Honor Defense “Honor Guard” Sub-Compact 9x19mm Semi-Automatic Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

August 25th, 2016


Click pictures for a larger version.






Ambidextrous slide lock levers.





Ambidextrous magazine release.



Excellent set of sights.





Interchangeable backstraps.



I first met the folks from Honor Defense about nine months ago, at the 2015 NASGW wholesaler’s show, where they were introducing their new Honor Guard pistol to firearms distributors. The little pistol looked impressive, being what I call a “right-sized” compact pistol. Some of the newest 9mm pistols on the market are as small as were the 32 caliber pistols of a generation ago, but this new Honor Guard pistol is small enough for easy concealment, but has enough heft and size to make it relatively easy to fire.

The Honor Guard is built entirely in the USA using American materials, parts, and labor. Honor Defense makes it a priority to hire veterans and former law enforcement personnel to assemble their pistols in Gainesville, Georgia. The Honor Guard pistol shown here was their first introduction, with other models following soon. The pistol is a striker-fired design, with a short, smooth trigger which releases with about five and one-half pounds of resistance, as measured on my digital scale. The Honor Guard ships with two magazines; a seven-round and an eight-round, with the larger mag extending below the bottom of the grip by about a half inch.

The slide of the Honor Guard pistol is made of 416 stainless steel with a black FNC (Ferritic Nitro Carburized) finish. The frame is of black textured polymer with an internal stainless chassis that houses the fire control parts. The trigger is not articulated nor does it contain a blade safety, as on many modern designs. The Honor Guard pistol can be purchased with or without a manual safety. The sample shown here has no manual safety. Disassembly is as simple as it gets; lock the slide to the rear, rotate the disassembly lever downward, and release the slide to move forward off the frame. No need to pull the trigger to disassemble this pistol.

The Honor guard has ambidextrous magazine release buttons and ambidextrous slide lock levers. The slide locks open on an empty magazine. The texture of the grip feels really good in my hands; much like eighty-grit sandpaper. The design looks like a burlap feed sack was used for the inspiration. It affords a secure grip in any conditions, without being overly abrasive. Perfect. The backstrap is interchangeable, and the pistol ships with two; a large and a small.

The slide has generous serrations which are machined into the sides and top of the slide for an ample grip to help facilitate operating the slide. The pistol is Plus P rated to use modern high-performance 9mm ammunition. The front of the slide is heavily tapered to ease insertion into a holster, and the rear sight is beveled to prevent snagging upon withdrawal from holster or pocket. The sights are easy to see, with a two-dot pattern on the rear in white, with an orange dot in the front blade. The sights are the same size as on Glock Models 42 and 43 pistols, with aftermarket sights readily available. Also, Crimson Trace already has an excellent Laserguard sight available to fit the Honor Guard pistol.

The pistol is about the same size and weight as the Smith & Wesson Shield, so we might as well get that comparison out of the way now. Both pistols are striker-fired polymer/steel semi=auto pistols, and both feel similar, but the Honor Guard has some different features, such as the ambidextrous controls, stainless chassis, and interchangeable backstraps. Both feel good, have good triggers, and are easy to control. Like Coke or Dr. Pepper, both are refreshing, but different.

Critical specifications for the Honor Guard pistol are listed in the chart below. The weights are listed in ounces, and linear measurements in inches. The grip and frame widths were measured at their widest points. The height includes the sights and magazine base on the seven-round magazine. The trigger pull is listed as pounds of resistance. The weight includes the empty seven-round magazine.

Chambering 9x19mm
Weight with Empty Magazine 22.7 ounces
Height 4.63 inches
Length 6.2 inches
Slide Width 0.96 inch
Maximum Grip Width 0.965 inch
Frame Width 1 inch
Maximum Width 1 inch
Trigger Pull 5.6 pounds
Trigger Reach 2.8 inches
Barrel Length 3.21 inches
Construction Stainless Steel / Polymer
Sights Three-Dot White / Orange
Magazine Capacity 7 / 8 rounds
Magazines Supplied 2
Magazine Disconnect Safety No
Thumb Safety Optional
MSRY as of August 2016 $499.00 US

I tested for velocity with my chronograph set at ten feet from the muzzle, and an air temperature of eighty-two degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of seventy-six percent. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of approximately 541 feet above sea level. Velocities are listed in the chart below, and are listed in feet-per-second (fps). FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint. Lead Free and TAC-XP are Barnes homogenous copper hollowpoint bullets. LWSC is a cast lead semi-wadcutter bullet. UHD is Remington Ultimate Home Defense hollowpoint ammunition. HCL is a hard-cast lead bullet. Lehigh XP is a homogenous copper bullet. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Buffalo Bore FMJ-FN 124 1177
Buffalo Bore JHP 115 1213
Buffalo Bore +P JHP 115 1301
Buffalo Bore +P JHP 147 1012
Remington JHP 124 990
Buffalo Bore Lead Free HP 95 1374
Buffalo Bore Lead Free HP 115 1176
Double Tap Tac-HP 115 1007
Double Tap FMJ 147 1001
Atomic HP 124 1102
WCC NATO FMJ 124 988
Fiocchi FMJ 115 1024
Lehigh Defense XP 85 1186
Sig Sauer JHP 124 1090
CCI Blazer Brass FMJ 115 1070

Every type of ammunition listed above fed, fired, and ejected perfectly. There were no malfunctions of any kind, with any ammo tested. The pistol never failed to lock the slide back on an empty magazine. The Honor Defense pistol runs flawlessly. Recoil was easy to manage, even with the Buffalo Bore +P+ ammo. For a very light-recoiling load, the LeHigh Defense Extreme Penetrator recoil feels more like a mild 380 ACP load, but the XP design is very effective in tests on ballistic gelatin. The trigger pull is very good, with a positive reset, and the wide trigger blade makes the trigger pull feel even lighter than it measures. The Honor Guard pistol exhibited very good accuracy for a pistol of this type, and should serve very well for a defensive pistol. The pistol is easy to shoot, and easy to shoot well. The Honor Guard pistol is built right, and built in the USA.

Check out the Honor Defense firearms and accessories online at www.honordefense.com.

For the location of an Honor Defense dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.

To order the Honor Guard pistol online, click on the Gun Genie at www.galleryofguns.com.

To order quality 9x19mm ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com, www.doubletapammo.com, www.midsouthshooters.com, and www.luckygunner.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.







Disassembly is quick, easy, and requires no tools.