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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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 (177)

  • Charlie

    |

    I’m also disappointed that the Bersa .380’s did not make this list.

    Reply

  • Jack Haskins

    |

    I was disappointed not to find my S&W .380 Bodyguard listed in this article. I find it very easy to shoot and very accurate. The only draw back is the long trigger pull. for a carry gun it is very good.

    Reply

  • Marc Burns

    |

    I have a 7.65 Mauser my late father in law took off a german office in ww2, 357 Ruger, a 1911 45 acp, and a Ruger sr22..I carry depending on where I plan on going, love the 45 but kind of heavy, same with 357, sr22 nice size but will not drop a man with frist shot bought it for grand kids to get started learning about guns….380 or 40 sounds just right…most of my friends carry 9mm. I carried 45 in Nam..love your site and company

    Reply

  • RPK

    |

    Of those on the list, I prefer the S&W M&P Shield. My wife carries this as a primary self-sefense weapon in .9mm and I carry it in .40 Caliber. Affordable, reliable and well made. Goes BANG! everytime and hits where you aim. I was also surprised the S&W .380 Bodyguard was not on the list. This is my wife’s back-up handgun. I have also carried it from time-to-time. Great little shooter. And at times, dependng on weather and clothing options, I have also carried a Taurus 738 or Bersa Thunder .380 Combat model. Both are inexpensive and have proven to be reliable. SO MANY choices on the market anymore. One must do a lot of research in advance. The majority of people go by looks and feel first, and THEN by reputation and functionality second.

    Reply

    • BJI

      |

      “My wife carries this as a primary self-sefense weapon in .9mm”

      DRIVES ME NUTS :) to see .9mm. NOT .9mm (POINT9mm), JUST 9mm!!!
      I’ve also seen in newspapers and magazines: .12 gauge shotgun! It’s 12 gauge with NO PERIOD BEFORE THE 12!!! Also, the 12 is the number of lead balls per pound that fit in a 12 gauge barrel.

      ONE MORE thing: The rectangular metal tube that holds the ammunition for your semi-automatic handgun and fits in the butt of the pistol is a MAGAZINE, NOT a CLIP!!!

      Reply

  • Jim

    |

    You didn’t mention Bersa. The last time I qualified for CHL my Bersa went up against PPK, h&k Baretta and glock. My bersa shot super tight group, a perfect score no jams. While the other guns shot all over the target and also some had jams.

    Reply

  • Russkie Vityazi

    |

    Yo Cliff. I do not work for Cheaper Than Dirt. Just an old mans observation on why they did not include a particular brand of gun. I happen to carry the LCP with a Crimson Trace laser and it works for what it is. It will do its job when called upon so that is that.

    Reply

  • Jeff

    |

    Erroneous list.

    Reply

  • D. Reed

    |

    Why no mention of the SW Bodyguard 380?

    Reply

  • Cliff

    |

    And what about the Springfield EMP? Expensive but a super 9mm if you want a 1911 style. Also, no mention of the much touted Kimber Solo. It started out with many functioning problems and is not heard of much any more. I never see an evaluation of that one.

    Reply

  • Cliff

    |

    Russkie Vityazi

    July 12, 2015 at 7:24 pm | #

    What the author of this list is saying, is the Rugers were not tested because Cheaper Than Dirt cannot buy direct from Ruger, and must buy their stock from a master distributer.

    Ok so buy Rugers anyway and test them if Cheaper than Dirt wants to do a fair evaluation. Admittedly I have not tried all the guns mentioned here, but I have tried a great many of them. I still vote for the Ruger LC9s as Ruger saw the original LC9 had a not so great trigger pull with the hammer fired gun and remade it in striker fire, much improving the trigger pull. Try it you’ll like it. As an aside, I don’t carry an auto, but I do carry a Ruger LCR in .38 Special, a proven man stopper.

    Reply

    • Trek

      |

      Yes – the LC9s is the way to go. Great improvement over the LC9.

      Reply

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