Concealed carry is on the rise, which means more citizens are able to defends themselves and their loved ones better than ever before. However, that means having the right training, holster, or carry system, and most importantly the right pistol. Handguns are not a one-size-fits-all affair. This makes choosing—or recommending—a handgun rather difficult. However, when it comes to handguns, even men love to shop! Here are 10 top choices for your consideration. Feel free to put your favorite from this list, or one that was not included, in the comment section so others can look into your top pick as well.
Several factors go into choosing a handgun for concealed carry. Two of the most important are size and weight. If you cannot adequately conceal the gun, or it feels too heavy, you’ll leave it behind. On the other hand, if the pistol is too small to fit your hand, ergonomically unsuited to your shooting style, or has some other feature that prevents you from effectively deploying and shooting, you might as well carry a rock in your pocket.
When deciding on a CC pistol, consider capacity versus weight. Look for a gun that fits your hand (dainty, paw sized, or something in between). Think about the scenarios you could end up in. This is a pistol typically built for performance at point blank to 7 yards. It may not give the accuracy you want at 15 or 25 yards. Micro pistols such as the Diamondback DB9 set the standard for compactness, but are unsuited for +P ammunition.
The average number of rounds expended in a gunfight is four. A Glock with 17+1 rounds is not only a lot of extra weight, it is four times as many rounds as the average. On the other hand, I would rather have too many rounds than not enough… Sights can be adjustable, which yields greater accuracy potential at distance, but may be taller and more prone to snagging during the draw creating a hazard.
In the end, the best advice is to look at your situation, do your homework, and not be afraid to admit a mistake. If you buy a gun for concealed carry, and later determine it does not work for you… it is your life as well as the lives of the around you that potentially hangs in the balance.
The K6s revolver brings an unmatched level of performance and shootability to concealed carry. With the smallest cylinder capable of holding 6 rounds of .357 Magnum (also compatible with .38 Special), K6s compact revolvers are ideal for back-up, concealed carry, and home defense.
The Kimber K6s’ small frame, two-inch barrel and 1.39-inch diameter cylinder are machined from the finest stainless steel for superior integrity, strength, and resistance to the elements. The Kimber K6s offers a smooth match-grade trigger that creates confidence while helping to ensure accuracy; an internal hammer, and edges that are rounded and blended to help prevent a hang up when the revolver is removed from concealment; superior ergonomics and grip design that create a extremely shooter-friendly experience; and an all stainless steel construction. The Kimber K6s weighs in at 23 ounces.
For those who require a small package with mild recoil, K6s provides the power needed for concealed carry, home protection and many other applications. Best of all, they offer unequaled Kimber quality, dependability and performance.
Let Kimber re-introduce you to the revolver.
With the success of the Glock 26 and ever changing trends in the concealed carry pistol market, Glock redesigned its subcompact 9mm to bring the Glock 43 to market. Glock ‘s slimline pistol has taken the single stack 9mm segment by storm, outselling even the most popular contender.
The new Glock 43 transforms how shooters think of single-stack carry guns by reducing them to a shootable, ultra concealable, lightweight package. Now concealed carriers have the ability to practice with their carry gun without discomfort and an unpleasant shooting experience that some other single stack 9mm pistols offer.
Features include a finger groove-less grip—perfect for all hand sizes—and a reversible magazine catch coupled with the performance proven Glock feel. Recoil is kept in check with a dual-spring recoil system and Safe-Action system to ensure the trigger feels just like the Glock 43’s bigger brothers the G26, G19, and G17. Thanks to the new one-inch wide design, the Glock 43 will disappear under clothing like it isn’t even there.
The SR9c compact pistol utilizes the same adjustable, high visibility 3-Dot sight system as its full-sized predecessor, setting it apart from many compact pistols that rely on fixed sights. New serrations are located on the front portion of the slide, making it easier to manipulate the slide and press-check the chamber. The SR9c is available with a glass-filled nylon frame and through-hardened slide in either a brushed stainless or blackened finish. State compliant variations are available where necessary and ship with two 10-round magazines.
Just like the original, full-sized SR9, the SR9c is loaded with modern safety features such as the 1911-style ambidextrous manual safety, internal trigger bar interlock and striker blocker, trigger safety, magazine disconnect, plus a visual and tactile loaded chamber indicator.
Honor Defense Honor Guard
Honor Defense is a U.S. manufacture, dedicated to providing the legally armed citizen with the ultimate firearm. Take all the best features of the single stack, concealed-carry weapons on the market, combine them in one package, and you just might wind up with the Honor Guard.
This sub-compact offering from Honor Defense is a polymer frame, striker-fired semi automatic with a clean, crisp 7-pound trigger pull, short reset, and a custom texture that allows a better grip in all situations. The slide catch and magazine release are ambidextrous, and the snag-free sights won’t catch on clothing during the draw. Compact and lightweight, the Honor Guard is a superb choice for concealed carry.
Of particular interest is the Honor Guard FIST (Firearm with Integrated STandoff). The frame protrudes prominently beyond the slide and barrel. While this looks out of place, in a point-blank confrontation the FIST helps keep the slide in battery. This is smart, and a feature other manufactures should be looking to incorporate into future models.
Bridging design and ergonomics, the Taurus Spectrum is a truly exceptional blend of comfort and functionality. Unique contours enable the hand to naturally conform to the firearm—providing a more secure grip. The Spectrum’s ergonomics contour to fit your hand, providing a natural point of aim and a confident user experience.
The Spectrum draws quickly and smoothly with no snag points. The traditional slide serrations are replaced with a stylish design that allows the fingers to engage the indentations on the slide. The new indentations promise to provide positive contact points for enhanced traction—minimizing short strokes while racking to enhance safety. The soft-touch material enhances traction and creates a comfortable manipulation when chambering a round.
The Spectrum features a long and smooth 7-9 pound trigger. Unique to Taurus, the true double-action-only trigger system features a non-energized striker with no pre-cock or pre-load applied—ensuring no contact between the sear and striker. For additional safety, the Taurus Spectrum comes equipped with a striker block providing peace of mind for everyday carry.
Another major safety feature of note, the Spectrum’s trigger does not have to be pulled to disassemble the gun. Take down requires only one turn on the take down pin separating the slide assembly from the frame.
Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0
Smith and Wesson has done as much, if not more, for concealed carry than any other manufacturer. Arguably, the S&W Shield is the coke of concealed carry pistols and the one other manufacturers often compare their offerings to. Improving on a reputation like that is tough, but Smith and Wesson may just have done it with the introduction of the M&P 2.0.
Building on the original M&P, the 2.0 sports an extended stainless steel chassis, ambidextrous controls, and a more aggressive grip texture. The polymer frame has an 18-degree grip angle for a natural point of aim with a higher grip to bore axis for more comfortable shooting and faster recovery. It now has 4 ergonomic interchangeable palm swell backstraps for an even more customizable grip size. The trigger has been fine tuned to provide a crisper lighter trigger pull with an audible and tactile reset. This pistol has a 4.25″ barrel and is chambered in ultra reliable 9mm Luger with a 17-round magazine. Law Enforcement and lawfully armed citizens rely on Smith & Wesson M&P’s every day for personal protection. The M&P9 2.0 is ideal for concealed carry, CHL or CCW holders and is the perfect firearm for any self-defense application.
Springfield XD-E — The Hammer Reinvented
There are some tools so basic, you can’t imagine being without them. But even essential tools can be refined and improved. That was the principle behind Springfield’s new XD-E—the best elements of the world-renowned XD Series, condensed into a weapon so intuitive, comfortable and accurate, you can’t imagine being without it.
The XD-E sculpts unmatched Point and Shoot ergonomics into a sleek frame just an inch wide, for hand and holster fit so satisfying you’ll take it everywhere. The low-effort slide practically racks itself, so handling’s a pleasure. The exposed hammer clearly shows gun mode, and the single/double action trigger shows respect for your shooting style, unlike other compacts.
Features include a patent-pending hammer design, so you can see and feel the gun mode, for added safety and confidence. 27% less effort required to manipulate the slide. Far fewer slipped pulls. Definitely comfortable, possibly life saving. Three unique textures—the grip grips back, increasing control, reducing recoil, and securing your hold when it counts. Three magazine options let you personalize concealability and capacity. The XD-E also features an ambidextrous thumb safety/decocker and so much more.
SIG Sauer P320 X-Carry
Since the introduction of striker-fired P320 in 2014, SIG has expanded the line to quench the thirst from fans, shooters, neophytes, and the military. The new X-series P320 pistols fill the “factory custom” niche for those who take concealed carry to the max. The P320 X-Carry is essentially a concealed-carry version of the P320 X-Five—a new, full size, competition-oriented pistol.
The P320 X features that competition shooters have been adopting at a significant rate in the past few years. Many shooters believe a flat trigger offers a more consistent trigger press during rapid fire. A note that has obviously been heard by concealed carriers as well.
The adjustable rear sight sits on a removable base. When removed, the SIG P320 X-Carry is ready to mount your favorite micro red dot optic. The front of the slide also features a cutout that aids in weight reduction.
Fans of high capacity will appreciate the fact that the SIG P320 X-Carry ships with three 17-round magazines—a huge future cost savings when you decided to carry a spare magazine or two or when enjoying some range time.
Ruger LCP II
The Ruger LCP II builds off of the initial success of the Ruger LCP with a few major improvements. The first being the re-designed texture grip frame which provides you with a secure and comfortable grip. The larger grip frame surface does provide you with better distribution of recoil forces.
The new easy to rack slide design and last round hold open feature are something that the LCP II’s predecessor did not possess (and should have). The integral sights also received a bit of an upgrade to provide you with superior visibility. All of this is backed by Ruger, one of the nations leading manufacturer of rugged, reliable firearms for the commercial sporting market.
Notable features include a Viridian E-Series red laser, compact—at 5.17 inches long and 3.71 inches tall—the LCP II is designed to fit a variety of holsters and provide concealed carry options. The LCP II offers a rugged construction with through-hardened steel slide and black, and a one-piece, high-performance, glass-filled nylon grip frame, short, crisp trigger pull with single-action feel, a textured grip frame that provides a secure and comfortable grip, a larger grip frame surface to provide better distribution of recoil forces, an optional finger-grip extension floorplate that can be added to the magazine for comfort and grip, a pocket holster, 6-round magazine and much, much more.
Beretta PX4 Compact Carry
The Beretta PX4 Compact Carry is perfectly designed for concealed carry. Sporting a full-size grip and 15-round capacity, the Beretta PX 4 Compact Carry is a great choice for personal defense or plainclothes duty. This pistol is Beretta G-model operation, with a decock lever and no manual safety. The polymer-framed pistol features double action and single action. It is also equipped with a competition trigger and night sights. The steel slide is treated with corrosion and scratch resistant Cerakote.
Whatever you choose, commit to training, regular practice and most of all common sense. What is your favorite concealed carry handgun? Which model do you have you eye on, but want to hear what other readers thinks? Share yore answers or question in the comment section.
Growing up in Pennsylvanias game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Daves writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersens Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersens Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!
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