Lately, the market has exploded with compact, lightweight (polymer) pistol options. Considering that this reviewer has a small frame, some of these highly concealable handguns have more appeal than others. With this in mind, some range time was in order to compare three of the most popular polymer framed 9mm pistols in the CCW field: the Glock 26, the Beretta Nano, and the Ruger LC9.
Of the three, the Glock is the only pistol featuring a double stacked magazine. While that gives it a higher capacity (the 26 boasts 10+1 to the Nano’s 6+1 and the LC9’s 7+1), it also means the grip is wider (1.18”) and bulkier. The Nano has a slim grip (.90”), but it’s round and fits this reviewer’s hand well. The LC9 has a grip similar to the Nano (also .90” wide), but it feels more top heavy. However, Ruger sends a mag with pinky extender standard. That additional purchase allows for a steadier aim in comparison to the two finger grips of the Glock and Beretta.
The Glock 26 is the heaviest of the three, weighing in at 19.75oz, but it feels well balanced and doesn’t interfere with the ability to keep it on target. The Beretta is a little heavier than the LC9 (17.67oz to the LC9’s 17.10oz) and that gives it a more solid feel. That helps to keep it steadier, while also reducing recoil. The Ruger LC9 is the lightest of the three, but the weight doesn’t feel as well balanced (feels top heavy) and, as a result, this reviewer noticed slower follow up shots than with the other two handguns.
The Glock 26 has the least muzzle flip and recoil, and that directly contributes to being able to stay on target better than with either the LC9 or the Nano. However, it’s heavier and features a longer barrel (3.46”) than the other two handguns. The Beretta Nano has a more noticeable muzzle flip, not surprising for the 3.07” barrel, but the snap does take away from speed of target re-acquisition. The Ruger has some muzzle flip and recoil (it has a 3.12” barrel), but nothing that a solid grip can’t handle (much like the Nano).
The trigger on the Glock 26 has the lightest trigger pull of the three, and it broke near to the front of the pull. The light trigger isn’t this reviewer’s personal preference for CCW, but, it did allow for more accurate shots. The Nano has the longest and heaviest trigger pull of the three, and it breaks further back. The Ruger LC9’s trigger doesn’t break as far back as the Beretta, but it isn’t as light as the Glock’s pull. It also felt non-uniform, and that makes keeping the rounds on target more difficult.
The Glock 26 uses notch and post sights, in comparison to the Beretta Nano’s three dot sights. While the Ruger LC9 also has three dot sights, the dots themselves are very tiny. Not only were they more difficult for sight picture alignment, but even seeing them at all caused more strain – especially in low lighting.
The Nano performed well for this reviewer. After over 800 rounds without lubrication, this pistol has only experienced two errors. Using the same ammo, the Glock 26 used for the video experienced one jam within 200 rounds. Overall, Beretta offers a competitive option within the market of pocket size (sub compact) single stack 9mm handguns. It is easier to conceal than the comparatively bulky 26, and easier to keep on target than the lighter LC9 (largely due to the unpredictable trigger pull).
The Glock 26 upholds the reputation Glock is known for in the area of lightweight handguns, and the trigger is its pièce de résistance. It’s only “hangup” in comparison to the little Ruger and Beretta 9mms is the bulk of its double stack mag and the awkward angular grip.
The LC9 may offer the lightest weight with a greater capacity than the Nano, but it doesn’t put rounds downrange with the same ease and accuracy that the Nano accomplishes.