There are a lot of details that go into selecting a suitable self-defense tool. Reliability, ease of controls and accuracy are all important, but one that many overlook is hand-feel. The Honor Defense Honor Guard is a pistol that has no shortcomings in feel. Every person I’ve handed it to shares the same opinion.
The Honor Guard is a single-stack 9mm, with the short magazine holding seven rounds and the extended option holding eight. The frame is a polymer housing with a chassis inside. The chassis accepts all the working parts, and the shell only holds the magazine and provides our hands a place to be. There was a time when a magazine that didn’t hold nearly half a box of ammunition was considered lacking. Since then, we’ve found that comfort does have a place in daily carry, and a slim pistol (the Honor Guard is under an inch thick) is more likely to be carried.
The frame is extensively covered with texturing, and the non-slip treatment looks at first glance to be coarsely woven cloth. That’s the molded-in surface. Inside is a unitized chassis that holds all the working parts, and if you ever have to disassemble to clean it, the chassis comes out as an assembled unit.
The slide is also heavily grooved for a non-slip grip. To make the Honor Guard as slim as possible, the slide stop is low and tightly fitted to the frame. Proper tactical manipulation calls for working the slide on a locked-back reload, and Honor Defense gives us every opportunity to hang onto the slide when doing so. The grooves are not only on the front and rear sides, but they wrap over the slide’s top.
Interestingly, the striker housing in the Honor Guard is machined out of stainless steel rather than out of polymer, as we find on many other striker-fired guns.
The compact barrel has an integral feed ramp, and the locking and unlocking happen by means of a cam shelf on the bottom of the barrel. The muzzle is given an 11-degree crown, a simple cone back to the bore, which is tough and looks good. There’s a large extractor on the right side, and the Honor Guard never failed to pull fired empties out and toss them aside.
The front and rear dovetail will accept readily available G42/G43 sights. The blade front and notch rear have a three-dot sight system. The front dot is bright and orange, while the rear dots are white. Their size makes it wicked fast on close-range speed drills, but too coarse for Bullseye target shooting. A couple of interesting details on the sights: The rear sight blade has the ramp on the rear to reduce the possibility of a snag on the draw, and the front is a shoulder, so you can do one-handed manipulations if you want (or need) to.
The trigger is not as light as some might want on a carry pistol, but that was a design decision by Honor Defense. They could have made the trigger pull lighter, but that would have come at the expense of a stiffer recoil spring. They decided to make the recoil spring lighter and to offset the heavier (to some, anyway) trigger pull by making it a crisp one. It also has a short reset. I have some bad habits from the old days, and short reset means nothing to my trigger finger, but for those with good habits, the short reset of the Honor Guard will serve you well.
The Honor Defense line is rated for +P ammo and, given the empty weight of 22 ounces, it will likely stand up to a steady diet of +P ammo better than you will.
In accuracy testing the Honor Guard, I kept getting the impression that it just wasn’t delivering. Then I actually looked at the numbers and realized what was going on. I had spent the morning testing a fabulously expensive custom pistol with match ammo. I’d spent the afternoon testing the Honor Guard with hot carry ammo. Of course it seemed lacking in accuracy. Had I not just tested the custom one, I’d have been happy with the accuracy of the Honor Guard.
And the price? In an era where it seems like every hot new firearm requires 10 Franklins to purchase, the $499 list price for the Honor Guard is refreshing and welcomed. (We’ve found the Honor Guard between $449 and $479 at the counter.)