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 (181)

  • FIJI M

    |

    What shocked me was the fact that one of the smallest, highest selling, low cost compact pistols, did not make your sorry ass list? Ruger

    Ruger should be on and at the top with the Kel-tec. (Similar)

    You must be a Ruger hater!!

    Reply

    • Archangel

      |

      Everyone should remember that CTD almost never reviews guns they don’t sell – so lots of excellent/better guns get excluded from these kind of lists – got to go elsewhere if you want broader based assessments – ask a Dodge/Chrysler/Plymouth dealer what the best family cars are, see if he names a Ford or GM model 😀

      Reply

    • Terry Abbate

      |

      Its a known fact that Ruger copied Kel Tec’s design. So why list it? It’s redundant. There are some minute differences but nothing major until the new LCP 2 was recently released. Now it’s a much better option.

      Reply

  • ray

    |

    No Rane’sn. Not relaible. Carry a Seecamp.

    Reply

  • Ben Haddox

    |

    While I understand the desire to talk about “backup weapons” and their concealability, isn’t that rather redundant if you are already carrying concealed? I carry a Colt Delta Elite 10mm as my service weapon because it gets the job done right the first time. If I should let myself get in a situation where I have to pull my backup, it will probably be in a close range hand to hand combat scenario. I want something small that fits in the palm of my hand and only I can grip and control. It will probably be barrel to head or barrel to heart. Either way, distance or accuracy is not important at this point! I prefer a “RAVEN ARMS” type weapon in 25 cal. Hell, it fits in the bottom of my thermos!

    Reply

  • Leo Paquin

    |

    I agree with Dennis Tompkins I carry a S&W Bodyguard 380 with the built in Crimson Trace sight and I really like it. Fits in my pocket and I can carry it all day without a hitch. You can also get a 10 round clip if you carry in your jacket pocket. Also a plus is the 10 round clip gives you a great grip on the weapon.

    Reply

  • InjnRay

    |

    Enjoyed the list of 15 smallest guns; however, the LW Seecamp in 32 & 380 are conspicuosly absent.

    Seecamps very small – smaller than some on this list – they are all metal, and they are extremely reliable.

    The Seecamp needs to be on this list.

    Reply

  • Dennis Tompkins

    |

    I’m surprised and disappointed that the S&W Bodyguard .380 wasn’t included in this list! From a size and weight standpoint, it should have been in 5th place…and it’s the number-one very lightest and smallest .380 auto that’s equipped with a manual thumb safety, which I strongly prefer for “safety redundancy” purposes.

    Reply

  • Andrew Naylor

    |

    What about Seecamp?

    Reply

  • steph

    |

    Can you shoot around corners with the Taurus Curve?

    Reply

  • BRETT T

    |

    I carry the Kahr PM9. It is a little bigger than these but still works for pocket carry. I keep trying to replace it and I try to carry a larger gun with more capacity. Right now I am trying a sig p320 I have the subcompact frame on order. I recently purchased a glock 43 and shot it for a bit. I was more accurate with the Kahr and it was a little smaller. The PM9 has a match barrel, hexagonal rifling, and a better trigger. I wanted the best components I could get. It has been perfectly reliable, no FTF, stove pipe or any issue in over 6 years. At 10 yards I shot a 5″ group with the Kahr compared to a 10″ with the Glock. I frequently try friends pistols and for me the Kahr works best. That is not to say that for you a different pistol may work best. The best advice I can give is to find a range that rents guns and try all the models you are looking for. I have found there is no substitute for actually shooting the gun you are considering.

    Reply

  • John R

    |

    I carry a CZ P64, 9×18 Makarov, as a back up. Heavy pull on the first double action round but quite acceptable trigger pull for follow up shots, not to mention it’s pretty, close range, accurate. Fits on my front pocket and has never failed me.
    I think the Makarov. 9×18 is a highly under rated round.

    Reply

    • Peyton Quinn

      |

      I carry a p64 as well. It is Walther’s PPK clone but I feel better made and more reliable.Walther’s are good but can be ammo finicky, but not the P64. Besides I am older shooter and striker fired pistols are just not acceptable for em for safety reasons of course. The DA auto solves this. with an external hammer, I can carry the P64 chambered and the harder longer trigger pull on the first shot is the best most effective safety.You do not have that with striker fired pistol. I would not carry a striker fired pistol chambered myslef,too dangeious.

      Reply

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