Best Handguns for Competition Shooting

Making the jump to competitive shooting sometimes necessitates an upgrade to guns and gear. On the hunt for pistols that meet the performance demands of competition? has you covered.

It’s worth mentioning, before we dive in, that most of the handguns we’ve gathered fall under the polymer striker-fired umbrella. Simply put, striker-fired pistols tend to be more cost-effective than their custom-built brethren. Though some pro shooters favor the double-stacked 2011 platform, like the STI Edge and Tactical, these race guns bring with them hefty price tags; so, for gunners looking to compete while keeping costs down, the following options prove best.

1. Glock 34

glock 34 competition handgun with sight

The long-slide Glock 34 offers increased accuracy to Glock fanboys and fangirls jumping into competition. Chambered in 9mm, the G34 measures 8.82-inches in overall length with a barrel length of 5.31-inches. The longer dimensions prove useful in a competitive context, increasing sight radius which, in turn, allows for more accurate shots on target. The reliable G34, weighing 23.10-ounces unloaded, is widely used by IPSC shooters and under other shooting sports banners. Grab a MOS model, like the Gen 5 G34, to have an optics-ready race gun ready for Open division shooting. The G34 is perfect for shooters already accustomed to the Glock pistol platform.

With three generations under its belt, the G34 delivers 17+1 rounds and features an MSRP starting around $600.


2. CZ Shadow 2

cz shadow 2 competition handgun

Building upon the original Shadow platform, the Shadow 2 takes the design to new heights for competitive shooters. A popular option among USPSA shooters, the pistol offers a high beavertail, undercut trigger guard, improved trigger, swappable mag release with an adjustable button for a more custom feel, and a fiber optic front sight with serrated HAJO rear sight. Specs-wise, the CZ Shadow 2 brings a 4.89-inch barrel length to the 8-inch overall frame with weight at 46.5-ounces.

The CZ Shadow packs 17+1 rounds and retails for $1,349.


3. Sig Sauer P320 XFive Legion

sig xfive legion competition handgun

Sig Sauer enters the competitive ring with its upgraded P320 model, the XFive Legion. The P320 XFive Legion has been in the hands of top shooters like Lena Miculek, Max Michel and Daniel Horner meaning this gun is primed for competition. The pistol opts for a TXG tungsten-infused grip module offering the weight of steel with the flex of polymer. All in all, the P320 XFive Legion weighs in at 43.5-ounces. Providing a skeletonized trigger, the handgun also sports a Romeo1Pro optics-ready slide and Dawson Precision fiber optic adjustable sights. Measuring 8.5-inches in total length, the P320 XFive Legion is equipped with a 5-inch barrel and 17+1 round capacity.

The Sig Sauer P320 XFive Legion is priced around $899.


4. Walther Q5 Match

walther q5 match competition handgun

Walther stunned the industry in 2019 with the introduction of its Q5 Match pistol – a purpose-built handgun designed to meet the demands of competitive shooting. Outfitted with a 5-inch barrel and chambered in 9mm, the Q5 Match platform ups the ante with interchangeable backstraps, LPA sights, ambi mag and slide releases, and a ported, optics-ready build. Measuring 8.1-inches in total length, the Q5 Match tips scales at 23-ounces.

Decked out in a cool black and blue look, the Walther Q5 Match sports an MSRP of $849.


5. Smith & Wesson M&P9

Competition handguns

A tried and true platform, the Smith & Wesson M&P9 offers a familiar striker-fired design chambered in 9mm. The M&P9 offers 17+1 rounds and a 4.3-inch barrel. Weighing 25.6-ounces, the M&P9 is available with or without a manual thumb safety. Equipped with an integrated rail for accessories, the pistol also opts for three-dot sights. Though parent company released the second generation of M&P pistols with the M2.0 series, plenty of original M&P9 models are available at price points perfect for those on a budget.

The Smith & Wesson M&P9 delivers a price tag around $500.


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