Shooting competitions demand the utmost precision and accuracy from competitors, and having the right equipment can make all the difference.
That’s why finding the perfect competition pistol is crucial for any serious shooter. If you’re on the hunt for a top-performing 9mm competition pistol that doesn’t break the bank, keep reading!
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the Faxon FX19 Hellfire along with a few other affordable competition pistols and explore which is the best choice for your next shooting competition.
Summary of the Best 9mm Competition Pistols
- Faxon FX19 Hellfire | Our Top Pick – $1,189.00 @ Faxon Firearms
- Stoeger STR-9S Combat – $554.99 @ Guns.com
- Ruger American Pistol Competition | Most Affordable – $513.99 @ Guns.com
- Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P9 – $599.99 @ Guns.com
- SIG SAUER XFIVE Legion – $999.99 @ Guns.com
What is a Competition Pistol
A competition pistol is designed with the sole purpose of achieving maximum accuracy and performing at a very high level in a competitive setting.
Even though accuracy is important for all firearms, competition pistols take it to a whole new level. This means that manufacturers often have to make trade-offs that might not be ideal for other shooters.
Competitive shooting includes various types of competitions that have their own unique rules and regulations that dictate the type of pistols and modifications allowed.
For example, the rules for shooting in the Olympics are different from those of IPSC, IDPA, and USPSA.
Sponsoring organizations can set various criteria, such as caliber, optics, weight, length, and more.
Rather than getting caught up in the finer details of these differences, let’s focus on competition pistols in general and what features to look for in them, regardless of the specific type of competition.
When modifying standard pistols for use in competitions, the goal is usually to make it easier to control the recoil so that you can shoot faster and more accurately, and cut down on the time it takes to reload and tighten up your groups.
Generally speaking, a top-performing competition pistol should possess the following attributes:
- High visibility sights or an optic
- Match Barrel
- Smooth, lightweight trigger pull
- Short trigger reset
- Flared magazine well
- Customizable grip
Before choosing and customizing a pistol for a shooting competition, it’s important to know what kind of shooting you’ll be doing, since some competitions may not let you use certain parts.
Additionally, for the purposes of this article, we will be discussing stock competition pistols that are ready to shoot out of the box rather than custom-made pistols, which can be quite expensive.
Best 9mm Competition Pistol
Faxon FX19 Hellfire
The Faxon FX19 Hellfire might just be the best-kept secret in competition shooting.
The Hellfire firearm features a low-profile flared mag well along with Night Fision suppressor height sights. The barrel is made of high-quality stainless steel and is threaded to accept attachments such as their EXOS compensator.
In addition, the gun comes with a magazine that can hold up to 20 rounds and has a slide that is serrated and compatible with RMR optics. The Hellfire also includes three large cutouts that reduce its weight and allow for faster cycling of the slide.
The FX-19 line of pistols have successfully completed a 15,000-round durability test, as outlined in US ARMY TOP 3-2-045, along with the NATO standard drop test.
Specs and Features
- Faxon Match Series Glock 19 1/2×28 Threaded Barrel, Machined in-house from 17-4 Stainless Steel
- Enhanced front, rear, and top slide serrations
- Optic cut for Trijicon RMR or Holosun 507C
- Suppressor-Height Night Sights from Night Fision
- 1911-Style Grip Angle
- Custom Polished Front & Rear Slide Rails
- Double Undercut Trigger Guard
- Extended Magazine Release
- Overwatch Precision Trigger
- Enhanced, Low-Profile Magwell
Stoeger STR-9S Combat
The Stoeger STR-9S Combat has a striker-fired mechanism that provides a smooth trigger pull.
The grip is customizable with three interchangeable backstraps, and there’s a beveled magazine well to make reloading more efficient.
Additionally, this pistol has an optics-ready slide as well as a threaded barrel to accept a compensator or suppressor. The controls are large enough to use effectively, and I particularly like the aggressive front and rear slide serrations.
It comes with a 20-round magazine as standard, but a 10-round magazine option is also available. Three metal magazines are included with the purchase of this pistol!
The adjustable sights come standard, and the green fiber optic front sight is easy to see, even in low light. The extractor is sturdy, ensuring consistent and reliable operation.
Based on the performance of this and other STR-9 variants, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these guns win competitions and outperform more expensive models.
Specs and Features
- Adjustable fiber optic sight system
- loaded chamber indicator on the slide automatically raises when a round is in the chamber
- Optics ready with 4 different mounting plates
- Enhanced magazine well to speed up reloading
- Includes 3 interchangeable backstraps for a custom fit
- MSRP: $679.00
Ruger American Pistol Competition
The Ruger American Pistol Competition model is the largest in its family. It features a competition-grade, five-inch stainless steel barrel with a black nitride finish and a 1:16 twist.
The slide is ported and coated with a durable black nitride finish. On top of the slide, you’ll find a fiber optic front sight and a black adjustable rear sight. The slide also has a cutout that allows for easy mounting of most popular reflex optics.
The magazine can hold an impressive 17 rounds, and even though it only weighs 34 ounces, the recoil is easy to handle. This is due to the specialized barrel cam design that distributes rearward force and the modular wraparound grip design that includes small, medium, and large grip inserts for a perfect fit.
The trigger is pre-tensioned for a clean break, and the gun has proven to be very accurate in evaluations by Handguns magazine.
It’s a reliable, American-made competition gun that is affordable, but with Ruger’s reputation, this shouldn’t be surprising.
Specs and Features
- Fully adjustable, serrated rear target sight and fiber optic front sight for rapid target acquisition and accurate shooting.
- The slide is drilled and tapped for direct mounting of red dot reflex optics including Vortex®, Burris®, Sightmark®, Docter®, MeoRed®, MRDS, or similar footprint optics.
- 5" stainless steel, competition barrel with durable black nitride finish has 1:16" slow twist for enhanced accuracy with lighter weight match bullets.
- Modular wrap-around grip system for adjustment of palm swell and trigger reach to fit a wide range of hand sizes.
- Pre-tensioned striker system features a powerful striker spring for positive ignition without a heavier trigger pull.
- Barrel cam distributes recoil forces over a longer period of time to reduce felt recoil.
- MSRP: $689.00
Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P9
Smith & Wesson has spent over a decade perfecting their M&P line of handguns, resulting in serious competition pistols that are popular among competition shooters.
The Performance Center M&P 2.0 pistols have a 5-inch barrel length and feature a comfortable, modular grip that is one of the best in its class. The slide is ported, reducing weight and giving the gun a stylish appearance.
The striker-fired design is dependable, and field-stripping the gun is easy. The trigger is also excellent.
The Armornite nitride finish on the barrel makes sure that the gun can handle the stresses of competition shooting, and it has proven to be very reliable and accurate.
The feed ramp is smooth and polished, and the metal magazines work well with most competition ammo, even the lighter loads.
With a well-designed grip, a low bore axis, and great balance, these guns are perfect for shooting quickly and accurately and for transitioning between targets.
Specs and Features
- Metal frame design with 5˝ barrel
- Slide lightening cuts on top and sides
- Optimal 18-degree grip angle for natural point of aim
- Four interchangeable palm swell grip inserts for optimal hand fit and trigger reach – S, M, ML, L.
- Flared mag well for fast reloads
- Fiber-optic front sight and blacked-out rear sight
- Slide cut for optics
- M2.0 flat face trigger for consistent finger placement that allows for more accurate and repeatable shooting
- Enhanced sear for lighter, crisper trigger let-off
- Forward slide serrations with new aesthetic
- The low barrel bore axis makes the M&P pistol comfortable to shoot, reducing muzzle rise and allowing for faster aim recovery
- Comes with four 17-round magazines
- MSRP: $999.00
SIG SAUER P320 XFIVE LEGION
The Sig Sauer P320 XFive Legion is a great choice for various reasons. It is priced at $999, which is just below the thousand-dollar mark, making it a feasible choice for many first-time competition shooters.
Moreover, this firearm offers multiple magazine options to suit your needs. You can opt for a 17-round magazine if you intend to compete, while the 10-round magazine option complies with most state laws.
The XFive Legion’s adjustable fiber optic sights provide you with complete control to customize your weapon for competition purposes.
Although only 9% of the participants in the USPSA Production Nationals used the XFive Legion, a substantial number of competitive shooters still trust this firearm, even though it has a lower usage rate than the Shadow 2.
The XFive Legion weighs 43.5 ounces, allowing it to handle recoil well, resulting in consistent shot-to-shot accuracy.
Specs and Features
- Dawson Precision Adjustable Fiber Optic Sights
- 30% lighter trigger pull with the Skeletonized flat trigger
- TXG Full-Size XGRIP Module
- Romeo1PRO Optic Ready
- 5" bull barrel
- The recoil system has been upgraded to use a solid steel guide rod and a 14lb 1911-style spring
- Includes (3) 17rd magazines
- MSRP: N/A
If we had to pick one from this list….
The Faxon FX19 Hellfire is definitely worth considering. Its high-quality build, out-of-the-box upgrades, and exceptional performance make it a top contender in the world of competition shooting.
The Faxon FX19 Hellfire is without a doubt one of the best 9mm competition pistols you can buy right now.
What exactly sets apart the Hellfire from the others on this list and why should you pay over $1,000 for this ‘affordable’ 9mm competition pistol? Let’s start with the sights.
Faxon uses high-quality Tritium sights from Night Fision. All others on this list are using some variation of fiber optic front sights. Because the Hellfire is based on the Glock 19 pattern, it becomes a dual-purpose pistol; competition, and concealed carry.
That Tritium front sight is extremely fast to pick up for both competition shooting and personal defense in low-light situations.
Faxon uses the Overwatch Precision Trigger which has been designed to give the shooter a cleaner break during manipulation as well as a reduction in overtravel.
Finally, the barrel. Faxon Firearms is known for its precision machined barrels. That’s their specialty and it shows in the FX19 Hellfire. That combined with the custom slide work gives you an extremely accurate pistol ready for competition as soon as you pull it out of the box.
Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or just getting started, the FX19 Hellfire is sure to take your shooting game to the next level.
What caliber pistol is best for competition?
When it comes to ammunition requirements for competitions, most events mandate the use of 9mm or larger for semi-auto pistols, and at least .38 special or larger for revolvers. The majority of shooters tend to prefer 9mm rounds since they are more affordable to practice with and compete with.
Is a 45 better than a 9mm for competition?
The 45 ACP round is often favored for its reputed “stopping power" when compared to the 9mm, which packs more rounds in most handguns. Ultimately, the choice between the two rounds comes down to personal preference. It’s challenging to determine an outright winner when considering hunting or defense scenarios. However, in competition, the 9mm has an advantage due to its higher capacity and accuracy. Since stopping power is not a significant concern for competitive shooting, the 9mm is often the preferred round.
What pistol does John Wick use?
John Wick’s selection of pistols, ranging from the HK P30L to the Taran Tactical Innovations Pit Viper, exhibits distinctive designs and features that distinguish them from other firearms. For more information on all the pistols used by John Wick, check out our article on the Top John Wick Pistols.
When it comes to choosing the best 9mm competition pistol, from the Faxon FX19 Hellfire to the SIG SAUER P320 X5 Legion, these are all excellent choices that provide top-notch accuracy, reliability, and performance.
Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or just getting started in the sport, any one of these pistols would be a great investment for your shooting game.
So, pick your favorite, train hard, and get ready to dominate the competition!