Most Reliable Handguns: 5 Pistols That Won’t Let You Down

What is the most reliable handgun for self-defense?

Almost every person interested in firearms has asked themselves this question at one point or another, and virtually every single one of them has wound up with the same answer. There is no answer.

With so many different models and manufacturers currently available on the market, it would be truly impossible to crown one handgun as the most dependable of them all.

However, there’s no denying that some pistols are much more likely to experience problems than others. That’s why I’ve gone ahead and compiled this list of the top five most reliable handguns for self-defense.

1. Glock 19

most reliable handgun

The Glock 19 is considered to be the most popular handgun used in the United States, if not the entire world. While a big portion of Glocks are used by the police force, even the Navy Seals have recently switched over to using the Glock 19 as their primary handgun. And any gun that’s reliable enough for the Navy Seals, is reliable enough for me.

Besides being a great handgun for both law enforcement and military personnel, the mid-sized Glock 19 can also be used for concealed carry, self-defense, home defense, and even competition shooting as well.

This 9mm semi-automatic pistol is extremely accurate, easy to use, lightweight, simple to clean/maintain, and comes with a high capacity 15 round magazine (can even upgrade to a higher capacity if needed). An accessory rail is also included on the Gen 3 & 4 models of the Glock 19 to allow for the use of flashlights, lasers, etc.

The best part about Glocks though is that parts for this gun are both cheap and widely available. So at least when SHTF you may be lucky enough to find parts if something ever happens to break.

Watch this video below for more proof of the durability of Glocks.

2. SIG P226

best shtf gun

Before the Navy Seals made the switch to the Glock 19, the SIG Sauer P226 was their primary weapon of choice. While this 9mm handgun may be bigger, heavier and far more expensive than the Glock 19, it does come with its fair share of advantages as well.

For starters, the extra weight and overall balance of the SIG P226 makes this handgun extremely accurate and easy to handle. The double-action/single-action (DA/SA) trigger is also much safer than the “safe action” trigger on the G19. Plus it’s incredibly smooth and extremely easy to fire after the first pull.

However, if you’re wanting to buy a CCW then you may want to look into more compact models such as the SIG P228 and P229. Being a full-sized handgun the SIG P226 does tend to be a little more suited for open carry than concealed.

For this reason, I consider the SIG P226 to be more of a combat or GTW pistol than an EDC.

3. CZ 75

most comfortable handgun

One of the most comfortable handguns I’ve ever had the chance of firing is the CZ 75. This 9mm semi-automatic pistol comes with an all-steel frame, DA/SA trigger, and an ergonomic grip that feels like it was perfectly molded to fit your hands.

That’s not all though.

The CZ 75 also has an extremely low bore axis due to the design of the in-frame slide. The low bore axis is a really nice feature as it gives you the advantage of a lighter recoil and less muzzle flip – leading to more accuracy and quicker follow-up shots.

And while the CZ 75 may come with a DA/SA trigger, you can always leave the pistol cocked and locked with the safety on and use it just like you would a 1911 for a quicker single-action trigger pull on your first shot.

If you plan on using the gun cocked and locked though then I would recommend getting the CZ 75B. This particular model comes with the addition of a firing pin block that prevents an accidental discharge from ever happening if the gun is dropped while the hammer is cocked and locked.

4. Beretta 92FS

best combat handgun

Even though Beretta may be an Italian gun manufacturer, the Beretta 92FS or M9 (model used by the U.S. military) has evolved into one of the most iconic American handguns of all time. In fact, this 9mm pistol has been the official sidearm of the US military for over 30 years now, until only recently being replaced by the Sig Sauer P320.

While some people may say that the Beretta 92 has obtained a bad reputation over the years (mainly due to slide failures from pre-FS model), I would actually consider the Beretta 92FS to be one of the most reliable handguns you can buy.

The main source of this reliability stems from the open slide design that virtually eliminates the possibility of a jam or “stovepipe”. In addition, the direct feed alignment between the magazine and chamber also ensures smooth feeding and exceptional accuracy every single time.

The Beretta 92FS is also the perfect handgun for left-handed shooters due to the ambidextrous mag release and safety lever that doubles as a de-cocker. And while many people complain about the awkward position of the safety/de-cocker, it’s actually not that bad once you know how to use it properly.

5. Heckler & Koch HK45

Heckler Koch HK45
Image Souce: Flickr

It’s hard to find a better handgun for when SHTF than the HK45 by Hecker & Koch. Built from the ground up with the U.S. military in mind, this .45 ACP handgun is so effective that it was even used by one of the Navy Seals in the raid to kill Osama Bin Laden.

So what makes the HK45 such a great GTW handgun?

To begin with, the .45 ACP rounds used by the HK45 are a little more powerful than the 9mm round that you’ll typically see people carry. Now this isn’t to say that .45 ACP rounds are any better than 9mm rounds, but they will definitely do a little more damage when they come in contact with the target at hand.

Unfortunately, shooting a handgun with .45 ACP ammunition does come with a few downsides as well, including a higher recoil and lower firing capacity (10 +1). If you live in a state or country that doesn’t allow high-capacity magazines though (more than 10 rounds) then using a .45 ACP handgun can definitely be a huge advantage.

The other main features that go into making the HK45 such a great and reliable handgun for when SHTF include its ambidextrous controls, ergonomic grip, Picatinny accessory rails, polygonal rifling, and recoil reduction system. The HK45 also comes with a DA/SA trigger and has a safety/de-cocker that allows you to carry this gun cocked and locked for a quicker reaction time.

While some may say that all of these features make the HK45 a little too complex to be a true SHTF gun, I would most certainly have to disagree.

In a 50,000 round endurance test done by, the HK45 only failed twice to go through its entire cycle of operation. Now I don’t know about you, but being able to shoot 25,000 rounds without missing a beat definitely proves the reliability of this handgun for me.