Magnificent 7 — Pistols for Concealed Carry

Glock 19X pistol in Glaco Stow and Go leather holster

If there is one category readers of The Shooter’s Log can all get interested about, it is an interest in the best pistols for concealed carry. However, if there is one thing likely to cause an argument, it is which pistols are best for concealed carry. Our staff threw in a few of favorites, but feel free to make your case for the pistols we missed.

Let’s face it, if I put together a list of the top 20, 50, or even 100 pistols, I would leave somebody’s favorite off the list. That’s not a reflection on yours truly, as it is a nod to the manufacturers and all of the great guns on the market today. That being said, here’s my list of some of the hottest new pistols for concealed carry on my wishlist, but you are free to make a case for your favorites in the comment section.

Rex Zero 1 Compact

AREX Rex Zero compact
The Rex Zero compact is an attractive handgun.

The new Rex Zero 1 CP Compact 9mm pistol, like the Standard model, takes its design cues from the classic SIG Sauer pistol with some interesting modifications. The pistol operates using a modified Browning linkless locking system with a barrel that locks into the slide’s ejection port. The Rex Zero 1 CP, much like the Glock 19, has been trimmed down just a bit to make it more comfortable to carry. The barrel and grip frame are both about half an inch shorter, the magazine holds 15 rounds instead of 17, and the unloaded pistol is about 2 oz. lighter.

Specifications and Features:
AREX Rex Zero 1CP
Compact Semi Automatic Handgun
DA/SA – Double Action/Single Action
9mm Luger
3.85″ Cold Hammer Forged Barrel
15 Round Capacity
T7075 Aluminum Frame
Stainless Steel Slide
Front and Rear Serrations
Loaded Chamber Indicator
Slide Stop and De-Cocker
Ambidextrous Magazine Release and Safety
MIL-STD 1913 Accessory Rail
Fixed 3-Dot Sights
Black Synthetic Grips
Two Tone Finish
OD Green Frame with Black Slide
Overall Length 7.1″
Height 5.1″
Width 0.98″(Top) 1.1″(Bottom)
Weight 25.12 oz

Glock 19x

Glock 19x profile right on a bed of spent cartridge cases
The foundation of Glock’s reputation is reliability.

The Glock 19X was a product of the U.S. Army competition for a new service gun. The 19X is clearly a reliable and rugged handgun, no need to test Glock again in that regard. The Glock 19X has the features of the Generation Glock, including the new Marksman barrel, nPVD slide finish, ambidextrous slide stop levers, and reversible magazine release.

The Generation 4 finger grooves have been eliminated. The Glock 19X features the military lanyard loop, and is finished in coyote brown. This makes for a very attractive handgun. The sights are self-luminous iron sights—an important addition. In a day when many makers supply a handgun with a single magazine, the Glock 19X is delivered with two 19-round magazines—17 round magazines with the Glock +2 spacer—and a single flush fit 17-round magazine. That is a lot of ammunition on hand.

Glock 19X
Capacity 17/19/33
Length 7.44 inches
Height 5.47 inches
Barrel Length 4.02 inches
Weight 24.83 ounces unloaded
Caliber 9mm

S&W Shield 2.0

Smith & Wesson compact M&P Shield 2.0 with Crimson Trace laser
Smith & Wesson The compact M&P Shield 2.0 now comes with a Crimson Trace laser.

The reality of protection is that you never know when you’ll need it. We took the power and features of our full sized M&P pistols and put them into a slim, lightweight pistol the size of your hand. The M&P Shield 2.0 is an easy to conceal pistol that offers professional grade features with simple operation and reliable performance day or night. One million Shield owners can’t be wrong.


  • Incorporates the design features of the M&P M2.0 line of firearms
  • Aggressive grip texture for enhanced control
  • New M&P M2.0 crisp trigger with lighter trigger pull
  • Tactile and audible trigger reset
  • Extremely thin and lightweight – can be comfortably carried all day
  • M&P’s patented take-down lever and sear deactivation systems allow for disassembly without pulling the trigger
  • Includes 2 magazines:
    • One 7-round magazine
    • One 8-round extended grip magazine
  • Optimal 18-degree grip angle for natural point of aim
  • Armornite durable corrosion resistant finish
  • Backed by Smith & Wesson’s Lifetime Service Policy

Springfield Armory XD Mod.2 Subcompact

Springfield Armory XD and XD Mod.2 together
The Mod.2 will be available in either 9mm or .40 S&W with a 3-inch barrel.

Springfield Armory continues to raise the bar and up the ante by continuing to produce some of the worlds finest firearms. Fueled by the same obsession for improved manufacturing techniques and cutting edge design that inspired the likes of John C. Garand, and John Browning Springfield Continues to develop products that are true to their heritage while continuing to innovate and represent the progression of American firearms.

Specifications and Features:
Springfield Armory XD Mod.2 Sub-Compact
.45 ACP
3.3″ Forged Steel Barrel with Melonite Finish
1:16″ Twist
9 Round Flush Fit Magazine
Captive Recoil Spring with Full Length Guide Rod
Fiber Optic Front Sight
Low Profile Combat Rear Sights
Polymer Frame
Grip Width 1.20″
Overall Length 6.50″
Overall Height 4.75″ with flush magazine
Overall Weight 26 ounces with flush Magazine (with empty magazine)
Matte Black

SIG Sauer P320 Subcompact

SIG Sauer P320 Subcompact
Sig Sauer P320 Sub-Compact 9mm with night sights, Nitron finish, Striker Fired DAO Trigger, and railed grip module. Comes with three 12RD magazines and kydex holster.

The SIG Sauer P320 Subcompact is the newest iteration of SIG Sauer’s fantastic line up of striker fired pistols that are well suited for duty, defense, competition, and concealed carry. This lightweight, durable, and accurate pistol is built from the ground up to address the needs of those that go into harm’s way on a daily basis, offering all of the features needed on a defense pistol. This versatile semi auto is going to be a welcome addition to any EDC rotation offering shooters the ultimate defensive pistol.

Specifications and Features:
SIG Sauer P320 Subcompact
9mm Luger
3.6″ Barrel
12 Rounds
Polymer Frame
Black Finish
Nitron finish slide
Interchangeable polymer grips
3-point take down safety system
Disconnect safety
Striker safety
Accessory rail
Contrast Sights
Two 12-round magazines
24.9 oz
6.7″ Overall Length
4.7″ Height
Stainless Steel Slide
Striker Fired Trigger

Ruger LCR

Picture shows a Ruger LCRx, a small revolver with exposed hammer.
Constructed of a mix of 7000-series aluminum, stainless steel and polymer, the LCRx has a changeable Hogue Tamer Monogrip, matte black finish and weighs only 13.50 ounces.

The Ruger Lightweight Compact Revolver, or LCR for short, is well renowned for being a strong and powerful ally. The monolithic frame is made from 400 Series Stainless Steel. The high strength stainless steel cylinder is extensively fluted and features a PVD finish. A Hogue Tamer Monogrip provides ample cushioning of your hand while also effectively reducing felt recoil. The Ruger LCR is packed with the latest technological advances and features required by today’s most demanding shooters.

Specifications and Features:
Ruger LCR Double Action Revolver
.357 Magnum
1.87″ barrel
1:16″ RH twist, 6 grooves
5 round Capacity
Patented Friction Reducing Cam
Non-Stacking Trigger Pull
Polymer Fire Control Housing
Hogue Tamer Monogrip
U-Notch Integral Rear Sight
Monolithic Frame made from 400 Series Stainless Steel
Overall Length 6.50″
Overall Height 4.50
Overall Weight 17.1oz
Black Finish

Kimber K6s

Kimber K6s with a speedloader inserted into the cylinder
With practice the K6s is fast to reload with the HKS speed loader.

The K6s primary innovation is an impossibly thin, six-shot cylinder. This six-shot .357 Magnum revolver is less than 1.5 inches wide. The cylinders are countersunk, in the classic style for safety. To aid in cylinder rotation, the case rim doesn’t drag on the recoil shield. The Kimber is a double-action only design with a humped-grip frame that aids in hand fit and in controlling the handgun.

When the revolver is loaded, the cartridges are visible to one side of the recoil shield. The action is very smooth and breaks at about 9.5 pounds. The DAO press is short and fast. The most noticeable advantage over other revolvers is in the high profile sights. These sights are far superior to the simple trough found on many revolvers. The three dot sights also feature the optional tritium inserts. I have often stated that short barrel handguns need good sights—perhaps more than full size handguns. A short sight radius may make good shooting more difficult and good sights are at a premium. The K6 is the lightest and smallest six-shot, .357 Magnum revolver ever designed and manufactured.

While these are all great choices for concealed carry, we know there are several others. Give us your top choices and why in the comment section.

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 (31)

  1. How does the Glock 19X make this list? You take a Glock 19 which is one of the smaller, thinner 4″ 15 round 9mm’s and add the 17 grip and then a +2 extension its got to be pushing your shirt away from your body.

  2. I have a TP9SA Canik on order. Still waiting for it. I wish I could have ordered the one that I could have installed a red dot on the slide, but couldn’t afford it. I also wish that the gun I ordered would have been a double action instead of an SA action. Oh well!…

  3. Do not buy anything from Springfield!
    The horrible law they green lighted in Illinois is in the house for a vote
    It limits Illinois citizens to 9 gun transactions per year
    That is buying AND selling!!!!!

  4. Make sure it’s the G2 Millennium version. The original PT111 (ca. 1990s or 2000s I think) was a horrible to shoot DAO gun. I hated it. I like the new one a lot better and it has a better reputation and it’s extremely affordable.

  5. Why is the print in this, and other Shooter’s Log articles so very light in color, and thin (as opposed to bolder/but not bold)? I had to hit the Firefox Blacken App multiple times so I could more easily read the article… and the print was still too thin.

  6. Anybody see that remake of this movie, The Magnificent 7? It was pure PC and outrageously fake in all it’s shooting scenes. Nothing like and nowhere near as good as the original. All the major minorities were represented and uncharacteristically got along with each other. And has anyone ever seen an original Gatling gun fire accurately, thru buildings, for one shot kills at 300 yards? Shakin’ My Head.

  7. I used to carry a full sized 1911. A little bulky. So I traded in four guns on an Ed Brown Kobra Carry. It’s the easiest gun to carry that I own. The bobtail grip makes all the difference in the world.

  8. You guys should really look at the Taurus PT111. So underrated and for the life of me, I cant understand why. I have thousands of rounds through mine and nery a flaw or failing.

    1. I just bought a Taurus PT 111, I think it’s a great gun, I hope it gets warm soon so I can get outside and put some more rounds through it!

    2. I have two of them! I had one, and my wife and son bought me another for Christmas (not realizing I already owned one). Not only do I love the gun, but at that price it was a no -brainer to keep them both! Shoots great…accurate…and with the double stack mag, has plenty of rounds for carry.

    3. Another vote for Taurus PT 111 G2. Super economical 3.2″ barrel striker fired with 12+1 capacity flush clip and various extended capacity options thanks to Sig P-series (double stack) compatibility. Mine”s very reliable with higher power rounds, and less so with muzzle energies under about 360 lb ft. Very accurate, good OE sights, plenty of aftermarket support and it includes an integral tamper resistant locking mechanism to secure it when out of service. The trigger action is serviceable if a bit rough, and comes around nicely with basic component polishing.

  9. Yeah, I’ve had my eye on one of those Caniks for quite a while. Problem is how to get another gun past my wife! I think that it would be too large for me to conceal carry, but it would be fun for target practice.

    1. Hey Onederer! I have a couple of Caniks. The one I carry is the TP9SF Elite. The 4.2 inch barrel is short enough, and the 1.5 inch width narrow enough even for IWB. And you have to love the 15+1 capacity. For IWB I use a Black Arch holster. For OWB, I use a Safariland 578 holster. Both work extremely well with the Elite and I have come to like the retention “button” on the Safariland now that I’m used to it.

    2. The TP9SA fits real nice in the waist band. Even a slightly puffy t-shirt conceals it nicely.

  10. Just mic’d my lawman 357magnum cylinder . 1.55. Kimber” less” than 1.50 . .06 difference ? Will that really make it dramatically concealable?

  11. I’m old school. My preferred carry guns for years are a Colt LW Commander in .45 ACP and a Wiley Clapp Ruger GP-100 .357 Mag with a 3″ barrel. I carry the .45 in town and the .357 in the woods (and sometimes in town too).

  12. I suggest the LCR in 9mm is better than the .357. It has far less blast out of the short barrel and the 9mm actually produces more muzzle energy in revolvers with less than about 3″ barrels.

    To further upset my more traditional friends, the Beretta PX4 has useful features none of the usual suspects include, like a single to double action trigger and rotating barrel. It’s worth a look.

    1. Highly unlikely a 9mm produces more muzzle energy than 357 magnum. Unless you got very impotent loading… don’t do that

  13. RE: the Sig P320, if you consider the Sig P320 “magnificent” for concealed carry, then you must consider the Sig P250 to be even more “magnificenter” because the weight, contour, grips, profile, size, caliber, magazines, frame and even trigger pull weight are exactly the same. AND the P250 has the safety advantage of being hammer fired. The trigger pull although same weight is a little longer (safer) and you can ride the hammer with your thumb when you holster it (safer too). Its a dirty little secret in the firearms industry that negligent and accidental discharges have increased with the advent of striker fired pistols. Great side arm for open carry, but not better than the P250.

    1. Ok, I have to ask, can you please cite those legitimate sources that show increase of accidental or negligent discharges as a result of striker fired pistols? I train with both, tech with both, have students with both… Don’t see it. My organization trains tens of thousands a year. Only 2 negligent discharges in last 5 years. Guess what they were using…. Hammer fired! I don’t buy the idea that hammer fired is safer!
      Not arguing, just want to know where your sources are for that and how the stats are generated and reported…

  14. I can agree with all of them but the Glock 19X. I think the grip is way to long to be a good carry gun, especially with the mag extensions. I’d much have the regular g19. Easy to conceal and plenty adequate magazine capacity.

  15. I’ll NEVER forgive Cheaper Than Dirt for selling 50 rounds of 9mm Tulammo for $60+ after Sandy Hook. That was profiteering of the worst kind. But your articles are some of the best in the industry. I really enjoy your blog posts!

  16. Well, maybe its the “old school” thing. Then again, maybe I just dont care. Size has never been a consideration for me. I’m not huge,5’10” 190 most days, I guess its more accuracy and capacity. In my 60+ years, I’ve run the gamut of both pistols and revolvers. As of now, my EDC is a Canik TP9SA. I dont see myself changing at all. Its accurate as all hell, and is 18+1. I used to carry in the small of my back, but years of airborne and motorcycle and car crashes have taken their toll, and limited my mobility. I now carry front and center. The Canik hides perfectly and I’m pretty sure 37 rounds (with the extra clip) is WAY more than enough to handle most every situation. I know its not an H&K or a Sig. but I’ll go head to head with all comers. Chances are its a tie, or I win. Honestly I’ve never lost a friendly challenge. So I’ll stick with my $300 Turkish military weapon. Not to say that any of the weapons discussed are of lesser quality. I’m just happy with what I have, compared to EVERY other pistol I’ve owned. Thanks for an informative article. I’m sure many will benefit. As for me….. after years of trying, I’ve found my grail.

  17. For some people, the above listed pistols are on the expensive side. For the less rich people, I would recommend the Taurus Millenium G2.
    It is small, compact, well built, has a picatinny rail, and can hold a reasonable 12 rounds of 9mm ammo, Other high capacity magazines can also be had, for the target shooters who like to shoot, and not refill magazines too often.
    In spite of it’s low price, the firearm is not piece of poo-poo. The rear sight is adjustable, and I use an adapter that uses the picatinny rail so that a red dot can be used. With this Taurus model, the maker has hit a good spot on the market, with a reliable product.

    It’s a well put together small package, that packs a good wallop.

    1. Hey Onederer, that’s exactly how I found the Canik. By the time I got down into the affordable range (around $300) it seemed all there was, was .22’s. Then out popped this beautiful, desert sand colored 9mm. It came with a serpa style holster with paddle and belt attachments, 2 – 18 round mags,, cleaning tools, gun lock and case. Made by the Turkish equivalent of Lockheed. I researched it for a bit, checked it out at a gun show and I’ll be darned if it didn’t follow me home.
      I know affordability is subjective and varies for everyone, but if you get a chance try one out.
      I also have a Fab Defense rail attachment allowing the use of a reflex sight and tac-light. It is without a doubt, one sexy zombie killer.
      Take care man.

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