Everyone knows that the Glock, M1911 and P226 handguns are some of the best of their kind. The Glock series has gained popularity worldwide, the M1911 saw lengthy service with the US Army and the P226 is a favourite amongst special forces.

But which is the better of the pistols, I hear you ask?

Well, after some lengthy research, I have compared each handgun, listing the pros and cons and come up with a verdict. These are my findings:


The Glock pistols, designed by Austrian gunmaker Gaston Glock, have long been named some of the lightest, most reliable pistols on the planet. Starting with the Glock 17, dating from around 1982 - 83, the Glock series quickly gained popularity and sales have been through the roof since then.

What bullet does it use?

The Glock 17 was originally chambered for use with the popular 9mm Parabellum round, which suited the Austrian Army's needs. However, numerous variants of the Glock have since been produced, and there are around 21 different versions, many chambered for different rounds. It is available for .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .357 SIG, .380 ACP and .45 GAP. So finding a Glock suitable for your preffered round shouldn't be a problem.

How many rounds does it hold?

The Glock 17 holds 17 rounds, however this is not where it gained its name from.

Is it reliable?

Short answer: yes. The Glock is very well-made, and jamming issues aren't commonly reported. It's also incredibly light, being made of polymer, with only one metal part. However, this comes at a price: being made of plastic, the Glock can break easily if missused. Throwing it around or dropping it isn't recommended, however it can take a fair bit of abuse.

It should also be noted that the Glock has only 33 parts - that's not many. It can be stripped and reassembled with just a few tools.

How popular is it?

Very. Glock claims its pistols have been adopted by 60% of the world's police and security forces. That's a lot of buyers. It's also been adopted by several military forces, starting with the Austrian Army in the 80's. Since then, many more countries have decided to go with the Glock.

However, popularity has it's downsides. The Glock is commonly found in the hands of terrorists and criminals. Its reputation has caused it to be a favourite amongst ill-intended people.

I'm going on a special-operations mission on an oil rig, and I need to take out my targets silently. Is the Glock suitable for the job?

Yes! The Glock can be outfitted with a number of attachments, suppressors included. A silenced Glock might intrest you, and why not try the Glock 17L, a special version with a lengthed barrel for greater accuracy?


Used by the US Army for over 70 years, the M1911 is one of the most prolific handguns in existance. It's use with the US Army gained it fame, and it has been the mainstay pistol of movies, books, TV programs and, of course, video games.

What bullet does it use?

Originally chambered for the .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (or ACP), the M1911 hasn't really been popularised with any other round since. However, this doesn't seem to be a problem for most, with .45 ACP rounds popping up all over the place, it's not exactly hard to find the suitable round.

How many rounds does it hold?

7, if it's chambered for .45 ACP. Other variants may vary.

Is it reliable?

Sort of. Reports vary from terrifically unfailable to downright atrocious. Depending on the environment, the M1911 can be good or poor. While many claim that the M1911 is good enough, and jams are rare, others (mainly during the Korean and Vietnam war eras) complained of it's inablity to sustain in the hot jungle environment. This was especially true with the "Tunnel Rats", who where issued M1911's, with horror stories of young GI's M1911's jamming at the cost of their lives. It's even been called a "boat anchor" by troops today, and that can't be a good thing.

However, there has been plenty of good feedback. It has been adopted by over 33 countries worldwide at different points in history, and described as "one of the best pistols known to man" by soldiers. It is still popular with shooters, and sales have always been astounding, and although showing its age slightly, the M1911 shows no sign of disappearing any time soon.

How popular is it?

As I mentioned above, the M1911 has been adopted by over 33 countries. Many different versions have been produced by different manufacturers, but most still use the .45 ACP round. It should also be noted that the Para-Ordinance P14, an M1911 varaint originating from Canada, is currently in service with the Canadian Army Screw that, it isn't anymore.

I'm going on a drugs raid in the Amazon rainforest, and I need a silent pistol to take out the cartel quietly. Is the M1911 up to standards?

Um, you might want to look for something else, buddy. The M1911 is very loud, and can be heard easily by nearby (and not-so-nearby) tangoes. Suppressors are available, however. Also, if it's a jungle you're fighting in, the M1911 is not for you, no sir.


Made by Swiss manufacturer SIG in 1981, the P226 is most famous for its role in the US Army XM9 Pistol Trails, where it was beaten by the Berreta M92F solely on price, apparently. However, this has not prevented the P226 from being one of the most acclaimed handguns in special forces history.

What bullet does it use?

Varies. Most P226's are chambered for the 9mm Parabellum round, but versions using the .40 S&W and the .357 SIG exist. The reason most P226's use the 9mm round is purely for convenience.

How many rounds does it hold?

Usually 12, but sometimes 13-round magazines are used. Again, it depends the round in question, but generally 12-round mags are used.

Is it reliable?

The P226 may not share the reliability of, say, the Glock, but it's still a worthy contender. Jams are rare and the gun itself is fairly accurate, although it hasn't really been in service long enough to be 100% sure of it's true reliability. However, there must be a reason the US Navy SEALs use this handgun...

How popular is it?

Fairly popular, although mostly with security forces and spec-ops teams. It has been adopted by the Navy SEALs (as before mentioned) and even the SAS, proving that it's fit for the best. Again, though, it hasn't been around very long, so popularity is hard to measure.

Some Ukrainian terrorist cell has taken over my office, and I've teamed up with some special-forces guys in an attempt to take it back. Is the P226 going to do the trick?

Probably. The P226 is often outfitted with a silencer, so it's good if you're looking to take these guys out silently. If you're going in guns-blazing, however, the P226 makes a perfectly respectable sidearm, especially if things go downhill.

Good luck taking out those Ukrainian terrorists, by the way.


So, it's the moment you've all been waiting for. Which one of these pistols is the best? Well, before I tell you, let me remind you that this is my opinion, so if you disagree, leave a comment or whatever, but don't go all mad at me. The last thing I want is a flame war, okay?

Also, feel free to tell me if I've missed something big, or if some of my information might be inaccurate. I used both the internet and books to research the subject matter, but mainly books. Here are my sources:

Jane's GUNS: Recognition Guide.

The illustrated world encyclopedia of Guns: Pistols, Rifles, Revolvers, Machine and Submachine guns through history in 1100 colour photographs.

WEAPON: A visual history of arms and armour.

Ultimate Special Forces.

Firepower: Infantry Weapons.

Without further ado, here is my verdict:

The winner: Glock

Well, I had to. The Glock outshines the other two in almost everything, in my opinion, but that's not to say that the M1911 and P226 aren't fantastic pistols.

Next up: Battle of the Bullpups! FN2000, AUG and SA80.

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