Top 10 Best Selling Concealed Carry Handguns

By Dave Dolbee published on in Concealed Carry

Warm or cold weather, fashion, tactical considerations and personal preferences will all play into your decision when choosing a handgun for concealed carry.

When first asked to put together a Top 10 list of handguns for CCW, my mind immediately went to my personal choices. Note, I wrote choices. As a personal recommendation, I would not recommend switching your primary concealed carry weapon any more than is absolutely necessary.

Drawing from concealed carry

As a gun writer, I often find new firearms in my hands to test. As a gun for concealed carry, it would not make much sense to only put it in an OWB (outside the waistband) holster, take it to the range, shoot a few rounds and recommend you, the reader, buy it for concealed carry. That being said, I do not simply slap a strange firearm on my hip and start walking around as a test either.

First, I familiarize myself with the firearm. Next, I spend several days of dry fire practice to familiarize myself with the controls and trigger. Once comfortable, I begin working with the pistol from a holster and concealment. During this time, I use a snap cap or laser cartridge to practice clearing a malfunction. This is the minimum preparation before I consider carrying a new or unfamiliar firearm. Even then, for the first several outings, I most often carry a back up gun (BUG) or carry the new firearm as a BUG. Anyone who has read my previous writing will quickly discover that my primary EDC is a SIG 288 that I have been carrying since the mid ’90s. Stress in a life or death situation is no time to test whether you developed sufficient muscle memory with a new gun.

Ideally, you want to select a handgun that is easily concealable when wearing a t-shirt and shorts or a heavy parka. Remember, although winter allows you to bulk up, when you enter a warm building or restaurant you’ll start shedding layers. You do not want to explain why you are wearing three more layers of clothes than anyone else at the party. For ideas about carry options in different clothing and conditions click here.

You still need to make a choice and select a handgun as a primary or back up. Perhaps this will be your first CCW gun; maybe it will be an upgrade or replacement. Regardless, we wanted to put together a Top 10 list to set you on a path. My first thought was to simply state my favorites, but that gets boring. Besides, some people like Chevy and others prefer a Ford.

My next thought was to survey some of the writers, but the same personal biases would come into play. Finally, I had that Eureka! moment in the middle of the night. All I had to do was pull the numbers for the top selling guns from Cheaper Than Dirt! and the list would be complete. The error in my logic was immediately apparent. Somehow, I do not think a Hi-Point in every configuration and caliber would make a good list. I went back to the drawing board and invested some effort in serious data mining to come up with the following list.

Like any Top 10 list, there is plenty of room for dissension. I love the SIG P228, but my buddy wouldn’t trade his P226 for the world. Both are great guns; it is simply a matter of personal preference. So, do not take this list literally. Hi-Points top the list because they are cheap to purchase. The same may be true of some of the guns that have made my list, but most, if not all, have big brothers with a higher price point and better features and quality. Don’t nitpick the list, use it as a guide and do your homework!

Ruger LC9s

Black handugn made by Ruger with integrated trigger safety

The benefit to the striker-fired LC9s is the lighter trigger pull, set at 5.5 pounds.

The Ruger LC9s is a striker-fired version of the popular Ruger LC9. It has a short, light trigger pull for faster, more accurate shooting and is well suited to the concealed carry role. All existing LC9 accessories, including lasers, holsters and magazines, also work with the LC9s. Ruggedly constructed; the pistol has a checkered grip frame that provides a secure and comfortable grip. It is also supplied with a finger grip extension floorplate for the magazine that can be added for additional comfort and grip.

 
Ruger LC9s
Action Striker fired semi automatic
Barrel Length 3.12 inches
Caliber 9mm Luger
Overall Height 4.5 inches
Overall Length 6 inches
Overall Width 0.9-inch
Weight Unloaded 17.2 ounces
Sights 3-dot sights with windage adjustable rear sight
Capacity 7+1
Frame Black glass-filled nylon polymer frame
Features Trigger safety, manual safety, magazine disconnect

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GLOCK 42

GLOCK 42 Right Profile

The GLOCK’s cocking serrations are well designed and easy to grasp.

Introducing the newest member to the GLOCK family of striker-fired semiautomatic pistols, the highly anticipated GLOCK 42 has finally arrived. The GLOCK 42 is chambered in the versatile .380 ACP, which has been well known to be a reliable and accurate self-defense round. This sub compact GLOCK has all of the reliability and durability that made them famous world wide, but chambered in a softer recoiling caliber. Pick up the newest member of the GLOCK family today and rediscover the fantastic .380 ACP.

 
GLOCK 42
Action Semi Automatic
Barrel Length 3.25 inches
Caliber .380 ACP
Overall Height 4.13 inches
Overall Length 5.94 inches
Overall Width .94-inch
Weight Unloaded 13.76 ounces
Capacity 6+1
Frame Polymer
Features Striker Fired 5.5 lbs. Trigger, Right hand hexagonal rifling, 1:9.84 Twist

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Smith and Wesson M&P9 Shield

S&W M&P Shileld

The S&W Shield is surprisingly compact, yet recoil is modest.

The S&W M&P9 Shield is one of the most sought after concealed carry firearms available on the market today. The S&W M&P9 Shield has a solid reputation among law enforcement and concealed carry permit holders for being ultra reliable, durable, accurate and concealable. Its diminutive size and outstanding quality have droves depending on the S&W M&P9 Shield for personal protection. When things go from bad to worse, having the right tool on hand can make all the difference between making it home and being a statistic. The S&W M&P9 Shield is that tool.

 
S&W M&P9 Shield
Action Semi Automatic
Barrel Length 3.1 inches
Caliber 9mm
Overall Height 4.6 inches
Overall Length 6.1 inches
Overall Width .95-inch
Weight Unloaded 19 ounces
Sights White dot
Capacity 7+1
Frame Polymer
Features Striker fired, 6.5-pound trigger pull

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RIA M200

Armscor M200 Revolver

Armscor M200 Revolver is a quality offering at an unbeatable price!

It’s no wonder this revolver made our list of top selling concealed carry handguns. With a price point below $250, this no-frills handgun is a favorite with our customers. “This revolver is my third Armscor product and they did not let me down. Solid constuction, accurate, well balanced and easy to clean. The price was very reasonable, I didnt know what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised. Nice rubber grips also. I’m happy I purchased this Armscor/Rock Island Armory product,” writes Rich D.

The Rock Island Armory M200 Revolver is a great bargain for the money! This handgun features a 4.02-inch barrel with a cylinder that holds 6 rounds, comes with combat polymer grips and a parkerized finish. It shoots .38 Special, making this revolver a good choice for personal protection.

 
Rock Island Armory M200
Action Single/Double action
Barrel Length 4.02
Caliber .38 Special
Overall Length 8.78 inches
Weight Unloaded 1.76 pounds
Sights Fixed ramp front, Fixed wide square notch rear
Grip Black combat type plastic checkered
Capacity 6 rounds
Frame Steel, fluted cylinder
Features Transfer bar system safety, wide finger radius trigger, floating firing pin

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Kel-Tech P-11

Kel-Tec P-11 pistol right black

The P-11 is especially well suited for plain-clothes police officers, security personnel, or as a secondary weapon for military service members.

Kel-Tech’s P-11 recoil and practical accuracy are comparable to much larger guns. The P-11 is especially suited for plainclothes police officers or as a secondary weapon for military personnel. All machined components are also made on modern high-speed computerized equipment. Advanced quality control equipment and test procedures ensure a firearm with uncompromising quality in materials and workmanship.

 
Kel-Tech P-11
Action Double
Barrel Length 3.1 inches
Caliber 9mm Luger
Overall Height 4.3 inches
Overall Length 5.6 inches
Overall Width 1-inch
Weight Unloaded 14 ounces
Stock or Grip High impact polymer DuPont ST-8018 grip
Capacity 10+1
Frame Machined 7075-T6 aluminum
Features Hammer block safety, locked breech, heat treated SAE 4140 ordnance steel barrel, 9 lb. trigger pull

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Taurus Millennium

Taurus-Millenium-G2 left black

With its lightweight 22 oz. polymer frame, thin profile, and ramped 3.2 inch barrel, the newly designed Millennium G2 is the ideal concealed carry handgun.

The Taurus PT111 Millennium G2 is an excellent choice for concealed carry applications. The Taurus PT111 Millennium G2 is packed with features making this an easy to shoot and easy carry pistol. Do a little research and you will see that the Taurus PT111 Millennium G2 is highly touted as being accurate, reliable, and durable while being offered at a lower price range than its competitors.

 
Taurus PT111 Millennium G2
Action DA/SA
Barrel Length 3.2 inches
Caliber 9mm Luger
Overall Length 6.2 inches
Weight Unloaded 22 ounces
Sights Three dot adjustable sights
Capacity 12+1
Frame Compact Polymer
Features Manual safety, Taurus Security System (TSS)s, Loaded Chamber Indicator

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GLOCK 19

Picture shows the right side of a GLOCK 19 pistol.

The GLOCK 19 is one, if not the most, popular handguns in the United States—quite possibly the world.

GLOCKS are the most widely used law enforcement pistol worldwide. Because of its unsurpassed reliability, magazine capacity of 15 rounds and its low weight, law enforcement officers in their daily duties throughout the world trust it. It is safe and easy to operate thanks to the revolutionary Safe Action trigger system.

 
Glock 19
Action DA
Barrel Length 4.01 inches
Caliber 9×19
Overall Height 4.99 inches
Overall Length 7.36 inches
Overall Width 1.18 inches
Weight Unloaded 23.65 ounces
Sights Three-dot adjustable sights
Grip Polymer with rough texture
Capacity 15+1
Frame Polymer
Features Manual safety, Taurus Security System (TSS)s, Loaded Chamber Indicator

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Sig P250 Subcompact

Sig Sauer P250 sub compact

The author’s personal SIG P250SC. SIG Sauers are not normally associated with “cheap.” However, by comparison, the SIG P250 is significantly cheaper than previous models, but still features SIG’s “To Hell and Back” reliability.

In the world of combat tested and approved firearms, SIG Sauer is among the top of any short list. Law enforcement, elite military units, and lawful citizens with concealed handgun permits use SIG Sauer firearms. If you are not familiar with SIG Sauer, the next logical question is, “where have you been?” Since 1853, SIG Sauer has been providing shooters with the unquestionable reliability and durability they demand. After all, SIG Sauer was born for defense with German precision and attention to detail.

The P250, a modular pistol that allows the shooter to change caliber and size at will….

The SIG Sauer P250 was designed specifically to address the future needs of the military, law enforcement, and civilian shooters around the world. The P250 is available in the most popular calibers (9mm, .40S&W and .45ACP). The P250’s innovative design enables the shooter to quickly remove the functional mechanism and place it into the polymer grip of his choice. This allows an immediate change in caliber and size; (subcompact, compact and full). After any change, the pistol delivers both outstanding accuracy and reliable functionality. Its modularity not only provides incredible ease of maintenance, but also provides a solution for accommodating different hand sizes – there are six different ergonomic combinations for each size, accomplished by changes in grip circumference and trigger style.

 
SIG P250
Action DAO
Barrel Length 3.6 inches
Caliber .40 S&W (9mm, .357SIG, .45 ACP)
Overall Height 4.7 inches
Overall Length 6.7 inches
Overall Width 1.1 inches
Weight Unloaded 24.9 ounces
Sights Contrast
Grip Interchangeable polymer
Capacity 10+1
Frame Polymer
Features Accessory rail, 5.5-6.5 trigger pull, Nitron finish

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Springfield XDS

Springfield XD-S 9mm

The single stack design minimizes the width and increases concealment.

Slim and sleek, the Springfield XDS is an excellent choice for concealed carry and personal defense. At barely an inch thick, it is perfect for comfortable all-day carry in an inside the waistband holster for deep concealment. Packing 7 rounds of hard-hitting 9mm Luger, this extremely durable and reliable platform handles great and has the famous Springfield XD ergonomic design. Aggressive grip texturing keeps the XDS firmly in your hand under recoil.

The XDS is a perfect example of a pistol that works with your body, not against you. The natural pointability of the XD family, combined with the compact size and shape of its polymer grip, makes it feel more like a natural extension of your body than an object in your hand. The fiber optic front sight pulls in available light to glow and draw your eye to it.

 
Springfield XDS
Action DAO
Barrel Length 3.3 inches
Caliber 9mm Luger
Overall Height 4.4 inches
Overall Length 6.3 inches
Overall Width 0.9-inch
Weight Unloaded 23 ounces
Sights Fiber Optic Front & Dovetail Rear (Steel)
Capacity 7+1
Frame Polymer
Features Dual spring w/ full length guide rod, Grip and trigger safeties, striker status indicator, loaded chamber indicator

Click Here to Start Shopping Online at Cheaper Than Dirt

Kahr Arms CM9

KAHR CM9 left black silver

The Kahr CM9 is a reliable pocket 9 with a dedicated following.

The Kahr Arms CM9 is the value priced; no compromise option specifically designed for concealed carry situations. Accuracy and reliability are inherent in all Kahr Pistols. This particular model Kahr CM9, featuring a six-round single-stacked magazine, is only four inches tall, and just under one-inch wide. It weighs in at just 14 ounces without the magazine. The CM9 is a double-action striker-fired pistol that is an excellent choice for shooters of all sizes.

 
Kahr Arms CM9
Action DAO
Barrel Length 3 inches
Caliber 9mm
Overall Height 4 inches
Overall Length 5.42 inches
Overall Width 0.90-inch
Weight Unloaded 14 ounces
Sights Drift adjustable, white bar-dot combat sights
Grip Textured polymer grips with integral steel rails molded into the frame
Capacity 6+1
Frame Polymer
Features Browning type recoil lug, passive striker block, 416 stainless steel slide

Click Here to Start Shopping Online at Cheaper Than Dirt

 

Did your favorite concealed carry handgun make this list? Help us out and share your favorite handgun in the comment section. I am sure there are many 1911 fans ready to speak up.

SLRule

Growing up in Pennsylvania’s 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 Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s 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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The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (100)

  • Tim P

    |

    I don’t recommend things often, however when I find something so fantastic and perfect I make a exception. I purchased a Stealth Gear USA IWB VentCore Holster for my Springfield XDM 3.8″ .45 ACP Compact Pistol. It’s the best Holster I have ever owned, no break-in, it’s cool to wear in hot weather (Texas) do to its breathable and moisture wicking material construction and doesn’t sweat you like the Cross Breed Holsters and all the look-a-likes holsters do. The VentCore it’s also in light weight to wear and the fit is always tight and perfect as each holster is custom made for each gun and you hardly know you’re wearing the VentCore. I own/have owned a hundred holsters in my time, but the VentCore is the “Holy Grail” of IWB Holster. I like it so well I purchased four others for my other pistols. My VentCore for my HK .45 Tactical (Large Frame) is fantastic as are all the others. Several Police Officer Friends including the Chief of Police after seeing and trying my VentCore Holster purchase one as their go to holster for concealed and off-duty carry. The VentCore cost about $116.00, but let me say it’s worth every penny I paid I assure you as we all know, you get what you pay for. I’m one happy man having found the perfect IWB Holster.

    Reply

  • Gary

    |

    I see so many people commenting on how they can’t believe that their choice of carry wasn’t on the list or how so many weapons were left off of the list. READ the headline. The article was on 10 not 11 or 15 or 20, 10 so there’s a pretty good chance certain handguns were left off of the list due the shear numbers of quality handguns out there today. Maybe they will do a 100 best someday and that’ll make you all happy.

    Reply

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