The Top 15 Smallest Pistols

By Suzanne Wiley published on in Concealed Carry, Firearms

It wasn’t too long ago that the subcompact semiauto .380 ACP hit like a fever. These lightweight, small-enough-to-fit-in-your pocket pistols where flying off the shelves in record numbers when more states than ever started allowing concealed carry. An unprecedented amount of women and first-time gun owners were buying at this time, as well. After all, the little .380 ACP is not intimidating to a new shooter, yet it is sufficient for self-defense, unobtrusive, affordable and felt recoil is manageable to most. It did not take long for the firearms industry to notice and quickly (most) manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon. Though it took years, even Glock released a subcompact .380.

For some though, the .380 just isn’t enough and the pocket nines started rolling out. More than likely, if a manufacturer makes a subcompact .380, they make a subcompact 9mm—Glock included. Interest hasn’t waned and the guns just keep getting smaller!

This list compares the smallest of the small, the most lightweight, and the easiest and most comfortable semiautomatic pistols to conceal. They vary in price and quality. Some of them will serve better as a back up than as your primary gun. They are also all either .380 ACP or 9mm with polymer frames—simply because subcompact pistols are easier to make in a smaller caliber. Polymer is used most often because it keeps the overall weight of the gun down. Of course, the .25 and .32 ACPs will get even smaller, but no one recommends those calibers for self-defense, so I have left them out.

And now without further ado, here are the top 15 most concealable semiautomatic handguns, in order from shortest to longest:

 

Kahr Arms P380

Two-toned Kahr Arms .380 pistol

It may not be very pretty, but Kahrs function every time.

 
Kahr Arms P380
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.5 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.9 inches
Overall Length 4.9 inches
Overall Width 0.75 inches
Weight Unloaded 9.97 ounces
Sights Drift adjustable, white bar-dot combat sights
Frame Polymer
Price Starting at $593.43
User rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
Buy now!

 

Beretta Pico

Two-toned Beretta Pico .380 semiautomatic pistol

Beretta claims the Pico is the smallest .380 on the market.

 
Beretta Pico
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.7 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 4 inches
Overall Length 5.1 inches
Overall Width 0.75 inches
Weight Unloaded 11.5 ounces
Sights Adjustable
Frame Polymer
Price Starting at $353.05
User rating 4 out of 5 stars
Buy now!

 

Kel-Tec P3AT

Extended P3AT magazine holds three more rounds. A smaller +1 magazine is also available.

Kel-Tec P3AT extended magazine holds three more rounds.

 
Kel-Tec P3AT
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.7 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.5 inches
Overall Length 5.2 inches
Overall Width 0.77 inches
Weight Unloaded 8.3 ounces
Sights Notched front sight
Frame 7075-T6 aluminum
Price Starting at $235.29
User rating 3 out of 5 stars
Buy now!

 

Taurus Curve

Taurus curved pistol with integral pocket clip, laser and light sighting system

The Taurus Curve is truly one of the most innovative handguns we’ve seen in a long time.

 
Taurus Curve
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.5 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.7 inches
Overall Length 5.2 inches
Overall Width 1.18 inch
Weight Unloaded 10.2 ounces
Sights Integral light and laser
Frame Polymer
Price MSRP $392.42
User rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

Diamondback DB380

Diamondback .380 with FDE polymer frame

Diamondback makes these pocket pistols in .380 and 9mm.

 
Diamondback DB380
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.80 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.75 inches
Overall Length 5.26 inches
Overall Width 0.750 inches
Weight Unloaded 8.8 ounces
Sights Fixed
Frame Polymer
Price Starting at $199
User rating 4 out of 5 stars
Buy now!

Also available in a slightly larger 9mm.

 

Kahr CM9

Kahr Arms CM9 two-toned 9mm semiautomatic pistol

The competition to produce the ultimate subcompact 9mm carry pistol just went up another notch as Kahr unveiled its CM9 handgun.

 
Kahr CM9
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 4 inches
Overall Length 5.42 inches
Overall Width 0.90 inches
Weight Unloaded 14 ounces
Sights Drift adjustable rear, dot night sight front
Frame Polymer
Price Starting at $370.30
User rating 5 out of 5 stars
Buy now!

 

SIG Sauer P238

Black-framed SIG P238 pistol with rosewood grips

The SIG P238 is different from most pocket pistols, as it has a metal frame.

 
SIG Sauer P238
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.7 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.9 inches
Overall Length 5.5 inches
Overall Width 1.1 inch
Weight Unloaded 15.2 ounces
Sights Contrast or SIGLITE night sights
Frame Anodized alloy beavertail style
Price Starting at $536.48
User rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
Buy now!

Also available in a slightly larger 9mm.

 

DoubleTap

Black over/under pocket pistol.

The DoubleTap comes in 9mm or .45 ACP with a 3-inch barrel.

 
DoubleTap
Caliber 9mm or .45 ACP
Barrel Length 3 inches
Capacity 2 rounds
Overall Height 3.9 inches
Overall Length 5.5 inches
Overall Width 0.665 inches
Weight Unloaded 12 ounces
Sights Fixed
Frame 7075-T6 aluminum
Price $344.99
User rating 4 out of 5 stars
Buy now!

 

Colt Mustang XSP

Black Colt Mustang .380 pocket pistol

The Colt Mustang was originally introduced in 1986.

 
Colt Mustang XSP
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.75 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.94 inches
Overall Length 5.5 inches
Overall Width 1.02 inch
Weight Unloaded 11.5 ounces
Sights High profile
Frame Polymer
Price Starting at $683.75
User rating 5 out of 5 stars
Buy now!

 

Beretta Nano

Black Beretta NANO

The NANO is compact and at 20 ounces unloaded, light enough for all day carry.

 
Beretta Nano
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3.07 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 4.17 inches
Overall Length 5.63 inches
Overall Width 0.90 inches
Weight Unloaded 19.97 ounces
Sights 3-dot low profile
Frame Polymer
Price Starting at $393.30
User rating 4 out of 5 stars
Buy now!

 

SCCY CPX-1

Black SCCY CPX2 handgun

As for the pertinent dimensions, the CPX 2 weighs but 15 ounces, stands 4.25 inches tall, has a 3.1-inch barrel and is just over an inch wide.

 
SCCY CPX-1
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3.1 inches
Capacity 10 rounds
Overall Height 4 inches
Overall Length 5.7 inches
Overall Width 1 inch
Weight Unloaded 15 ounces
Sights 3-dot
Frame Polymer
Price Starting at $270.25
User rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
Buy now!

 

Kel-Tec PF9

All black Kel-Tec PF-9 handgun

For the pocket carrier, the Kel-Tec PF-9 is a fine 9mm handgun.

 
Kel-Tec PF9
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3.1 inches
Capacity 7 rounds
Overall Height 4.3 inches
Overall Length 5.85 inches
Overall Width 0.88 inches
Weight Unloaded 12.7 ounces
Sights Windage adjustable rear
Frame Polymer
Price Starting at $247.94
User rating 4 out of 5 stars
Buy now!

 

Glock 42

GLOCK 42 profile view

Small enough to carry comfortably, but large enough for proper hand purchase.

 
Glock 42
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 3.25 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 4.13 inches
Overall Length 5.94 inches
Overall Width 0.94 inches
Weight Unloaded 13.76 ounces
Sights Adjustable rear
Frame Polymer
Price $404.80
User rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
Buy now!

 

Taurus 709 Slim

Black Taurus 709 Slim 9mm handgun

The 9mm-chambered 709 holds seven rounds.

 
Taurus 709 Slim
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3 inches
Capacity 7 rounds
Overall Height 3.5 inches
Overall Length 6 inches
Overall Width 0.75 inches
Weight Unloaded 19 ounces
Sights Fixed
Frame Polymer
Price Starting at $246.94
User rating 4 out of 5 stars
Buy now!

 

Smith & Wesson Shield

S&W M&P Shileld

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

 
Smith & Wesson Shield
Caliber .40 S&W or 9mm
Barrel Length 3.1 inches
Capacity Up to 8 rounds
Overall Height 4.6 inches
Overall Length 6.1 inches
Overall Width 0.95 inches
Weight Unloaded 19 ounces
Sights 3-dot white
Frame Polymer
Price $387.55
User rating 5 out of 5 stars
Buy now!

Note: Ruger has three subcompact semiautos that would make this list—the LCP, LC9s and the LC380. However, Ruger has ceased allowing any third party shipments. Unfortunately, we cannot carry Ruger at this time.

If you would like more information on any of the listed firearms, read these reviews:

Which pocket gun sounds like it suits you best? Tell us which one and why in the comment section.

SLRule

Introduced to shooting at young age by her older brother, Suzanne Wiley took to the shooting sports and developed a deep love for it over the years. Today, she enjoys plinking with her S&W M&P 15-22, loves revolvers, the 1911, short-barreled AR-15s, and shooting full auto when she gets the chance. Suzanne specializes in writing for the female shooter, beginner shooter, and the modern-day prepper. Suzanne is a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

View all articles by CTD Suzanne


Product pricing and availability are as of time of publication and subject to change without notice at any time.

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Comments (180)

  • Secundius

    |

    A Gremany company Korth Waffen (Arms) makes a 9x19mmR/Parabellum Revolver with 2-inch Barrel called the Sky Marshall for about $950.00 USD…

    Reply

  • Bruce

    |

    And the 22 Mag packs a load…. That is my carry piece. North American Arms

    Reply

  • Bruce

    |

    I had rather have 15 rds of .380 than 8 rds of .45. Get the Winchester defence rounds and no problem.

    Reply

  • Jeff

    |

    As a Gunsite trained student my everyday carry gun is a 238 sig. It’s loaded with hornady xtp slugs which penetrate 13″-14″ in ballistic gelatin with FBI protocol.

    I can shoot aimed fire into 1″ at ten yards with this load and empty the gun in less than 1 second covering the group with my palm in the A zone of a standard target.

    Defensive shooting is just like real estate…. Location location location. A proper hit with a .380 is far superior to a poorly aimed 50 action express.

    Reply

  • Rebart

    |

    A little story about the .380. My wife is an RN, trained originally in the emergency room, and now a hospital supervisor who attends every knife and gun event in the ER. Her hospital has a euphemism for these events called “The knife and gun club” because of so many gang-related stabbings and shootings.

    Recently a man was brought into the ER who had somehow shot himself directly in his chest. This man did not even go into surgery. He went directly to a bed.

    This is just one example of the many .380 experiences my wife has had in 25 years. I have heard the saying that “The .380 is the new 9mm. Well, it isn’t. If you trust your life to a .380, I wish you good luck.

    Reply

    • Jack

      |

      Although I obviously wasn’t there, as an ER physician I can tell you that many gunshot wounds do not require surgery. If the bullet doesn’t strike a major blood vessel or vascular organ, it may cauterize the tissue and result in little to no bleeding. I’ve discharged patients from the ED with a 9mm souvenir (within the body) with a few Percocet…. It would be interesting to see the details about the case you mentioned though.

      Reply

    • Ross

      |

      If you are an ER physician you know giving out specific information is a HIPPA violation. I don’t know the specifics anyway.

      Reply

    • John

      |

      I think the info rebart & jack gave of these ER experiences is general enough that there is no HIPPA concern. Usually has to have specific patient info, including some patient ID data to be a violation.

      Reply

    • OldRed

      |

      Maddest man I ever saw had just been shot through the middle of the chest with a .30 Carbine by a thief at one of his building sites. He was driving around San Antone better armed than a Paratrooper ready to jump behind enemy lines looking for the guy that shot him.

      The shot was through and through that didn’t hurt much. Boy was he pissed.

      You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. -WAYNE GRETZKY

      Reply

    • GW

      |

      WTF does HIPPA have anything to do with this discussion? Hey Ross…were you the whiney little S*%T in school who would taddle to the teacher every violation of the rules you saw because no one could stand being around you? WHY do you internet TOADS even suck in precious air that belongs to sane people??

      How about we talk about F&%#ING GUNS????

      Reply

    • jim

      |

      i am not a docor and even I know that what he/she said was not a HIPPA viiolation. No name was given so no violation. It was anecdotal therefore no violation.

      Reply

  • AL L

    |

    Kindly do not forget the Springfield XDs series. With a 3.3″ barrel, the XDs 45 weighs 21oz and is only 6.3″ OAL. Certainly out-powers anything on this list & is PLENTIFULLY concealable. AND, the rest of Kahr’s CM/PM series. Even in 45, the CM/PM weighs only 17.3oz and a mere 5.8″ OAL. The 40 & 9 CM/PM series Kahrs are even lighter. Hooray for Springfield & Kahr!

    Reply

  • Randy

    |

    I think you should have included the Taurus TCP 738 380. It only weighs 10 ozs and has a very nice 4.5 DA trigger. Fits in the palm of your hand and only costs $200. Must be a good one because you never see them for sale used. My wife and I both have one each now for many years.

    Reply

  • Ten Top-Rated AR-15 Manufacturers

    |

    […] writing this list. The last time I made a list it almost blew up (har har) in my face. (I made a comparison list of small, pocket handguns and plenty of you were in disagreement…as I am sure you will be with this list.) However, lists […]

    Reply

  • John

    |

    I carry a Russian makarov, accurate and dependable, never had a problem and if you want more power get it in 9×18

    Reply

  • BJI

    |

    MUCH BETTER to have ammo left over than run out!!! Also, what if you CANNOT retreat?

    Reply

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