Like most avid gunners, I have spent a lot of time over the past year trying to select the best offering in a single-stack compact 9mm carry pistol. Ever manufacturer on the planet seems to be getting in the game, and I have personally handled, reviewed, researched or fired some of the most popular options to hit the local gun stores. The S&W Shield. The Beretta Nano. Several versions from Kahr. The Bersa BP9CC (one I actually fell in love with and bought,,,but lost to my daughter who decided it was hers). Diamondback's 380 and 9mm "glock-like" offerings. Mulitple models from Ruger... you know the drill. Throw a rock and you'd hit a new wonder-nine.
Since I "lost" my Bersa BP9CC, and I was still wanting an option to carrying the G26 on hot summer days, I took a trip down memory lane and recalled a fine pistol I owned in the 90's, and it hit me that it was EXACTLY what I was wanting in a compact flat 9mm carry gun. Some of you will probably remember a gun from Smith & Wesson called the 3913. Yes, it was introduced in about 1990. Yes, that was 20+ years ago. But it is now on my hip as what I consider to be the best proven example of a Carry 9 that has ever been produced.
The specs are:
Weight: 25 oz
Material: Al frame, stainless slide
Safety: Large ambi slide mount, and mag disconnect.
WIDTH: dead on 1" including the safety lever
Sights: integral dovetailed Novak low-mount
There are several variations of this CLASSIC S&W pistol, including the original 3913, a Lady Smith 3913 which has a more angular dust cover and a cursive scripted LadySmith on the muzzle, a 3913NL which is the same angular dust cover without the Ladysmith name (New Look, aka Non-Lady), and a Tactical option called the 3913TSW which had a tactical rail on the bottom muzzle and some black metal used for the safety levers.
I think Smith & Wesson was literally 20 years ahead of the industry on this model, and sadly it has been out of production for several years. However, it is pretty easy to find them, if you take the time to look. No, they are not plastic. If you want a plastic (errrr... polymer) gun, there are lots to pick from. But if you prefer a metal gun, which helps tame some of the recoil and IMHO makes anyone better able to hit a target because the gun weighs more, the 3913 and its' variants are well worth looking into.
There is plenty to pick from when it comes to leather. It has been a proven performer and one of the most reliable and accurate compact 9mm's for more than 20 years.
I only regret that it took me 20 years to get back to where I came from!