Top 5 Polymer Pistols (That Aren’t Glocks)

When you hear the words “polymer pistol,” you probably immediately picture a Glock. However, there are countless other polymer frame pistols on the market, and they’re great guns. Not sold on the idea of trying a polymer handgun rather than a metal one? We’re going to fill you in on five of our top picks from the polymer pistols currently available and why we think they’re awesome. Everyone should have at least one polymer handgun in their collection.

Heckler & Koch VP9 Tactical

Heckler & Koch VP9 Tactical
The Heckler & Koch VP9 Tactical is a high-quality handgun with a polymer frame. (Photo credit: Heckler & Koch)

Let’s jump in with one of the higher-end polymer-framed handguns: the Heckler & Koch VP9 Tactical. Although we’re mentioning the Tactical specifically, the entire VP9 series is great. This gun is chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum and has a capacity of 10 +1 or 15 +1. The gun has a 4.7-inch barrel, an overall length of 7.95 inches, and a height of 5.41 inches. The empty weight is 26.87 ounces. It’s a full-sized gun designed with defensive use in mind and offers the features to go with it.

Features of the VP9 Tactical include an ergonomically designed grip for comfort and a firm hold during live fire, texturing so hands don’t slip, and front and back slide serrations. The gun has an accessory rail in front of the trigger guard for easy addition of lights and lasers. Suppressor-height iron sights come standard so it’s possible to co-witness with a red dot sight, which this gun is also ready for right out of the box. There’s even a threaded barrel so you can add whatever muzzle device you prefer. Each gun ships with two backstraps and two side plates so the grip size can be fine-tuned to better fit the shooter.

Walther PPQ M2

walther ppq m2
The Walther PPQ M2 might not be aesthetically ideal, but it’s a well-performing pistol. (Photo credit: Walther Arms)

The Walther PPQ M2 is a well-made handgun that produces excellent results down range. Some gun owners are put off by the fact that it isn’t as sleek as some polymer pistols, but this gun performs so well that it absolutely should not be dismissed. The PPQ M2 has a four-inch barrel, an overall length of 7.1 inches, and a height of 5.3 inches. It’s 1.3 inches wide. This gun is chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum and has a 15 +1 capacity. Its empty weight is 24.5 ounces.

Features of the PPQ M2 include an ambidextrous slide stop, reversible magazine release, and an accessory rail for the addition of aftermarket lights and lasers. Front and rear serrations make manipulating the slide easier and ridges on controls facilitate smoother operation. The grip is textured to help shooters keep a firm hold on the gun during live fire and interchangeable backstraps make it possible to adjust the gun’s size according to the shooter’s needs. Guns ship with XS Tritium Night Sights so the gun’s ready to go right out of the box.

Taurus G3c

Taurus G3C
The Taurus G3c is a good option for shooters interested in a compact polymer frame pistol. (Photo credit: Taurus)

Looking for a compact polymer pistol? Check out the Taurus G3c. This gun is chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum, which is a great defensive round. It has a capacity of 12+1. Its barrel length is 3.2 inches, its overall length is 6.3 inches, and its height is 5.1 inches. What that translates to is the G3c being compact enough for concealment but large enough that it shouldn’t be a challenge to grip it easily during use. Also, its width is 1.2 inches, so it’s slim, but not so tiny it’s uncomfortable.

Features of the Taurus G3c include a textured grip for a solid hold during live fire, front and back slide serrations, and easy-to-manipulate controls. The gun comes standard with a fixed front sight and drift adjustable rear sight. It does have an external thumb safety. According to Taurus, the G3c offers all the benefits of the full-sized G3, only in a compact platform. It has an empty weight of 22 ounces, so it’s not going to add excessive bulk to your belt line or carry setup.

Shadow Systems CR920

shadow systems cr920
The Shadow Systems CR920 is a great option for concealed carry. (Photo credit: Shadow Systems)

Shadow Systems is a bit newer to the gun world than some, but they’ve proven themselves in record time. The Shadow Systems CR920 is a compact polymer pistol the manufacturer says is actually fun to shoot. This gun is chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum and has a capacity of 10 +1 with a flush fit magazine and 13 +1 with an extended magazine. Specifications include a 3.41 barrel, overall length of 6.37 inches, and height of 4.27 inches (with the flush fit magazine inserted). It weighs a scant 17.8 ounces, empty.

This gun offers a lot of great features such as an aggressively textured grip, slightly undercut trigger guard, and angled front and rear slide serrations. Variants that are optics-ready are available, so if you want to put a red dot sight on your gun, you can. The Elite version, which is pictured above, has a window cut to reduce weight. This is a striker-fired gun. Shadow Systems offers it with either a black nitride or bronze TiCN barrel. This gun is a nice option if you’re looking for a higher-end carry gun in a compact size that offers a variety of potential extras.

Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0

smith & wesson m&p
The Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 is a top-selling polymer pistol for good reason. (Photo credit: Smith & Wesson)

It’s almost impossible to do a list of polymer pistols without mentioning this gun. The Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 is one of the more recent iterations of the popular M&P line. It’s well made, reasonably priced, and accurate on paper. It’s a striker-fired pistol and does not have an external thumb safety. This model is chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum and offers a capacity of 17 +1. It’s not a compact gun, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it for daily carry. You can absolutely conceal a full-size gun with the right holster and belt.

Features of the M&P9 M2.0 include the company’s rugged textured grip, wavy slide serrations, and an accessory rail ahead of the trigger guard. The gun has an 18° grip angle, which the manufacturer states is ideal for natural aim, and an embedded stainless steel chassis. The barrel length is 4.25 inches, the overall length is 7.4 inches, and the height with factory iron sights is 5.5 inches. It weighs 27.8 ounces, empty. The M&P M2.0 is offered in two other calibers as well, so if you want something other than 9mm, you’re in luck.

There are a lot of polymer frame pistols on the market, but they’re definitely not all created equally. Before you choose one, spend some time handling them, and get trigger time in whenever possible. Do your research, figure out exactly what you need, and go from there.

What’s your favorite polymer pistol? Tell us what you think 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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