The 4 Best Pistol Dies – Reloading Die Reviews 2023

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Pistol dies are a critical component to reloading if you have a handgun (obviously!). The right dies will make reloading not only a fast way to get back to the range but a safe way. The right set of dies will ensure the ammo is safely loaded, as well as quickly. Well-designed dies will shorten the processes needed to safely reload ammo. Pistol dies must be exact in their measurements and need to be made to last.

Furthermore, having the right handgun dies can activate that mad scientist in every gun owner who delights in designing his or her own loads (especially if you have magnum revolvers, which every person should have if they can call themselves a real American).

Here are our recommendations for the 4 best pistol dies on the market:

RCBS Pistol Reloading Die Set

When it comes to reloading we all know how important a quality set of dies are. We understand that we have to buckle in and potentially spend the money to get the best dies possible. The RCBS 9mm 3 in 1 set are some of the best (the ones above are for 9mm; the rest are here), but they doesn’t break the bank. RCBS is part of Vista Outdoors, a massive company encompassing everything from optics to guns. The size of the company allows you to have affordable but quality products. The RCBS dies are made from hardened steel and are incredibly strong.

This is important because dies do it all when it comes to reloading. RCBS dies come in most all calibers, but, as stated earlier, I went with 9mm since it’s the most popular pistol cartridge out there. These dies are precision cut and drilled to exacting standards. There is no slack when it comes to their function and their overall design. They will crimp, expand, resize, and all the tasks dies do with an extreme degree of accuracy.

Using quality components means you’ll be able to exact more precision form your rounds, as well as increased reliability. The RCBS dies are made to last, and made to give you the performance you demand day in and day out while keeping your wallet relatively thick. They aren’t the cheapest dies, but I do feel they are the best when it comes to compromising between price and quality.

RCBS® Reloading Dies

Lee Precision Pistol Dies

Lee Precision is a big name in the reloading market. Their presses are by far some of the most popular and common on the market. Lee Precision presses are designed to last, as are their 4 in 1 die sets (the link above is for .38 Special, but a menu there allows you options for other handgun calibers). The Lee Precision dies come in all popular calibers and allow you to easily size, decap, seat bullets, and more. The Lee Precision 4 in 1 set comes with all the standard dies you can expect. This includes a full length sizing die, a bullet seating die, expanding die, and Lee’s exclusive factory crimping die.

The Lee Precision set allows you to accurately load your rounds to spec. Their high quality design and precision built nature ensures everything is done safely and securely. The dies will give you the performance you need to not only extract as much accuracy as possible from your rounds, but to ensure they are always safe to fire. As long as you do your part and pay attention you can’t go wrong with Lee Precision Reloading dies.

This is the Deluxe Die set that comes with 4 dies, as well as a plastic carrying box, a load data sheet, a powder dipper, and an a shell holder that matches the caliber you choose for dies. The Lee Precision Deluxe Die set is carbide and this means you don’t have to lubricate the cases prior to loading your rounds. These are easily among the best pistol dies for the money.

Ammo Reloading Basics: Dies

Hornady Pistol Reloading Die Set

If you’ve spent any time in the gun industry, you know who Hornady is. They produce a massive variety of different types of ammo, and load everything from basic plinking ammo to precision grade rifle rounds. If there is any company that knows how to load ammo it’d be Hornady. The Hornady Die Set is a 3 Die set that comes with a plastic carrying case, which is a nice and appreciated touch (the link above is for .45 ACP, but you can toggle the menu for other pistol calibers).

There are a lot of things to like about these dies. Of course, they are precision made-dies that are designed to ensure your ammunition is loaded with extreme precision. You’ll never have trouble with adjustments, or the dies being off when it comes to resizing and crimping. Sure, that’s one component. The second is the fact that these dies are incredibly user-friendly. First they are coated with a titanium nitride coated sized ring that eliminates sticking and the need for lubrication.

Second, the overall coating is incredibly strong and designed for high use tools. It ensures your dies will last forever. The locking retainer spring comes off in seconds for a quick cleaning, and the Sure0Lic lock rings keep everything precise and well adjusted. Overall, Hornady has put together an outstanding package for reloaders and shooters of all types. Hornady’s die set is perfect for new reloaders or those looking to upgrade their current systems to something much more user friendly.

Hornady Pistol Dies

Dillon Precision Pistol Dies

Dillon Precision is another big name in the reloading market (the ones above are for 9mm; the here’s the rest of the pistol calibers). They make some of the very best pistol dies and general reloading gear imaginable. Admittedly, their gear could be expensive, but the cost is well worth it. This gear, and these dies, are for serious reloaders—i.e., guys (and gals) looking to make both hot and heavy precise pistol rounds and those looking to load massive amounts of ammunition. The three dies included in this kit are the sizing and depriming die, the bullet seating die, and the crimp die.

The sizing and depriming die has a specialized and unique floating decapping assembly. This means the die has a snap spring that throws the primer off the pin. This prevents draw back when depriming ammo with hard primers. The same die has a lead in radius larger than most which makes mass progessive reloading simple and quick.

The bullet seating die is a quick take down design that allows for easy cleaning without losing adjustment. This keeps everything moving in a speedy and safe manner. The crimp die is similar. You can remove the die insert for cleaning without losing your adjustments. Again, this keeps things quick and easy for shooters looking to safely mass reload their ammunition.

XL650 Pistol Die Setup 2014

Getting Died

Reloading is as much as hobby as it is a cost saving measure for shooters. It’s a fascinating way to roll your own ammo for a variety of purposes, from training to hunting. Reloading has a large up front cost to it, it’s true, but at the end of the day if you keep to it you’ll saving money hand over fist when it come to loading ammo. And with these dies—all of which can be considered the best pistol dies out there—you’re ready to embark on this great adventure. Good luck!

  • Owner of, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.

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