Single Stack vs Double Stack Magazines – 2022 Comparison

It always helps to know what you want, right?

When looking for a companion, there are unique characteristics that are suitable for you. Your handgun will be your companion, and it will be there for you in times of need; choosing the right gun for you is crucial.

Apart from knowing your handgun, you need to ensure you can use it and be first to put shots on target!

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Single Stack vs Double Stack

Single Stack

Double Stack




Thin grip profile

Easy to operate

Simple, reliable feed pattern

Easy concealment

Easier to handle for people with smaller hands

Less felt recoil due to some added weight

Higher capacity on average one and half times

Larger hands can use in a subcompact variant

More choice of caliber. From 9mm to 45 ACP



Smaller capacity

Less choice of caliber

Larger hands may feel awkward

9mm may be snappy in some slimline subcompacts

Heavier weight for EDC

Concealment more challenging

Larger grip profile may be challenging for smaller hands

Best For

Best For

Concealed Carry & Slim Fanatics

For sport shooters, police, military, and self defense

Similarities and Differences 

Now let's look at these two types of handgun systems: single stack vs. double stack.  First we’ll look at a system using a well-known name with a slimline package, the Springfield XD-S Mod2 in 9mm, and then a relatively new competitor, the Canik Elite TP9 – SC in 9mm.

Single Stack and Double Stack Differences 

There are differences between the two handgun systems, and they are designed for different people. There are differences in capacity, concealment, handling, weight, recoil, and reliability. For most people, how would these differences influence their choice?

The capacity differs by almost half. Consider that both these handguns are designed for concealment/self-defense. An essential factor when defending yourself is remaining in the fight for as long as you need to. 

This extra bulk of ammunition does not take much away from the double stack, but it reduces the firearm's felt recoil. Handling and reliability might be the most significant factors. 

Handling or ergonomics can dictate how you shoot a specific gun whether you’re under stress or not.  At the range, reliability could mean the difference between a personal best or worst; under pressure, this could mean the difference between life and death.

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Consider what your lifestyle requires with a capacity of 7+1 in a flush magazine of the XD-S and 12+1 in the TP9-SC. Is the slimmer width a good enough compromise for the lack of ammunition? It may be the perfect gun to discreetly tuck into your suit pocket or handbag.

Handling & Grip

The XD-S is a well-considered design; the frame features finger grooves that provide enough grip where it counts. The palm safety is genuinely non-invasive. While the TP9-SC frame features interchangeable back straps,the slide has both front and rear serrations.


These two systems are very similar, but there is an essential detail on the XD-S, the standoff device. A full-length guide rod gives that extra security in a close encounter; when the handgun's muzzle presses against the target, the slide won't be pushed out of battery.

Single Stack and Double Stack Similarities 

There are different firearms for different people, but you can find more similarities than you would expect. Tactically, the ergonomics of these handguns must be similar. Use varies, but the design of a firearm should be based on what works all around.


Overall, measurements of these two sub compacts are very similar, especially taking into account that the TP9-SC carries almost double the ammunition. The length and height of these handguns make them easy to conceal, so you can  carry them everyday.


Now here, there are a lot of tactical similarities, the fighting features of the handgun. Both handguns have a flush fit primary magazine and an extended backup. The undercut trigger guard allows for a higher grip on the pistol, giving you more control and confidence with each firearm.

The Springfield XD-S frame has a medium texturing in specified areas, referred to as the Grip Zone. Canik has a tactical feel and tactical features. This handgun also promotes a medium textured grip on the frame and extended magazine.

The XD-S and TP9-SC have adjustable metal rear sights pronounced enough to rack the slide with one hand. While each manufacturer uses its take on the rear sight's shape, they still serve the same purpose equally.

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All over the internet, reviews and tests seem to show both handguns on a relatively even playing field with an average 2'' grouping.

The XD-S and TP9-SC use a dual captive-recoil spring. There is no scientific evidence that felt this system reduces recoil, but it may give the perception of less recoil to most shooters.

Advantages of Single Stack Pistols

Are you a shooter with small hands? Then a single stack could be for you; it will be a lot more comfortable, giving you the confidence to handle your firearm.

You can also conceal your firearm under your clothing with more ease. You won’t have to add more layers or change your wardrobe to suit your gun. Otherwise, you might prefer to  leave your firearm in a safe.

Most single stack pistols are thinner, with average width measuring in at one inch or less. Let's use the Springfield XD – S Mod 2. as an example. This slim little pistol is only 0.9 inches wide, so that it would print far less than the double stack sub-compact counterpart measuring at 1.2 inches.

It may not be much, but that 0.3 inches may be the difference between carrying or not.  Always check your state’s conceal and carry laws before venturing out with your handgun.

The single stack weighs far less than double stack pistols. The Springfield is 21.5oz with the flush magazine and 22.5oz with the extended magazine unloaded. Seven and nine-round magazines come with this firearm. Depending on the type of ammunition you prefer, you could keep down the weight to 26 oz or 27oz.

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The age-old debate about single stack caliber is a valid one. If you are not a fan of the snappy 9mm, why not take a look at something with more punch? The XD – S is also chambered in .45ACP and boasts a tidy five-round flush fit and a six-round extended magazine.

Advantages of Double Stack Pistols

What could be the advantages of a double-stack handgun?

It holds more ammunition than a single stack, obviously. Whether you’re using the double stack for sport shooting or self-defense, it allows you to shoot more between reloads. 

You will get more rounds and more choice of caliber with a double stack as most manufacturers offer different models. Glock, for example, provides several different calibers, including 22LR.

The larger double stack makes it slightly heavier, but that means you will feel the recoil less and get back on target quicker. In larger hands, the double stack may feel like a more comfortable handgun. 

You will be able to conceal it quickly, too. When choosing a sub-compact, consider some of the newer high-capacity subcompacts like the Canik TP9 Elite SC. It has a staggering 12 + 1 round flush magazine and a 15 + 1 round extended magazine, and the magazine is only 1.45 inches wide. That's service-pistol capacity!

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You might be worried about how practical it is to carry a double-stack handgun every day. In that case, a polymer frame might be something noteworthy for you to consider.  

Whether a handgun is a double or single stack does not affect one's choice to carry, but how comfortable it feels does. That comes down to the type of holster you choose: softshell, leather or Kydex. You should research different types of holsters as you would when selecting a handgun.

Considering that the main objective when buying a firearm is to know the firearm's purpose, the double-stack gives you more versatility in using a gun.

Bottom Line 

You need to know the purpose for your handgun.  In self-defense or sport, any type of gun will have its uses.  Personal preference and what you are looking for from a handgun is what matters. Many people have more than one handgun. Just like finding a suitable companion, your firearm must tick all the boxes.

Single stack, easily concealable, is the perfect choice if you’re faced with an emergency where you have to defend yourself.

Double stack, a high capacity option with choice for more significant caliber, proves a worthy choice if you are more of an outdoor adventurous type.

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People Also Ask  

Which Glock is for you? Each Glock pistol was designed with intention. For decades, Glock believed there was hardly any need to change their design. After decades, the firearm giant has listened to the consumer, now offering single-stack models like the G43 in 9mm, G42 in 40S&W, and G36 in 45 Auto.

Which Glocks are Double Stack? 

Glock has a wide range of double-stack options offered in several calibers and three single-stack variants. The 9mm, double-stack range includes the G17, G17L, G19, G26, G34, G19X.

G26 holds 10+1 rounds of 9mm in a sub-compact variant. You could also opt for the G19X. It’s the most versatile Glock, with a full-size capacity of the G17 and the compact slide size of the G19. This is the best of both worlds for any Glock fan.

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Is Glock 19 a Single or Double Stack? 

The Glock 19 is a double-stack compact handgun with a tremendous following, even among law enforcement worldwide. It is a lightweight version of its predecessor, the Glock 17; it carries a standard 15 round magazine with optional 17 / 19 / 24 / 31 / 33 round magazines on the market.

Are Glock Magazines Double Stack? 

Most Glock magazines are double stack and readily available, but Glock does make a few single-stack models. Most magazines are interchangeable between models, like the Glock 19 accepting the Glock 17 magazine. The G19 would then be a great choice if you need to conceal but do not want a low-capacity handgun.


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