Concealed carry is on the rise, which means more citizens are able to defends themselves and their loved ones better than ever before. However, that means having the right training, holster, or carry system, and most importantly the right pistol. Handguns are not a one-size-fits-all affair. This makes choosing—or recommending—a handgun rather difficult. However, when it comes to handguns, even men love to shop! Here are 10 top choices for your consideration. Feel free to put your favorite from this list, or one that was not included, in the comment section so others can look into your top pick as well.
factors go into choosing a handgun for concealed carry. Two of the most important are size and weight. If you cannot adequately conceal the gun, or it feels too heavy, you’ll leave it behind. On the other hand, if the pistol is too small to fit your hand, ergonomically unsuited to your shooting style, or has some other feature that prevents you from effectively deploying and shooting, you might as well carry a rock in your pocket.
When deciding on a CC pistol, consider capacity versus weight. Look for a gun that fits your hand (dainty, paw sized, or something in between). Think about the scenarios you could end up in. This is a pistol typically built for performance at point blank to 7 yards. It may not give the accuracy you want at 15 or 25 yards. Micro pistols such as the Diamondback DB9 set the standard for compactness, but are unsuited for +P ammunition.
The average number of rounds expended in a gunfight is four. A Glock with 17+1 rounds is not only a lot of extra weight, it is four times as many rounds as the average. On the other hand, I would rather have too many rounds than not enough… Sights can be adjustable, which yields greater accuracy potential at distance, but may be taller and more prone to snagging during the draw creating a hazard.
In the end, the best advice is to look at your situation, do your homework, and not be afraid to admit a mistake. If you buy a gun for concealed carry, and later determine it does not work for you… it is your life as well as the lives of the around you that potentially hangs in the balance.
The K6s revolver brings an unmatched level of performance and shootability to concealed carry. With the smallest cylinder capable of holding 6 rounds of .357 Magnum (also compatible with .38 Special), K6s compact revolvers are ideal for back-up, concealed carry, and home defense.
The Kimber K6s’ small frame, two-inch barrel and 1.39-inch diameter cylinder are machined from the finest stainless steel for superior integrity, strength, and resistance to the elements. The Kimber K6s offers a smooth match-grade trigger that creates confidence while helping to ensure accuracy; an internal hammer, and edges that are rounded and blended to help prevent a hang up when the revolver is removed from concealment; superior ergonomics and grip design that create a extremely shooter-friendly experience; and an all stainless steel construction. The Kimber K6s weighs in at 23 ounces.
For those who require a small package with mild recoil, K6s provides the power needed for concealed carry, home protection and many other applications. Best of all, they offer unequaled Kimber quality, dependability and performance.
Let Kimber re-introduce you to the revolver.
With the success of the Glock 26 and ever changing trends in the concealed carry pistol market, Glock redesigned its subcompact 9mm to bring the Glock 43 to market. Glock ‘s slimline pistol has taken the single stack 9mm segment by storm, outselling even the most popular contender.
The new Glock 43 transforms how shooters think of single-stack carry guns by reducing them to a shootable, ultra concealable, lightweight package. Now concealed carriers have the ability to practice with their carry gun without discomfort and an unpleasant shooting experience that some other single stack 9mm pistols offer.
Features include a finger groove-less grip—perfect for all hand sizes—and a reversible magazine catch coupled with the performance proven Glock feel. Recoil is kept in check with a dual-spring recoil system and Safe-Action system to ensure the trigger feels just like the Glock 43’s bigger brothers the G26, G19, and G17. Thanks to the new one-inch wide design, the Glock 43 will disappear under clothing like it isn’t even there.
The SR9c compact pistol utilizes the same adjustable, high visibility 3-Dot sight system as its full-sized predecessor, setting it apart from many compact pistols that rely on fixed sights. New serrations are located on the front portion of the slide, making it easier to manipulate the slide and press-check the chamber. The SR9c is available with a glass-filled nylon frame and through-hardened slide in either a brushed stainless or blackened finish. State compliant variations are available where necessary and ship with two 10-round magazines.
Just like the original, full-sized SR9, the SR9c is loaded with modern safety features such as the 1911-style ambidextrous manual safety, internal trigger bar interlock and striker blocker, trigger safety, magazine disconnect, plus a visual and tactile loaded chamber indicator.
Honor Defense Honor Guard
Honor Defense is a U.S. manufacture, dedicated to providing the legally armed citizen with the ultimate firearm. Take all the best features of the single stack, concealed-carry weapons on the market, combine them in one package, and you just might wind up with the Honor Guard.
This sub-compact offering from Honor Defense is a polymer frame, striker-fired semi automatic with a clean, crisp 7-pound trigger pull, short reset, and a custom texture that allows a better grip in all situations. The slide catch and magazine release are ambidextrous, and the snag-free sights won’t catch on clothing during the draw. Compact and lightweight, the Honor Guard is a superb choice for concealed carry.
Of particular interest is the Honor Guard FIST (Firearm with Integrated STandoff). The frame protrudes prominently beyond the slide and barrel. While this looks out of place, in a point-blank confrontation the FIST helps keep the slide in battery. This is smart, and a feature other manufactures should be looking to incorporate into future models.
Bridging design and ergonomics, the Taurus Spectrum is a truly exceptional blend of comfort and functionality. Unique contours enable the hand to naturally conform to the firearm—providing a more secure grip. The Spectrum’s ergonomics contour to fit your hand, providing a natural point of aim and a confident user experience.
The Spectrum draws quickly and smoothly with no snag points. The traditional slide serrations are replaced with a stylish design that allows the fingers to engage the indentations on the slide. The new indentations promise to provide positive contact points for enhanced traction—minimizing short strokes while racking to enhance safety. The soft-touch material enhances traction and creates a comfortable manipulation when chambering a round.
The Spectrum features a long and smooth 7-9 pound trigger. Unique to Taurus, the true double-action-only trigger system features a non-energized striker with no pre-cock or pre-load applied—ensuring no contact between the sear and striker. For additional safety, the Taurus Spectrum comes equipped with a striker block providing peace of mind for everyday carry.
Another major safety feature of note, the Spectrum’s trigger does not have to be pulled to disassemble the gun. Take down requires only one turn on the take down pin separating the slide assembly from the frame.
Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0
Smith and Wesson has done as much, if not more, for concealed carry than any other manufacturer. Arguably, the S&W Shield is the coke of concealed carry pistols and the one other manufacturers often compare their offerings to. Improving on a reputation like that is tough, but Smith and Wesson may just have done it with the introduction of the M&P 2.0.
Building on the original M&P, the 2.0 sports an extended stainless steel chassis, ambidextrous controls, and a more aggressive grip texture. The polymer frame has an 18-degree grip angle for a natural point of aim with a higher grip to bore axis for more comfortable shooting and faster recovery. It now has 4 ergonomic interchangeable palm swell backstraps for an even more customizable grip size. The trigger has been fine tuned to provide a crisper lighter trigger pull with an audible and tactile reset. This pistol has a 4.25″ barrel and is chambered in ultra reliable 9mm Luger with a 17-round magazine. Law Enforcement and lawfully armed citizens rely on Smith & Wesson M&P’s every day for personal protection. The M&P9 2.0 is ideal for concealed carry, CHL or CCW holders and is the perfect firearm for any self-defense application.
Springfield XD-E — The Hammer Reinvented
There are some tools so basic, you can’t imagine being without them. But even essential tools can be refined and improved. That was the principle behind Springfield’s new XD-E—the best elements of the world-renowned XD Series, condensed into a weapon so intuitive, comfortable and accurate, you can’t imagine being without it.
The XD-E sculpts unmatched Point and Shoot ergonomics into a sleek frame just an inch wide, for hand and holster fit so satisfying you’ll take it everywhere. The low-effort slide practically racks itself, so handling’s a pleasure. The exposed hammer clearly shows gun mode, and the single/double action trigger shows respect for your shooting style, unlike other compacts.
Features include a patent-pending hammer design, so you can see and feel the gun mode, for added safety and confidence. 27% less effort required to manipulate the slide. Far fewer slipped pulls. Definitely comfortable, possibly life saving. Three unique textures—the grip grips back, increasing control, reducing recoil, and securing your hold when it counts. Three magazine options let you personalize concealability and capacity. The XD-E also features an ambidextrous thumb safety/decocker and so much more.
SIG Sauer P320 X-Carry
Since the introduction of striker-fired P320 in 2014, SIG has expanded the line to quench the thirst from fans, shooters, neophytes, and the military. The new X-series P320 pistols fill the “factory custom” niche for those who take concealed carry to the max. The P320 X-Carry is essentially a concealed-carry version of the P320 X-Five—a new, full size, competition-oriented pistol.
The P320 X features that competition shooters have been adopting at a significant rate in the past few years. Many shooters believe a flat trigger offers a more consistent trigger press during rapid fire. A note that has obviously been heard by concealed carriers as well.
The adjustable rear sight sits on a removable base. When removed, the SIG P320 X-Carry is ready to mount your favorite micro red dot optic. The front of the slide also features a cutout that aids in weight reduction.
Fans of high capacity will appreciate the fact that the SIG P320 X-Carry ships with three 17-round magazines—a huge future cost savings when you decided to carry a spare magazine or two or when enjoying some range time.
Ruger LCP II
The Ruger LCP II builds off of the initial success of the Ruger LCP with a few major improvements. The first being the re-designed texture grip frame which provides you with a secure and comfortable grip. The larger grip frame surface does provide you with better distribution of recoil forces.
The new easy to rack slide design and last round hold open feature are something that the LCP II’s predecessor did not possess (and should have). The integral sights also received a bit of an upgrade to provide you with superior visibility. All of this is backed by Ruger, one of the nations leading manufacturer of rugged, reliable firearms for the commercial sporting market.
Notable features include a Viridian E-Series red laser, compact—at 5.17 inches long and 3.71 inches tall—the LCP II is designed to fit a variety of holsters and provide concealed carry options. The LCP II offers a rugged construction with through-hardened steel slide and black, and a one-piece, high-performance, glass-filled nylon grip frame, short, crisp trigger pull with single-action feel, a textured grip frame that provides a secure and comfortable grip, a larger grip frame surface to provide better distribution of recoil forces, an optional finger-grip extension floorplate that can be added to the magazine for comfort and grip, a pocket holster, 6-round magazine and much, much more.
Beretta PX4 Compact Carry
The Beretta PX4 Compact Carry is perfectly designed for concealed carry. Sporting a full-size grip and 15-round capacity, the Beretta PX 4 Compact Carry is a great choice for personal defense or plainclothes duty. This pistol is Beretta G-model operation, with a decock lever and no manual safety. The polymer-framed pistol features double action and single action. It is also equipped with a competition trigger and night sights. The steel slide is treated with corrosion and scratch resistant Cerakote.
Whatever you choose, commit to training, regular practice and most of all common sense. What is your favorite concealed carry handgun? Which model do you have you eye on, but want to hear what other readers thinks? Share yore answers or question in the comment section.
Try several before you purchase because you will want to train. I sometimes carry my BG380 but it is not fun at the range. Neither is a SCCY. Don’t get something that is not fun to shoot. Many small guns have a ‘bite’ or uncomfortable recoil. My new favorite is my M&P 2.0 compact. It is a little larger and heavier than my Shield but carries more ammo. Also it is comfortable to train with. Train, train, train with whatever you get.
SCCY CPX 3 Low cost, high capacity .380. Light recoil great for my physical disability.
Where is the M&P Shield? Great gun to leave off the list!
I would love to buy the Springfield. The “grip zone” printed on the side is sooooooooocool. It helps me know where to grip, but I can’t find where to put the bullets or where the trigger is? So…
I’m glad I wasn’t the only one thinking, “WTF” when that came out! So dumb…maybe engrave “Danger Zone” on the ends of the slide for the upcoming model, too.
Actually, the most critical factor is reliability. Does it go BANG every single time you pull the trigger. After that, we all have our own criteria. I don’t want a safety, others might. Is it easy to draw quickly – snag free? Light enough not to be an anchor (you don’t want this in a safe, you want EDC). Is it comfortable to shoot? I want to practice with my EDC at the range each time I go. If it’s uncomfortable, you MIGHT be less likely to have perfect practice. If you are going to carry a 380 (and big argument on that), I suggest you go to YouTube and look at Shooting the Bull’s Ammo Quest in search of the best ammo for short barrel pistol. Actually, he does a great job with 9mm too.
I always tell people to start with a pistol type below fitting your body class and make the final choice based on feel, holster method and preference:
Big Guy = 1911, Full Size Glocks, Berettas, Sigs, S&W, Etc.
Medium Build Guy / Large Frame Gal: Compact 9’s, 40’s or 45’s. Glock 19/23, Commander 1911’s Etc.
Small Guy / Average Gal:
Glock Single Stacks and other sub 9’s/.40’s, or of course the tried and true snub .38spl.
Small Gal, or anyone wanting a backup:
LCP, Bodyguard, DB9, etc.
Actually, the most critical factor is reliability. Does it go BANG every single time you pull the trigger. After that, we all have our own criteria. I don’t want a safety, others might. Is it easy to draw quickly – snag free? Light enough not to be an anchor (you don’t want this in a safe, you want EDC). Is it comfortable to shoot? I want to practice with my EDC at the range each time I go. If it’s uncomfortable, you MIGHT be less likely to have perfect practice. If you are going to carry a 380 (and big argument on that), I suggest you go to YouTube and look at Shooting the Bull’s Ammo Quest in search of the best ammo for short barrel pistol. Actually, he does a great job with 9mm too. Great
Just read your Top 10 Concealed Carry Pistols, It is probably the worst concealed carry article I have ever read. The second paragraph states that size and weight are the most important points to consider. Not one of the pistols in the article indicates their exact size (length, width & height) and only one pistol has its weight. To further confuse everyone, the caliber of only three pistols is given and 15 & 17 rd mags are not for concealed carry.
Actually, it two of the most important points to consider. At the beginning of the next paragraph, it also mentions weight versus capacity. Bullet choice, or magazine choice determines the weight and/or size. While you are free to disagree, your argument misses main points in my opinion. Likewise, this is merely a list of new (mostly as the title implies) and not a buyers guide where specs are normally listed, but thanks for the read and comment. I will consider it when putting together future articles. ~Dave Dolbee
Sorry Jerry, but how can you think high capacity pistols aren’t for concealed carry. My Canik TP9SA is 18+1 and hides quite nicely. No issues with draw speed or weight. And chances are very good I’m not going to run short in a bad situation. Poor guy.
Summer, winter, spring or fall if it ain’t a 1911, it ain’t worth carrying!
Just my opinion after carrying one for 50 years now.
I carry the Glock 23. It’s a 40cal and I love it!!! It’s also what I use at work, that’s why I got it, because I fell in love with it after getting one as my work firearm.
I love my H&K VP 40 which I believe I can draw and shoot well in self defense.
How can you ignore the Sig P938. Perfect size for concealment, with 9 rounds (one in the tube, cocked and locked). It’s small, accurate and well made with a minimum of plastic.
@ Dave W Thank you Dave for the clarification on The S & W being a 5″ instead of a 4.25 “. Some handguns would just not carry well on me do to my body frame structure.
SCCY CPX2, carry it everywhere, NEVER prints, ALWAYS goes bang, 11 rounds of ANYTHING I want to run through it. Ok, the trigger is NOT the best in the world, but after some range time, it’s a non issue. Out to about 30 feet, all my shots are center mass. Can’t ask for much more than that.
I have carried my Para Warthog (10+1) rounds of .45 for so long the finish is wearing off. 10+1 rounds of .45 in a compact easy to conceal package is unbeatable.
I personally have carried the XD 4.0 for about four years but about a year ago I sold it to a friend for his wife and purchased a Taurus PT111 G2. I loved the XD but I’m really impressed with the G2 and my 24/7 Pro magazines fit it and feed with no problem
I carry a Glock 30S now. I carried a 1911 until it was stolen. The Glock has the same punch and more capacity.
I hardly even know it’s there other than my self awareness that I’m armed.
LCP II = Daily carry. Ruger hands down does the crisp trigger and solid easy rack above the rest. I own a few of the others listed and like them.
It would have been a better review if it had consistently noted what caliber each of the guns was chambered for.
Conceal carry is all about size and reliability. To me, there are no better carry guns than the KAHR PM and CM lines.
Great article, but as with hats, one size doesn’t fit all.
I’ve primarily carried a Kimber Pro CDP since it came out on the 90’s. It’s light enough so that it doesn’t become a burden you want to chuck off at the end of the day, accurate and dependable.
I did try to carry the Springfield .40 EMP for awhile but it felt like toting a brick around after a few hours. Great for the range or home defense but not for extended carry time.
I live in California, and managed to get a Ruger LCP just prior to the law change that banned them. There are a lot of, “…and should have(s).” to that piece. According to the factory execs I have talked to, all the improvements in the LCP II are retrofittable to the original LCP. HOWEVER, Ruger will not do this, and they will not sell the parts, either. The “sights” on my LCP are molded into the slide casting, nearly impossible to see, and the pistol shoots 4 inches low and four inches left at 20 feet, making it useless without a laser. Bill Ruger is no doubt rolling over in his grave.
I carried the sr9c for a couple years. Two things I found that led me to give it the axe for CC. 1: The mag catch would engage in the holster, sitting in the car for example. Bad news to have a detached magazine. 2: It hates being dirty in any way. Especially the trigger. I found that even a small amount of lint buildup from carrying caused the trigger to have trouble restting. I do carry the Taurus 709 slim as a backup. Like it overall. Just a little hard to control with big hands. My worked cents.
I prefer my FNS 9C for every day carry. Well made, comfortable grip, double stacker. It’s worth a look if you’re considering a new firearm.
Kimber’s version of the j-frame for around $800? Just a little over my pay grade!
I’ve been carrying a glock 26 gen 4 for about 10 years . Very easy to carry, conceals well. I go to the range every 6 months or so, just to keep up on shooting, it feels good in my hand, and shoots straight. It has never failed. I did add to the clip for my little finger and it add 2 more rounds.
@ Bob M I hear you Bob. I noticed that also about this article. Sometimes my choice of carry may depend on what I am wearing that day. A lot of days, I carry my Kimber 1911 .45 because I have a great holster, it’s comfortable, it’s light (stainless steel and aircraft aluminum) and it’s a .45 and I know that it is going to protect me with minimal shots fired fired Thanks for your comment! 🙂
Would have liked to see Kahr mentioned. Light, small and accurate. Have CM9 and CW380. Accuracy at 15 yards.
My personal favorite of these (reviewed) models is the M&PM2, but they’re difficult to find. Local stores have waiting lists. However as a committed 45AP enthusiast, my CW will always be chambered in 45AP. Thus my daily CW is an HK45C — an absolutely great handgun with exceptional handling, accuracy, and mag load. Yes, it’s a bit bigger than the compact 9’s and 40’s. Typically my IWB holster requires some clothing camouflage to avoid print-through. H&K makes some smaller newer models which compete very favorably with the author’s list of fine handguns.
Great article. Honorable mention possibly for the S&W Bodyguard .380 which is a very accurate and powerful SA. 5 round stock, expandable to 10 rounds from ProMag. Great stopping power. Perfect for daily carry, concealed with belly band holster, no printing of course with loose fitting shirts. Perfect for ankle carry as backup as well. lightweight and goes toe -2- toe with the Ruger LCP9. My two cents worth anyway.
It never ceases to amaze me that the Sig P220 is never on these lists. I’ve used it as my EDC for a few years now, and only splits that duty with my P245 (occasionally use a CCO 1911, but only a couple days a year at most). I did T&E the Shield .45 and would recommend it to anyone, just wasn’t enough to convince me to change from my beloved Sig’s.
Remarkable that heavy-hitting players like S&W Shield and Kahr CM9 were left out…..these are always under consideration….and what about the Glock 26 if you can tolerate the width? It is usually height that is a concealment problem. For a “Top 10” list….this one is flawed.
I agree there are many great pistols overlooked, but this article is about recently introduced pistols, not best of all time.
I hadn’t seen or even heard of Honor Guard before. Sounds interesting. I like my Taurus 709 slim, as it is reliable, accurate, and inexpensive. There are lots of good firearms for concealed carry, and I like to read the articles because I don’t know everything.
I, as well as a few other gun writers I know, have been very impressed with the Honor Guard. It is more than worth the time to experience one first hand. ~Dave Dolbee
I looked at an honor guard the other day. I have had an accident and find that my hands are pretty particular about the grip that need to have to hang on to the gun. The honor guard seems to be a good gun, but it just feels bad for my hand. Perhaps it would be better for a bit smaller hand . Have NOT shot an honor guard … YET.
You left out the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield which rides in a lot of holsters out there.Concealable,accurate,dependable and priced right in 9mm..40S$W and.45ACP.Great choice for CC.
Only the Shield in .45 or the Performance Center models would be considered newer, but then again, you included the Ruger SR9c, which has been around for years. I personally do have a 9 Shield and an SR40c, and love them both. Totally reliable!
Was so happy to see the hammer and thumb safety on the XD-E would be nice addition to my collection
I have a couple of comments on two of the weapons: The S & W M & P 2.0 4.25″ and the Sig Sauer P320 X-Carry. The picture of the S & W pistol makes it look so long, even though they claim it is only 4.25 ” . When I first saw the picture I thought it was a like a 6 ” and I was saying to myself “no way would I try to carry that weapon concealed”. I carry the Sig Sauer P320 concealed but I carry it in the compact version in a .40 caliber I really like it, and now so much lighter that they are making the composite frames, not like my P229 which is just too heavy for me to carry all day.
I believe that was a 4.25 inch barrel, not total gun length. I believe the overall length is about 7.5 inches.
The M&P pictured was the 5″ barreled version, thats why it looked so big…im waiting for them to come out with the 2.0 compact version …if they ever do ! thought it woulda been out by now
Another one is the Ruger LC380 which I bought as a purse gun for my wife and when we took it out I was very surprised at how accurate it was. She was putting the entire mag into the ten zone on the Texas Concealed Carry target until we went out to 17 yards and then she was still mostly in the 9 zone. With the new 380 rounds which have the penetration and expansion very close to a 9 mm it is perfect for her.
Too little, and big holes in selections — left out 45acp stuff, like M&P shield compacts and Kahr compacts!
Yes, you are correct they did leave out the .45 ACP Compact for carry. I purchased the Springfield Armory XDM 3.8 .45 Compact. I love this gun! It’s perfect for me. I also purchased a Ventcore Hostler from Stealt Gear USA, what a cool and comfortable hostler the Ventcore is to wear, specially in hot weather like Texas has. It’s the best hostler I have ever owned you hardly know you’re wearing it! Cross Breed doesn’t compare in any way to the Stealt Gear USA Ventcore Hostler! Buy one you will not be sorry I assure you!
We are blessed to have so many choices for concealed carry in this country in spite of the Left’s best efforts to restrict our choices — or ever to restrict A choice. This wasn’t presented as a comprehensive list of all carry guns or even a list of the best, just a list of the new and mostly new. There are several on the list that I’d like to take a look at.
I carry a Sig P9238 in a nylon pocket holster, and my favorite drill is based on the point blank to 7 yards Dave spoke about in the article, using a silhouette target, drawing from about 5 feet and firing the entire mag (7+1) while backing away, starting with unaimed gut shots, with the final shot or two at the head from around 7 yards. I cut my teeth in the military shooting at a stationary paper target from 25 yards with a 1911, but let’s face it, the odds of the average individual being in a gun fight at 25 yards and shooting at a stationary target are slim to none.