SHOT Show 2024 has concluded. My feet are sore and I’ve finally gotten a bit of sleep. With that in mind, it’s time to reflect on the themes, the fads, and, of course, the guns and gear.
So, what were the best handguns of SHOT 2024? That’s a tough one to answer; there were thousands of them there. With that in hand, I can cut some of the fat by only considering the new handguns for 2024.
The Best New Handguns of SHOT 2024
Taurus 327 TORO
There were a number of new revolvers that hit the market this year, but none impressed me more than the Taurus 327 TORO. Taurus dived into compact, optically enhanced revolvers last year, and the 327 Defender at SHOT Show 2024 extended the lineup.
327 is more than a model number, though; it’s also close to the caliber. The .327 Federal Magnum isn’t as popular as it should be, but Taurus aims to toss another contender into the small pool of .327 Federal Magnum revolvers.
The TORO model features a plate design that allows you to attach an optic with an RMSC-style footprint. Optics on revolvers offer the same benefits as optics on automatics. They make it easier to shoot, faster to shoot, and offer you better accuracy at range. The .327 Federal magnum already flies fairly straight and flat, so an optic augments your ability to reach out and touch a target.
The Taurus 327 TORO series gives you a nice three-inch barrel that helps tame recoil and concussion, although there isn’t that much from the .327 Federal Magnum. As far as magnums go, it’s fairly light in the recoil department.
The use of the .327 Federal Magnum also makes it possible to shoot .32 H&R Magnum, .32 S&W Long, and .32 S&W Short. This gives you a layer of versatility that other guns don’t always offer.
Overall, the Taurus 327 TORO offers a light recoiling, easy shooting, and capable cartridge for self-defense purposes. The biggest downside is that the ammo isn’t all that common compared to something like a .38 Special. If you can get past that, this six-shooter will serve you well.
Beretta 92XI Squalo
I’m a big Beretta 92 fan. I carried an M9 for years as a Marine and continue to love the DA/SA action of these guns. The 92XI Squalo is the latest iteration of the gun, and it makes a big change to the 92 series.
I love DA/SA guns, but Beretta decided to move the DA part of that design and release a single-action-only model at SHOT 2024. Beretta calls it the X-treme S single action-only trigger.
Boy, is it light and crisp! While the classic M1911 might be the definition of single-action supremacy, the Beretta 92XI might be chasing it down. It’s super light and smooth with a solid reset. The trigger is semi-flat-faced and quite nice. Beyond the trigger, Beretta redesigned the gun to be a competent single-action design. The safety is frame-mounted, massive, and ambidextrous.
Across the top is an optics mounting system, and the sights are dovetailed so they can be swapped on demand. The dust cover also sports a rail for adding a light, laser, or whatever else you could ever desire. The grips are a G10 design that’s clingy and looks fantastic. This model ships with three 18-round magazines that are also sporting +4 extensions.
From the looks, the Squalo has the heart of a great competition gun. It’s solid, well-made, and like the rest of the 92FS series, built to be a tank. The $1,299 price tag is quite high, but I think it’s clear this isn’t your average Beretta.
Daniel Defense H9
In 2017, the Hudson H9 shook up the gun world. After a few years of production, the company floundered and eventually went under. A few years later, Daniel Defense acquired the design and set about producing the H9 in volume.
The H9 series wasn’t a bad design, but Hudson reportedly had issues with an outside vendor. Daniel Defense admittedly has more capital to work with and is more equipped to bring a new design to market.
The Daniel Defense H9 at SHOT Show 2024 features some slight updates but maintains the H9’s appeal. The H9 was what happened when someone wanted a 1911, but they wanted it to be striker-fired.
The gun features a very 1911-like grip, complete with a metal frame. The trigger is the same style of straight pull trigger as the M1911 and is remarkably smooth. The trigger safety feels a bit odd at first but it is quite nice once you get a feel for it.
The secret sauce to the H9 is the low bore axis, which helps reduce muzzle rise. The recoil feeds mostly into your hand, which keeps the muzzle down and on target. This design was what gained fame for the H9 and what likely continues to interest shooters.
The New H9s feel solid and look great. One of the smart changes was going with an optics-ready model and using an aluminum frame to cut weight.
I’m excited to see the price hasn’t changed much either, with the MSRP for the H9 being $1,299. Hopefully, Daniel Defense will get them to market soon, and we can get an in-depth review of one to you sooner rather than later.
Glock brought three new guns to SHOT Show 2024, two being Gen 5 updates and one being something completely new. The new gun is the Glock 49, and it’s been a design that many have clamored for.
The Glock 49 is a Glock 47 slide on a Glock 19 frame. The G47 was released last year, and its big selling point was the ability to swap slides between compact and full-sized frames.
The Glock 49 uses a compact frame and full-length slide to create a bit of a hybrid of a gun. This gives you the concealability of the Glock 19 but the sight radius and control of a full-sized slide. It blends the best of both worlds and even comes in the optics-ready MOS configuration.
What more can I tell you about Glock that a million other people haven’t already said? Yep, it’s reliable, accurate, easy to shoot, and has the Gen 5 ergonomics upgrades we’ve clamored for.
At the range, the gun fits the hand just right, and you still get the stock plastic Glock sights. I had no complaints about function and could see a healthy home in my gun safe for it.
The Glock 49 might only be a slight change to the world of carry guns, but it’s a change many of us have desired and wanted. This hybrid frame type is an interesting progression and might be one of my favorite Glocks.
Archon Type B Gen 2
The Archon Type B isn’t new, but let’s face it, they haven’t been easy to acquire. The Archon Type B premiered years ago, but imports have been held up.
The good news is that PTR has taken over the Archon Type B and had plenty to shoot at SHOT Show 2024. They will be importing some but plan to kick off production in the United States at the PTR Facility. This will ensure Archon import issues are no more.
The Gen 2 design takes the best features of the Gen 1 with a few new design takes to modernize the platform. At its core, the barrel height is still very low, resulting in lowered muzzle rise and less felt recoil to the end user. This translates to faster, more accurate shots on target.
PTR also ensures the gun is now optics-ready, which will help you benefit from all low recoil and fast follow-up shots. The Archon Type B Gen 2 uses an RMSc cut on their guns. These optics sit low enough that you won’t need suppressor height sights to co-witness through the optic. That’s a pretty fantastic optics cut, in my opinion. Sights are expensive, and I don’t want to spend another Benjamin on iron sights.
At the range, these guns proved to be a blast to shoot, although they were aided by PTR’s new suppressor. The ergonomics are spot on, and the gun feels great in your hands. It’s a solid little shooter, and I’m excited that PTR has taken over the import, and even the production, of the Archon Type B Gen 2.
New Year, New Guns
Those were my five favorite handguns from SHOT Show 2024. They represent a diverse and very modern take on duty and defensive-grade firearms. Each of these new guns comes from reputable companies with solid histories of success. This year promises to be fairly interesting, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.