When it comes to choosing a handgun, brand name and reputation come into play a lot.
As an item that you don’t want to cheap out on, it’s important to have a gun that’s made by a reputable and reliable name that has been in the firearm business for years, but each of them offers something distinctive from the next.
What are the best handgun brands in the world?
Among the top handgun makers in the world are known names like Glock, Sig, Smith and Wesson, and Colt.
These brands have a long history of manufacturing firearms and continue to keep up with the demand of the market, so they’re a smart choice no matter the type of handgun you’re after.
A reliable handgun is worth its weight in gold and if you’re looking for guaranteed dependability, you need to go with the experts.
We’ve compiled a list of the best handgun brands in the world so you can see who’s worthy of your time when choosing a new firearm for yourself.
The Best Handgun Brands in the World
Ask anyone to name a famous gun maker, and they’ll likely rattle off some of the better-known names like Smith and Wesson and Colt.
There’s a good reason why these brands have the reputation they do, so check out our list of them and others who know how to make a fine handgun.
#1 Sturm Ruger & Co
Sturm, Ruger and Company is known by its shortened name Ruger, although it was founded by both Sturm and Ruger in 1949.
The Ruger brand is known for both handguns and long guns, with a reputation for making durable yet simple weapons that are well within the budget of anyone.
Within the range of guns from Ruger, you’ll find everything from full-sized revolvers to compact double actions, so there’s something for everyone.
They also make semi-automatics, shotguns, and revolvers, making them one of the more versatile gunmakers out there.
- Most Famous Guns: Ruger has made a range of famous guns in their time, but the two most popular are the GP100 and Mark IV target pistol. They also have a new addition to the list with the Ruger American Pistol and have succeeded in creating a polymer frame pistol that’s already made a name for itself.
Glock is a name known by everyone, even if you’ve never owned a firearm in your life. The range of handguns created by the Austrian manufacturer are used by everyone from everyday citizens concerned with home defense to law enforcement and military personnel.
What sets Glock apart is their reputation for creating a quality polymer-framed pistol and how their handguns are slim profile and easy to handle.
Although they rose to fame after creating a handgun for the Austrian military, they’re now enjoyed by people all around the world and are an internationally recognized brand.
- Most Famous Guns: Glock has developed so many memorable handguns including the very first Glock 17 which is still in circulation today and used by law enforcement. Their Glock 19 is one of the top-selling handguns in the US at the moment thanks to its performance for price rating and is now in its fourth-generation model.
#3 Smith and Wesson
Smith and Wesson are the go-to brand when you think of American handgun manufacturers and they’ve been working at it since 1852.
All of their guns are made to the standards of the policemen and armed forces they design for, which makes them exceptional for everyday users as well.
The range of S&W weaponry includes their most popular revolvers and pistols, but they also make others like throwing knives and rifles. If you’re thinking of a classic American handgun manufacturer, Smith and Wesson will always be at the top of the list.
- Most Famous Guns: S&W has made a lot of famous guns in their time, but the most historic is the Model 10 which was used in both World Wars and by policemen for decades. The Smith and Wesson Shield was released in 2012 and still stands up as one of the most user-friendly sub-compact semi-automatic handguns ever made.
The Colt Manufacturing Company was founded by Samuel Colt in 1855 and succeeded their earlier firearms company from 1836.
With a strong history in manufacturing and engineering firearms, their weapons have been front and center in World War I and other important events in military history.
Colt’s reputation isn’t one of an affordable or simple gun, but rather they feature intricate designs and innovative technology.
Because of this, they’re usually more expensive than most but have continued to wow the world with their range of handguns and engineering feats.
- Most Famous Guns: The Colt Single Action Army has a reputation for being the most famous handgun in American history. As it was present for many famous battles and wars, it eventually earned the title of the Peacemaker. The 1927 Colt Detective Special was another highly regarded model from the gunmaker, as a steel-framed double-action revolver and a historic firearm that would later be known as the first snub nose.
#5 Sig Sauer
Sig Sauer is one of the youngest gun makers here when you compare them to the rest, with the German company only being founded in 1975.
Originally known as Schweizerische Waggon Fabrik, the Sig Sauer brand started their American-based company in 1985 as a way to import and distribute in the US.
The handguns created by Sig Sauer are popular for personal and professional use, with the utmost quality and care taken with each of their designs. The quality and reliability of their handguns are what sets them apart from the rest.
- Most Famous Guns: The most famous Sig Sauer of the moment is their P320, as it’s earned a place as the United States Army’s standard-issue sidearm and a title of M17. There are lots of ways for civilians to get their hand on the P320 as well, with a standard version available for everyone to own.
#6 Walther Arms
Walther is the shortened name for Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen, a famous German gun manufacturer that was created in 1886.
As one of the longest-standing gunmakers in history, they’ve made some of the most popular air guns and firearms in history and continue to do so to this day.
The US company Walther Arms, Inc. is responsible for distribution and manufacturing at home, but they’re also known for manufacturing most of Germany’s military weapons, including those made for the Nazis.
During World War 2, the weapon became a prize that US soldiers would bring home, and they’ve earned legendary status because of it.
- Most Famous Guns: The most famous Walther weapon is the PPK, and it rose to stardom after being used by none other than James Bond as his go-to sidearm. The pistol is petite but heavy and has been chambered for lots of different cartridges and in different configurations so you can get exactly what you want but still keep that 007 charm.
#7 Browning Arms Company
The Browning Arms Company was founded by the Browning brothers from Utah in 1878 as a way to market John Browning’s sporting firearms, which were manufactured by names like Colt and Winchester.
The selection of firearms, gun mechanisms, and cartridges designed by John Browning is legendary and it’s thanks in part to the Browning Arms Company who marketed them.
These handguns have been utilized d by military personnel first and foremost, but are also popular among civilians. Their range has a reputation for accuracy and durability, so they’re built to last for many generations.
- Most Famous Guns: The Browning Hi-Power has been credited as the prototype for all defensive handguns made today, and it was first released back in 1935. The design evolved over time from a 9mm pistol with double stack magazine to a single action hammer-fired pistol, and was the most commonly used handgun for US military units in history.
Beretta is the first Italian gunmaker on our list but also one of the most renowned manufacturers in the world.
The firearms company has been creating weapons since the 16th century and holds the title of the oldest active firearms component manufacturer in the world.
What makes Beretta a standout is its reliability and the fact that it’s passed numerous military tests in the past.
Today, the Beretta name is known for creating firearms for personal use, but most importantly, for the military and police force, which further cements their reputation for reliability.
- Most Famous Guns: The most regarded Beretta handgun is the 92, which rose to fame as it was named the standard-issue sidearm for the US military in 1985. This caused a lot of commotion because the gun wasn’t US-made and it wasn’t made for .45 ACP, but rather 9mm Luger. The semi-automatic pistol is still a popular choice today and comes in many caliber variants.
#9 Heckler and Koch
The Heckler and Kock brand was started in postwar Germany, and although it had no military history backing it, it quickly rose to fame.
Heckler and Koch is more commonly known as H&K in the United States, and not only do they make reliable handguns, but their products also include grenade launchers, sub-machine guns, and more.
H&K is known for its durability and reliability, two very important traits for a handgun to have, whether you’re a civilian or military user.
They’ve developed weapons for the US Army and Marine Corps, as well as a special weapon for the Special Operations Command’s Offensive Handgun Weapon System called the Universal Service Pistol.
- Most Famous Guns: The VP9 series of handguns from H&K is arguably their most famous in the US for simplicity and durability, as well as the USP that was specifically made for the Special Ops. Although not a handgun, the G11 from Hecker and Koch made history as a caseless ammunition rifle but was a non-production prototype.
Choosing the right handgun is serious business and takes a lot of research, so to make matters easier for yourself, you should pick one from the top-rated manufacturers in the world.
To learn more about handgun basics and finding the best fit for your needs, read on to see our FAQs and expert answers.
What is a Sidearm?
The original purpose of a sidearm was to act as a backup weapon if the primary one can’t be accessed, but some people refer to any weapon worn on their side as one.
What is the Best Selling Handgun?
According to reports from 2020, the Glock 19 Gen 5 is the most popular handgun in recent times and recorded the highest sales for the year by leading firearm marketers.
There were other top performers for 2020, including the best-selling Glock 17, Sig Sauer P365, and Smith and Wesson M&P 9.
What is a Pistol Grip?
A pistol grip is a part of a firearm that features a projected handle founder under the main mechanism that allows the user to keep their hand at a vertical angle.
The benefit of this angle is that it’s more ergonomically correct and offers less fatigue for the user which then improves their accuracy and technique.