Throwback Thursday: Reader’s Choice — The 12 Best Concealed Carry Guns

SIG P938 subcompact 9mm semiautomatic handgun with steel slide, black grip frame and wood grips

Reader ‘Lee’ writes, “…Why not create an unbiased list of firearms instead of a thinly veiled attempt at trying to sell something?” and ‘Papasan 173’ responds, “Why not go to an unbiased authorized list of guns? Oh yeah! There isn’t one. Don’t come to a gun dealer’s newsletter and complain because they are trying to sell guns.”

My comparison piece, The Top 15 Smallest Pistols got plenty of Shooter’s Log readers’ pretty riled up. Quite a few of you seemed offended that I had left out your favorite gun. In fact, the list was actually described as “horse turds,” “pos” and even “erroneous.” Ouch!

I guess you could compare it to when your significant other tells you that your favorite shirt does indeed make you look fat.

It is impossible to come up with the definitive list of “the best” of anything, because “the best” is all relative. Reader Rodney summed it up perfectly, “Not all shooters are the same, everybody holds their pistol different, no matter how many times you tell or show them. All these pistols are good, but only as good as the shooter.”

Here are the top 12 smallest and best-concealed semiautomatic handguns according to you:

User ratings are based on Cheaper Than Dirt! customer reviews and reviews found on other gun blogs—not the author’s personal ratings.

Ruger LCP

Ruger should be so proud, if only it could feel all the love you guys show for the LCs! With how many of you mentioned the Ruger LC9, LCP, and LC380, these are clearly great carry guns. Brian wrote that the LC9 “is probably the best 9mm pocket pistol from sales to size out there and beats Kahr’s inconsistent reliability and cheapest price by $100 without the cheap skanky advertising.” McRuger is also a big fan (obviously), “My favorite carry is Ruger LC9. I can carry the LC9 with a Blackhawk pocket holster regardless of what I wear and nearly forget its there. The LC9 is accurate and has performed flawlessly.”

Trek let us know how he felt with real talk, “Rugers are not on the list? Something is wrong with that. The newer LC9s is a great pocket gun. The trigger is nothing like the predecessor LC9. Great light and small. And what about no LCP on this list? One of the most affordable .380 pocket options out there and is smaller than most mentioned in this list. Rugers are a great choice.” I guess the missing Rugers are what made my original list erroneous.

Ruger LCP
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.75 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.6 inches
Overall Length 5.2 inches
Overall Width 0.8 inches
Weight Unloaded 9.7 ounces
Sights Integral
Grip Glass-filled nylon
Price MSRP starting at $389
User rating 4.23 out of 5 stars


Ruger LC380

Ruger LC380
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 3.1 inches
Capacity 7 rounds
Overall Height 4.5 inches
Overall Length 6 inches
Overall Width 0.9 inches
Weight Unloaded 17.2 ounces
Sights Drift adjustable 3-dot
Frame Glass-filled nylon
Price MSRP starting at $449
User rating 4.5 out of 5 stars


Ruger LC9s

Ruger LC9s
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3.1 inches
Capacity 7 rounds
Overall Height 4.5 inches
Overall Length 6 inches
Overall Width 0.9 inches
Weight Unloaded 17.2 ounces
Sights Drift adjustable 3-dot
Grip Glass-filled nylon
Price MSRP starting at $449
User rating 4 out of 5 stars


Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380

Frequent commenter G-Man couldn’t believe I had left the S&W .380 Bodyguard off the list and fair enough. My apologies for skipping over a gun that does meet the criteria for a good carry gun. The Bodyguard semiautomatic .380 has a 2.75-inch barrel and is only 5.25 inches in overall length. Mike owns it and loves it. While Jack Haskins had this to say, “I was disappointed not to find my S&W .380 Bodyguard listed in this article. I find it very easy to shoot and very accurate. The only drawback is the long trigger pull. For a carry gun, it is very good.”

Smith & Wesson Bodyguard
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.75 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 4.17 inches
Overall Length 5.25 inches
Overall Width 0.75 inch
Weight Unloaded 12 ounces
Sights Drift adjustable/integrated laser is optional
Grip Polymer
Price Starting at $332.35
User rating 4 out of 5 stars


Bersa Thunder .380

Though I like the Bersa Thunder .380, it did not make the first list because it isn’t as subcompact as the others. With a 3.5-inch barrel, 6.6-inch overall length, 1.3-inch width and 23-ounce weight, it is even bigger than the S&W Shield which was the largest pistol on the original list. Jim says, “You didn’t mention Bersa. The last time I qualified for CHL my Bersa went up against PPK, H&K, Beretta and Glock. My Bersa shot super tight groups—a perfect score with no jams. While the other guns shot all over the target and also some had jams.” I agree with you Jim, I was very surprised at how accurate the Bersa Thunder .380 was when I tested it.

Bersa Thunder
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 3.5 inches
Capacity 10 rounds
Overall Height 4.7 inches
Overall Length 6.6 inches
Overall Width 1.3 inches
Weight Unloaded 18.9 ounces
Sights Integral blade front/notched-bar dovetail rear
Grip Checkered polymer/Crimson Trace lasergrip optional
Price Starting at $352.91
User rating 4 out of 5 stars


Springfield XD-S

I get the feeling that many of you would not argue the Springfield XD-S’s 2013 award for “handgun of the year” by American Rifleman. Available in .45 ACP or 9mm with either a 3.3- or 4-inch barrel, at 0.9 inches wide, it rivals the size of many of the others, but has upgraded sights and excellent ergonomics. In fact, Michael thinks it should be “number one on the list.” Thomas Bonds carries the .45 model every day and Bud Parker can’t “say a bad word about it.”

Springfield XD-S
Caliber 9mm/.45 ACP
Barrel Length 3.3 and 4 inches
Capacity 7/8 and 5/6 rounds
Overall Height 4.4 or 5 inches
Overall Length 6.3 inches
Overall Width 0.90 inches
Weight Unloaded Up to 24.5 ounces
Sights Fiber optic front/dovetail rear
Grip Polymer
Price Starting at $509
User rating 5 out of 5 stars


Kel-Tec P-32

I don’t want to get into any caliber wars here, but after The Top 15 Smallest Pistols published, I had a friend tell me they carry a .32 ACP every day. And I guess a lot of you do, too. The Kel-Tec is indeed very small. It has a 2.7-inch barrel, is only 3.5 inches tall and weighs a mere 6.6 ounces—probably the lightest in the bunch. Tom Gough says, “I have a Kel-Tec P-32 and with the extended magazine, holds 10 rounds, and with the extended magazine it gives a full grip which allows me to shoot it very well. I carry this gun when wandering around in cut-off jeans and a T-shirt behind the back and it never prints.”

Kel-Tec P-32
Caliber .32 ACP
Barrel Length 2.7 inches
Capacity 7 rounds
Overall Height 3.5 inches
Overall Length 5.1 inches
Overall Width 0.75 inch
Weight Unloaded 6.6 ounces
Sights Fixed
Grip High-impact polymer Dupont ST-8018 grip
Price Starting at $230.37
User rating 5 out of 5 stars


SIG Sauer P938

I didn’t do a scientific study on your comments, but I think it’s safe to say that if this were a popularity contest the SIG P938 would be voted captain of the cheerleading team or football quarterback and I’ll be the one crowning it homecoming King or Queen…depending on what model SIG P938 you own. Not only is it an aesthetically beautiful piece, no matter what grips or finish it comes in, it is easy to operate for men, women, younger and older and extremely comfortable carry no matter what method you prefer. I always suggest those looking for a concealed carry to try the P938. It holds six rounds of 9mm—better than the .380 ACP, in my opinion—has a thumb safety, night sights and is slim and lightweight enough you don’t have to dress for the gun. The majority of complaints I hear about the P938 is the price. But then again, you can’t put a price on your life now can you?

Praises for the SIG P938 9mm:

  • Fine choice
  • Best small carry gun there is
  • The last small pistol
  • Finest small gun on the market
  • One of the very best sub-compact autos
  • Love my Sig p238 Nitron with Rosewood grips
  • Fast follow up shots and an order of magnitude better than my Ruger LCP
  • What a phenomenal piece of hardware
  • I have three, it’s a great gun and is now my carry gun, replacing a Sig P229
SIG Sauer P938
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.9 inches
Overall Length 5.9 inches
Overall Width 1.1 inches
Weight Unloaded 16 ounces
Sights Night sights
Grip Various
Price $655.20
User rating 4.5 out of 5 stars


Taurus 738 TCP

“I can’t believe you didn’t include the Taurus TCP 380.” -John

Taurus 738 TCP owners report its accuracy at self-defense distances, even with its minimal sights. It has an interesting look and when first introduced, it was available in a wide variety of different colors—that appealed to those hesitant about shooting or owning a gun. When it was new, it was Taurus’ lightest .380 pistol. It now contends with the Curve, both weighing 10.2 ounces unloaded. It retails for less than $250, which is why I’m sure many chose the Taurus TCP over the many other, and more expensive, choices.

Taurus 738 TCP
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 3.3 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.75 inches
Overall Length 5.19 inches
Overall Width 0.87 inches
Weight Unloaded 10.2 ounces
Sights Fixed
Grip Checkered polymer
Price Starting at $246.42
User rating 3 out of 5 stars


Kel-Tec P-11

G-Man makes a very good point when he says, “The Kel-Tec PF-9 was given a nod, but not the P-11, which holds 10 +1 rounds of 9mm firepower to carry for the money at the basic size of the PF-9. #truth, G-Man. The Kel-Tec P-11 does in fact, have the same specifications at the less-capacity Kel-Tec PF-9, except it is a tad wider and a couple of ounces heavier. That’s more than a fair trade-off for the higher round count you get in the P-11’s magazine. Not only that, but surprisingly it’s cheaper, too. For $241.62, you can get the 10-round P-11, while the PF-9 starts at $247.94. Kind of a no-brainer, right?

Kel-Tec P-11
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3.1 inches
Capacity 10 rounds
Overall Height 4.3 inches
Overall Length 5.6 inches
Overall Width 1 inch
Weight Unloaded 14 ounces
Sights Fixed front/adjustable rear
Grip High impact polymer DuPont ST-8018
Price Starting at $241.62
User rating 4 out of 5 stars


Seecamp LWS 380

Tom says, “Now that Seecamp makes a .380 the same size as their .25 and .32 and is smaller than any of the above, I think it deserves a note.” L.W. Seecamp Co. is a company with an interesting history. They have been making pistols since 1973, focusing on double-action-only, small-caliber pistols. The LWS 380 has a 2-inch barrel and is only 4.25 inches long overall. Those who own it understand its $810 MSRP. W.J. Tutwiler says, “It has been out longer than any on your list, is smaller than any on your list and is all steel. To top it all off, you can order a personalized serial number if it hasn’t already been taken. Tough to top that.” Josh agrees, “By far the smallest and best quality is a Seecamp .380, puts all of these to shame.” Les also votes for the Seecamp, “It is a true pocket pistol and the fit and finish is A-1 top shelf.”

Seecamp .380
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.06 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.25 inches
Overall Length 4.25 inches
Overall Width 0.91 inches
Weight Unloaded 10.50 ounces
Sights None
Grip N/A
Price MSRP $810
User rating 4 out of 5 stars


Boberg XR9-S

T McMurry just might be right; the Boberg XR9-S is the shortest 9mm on the list at 5.1 inches long. It is a not even an inch wide and has a 3.65-inch barrel, yet, “recoil is equivalent to a .380.” Bobergs are “handmade” says the owner of two of them. Some of you might say, “Oh, so that explains why it looks a little weird,” but that is not the case at all. The Boberg XR9-S has a different type of loading mechanism, once only used successfully in machine guns. The Boberg loads ammo “nose forward,” meaning the ‘XR Feeding Technology’ grabs the rim of the cartridge and loads the cartridge backwards into the gun. T McMurry says, “Down South it’s nice to have that kind of power in a true pocket pistol. They are super accurate at 25 yards and because of low recoil, fun to shoot.” Are you ready for the big kicker? The Boberg sells for just a teeny less than a grand.

Boberg Arms XR9-S
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3.35 inches
Capacity 7 rounds
Overall Height 4.2 inches
Overall Length 5.1 inches
Overall Width 0.96 inches
Weight Unloaded 17.4 ounces
Sights Low profile dovetail windage adjustable
Grip High-toughness Zytel polymer
Price $994.07
User rating 4.5 out of 5 stars


Runners up: Glock 33, Springfield EMP, Rorbaugh R9, Glock 30S, Kahr CM40, Kimber Micro, Walther PPK/S .380 ACP, Kahr MK9 2000.

Thank you, readers, for the lively debate. I love hearing your opinions, suggestions, and ideas. Let’s keep this list going. In the comment section, tell us what great-concealed carry gun is missing.

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 (255)

  1. I really appreciated this insight. ironically my wife has a LC(S, I carry a P938 and sometimes my Kimber micro 380., all shoot really well. I will say for the price ya gotta go for the Ruger…. And there were plenty good other one mentioned But I haven’t shot them, so sticking with what I know.
    X sgt. USMC expert .45, m14 6 straight years but that was 0 ago . still do pretty well though. Took my Henry silver boy out .17 with iron sights to decide whether to scope it or not., off hand, managed 20 straight ” kill or really close shots at 100 yds. your doing a great job. enjoy articles.

  2. I agree. The problem 111 is a hidden gem among the confusion. Mine has never malfunctioned as long as I kept it clean. It rides well in the appendix position and I forget I’ve got it on. Taurus has got a winner with that one for sure

  3. I also have the pt111g2 for the wife she loves it, carries every day and really likes shooting it . I have the pt140 same goes for me ,best buy on the market. got hers on sale for 199.99 online.

  4. Whoever spends from $600 to $1000 for a pocket pistol has too much disposable income, IMO. It isn’t necessary to spend an arm and a leg {and a lung) to have a reliable, comfortable and powerful carry pistol

    I own the Taurus twins: the PT111 G2 and its little brother the PT709 Slim. It’s the Slim that holds its own and even surpasses the small pistols made by Ruger (hard to operate) and Kahr (DA trigger only) for half the cost. The only pistols I like that Ruger made are the semi-auto SR22, the Mark Series of .22LR target pistols and the highly accurate LCR/LCRx revolvers with the smoothest DA trigger I’ve ever tried.

    Either the compact PT111 or the subcompact PT709 can be comfortably carried. The PT111 has the advantage of superior capacity since its stock mags hold 12 rounds but can also accept the 17-round mags made for the Taurus 24/7 and the 18-,20- and 32-round mags made for the Sig 226.

  5. I totally agree on the “big bullet” theory for so-called stopping power, and as an old retired big city LEO who has seen many (many!) street shootings my money goes with penetration rather than the “splat” potential of a HP round. The choice of caliber and bullet design is personal to each and every one of us so we can politely agree to disagree on this matter, but in the end shot placement is every bit as important as bullet design and caliber, maybe more so.

  6. Yes,,,,,,,,,,,you and your 22 are going to make someone really mad as they plunge their knife into you chest or slit your throat……..and youve been watching too many movies if you think you can put all your round in the kill zone in a stress situation !
    Maybe one or two at best …and for that reason, make that one or two a jacketed hollow point from a 10, a 40, or a 45 ! STOPPING POWER

  7. What about the mini revolvers? Derringers? 5 .22 rounds, in the most compact gun ever! Is the lack of “stopping” power the reason these aren’t on the list? The .22 isn’t that much smaller than these .380s, right? A little adjustment in grains vs powder, and they nearly match, right? And, the old 8 to 12 round .22 revolvers, aren’t that a bit more sauve? I mean, with a short 4-3/4″ barrel, it”s easy to hide too?

    I’d like to know what people would say?

    Thank you,


    1. Nothing wrong with your little .22 if all you intend to do is make the other guy even madder at you. Kind of like going bear hunting with a BB Gun. Yes, a .22 will kill with proper shot placement but, in a life or death type situation, I want something that will resolve the issue without me getting hurt. Just my opinion but, a .380 is the smallest I would ever want to carry. Maybe I’m old school but I’ll stick with my .45

    2. Really Dean. Would you stand in front of say a Ruger SR22. With virtually no recoil and 5 shots placed center of mass inside the size of a quarter. Or 5 to the face same thing.

    3. In a ‘life or death’ situation, if you can put 5 rounds of .22, or ANY caliber, placed ‘center of mass inside the size of a quarter’, you, my friend, are dreaming. The adrenaline is pumping so hard and fast, you’ll be lucky to put 2 or 3 rounds into center of mass. No way in hell inside the size of a quarter. Nobody i going to just stand there and let you pump rounds into them. Recoil be damned. In a life or death situation, you’ll want something that will stop your aggressor. That .22 would have to be a very lucky ‘kill’ zone shot right off the batt or dude, you’re going to be wishing for something bigger or some mighty fast running shoes. LOL.

    4. You seem to be confusing energy. 22LR in a barrel at least 16″ will produce nearly 200FPE, while the 380 produces 200FPE in a 3″ barrel. When shot from a 3″ barrel you will find 22LR produces MUCH less energy than the 380.

    5. we have a Sig p938 a Ruger lc9s for the wife in 9mm …And a Kimber micro 380. depending on situation al great carry .and lastly have a derringer in 380 that I wouldn’t trust hitting much if further out the 15 ft. my 2 cents.The Sig is my go to. I am intrigued with the Springfield XD in .45 and may buy one.My new mantra never sell a personal gun!.

  8. Wow you guys missed the Kahr p380. I guess because it cost about twice what the other’s do. Oh well you get what you pay for. With 1 piece metal chassis and rails within the polymer, Trijicon night sights, Lothar premium polygonal Barrel, and superb fit and finish, with a Crimson Trace laserguard, all in a mitch Rosen pocket holster, you can draw and Be on Target faster than you can pull your hankie out.

  9. The Boberg is the only one on the list which I have never seen. I would like to try one out. I have fired most of the others on the list and would feel comfortable carrying any one of them. The ones which barely missed being on the list would also be fine with me.
    Here in Texas, we often have the sort of weather which makes it difficult to carry anything much bigger than about the size of an LCP, and this list seems to be a good example of what I see at the range when someone practices with their LTC pistol. Well, except that I haven’t yet seen a Boberg. I am still looking forward to seeing one, and maybe shooting it.

  10. I am a lucky man , my wife has the Ruger LC9S, mines a Sig P938 and a Kimber micro.. picked them up used but barely. I honestly can’t say a bad word on any of them. I am kinda old school and like the 1911′. but fun to shoot that Ruger. The Springfield XDS is my next I think in a 40 as I have a lot of 40 ammo. left over from previous gun.

  11. Are you saying (my choice, of course) that an XDs, 3.3″ in 45ACP is a back-up/pocket gun??? 6 rounds of Speer Gold Dot, 200gr +P is about 400 ft lb of energy EACH! Read the “Lucky Gunner” test results. NOT a pocket/back-up gun. Sounds like a KICK-A gun to me. By the way, it does NOT fit in the pocket very well at all.

  12. Shooting at a target at a range is totally different then shooting at a live target in a life or death situation. You can get your 8 rounds off and only 1 may be a stopper ….for that reason make that ine round a situation stopper !…….a 10, 40, or 45 is that round!

  13. I also agree that the majority of those would better function as backups. Though I like the S&W BG .380, my everyday carry is the Springfield subcompact .40 cal. I wear T’s over my jeans with a SHTF holster. No print walking in stores or riding my Harley.

  14. Carry what you can shoot in a very stressful situation ,you will not be at the range more than likely the Perp will have his weapon out before you and you must deal with this probably when your Family is with you. Practice what you shoot as close as you can get to the real situation, I suggest while Fire crackers are exploding and some one is yelling in your ear, I suggest I am sure this will be plenty of stress.
    A Marine with many years of stressful situations. Remember WHAT EVER YOU CARRY YOU MUST BE ABLE TO USE IT TO SAVE YOUR LIFE BUT MORE IMPORTANT THAT OF YOUR FAMILY. I am talking from experience, be safe and SHOOT STRAIGHT,
    Semper Fe T. C. (Buddy) Broome

  15. I would have to say that a Glock 19 or a Glock 23 would be much better choices overall than any of the handguns mentioned above, all of those are back-up pocket guns and not one’s I would carry everyday and rely on to protect my life and those of others.

    1. An XDs in 45ACP is a back-up gun only??? I AGREE!!! Makes those on the (even potentially) receiving end BACK UP!!!

    2. What does the size of the gun matter? If I hit you four times in the chest with any of these you are DONE. Just because it is small doesn’t mean it isn’t lethal.

  16. By far the S&W Airweight .38 J frame is one of the best carry guns. Not only is it a revolver so it is less likely to malfunction you can use the +P 135 grain ammo from Speer designed for short barrels!

  17. What about the Glock 43? Small, reliable, and affordable. Used with Hornady Critical Defense ammunition makes the Glock 43 an outstanding choice for concealed carry.

  18. If you think your “real” gun is too heavy to carry, have you considered losing three pounds? That’s more than most steel full-size pistols, and it even tends to clear out some space inside the waistband for the gun. I got down to 190 pounds at 5′-11″, and found I could carry anything I wanted under a T-shirt. Sometimes the best solution is not to buy more stuff, but to change yourself.

  19. I’ll take the Browning 1911 380 over any of those listed. Easiest slide to rack if your hands are arthritic or other disability. Point and shoot accuracy superior to any of the mouse guns, nine rounds, a grip to accommodate the hand of a grown person and it’s a true 1911 in every respect except size.

  20. I have an original Detonic’s Combat Master manufactured in Seattle in the late ’70’s and early ’80’s, which I have hardly shot, but it is the best .45 Caliber concealed carry gun and it was rated with the Kimber, as the 2 best concealed carry weapons available at that time. The MSRP was $1200.00, but I was able to get it for $850.00! That is the reason that they only delivered 180 guns in 1982, which led to the business failure. I believe that they are now being manufactured in the Midwest, but the quality is nothing compared to the Original Patented .45ACP

  21. The LC9 is my last choice if I want to have any accuracy at all. The longest trigger pull in the history of firearms. Unfortunately, I own one. New thang is Springfield XDs .45 3.3. Excellent ergonomically. I shot 150+ rounds the other day, and it was very comfortable. The S&W mod 66 is still the sweetest thing in the world, but that’s not too concealable, or is it?

  22. I carry a Kel Tec P-32 everywhere I go. It is one great little gun. I’m accurate out to 30 feet with it. Since I bought it I don’t look back, so satisfied with it.

  23. Just one word….beretta !
    An A list without beretta is like spaghetti without need to grow a pair son.

  24. Well, nearly everyone knows that RUGER makes very good handguns. But then, so does S&W, GLOCK, SIG, Springfield armory, etc. etc……..shoot, hear we go again!!

    Sorry if I left out one of your favorites hear….just didn’t feel like making a complete list.

    My favorite? The one I’m carrying when I need it!

  25. Got my CHL choices narrowed to my Glock 26.
    In the house a H&K USP …along with a Renington 870 Tactical 12 guage
    Also Love my Sig Sauer SP 2022
    but the Sig and H&K are too big for everyday carry…hence the Glock 26

  26. I have and carry a ruger LCP, but I also courted a Glock 42. I’m surprised that it wasn’t mentioned here. It shoots 380s like shooting 22LRs. I’m really impressed with the weapon. I was able to add night sights (can’t do that on an LCP), and with a kridex trigger guard stung to my belt, I can pull it out of my pocket and be ready to launch a round in a micro second.

  27. One thing I will add . Mind you , I love Rugers . But the LCP is built too close to “not stout enough” for me . If even ONE round of +p or a reload with ANY extra powder gets into the barrel , the barrel won’t hold the pressure . I have personally seen 2 Explode next to me on the practice range . LC9 yes , any of their revolvers -Yes ,& I love their rifles ….. But an LCP – not for me buddy . I’ll stick with my Kahr 9mm or my .38 snubbie thx .

  28. Only one thing I will add . Mind you , I love Rugers . But the LCP is built too close to “not stout enough” for me . If even ONE round of +p or a reload with ANY extra powder gets into the barrel , the barrel won’t hold the pressure . I have personally seen 2 Explode next to me on the practice range . LC9 yes , any of their revolvers -Yes ,& I love their rifles ….. But an LCP – not for me buddy . I’ll stick with my Kahr 9mm or my .38 snubbie thx .

  29. I don’t know, but one source claims that S&W has sold 4 million of their M&P Shield. I don’t know how many of the other models have sold that many. I wish I had the money and lived in a state where I could personally test each of the guns mentioned. Actually, if I had the money I wouldn’t live in this state. Personally, I like a gun with a hammer. Hammer down – gun not cocked. Hammer back – gun cocked. Striker fired – hmm is this thing cocked or not? Just call me old fashioned or a Luddite or an atavism I just lean toward a pistol with a hammer.

    1. My wife’s Springfield XD9 has a striker that protrudes form the back of the slide when it’s cocked. Easy to see and feel if it’s cocked. Also has s small lever on the top of the slide that protrudes when there’s a round in the chamber.

      These are two safety details that make her more comfortable carrying.

  30. If you have an LC9 (with that horrible trigger), there is a fix. Go online and find the trigger fix for the LC9 —- it is very easy to put in and will cut the trigger pull to half! (just as good as the LC9s). Costs around a hundred bucks, but is worth it. Need I say, mine has been changed and I now love the gun! My other CCW guns are: Springfield XDS (45acp) — good gun, and a Ruger SR9c — which I love — it shoots the best among the three but is a bit large to carry.

  31. I have an LC9s, an LCP and a SCCY 9mm for pocket carry depending on the event, the day, the season and my mood. No, not all at one time. One at a time. Every now and then I’ll throw in a .22 (J-22 Jennings as a “back up”. My XD’s too big and my cannon, a Hi-Point .45 (bought for the price more than anything though I was really surprised at its durability, reliability and simplicity) is the gun for choice when I’m stomping around in the bush up here in the Pacific Northwest. Those are worn open carry in a belt or shoulder holster.

  32. I say carry what you are comfortable with. I’ll stick with my Taurus PT-111 G-2. Never had a jam and super accurate. Can’t ask for more.

  33. I have a Kel-Tec P-11 and am considering it for open carry. My greatest hesitation is over a 9 lb trigger pull. By the time I get a round off, hand is shaking a bit. I would buy something MORE suitable except I have too many guns now. Might be time to sell a few of ’em off.

  34. My choice is the Ruger SR40C and I usually carry with the 15 rd mag with one in the pipe. Yes, it sticks out a bit more, but the comfort of having those extra rounds more than makes up for it. It’s a great pistol that is comfortable, fits great in the palm of my hand, easy to shoot and is quite accurate.

  35. i too have a love for the LC9. fits nice in most arrangements & feels comfortable in my hand. lots of choices for IWB/OWB/ANKLE/CROSS-D/SHOULDER & more. new to the game, but getting more comfortable, daily.

  36. Best carry gun is a Smith 340CT. Lightest revolver, .357 magnum, hammerless. No muss, no fuss. Guaranteed to go bang, and very accurate if you keep the laser sighted in. Lots of pocket lint on it though.

  37. Have the S&W MP BG380 and purchased a trigger mod kit from Galloway Precision. The improvement in trigger is all the gun needed.

      Company Ruger wants me to 700 bucks I will but everyone I speak with will how ruger product can really suck! Stick with 22 and rifles

  38. I’ve owned several of the Rugers, Taurus’s and the Keltec listed, guess which one I ended up carrying? A SCCY CPX-2. Less felt recoil, 10 rounds, better customer service (if needed, I haven’t so far at over 2k rounds) and a price point around $200.

  39. You included the Bersa Thunder. I am not fully acquainted with it but I do have the Bersa Firestorm and I love it ! Not sure of the size difference as compared to the Thunder. I find the Firestorm easily concealable and very accurate and with no negative surprises.

  40. While you included the Kel Tec P32< prefer and carry the P3AT. Always goes bang and hits what I point, er, aim at. After all, if you include the Ruger LCP you should the gun Ruger copied!

  41. There are a variety of actions represented in this article, but the action of each gun has not been mentioned. I think this is a serious omission.

  42. I love my LC9S. Carry it in the front pocket of my cargo shorts and you can’t even tell it’s there. Frame is excellently designed so nothing to get hung up on when pulling it out. I have the integrated Crimson Trace trigger guard laser – whole setup is bad a$$!

    1. Ron, BINGO!
      While personally I carry a full sized G22 in .40 S&W, I ALSO carry my G27 in my “Murse” or on an ankle in a quality holster.
      Since both shoot the same caliber and the G27 can accept the mags from the G22, they make a PERFECT match IMO.
      So while I cannot fault the other guns that people mention as being the “best” I certainly feel good in knowing I have a “system” that complements each other.
      The MOST important thing to remember when carrying a gun is to CARRY A GUN!
      Without one (when you need one, God Forbid) you are nothing more than a potential Bullet Magnet yourself.
      Stay Strapped and stay Safe!

  43. I live in Southern Florida. That means a lot of belt-less lightweight cotton and knit shorts and t-shirts. For me, my little KEL-TEK PF-9 with an inexpensive, aftermarket screw-on clip attached to it is almost perfect. Lightweight, slim, with 7 rounds of 9X19 in the magazine and an 8th in the tube. I wear it on my right hip, grip angled forward a little with my t-shirt pulled out and it’s no less comfortable than wearing a watch without advertising I can defend myself if need be I have several other compact and sub-compact pistols to choose from but I always seem to find myself reaching for this little PF-9 when headed out the door.

  44. Honestly I’m a flat out gun nut and have been for my entire 62 years (well, minus maybe the first 6 years (, and I wish I had “one of each!”
    My EDC is my Glock Gen 4 19. In the summer when I’m wearing shorts and a tee shirt, my G43 is in a DeSantis pocker holster. Reasonable minds may differ, the debate will never end, everyone likes what they have, that’s why they have it! Most of you wouldn’t like my wife, but, her thick body would shield me from most bullets…oh hell did I say that? Lol! I carry the G43 because I’d rather have “less” of “more” than “more” of “less.” But let me say again, reasonable minds may differ. I wouldn’t want my wife to be shot by anything! ROTFL!

    1. I read it twice wondering where the Glocks were – notability the G43. Then I realized it was from ’15. I knew it was throwback but didn’t know how far back. The 43 areived in 2015. I have no doubt it would be on this list today. Surely replacing the Taurus or a Kel-Tec.

    2. Personally, I’ve had about every gun listed in this test, And for various reasons retained only two. . if it’s something I want for deep concealment, and risk risk my life with their are only two winners. Glock 43, SIG 938. I feel 9MM is your bare minimum , but 380 is better than throwing rocks.

  45. If the article is new for 2017 why do the comments start back in 2015?

    I carry my Walther PPK .380 every day. It’s a bit larger than most of the list, but happy to see it made the runner-ups. With the molded clip I can get all of my fingers around the grip and not have my pinky in the wind. One thing I don’t like is the locking screw that requires a special tool for breakdown. If you leave it un-locked it slowly works loss too – so you have to carry that tool with you always. Also, prices still aren’t as low as the 9mm alternatives.

    1. Throwback Thursday is a common term in blogging indicating the article has been republished. ~Dave Dolbee

  46. I really take exception with many (not all) folks who give the impression they are the guru of guns. Yes, there are pluses and minuses to everyone’s opinion of what makes the best “carry” gun, but in the end it all boils down to personal preference… some folks like small guns and some like bigger guns, it’s as simple as that. And if you want to base your well thought out opinion(s) on facts then let’s do it… I was a big city street cop for a number of years and I’ve seen the results gunshot wounds every way possible, and I carry a 5-shot snubby when I go to town for dinner. If I were back in the Corps in a war zone I’d probably carry something bigger, but today I’m a civilian in a civilian environment, no need to overthink it.

    1. Here is something to ponder. Why do so many shooters carry a compact or sub-compact 9mm, .380 or similar for their concealability…. then practice with something entirely different? Next time you do a little range work, look for it. It’s fascinating. People will lock their small “carry gun” in the trunk or the glove box, then go wail away with a full size .45 or Hand-Cannon Magnum for an hour or more only to go back to the car, exchange the two again and head home… Never trigger pull 1 on the gun they usually carry.

  47. What about the Colt Mustang, XSP. A great little gun in .380. My only complaint with Colt is they put a rail in the weapon but NOBODY makes a laser that will fit. Rails are too small. Duh?

  48. I will stick with my colt officers 45 short slide acp and my P64 mak as my backup in ankle holster none of the above except maybe the sig would i want to carry daily

  49. i am happy to say my choice made the list. my ruger fits my hand very well & to me, that is what counts. it does not mean i an very good with it, but it is comfortable. hope i never have to use it seriously. going to the range is great. thanks for the list.

  50. I know I’ll probably take some heat for saying this but I wouldn’t trust my life to anything smaller than 9mm. Sure, shot placement is the key but don’t discount weight ( imparted on the subject. I also make my choices based on capacity. Any gun holding less than 7-9 rounds, to me, is a loser for concealed carry. It may be fun to have the smallest pistol and if that’s all you can afford, go for it, but for personal protection my standards are not swayed by “fun” or unique.

    1. Not giving any heat at all here for your opinion on the 9mm, but adding what I’ve believed for my entire career: never trust your life on ANY one thing. 9mm, .45, 5.56, 408 SOCOM whatever. ALWAYS have a secondary/backup weapon!

  51. What about the Makarov, Cz 82, 83 and the P64? These are steel guns, built for the military and they don’t have problems. Did I mention they are not plastic?

    1. You beat me to the punch. While my main carry pistols are, and in no particular order a Kimber CDP, Springfield .40 EMP, and a Smith & Wesson .357 Model 629 with a 2 and 5/8 in inch barrel, I also carry an East German Makarov, or a P-64, or a CZ 82, as a back up pistol.
      They may be older than dirt but they work, and work quite well.
      I don’t think the Makarov 9×18 round gets the credit it deserved and will take it over a .380 any day of the week.

  52. Wow, just reading through a few of these comments really makes me laugh out loud. I see people who are complete authorities on guns that they have never owned, carried, or fired! I guess personal preference really is that authoritative. I appreciate the effort that Suzzane went to, to put this list together. As was stated in the beginning, it is not an exhaustive list at all, but more of an addendum to the first one she made.

    Good job, Suzzane. I may not like all the guns on the list, but I do like reading about them.

    To everyone else with a negative or scathing comment, Yes, she gets paid to try to sell guns. No, she won’t get your favorite gun on the list everytime (I didn’t see any Kimbers on the second list). If you don’t like the way Cheaper Than Dirt publishes their blog, go elsewhere, please, but don’t attack someone who is doing their job and doing their best to please as many people as possible.

    I like, carry, and own some of the Rugers on the list. I have shot most of the others. Glock makes a good gun, Ruger makes a good gun (and it’s made right here in America, can’t say that for Glock). S&W makes a good gun. My point you ask? There are many guns out there because there are many people who like and shoot something different than me.

    Keep up the good articles. I, for one, enjoy reading them.

  53. The LCP is a cheesy small caliber, chick pistol. Similar to the Saturday Night Special.. Total Garbage. I can’t wait to get rid of the one I purchased. I’m sticking with the Glock 43, you get what you pay for and you can’t beat a Glock for reliability, it’s a great quality pistol. The LCP is toy like and cheaply constructed. I don’t have any confidence in the caliber or reliability in a high stress situation.

    1. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
      Never could understand why someone would knowingly buy a Yugo subcompact car then Bitch and complain that it didn’t handle like and Ferrari high performance sports car.
      The same is true when buying an inexpensive handgun for concealed carry.
      The WHOLE purpose of a small, compact pistol IS for CCW and KNOWINGLY giving up other, BETTER attributes for the sake of CCW.
      If you don’t feel “safe” carrying a small, lower powered handgun, WTH did you BUY it?!?
      Ever heard of doing a “test drive?” You know, go to a range where you can RENT a gun with the intention of ensuring it will fit some, if not all, of your perceived needs?!?
      My GOD, man!
      If you don’t LIKE Broccoli or couscous, WTF would you order it off the menu AND pay for it?!?
      Pull on your Big Boy Panties and admit you made an error in judgement, find someone who is willing to buy what you claim is a substandard firearm/ammo combination then take the money and go buy something you supposedly KNEW from the start better fit your needs from the start?!?
      And just for the record, I’m pushing 60, only about 5’10” tall, overweight, AND I go well-heeled with either a G17, G22, G21C or a full-sized Colt Government M1911A1 and, oftentimes, also carry a G27 or an older Colt Officer’s Model in .45 ACP in an ankle holster to complement whichever brand handgun I’m wearing on a given day and based on perceived “need.”
      So to those who whine about “cheaply built” or tiny and underpowered caliber handguns, I’m sorry but you’ll get NO sympathy from this old fart.
      So suck it up, Buttercup. Ain’t NOBODY to blame but the critter looking back at you in the mirror. Right?!?
      After all, nobody held a gun to your head and FORCE you to buy a pipsqueak firearm with which to defend your life, DID THEY?
      (Let the flaming commence.)

    2. Addendum to my previous post.
      I am not fashion driven and thus required to dress to maintain some fashion “Fan Boy” appearance all for the sake of fitting in.
      At my age, if someone snickers about the Old Fart in the full length jeans, a colored t-shirt, long or short sleeve un-tucked outer shirt (based on the temperature here in southern AZ and season) I just look at their Purty mouth and grin because I know and his girlfriend knows that she has a girlfriend with (probably) a Bitch Bun, loggers beard, fancy Dockers shorts and sandals WITH socks (WTF is with THAT, anyway?!?) and likely not someone who is wanting to defend themselves (or their girlfriend, for that matter), much less ABLE to out of fear of dropping his $10.00 StarF*cks Grande Latte’ or whatever else she, er, “he”(?)is drinking along with their Murse anyway.
      The point being, sometimes (MOST times?), you need to dress appropriately in order to maintain your CCW in a CCW manner. RIGHT?
      So WHY go with a dimunitive and Liliputian sized handgun in the first place?
      Be a Manly Man and carry a Manly Man gun for cryin’ out loud.
      If THIS Old Fart can do it, why can’t you athletic build Stud-Muffins do it?

  54. I have a variety of .380’s. My experience with my Taurus 738 TCP has been excellent. Small, light, accurate and inexpensive. I have owned it for a year with no malfunctions. One failure to eject, but that was my fault, fast shooting and limp-wristed the gun. No problem with the other gent’s comment about mag falling out. I have put about 300 rounds thru the pistol. I carry this pistol a lot because it is light and fits my summer clothing.

    I own the Bersa .380 Thunder and CC. Both are excellent guns, and have been very reliable. A bit heavier and larger, but that makes them easier to shoot than some of the smaller pistols. Still, a good carry gun with the right clothing.

    With the right clothing, my favorite is the Glock 42 .380. A splendid shooter, accurate and has been completely reliable. The recoil is less than all my other .380 pistols. Unlike many, it is fun to shoot at the range. I have carpal tunnel and some neuropathy in my dominate hand, but it is no problem to shoot a box of fifty without a problem. I can’t do that with several others. I added a mag extension that gives an extra cartridge and this bumps capacity to 8 and gives a full grip.

    I have shot a Glock 43 lately that a friend shared. It’s a fine shooter, 9mm, a bit larger and heavier than the others mentioned. A slight bit more recoil than the Glock 42, but easily manageable. Need to be more selective about clothing to avoid printing. For winter, wearing a coat and such, works fine. Get the mag extension with extra capacity, which makes it a lot easier to grip and control and gets the capacity up to a more desirable level.

  55. I don’t know but 380 is not a carry round. WEll it’s back up or T-shirt Flip Flops set up. I don’t run around in FlipFlops but have other office set up issues that makes a little 380 acp necessary. I carry sometimes the DB 380 for deep concealed carry. On the list here only the Springfield talks to me. 9X19 is were SD in autoloaders starts.

    1. I have a nice old Colt Govt pocketlite 380 . It’s the only 380 I would carry (since I already own it & never wants to sell it ) , I tried the LCP , eh > then i saw 2 blow up on different days at the range . Borrowed & tried the DB , too narrow for me to control and it always jerked to the right when trigger pulled . ( I don’t believe it was my trigger control ) Maybe it was just THAT DB ? /shrugs . Springfield XDS feels too narrow for me as well ( I own 2 XDM’s one in 9 mm one in .45 acp . )

  56. I”m not sure why anyone would carry an LCP or a P11, just as 2 examples. The trigger on the P11 is beyond horrible, same as the LCP. I can’t imagine the other 2 Rugers that made this list have better triggers than the LCP. I’m not by any means a fanboy, but if you are going to carry something in this size range, get a G42 or a G43. For just a little more than some of the horrible choices above, you can carry a G43. It has a decent trigger, you can get tons of aftermarket parts for it if you want to, and it is reliable. And it doesn’t have a 10 pound trigger with a 2 inch pull. The Sig P938 is by far the ultimate choice in this list and well worth the extra expense, but if you are not willing to shell out nearly 700 for one, get a Glock G43. Stay away from the 200 dollar guns. They are cheap for a reason. Yes, they are better than nothing, but not by much.

    1. Another Glock Fanboy if you don’t carry what I like, you might as well throw rocks at then. I have never had any issues with the Ruger LCP or the Tarus PT140. And I know nothing about your background. But I have had a few aimed at me. And I have never even considered their firearm to be barely better than nothing. Nor have I ever. Seen a Pretty gun pointed at me either. Buy whatever works for you. And if the Ruger LCP and Tarus PT11 both sold like crazy and have great reviews by actual owners. And yes I Am buying the New LCP 2 as soon as I can actually find it in stock over the G42.

  57. Smaller is only better if you never need to defend your life. Once you need to use your firearm – magazine capacity, caliber, and barrel length combine to enable you to effectively defend yourself. I would discount most of those choices as too small and too limited in magazine capacity. Wouldn’t go smaller than a G26 – easy to conceal crossdraw IWB under a t-shirt. (It is also easy to conceal a full size 1911 crossdraw IWB under a t-shirt.)

  58. Old big city street cop here, and when it comes to CCW guns we might as well be talking about what’s the better game, football or baseball. Obviously personal choice enters into this discussion heavily, but for my money (and my life!) I will go with a small 2-inch snubby revolver, my current favorite being the S&W 442 loaded with Speer Gold Dot +P. Is my choice better than a Glock 21 with a full-up 13-round mag? Probably not, but it’s a heck of a lot easier to carry and conceal, and all things considered it will handle about 95-plus percent of all the incidents I will try very hard to avoid. Just my 2-cent’s worth.

    1. i am not sure but i think you are talking about 38. while i think they are accurate i am not a fan of 38 or 45. the bullets are to slow. speed kills. i would carry a nine g 26 in +p if i had to but i try and limit my carry to 40. g 27. i have no problems with carrying my ruger 101 in 357 but at 5 rounds and not a quick reload it is more a back up gun. my little NAA 22 lr is a back up or better yet a back up back up. i consider it a belly gun. double action single action no problem and my sig 229 in 40 was my choice at first but it is just too large. great gun though. people say stay away from bad neighborhoods and that is good advice, but i live in one and it is hard to stay away from. can’t count the number of times i have been threatened with death by national gangs on one hand. i also can’t count on the police to help me. when you are dealing with gangs there is no telling how many you might face. latest gang a large cocaine ring. i worry about them even more and i have 2 death threats from them.

  59. Take the Taurus TCP off any list you may have. The pistol is dangerous to for the person carrying it. Chances are that in a panic situation one will never get off any second shot because the mag will be lying on the ground. A reasonable tight grip will cover the mag release and there goes the mag with only the slightest touch. OK when new, but after a few dozen mag removals and reinstalls. The mag catch or the mag itself wears to the point it releases with only a slight pressure. Learned about this from the little woman. She complained that about any time she would take the pistol from her purse, the mag wasn’t in it. Not good on Taurus.

  60. I’ve read hundreds of these so called “reviews” Most are just paid for ads by the manufacturer. I know what I shoot, and shoot well. Promote any firearm that you are paid to do, but please don’t pass this off as a “real list” of any kind.

    1. (I do believe that the author qualified the comments and list as being what OTHERS have suggested as recommended for THEIR needs and why. NOT what they felt was the “best” or whatever.)

  61. Have owned and tried several of these guns. I kept changing because I didn’t like any of them. I finally found what I consider the best all around pistol for daily carry, the Ruger LCR .38. It is reliable, accurate, light, powerful, and so easy to conceal. I will never trust my life to a semi-auto. You never know when it will fail, we just know that it will.

    1. The Ruger LCR is very easy to carry all day. It is small. It is light. It doesn’t print. Its trigger is smooth and easy. Shoot one-handed; it will never stovepipe! Shoot two-handed; it’s even more accurate. There’s minimal recoil. There’s no hammer to snag. The LCR is just a great carry gun. If you insist on more than five shots, carry two LCRs! If you like louder bangs, get the .357 LCR.

  62. While I am a HUGE Ruger fan, in the initial runs, Ruger fell flat on their LC9 & LCP pistols. At least for those of us who live in the Deep South. Why??? BLUED steel and salt water (read sweat) do NOT mix well. With other “concealed carry” (read S&W, Springfield, Glock, Beretta, Khar, Sig, etc) makers offering guns made of stainless steel or with corrosion resistant finishes, one would think Ruger would have at least offered a stainless option. Very sad. Yes, they caught on, but how long did it take? My vote goes for the nitride finishes. More corrosion resistant than stainless and harder. gotta’ love it!

  63. Are you kidding. I love it when people regurgitate erroneous things they’ve read online like it’s fact. Truth be known, I’ve used my Kahr PM 9 for over a decade and it has never failed. Case in point…

    “Brian wrote that the LC9 “is probably the best 9mm pocket pistol from sales to size out there and beats Kahr’s inconsistent reliability and cheapest price by $100 without the cheap skanky advertising.”

    Brian, the gun isn’t inconsistent. Only the owner… and sorry if scantily clad women in advertising bother you but it comes with the gun culture.

  64. I carry a AMT in in 380 9MM KURZ Back Up..2.5in W-1.5 in. 6 round clip.

    I seem to shoot it well at the range. Good pocked gun.
    I don’t know what they sell for New or used but I got my from my brother
    for $100.00…
    Never seen AMT on the list!

    1. As an editor, I would say because this was a “Reader’s Choice” not an editor’s choice… It is a fine gun though. ~Dave Dolbee

  65. My wife has arthritis in her hands so it is almost impossible for her to pull the trigger on a revolver double action.We went hunting for a small auto and went with the Bodyguard.380.Although it is a fine carry gun the trigger pull is to long and a little to much weight on the trigger. So I carry the Body Guard as a pocket pistol when I’m not carrying my Kel-Tec P11 in a side holster. After all that said she bought a Kel-Tec .380. This is a perfect carry pistol for someone with sore fingers.It has a lighter trigger pull and see loves to go to the gun range and practice with it.We will be a Kel-Tec family for years to come.

  66. You should look at the Desert Eagle “Micro Desert Eagle”. A 6+1 double action only in .380 acp. The MDE is light but solid and fits nice in a pocket holster and your front pants pocket or jacket.
    It is a nice gun. I use the MDE or the Sig 238 both do the job for me

  67. Here’s one that was left out: the S&W 442 loaded with +P ammo. Sure it’s only 5 shots, but you don’t have to worry about a safety being on or off or a failure to feed or extract.

  68. It’s interesting that there is not a single revolver on the list…there are some pretty darned good ones out there.

  69. I could easily expand this list to 45 or 50 handguns, but the bottom line is that the handgun YOU are most comfortable with and shoot well is the best choice for you. All that is left is to practice, practice, practice…and then practice some more.

  70. is this a Ruger/Taurus ad? Nowhere is a Kahr listed and owning two a P40 & P45. The others are left in the dust. Seecamp is custom and so is the Boberg. So price is not a question.

    Both Kahrs are small enough with a pocket holster to fit in the front pocket of my trousers without discomfort, and allow easy access.

    Expand the horizons. Retired LEO, and picky on preservation

  71. This list has me scratching my head. How can you have the Kel-Tec P-11 on here and not the P3AT? The P3AT is THE gun that basically jumpstarted the whole subcompact industry. This is a best concealed list, and it’s smaller than the P-11. The LCP is a straight up copy of the P3AT. You list a Bersa over it??? This list is fail.

    1. While they were not the first, they were certainly the VERY BEST!!! Flat, POWERFUL, concealable, light, accurate, butt-kickers!!! The VERY BEST CCW guns made! Springfield XDS, 3.3, 45ACP!!! Doesn”’t get any better!!!

  72. What? The S&W Shield didn’t get a nod? It’s reliable, concealable and has a minimal recoil for a gun its size. And what about the Glock 42 and 43. I know its a long list when you include all the deserving, but how can you leave these out? Nice list though, thanks for the descriptions.

    1. “Here are the top 12 smallest and best-concealed semiautomatic handguns——- according to you:” These are readers suggestions, not writers choice.

  73. My first choice in concealed carry since 2007 has been and remains to this day the absolutely superb 9mm Walther P99c AS — Striker-fired, DA/SA trigger, less than 20 ounces including empty magazine, 10+1 rounds, all in an exceedingly compact and easy to conceal package.

    What’s not to like?

  74. Glock 26, 27, 42, 43, S&W Shield in 9mm or 40cal, Beretta 84 or 85 in 380.
    These are just a few that I can’t believe didn’t make the list.. I’m sure there are many more that are better than those listed….any thoughts?

  75. I did my qualifying with a SCCY CPX1. The flare above the safety ate my hand up. Afterwards, as I was cleaning it I found the slide had about .03 play either side of center. Since it was a brand new gun, borrowed from my friendly gunsmith friend, I was happy to return it to him. I’ve since bought a XD Mod2 .45 and couldn’t be happier. My previous carry was a .45 Match 1911 so I’m carrying a few pounds less!

  76. No Glock on the list. Has the author used/tested G19, G43, G26, G27, G42 and a host of other Glock’s that are perfect for CCW?

    Overall this is a very bad article and the author does the reader a severe disservice. I am sad that CTD would ever consider this and publish it.

    1. John D,

      Perhaps you missed the part of the title that said “Reader’s Choice?” CTD did not pick the list, the readers did. Glocks are fine guns and we have several articles extolling the them. ~Dave Dolbee

  77. My Ruger LCP is the ONE pistol I’d keep if I had to give up all but one. I shoot it regularly, and I have NEVER experienced any kind of malfunction with it. It’s easy to carry invisibly. It’s unreasonably accurate for such a small pistol. I got mine at a reduced price after the first purchaser traded it in for something that didn’t generate as much recoil. But I have plenty of experience with M1911A1s, and I found the LCP’s recoil to be about equal to Old Ugly’s.

  78. The Sig Sauer P220 compact should definitely be on this list. Why? First off it’s a .45ACP. When your life is on the line, there’s no substitute for stopping power & the .45 is the choice to get the job done. I rather be carrying 6 Hydro-Shok, 165 grain JHP in the magazine & one in the chamber. Yes I know that carrying a 9mm or 380 would give me more rounds, but true confrontations usually don’t turn into drawn out gun battles, and if it does, any carry gun is not the right gun for the situation.
    With the Sig you get a decocking lever. This has to be one of the best features any carry gun can have as it allows you to safely lower the hammer with one in the chamber & fire the first shot double action or manually cock it if time & situation allows. As much as I love my 1911, walking around cocked & locked is not as reassuring as the decocking lever IMO.
    Last is the quality of the Sig Sauer product. It costs a little more, but this is a long time relationship. The gun just feels like money! My first Sig P220 I purchased over 25 years ago has thousands & thousands of rounds go through it. It’s never jammed, or failed in anyway and I’ve only replaced the recoil spring in all of those years. When I pull the trigger I want the gun to go bang & the round to land where I placed the shot – this old Sig still does that every time. It still fires a 2 in. group at 25 yards, try that with one I your disposable, cheap guns.
    I’d rather have a few quality guns than a bunch of cheap ones.

  79. Why isn’t the Ruger SR9C anywhere on this list? I would think a lot of people including myself like a compact pistol that can shoot quite a few rounds. It holds 17 rounds. It comes with a 17 round mag and a 10 round mag. Three of my friends have them as well and never had jams or anything. I think it’s great because of size and and a lot of bullets!!!

  80. Why would anyone spend more than $400 on a self-defense gun that MAY only have to be depended on once, if that? Technology today ensures even a $200-300 pistol is reliable in self-defense situations. Any more than that amount is just for window dressing. More often than not it is the choice of ammo, rather than a specific gun brand or model, that determines the outcome of any gunfight!

    1. You may only have to depend on it once to save your life, but you need to practice with it frequently to be sure you can use it effectively if and when that time comes. Therefore, reliability with much use over time enters the equation.

  81. I often carry an XDS 45,Its a great carry pistol, but just purchased a glock 42.380 acp and fell in love with it! Fits in my chest pocket,light and never fails to fire.

  82. A lot of these weapons are great pieces for concealed carry, but as American weapons they all carry a price tag. Why don’t more people consider an M64 9 x 18 or a M80 9 x 18 which has a mag that holds 2 more rounds than the M64. I’m not a great fan of the 9mm round as I prefer my .45, but either of these two weapons can be purchased for around $269. They are easily concealed and did the job for the Warsaw pact nations for many years. As to the gentleman who wrote that his sights were not the best: Why would you need sights when most confrontations are at 9 feet?!

  83. Waiting to see comments on the new Remington RM380. Sweet rework of a Rohrbaugh. Got one for my wife, moulded to her hand first time she picked it up.

  84. Recently bought my first gun – to use as a CCW. Chose a revolver (S&W .38 Airweight) because of simplicity of operation & cleaning, as well as its light weight., (even though I’m more accurate at a distance with a pistol). First 50 rounds left me with a purple knuckle on middle finger and blood blister on trigger finger. The trigger guard rammed into my knuckle with every shot (I anticipated the kick with a small, lightweight weapon, but not the knuckle issue!), and the angle for pulling the trigger meant not getting it to fire every time if I moved my hand down the grip a bit. Didn’t notice these issues until I owned it and took so many shots at one time! Wondering if a change of grips (if possible) might move my finger far enough from the trigger guard…Just didn’t anticipate these issues! Just a heads-up!

  85. You may have missed an outstanding choice. The SCCY CPX-2 is a great gun. I own one and shoot it often with no problems and good accuracy. Thanks

  86. Terrible list

    Xds so much better than Ruger.

    Ruger always hurts everyone’s finger when firing @ my range.

    Mod 2 should be on the list.

  87. I like my Kel-Tec P-11. However, the sites suck. My rear site just plain fell off. I called Kel-Tec about this and their customer support basically said so. Not sure if I could recommend anything when their customer support is crap.

  88. “so I created a list of the top 12 smallest, best concealable semiautomatic handguns”
    Create ANOTHER list of REVOLVERS!

  89. Not one revolver? Each one of these “best” pistols has the chance to jam. There are plenty of small, concealable revolvers that belong on this list. I saw a more comprehensive list at a site called

  90. I feel obligated to join the crowd here and ask why my pistol isn’t on your list to as I’ve heard many many times from the world of gun writers that a H + K P2000SK 9mm is the street queen Cadillac compact of all that goes bang. I’ve been shooting mine for many moons and recoil is negligible as I busy myself popping off 13 round clips. Yeah sure, they don’t come that way from the factory but for a few bucks one can slide a X-grip on one that gives you that extra bang for the buck. Plus virtually every man and woman who has shot it wants one too. I ain’t selling as where else can I find one that goes invisible for $700 as soon as I stuff it and my Wright Leather Holster anywhere on me with a number of options. Enough said?

  91. While I am certainly not a big fan of Glock products, I find the absence of any Glock on this list to be curious, at least. Hell! I don’t even like Glocks. Nothing against them, I just don’t find them comfortable in the hand. ALSO, while I am a huge Ruger fan, I find it no less than tragic that their LCP and L9 series are made with BLUED??? slides. With all of Ruger’s fabulous innovations, why in the world would they not make these with either a Melonite (see S&W) and /or stainless steel slides? I would buy one of each, but for the lack of a corrosion resistant slide. FYI, I live in south MS where summers are HOT! Sweat and/or saltwater atmosphere and blued finish do not mix well. Further FYI, my carry choice = XDs, 3.3, 45ACP. Gotta’ love ’em!

  92. I will still put my 189.00 9MM SCCY CPX2 with a TR10 trigger guard mounted laser, one in the chamber and 10 in the magazine up against any one on that list including those eight and nine hundred dollar pieces that frankly I’ve never heard of (guess I just don’t get out enough. I can understand the popularity of the Rugers, I’ve carried a 45 caliber P90 for 15 years without a failure. I recently added a set of night sights and CTC laser grips which have seriously added to the accuracy of this Bad Boy. Anyway, give the SCCY a chance, it’s a small company that specializes in this little hide away protector. When I had a problem with the safety selector on my two year old CPX 1 they built a CPX 2 around the block with my original serial number, no charge and no problems in the nearly three years since. Great gun, great customer service, many after market pieces (concealed holsters, lasers, even one to fit with the TR10 mounted) and a great price (I got mine at $189.00) and they’re still hanging on at around $200.00. What else do you need in a daily carry (other than a big name or a big price tag). If you are doing it right, no one should know what your concealed carry piece is…. To all my Jar Head Brothers out there Semper Fi and OOOH-RAHHH.

  93. I carry a SCCY CPX2 9mm . Due to its ten round mag with one in the chamber. This gun is DOA. A spare mag is not that hard to conceal.
    A total of 21 rounds JHP. nufff said

  94. I am retired military , I have used many different hand guns!! But the best one is the one that a person can shoot with accurate , one that he or she is comfortable with when firing and has confidence in their ability to use it!!! I my self prefer a 1911 platform hand gun I have used them in peace time and in combat , as long as they are well made from an acknowledged and reputable manufacturer and is a 45 acp or a 9 mm , prefer the 45 , it fills my needs!!!!!

    1. But seriously …. If nothing else these articles serve to show just how personal gun ownership is. I doubt that people would be defending their cars, trucks, TVs or toasters the way they defend their guns. It is a tribute to how personal the 2nd Amendment is to Americans. Interesting…

    2. Agree completely.

      For a seasoned gun owner, buying a gun is a very emotional purchase, and certainly considers a lot more than simple specifications and facts.

    3. Did you actually fire the LCP? Mine looks very cool and is easy to carry but shoots like crap!


  96. Wow! I am surprised to not see the Kahr cm9! I just picked on up cheaper than most of these listed, it’s a full power 9mm +p rated, and small enough to pocket carry in a Blackhawks holster. Single stack 6 rounds with a super smooth trigger. It can accept larger capacity magazines, and is super accurate, easy to shoot.

    I started using this as an edc behind my Glock 27, which was too fat & just a little big as are a few of these for deep down south edc.
    Kahr cm9 a great gun

  97. I carry a Colt Defender .45 switching sometimes to a S&W MP .40 with night sights. Both guns have served me well and are very accurate. Although I sometimes worry that with the compacts I’m limited on ammo. I guess I’m depending on my training and marksmanship to get the job done efficiently. Does anybody else have these concerns.

    1. I believe your concern is valid. A while back I set everything on the table and realized I wasn’t fully satisfied with any of my concealed carry setups. So I wrote a pros/cons list and there were two glaring facts which stood out: 1) All my CCW handguns were .380, 22 LR, or 38 spc with limited capacity / power 2) Except for the Kel-Tec P3AT which disappears in any pocket, all of the guns took basically the same amount of effort to conceal as my full- size Springfield 1911 45 and my S&W 686 4″barrel .357. That’s when I decided to stand everything I thought I knew about concealed carry on its head and get real honest with myself with a big reality check… size matters. Capacity is king because I rarely carried spare mags or speed loaders because it was just one more thing to carry. I love my 1911 and 357, but capacity is definitely an issue, but concealing them was no worse than any of my smaller CCW guns. Large capacity, double stacked mags in 9mm, 40 cal, 10mm, & 45 are my preferred choice. My advice, choose the handgun you would feel most confident with in gunfight and then learn how to conceal it, there’s no substitute for size, power and capacity.

    2. @Brian

      Without trying to sound condescending, I am very happy you are taking the time to consider this issue. If you are going to carry, you might as well carry something that will give you the greatest advantage possible.

      My EDC is either a Glock 21 or XD45. Both are full sized guns. Both are loaded with 230 grain .45ACP HTP hollow points. Both carry 13+1 rounds. Neither is difficult to carry with a good quality IWB (I prefer Crossbreeds). I always carry a spare mag. That gives me a powerful primary with a good ammo capacity.

      I also carry a Kel-Tek PF9 in a pocket holster as a BUG on my weak side with a spare mag for it as well, which gives me a secondary that is at least a decent 9mm with HTPs. I practice using my BUG one handed with my weak (left) hand at the range.

      Is this a lot to carry? Not really. My usual casual attire is a loose fitting T with either LA Police gear operator pants or 5-11 coverts, and occasionally carpenter jeans. Both of the former have elastic waistbands and belt loops. Both have extra pockets, although the 5-11s are better because the pockets are internal rather than external. The carpenter jeans have a couple of external pockets where you can stash the extra mags.

      I once read an article where the author said he doesn’t select his wardrobe around his concealed carry, and I thought that was really a dumb statement. To me, concealed carry is a lifestyle, and I would hate to go home one night with my wife lying in the coroner’s office because I was too lazy to carry an adequate handgun.

  98. No mention of the Colt Mustang Pocketlite? Pricey but sweet. I would swear the Sig P238 is a copy. Magazines even interchange!

  99. What a joke!! kel-tec really? Taurus really? still a bunch of pos guns on the list. The only good quality guns on this list are the Sig and the xd-s, but to each his own. I guess there really is an ass for every seat, or a pos gun for the dumb.

    1. Really Jax? How many of these have you spent time with. How many have you even had in your hand. Don’t bother answering because you can prove nothing. Yes Sig and XD s are good guns but so are Rugers and S&W. In fact I’ll shoot my Rugers and M&Ps against anything made. OH My gun is better than your gun. Gun snobs are the real joke.

    2. @jax

      Your attitude is sarcastic and immature.

      I’ll tell you what, you bring your Sig, and you tell me what gun I can bring, and you and I will decide one-on-one.

      It’s not cool to dis others for what works best for them.

  100. Seecamp blows all the others away? On what planet? Crapa$$ 11lb plus trigger with a pull a mile long on a just over 11 oz gun with no sights.. Somebody is smoking something. Now to be fair to the class shown above the Sig 939 is an impressive micro and so is the Solo even thought it wasn’t mentioned and in my opinion either blow the others listed away. And even though I own both of those handguns they are not my typical BUG. A moderately modified Kimber Ultra CDP 3″ in .45 ACP which is 6 3/4″ long 5″ high and with the custom thin grips 1″ thick and 25oz with a 3lb trigger is. Yeah it’s 7oz heavier than the Bursa mentioned in the article BUT it Carey’s 7+1 45 ACP’s, has a wonderful trigger which none of the above can claim, has a grip and thumb safety and finally has great sights. It also shares mags with a full size 1911. What more can be asked of a micro ish handgun?

  101. I have a Kel-Tec P-32; it’s a heck of a lot lighter than the 15.2oz specified in this article. Wikipedia says it’s 6.6oz which is probably the more correct figure.

  102. What about the Berreta Tomcat in .32? 14 oz and 7 rounds. Light, accurate, and with Buffalo Bore +P, effective.

    1. I agree. I own one of these. For the price and options, it is a reliable firearm. I trust this weapon enough that I even bought one for my grandson to put back for him for when he is an adult.

  103. I own n love my pt911 it fits nicely in all hands big n small. Is comfortable to shoot extremely affordable at around 350 new and hides well in my purse with little to no way of noticing.( n I carry a small purse! ) it’d bigger meaner brother my bushmaster ar 15 is fun to shoot..but not like my Pt911. Overall it’s got great value. N is a great little gun.

  104. What have you been smoking? You include duds from Bersa, Kel_tec, Taurus, Seecamp and Boberg (nice if you take out a loan first)… But leave off the Smith & Wesson 9mm Shield? Great ergonomics, good shooting, compact, light and inexpensive… Plus S&W quality and warranty. Do better than that. Oh, I guess Springfield’s XD is nice, if you don’t mind carrying a brick in your pocket. Get with the program… It’s called the S&W Shield!

    1. @jimwitt
      How is the XDS a brick? For the 3.3″ model, the weight is 23 oz. versus the M&P Shield with a 3.1″ barrel coming in at 19 oz. I don’t think a 4 oz. difference makes the XDS a “brick”. If you’re going to state an opinion like that, add some verifiable facts to provide some value to it.

  105. I have a .45 XDs, and I love to carry it and shoot it! What do I recommend if someone asks about a first concealed pocket semi-auto? The CPX-2 CB pistol from SCCY! It is the secret 9mm I ALWAYS have in my pocket. It costs about $300, is guaranteed forever, through all owners, has never ever had a problem in my hands, and should be everyone’s first concealed auto!

  106. I think that the TAURUS PT111 G2 MILLENNIUM IS AN EXCELLENT concealed carry handgun that has 12+1, 2 mags, 3.1″ barrel and a weight of about 20oz. (
    VALUE ENHANCED) at less than $250.00.

  107. Though I have a Keltec P32 to carry in my bicycle jersey, my real carry gun is a Kahr
    PM 9. Though it is expensive, no one has
    duplicated the reliability and compact size
    of this weapon. I have run over 500 rounds
    without a malfunction. It is comforting to
    have the Kahr in my pocket. If I ever draw this
    gun to save my life it will become the cheapest
    investment of my life.

  108. The Ruger LC9s is my every day carry gun. It’s slim, less than an inch wide, it’s also not very heavy, holds 7+1 rounds, fits even my big hands (I’m 6’3) thanks to the pinky extension on the magazine and shoots quite accurately, although I see it as a self defense gun and not a target gun.

  109. I realize that used handguns would throw another curveball at this discussion, but what about a Sig P-230? Good reliable used ones are on the gun websites for around $300. 7+1 in the tube, DA AND SA in a great pistol! Trigger pull is great, and parts are still available.

  110. The small Rugers are realy great till you shoot them. I have an LCP that I almost threw away after shooting it for the first time. I really like my Walther PPKS. Just wishe it was Blue not Stainless.

  111. That was the problem….the Shield wasn’t listed at all , but two Rugers were…what a joke. I don’t think the Shield is #1, but for it to be ignored wholesale is ridiculous.

  112. Some of you are missing what Suzanne was trying to do here. She heard your complaints that the first list wasn’t truly representative of what the readers believed, so she compiled a second list based on those complaints.

    And now, she is getting more complaints.

    I think we can all agree that no one can successfully compile a top 10 list based on qualitative data such as what people say they like. The only kind of top 10 list would have to be based on empirical data such as sales.

    But, I hope we can also agree that lists like these are fun to read and talk about . . . just cut the author some slack, here.

    1. You are welcome, Suzanne!

      I think you write great articles, and being married to a truly amazing woman who loves guns, it makes me happy to know she is not alone.

  113. This list much better. Ruger LCP and the Updated LC9s are hard to beat for the price off $320 (on sale for the LC9s) and Sub $300 for the LCP. The list would have to be the top 1500 to keep everyone happy.

  114. 12 round OEM mags are available from Kel Tec. They are made by Mec Gar. 13 rounds of 9mm in such a small package is unbeatable as long as the owner does the fluff & buff & is able to control the double action revolver-like trigger.

  115. What happened to the SCCY XP2??? 1 in the chamber, 10 in the mag with TWO spare 10 round mags……all In 9 mm, Not the underpowered .380’s

  116. No one has mentioned the Colt 25 ACP. Probably because they are extinct except for the hundreds of thousands still out there. Although not devastating in power it will get a perps attention and make him run away while bleeding out.

  117. I bought XDS 4.0 essentials for $450 and dumped my Glock 19 for a much better shooting and accurate weapon for me. I found the initial firing brutal due to the trigger and had a hurting 67 year old finger. I have since purchased the Powder River spring and sear kit and it makes a very significant difference in the pistol. In North Carolina we have an open carry law so I carry this in a cross draw position. Why? I am a Viet-nam vet who uses a wheelchair. And I will be taking a CCW class this fall.

    1. @Allen.

      Because it might be the only gun you have to deal with a threat further away then the usual 7 foot range that many consider typical combat handgun range. While it’s true most handgun encounters are within very close range, there are still exceptions and people should be at least a little prepared to deal with them.

    2. I’ve always had a place I could go to shoot that far. Of course then, it is fun to see if you can hit at 100yards. LEOs in this area used to train at 50 and 100 yards. Having been in law enforcement “back in the day” old habits die hard. I used to reload my own handgun ammo and learned a lot from that, too. Like someone else said, you may not have another firearm close at hand to use, so you use what you have. You can rarely pick and choose the situation you will encounter when you have to use your personal protection. Sometimes even if you are armed it might be better to let the bad guy have what he wants just to make him go away. It all depends, and this is a decision you will have to make in a split second. Most of these gang bangers out there today if you shoot one the rest of them will scatter. They are wussies and cowards. When the lead starts flying, they will scatter. The hardest thing to do is make a good shot when someone is shooting at you.

      If I could pick the time a place where I had to defend myself, I would have a handgun and a rifle or a shotgun. The judge or governor is handy since they can carry .410 shotgun or .45 long colt or a mix of the two. There is a lot of new ammo out there now that you can get for different uses. Whatever you carry, practice the draw, and practice the shot, best done in front of a mirror. You can see your mistakes and correct them. Get all the range time you can. I can shoot off my back porch where I live.

    3. Makes sense. I was just thinking if I saw saw a threat at 100 yards, I could start running! Lol. For what it’s worth, I carry a G27

    4. I guess the better question is, ‘Why not?’ You never know how close/far a threat is…better to be prepared, right?


  119. P938 all the way! I’ve carried mine now for several years and am completely convinced that it’s the ideal tool for self protection. Just try one and you’ll see. 1911 fans will love it!

    1. Thank you Suzanne. I feel the title containing the word; “best” is the main problem here. I have read a lot of the posts, most are professional and courteous but some are, well, I think you know what I mean.
      I was a Police Officer for 30 years (been retired 10 years), and have been instructing in the field of firearms for about 25 years.

      Maybe just an article reporting the top 10 or 12 handguns with no reliability concerns or issues, comfort (how they fit and feel), accuracy, size and weight. Let the readers make their choices based on those factors. It would probably save you a few headaches 😉

      Thank you again for your response,

    1. I agree. I used to carry a military p 64 in 9mm Makarov. kind of a ppk clone. I have now switched to the Taurus pt 111 g2. got it for 199 from palmetto state armory. great gun.

  120. I am glad the Bersa Thunder 380 got in I have had a couple of them. Even the Gun magazines did not have a lot of good to say about them.

    Then one day Bersa was not to bad, but 380 was not much of a load!
    Now that is not a issue anymore. Mine were dependable and good little shooters and well made.

    1. Ditto on the Bersa – my favorite CC weapon and my daughter carries one also. Extremely accurate with tight groups out to 20-25 yards; what I consider maximum pistol range. Highly effective with JHP rounds.

  121. Sig Sauer P238 SAS .380 accurate little pile driver, using 90 Grain MagTech JHP.
    Also SCCY CPX-2 9mm, this gun was a pleasant suprise. Very light and concealable 10+1 using 124 Grain MagTech JHP
    Gave up a Glock 19 for the Sig P238.
    Best freaking move I made.

    1. Sorry but I disagree with you on that one the G19 is un matched I could see you putting it away for a while to try something different but not give it up totally

  122. The beretta pico is the most under rated pocket pistol out there. The quality is superb and it’s everything a pocket pistol should be. It’s super thin, attractive, and very reliable. If you’re in the market for a pocket .380 the beretta pico definitely deserves a second look. Much better gun than p3at, lcp, and bodyguard in my opinion. Do yourself a favor and get one.

  123. I was shocked that the S & W Shield wasn’t even mentioned…what gives? Everyone I talk to says they can’t keep them on their shelves and they all love’em that buy them.

  124. The Kel-tec P-32 is the lightest on the list but it’s not 15.2 ounces. It’s 6.6 oz plus 2.2 oz for a loaded magazine.

  125. Surprised the Glock 26 doesn’t get a mention. I pocket carry it with an extended magazine and it fits. Unlike many pocket pistols it has enough mass to minimize felt recoil.

  126. No Kimber Solo on the list? It definitely is concealable, dependable and beautifully made. Also no S&W revolvers? Try shooting snake shot out of a small auto, the recoil will have the following shot dropping shot out the barrel when chambering. In the woods, my 360 PD is my choice. My Solo is for 2 legged urban varmints.

  127. There are a lot of good Americans who are still held prisoners in the Peoples’ Republik of Kalifornia. For us, the options in pistols grow smaller by the month. I have owned Ruger products for nearly half a century, and was able to obtain an LCP before they became LE only. It is a great little carry gun, but the sights and trigger are horrible. With a laser, and a little adrenaline, it would be fine in a CQB situation. Ruger has improved the situation with the LCP Custom, but it is not available here. To make matters worse, Ruger not only refuses to sell the new components, but it will not factory retrofit them either. I doubt that Mr Bill would have found this to be an acceptable practice.

    1. Move, Brother. Now.

      I was stuck there for a while in the Army. What a nightmare.

  128. You can keep you little pocket autos, but as for me I like my pocket .45 cal. My Bound Arms back up in .45 is very easy to conceal yet has the stopping power of the .45 auto. For me its the best conceal carry out there. If I need more the two shots I am in the wrong place, if I cant knock them down with a .45 I am shooting at the wrong thing!

  129. I would NEVER bet my life or the life of a loved one on the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard. Purchased new, at about 200 rounds, the internal cover plate for the laser sight came loose. Not only did the laser fail, the weapon jammed and the pistol took three hands and a set of pliers to get out the failed piece out. Clearly, in a self defense situation I (or my wife, whose pistol this was) would have been in great danger. Not what I paid 400+ for. S&W fixed it under warranty, but in a rather ho-hum manner. When I sent it back, I enclosed a letter asking two questions: Why did it fail and what was being done to assure it would not fail again. S&W repair did not bother to reply, just returned the ‘repaired’ pistol, which I promptly sold. My advice would be don’t buy one. Don’t carry one even if it is given to you, get something more reliable.

    1. This is why I always carry a revolver. So does my wife. I carry a judge 4″ high gloss stainless. I have a shoulder holster. The holster has a lot to do with what you carry comfortable. Yes it is heavy. This is the only drawback. But on the other hand, when shooting, less recoil, quicker target acquisition. For women especially a revolver is better, less complicated to shoot and reload.
      I practice with any handgun at 100 yards, anything inside of that is mine if it hits good at 100. The judge shoots consistent at that range with cowboy loads even.

      Some of the auto loaders on the list only hold 6 rounds. What is the point of having high capacity mags if it only shoots the first round and jams. This is a real good reason not to let your wife out there with an auto loader, if they ever carry it in a purse it can be compromised.

      If I was to decide to carry an auto loader it would definitely be a .45 acp If have to use it against an assailant I want to knock their ass down. Smaller calibers can allow someone to keep coming at you an still do damage to you.

    2. Paul, I have to say I was a little disappointed with S&W Bodyguard .380 as well. I purchased that one, along with a Ruger LCP .380, the Ruger for my wife. As a non-avid shooter, she shot CIRCLES around me.

      It wasn’t until weeks later my son asked me, ‘Dad is that supposed to move?’ I checked the weapon to see the front sight was literally loose. S&W did fix it, but I was VERY surprised to have a out of the box firearm with a loose front sight. Thank you for sharing; I will keep a look out for those issues. I guess if all else fails, I can throw it! At least the wife has the Ruger…

  130. Sins of omission! The best and finest concealable handgun is the Kahr PM9. The only one listed that compares in quality and accuracy is the Sig P938 (or, not mentioned, the SIG P238).

  131. I only have hands on knowledge and experience with the Ruger LCP and the Keltec P32. I purchased the P32 as soon as it was available and I was disappointed with it immediately. The only ammunition that functioned ok was the Winchester silver tip HP. All other ammo fired jammed after the first or second shot. The pistol was a cheap piece of crap and after waisting a lot of money on ammo and testing I sold it because I had no confidence with it as a back up. A few years ago I was persuaded to give another pocket pistol a try and I then purchase the LCP. I have fired at least 800 rounds through it and I have never experienced a malfuction. I still think it’s a chicks gun so I’m back to carrying my trusty S&W 38 Airweight. The bottom lime with all these small caliber pistols; you get what you pay for, so don’t be cheap because your life may depend on it.!

  132. I have shot most of those guns or similar from the same company. With that I will say this, the best gun is the one you shoot best and that goes for caliber too. It must go bang every time or I do not consider it for carry.

    Whatever gun you do carry it’s about ammo choice and practicing with that gun more than anything. Next is the trigger, most of those guns mentioned have terrible triggers. Especially the Bodyguard.

    I now use a G42 with a 3.5 connector and I polished all the trigger parts. I use the replacement metal follower and stronger spring in my mags and now have 7 rounds in it instead of 6.

    As for ammo, in .380 I would recommend the Hornady XTP bullet in various makes of ammo available. I use the Underwood +P 95 grain XTP bullet at 1200 fps. I have shot over 100 rounds of it in my G42 and it works fine, no issues with the higher pressure and velocity.

    Overall I have shot close to 2000 rounds in my G42 of various makes and it works 100% now. It didn’t at first.

    Whatever you use make sure you shoot it well, can handle the gun and hit what you aim at. Other than effective self-defense ammo that’s what matters. If the gun has issues it is not a good choice for carry, ever. Many of those inexpensive guns have issues especially with higher round counts. I wouldn’t trust a gun until I put 500 failure free rounds through it or more.

  133. Sadly, my Kahr PM9 did not make the list. I would put it up against any of the recommended carry pistols for its combination of size, accuracy, and stopping power.

  134. Having served as an instructor for one of the three letter bureaus for over 20 years I am often asked for an opinion. In my opinion the readers list is better than yours.

  135. As I have a few of the guns mentioned in this article, I must agree with much of what’s written here. I’ve carried some of those on a daily basis and as such have found that Ruger is still at the top of my list with both the LCP and the LC9s.

  136. Suzanne
    It’s not quite a no-brainer to pick the KelTec P-11 over the PF-9, even tho the P-11 is a bit cheaper and holds a few more rounds. The PF-9 is smaller, has a better trigger and has had a better reliability record. It’s one of my favorite carry guns!

    Enjoy your articles – thanks!

  137. Both were good articles Suzanne. You can never make everyone happy. I’m sure if you listed the top 100 someone would feel slighted.

  138. Suzanne,

    Great article and none of these guys can complain about it. You quoted them and listened to their comments. Awesome!

    In truth, pretty all these guns are great in their price range and capabilities. Buying a gun is like buying a car . . . a lot of emotion goes into the purchase.

    As for the guns, my EDC is a full sized XD .45 and I carry a Kel Tec PF9 as my backup. If I’m in a non-permissive environment, I have a P32 in a cell phone holster on my belt. No one knows it’s there.

    To be honest, there isn’t single gun on either of your lists that i would refuse to carry. Practice makes perfect.

  139. I honestly don’t think this article is valid without the excellent Kahr PM40/CM40 and PM9/CM9 pistols! In MY opinion, they blow all the others out of the water after trying all the guns listed, and some more that wasn’t mentioned!

    1. Bill,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. And thank you for pointing that out! That is my mistake. The $491 is for the .22 LR model. The 9mm starts at $655.20. I fixed it.

  140. ““You didn’t mention Bersa. The last time I qualified for CHL my Bersa went up against PPK, H&K, Beretta and Glock. My Bersa shot super tight groups—a perfect score with no jams. While the other guns shot all over the target and also some had jams.” I agree with you Jim, I was very surprised at how accurate the Bersa Thunder .380 was when I tested it.”

    I wouldn’t mention Bersa, either, with its penchant for the disconnector spring breaking rendering the gun useless. Not the security I want in a CCW. Mine got replaced by a SIG,and if I ever get it fixed it’ll be sold.

  141. I still wonder how come no-one is trying the SCCY cpx 9mm under $250, shoots strait and constant with 115 jhp. LIFE TIME WARRANTY for everything in the box (magazines). The service team is great as well, if you have questions and anything else you might need.

    1. My wife dumped her LC9 (not a 9s) for a SCCY CPX-2. She liked the controls and trigger better, and I liked that the SCCY uses a nitride finish on the slide and won’t rust like her Ruger started to shortly after she started carrying it regularly.

  142. My Kahr MK9 2000 Elite I bought for $399 a few years ago has never failed to fire, extract and eject. It is all stainless, disappears in my pocket in a Nemesis pocket holster and I don’t even know it is there most of the time despite weighing 2 pounds loaded with 6+1 9mm. It hits where I aim at self-defense distances up to 25 yards. 147 grain Winchester hollow points were chronographed at 930 fps out of its 3 inch barrel.

  143. Poor Suzanne! She is so awesome. Even after taking so much flack from that last list she’s still willing to have a go at it again in hopes of spreading fairness and cheer to all readers. Very sweet of her.

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