Concealed Carry

The 10 Best Concealed Carry Handguns of the Past 20 Years

Bob shooting a Remington R1

When I was challenged to come up with the best, concealed carry handguns of the past 20 years, I set down with a pencil and tablet and began making a list. This seems like an easy task, but there are many good handguns.

The bad ones were easy enough to keep off the list. I could not choose a handgun I had not personally fired—extensively—and had much experience with.

I have tested most of the concealed carry handguns introduced during the past three decades, and in some cases, I have seen these pistols go through my training classes.

I have seen many poor choices. I have learned to gauge a student’s progress in an inverse ratio to training and quality of training. Just the same, a quality handgun is also important. A poor choice holds a student back.

Excess recoil, sharp edges, a heavy trigger action and poorly designed sights all keep a student from being all they can be. We have seen poor pistols come and go and second rate choices that have faded away.

Recently, I saw a roundup of concealed carry handguns on a popular internet site. It was obvious the author had never fired the pistols included, and most of them were included on a basis of size.

I would never consider nine out of 10 of the pistols listed. Complete reliability is one baseline. Another is wound potential.

The .38 Special and 9mm Luger are realistic minimums for personal defense. Those giving a pass on smaller calibers have no experience in personal defense.

By the same token, those handguns that are uncontrollable in rapid fire—to my standard—are not useful for personal defense. The subcompact .40 caliber pistol and lightweight .357 Magnum revolver are among these.

A balance of control and power is needed. After much reflection, what follows is my choice for the best concealed carry handguns for the past 20 years.

1. CZ 2075 RAMI

CZ 2075 RAMI - concealed carry handguns
Source: CZ-USA.

The CZ 75 pistol is a durable and accurate service pistol. The CZ 2075 RAMI is a considerable redesign. The RAMI features the trademark CZ slide design.

The slide rides low in the frame by the use of reversed slide rails, with the slide running inside the frame rather than upon it. The result is a low bore axis and greater contact with the long bearing surfaces.

The pistol recoils straight to the rear with less muzzle flip—accuracy is enhanced as well. The Rami is a double-action, first-shot handgun.

The pistol is offered in two versions: one with the traditional CZ 75 safety that allows cocked and locked carry and the other with a decocker. The pistol is supplied with a flush-fit 10-round magazine and also an extended 14-round magazine.

The Rami exhibits European quality at its best. The sights were good examples of combat sights and the pistol has proven reliable with a variety of defense loads. Attention-to-detail was evident in the Rami pistol.

The double-action first-shot trigger was smooth, and the single-action press was clean and crisp. While the pistol handled best with the extended magazine, it was controllable with the flush-fit magazine as well.

There are tradeoffs in such a compact handgun, but these are minimized by the CZ design. The slide is a little difficult to rack, as it rides low in the frame. The short sight radius means attention to detail is needed to secure good accuracy.

This is a tradeoff that Rami shooters adjust to. My personal example will fire a two-inch, five-shot group at 15 yards with the SIG Sauer 124-grain V Crown JHP. The Rami is a first-class option among concealed carry handguns.

Overall Length7.2 in.
Overall Height5.03 in.
Weight Unloaded28 oz.
Barrel Length3.75 in.

2. CZ 75 D

CZ 75 D - concealed carry handguns
Source: CZ-USA.

The CZ 75 D is perhaps the least-known of CZ Variants. It is a highly desirable pistol that has proven accurate and reliable. When the Czech police were searching for a compact alternative to the standard CZ 75, the P-01 was introduced.

This is an aluminum-framed handgun with a shortened butt, slide and barrel and a monolithic dust cover that mounts a combat light.

The P-01 has been widely accepted. The pistol features a frame-mounted decocker rather than the CZ 75 manual safety. The CZ 75 D is a handgun similar in size and weight to the P-01, but without a light rail.

Let’s face it, many concealed carry permit holders carry a pistol with a rail, but do not carry a combat light. The CZ 75 D also features a unique loaded-chamber indicator.

The CZ 75 D compact 9mm also features good combat sights and a smooth trigger action. The P-01 is often regarded as more accurate than the parent pistol, the CZ 75, and this is a fair appraisal of the CZ 75 D in my experience.

The CZ 75 D also has the advantage of a unique set of personal defense sights that offer snag-free carry.

My CZ 75 D will group five-shots of the Winchester 124-grain PDX +P load into 1.25 inches at 15 yards. For those favoring the double-action first-shot pistol, it doesn’t get any better than the CZ 75 D, yet the pistol has no extraneous features.

It is a straightforward design with much to recommend for those considering concealed carry handguns. My example has been fitted with Hogue grips.

Overall Length7.2 in.
Overall Height5.03 in.
Weight Unloaded28 oz.
Barrel Length3. 75 in.

3. Colt 1911 Series 70

colt series 70 - concealed carry handguns

Some may dismiss the Government Model 1911 as too large for concealed carry. Yet, many shooters, including myself, often carry the steel-frame 1911. I have done so for more than 35 years.

The Colt Series 70 does not have adjustable sights or a target trigger, nor does it have an ambidextrous safety. The Colt doesn’t have any of the target gun features that have crept into personal defense handguns over the past decade.

The pistol is flat and concealable and faster to an accurate first-shot hit than any other big bore self-loading pistol. The Colt Series 70 is beautifully finished and the fit is excellent. I have used the original Series 70 and find the modern pistol a better handgun.

Even compared to 1950s and 1960s guns, a high point of Colt production, the Series 70 is a superior handgun. A solid option among concealed carry handguns.

Feed reliability and combat accuracy are excellent. There is no Series 80 firing pin safety, but the Series 70 relies upon a heavy-duty firing pin spring for safety. The trigger breaks at 4.5 pounds.

The sights are good examples of combat sights. With the Federal 230-grain Hydra-Shok load, this pistol will fire a 1.0-inch 15-yard group. This handgun combines excellent combat ability with considerable pride of ownership.

Overall Length8.5 in.
Overall Height5.4 in.
Weight Unloaded38 oz.
Barrel Length5.0 in.

4. GLOCK 19

G19 - concealed carry handguns
Source: GLOCK.

I have fired many GLOCK 19 pistols since their introduction, and all are remarkably consistent in accuracy and reliability. The GLOCK is a baseline for combat pistols.

A cheaper handgun may not be reliable, and if you spend more than you pay for a GLOCK, you need to be certain you are gaining good features.

Only a handgun that offers an advantage should be chosen. I do not agree with GLOCK perfection, save when it comes to reliability—and reliability is, after all, most important.

You can work with a hard trigger, or less than ideal sights, but not a handgun that isn’t as reliable as a machine can possibly be.

The G19 compact is slightly shorter than the G17 9mm and features a shortened butt. The result is one of the best-balanced and most-useful handguns on the planet. In most regards, the GLOCK 19 makes an excellent holster or service pistol.

It is a great all-around, 24-hour pistol for working cops or concealed carry permit holders. There is a significant difference in recoil between the 9mm and the .40, and the GLOCK 19 9mm handgun is controllable and accurate.

For the average shooter with overwhelming demands such as a job, family and other pursuits, the 9mm is a reasonable choice and the GLOCK 19 an excellent choice.

How accurate is the pistol? First, learn to control the trigger, but as an example, my personal GLOCK 19, fitted with TruGlo night sights, will group five rounds of Gorilla Ammunition’s 115-grain JHP into 2.0 inches at 15 yards.

It is remarkably consistent from one load to the other. The G19 is the choice of many well-trained individuals. It is an affordable and uncommonly reliable handgun.

Overall Length7.25 in.
Overall Height4.99 in.
Weight Unloaded24 oz.
Barrel Length4.0 in.

5. GLOCK 43

G43 - concealed carry handguns
Source: GLOCK.

The GLOCK 43 is a single-column magazine 9mm sub compact pistol. I find it a better choice for deep carry than the GLOCK 26 and similar handguns. The pistol has excellent features and performance.

A good example of special variants is the Halo edition with a bright orange front dot and special rear sight.

The GLOCK is a good combat pistol but superior sights add to the handguns’ hit probability. The GLOCK 43 was a long-awaited addition to the GLOCK line and swayed many first time shooters to the GLOCK line.

The pistol isn’t as controllable or easy to fire as the GLOCK 19; it cannot be in its size and weight class.

The real advantage of the GLOCK 43 (in my opinion) is that the pistol is slightly larger than the typical .380 class handgun, yet much more powerful and reliable.

The GLOCK 43 features GLOCK reliability and chambers a reasonably powerful cartridge. With the Hornady Critical Defense 115-grain FTX load, this pistol breaks a two-inch group at 15 yards from a solid benchrest.

Offhand performance depends upon the will of the shooter to practice, but overall, a great option among concealed carry handguns.

Overall Length6.2 in.
Overall Height4.25 in.
Weight Unloaded18 oz.
Barrel Length3.4 in.

Check out our updated list of the best concealed carry handguns on the market right now.

6. GLOCK 36

G36 - concealed carry handguns
Source: GLOCK.

The GLOCK 36 was a sensation when introduced and remains so today. GLOCK designed a reliable compact single stack .45 and gave defensive shooters something lacking in the past—a completely reliable, truly concealable, compact .45 caliber handgun.

The pistol features GLOCK’s world-class reliability, a controllable trigger action and a grip frame that doesn’t overly stretch most hand sizes. The pistol features a six-round magazine. The GLOCK is chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge.

This cartridge gives shooters the advantage of wound potential in a cartridge that does not rely upon expansion for effectiveness.

The . 45 ACP cartridge operates at low pressure and features a limited muzzle signature. Recoil isn’t harsh, but rather a push compared to the sharp recoil of the .40 caliber cartridge.

The GLOCK 36 is an excellent option among concealed carry handguns for those who prefer the GLOCK handgun and .45 ACP cartridge.

This isn’t as much a pistol to load with +P loads as it is a lightweight carry pistol, however. The Hornady 185-grain FTX load is ideal. The GLOCK 36 I have on hand features a Bar Sto barrel and will deliver a 1.5-inch group at 15 yards.

Overall Length7.1 in.
Overall Height4.7 in.
Weight Unloaded20.1 oz.
Barrel Length3.8 in.

7. Remington 1911 R1 Commander

R1 Commander - concealed carry handguns

The 1911 R1 Commander was introduced in 1950. The slide is ¾-inch shorter than the Government Model, and in the original version, the pistol featured a weight-saving aluminum frame.

The original Commander, like the Government Model, featured small GI sights and a heavy trigger.

Many versions have been produced over the years. Some have full-length guide rods and adjustable triggers—target gun features that have no place on a service grade handgun. A good development was the introduction of the steel-frame Commander.

This resulted in one of the best-balanced concealed carry handguns every manufactured.

A few years ago, Remington introduced its R1 pistol. This is a well made and finished 1911 offered at a fair price. The R1 Commander, introduced some months later, has received little notice or acclaim.

Yet, this handgun is among the best choices in a modern 1911 carry gun.

The sights are superior to the GI-type. The front sight is dovetailed in place, curing a problem with staked in GI sights. The ejection port is lowered for superior function and administrative handling.

The R1 Commander features a spur hammer rather than the typical rowel hammer of the Commander, making it easier to lower the hammer.

The trigger action is smooth and crisp and the safety positive in indent. The barrel bushing is tight, but not so tight it cannot be field stripped by hand. The R1 Commander has proven reliable with all loads I have tested and more than accurate.

The carry load, the Gorilla Ammunition 230-grain JHP, has demonstrated a 1. 2-inch group at 15 yards. I keep the spare Mec Gar magazine loaded with the Gorilla Ammunition FBI spec loads.

This no-frills 1911 has everything needed in a 1911 and nothing I do not need. It is faster from leather than the full-size 1911 and hits hard.

Overall Length7.75 in.
Overall Height5.4 in.
Weight Unloaded35 oz.
Barrel Length4.75 in.

8. Ruger SP101

Ruger SP101
Source: Ruger.

The Ruger SP101 is a product of the type of design and engineering that has earned Ruger a great deal of respect in the professional field. When five-shot .38 Special revolvers were first introduced, they were built on the .32 frame.

Upping the ante to .357 Magnum isn’t the wisest choice.

The Ruger then introduced in .38 Special, featuring a newly designed frame. When you start with a clean slate, wonders happen! This heavy frame not only is well suited to the .357 Magnum cartridge, it features a slightly lower bore axis compared to most revolvers.

The result is a heavy-duty revolver that is controllable even with Magnum loads for those who practice.

The rear sights are broad, and the front post is easily picked up for personal defense shooting. The trigger action is smooth. I normally load the Ruger with the Hornady 125-grain Critical Defense—a useful Magnum loading that offers excellent wound ballistics.

While I am primarily concerned with personal defense against our protein-fed ex-con criminal class, I am also concerned with defense against coyote, feral dogs and big cats when I visit the great outdoors.

The Ruger is dirt tough and never gives trouble, and may be pressed into an opponent’s body and fired, time after time, without fail.

This makes it a good choice against the usual attack, as well as when you are on the ground as could occur with big dogs and mountain lions. For this duty, I change to the greater penetration of the Hornady 125-grain XTP.

The Ruger SP101 is tough, reliable, and more accurate than you would suppose.

From a solid benchrest with select loads, this revolver is the most accurate handgun tested for this report with a one-inch 15-yard group for an average of three groups, with some smaller, with the Hornady XTP load—at well over 1,200 fps!

Another fine choice among concealed carry handguns.

Overall Length7.2 in.
Overall Height4.8.
Weight Unloaded26 oz.
Barrel Length2.5 in.

9. Smith and Wesson M&P Shield .45

S&W M&P Shield 45

Smith and Wesson’s Military and Police series represents an important step in polymer-frame handguns. The pistol places ergonomics first, and the pistol fits most hands well. The M&P features good sights and is overall a credible service pistol.

I tested one of the first Smith and Wesson Shield 9mm handguns, a subcompact M&P with a single column magazine, and found it good.

The pistol is controllable and reliable. I have seen several Shield pistols in training and reliability is good. When Smith and Wesson introduced the .45 caliber Shield, I obtained one of the first. I have fired the pistol extensively.

I find it reliable, accurate enough for most uses, and ergonomic. I like the hinged trigger and excellent combat sights.

The pistol is more comfortable to fire than expected due to good grip design. I also like to have a manual safety on my handgun and the Shield provides. If you chose, you may simply ignore the safety.

This isn’t the pistol to deploy with +P loads. I like the Hornady 185-grain Critical Defense in this handgun. The Shield is affordable but high quality. A great option among concealed carry handguns.

Overall Length6.45 in.
Overall Height4.88 in.
Weight Unloaded20.5 oz.
Barrel Length3.5 in.

10. Smith and Wesson 442

S&W 442
Source: S&W.

The final choice is, in my opinion, the best all-around snubnose .38 Special revolver available. I seldom, if ever, carry the Model 442 alone, but I deploy it nearly every day as a backup, save when I am carrying two heavier handguns.

The Smith and Wesson double-action aluminum-frame .38 has been my backup for over 30 years, in some form or the other. A great option among concealed carry handguns.

The 442 is controllable, due in part to the humpback frame design that conceals the hammer. Unlike revolvers with an exposed hammer or the self-loading pistol, the 442 may be fired repeatedly from the pocket, which I practice occasionally.

The 442 is affordable, and the highest-quality revolver in this frame size. The 442 is indispensable as a backup and travels with me a great deal. I have considered ammunition carefully. I most often deploy the Hornady Critical Defense 110-grain FTX.

At seven yards, firing double action, I am able to group five shots into three inches—all we can ask from a snubnose revolver.

From a solid braced position, I am able to make center hits to a long 25 yards. However, this is a stunt with this type of revolver and takes time and concentration. The 442 offers a lot of protection, ounce for ounce.

Overall Length6 5/16 in.
Overall Height4.6 in.
Weight Unloaded16 oz.
Barrel Length2.0 in.

Which choices do you agree or disagree with and why? Which concealed carry handguns would make your top list? Share your answers in the comments below.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October of 2018. It has been republished after being updated for clarity and accuracy.

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
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 (96)

  1. I can’t believe FN is not on the list.
    I personally own an FNX45, although it is rather large for concealment it is the best shooting hand gun I have fired.
    They do make an FNX9 that I feel would be a better Carry gun
    Although I prefer a 45. Or

  2. I am a fan of the Smith and Wesson M&P line. The grip angle and overall ergonomics are superior for me. I find they point and aim naturally. My first was the full size 4,25″.
    Next I bought an Sheild. When I put a Hogue grip sleeve on it I found it fit my hand better and my groupings at the range shrank to be almost comparable to the full size.
    My next M&P was the 2.0 full size with a 5″ barrel. Finally an auto loader that I could shoot as accurately as my 686 revolver!
    My most recent M&P is the 2.0 compact. I like the extra capacity of the 2.0. I am a big guy and can carry any of these concealed. I always carry a spare mag or two.
    Whatever you choose to carry you need to be well practiced in its use. From draw to fire and reload. These should all be practiced and repeated often enough that you develop muscle memory for them.
    While .40 is my caliber of choice I do firmly believe any caliber beats no caliber.

  3. I noticed the Belgium made Browning Hi- Power in .40 S@W was not in the mix, the Beretta.32 Inox, missing as well, the Charter Arms .44 special as well, my point is there’s the debate that is endless, and always will be. Folks love em all, and carry the one you love and you just can’t miss with, etc. ,etc!!!

  4. You said: “I would never consider nine out of 10 of the pistols listed. Complete reliability is one baseline. Another is wound potential.”

    Are we to assume the CZ 2075 RAMI listed as your #1 pick is that one out of 10 you would carry?

    1. The author was referring to another article he read online about 10 concealed carry guns, not this article.

  5. Great article & comments. For me, Glock 21, Springfield 1911-A1 & G43. Again, depending on weather and garments. Bottom line, and many said this, it’s what works best for you personally. Whatever you hit your target with, that’s what you should carry. There is no substitute for accuracy.

  6. I disagree with the S&W models 36 and 60 not being considered, as well as any other revolver other than a Ruger. I would rather see the article talk about what is NOT a good choice based upon features, failures, concealability etc. Any of the handguns in my safe maybe excluding the Taurus Judge and S&W Model 66 with a 6-inch barrel would do what is necessary when needed and would be concealable. I also note the absence of any Sigs, or Walthers, Springrields, Berettas, Tauruses, Star M, the K-frame S&W’s, the 1911 and its variations. As a 30 year law-enforcement veteran retiree, I have carried all makes, models, size and kinds of weapons concealed at one time or another, and still do. One merely has to train and adapt.

  7. the ” best choice ” is always the one you have when needed… also, two is one, one is none, New York reload is best option… …a 357 mag. versus a big cat attack .. good luck ??? hope I never have to test that theory for real.. stay alert and stay safe . .. agree about snub 38spl in the pocket at all times.. go in peace..

  8. This is a great article. I can honestly say that I have fired every single one of these pistols. I would happily carry any one of these weapons and own 7 of the 10. I also believe that there is much debate because people tend to love what they carry right, wrong or indifferent. To the authors credit, the CCW’s that were chosen are all solid choices especially if you can only pick 10.

    I have tought CCW and self defense courses for 15 years. I have also served in the USMC and currently contract for the DoD. That being said the author is 100% correct about poor quality weapons and bad sights. All of the weapons listed are quality firearms. Lastly I have to agree with the author regarding one of the posts. AD’s are always the shooter not the weapon. No firearm will AD while in a holster. In fact Glock’s specifically had many AD’s the little known fact is that when drawn shooters were drawing with finger on the trigger. I have been in unforgettable circumstances were I have witnessed this. Shooters simply didn’t understand completely how the trigger safety worked.

    Ok done with my novel. Great article!!

    Semper Fi

  9. I have a lot of these and prefer the 1911, even full sized but I am 6’2″ 240# so it hides fine OR the Walther PPK/S. The Walther is carried most followed by the 1911 and then the Firestar in 40 S&W. I bought a HK USP in 40 S&W but never took to CC with that one.

  10. Thank you, for the article. I love that you are talking from experience. I had a glock 17, and found it to be THE most reliable gun I ever had. Unfortunately it didn’t fit in my hand well and didn’t shoot it well and traded it off, Part of the fun of being a gun nut.
    I have a bersa 9 ultra compact 9mm with a decocker that I conceal carry and find it perfectly reliable and fits my hand perfect. In very hot weather and other times I have a diamondback 380 for Pocket carry, has been very reliable and I find I can carry it always. I’ve had and have many others but once I have a bobble or hick up with a gun I feel jinxed with it clean it and give it a second chance but usually end up selling it. ?!
    My experience.

  11. I am a huge fan of the CZ 75 compact, but in my position in life these days I cannot really afford one. However, I was turned on to the Tristar (by Canik) C-100. A Great quality clone of the 75 compact, for 2+ bills less. Mags, grips, holsters, for the CZ all work/fit my Tristar.
    For winter carry, when I wear a jacket, this is my gun. Although I still like to carry my old Colt Officers .45 from time to time.
    For summer, it is a pocket 380. Wimpy? maybe. But it is the only gun I ever had to fire in self defense, and one shot worked. It was a dog attack. A BIG dog (American Bulldog) with an even larger one coming to join the fight. One shot took care of the situation. Nobody hurt (except the dog)
    So I am real glad I have this pocket gun, instead of the 9mm or 45 left home because I am in shorts and tank top.

  12. The CZ Rami and it’s bigger brother the PCR, I would definitely agree with. They are amongst the best of the smaller than average aluminum framed pistols; easy to shoot accurately without excessive punishment. My 1911 commander has been recently supplanted by the acquisition of the Ruger 1911 Officers model. It is currently disassembled while I “melt” the slide and frame and complete trigger and action polishing. It was accurate and easy to shoot before I started the upgrades, so I can’t wait to finish the work. While Glock reliability is unquestionable, the model 30 SF is more controllable than the 43. Extensive polishing to either trigger makes them both more palatable
    Enjoyed the article very much; it’s not often that pistols I own make it on any list. Thanks!

  13. Again, one of my favorites is missing from the list. When all the features of this handgun are considered, the accuracy due to the frame-pinned barrel, the single stack capacity of the magazine, dbl action with rolling block safety, the weight & feel, dependability, and relatively low initial cost the Bersa 380 Thunder CC is VERY hard to beat. Within the real-life envelope of 25 feet, or less, this 380 loaded with Hydra-Shocks is not something an antagonist would want to be in front of.

  14. Interesting how mqny here are dismissing smaller calibers due to clack of stopping power.” Talk to the many combat vets who have taken 7.62×39 and didn’t leqve the fight. Talk to cops who have used a 12 ga slug and had their subject stay in the fight. Fqct is, no caliber that doesnt use an explosive shell is 100 percent effective. Carry what suits you, recognize your strengths and weaknesses at a personal and equipment level, and stay in the fight.

  15. Is it not supposed to be best concealed carry?
    How are you supposed to carry a full frame gun of any type year round unless you wear a outer garment of some type. I’m no fan of Glocks, they don’t fit well in most people’s hands. They tend to point downward when you first draw them and you got to tilt them up to align with the target.
    Besides, how you going to hide it, wear a coat on a 95 degree day so you can have your 9mm.
    My opinion of a 9mm, is that you got to put enough rounds in your target to weight it down with lead to disable it.
    Check the reload data, it’s nothing but a Simi auto 38 special.
    If you ate going to pack a full frame at least pack enough gun that one shot will do the job.
    45 ACP, 10mm, 357 sig or a 38 super.
    If I can’t carry a manly gun do to dress restriction (just to hot out side to wear a suit), I strap on my Kimber micro 9mm and hope I can make it to my pickup truck to retrieve my bug out bag with my big boy gun and plenty of ammo, plus all the nessasary supplies to take war to whom ever forced me to draw my gun in the first place.
    As I said in a previous post the best gun is the one you got with you, but when the subject is concealment, a small frame, accurate 9mm is going to be your best choice in what’s available in today’s market place no matter what brand you go with.

    1. I carry a new Sig P320 compact 45acp with nite sights. It is easy to conceal, small frame with not much recoil and very accurate. It is unbelievable, being a small framed .45. Very smooth.

    2. Keith,
      I like SIG’s, other than my son was in a gun fight and it jammed. Being a Diplomatic Security Agent, he was issued the Sig, now they are changing to the Glocks. More likely Glock beat everyone else out with the best deal for the government than anything about how the gun performed in the field.
      Anything you carry should perform perfect with your chosen ammo. The time to find out you have a problem is not when your and/or others lives are at risk.
      With so many shooting in the news, we as gun owners should do our best to avoid scaring the general public to death over needlessly showing that we are carrying a loaded gun in and around them.
      Whatever you decide to carry, you should make sure it’s totally concealed, for you loose a tactical advantage if an adversary knows your armed. The adversary will move to counter your moves, block your gun draw or just shoot you first.
      Carrying a gun is a big responsibility. But it’s nothing but a tool. Your better served to learn how to avoid needing a gun and how best to react to a potential thteat so your insured the best chance to survive any type of attack.
      In my teaching I show that I can close a distance of 25 feet before most people can draw their concealed weapon. A gun is just a tool, your mind is your best weapon. So keep all the tactical advantage you can while not scaring everyone around you….

    3. Wow. Hope your son is Ok…I just got my first ever Sig (P365). In just several hundred rounds, flawless. But not for everyone as we all know. Nite Sites are standard and don’t work. Dealing with Sig has NOT been a good experience either. Ruger, excellent customer service, unfortunate that I had to use them. Same with S&W (unfortunate) but they took forever.

      My glock? Never had to deal with customer service…why? NEVER failed. Price is important, but as your son found out…click, then bang is most important when it counts. Not sure if I’ll drop my G43 for my EDC for new P365.

    4. I don’t plan on scaring anyone. The only way anyone would know if I am carrying is only if I absolutely needed to draw it, which I hope never happens. But when the time does come, I hope with my military training and other training I receive, that I will be aware of my surroundings and act accordingly.

  16. M&P 9C. Fantastically reliable, joy to shoot, much less expensive than the Glock 19, and it has a safety. American made, too.

    1. If you knew him, you would know that he is a solid 1911 guy. Taking his bias out though, he could not deny the Glock’s place. ~Dave Dolbee

    2. Why not…they make excellent pistols! I own TWO…G27 awful to shoot. G43 amazing to shoot!
      But both have never had a single misfire. G43 with many thousands of rounds! (cleaned every third outing)
      G27 never cleaned!

      I own Ruger x 2

      So I’m not a ‘Glock Boy’. Just a fan of all things that are sweeeeet

  17. I noticed that there are two CZ brand guns on the list, and Glocks. What I would question about your list is were some of these firearms even available 20 years ago. I also noticed an absence of any older-school S&W’s like the 36, 60, Walthers, Taurus’, Colt revolvers etc. Sorry, but I also don’t believe many people outside of LE officers would carry a 1911 concealed for protection. And then there is the Remington R-1. I own one and it is IMHO the worst 1911-type handgun I have ever fired. I am curious who “donated to the cause” to have their firearms listed in this article.

    1. Your comment concerning donations is not well taken.
      As for CZs, the original came out in 1975 and the Glock in the 1980s, pretty certain they were there! Also- I carried the R1 for some time before upgrading to a Les Baer. The SW 442 is leagues ahead of the Model 36, which was introduced in 1948 so it doesn’t fit my criteria.

  18. I like the Sig P229 RX for my EDC. A little larger than a lot of EDCÔÇÖs but if you do it right, you can conceal it pretty well. At least I do.

    1. Hi Scott! 🙂 Yes, my Sig 229 Elite is one of my favorite pistols.! I have 4 Sig pistols. A P229 (.357 Sig and .40 S&W barrels), P226 (9mm), and (2) P320’s (.357 Sig & ,40 S&W). Unfortunately my Sigs are a little on the heavy side and fairly wide. However they are my favorites next to my EDC Kimber .45 Pro Carry II. So I usually have to wait until cooler weather before I can carry the Sigs, so I can cover them sufficiently.

  19. The Colt 1903 or 1908. The Makarov. The Ruger LCR or LC9. The Sheild EZ. The Walther PPK or its derivations. The Springfield EMP. Those small Kimbers. So many that it becomes too many to list..
    None of these should be left off the list.

  20. Sounds more like a Glock love fest to me.. Yuck..!
    I think Walther and Kahr are much better Quality, Fit and function than any glock.

  21. Lol, we all know that a .45 has more lethal power than a .380 however a 9mm is more than adequate. The problem with the narrative that assailant will beat you to death and take your small caliber .380 is far fetched although possible. 99% of anyone who is looking dowm the barrel of any gun does not move towards a shooter; they flee or attempt to flee. There are many unfortunate souls that have been seriously. Injured and killed by .22, .25, .32 and .380’s. I can assure you that a perp will be incapacitated if I were to unload 7 rounds of Glaser powerballs. We are talking self defense not Hollywood gunfights!

  22. For many years I carried a Taurus Pt-58, .380 caliber. 13 rd pistol. While small and concealable, I was comfortable with shot placement. Few years back picked up a Ruger 1911, .45 cal. While much bigger, so am I. 20 yrs adds some size. Last year finally bought a Glock, 40 cal. Compact, shoots well, shot placement is still good. Getting used to the “squareness” took some getting used to. Still use a Walther Ppk .380 as back up. Just like the feel of them. I believe whatever you are comfortable with is what works best. If you can shoot it well, that’s what you should carry. Just my 2 cents.

  23. It’s gotta be the Ruger LCRx .38 Sp+P 5 shot.
    Small and light enough to carry in jeans and t-shirt weather. The single-action option makes me much more accurate. Only down side, and I never thought I would say this, is that it is so small and light I can forget I am packing!

  24. Ditch the Glock 36, and grab the Mdl 30. Same general frame size, but more mag capacity. It will even use the Mdl 21 mags.
    My little sister is rail thin. She is equally proficient with her Ruger Speed 6, firing full bore .357mag ammo, my Judge, or a Glock 22.
    The Glock 43 is not really needed. The 26 and 27 are more controllable, marginally thicker, and have more capacity.
    I recently compared a M&P Shield to a Taurus G2 Millennium. Maybe a 1/4 inch difference in grip width. I never had an issue with the original PT111 Millennium.
    The Taurus Judge should be in this list. Both the steel and aluminum frame versions are concealable. Can’t really beat a 45LC with todays ammo, plus the multi-projectile rounds give added punch. Mine is loaded with a mix of heavy plus one lone 7 1/2 birdshot.

    1. I have g27 and g43. No comparison!!! G43 every day! I lose capacity but so much easier to shoot accurate and enjoyably. G27 shoots nasty. Not enjoyable, very high recoil/muzzle flip.

  25. 38oz Conceal Carry REALLY?? I own a combat Commander 70 series & that would be one of the the last I would try to conceal… S&W 442 yes, SIG P365 yes, Glock 43, S&W M&P …. Be realistic please. ..

  26. I love my Colt snubbies, smooth shooting SIX shooters!
    … And although it might creep over the edge of your criteria, I can’t say enough about the reliability and shootability of a Makarov…

  27. My Walther CCP is my EDC gun. Striker fired and with a manual safety, you can carry one in the pipe with no problem. Have trained with and fired several thousand rounds with no issues. Light weight and light recoil, make for easy follow up shots. Some don’t like it because of the take down and re-assembly , but once you get used to it, it’s not an issue at all.

  28. Really good commentary! I own five of the ten listed and prefer the SW Shield 45 for now. The author makes me want to go try a CZ, though.

    1. In addition to my Shield 45 which is my summer CCW I also have a SAR B6P, which is a full-sized CZ 75 clone. Even though full-sized I can CCW it quite well under a light button-down shirt or a jacket and the 17+1 capacity makes it a comforting weight on my hip. It’s my winter CCW, loaded with Federal Hydra Shok Deep rounds that I know will give me the penetration needed through heavy winter clothing. If you’ve not tried a CZ or CZ clone yet you’re in for a treat as they are comfortable, capable, firearms that are a joy to shoot.

  29. While I do not doubt the efficacy of .45 acp handguns, I am a small framed person and I find it almost impossible to cc my Colt Series 70, or XDm 4.5 inch which have been relegated to home defense and car carry. These big handguns print no matter what holster I try, and I have tried a lot, owb, iwb, appendix, etc. I have a drawer full of holsters, and my wife has banned me from buying anymore.
    That being said, I carry Sig P238 and/or P938. I understand the arguments against these smaller guns. I choose to cc them, because they don’t print, either in pocket carry, or in iwb/own, or in a de Santis sticky holster. I practice a lot. I reload so I have a lot of practice ammo. I am confident I can empty 7 rounds into a bad guy’s head at 10 yards without missing. Of course, with the rush of adrenaline, who knows? But I also practice increasing my heart rate with jumping in place before picking up the gun to shoot. I do several drills to increase my accuracy.
    I know a guy who took 6 .40 cal rounds to his abdomen and survived. It is not always the bigger round that wins a gunfight, it is the accuracy that puts a bad guy down. Nothing outdoes accuracy. .380 and 9mm self defense rounds are much better today.

  30. At the risk of being called names for suggesting a cheaper option, I have been carrying a Taurus Millenium G2 for quite some time now, and have loved it. It not only shoots well, but it carries 12 plus 1. The msrp and the street price are often miles apart, with the gun being available online for less than 200$.
    Check out some of the youtube videos of the more well known reviewers, and you will usually get the idea that they all love the gun. For a price closer to a HiPoint than a Glock, you are getting a gun that will deliver modern performance, and in a easy to pack size.
    I also like that it has a safety on the frame, plus the trigger shoe type safety. It is worth a look, if nothing else, to see just what you can get for your money.

    1. Your gun was on the short list but it had to be ten guns not twenty.
      This is the best gun Taurus makes

  31. I have owned every compact on the market and I chose the diamond back DB9. 11oz pocket gun not well thought of by many I know but accurate and reliable in the Wright hands.

  32. If it wasnÔÇÖt for you Glock guys, well there is a lot of other handguns out there that arenÔÇÖt Glocks and should be added to this list, Glocks arenÔÇÖt the only handgun out there they break and have problems too. You should really consider looking at other guns that should be on this list. PS I like your site cheaper than dirt and I like your comments please reply and I like your sales on your handguns. Sincerely Bob Williams

  33. My carries depend on the weather and clothing… I am comfortable with anything that can hit a pie plate at 21 feet. I carry an assortment from 45 ACP to 45 GAP to 40 S&W to 380 ACP to 9MM to 38spl/357…. but i have a neat little NAA 22 mag 5 shot that is small but… 40gn HPs do a good job. Carry what you are comfortable with and can shoot knowledgeably.

  34. I got my first carry permit (in Indiana it is a “license to carry,” either open or concealed) in 1973, converted to Indiana’s lifetime permit in 2010. One of the most interesting things I observe about this conversation is that, in spite of the efforts of the anti-gun folks over the last few decades, we are blessed with an ever-increasing choice of personal carry firearms, which is good because everyone is built differently, dresses differently and has different lifestyles. Over the course of the last 40+ years I’ve carried a S&W model 19 .357, a Browning Hi-Power 9mm (still my favorite), a S&W model 60 .38, and currently a Sig P938 9mm. During a 16 month period in 2015/16 when our local Oath Keepers group guarded an Armed Forces Recruiting Center in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Chattanooga, TN, I open carried a 1911 .45. Each weapon had its advantages and drawbacks, but they were the weapons I was comfortable with at the time, and, within certain limitations ( I wouldn’t carry anything less than a 9mm), my personal feeling is that, assuming you practice regularly, you’re more likely to be proficient with a gun that is comfortable in your hand.

  35. I’ve used a wide variety of handguns and can tell you that, while I’ve never ( yet ) used the.380 ACP,I have used the ballistically similar 9 mm Makarov . With the right ammo, it’s a viable self defense option. Also I noticed that the author’s choices are expensive ! What about those of us on a budget?

  36. Great article full of practical advice. I always enjoy Mr. Roberts’ writings. BUT (you knew that was coming) why no Colt Lightweight Commander? Officially this aluminum-framed model is designated the Commander. The steel frame version is designated the Combat Commander. I learned semi-autos on the 1911 pattern over 40 years ago. I like Glocks and have both G19 and G36 but every time I raise one to firing position my thumb “wipes” the non-existent thumb safety. Old training habits do not die! My solution? Carry a Commander in .45 ACP. It snaps a little harder than a steel frame version but it is by no means uncontrollable. It is the perfect weight for a carry handgun and in a proper holster I don’t even notice that it is there. Can’t say that for its steel-framed brethren!

  37. I notice the trend toward larger handguns in your article. I love a 1911 myself, but it’s just plain too big to carry concealed unless I use a shoulder harness. I prefer a SIG 938, having graduated from a 238. It may not be a newby carry because it’s single action, but it’s small, doesn’t print, and very accurate and easy to handle. Plus it’s hard to beat the reliability of the SIG.

  38. Excellent article. Though I am no longer an active/competition shooter, I agree with most of the author’s choices, except for feeling that plastic guns are probably best suited for police work in which long product life is of less importance than light weight and reliable performance; in other words, plastic isn’t my thing. I was not familiar with the slide/frame design of the CZ pistols, which seems like an excellent idea, and probably provides more room for larger, stronger parts within the frame structure. Regarding shooting, specifically, I like my pre-1970 Colt Government Model (.45 ACP), which, with only the simplest mods, such as a National Match barrel, slightly lighter trigger pull (3.5 lb.), and aftermarket adjustable sights, has been an accurate and reliable target gun for 50 years. The first model Colt Steel Commander, also .45 ACP, purchased the same year that the model was switched from alloy to steel, has been incredibly accurate when used at the target range, the only modification being a throated chamber to reliably feed my H&G 200 grain cast bullets; even with its military style low sights, it shoots as accurately as a true target gun, and its hammer style and slightly shorter size makes it a better carry choice. My third favorite for carrying is the S&W Model 60, purchased during its first year of production around 1970, which serves as a true concealable gun with the added bonus of stainless steel’s rust resistance and, low maintenance. For sheer beauty and absolutely perfect accuracy, the limited production S&W Model 27 .357 magnum revolver takes the first prize, with rosewood grips, 5″ barrel, target trigger and hammer and white outline adjustable sights to create the visually and mechanically perfect shooting machine. When fed .357 or .38 caliber target handloads using Lyman’s Keith-style 150 grain cast lead bullets, this early 1960s gun finds the 25 and 50 yard target X-ring almost automatically and repeatedly with its mild recoil and butter-smooth trigger.

  39. I chose the Ruger SP101 in 357 Magnum 3 inch for my concealed weapon of choice. I hope I never have to use it but if need be it will get the job done.

  40. Good article, But there were a lot of fun guns left out.

    I prefer a 45 ACP, Paraordance P10, and other 1911full frame guns. If Im forced to defend my self, I planned to make it final.

    The problem is during the summer time concealing a full frame gun under ones T-shirt only has everyone looking at you like your the next mass shooter. I started carrying easier to conceal handguns.

    The best advice i ever heard, was the best gun is the one you have with you. That put me to thinking as well as shopping for a new handgun that would be my primary carry weapon for the majority time of the year. My criteria was a 9mm accurate enough to make head shots at 45 yards. I chose the 9mm because anything bigger would make for a bulkier gun and harder to conceal. I ended up with the Micro Kimber. Loaded with +P XTP rounds.

    Myself I able to easily make 50 yard head shoots on targets. Though I would had preferred a 38 Super chambered in the little gun, it has turned out the best for me. I say again for me.

    Case in point I was at our second home by myself, and decided to surprise my wife and return home to our primary residence, I never called to inform here I was making the six hour drive and headed home. Bad ideal!

    I let my self in the house and was soon greeted with a very sleepy looking woman in her house coat holding one of my siimi-auto pistol coming down the darken hall towards me while I was standing in the well lit utility room. When she dropped the gun down from her firing stance and began fooling around with thumb safety, I realized she had tried to fire the gun it it had not went off. I spoke up and asked her “Well, are you going to shoot me”? She realized it was me.

    I learned alot that night, first I don’t go home late at night without calling her first. And second , I went and got her a double action Charter Arms 38 special revolver, loaded the first chamber with a shot shell and the other four with hollow points.

    Excited people don’t aim very well if at all, that is the reason for starting my wife’s gun out with the shoot shell.

    As a handgun and rifle instructor, I found it best to start out with a gun that fits you best, that’s comfortable to shoot with ease. Fit the gun to the shooter as best you can by purchasing a gun that the shooter can easily operate and handle with their fiscal abilities and their shooting experience and abilities in mind.

    The perfect gun for me does no good for the person who rarely ever shoots a gun and like the say can’t hit the preferable barn door. But even a 22 LR derringer would fill good in a dark alley on a black night.

    Like I said the best gun is the one you got with you when you need one….

  41. I have gone through several CC firearms over the years. A couple Rugers, one being the SR9C (which I would recommend getting rid of if you have one) . A couple Taurus’ . But settled on the G19. Carried that for the last 7 or 8 years. I’m a pretty big guy (6’3″, 230) so I don’t really experience printing very much. Using the 5.11 operator belt, I can carry pretty much anything comfortably. (Right hand, hip carry, usually FBI cant). I even started carrying my M9A3 IWB just to see if I could. Anyway, the G19 is ultra reliable. No trigger issues from prolonged carry (primary reason for junking the SR9C) . Plenty accurate and a good weight. I carry chambered, Hornady critical defense 115gn . For backup, I have the Taurus PT709. A little tricky to control for me, with big hands, but amazingly accurate and reliable. I am toying with the PT111 G2 as a backup, but have reliability concerns so haven’t made the switch yet.

  42. Glock, any Glock, the gun with the worst record of accidental discharge. Colt Series 70, the gun with the worst record of Stove Pipe Jams. Yeah, good job, you really know your handguns.

  43. Good read, post an comments were informative.
    I still carry my Browning HiPower from time to time and have done so since my first one in 1971. 9mm ammunition has improved greatly since the 100gr Winchester Power Points I used in1971. These improvements have increased the terminal performance of the 9mm allowing it to once again be a viable cartridge for self defense.
    My primary EDCÔÇÖs are both made by IMI and are Baby Desert Eagles. I have carried the Full Frame BDE in .45ACP (the Jericho 941 also called Uzi Eagle, an Baby Eagle) since I was given one in 1990. The design is modeled after the CZ-75. The IMI Jericho is an all steel platform that is well engineered, an well fitted firearm. ItÔÇÖs accucery is increased substaintly with the use of octagon rifleing instead of the commonly found lands an groove. Recoil is direct with excellent return to target muzzle cotrol. Sights are a three dot configuration and very serviceable. Standard magazine is 10 rounds. I generally carry this platform in a right hand, ÔÇ£small of the backÔÇØ custom holster. My other IMI BDE is also all steel but the compact model in .40SW. ItÔÇÖs operation and performance is the same as the full frame. If both platforms are carried at the same time, the Compact is carried in a left hand cross draw. It is
    more often carried by itself in which case it too is carried at the SOB right hand draw. My first choice in ammunition has been Federal HST for 9mm and .45 ACP. For the.40SW, I prefer the Black Hills using the 140gr Barns TAC-XP. Expansion, terminal energy and accucery are the reasons for these specific ammunition choice. Reloading components are also available for hand loading.

    I am not a proponent of the Glock as it does not ergonomically fit my hands and is uncomfortable to discharge for me. I prefer the Springfield XD series of platforms in all their variants. The XDmÔÇÖs are excellent polymer frame pistoles. The ÔÇ£SÔÇØ series are the smallest profile and designed for concealment. The Springfield XD should be considered as a part of this conversation.
    Although the revolver may be considered old school and out of date. The fact remains that 38+P and .357 in a small frame revolver is effective, easily concealed, making them excellent for CC
    if that is your platform preference.
    Practice, practice, practice …. training is what will determine how effective CC will serve one. Practice with what you Carry and know the ammunition you will use.

  44. You’re not making it any better lol…tell him to man up (: Seriously though if he likes packing small the LCP2 is superior to LCP. Shoots great.

  45. How’s the recoil? My wife is your size…thinking EZ380…but since it isn’t for Carry…sp might be a great option!

    1. Between the LCP and the LCP II there is a large difference in recoil. The LCP II is harder to hang on to as the jolt is larger. I am 5’4″ with small hands long fingers. I use the LCP II for a pocket gun but do not enjoy shooting it. Take your wife to the local gun shop and let her handle different guns even rent a couple to let her shoot! I also shoot glock 19, Ruger 9mm revolver, S&W M&P Shield in 380 the EZ model as my left hand makes it harder to rack and that gun is great. Hubby has S&W 22 revolver magnum ( I cant pull the trigger to hard) and his S&W model 60 357/39 that I can shoot. Let your wife see and learn and pick what is best for her then she will be happier shooting!

    2. I’ll second what you said about the LCP II. At 6’2″ 285lbs I’m not a small person, and I can hide an LCP II in the palm of my hand but even with a Hogue beavertail grip sleeve on it I don’t find it enjoyable to shoot, and it’s hard enough to hold onto that followup shots are slow. Right now it’s relegated to being my “at home in my sweats” pocket pistol, useful for taking out the trash and getting the mail without having to pocket carry my Shield 45, but if an intruder came into the house I think I’d grab a 9mm from my office or a shotgun from it’s hiding spot before I tried to draw the LCP II, unless I had no other choice.

  46. I take issue with the originator of this post. He states, ÔÇ£Those giving a pass on smaller calibers have no experience in personal defense.ÔÇØ

    Let me assert my credentials. From 1971-1975, I was employed by our favorite uncle to go out in the boonies doing Recon and S&R as a medic. Since I was NOT a Conscientious Objector, I carried a weapon. (COÔÇÖs were the only medics who did not carry) The weapon I carried was a 1911A1. I know first hand what a .45 ACP will do.

    When I came home, I went to work in one of the busiest ERÔÇÖs in my state of residence. Over the next 33 years, I worked as an RN in the three busiest ERÔÇÖs in the state. When you work an inner city ER, you see a lot of GSWÔÇÖs. So, I have a fair amount of experience in seeing what works for personal defense. I have seen more GSWÔÇÖs than the average joe walking the street; more even, than many cops. It would be too numerous to count in just about every caliber of handgun and some rifles.

    I have seen head shots with .22, .32, .38, .380 where the bullet did not even penetrate the skull. I have seen those same cartridges penetrate the skull but leave minimal residual damage to the patient. (They were discharged after a few days observation.) In my experience, if you shoot someone enough times to create enough holes to drain enough blood to lower their operating volume ENOUGH, these calibers MIGHT stop the person.

    I saw one man who was struck multiple times in the chest by a .25; he beat the shooter to death with his bare hands before he succumbed to his wounds. On cracking his chest in the ER, three of the slugs were found to have been stopped by his sternum. The other two rounds passed between ribs and played the marimba as they careened around in his chest creating a number of small holes from which he eventually exsanguinated, but not before he beat the shooter to death.

    Another man, who presented to the ER with 5 holes in his chest, .25 caliber, did not have a single slug penetrate his thoracic cavity. (He was heavily muscled) He was, in ER parlance, ÔÇ£treated and streetedÔÇØ to police custody.

    As far as 9, I have seen far too many for whom it did not stop the intended assailant. It was a long time ago and ammo has improved since then. I have taken care of patients hit in the head with a nine who were not seriously affected and there was a patient who was struck three times in the head with a 9 who was going to have a lot of issues for the rest of his life. (He later committed suicide awaiting trial for murder.)

    If people really want to know what works, go talk to your state Medical Examiner, and then ER personnel. Many of us have seen GSWÔÇÖs which have jaded us when considering certain calibers.

    I, for one, carry a 1911 (S&W Pro Series) in .45 ACP. I use RIP ammo and that should work in the 9 also. I am not a fan of the 9, but I saw a video of Larry Vickers saying he has seen data that should make people reconsider that. Only because it was Vickers, will I consider adding a 9. And Smith has just added a 1911 Pro Series in 9. Bonus!

  47. I take issue with the originator of this post. He states, ÔÇ£Those giving a pass on smaller calibers have no experience in personal defense.ÔÇØ
    Let me assert my credentials. From 1971-1975, I was employed by our favorite uncle to go out in the boonies doing Recon and S&R as a medic. Since I was NOT a Conscientious Objector, I carried a weapon. (COÔÇÖs were the only medics who did not carry) The weapon I carried was a 1911A1. I know first hand what a .45 will do.

    When I came home, I went to work in one of the busiest ERÔÇÖs in my state of residence. Over the next 33 years, I worked as an RN in the three busiest ERÔÇÖs in the state. When you work an inner city ER, you see a lot of GSWÔÇÖs. So, I have a fair amount of experience in seeing what works for personal defense. I have seen more GSWÔÇÖs than the average joe walking the street; more even, than many cops. It would be too numerous to count in just about every caliber of handgun and some rifles.

    I have seen head shots with .22, .32, .38, .380 where the bullet did not even penetrate the skull. I have seen those same cartridges penetrate the skull but leave minimal residual damage to the patient. (They were discharged after a few days observation.) In my experience, if you shoot someone enough times to create enough holes to drain enough blood to lower their operating volume ENOUGH, these calibers MIGHT stop the person.

    I saw one man who was struck multiple times in the chest by a .25; he beat the shooter to death with his bare hands before he succumbed to his wounds. On cracking his chest in the ER, three of the slugs were found to have been stopped by his sternum. The other two rounds passed between ribs and played the marimba as they careened around in his chest creating a number of small holes from which he eventually exsanguinated, but not before he beat the shooter to death.

    Another man, who presented to the ER with 5 holes in his chest, .25 caliber, did not have a single slug penetrate his thoracic cavity. (He was heavily muscled) He was, in ER parlance, ÔÇ£treated and streetedÔÇØ to police custody.

    As far as 9, I have seen far too many for whom it did not stop the intended assailant. It was a long time ago and ammo has improved since then. I have taken care of patients hit in the head with a nine who were not seriously affected and there was a patient who was struck three times in the head with a 9 who was going to have a lot of issues for the rest of his life. (He later committed suicide awaiting trial for murder.)

    If people really want to know what works, go talk to your state Medical Examiner, and then ER personnel. Many of us have seen GSWÔÇÖs which have jaded us when considering certain calibers.

    I, for one, carry a 1911 (S&W Pro Series) in .45 ACP. I use RIP ammo and that should work in the 9 also. I am not a fan of the 9, but I saw a video of Larry Vickers saying he has seen data that should make people reconsider that. Only because it was Vickers, will I consider adding a 9. And Smith has just added a 1911 Pro Series in 9. Bonus!

    1. Meanwhile, when I was in hs, a friend of mine was shot n killed w a 22 to the head and another friend left basically on life support, paralyzed from the same gunman. A .22 !

      I’d rather have recoil management over caliber any day. Sure…if you’re a badass in emergency hi-stress situations, by all means. I practice, a lot. But still feel in Hi-stress situation, hitting first time target is highly unlikely, requisition of target will be even more difficult.

      This isn’t the movies. I also don’t live anywhere near the type of animals described here, thankfully.

  48. I have carried a variety of pistols since 2005, trying to be consistent but adjusting as required by season and situation. By far the “gun” I carry the most as my primary is the Ruger LCR
    38 Special, loaded with Hornady CD 11 gr FTX. Being 5’9″, 155 lbs, it’s the one I feel most comfortable with carrying concealed and shooting. My backup is a Kahr CW9, 9mm. I like it an awful lot too, having bought it long after the Ruger, but its gradually growing in me. Great trigger, shoots well, comfortable all around. Either of these could be my primary and/or the backup, or vice versa. 🙂

  49. I have been struggling for the last year since I went from a pocket BG380 to a larger caliber 9mm. Got the G43, what a superior upgrade. Now that I have a mitch rosen side holster, it is like it is invisible!
    Just wish more capacity.

  50. In addition to the article, here are some things to consider and a few other choices. Sorry itÔÇÖs so long, but I wanted to include the most important facts. May I suggest one of the latest 9 mm generation pistols? They offer many advantages over a revolver and are very easily cleaned now, coming apart in only 3-4 large pieces! If youÔÇÖre shooting <200 rounds at the range, you can easily get away with cleaning it every other time! My Mom, now 80 with some arthritis of the hands, recently made the switch from a 38 revolver, to the Beretta ÔÇ£M9.ÔÇØ The very same models as our Armed Forces are issued now, along with local police forces. She flatly stated ÔÇ£I do not want one of those tiny pistols!ÔÇØ ÔÇ£It must look like I mean business, which I do!ÔÇØ She also wanted the higher end performance wise from a new 9 MM pistol.ÔÇØ
    Just in the past 5-7 years, huge strides have been made in performance levels of the 9 mm parabellum round. Capacities from 13-20 rounds are common. TheyÔÇÖre capable to carry enough follow rounds for follow up shots, if a 2nd person is involved, or in case you miss the high value target areas on the chest or head the first time.
    Im not including any of the micro or super sub-compacts. For one, hollow point bullets, which of course are the best defensive rounds, not practice rounds, designed to mushroom / open up (like a tiny flower), the vast majority of the time, like they do with a barrel length of 3.8 to 4+ lengths. This is not theory for me. Ive shot 2.0 to 3.0 barrel lengths is .380 ACP and 9 mm parabellum, using friends guns. When I show them results, they invariable said something like but thats not what the gun shop told me. OR when I bought it online the seller didnt tell me that. Also the .380 ACP, no matter what people may say, the .380 lacks the power (ft. lbs. of energy) to stop an aggressive male; with a high probability theyre on drugs. And in addition, in cool/cold weather, is wearing heavy clothing, unless you hit them in the face/head!!
    A 9 mm is a sweet spot of size and performance, when the proper defensive round is chosen. And also shot from a 3.5ÔÇØ to 4.5ÔÇØ (optimal is 4.0ÔÇØ to 5ÔÇØ), especially if this will primarily serve as your ÔÇ£house gunÔÇØ. The length of the barrel is critical so the bullet is able to develop energy (ft. lbs.) and velocity = FPS, (feet per second). If itÔÇÖs for concealed carry too, just carry a slightly larger handbag as my mother dose! HereÔÇÖs some of the best 9 MMÔÇÖs for price and performance:
    ´âÿ Glock 43
    ´âÿ Springfield XDm 3.8ÔÇØ barrel, 20 round capacity, solid shooter, minimal kick back and consistently accurate & reliable.
    ´âÿ Beretta APX ÔÇô Top rated as of 2018 ÔÇô solid shooter, also very accurate & reliable
    ´âÿ Beretta Storm ÔÇô previously issued to Navy Seals!
    ´âÿ Beretta M9
    ´âÿ M&P Shield 2.0
    *Pick a well know name and reputation
    *Chose a barrel ideally in 3.8ÔÇØ to 4.5ÔÇØ, explained above
    *A gun that feels right / fits your hand well ÔÇô Most Important!!!

    1. I took great interest in your post and am considering looking at modern pistols, up to the end. I am a woman. Carrying off-body in a handbag is one of those “options” I do not consider to be an option. Sorry. It is a personal opinion issue I am sure. If I cannot CC on my person, I leave the firearm at home. CC in a handbag off–person is really not keeping control of your firearm, imo.
      For IWB, I use a belly band so the firearm is never off my person, even when I use the ladies room.
      I cannot stress how opposed I am to CC in a handbag.

    2. I agree mam. I would never recommend carrying off body in a purse or other type of bag. And would definitely recommend your belly band over a purse for concealment. Someone can easily blind side you and rip your purse from your body leaving you defenseless. Growing up in 209 Stockton I can attest to the brutality criminals show to victims. There is no mercy.

  51. I know that lists like this generate commentary like minebut here goes.
    I couldnÔÇÖt help but notice the Springfield Armory XD-S was absent. It too offers the 45 ACP chambering but with a very flat width and trim length and height. It is also absent finger grooves on the front strap that never seem to line up with my fat fingers. I use the ÔÇ£extended magazine that provides pinky finger purchase and one extra round (seven total).
    I will also add that even though it is a short pistol, I can hit very well with it. Another advantage over the Series 70 is that I mounted a Crimson Trace laser sight for low light target acquisition. It also has respectable iron sights from the factory.

  52. Most of these are pushing the limits of what most people of average build can EDC.
    I can carry my CZ PCR, 1911 commander and g19 during winter months, but realistically would almost always rather carry my Kahr P9, P365 or Kimber Micro9.
    I know there are those guys who claim they pack a double stack 1911 inside there waistband all year long with no problem but I think its forum talk.

  53. I love my SP101. I am 61 year old 5’1″ woman with arthritis. Each time I fire my SP101, I am reminded what a joy it is to fire. The grip fits my small hands very comfortably.

    I prefer revolvers for reliability but also, they are very easy to clean. If my firearm is easy to clean, I am more inclined to take it to the range more frequently. My husband has a small pistol. It is fun to fire but each time I am tempted to take it to the range, I think again because cleaning.

    1. My SP101 is a .357 Mag but I carry Hornady 38 spl defensive rounds in it. At the range I fire .38 special also. I put a few .357 mag rounds through it but found it to be way too much bang.

    2. “Sorry your man has such a small pistol”

      Oops! That didn’t come out well, did it?! He has a Ruger LCP (.380). It’s a fun little firearm and very easy to conceal. 😉

    3. For IWB I carry a Bond Arms Century 2000 with .410 000 buck or .45LC defense rounds.

      I carry the SP101 in sticky holster on my leg when wearing long skirts. 🙂

  54. Glock 30 full size[I am large,left handed] with tritium front sight /adjustable rear sight and Lone Wolf barrel i.e. non jacketed ammo.It will take Glock 21 full capacity[where legal-not in NY] mags

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