Some years ago, I came in "out of the cold" from hardly ever having handled or fired sidearms. Acquired some, got trained, began carrying daily, and ended up evaluating dozens of different sidearms that might be suitable for daily carry. Not that this list will suit everyone, but it sums up my best impressions from 20 years of evaluations for my own personal use. Some of the better mid-sized carry alternatives I'm aware of: 1. CZ 75 series and variants -- CZ 75, CZ P-01, CZ D PCR, and CZ 2075 RAMI. Pretty darned reliable, if a bit chunkier in terms of grip circumference and width. Not suitable for small hands, but otherwise exceptional guns. 2. Kahr K9 and composite cousins -- Extremely ergonomic, well-balanced, and easy to carry. Relatively low capacity, but slim and rides very flat against the body. My issue was reliability ... apparently something in my firing method that causes an "outlier" amount of jams and cycling issues that others rarely report. So, for me, they're generally not the best choice unless I get a "wizard" gunsmith to massage them to a fare-thee-well. But a good choice if you find you can live with <10rd capacity, want ergonomics that are hard to beat, and find them reliable. Favorite choice among the Kahrs: the K9, all-steel, heavily massaged by a competent gunsmith for extreme reliability. I'd stay away from the sub-compact composite models, but that's me. 3. S&W M&P -- A line of "plastic fantastic" (composite) sidearms, but reliable and ergonomic. Available in a variety of sizes. Flat-riding, to easily concealed. Lightweight compared to most of similar size, so easy to carry all day. Very reliable, by all accounts. The 9mm "Shield" is a great example of a fairly compact carry sidearm. Its larger models more suited to mid-sized carrying, with greater capacity. 4. 1911 .45 -- A "traditional" sidearm generally in all-metal, though there are some companies (notably STI) that make composite framed examples. Can be hard-hitting, very reliable, flat-riding and concealable. Can be found in single-stack and double-stack variants. Can be found in SA and DA variants, though of course the SA trigger/cycling is the traditional design. In a standard example, if you can live with the lower (7-8rd) capacity, it's a fine defensive gun. My own lone .45 1911 I owned, at one time, turned out to have some tuning issues ... and, my not being a gunsmith, I tired of fiddling and ended up selling. But it was a good example of how darned easy they can be to strike targets, to handle, to carry. 5. Heckler & Koch's VP9/P30/P2000/USP pistols -- I've shot most of these, and buddies have had several. I've owned one of the P2000 models. Exceptional reliability. Very practical. Chunkier, with a relatively larger grip circumference and not so flat-riding as many other "compact" carry sidearms out there. But hard to go wrong with these. Ergonomic, with the newer VP9 and P30 variants. Rock-solid, with the USP and HKxx variants, if a larger sidearm is preferred. 6. Ruger revolvers -- Have shot a wide variety of these, over the years. For carry, if accepting the lower capacity of a revolver, IMO Ruger makes some of the better-balance, reliable models that can be found. SP-101, GP-100, Redhawk. I've fired thousands of rounds through several of these and wouldn't hesitate to trust my life to them. Favorite: Redhawk KRH-444 .44mag, in 4in bbl. Well-balance, relatively compact for the hard-hitting .44, and durable/reliable as the day is long.