Concealed Carry

Smallest Handguns for Ultimate Concealability

Colt 1903 top embryonic sights, top - Ruger LCP MAX pistol, bottom,

Whether it be for physical or legal restrictions, sometimes the situation dictates you go unarmed. Other occasions simply require a bit more discreteness. We can’t always have our full-size P226 or AR-15, but we can often have a little backup piece that might just save the day. Here are some of the smallest handguns for ultimate concealability.

NAA Mini Revolver

The NAA Mini Revolver is what I immediately thought of when I heard “small gun.” Available in .22 LR and .22 WMR with a variety of barrel lengths, the Mini Revolvers from North American Arms, to me, is the quintessential small gun. I prefer the standard 5-shot .22 LR model with a 1.13-inch barrel and rosewood grips. With a 4-inch overall length, and only coming in at 4.5 ounces, the Mini Revolver disappears in your pocket. Likewise, it can be worn on a belt buckle holster or mounted inside a cowboy hat for the true action star. All of NAA’s Mini Revolvers are single-action only and feature a manual safety. They are perfectly safe to be carried fully loaded.

NAA Mini Revolver
The NAA revolver isn’t a chore to load, but it isn’t fast to load!


The LifeCard from Trailblazer Firearm is above all else, unique. This transformer of a firearm has a grip that folds in half for increased concealability. The discreet design mimics a cell phone/credit card/wallet shape and cannot be fired in the closed position. When you need it, the piece folds open and clicks in place to cock and fire one round of .22 LR. This break-action pistol has a 2.5-inch barrel and is constructed with an aluminum frame and barrel shroud.

Trailblazer Firearms LifeCard
This transformer of a firearm is certainly unique.

Bond Arms Stinger Derringer

The Bond Arms Stinger is a classic undercover pistol people have relied on to get out of a jam for decades. The Bond Arms Derringer replicates the classic design of the past and adds a few modern improvements. For the ultimate concealability, the Stinger — chambered in .22 LR — is the thinnest and lightest model offered. At just 0.88-inch thin, this makes for a lightweight and concealable package that is simple and easy to operate. The Derringer model provides you with two shots of single-action fire, afterwhich, you will need to hinge open the barrels and manually remove/insert cartridges to reload. 

Bond Rawhide .22 derringer with the barrels opened for loading
The derringers are loaded by using a lever to tip the barrels up where they are accessible for extracting and loading.

Ruger LCP 

For a bit more stopping power and similar concealability, the Ruger LCP is a great option. One of the top concealed carry pistols on the market, the LCP is a single-stack .380 ACP pistol that holds 6+1 rounds. The original LCP has minimal sights that are basically reserved for 5 feet and closer. The LCP II offers a bit of improvement in the sights department. The LCP has a good reputation for being a dependable and reliable pistol that is lightweight and carries like a dream.

Ruger LCP
The Ruger LCP is a reliable semi-auto pocket pistol.

Classic J-Frame

Something about a revolver just seems to conceal better — for me at least. Maybe it’s because the cylinder is concealed under the pants. with just the tiny grip protruding. Both in the pocket and inside the waistband, a 5-shot J-Frame seems to do the trick and disappears. I prefer S&W, but there are other similar models from companies such as Ruger, Charter Arms, and Taurus. You also get the reliability of a revolver compared to some finicky semi-autos of this size. Most J-Frames will give you 5 rounds of .38 Special or .357 Magnum, but there are other caliber options. That’s nothing to sneeze at. 

A Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolver in a pocket holster be inserted into the pants pocket
A J-Frame is great for pocket carry.

Why small guns?

Some people may ask, why have a gun so small? Small guns are easy to carry. Most of us aren’t getting into a gunfight every day and most of us will never see one in our entire lives. The amount of time where that pistol is just sitting on you is high. It needs to be comfortable, or you’re not going to carry it. We’ve all seen the classic stats on self-defense shootings using 5 or fewer rounds. I know that’s not the end-all be-all and we could be better armed, but most will not sacrifice the comfort for something we will likely never need. 

Do you carry a small gun? Why? What’s your go-to tiny blaster? Let us know in the comment section.

About the Author:

Alex Cole

Alex is a younger firearms enthusiast who’s been shooting since he was a kid. He loves consuming all information related to guns and is constantly trying to enhance his knowledge, understanding, and use of firearms. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t do something firearms-related and he tries to visit the range at least a couple of times a month to maintain and improve his shooting skills.

His primary focus is on handguns, but he loves all types of firearms. He enjoys disassembling and reassembling firearms to see how they work and installs most of the upgrades to his firearms himself, taking it as a chance to learn. He’s not only interested in modern handguns and rifles, he appreciates the classics for both historical value and real-world use.
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 (28)

  1. I have four carry guns. They range from an NAA .22 revolver to a Springfield XD-S in .45 ACP. What I carry is completely dependent on what I’m comfortable with that day.

  2. I carry my Kal Tec pmr 30 I’m a large man and carry inside my waistband loaded with Hornady critical defense ammo what that round does to flesh is what it says critical, so with 31 rounds of ammo I don’t carry the extra clip, I have been in a few shootouts and 4 or 5 rounds were all that was exchanged. Now I’m 75 to old to fight too fat to run.

  3. Seecamp 32. Very small fits in the palm of my hand literally. Great gun very well made. Not too fun to shoot or easy to clean. With a leather holster looks like a wallet when in a pocket.

  4. I’ve carried the LCP since it was first introduced. While I also own a LCPII, the original LCP is my preferred concealed carry weapon of choice.
    Granted, the sights have been called “speed bumps.” The design was intended to prevent snagging when being deployed.
    But rating the sights for “less than five feet” is an injustice. I find them accurate to 25 feet and acceptable to hit a torso sized target to 50 feet. Never let anyone you might have to shoot get within five feet of you! But if that happens, you really don’t need sights.

  5. For many years, my EDC was a .38 special Colt Agent. About 5 years ago, I bought a Ruger EC9s 9mm, 7 + 1 capacity. I always carry an extra magazine, plus a second magazine loaded with shot shells if I’m out on my property. And yes, it feeds the Speer shot shells. I was out today practicing and double taps at 3 yards from the hip one handed went into the 10 ring on an ICE target. I was using W-W white box ammo. At 7 yards, two handed, 4 shots went into the 10 ring, with 1 shot on the 9/10 line. It shoots tighter with Federal hollow points.

    Not too bad for an old guy pushing 70.

  6. J. M. Browning created the .25 ACP, .32 ACP, and .380 ACP over 100 years ago. In the race between modern bullet designs, and better medical treatment, those cartridges didn’t get the upgraded bullets that even the lowly .22 rimfire cartridges received. Hense, the apparent “drop” in performance. BUT, most victims of handgun shootings now recover that would have never survived even 40 -50 years ago. Now that there are the .327 mag and the .30 Super Carry cartridges, hope is that the next generation of “J” frame size .327 revolvers or .32/.380 size .30 Super Carry pistols would be developed. They would become the 21st Century version of the “Pocket Pistols”. Until then, I still have my S&W model 60.

  7. I like to carry a small,convenient pistol that many overlook. It’s the S&W M&P .45. Wait, hear me out…I worked trauma surgery for 20+ years. I saw a man shot 15 times with 9mm rounds and lived. As a USN/FMF corpsman I never saw that with. 45 cal. Why do I choose 45, I want to win.

  8. I cannot believe they discuss the Ruger LCP (and II) but not the LCP Max! All the benefits of the LCP II, ie, better sites, better trigger, even tiny ‘wings’ at the back of the slide for easier grip to rack the slide, yet it holds 10+1 round with the base mag, and 12 +1 with the extended mag, which is still concealable in a back pocket.
    Regardless of what you carry, please practice drawing (unloaded for practice), and practice firing, so operation becomes muscle memory. The idea of a concealed carry weapon is self defense, you don’t want to induce delay in operation by thinking about what you need to do.
    Be safe.

  9. My edc rotates weekly between a keltec p32, ruger lcpii, beretta 3032 bobcat. In colder weather i also varry a baretta cheetah in 32, beretta 9000 in 40s&w, cz 52 tokarevX , 1903 model colt in 32 or a dreyse in 380 or 32 snd they are all reliable , easy to shoot and i can put the entire mag from all of them in a 2-3 inch group at 25 yards all day long my wige and daughter rotate an edc between a rugar lcr 327 federal mag and an sccy 9mm or taurus

  10. I found the LCP too squirmy in my hands and bought a Taurus 738TCP instead. Snappy but I can carry it in the breast pocket of a sport jacket and in a wallet holster in my right back pocket, balanced by the wallet on the other side. I had an improved Galloway trigger and springs added, plus added sight dots myself. Accurate enough for the intended purpose. If I were buying today in that size I would get the LCP II instead – just a bit larger and has usable sights.

  11. I carry several different guns Summer I go with Star Firestar in 9mm, Winter aCharter Arms Bulldog 44spl. Or aStar PD in 45acp. All with multiple reloads.

  12. My pocket carry choice has been the S&W bodyguard 380 for years, definitely reliable. My wife’s pocket carry choice is the Kel-Tec P32, which oddly enough “in my opinion” shoots way smoother and much flatter than my bodyguard. They are harder to come by but I am currently looking for one for myself.

  13. I have a small 11 shot 9 mm, made by SCCY. I love it, little, light weight,shoots right where you point it.

  14. I carry a Sccy CPX2 or a Ruger LC9S Both are small enough to disappear in the inside the waistband holster

  15. This year marks a full ten years I’ve been carrying my Ruger LCP. Down here in south southwest Florida it makes concealment a breeze. Other than 2 yrs. during covid, I took it to the range monthly. I’ve NEVER had a failure to feed, eject, or misfire from a variety of ammo. For carry I load it with Prvi Partizan .380, 94 grain jacketed hollow points.

  16. The OG Kel-Tec P32 15 years now, great pocket rocket… Works, no issues, light, easy to carry, I have the 9 round mag, made in Italy, extra room to grip.

  17. Any decision regarding EDC tools depends on the individuals level of training and experience. There is no such thing as, “one size fits all for every occasion”. Especially for mission specific occasions. For the highly trained CQC operator who’s working up close and personal, the knife, come along tool, and the small revolver are king. At these in your face distances specific bullet performance, barrel length, etc isn’t important. Reliability is. Most experienced operators that I have trained, generally, won’t tempt fate with a semi auto in close quarters situations. It’s very common for a back up snubby to become the primary tool at arms length. This tool can be used in a multitude of ways; impact tool, come along tool, and firearm. The small revolver, with training, is very viable as an EDC.

  18. My most often used CC firearm is the NAA .22 WMR revolver with the optional 1-and-5/8ths-inch barrel and with the company’s ingenious folding holster grip attached (but with its metal belt clip removed, since I just carry the pistol in my pocket), Loaded with either Hornady Critical Defense 45-grain FTX JHP or Gold Dot Speer/CCI 40-grain GDHP rounds, it produces 103-109 foot-pounds of muzzle energy…quite reassuring for a featherweight (7-ounce), 5-round .22 rimfire last-resort defensive piece.

  19. I am 87, depending on circumstances, due to severe arthritis and other age related health issues, I must resort to using either a walker, a cane or a wheel chair for mobility.Consequently these challenges limit my range time, and I perform many dry fire drills (daily) to help compensate for reduced live fire range training.I have a cc license and I, selectively and one at a time, carry the following: Beretta Bobcat 22LR, Tomcat 32 acp. pistols, and S&W 317 22LR, 351PD 22mag, Charter Arms Pathfinder 22LR revolvers.

  20. I myself prefer a heavier caliber than a 22. I have within the last year switched over to a bond roughneck 357 and although it is on the heavier side it just slides down into my pocket for easy carry and access when I feel I’m going somewhere where I feel the need for more shots than 2 my fall back weapon is a status 2” snub nose also in 357 caliber. Like you stated I’m not going out looking for a shootout but for protection which normally will come within 3 to 10 feet at a maximum.

  21. I carry a pheonix 22. It is small and has been reliable and holds ten rounds I also carry 2 mags with it. I am satisfied with the accuracy on it and certainly the concealability of it. I love shooting it at the range as well. I will also carry a hellcat and a clock 42 on occasion. Just depends on where I am going.
    I feel extremely comfortable that although the round is small if needed the 22 can do enough damage to get out of danger. seeing how the first step in self protection is not to put yourself in a position that you will have to use a weapon.

  22. My go to pocket gun is a Ruger LCP ll .380 caliber. I have a LCP in .380 also, but the slide does not lock open on last round. The LCP ll does, in case there is a need to reload fast. I can put rounds into an 8 inch target out to 10 yards with LCP ll a little less with the LCP. At 5 feet they are point and shoot and spot on. My EDC is a Sig P365 carried in a FLG kydex OWB holster with a cover, shirt, vest, jacket. However, the cover is not always practical especially in the south in the summertime when shorts and tank tops are more comfortable. Thats when I break out the LCP ll stick it in a DeSantis pocket holster and put the rig in the front pocket of my cargo shorts. I carry nothing else in that pocket then, invisible and easy to get to. If I’m wearing long pants with no cover, the rig goes into a rear pocket. The number one rule on concealed carry is, Carry All the Time.

  23. Seats no 32 cap or even the 380 although with my large hands contrability is problematic. The 32 is great and a!most disapears in your pocket. Very reliable.

  24. You all should consider the Diamondback DB9 in your small concealable handgun forums. I own one and it is a very small and concealable firearm.

  25. These are all good options, but there are many more. My current carry gun is a Charter Arms 2” pug revolver in matte stainless. This is a 5 round .38/.357 Magnum double action in a very small (about J frame size) package, but has a vented barrel to tame what would be ferocious recoil. It’s accurate, too: I qualified for my concealed carry license with this shooting at up to 25 yards, rapid fire and reload, with NO MISSES. I also have a Bond Arms Snakeslayer .45LC/.410 single action derringer, but it’s more weight for 2 rounds, though it can also shoot 3” five ball 000 buck and has quite manageable recoil with that. I do plan to buy a semi-auto pistol for more rounds in probably 9mm though as I would expect to lose whatever I carried to the investigation if I had to use it, and I’d like to keep what I currently have.

  26. love my Ruger LCP.380, the small pocket holster which came with it fits perfectly in my back pocket. looks like my billfold not a weapon. clean it on a regular basis, it can gather lint and gum up the action.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.