Compact pistols seem to be the Goldilock standard for handguns. They fit just right in a role where they can double as both a firearm that can be carried concealed and used for home defense. It’s small and light enough to tuck into your pants and hit the road, but it also accommodates a light and is easy to handle for home defense. Compact pistols are big enough to fill your hand and be easy to control with minimal recoil from standard calibers.
Compact pistols offer you most of the benefits of a full-sized pistol combined with most of the benefits of a subcompact pistol. Today we are looking at three popular compact pistols and seeing which comes out as top dog. Those pistols are the Sig P320C, the Glock 19, and CZ P-10C.
I’m not sure if I need to mention this, but we’ll be looking at the 9mm variants of these guns.
O.G. of compact pistols, the Glock 19 is easily the most popular Glock model—especially with the civilian market. This pistol started the theme of compact pistols being just right in size. It packs a rail, a 15 round magazine, and is now in its fifth generation.
When the P320 hit shelves, the P320C followed up quite quickly. Sig advertised the P320 to provide you everything a lot of people believed Glock left out. The p320C comes with a 15 round magazine, a rail, and a variety of models available.
As much as we try to keep CZ sacred, the P-10C brought them lots of mainstream attention. The CZ P-10C refines the compact pistol and comes with a 15 round magazine, a rail, and it also provides a multitude of models.
Compact Pistol Life
I find that these three particular compact pistols have reached a certain degree of popularity. The Glock 19 obviously rules the roost, but the P320C and P-10C are catching up. I’ve broken down this article into several categories, and we’ll discuss the merits of each pistol and why one might edge the others out in each category.
All three of these handguns are great guns.
They are duty suitable and built to last. There isn’t a single bad gun in this group. However, some pull ahead in certain categories every so slightly. Keep in mind this is just my opinion, and the good news is you can sound off in the comments to let me know what you think about each category.
Best Ergonomics — CZ P-10C
Ergonomics are how the pistol feels in hand and how accessible and easy the controls are to reach. In this category, I think the CZ P-10C stands out considerably. The Glock 19, even the latest generation, feels a bit like a brick in your hand. The P320C feels a bit like a thinner brick in your hand. Neither is terrible, but when held in comparison to the P-10C, you notice a huge difference.
The P10C tapers its grip as it meets its peak behind the trigger. This thinner portion of the gun provides a much more comfortable grip overall. I didn’t notice the brick-like nature of the other two compact pistols until I picked up the P-10C. Plus, the ultra-aggressive grip texture is fantastic and tough to beat.
Additionally, I appreciate the slide lock/release on the P-10C. On the Glock and Sig, my thumbs pin down the slide lock and render it nearly useless. The undercut on the trigger guard of both the P-10C and P320C makes it easy to choke up. Accessing the magazine release of each weapon isn’t difficult, and the CZ P-10C is the only one that provides a true ambidextrous release.
The P320C comes in second, and ultimately the Glock 19 comes in third in ergonomics.
Best in Reliability — Glock 19
All three of these compact pistols have been proven to be extremely reliable. When a gun sucks, it doesn’t take long for the internet to notice and report on it. Well, you won’t see many reports of any of these guns failing. In general, these are all very reliable pistols.
However, the age of the Glock 19 and the fact that it’s been issued so widely to police and military forces across the world show that the gun works. It’s the most proven firearm on this list and takes the top spot for reliability.
Coming in second will be the P320C which proved itself well during the Army’s MHS contest. Third, obviously is the CZ P-10C, and that’s largely due to the fact it has not been tested to the same degree as the other two pistols. None of these guns have failed in my usage.
Best for Customization — SIG P320C
The Glock 19 would be the easiest option to toss onto this category and call it a day. Sure, you can get a dozen different triggers for the Glock 19, but they aren’t all that different. With the P320C, you can pop out that fire control unit (FCU) and instantly change the grip module. You can get metal grip modules, X series, and aftermarket options without the need for an FFL.
Like the Glock, you can change a wide variety of things about the gun. This includes the slide, barrel, triggers, and beyond. However, the FCU makes your customizations more meaningful. The Glock 19 comes in second clearly, and the P-10C in a distant third.
Best in Accuracy — It’s a Tie
Compact pistols are all relatively the same when it comes to accuracy. You won’t see any massive difference between the guns in the hands of a shooter. An expert with a Glock will shoot a Sig or CZ just as accurately. I’m personally most accurate with the P320C, but the optic certainly helps in that role.
Best Price — P-10C (Just Barely)
As I write this in 2021, prices are all other the place. The best I can do is find one website that sells all three pistols and look at the price between each standard model. I’ve excluded special additions, X-Series guns, etc. I compared the Glock 19 Gen 5, the CZ P-10C, and P320C.
It seems that the P-10C is about 40 bucks cheaper for its bare-bones base model. If I compare the Glock 19 Gen 4, the prices are identical, so you could argue it’s a tie. So as a tiebreaker, I looked to the optic’s ready models, and the CZ P-10C is cheaper than both the P320C RX and Glock 19 Gen 4 MOS guns.
My Personal Favorite?
Out of the box, I think the best stock gun of these three compact pistols is the CZ P-10C. Yes, I’m a CZ fan, but I do feel for the money the CZ provides the best features and experience. From the metal sights to the better overall ergonomics, I think it’s just a better gun compared to the other two. That’s just looking at stock pistols; I’m sure if we dived into some of SIG’s special editions, I’d change my mind. That being said, the Sig and Glock offer plenty of reasons to purchase them.
The Glock 19 offers a massive aftermarket with affordable and available OEM magazines, lots of holsters, and a superbly simple design. Anyone can work on a Glock, and the armorer’s course is like a day-long, and all you need is a punch to take the entire thing apart.
The Sig P320C allows for a crazy degree of customization, with new features, grip modules, and slides being released all the time. The FCU opens up an entire market to turn one pistol into many.
Compact Pistols For All
Ultimately I think these are the three best compact pistols currently on the market. You know my personal favorite and feelings on the above categories. What’s your opinion? Let us know below your favorite of the compact pistols on this list and beyond this list.