the Banshee is more of a Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC for short) than an actual handgun, I believe the concept is really cool. The 10mm round isn’t new, but its popularity looks like it’s growing again. Some love it for hunting, some for defensive purposes. I can definitely see myself hunting hogs with it! Key takeaway? The CMMG Banshee 300 Series 10mm isn’t built like most other PCC on the market.
They claim a significant reduction in felt recoil thanks to their Radial Delayed Blowback operating system. Hey CMMG, how about sending one out for a test?
4) Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP
One of the most anticipated firearms of the year, the Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP launched with great fanfare. The U-Dot iron sights make for easy target acquisition. Like more and more handguns, the Hellcat OSP is optics ready. You don’t have to worry about hiring a gunsmith mount a red dot. The 11+1 capacity offers more rounds than any other compact currently on the market. The stand-off device allows the barrel to not touch the target when pushed right up against it.
While it felt great to shoot, my only complaint was this: Compact handguns are always a combination of compromises, but I felt like there was more muzzle flip than was necessary in a 9mm. Still, the grip fit perfectly into my hand and I could aim and fire instantly without having to think about the perfect shooting stance.
5) SIG SAUER P320 XFive Legion
The Sig Sauer P320 XFive Legion is one of the best handguns I’ve ever had the pleasure to shoot. While it had some weight to it, it wasn’t so overbearing that I couldn’t keep it on target easily. I would describe the recoil as well balanced. I almost didn’t notice it. The flared magwell allows for quick reloads and the action is so smooth! As a 9mm, this handgun could easily take over competitions across the country. I’d love to see what I could accomplish with one of these in my holster!
6) American Tactical GSG 1911
American Tactical has been making the GSG 1911 style .22LR pistols for a few years now. However new for this year, American Tactical has released the GSG 1911 pistol in .22LR High Velocity. Available in 3 different colors, black, green, and tan, these fun little handguns are perfect for anyone. There’s even a New York and California compliant version. The 10 round magazine meets any state’s requirements. A 5” barrel meets any 1911 enthusiast’s expectations and makes you feel like you are shooting a full-size 1911. Either way, you can’t go wrong!
7) TriStar 120
Well known for their affordable Turkish-made firearms, TriStar imports both the 100 series and 120 series of 9mm pistols. While I’m focusing on the 120 series, the 100 series is just as nice, but with a smaller frame. Featuring a 4.7” barrel and 17-round capacity magazines, the TriStar 120 series comes in a small collection of colors. My personal favorites have to be desert sand and tungsten. Picking up on some resemblance to the CZ line? TriStar made the 120 series to have a few interchangeable parts with CZ-USA’s version. At least to my way of thinking, that just makes it easier to get parts.
MSRP: Starting at $470.00
8) FN 509 Compact
The FN 509 model isn’t new. It is, however, revered by many. Given the demand for compact pistols at the moment, the 509 Compact makes a lot of sense. Not all compacts are created equal, but I think this one is a winner for smaller-framed men and women to carry. I would definitely carry one of these. Coming in your choice of black or flat dark earth, you can choose the 509 Compact that fits your style. Or, get them both to match any outfit! With ambidextrous controls, this handgun both lefties and righties can enjoy it. You also have your choice of 10, 12, or 15-round magazines. Unlike most compacts, the FN 509 Compact comes optics ready, right out of the box.
9) Kimber Micro 9 Amethyst
With Kimber’s Micro 9 launch now in the rearview mirror, the platform continues to gain popularity. Kimber is well-known for being a producer of high-end firearms, and the Micro 9 is no different. While I have my heart set on a sapphire model, the Micro 9 Amethyst version will grab anyone’s eye. You might love it, you might hate it, but no matter what, you will notice it! Featuring a gorgeous mirror-polished amethyst purple on the slide, grips, and controls, Kimber once again impresses me with their beautiful creation. Engraved scroll accents grace the slide, adding to the beauty of this gun. While it is completely functional and small enough to easily carry, I’m not entirely sure I would want to for fear of the finish getting damaged. With a 4” barrel and a 7+1 capacity, any decent shot can quickly protect themselves with this beauty. Alternately, you can bring it out just for wow factor to impress your friends!
10) Colt Competition Pistol Blued
Unfortunately, I was slightly disappointed with Colt’s line-up this year, with one notable exception. This Colt Competition Pistol caught my eye and it’s easy to see why. The carbon steel slide and frame have been blued to protect against weather and dirt. The blue and black G10 grips complement the steel while also standing out. The fiber optic sights are adjustable and it features a Series 70 firing system. This competition 1911 comes chambered in the standard .45ACP with an 8+1 capacity. Their website currently says it also comes in 9mm. 1911 pistols can look generic, sweet or one-of-a-kind. I’ll put this one in the sweet category and that’s why it made this list.
The guns on this list are hard to compare to each other. I’ve covered a lot of apples and oranges here. Without a doubt, though, I saved one of my favorites for last.
If you’re at all familiar with guns, you’ll recognize the iconic Ruger name. Many new shooters, myself included, learned how to shoot with a Ruger Mark series .22LR handgun. When the SHWAT™ Team hit the range at SHOT Show, we were all pumped about this new 5.7mm shooting handgun. I made a bee-line for the booth and let me just say, the wait in line was totally worth it!
I expected the Ruger-57 to be heavy with a lot of recoil and a frame too big for my hand. having loaded and made ready, I was pleasantly surprised with just how lightweight it was. However, the lightness started to concern me a little when I thought about recoil. Guess what? Again I was surprised at just how light the recoil was. The frame felt perfect in my hand and I was saddened when I had fired my 2 magazines and had to walk away. The steel slide comes drilled and tapped for optics, but you will have to purchase the optics adapter plate separately. The fiber-optic iron sights are easily adjustable for windage and elevation for easy target acquisition.