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 (175)

  • Cliff

    |

    OK, so you don’t carry Ruger at this time. So how does that prevent you from buying one and evaluating it anyway?

    Reply

    • Suzanne Wiley

      Suzanne Wiley

      |

      Hi Cliff,
      Thank you for reading and your comment.
      I wish I had an extra $400 to buy a gun just to test! How fun my life would be!
      I have had an opportunity to try a few of the Ruger LCs… not bad guns at all, in my opinion.

      Reply

  • Brian

    |

    I thought this was a completely biased report with many errors. One being with the Beretta being the smallest .380. Everyone, including the reporter (who passed the blame to Beretta!) and Beretta, knows that the Ruger LCP is the smallest, most reliable .380 out there by far. They also didn’t even mention the Ruger LC9 which is probably the best 9mm pocket pistol from sales to size out there and beats Kahr’s inconsistent reliability and cheapest price by $100 without the cheap skanky advertising. This report was a complete waste of time. It is a good thing I didn’t waste the time to read the entire article. biased and poorly written as most articles in most gun magazines. Who is paying these guys???

    Reply

    • Suzanne Wiley

      Suzanne Wiley

      |

      Brian,
      If you had read the entire article, you would know why the Ruger was left out. Let me reiterate:
      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.

      Reply

  • R. V.

    |

    #1 pistol is XDM 9mm compact for conceal carry with an optional 19 + 1 round magazine.

    Reply

    • LockNLoad

      |

      Everyone is different. A definitive CAC weapon is a myth. By the way, if you need 19+ shoots to accomplish a task, you would be better to get the hell out of whatever you got yourself into.

      Reply

    • LockNLoad

      |

      Everyone is different. A definitive CAC weapon is a myth. By the way, if you need 19+ shots to accomplish a task, you would be better to get the hell out of whatever you got yourself into.

      Reply

  • Kenneth Lawson

    |

    Something I noticed though the article, and in the comments the lack of mention of a revolver . There are a lot folks that for one reason or another can’t handle a auto-loader. There is something to be said for the simplicity of a wheel gun. The only real downside is the lack of large number of rounds on tap. Typically 5-6 rounds. with few exceptions. . Thus making it more important to spend even more time learning to use it, Carrying speed-loaders, and learning to use them quickly and even one handed, and of course getting shots and follow up shot all on target,

    Reply

    • Suzanne Wiley

      Suzanne Wiley

      |

      Hi Kenneth,
      Thank you for reading and your comment.
      Great observation! This article was strictly for semiautomatics. Look for a list of revolvers to come soon!

      Reply

  • Rodney

    |

    Not all shooters are the same, everybody holds their pistol different, no matter how many times you tell or show them. All these pistols are good, but only as good as the Shooter.

    Reply

  • Mike

    |

    Yeah, what about the S&W Bodyguard 380? It is smaller than most of these on the list. I own it and love it!

    Reply

  • Gman

    |

    Good carrys all of them. I agree with Jack Haskins. I cannot believe the S&W Bodyguard 380 was not even mentioned but the Diamondbacks were? Also, the Kel Tec PF-9 was given a nod but not the P-11 which holds 10+ 1 rounds of 9mm fire power to carry for the money at the basic size of the PF-9. ???

    Reply

    • McRuger

      |

      I’ve owned Taurus Slim and Kel-Tec P-11 and M+P Shield. My favorite carry is Ruger LC9. I can carry the LC9 with a Blackhawk pocket holster regardless of what i wear and nearly forget its there. The LC9 is accurate and has performed flawlessly.
      I would like to know a little more about this Ruger 3rd party shipment thing. I did read something about it on the Ruger site but I’m not sure what’s going on.

      Reply

  • BJI

    |

    “For the post espousing .25 cal with glaser rounds. Okay, but keep in mind that round, with only 94 ft lbs, has 4 to 5 times less muzzle
    energy than a 9mm cartridge. The .25 just barely bests a .22lr,”
    NO, most .22 lr HOLLOW POINT rounds have MORE THAN 120 ft lbs MUZZLE ENERGY!
    When I was a kid my brother and I took our dads .22lr target rifle and took a large bar of Fels Naphtha soap and shot it end to end from about 10 feet. The entrance hole was .22 but the far end of the bar, 5 or 6 inches, had a TWO INCH exit hole!!! NOT TOO SHABBY for defense!

    Reply

  • Rebart

    |

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a bad review about the Sig 938. I’ve often heard it referred to as the last small pistol. Check it out everyone.

    Reply

    • Bumper

      |

      Robert,

      I have three P938’s (wife stole the first SAS version I purchased so had to replace it. I agree, it’s a great gun and is now my carry gun, replacing a Sig P229 .40. The P938 is far more comfortable at my age (70).

      P938 pros:
      Very accurate, reliable, and with great night sights standard (most versions).

      Slide is very easy to rack. Recoil is surprisingly moderate and easy to manage. Gun is comfortable in small to large hands (7 round mag recommended).

      Nicely made and all metal (alloy frame, stainless slide. Quality machining throughout

      Easy to work on, trigger jobs etc. Crisp trigger with little pre and post travel.

      Excellent safety positively locks hammer back. Firing pin block, trigger has to be held back to unblock.

      Cons:
      Fairly heavy trigger at 7.5 to 8.5 lbs (factory spec), a “trigger job” can take it to 5 lbs with no after market parts.

      Not cheap compared to other choices, but worth it.

      Magazines are pricey too, starting at $35 or so.

      There is one known issue that Sig has not addressed. A few have experienced main spring housing failure, usually after many hundreds of rounds, where the sear spring attaches. This is not a sudden failure and is easy to monitor wear by removing mag and looking in mag well at the little nub that retains the spring.

      Reply

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