Top 5 Metal Handguns: Durable Accuracy

Although polymer pistols are considered all the rage among countless gun owners, there are those who prefer all-metal designs. Handguns machined from metal offer a variety of benefits including mitigating felt recoil, flatter shooting, and potentially greater overall longevity. Whether you’re currently looking for a metal frame handgun or are already a fan, we have some suggestions on where to start or expand your collection. Check out our top five metal handguns, in no particular order, of course.

CZ Shadow 2

cz shadow 2
The CZ Shadow 2 is one of many metal handguns the manufacturer produces. (Photo credit: CZ USA)

If you were expecting the CZ-75 to appear on the metal handguns list, surprise! It’s the CZ Shadow 2. This gun is the latest iteration of the company’s SP-01 competition pistol, and although it’s geared for competitive shooters it’s a solid pistol for any gun owner. The Shadow 2 is chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum, has a capacity of 17 +1, and is a full-sized handgun. It’s an SA/DA (single action/double action) with what CZ promises is a short re-set.

This gun has a rugged steel frame and cold hammer forged barrel. It weighs in at 46.5 ounces, empty, so it does have some heft to it. The barrel of the gun measures 4.89 inches and the gun’s overall length is 8.53 inches. This is a well-balanced gun that gives shooters all the benefits of being full-size and metal — less felt recoil and flatter shooting, which translates to greater accuracy on target. Features include a fiber optic front sight, ambidextrous safety, and an undercut trigger guard for an improved grip.

Sig Sauer P320 AXG PRO

sig p320 axg pro
The Sig Sauer P320 AXG Pro brings an all-metal frame to the P320 family. (Photo credit: Sig Sauer)

Like the Sig P320 line? Then the P320 AXG Pro, which is the family of guns’ metal version, is worth a closer look. This is a full-size pistol that’s part of the company’s X Series. It has a stainless steel frame and slide and is designed for superior durability and reliability. The P320 AXG Pro is chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum, has a 17 +1 capacity, and offers numerous features to recommend it for gun owners searching for a solidly built, full-size handgun.

Features of this handgun include XRAY3 Day-Night Sights, forward and rearward slide serrations, and Hogue G10 grips. This is an optics-ready gun with a footprint compatible with the Sig ROMEO1 PRO, ROMEO2, and DeltaPoint Pro. It has a 4.7-inch barrel, overall length of 8.2 inches, and an empty weight of 35.4 ounces. The slide is cut and the magwell is detachable. Overall, this is a great gun for both competition and range use, and all backed by the Sig name.

Smith & Wesson CSX

smith & wesson csx
The Smith & Wesson CSX is a subcompact, metal pistol. (Photo credit: Smith & Wesson)

This one’s not as heavy as stainless steel because it has an aluminum frame. Aluminum is considered a lightweight, post transition metal, so it still qualifies for this list. If you’d rather have a metal subcompact or micro pistol than a polymer one, the CSX just might be the answer to your search. This gun is indeed a microcompact, one that’s chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum and has a capacity of 10 +1 or 12+1. It’s designed for concealed carry and does fit that bill thanks to its diminutive size, and since it has an aluminum frame and stainless steel barrel and slide, it’s durable and tough.

The CSX has a 3.1-inch barrel and an overall length of 6.1 inches. It weighs 19.5 ounces empty, which makes sense considering the lighter weight material of the frame. In addition, the grip inserts of the CSX are polymer, so that shaves off some weight and adds a layer of comfort, too. It’s a single-action gun that comes standard with white, three-dot sights, and an external thumb safety. Forward and rearward serrations make manipulating the slide easier and a somewhat extended beavertail makes it simpler to maintain a high grip. A corrosion-resistant finish helps the gun resist wear and tear. Basically, if you want a metal micro pistol, this is the gun for you.

Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Metal

Smith & Wesson M&P Metal
The Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Metal is a great option for those who love the M&P but want a more rugged gun. (Photo credit: Smith & Wesson)

Yes, it’s a second gun from Smith & Wesson. This one’s part of the wildly popular M&P family, only it’s metal. The Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Metal is a full-sized handgun designed more with defensive use in mind, rather than the competition leanings of the prior two full-sized guns we mentioned. This gun is chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum and has a 17 +1 capacity. Its metal frame is aluminum alloy while the barrel and slide are stainless steel. Similar to the CSX, this gun has polymer grip inserts for comfort’s sake.

The M&P9 M2.0 Metal has a 4.25-inch barrel, a 7.4-inch overall length, and a height of 5.5 inches. The gun comes standard with white dot sights. Of course, the slide is cut for optics, so if you’d like to mount a red dot sight to this gun it’s fairly straightforward. Features include the company’s signature wavy serrations at the front and back of the slide, a reversible magazine release, and an accessory rail ahead of the trigger guard. The gun weighs 30 ounces empty, so while this is a metal gun, it isn’t immensely weighty, although it does retain enough heft to smooth out muzzle rise and felt recoil a bit.

Walther Q4 Steel

Walther Q4 Steel, best metal handguns
The Walther Q4 Steel is a hidden gem in the metal handgun world. (Photo credit: Walther Arms)

People often forget about Walther, which is a true shame because their guns are so fantastic. The Walther Q4 Steel is a stellar example of what metal handguns should be. The Q4 Steel is chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum and has a capacity of 15 +1. This is, like many metal guns, full-size. However, with its 4-inch barrel and overall length of 7.4 inches, it’s a bit smaller than similar models.

The Q4 Steel offers a host of great features including angled forward and rearward slide serrations and a wrap-around grip panel. Walther states the gun is precision machined from steel billet and is designed for what they describe as unrivaled accuracy. It has an extended beavertail to help the shooter maintain a firm, high grip and an accessory rail for lights and lasers. The gun weighs in at 39.7 ounces, empty. This is a well-made, reliable gun that’s quite accurate on paper. Although it being full size makes it more challenging to conceal, it’s not impossible.

What’s your favorite metal handgun? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.

Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you've seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master's Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.

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