10 Best Concealed Carry Handguns of the Past 20 Years

By Wilburn Roberts published on in Firearms

When I was challenged to come up with the best, concealed carry handguns of the past 20 years, I set down with a pencil and tablet and began making a list. This seems like an easy task, but there are many good handguns.

Glock 19 pistol on a Ziplock bag filled with ammunition

The Glock 19 is an efficient size and offers excellent reliability.

The bad ones were easy enough to keep off the list. I could not choose a handgun I had not personally fired—extensively—and had much experience with. I have tested most of the handguns introduced during the past three decades, and in some cases, I have seen these pistols go through my training classes.

I have seen many poor choices. I have learned to gauge a student’s progress in an inverse ratio to training and quality of training. Just the same, a quality handgun is also important. A poor choice holds a student back. Excess recoil, sharp edges, a heavy trigger action and poorly designed sights all keep a student from being all they can be. We have seen poor pistols come and go and second rate choices that have faded away.

Recently, I saw a roundup of concealed carry handguns on a popular internet site. It was obvious the author had never fired the pistols included, and most of them were included on a basis of size. I would never consider 9 out of 10 of the pistols listed. Complete reliability is one baseline. Another is wound potential.

The .38 Special and 9mm Luger are realistic minimums for personal defense. Those giving a pass on smaller calibers have no experience in personal defense. By the same token, those handguns that are uncontrollable in rapid fire—to my standard—are not useful for personal defense. The subcompact .40 caliber pistol and lightweight .357 Magnum revolver are among these. A balance of control and power is needed. After much reflection, what follows is my choice for the best, concealed carry handguns for the past 20 years.

CZ Rami

The CZ 75 pistol is a durable and accurate service pistol. The CZ 2075 Rami is a considerable redesign. The Rami features the trademark CZ slide design. The slide rides low in the frame by the use of reversed slide rails, with the slide running inside the frame rather than upon it. The result is a low bore axis and greater contact with the long bearing surfaces.

Bob Campbell shooting the CZ Rami handgun

The CZ Rami is an excellent all-around 9mm handgun.

The pistol recoils straight to the rear with less muzzle flip, accuracy is enhanced as well. The Rami is a double-action first-shot handgun. The pistol is offered in two versions, one with the traditional CZ 75 safety that allows cocked and locked carry and the other with a decocker. The pistol is supplied with a flush-fit 10-round magazine and also an extended 14-round magazine.

The Rami exhibits European quality and its best. The sights were good examples of combat sights and the pistol has proven reliable with a variety of defense loads. Attention to detail was evident in the Rami pistol. The double-action first-shot trigger was smooth, and the single-action press was clean and crisp. While the pistol handled best with the extended magazine, it was controllable with the flush-fit magazine as well.

There are tradeoffs in such a compact handgun, but these are minimized by the CZ design. The slide is a little difficult to rack as it rides low in the frame. The short sight radius means attention to detail is needed to secure good accuracy. This is a tradeoff that Rami shooters adjust to. My personal example will fire a two-inch five-shot group at 15 yards with the SIG Sauer 124-grain V Crown JHP. The Rami is a first class, concealed carry handgun.

Overall Length 7.2 in.
Overall Height 5.03 in.
Weight Unloaded 28 oz.
Barrel Length 3.75 in.

CZ 75D

The CZ 75D is perhaps the least known of CZ Variants. It is a highly desirable pistol that has proven accurate and reliable. When the Czech police were searching for a compact alternative to the standard CZ 75 the P01 was introduced. This is an aluminum frame handgun with a shortened butt, slide, and barrel and a monolithic dust cover that mounts a combat light.

CZ 75 handgun with wood grips right profile

A CZ 75 with decocker – The CZ75D is a first class handgun with a proven record for performance.

The P01 has been widely accepted. The pistol features a frame-mounted decocker rather than the CZ 75 manual safety. The CZ 75D is a handgun similar in size and weight to the P01 but without a light rail. Let’s face it, many concealed carry permit holders carry a pistol with a rail but do not carry a combat light. The CZ75D also features a unique loaded-chamber indicator.

The CZ75D compact 9mm also features good combat sights and a smooth trigger action. The P01 is often regarded as more accurate than the parent pistol, the CZ75, and this is a fair appraisal of the CZ75D in my experience. The CZ75D also has the advantage of a unique set of personal defense sights that offer snag free carry.

My CZ75D will group five-shots of the Winchester 124-grain PDX +P load into 1.25 inches at 15 yards. For those favoring the double-action first-shot pistol, it doesn’t get any better than the CZ75D, yet the pistol has no extraneous features. It is a straightforward design with much to recommend. My example has been fitted with Hogue grips.

Overall Length 7.2 in.
Overall Height 5.03 in.
Weight Unloaded 28 oz.
Barrel Length 3. 75 in.

Colt Series 70

Some may dismiss the Government Model 1911 as too large for concealed carry. Yet, many shooters, including myself, often carry the steel frame 1911. I have done so for more than 35 years.

Colt Series 70 1911 .45 ACP pistol

The Colt Series 70 is a capable handgun

The Colt Series 70 does not have adjustable sights or a target trigger, nor does it have an ambidextrous safety. The Colt doesn’t have any of the target gun features that have crept into personal defense handguns over the past decade.

The pistol is flat and concealable and faster to an accurate first-shot hit than any other big bore self-loading pistol. The Colt Series 70 is beautifully finished and fit is excellent. I have used the original Series 70 and find the modern pistol a better handgun. Even compared to 1950s and 1960s guns, a high point of Colt production, the Series 70 is a superior handgun.

Feed reliability and combat accuracy are excellent. There is no Series 80 firing pin safety, but the Series 70 relies upon a heavy-duty firing pin spring for safety. The trigger breaks at 4.5 pounds. The Colt has been fitted with a set of stag grips from MDgrips.com. The stag grips do not snag on garments yet offer good purchase when firing heavy loads.

The sights are good examples of combat sights. With the Federal 230-grain Hydra-Shok load, this pistol will fire a 1.0-inch 15-yard group. This handgun combines excellent combat ability with considerable pride of ownership.

Overall Length 8.5 in.
Overall Height 5.4 in.
Weight Unloaded 38 oz.
Barrel Length 5.0 in.

Glock 19

I have fired many Glock 19 pistols since their introduction, and all are remarkably consistent in accuracy and reliability. The Glock is a baseline for combat pistols. A cheaper handgun may not be reliable, and if you spend more than you pay for a Glock you need to be certain you are gaining good features.

Glock 19 pistol on a Ziplock bag filled with ammunition

The Glock 19 is an efficient size and offers excellent reliability.

Only a handgun that offers an advantage should be chosen. I do not agree with Glock perfection, save when it comes to reliability—and reliability is, after all, most important. You can work with a hard trigger, or less than ideal sights, but not a handgun that isn’t as reliable as a machine can possible be.

The Glock 19 compact is slightly shorter than the Glock 17 9mm and features a shortened butt. The result is one of the best balanced and most useful handguns on the planet. In most regards the Glock 19 makes an excellent holster or service pistol.

It is a great all-around, 24-hour pistol for working cops or concealed carry permit holders. There is a significant difference in recoil between the 9mm and the .40, and the Glock 19 9mm handgun is controllable and accurate. For the average shooter with overwhelming demands such as a job, family, and other pursuits, the 9mm is a reasonable choice and the Glock 19 an excellent choice.

How accurate is the pistol? First learn to control the trigger, but as an example my personal Glock 19, fitted with TruGlo night sights, will group five rounds of Gorilla Ammunition’s 115-grain JHP into 2.0 inches at 15 yards. It is remarkably consistent from one load to the other. The Glock 19 is the choice of many well-trained individuals. It is an affordable and uncommonly reliable handgun.

Overall Length 7.25 in.
Overall Height 4.99 in.
Weight Unloaded 24 oz.
Barrel Length 4.0 in.

Glock 43

The Glock 43 is a single-column magazine 9mm sub compact pistol. I find it a better choice for deep carry than the Glock 26 and similar handguns. The pistol has excellent features and performance. A good example of special variants is the Halo edition with a bright orange front dot and special rear sight.

Glock 43 9mm handgun right profile

The Glock 43 was a game changer in compact handguns.

The Glock is a good combat pistol but superior sights add to the handguns’ hit probability. The Glock 43 was a long awaited addition to the Glock line and swayed many first time shooters to the Glock line. The pistol isn’t as controllable or easy to fire as the Glock 19; it cannot be in its size and weight class. The real advantage of the Glock 43 in my opinion is that the pistol is slightly larger than the typical .380 class handgun yet much more powerful and reliable.

The Glock 43 features Glock reliability and chambers a reasonably powerful cartridge. With the Hornady Critical Defense 115-grain FTX load, this pistol breaks a two-inch group at 15 yards from a solid benchrest. Offhand performance depends upon the will of the shooter to practice.

Overall Length 6.2 in.
Overall Height 4.25 in.
Weight Unloaded 18 oz.
Barrel Length 3.4 in.

Glock 36

The Glock 36 was a sensation when introduced and remains so today. Glock designed a reliable compact single stack .45 and gave defensive shooters something lacking in the past—a completely reliable, truly concealable, compact .45 caliber handgun.

Glock 36 .45 ACP handgun right profile

The hard-hitting Glock 36 is the author’s favorite Glock.

The pistol features Glock’s world-class reliability, a controllable trigger action, and a grip frame that doesn’t overly stretch most hand sizes. The pistol features a six-round magazine. The Glock 36 is chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. This cartridges gives shooters the advantage of wound potential in a cartridge that does not rely upon expansion for effectiveness.

The .45 ACP cartridge operates at low pressure and features a limited muzzle signature. Recoil isn’t harsh but rather a push compared to the sharp recoil of the .40 caliber cartridge. The Glock 36 is an excellent option for those who prefer the Glock handgun and .45 ACP cartridge.

This isn’t the pistol to load with +P loads, however, as it is a lightweight carry pistol. The Hornady 185-grain FTX is ideal. The Glock 36 I have on hand features a Bar Sto barrel and will deliver a 1.5-inch group at 15 yards.

Overall Length 7.1 in.
Overall Height 4.7 in.
Weight Unloaded 20.1 oz.
Barrel Length 3.8 in.

Remington R1 Commander

The 1911 Commander was introduced in 1950. The slide is ¾-inch shorter than the Government Model, and in the original version, the pistol featured a weight-saving aluminum frame. The original Commander, like the Government Model, featured small GI sights and a heavy trigger.

Bob shooting a Remington R1

Remington’s R1 Commander offers real power in a compact package.

Many versions have been produced over the years. Some have full-length guide rods and adjustable triggers—target gun features that have no place on a service grade handgun. A good development was the introduction of the steel-frame Commander. This resulted in one of the best-balanced carry guns every manufactured.

A few years ago, Remington introduced its R1 pistol. This is a well made and finished 1911 offered at a fair price. The R1 Commander, introduced some months later, has received little notice or acclaim. Yet, this handgun is among the best choices in a modern 1911 carry gun.

The sights are superior to the GI-type. The front sight is dovetailed in place, curing a problem with staked in GI sights. The ejection port is lowered for superior function and administrative handling. The R1 Commander features a spur hammer rather than the typical rowel hammer of the Commander, making it easier to lower the hammer.

The trigger action is smooth and crisp and the safety positive in indent. The barrel bushing is tight, but not so tight it cannot be field stripped by hand. The R1 Commander has proven reliable with all loads I have tested and more than passing accurate.

The carry load, the Gorilla Ammunition 230-grain JHP, has demonstrated a 1.2-inch group at 15 yards. I keep the spare Mec Gar magazine loaded with the Gorilla Ammunition FBI spec loads. This no frills 1911 has everything needed in a 1911 and nothing I do not need. It is faster from leather than the full-size 1911 and hits hard.

Overall Length 7.75 in.
Overall Height 5.4 in.
Weight Unloaded 35 oz.
Barrel Length 4.75 in.

Ruger SP101

The Ruger SP101 is a product of the type of design and engineering that have earned Ruger a great deal of respect in the professional field. When five-shot .38 Special revolvers were first introduced, they were built on the .32 frame. Upping the ante to .357 Magnum isn’t the wisest choice.

Ruger SP101 revolver left profile

In many ways, Ruger’s SP101 is head and shoulders above other small revolvers.

The Ruger, first introduced in .38 Special, features a newly designed frame. When you start with a clean slate, wonders happen! This heavy frame not only is well suited to the .357 Magnum cartridge it features a slightly lower bore axis compared to most revolvers. The result is a heavy-duty revolver that is controllable even with Magnum loads for those who practice.

The rear sights are broad, and the front post is easily picked up for personal defense shooting. The trigger action is smooth. I normally load the Ruger with the Hornady 125-grain Critical Defense—a useful Magnum loading that offers excellent wound ballistics. While I am primarily concerned with personal defense against our protein-fed ex-con criminal class, I am also concerned with defense against coyote, feral dogs, and the big cats when I visit the great outdoors.

The Ruger is dirt tough and never gives trouble, and may be pressed into an opponent’s body and fired, time after time, without fail. This makes it a good choice against the usual attack, as well as when you are on the ground as could occur with big dogs and mountain lions. For this duty, I change to the greater penetration of the Hornady 125-grain XTP. The Ruger SP101 is tough, reliable, and more accurate than you would suppose. From a solid benchrest with select loads, this revolver is the most accurate handgun tested for this report with a one-inch 15-yard group for an average of three groups, with some smaller, with the Hornady XTP load—at well over 1,200 fps!

Overall Length 7.2 in.
Overall Height 4.8.
Weight Unloaded 26 oz.
Barrel Length 2.5 in.

Smith and Wesson Shield .45

Smith and Wesson’s Military and Police series represents an important step in polymer-frame handguns. The pistol places ergonomics first, and the pistol fits most hands well. The M and P features good sights and is overall a credible service pistol. I tested one of the first Smith and Wesson Shield 9mm handguns, a subcompact M and P with a single column magazine, and found it good.

Smith and Wesson Shield .45 ACP right profile

The Smith and Wesson Shield .45 offers light weight and power in a useful package.

The pistol is controllable and reliable. I have seen several Shield pistols in training and reliability is good. When Smith and Wesson introduced the .45 caliber Shield, I obtained one of the first. I have fired the pistol extensively. I find it reliable, accurate enough for most uses, and ergonomic. I like the hinged trigger and excellent combat sights.

The pistol is more comfortable to fire than expected due to good grip design. I also like to have a manual safety on my handgun and the Shield provides. If you chose, you may simply ignore the safety. This isn’t the pistol to deploy with +P loads. I like the Hornady 185-grain Critical Defense in this handgun. The Shield is affordable but high quality.

Overall Length 6.45 in.
Overall Height 4.88 in.
Weight Unloaded 20.5 oz.
Barrel Length 3.5 in.

Smith and Wesson 442

The final choice is, in my opinion, the best all-around snubnose .38 Special revolver available. I seldom, if ever, carry the 442 alone, but I deploy it nearly every day as a backup, save when I am carrying two heavier handguns. The Smith and Wesson double-action aluminum-frame .38 has been my backup for over 30 years, in some form or the other.

Smith and Wesson Model 442 revolver left profile

11 The Smith and Wesson 442 is the author’s favored concealed carry handgun. This one has a lot of wear from daily carry.

The 442 is controllable, due in part to the humpback frame design that conceals the hammer. Unlike revolvers with an exposed hammer or the self-loading pistol, the 442 may be fired repeatedly from the pocket, which I practice occasionally.

The 442 is affordable, and the highest quality revolver in this frame size. The 442 is indispensable as a backup and travels with me a great deal. I have considered ammunition carefully. I most often deploy the Hornady Critical Defense 110-grain FTX. At seven yards, firing double action, I am able to group five shots into three inches—all we can ask from a snubnose revolver.

From a solid braced position, I am able to make center hits to a long 25 yards. However, this is a stunt with this type of revolver and takes time and concentration. The 442 offers a lot of protection, ounce for ounce.

Overall Length 6 5/16 in.
Overall Height 4.6 in.
Weight Unloaded 16 oz.
Barrel Length 2.0 in.

The author has given his list and reasons. Which choices do you agree or disagree with and why? Which guns would make you top list? Share your answers in the comment section.

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Comments (68)

  • Bo Sundling

    |

    I take issue with the originator of this post. He states, “Those giving a pass on smaller calibers have no experience in personal defense.”

    Let me assert my credentials. From 1971-1975, I was employed by our favorite uncle to go out in the boonies doing Recon and S&R as a medic. Since I was NOT a Conscientious Objector, I carried a weapon. (CO’s were the only medics who did not carry) The weapon I carried was a 1911A1. I know first hand what a .45 ACP will do.

    When I came home, I went to work in one of the busiest ER’s in my state of residence. Over the next 33 years, I worked as an RN in the three busiest ER’s in the state. When you work an inner city ER, you see a lot of GSW’s. So, I have a fair amount of experience in seeing what works for personal defense. I have seen more GSW’s than the average joe walking the street; more even, than many cops. It would be too numerous to count in just about every caliber of handgun and some rifles.

    I have seen head shots with .22, .32, .38, .380 where the bullet did not even penetrate the skull. I have seen those same cartridges penetrate the skull but leave minimal residual damage to the patient. (They were discharged after a few days observation.) In my experience, if you shoot someone enough times to create enough holes to drain enough blood to lower their operating volume ENOUGH, these calibers MIGHT stop the person.

    I saw one man who was struck multiple times in the chest by a .25; he beat the shooter to death with his bare hands before he succumbed to his wounds. On cracking his chest in the ER, three of the slugs were found to have been stopped by his sternum. The other two rounds passed between ribs and played the marimba as they careened around in his chest creating a number of small holes from which he eventually exsanguinated, but not before he beat the shooter to death.

    Another man, who presented to the ER with 5 holes in his chest, .25 caliber, did not have a single slug penetrate his thoracic cavity. (He was heavily muscled) He was, in ER parlance, “treated and streeted” to police custody.

    As far as 9, I have seen far too many for whom it did not stop the intended assailant. It was a long time ago and ammo has improved since then. I have taken care of patients hit in the head with a nine who were not seriously affected and there was a patient who was struck three times in the head with a 9 who was going to have a lot of issues for the rest of his life. (He later committed suicide awaiting trial for murder.)

    If people really want to know what works, go talk to your state Medical Examiner, and then ER personnel. Many of us have seen GSW’s which have jaded us when considering certain calibers.

    I, for one, carry a 1911 (S&W Pro Series) in .45 ACP. I use RIP ammo and that should work in the 9 also. I am not a fan of the 9, but I saw a video of Larry Vickers saying he has seen data that should make people reconsider that. Only because it was Vickers, will I consider adding a 9. And Smith has just added a 1911 Pro Series in 9. Bonus!

    Reply

  • Bo Sundling

    |

    I take issue with the originator of this post. He states, “Those giving a pass on smaller calibers have no experience in personal defense.”
    Let me assert my credentials. From 1971-1975, I was employed by our favorite uncle to go out in the boonies doing Recon and S&R as a medic. Since I was NOT a Conscientious Objector, I carried a weapon. (CO’s were the only medics who did not carry) The weapon I carried was a 1911A1. I know first hand what a .45 will do.

    When I came home, I went to work in one of the busiest ER’s in my state of residence. Over the next 33 years, I worked as an RN in the three busiest ER’s in the state. When you work an inner city ER, you see a lot of GSW’s. So, I have a fair amount of experience in seeing what works for personal defense. I have seen more GSW’s than the average joe walking the street; more even, than many cops. It would be too numerous to count in just about every caliber of handgun and some rifles.

    I have seen head shots with .22, .32, .38, .380 where the bullet did not even penetrate the skull. I have seen those same cartridges penetrate the skull but leave minimal residual damage to the patient. (They were discharged after a few days observation.) In my experience, if you shoot someone enough times to create enough holes to drain enough blood to lower their operating volume ENOUGH, these calibers MIGHT stop the person.

    I saw one man who was struck multiple times in the chest by a .25; he beat the shooter to death with his bare hands before he succumbed to his wounds. On cracking his chest in the ER, three of the slugs were found to have been stopped by his sternum. The other two rounds passed between ribs and played the marimba as they careened around in his chest creating a number of small holes from which he eventually exsanguinated, but not before he beat the shooter to death.

    Another man, who presented to the ER with 5 holes in his chest, .25 caliber, did not have a single slug penetrate his thoracic cavity. (He was heavily muscled) He was, in ER parlance, “treated and streeted” to police custody.

    As far as 9, I have seen far too many for whom it did not stop the intended assailant. It was a long time ago and ammo has improved since then. I have taken care of patients hit in the head with a nine who were not seriously affected and there was a patient who was struck three times in the head with a 9 who was going to have a lot of issues for the rest of his life. (He later committed suicide awaiting trial for murder.)

    If people really want to know what works, go talk to your state Medical Examiner, and then ER personnel. Many of us have seen GSW’s which have jaded us when considering certain calibers.

    I, for one, carry a 1911 (S&W Pro Series) in .45 ACP. I use RIP ammo and that should work in the 9 also. I am not a fan of the 9, but I saw a video of Larry Vickers saying he has seen data that should make people reconsider that. Only because it was Vickers, will I consider adding a 9. And Smith has just added a 1911 Pro Series in 9. Bonus!

    Reply

    • wr

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      Sounds like rather than taking issue with the author you agree with him. A good post sir.

      Reply

    • mj

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      Meanwhile, when I was in hs, a friend of mine was shot n killed w a 22 to the head and another friend left basically on life support, paralyzed from the same gunman. A .22 !

      I’d rather have recoil management over caliber any day. Sure…if you’re a badass in emergency hi-stress situations, by all means. I practice, a lot. But still feel in Hi-stress situation, hitting first time target is highly unlikely, requisition of target will be even more difficult.

      This isn’t the movies. I also don’t live anywhere near the type of animals described here, thankfully.

      Reply

  • Shake

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    I have carried a variety of pistols since 2005, trying to be consistent but adjusting as required by season and situation. By far the “gun” I carry the most as my primary is the Ruger LCR
    38 Special, loaded with Hornady CD 11 gr FTX. Being 5’9″, 155 lbs, it’s the one I feel most comfortable with carrying concealed and shooting. My backup is a Kahr CW9, 9mm. I like it an awful lot too, having bought it long after the Ruger, but its gradually growing in me. Great trigger, shoots well, comfortable all around. Either of these could be my primary and/or the backup, or vice versa. :)

    Reply

  • mj

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    I have been struggling for the last year since I went from a pocket BG380 to a larger caliber 9mm. Got the G43, what a superior upgrade. Now that I have a mitch rosen side holster, it is like it is invisible!
    Just wish more capacity.

    Reply

  • DJL777

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    In addition to the article, here are some things to consider and a few other choices. Sorry it’s so long, but I wanted to include the most important facts. May I suggest one of the latest 9 mm generation pistols? They offer many advantages over a revolver and are very easily cleaned now, coming apart in only 3-4 large pieces! If you’re shooting <200 rounds at the range, you can easily get away with cleaning it every other time! My Mom, now 80 with some arthritis of the hands, recently made the switch from a 38 revolver, to the Beretta “M9.” The very same models as our Armed Forces are issued now, along with local police forces. She flatly stated “I do not want one of those tiny pistols!” “It must look like I mean business, which I do!” She also wanted the higher end performance wise from a new 9 MM pistol.”
    Just in the past 5-7 years, huge strides have been made in performance levels of the 9 mm parabellum round. Capacities from 13-20 rounds are common. They’re capable to carry enough follow rounds for follow up shots, if a 2nd person is involved, or in case you miss the high value target areas on the chest or head the first time.
    I’m not including any of the “micro” or super sub-compacts. For one, hollow point bullets, which of course are the best defensive rounds, not practice rounds, designed to “mushroom” / open up (like a tiny flower), the vast majority of the time, like they do with a barrel length of 3.8” to 4”+ lengths. This is not theory for me. I’ve shot 2.0” to 3.0” barrel lengths is .380 ACP and 9 mm parabellum, using friend’s guns. When I show them results, they invariable said something like “…but that’s not what the gun shop told me.” OR “…when I bought it online the seller didn’t tell me that.” Also the .380 ACP, no matter what people may say, the .380 lacks the power (ft. lbs. of energy) to stop an aggressive male; with a high probability they’re on drugs. And in addition, in cool/cold weather, is wearing heavy clothing, unless you hit them in the face/head!!
    A 9 mm is a sweet spot of size and performance, when the proper defensive round is chosen. And also shot from a 3.5” to 4.5” (optimal is 4.0” to 5”), especially if this will primarily serve as your “house gun”. The length of the barrel is critical so the bullet is able to develop energy (ft. lbs.) and velocity = FPS, (feet per second). If it’s for concealed carry too, just carry a slightly larger handbag as my mother dose! Here’s some of the best 9 MM’s for price and performance:
     Glock 43
     Springfield XDm 3.8” barrel, 20 round capacity, solid shooter, minimal kick back and consistently accurate & reliable.
     Beretta APX – Top rated as of 2018 – solid shooter, also very accurate & reliable
     Beretta Storm – previously issued to Navy Seals!
     Beretta M9
     M&P Shield 2.0
    *Pick a well know name and reputation
    *Chose a barrel ideally in 3.8” to 4.5”, explained above
    *A gun that feels right / fits your hand well – Most Important!!!

    Reply

    • DD

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      I took great interest in your post and am considering looking at modern pistols, up to the end. I am a woman. Carrying off-body in a handbag is one of those “options” I do not consider to be an option. Sorry. It is a personal opinion issue I am sure. If I cannot CC on my person, I leave the firearm at home. CC in a handbag off–person is really not keeping control of your firearm, imo.
      For IWB, I use a belly band so the firearm is never off my person, even when I use the ladies room.
      I cannot stress how opposed I am to CC in a handbag.

      Reply

    • Beertoe stiffler

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      I agree mam. I would never recommend carrying off body in a purse or other type of bag. And would definitely recommend your belly band over a purse for concealment. Someone can easily blind side you and rip your purse from your body leaving you defenseless. Growing up in 209 Stockton I can attest to the brutality criminals show to victims. There is no mercy.

      Reply

  • Konrad Lau

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    I know that lists like this generate commentary like mine…but here goes.
    I couldn’t help but notice the Springfield Armory XD-S was absent. It too offers the 45 ACP chambering but with a very flat width and trim length and height. It is also absent finger grooves on the front strap that never seem to line up with my fat fingers. I use the “extended magazine that provides pinky finger purchase and one extra round (seven total).
    I will also add that even though it is a short pistol, I can hit very well with it. Another advantage over the Series 70 is that I mounted a Crimson Trace laser sight for low light target acquisition. It also has respectable iron sights from the factory.

    Reply

  • Mike

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    I would add the Walther PPS M2 to the list.

    Reply

  • David

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    Most of these are pushing the limits of what most people of average build can EDC.
    I can carry my CZ PCR, 1911 commander and g19 during winter months, but realistically would almost always rather carry my Kahr P9, P365 or Kimber Micro9.
    I know there are those guys who claim they pack a double stack 1911 inside there waistband all year long with no problem but I think its forum talk.

    Reply

  • Dee Dee Sommers

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    I love my SP101. I am 61 year old 5’1″ woman with arthritis. Each time I fire my SP101, I am reminded what a joy it is to fire. The grip fits my small hands very comfortably.

    I prefer revolvers for reliability but also, they are very easy to clean. If my firearm is easy to clean, I am more inclined to take it to the range more frequently. My husband has a small pistol. It is fun to fire but each time I am tempted to take it to the range, I think again because cleaning.

    Reply

    • mj

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      Which caliber are you carrying? Sorry your man has such a small pistol (:

      Reply

    • Dee Dee

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      My SP101 is a .357 Mag but I carry Hornady 38 spl defensive rounds in it. At the range I fire .38 special also. I put a few .357 mag rounds through it but found it to be way too much bang.

      Reply

    • Dee Dee

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      “Sorry your man has such a small pistol”

      Oops! That didn’t come out well, did it?! He has a Ruger LCP (.380). It’s a fun little firearm and very easy to conceal. 😉

      Reply

    • Tony Mullican

      |

      rated GP

      Reply

    • Dee Dee

      |

      For IWB I carry a Bond Arms Century 2000 with .410 000 buck or .45LC defense rounds.

      I carry the SP101 in sticky holster on my leg when wearing long skirts. :)

      Reply

  • karl

    |

    Glock 30 full size[I am large,left handed] with tritium front sight /adjustable rear sight and Lone Wolf barrel i.e. non jacketed ammo.It will take Glock 21 full capacity[where legal-not in NY] mags

    Reply

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