Firearms

Tiny 9mm Pocket Pistols

The pocket 9mm craze is not going away anytime soon. It is quickly becoming the standard in concealed carry. Where pocket .380s used to be the norm, these little 9mm guns have taken a foothold, firmly planting themselves as the preferred cartridge for carrying around firepower. One of the problems with carrying a modern semi-automatic gun on your person is that is has to be small. In some states, it is illegal to show an imprint of your gun through your clothing, citing brandishing, so thin guns often work best for concealing. To create a thinner handgun, manufacturers went back to the roots of semi-auto guns making the single stack class of guns. Single stack simply means that the cartridges in the magazine are directly on top of one another, instead of alternating from left to right. Using a single stack magazine saves space, but there is a heavy cost on ammunition capacity. Most single stack guns only carry six to eight rounds. In most cases that amount is plenty. Keep in mind the intention behind these guns is for concealed defensive purposes, not duty or home defense. We lined up a group of single stack 9mm guns that are popular on the market today, and decided to highlight some features that we think stand out.

Kel-Tec PF-9

The Kel-Tec PF-9 has a reputation for being a low-cost, reliable, concealable, and accurate weapon. The magazine holds seven rounds, and has an optional extended baseplate for a more comfortable grip. This is a very popular gun for concealed carry and Kel-Tec has made a name for themselves in the small pistol community. The trigger is a bit heavy at first, but once you get used to it, this pistol shoots like a dream. I personally own two of these and I couldn’t be happier.

Kahr CM9

The Kahr CM9 is an incredibly reliable little handgun. This pistol is a more affordable version of their older CM9. What makes Kahr pistols so great is their trigger. Since they had concealed carry in mind, they made the trigger long and smooth. So smooth in fact that it is one of the most comfortable concealed carry guns to shoot that we have ever tried. It is small enough to throw in a pocket or carry in a concealable holster. The polymer frame helps keep the weight down, and the magazine carries six rounds.

Beretta NANO

The Italians wanted in on the concealed carry market, so we got the Beretta Nano. This little spitfire is ideal for pocket carry, and has a very modern looking design. Shooters know Beretta for making quality guns, not only on the battlefield but on trap fields as well. The Nano is new and has a lot to prove, but early reviews seem promising. The Nano’s extremely low profile, snag free design makes it easy to carry and draw from concealment. The Nano carries six rounds in the magazine, and has adjustable sights for more precise work. This may be an interesting addition to the concealed carry world.

Ruger LC9

Ruger officially announces this little gun at the 2011 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. The LC9 is a double-action-only, hammer-fired, locked-breech pistol with a smooth trigger pull. Ruger makes control and confident handling of the LC9 possible through reduced recoil and aggressive frame checkering. This feature helps the operator get a positive grip in all conditions. The LC9 also features smooth “melted” edges for ease of holstering, carrying, and drawing. The magazine carries seven rounds and the rear sights adjust for windage.

M&P Shield

There is a lot of buzz surrounding this gun as of late. Smith & Wesson’s M&P line of guns have been hugely successful, and with good reason. M&P is synonymous with quality, and the Shield is no different. The M&P Shield has a seven round magazine and adjustable grips. The sights are spectacular, and I have to say it is a real pleasure to shoot. The trigger is smooth, long, and light, perfect for a carry gun. We like the Shield so much, several of us went out and purchased them. For now, they can be a little hard to find, but if you are one of those lucky ones, pick up a Shield and try it out.

Walther PPS

An odd-looking pistol with modern styling and features, the Walther PPS is very popular in the defensive handgun market. The PPS is very thin and holds six rounds in its smallest magazine. This short recoil-operated locked breech semi-automatic pistol uses a modified Browning cam-lock system adapted from the Hi-Power pistol. The PPS has a glass fiber-reinforced polymer frame and steel slide assembly. It is as reliable as it is high tech, and Walther lives up to their name with this little gun.

Kimber Solo

The Kimber Solo maintains 1911 ergonomics with an incredibly tiny size. Arguably, the best-looking pistol in the concealed carry group, the Kimber Solo shoots as elegantly as it looks. With a barrel length of just 2.7 inches, Solo pistols are easy to carry and conceal. Many of the features borrowed from 1911 pistols also make them exceptionally safe. A manual ambidextrous thumb safety, checkered slide release, and an ambidextrous magazine release button enable fast and intuitive operation. On top of all that, Kimber installed a single-action striker-fired trigger pull that is both even and smooth. Solo frames are machined from the finest aluminum and finished in KimPro II, a premium finish that is self-lubricating and extremely resistant to salt and moisture. Kimber cut the slides and barrels from stainless steel, increasing durability. The edges are rounded and blended; the slide serrations are deep enough to work well. The dovetail-mounted three-dot sights are quick to target. This is an excellent pistol for concealed carry, and is one of my personal favorite designs.

Tell us about your favorite 9mm pocket pistol in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (111)

  1. Bond Arms Bullpup9 9mm Length:5.10″ Height:4.2″ Width:0.96″ Barrel:3.35″ Capacity:7+1
    I lost track of rounds fired over 600 rounds with zero issues.

  2. I see this is a few years old so I’m not surprised to see that the Sig Sauer P938 is not included. I find it to be a very concealable and reliable gun based on the popular P238 pistol. I had a M&P Shield but I like the Sig better as it is more like a 1911. Perhaps an updated article would be good to see the evolution of the “micro” carry guns available now.

  3. I love my little Kimber Micro CDP Custom Shop. Granted it’s a .380, but I also have the Kimber Solo STS in 9mm. The Solo is real picky….truly better use 124, 147 or 150 grain ammo or you’ll get FTF’s all day long/

  4. s&w m&p 9mm is small enough for pocket carry, low recoil (compared to my s&w .380) and just pleasant to shoot at the range.

  5. I’m sure the MP is a fine weapon, but saying it is “synonymous with quality” is drivel, and the worst hack should be embarrassed to write it.

  6. Diamondback DB9 & DB380 own the CC market. I’ve had both since they came out and after a few improvements these little things are very reliable and very small. Add them to a Remora IWB Holster and you wont even know your carrying thehse tiny pistols. They are my to to in hot, humid Florida. But if the weather allows for pants, the Springfield XDS45 or Glock G27 get to come out, again with Remora IWB Holsters. Great setups!

  7. I have a Keltec PF9 and I really do like the low profile but I had a lot of trouble with the factory trigger. If I shot 50 rounds through it I would have a blister on my trigger finger. I was ready to sell it and ran across the Northwood trigger replacement (northwoodcomp.com) and ordered one. I had my gun smith install it and no more blisters. I recently added the option belt clip and I like that feature as well. I also have a Taurus TCP 738 which is even smaller and can easily fit in my pocket, but I like having the 9mm format that I get with the Kel Tec.

  8. I have a Kimber Solo STS that I’ve put 56 rounds through (Remmington Golden Saber) with no issues. Planning on hitting the range again today and doing another 75+ rounds to continue with the break in. At $1 a shot, I’m going slowly with this. Best feeling gun, I’ve ever had. Recoil is STRONG and I am having trust issues with it based on all the reviews – even though I have not had any jams. There is one issue I notice. I keep one in the chamber, but I also dry-fire practice. If I try to eject the round in the chamber, so I can practice, it will get jammed sideways – and the soft, hollow points get bent up. No problems ejecting when shooting, but sometimes they get stuck just trying to clear the chamber. When they work out the kinks in this gun, it could be one of the great ones.

  9. My favorite sub-compact handgun is the Para-ordinance P10 “Warthog”. What a punch it packs for such a little handful.. I use a inside-trouser holster & no one has ever guessed that I carry. John.

  10. For pocket pistols, I first started out with the Ruger LCP .380. Bought one for my wife and one for me. Both shot too low. At 30 feet, about 8″ too low. My wife kept hers, but I traded my LCP in for a SCCY Generation II. The engineers who designed the Ruger line of compact pistols also designed the SCCY. The SCCY Generation II shot about 12″ right and 12″ high at 30 feet, however the rear sight can be modified and lowered to zero the impact point on the target until I can shoot 3″ groups at 50 feet. I had to remove the rear sight, take some material off the bottom of the rear sight, and then used a feeler gauge piece as a shim to keep the rear sight lower when tightening the set screw. Windage adjustment position is way left now. The other problem with the SCCY is the magazine release button stuck out too far. The magazines would drop out! I took care of that problem by grinding down the release button, and the problem disappeared. One plus for the SCCY Generation II is that it shoots any type 9mm ammo without jamming. I had all kinds of old 9mm ammo mixed in a box. It shot them all without a problem. Not one jam in about 200 rounds. Amazing! So what I have now is a SCCY Generation II with a rear sight way left, with the magazine release button almost flush with the frame, with one round in the chamber and 9 rounds of 9mm in the magazine double action only, with the ability to shoot any type ammo, and the ability to shoot 3″ groups at 50 feet. Oh, the other problem I had was the firing safety catch screw kept working loose. I took care of that problem with blue loc-tite. I would trust this pistol with my life, but unless you’re willing to modify it from factory original, or don’t know how to, don’t buy it.

  11. I would like to know which one is the most dependable in the long run? I heard that these small “Pocket” guns are dead after a thousand rounds or less… I need a gun that I can shoot 300-400 rounds a month like my H&K-P2000. I bought it used a year and a half ago and I have put maybe 10,000 rounds through it without a glitch. (Few jams with “Cheap-Reloads”, but easy to just re-rack and keep shooting!) So, I’m looking for a pocket carry that will do the same…Just to be clear, It has “NEVER-MISFIRED-OR-JAMED WITH CARRY ROUNDS OR NON-RELOAD ROUNDS”!! That’s what I’m looking for, Something I can depend my life on!! I like to practice so I know I’m always ready. I don’t want to worry about if the guns going to break or not fire because it’s worn-out!! I need the smaller gun as it gets 125+degrees here in the LasVegas area and it’s hard to conceal when it’s that hot!! Please let me know what these guns will average or what’s the best “Pocket” Carry 9mm or 380. Prefer 9mm… THANKS!

  12. Your review did not include the Sig Sauer 938. Do you have any review comments about it? I bought one a few months ago and love it. It is a great shooting, reliable and an easy to conceal pistol.

  13. I have owned and carried a kel-tec pf9 for a couple of years, you can get a belt clip for them so you don’t even need a holster. It conceals easily, even under shorts and a t shirt. Shoots great and very reliable.Great price too.

  14. Most of the small 9’s are adequate in the right hands and with training. I have fired most of them during the classes I teach. I have found two that are remarkable The Sig Sauer 938, almost malfunction proof and accurate with excellent sights. The SCCY is a newcomer but the ones I have seen and fired during my courses of instruction were VERY accurate, 10 rounds +1, Very good sights and it shoots to point of aim at 15Yds. At a price of less than $300, I find it the best compromise of a 9 CCW. Just my $.02 worth.

    My personal carry is a Springfield Armory EMP in 9mm. Others in the range bag are SigSauer X6 226, and X6 220, and a M2i custom Caspian/STI in 9mm. I have a SCCY on order. I leave these comments with over 40 years of military, FLETC, State Dept DSS, and Blackwater experience as a trainer. But again just my $.02 worth

    One slow hit is better than 5 fast misses!
    HooYah

  15. I like all of the pocket 9s, but the KEL-TEK PF9 is the only one you can add a pocket clip to and carry inside your pants without a holster. That’s tremendous. You can easily carry concealed not in your pocket and you don’t have to buy special clothing. I’ve been carrying that way for several years and I can carry easily wearing just shorts and a tee shirt. It’s very easy to deploy and with the Crimson Trace laser guard added, it’s the ultimate

  16. You got to add the Bersa BP9cc on the list. Being new to the shooting world and a CCW holder, the BP9 makes me think twice if I should carry it more than my Kahr CW9. Reason being is the trigger is so light/4lbs and very short reset. If I needed to use it and my adrenaline is pumping, I might empty the 8 shot mag in no time. I also shoot the Walther PPQ,which supposedly has the best trigger pull out there, but the BP9 is lighter and smoother out of the box. Very accurate also-rapid fire all shots in a 2in.circle consistently. Yup, it’s that smooth!!

  17. The 9mm Beretta Nano is a perfect weapon for a woman, for carry or just a self defense weapon, very low recoil using 115 or 124 grain, they can handle this gun very well and also does fit most women hand well for good control .. I would highly recomend this gun to anyone, we havent had any malfuntions of any kind in firing this gun, they Beretta, will be coming out with a 8 round magizine and change over kit for the magizine you curently own …

  18. As to the last post. This is a thread about 9mm CC pistols. No need to hijack it to espouse your political views. There are other forums for that. Not here.

  19. I have my 45’s, 9’s,and 380’s, and 22’s, from a lot of the above maufacturers. My carry is the one that is very small easy to shoot and carry. Even at the range I like shooting it over all my 7 pistols, BODYGUARD 380. i DON’T CARE VERY MUCH FOR IT’S LAZER, but find it very good to use for dry fire exercises. All my pistols are fun to shoot at the range but for ease of carry and a true “pocket pistol” a small concealed weapon is so much better than anything you like but leave home because of length, highth, or width. Just a reminder to all: The cliber that continues to shoot more people world wide, year after year, is the 22.

  20. I read all of the comments after reading the article on “Best Pocket Pistols” My conclusion is very simple. EVERY ONE HAS AN OPION AND ITS JUST WHAT YOU HAVE AND SHOOT WELL That becomes the best!!

  21. Well, call Magnum Research, I’m sure that they would accommodate your request. They make handguns that fire 30-30 and 45-70, as well as a few other rifle rounds.

  22. No complaints about the Bersa. The original Thunder Nine was one of the first semi-autos I purchased. It looks to be an exact copy of the Walther P88. I considered it (and still do) to be one of the better bargains out there.

  23. I ordered a Bersa 22 From Buds on the 18th and was in my hand on the 29th. Before April 2009 I had owned only 2 handguns. Beretta 92F and a Colt Python. In 2009 I obtained my Concealed permit with XD 40 Cal. I have since gone through 12 different handguns in 9mm, 40 Cal.,45 Cal and 357’s. They all had their good and bad points. Since November of this year I have purchased 2 Bersa’s. A 380 and a Bersa 22. I love both these little guns and plan on purchasing before Christmas a 3rd Bersa. I now own the Bersa 9mm UC. For the price you pay for these Argentina Weapons there is NO better guns on the market! “IMHO” There made well, Shoot Well and feel good in the hand! I now plan on getting the Bersa 40 cal.uc Duo-Tone and my handgun inventory will be complete!! Of all the comments made on these weapons 99.9% were 5 Stars. I would recommend these gun to all my friends!

  24. i would suggest that the ones that havent had the oppertiunity to shoot the nano to give it a try. i got one about 3mos ago and love. i was very skeptical about it to start with, but vas frusterd with smith and wesson cause i could not find a shield. my neighbor has the sheild and it shoots wonderful. but after shooting the baretta, im glad i didnt wait. and to top it all of, the nano is + rated to. no hickups of any kind after 1500 rounds, thats right , i shoot my guns! if it want be reliable just shooting, then it want be at the time of need. my neighbor even sold his shield to buy a nano. dont over look it, give it a chance and you will be glad u did.

  25. You have a point about the Glock 26. Excellent, reliable, eats pretty much anything, good fire control, 10 rounds, BUT….thicker and Blockier than most….amazing what 2/10ths of an inch can do to the psyche….I’ve handled them and shot them…amazingly accurate but a bit thick for me. But that’s just me. Many would find it very comfortable both physically and psychologically.

    Each gunner’s “feel” is unique. For me, the Shield, KAHR, and LC9 feel “about right”. The only gripe I have with most of these is that the mfgs take a 9mm round, stuff it in a tiny package and lop off a finger for control. Seems AND IS counter-intuititive…don’t ya think?

    The one thing I like about my ol’ Taurus Milennium is 12 rounds…okay, another thing or two, manual safety if one so chooses and most of all ROOM FOR THAT DAMN PINKY FINGER…seems like nothing but, it’s everything with a normal load. (think 124 grain). THat extra leverage helps keep those weird Heine 8’s on target. No, I do NOT like carrying it as much because of the same reason as the Glock, too damn thick.

    The PF9 shoots amazingly accurate (Especially when you take the 1.5 minutes to drift the rear to YOUR shooting alignment…ahem). But I am able to crowd that 3rd finger onto the pinky extention juuuuuuuuuust enough to help control it….accidental mag drops are a thing of the past but, it DOES recoil, just not as bad as my 442.

    Bottom line for me is that I wish all of the mfgrs offered 8+1 as a standard, not an aftermarket mag..stagger them ever so slightly so the actual width is 1.0 inches, add adjustable rears (hey, I like to be DEAD on…so to speak) so I can tap at 20 yards. Close enough for 25 and won’t fly over their heads at 10 or 15….30/30 logic….

    That thing is “basic” but, accurate. Just not as reliable of a feeder as I had hoped 700 rounds later…and counting….enough so I don’t trust HP’s….maybe hornady critical defense more for the pointed/feed friendly cone than anything….any round that is ashtray like is going to jam. Dremels, sanding and polishing has done nothing to improve it…it’s just okay but, that pinky grip in a 15 oz package loaded is appreciated.

    You could debate the merits of all for decades. I think it comes down to what FEELS right for you and what you can control and shoot. For me, all of them need a pinky extension for better control. It’s not a deal breaker but it does matter. I think a departure from seven and one and off to 8 and 1 would solve pretty much everything. An extra 1/2 inch in height is much better than 2/10ths on the sides?

    Your results may vary

  26. 2 biggest omissions- the DB7 for reasons already stated, and the Glock 26. The G26 is just as small and light as most of the rest of these, and over double (almost triple the capacity!) G26s go bang every time with most any ammo, and just as accurate as their bigger brothers.

  27. I’m also disappointed you did not mention the SCCY CPX-2. Similar to the KelTec but better trigger and less felt recoil and better finish. Works great with 9mm 147gr. Can shoot +P but I don’t just because of them being harder to control plus premature wear on the gun, but that’s the case with most any gun. 10 rnd mags plus 1 in the chamber and no FTF or FTE in over 500 rounds … can’t complain. As for accuracy, I can hit clay pigeons on the berm at 25 meters. as for service, they’re great … even responded my “dumb” questions. Most everyone who I’ve let shoot it liked it, except the gorillas…but it is a small gun. Only problem is that it doesn’t hide well in the pocket of my jeans, but neither will most other pocket guns unless it’s a derringer. I wear it IWB and never leave home without it.

    There are quite a few pocket guns out there that weren’t covered in this article; this article was more of an advertisement than an unbiased review. Just my 2 cents.

  28. Kel-Tec PF9 here, couldn’t be happier. Son has one also.

    Never a FTF, FTE or any problem feeding ammo, white box or other, either of us. I carry daily in front pocket, with CCL. Never clean it until AFTER using it. So, it has had pocket fuzz in it every time I’ve used it. First use was to qualify for CCL..50 rounds every time.

    Multiple rattle snakes, varmints, target shooting with son/friends, multiple shots or not…it has simply gone BANG for me. It gets the job done, I trust it.

  29. People a revolver is a pistol also. American males of recent has created the ficticous distinction between the two. Start looking in history, you will get the truth.

  30. Erm, a pistol is different than a revolver? OK, in an ancient RIFLE revolver, perhaps.
    A pistol is rather simply defined. No stock, short barrel of under 16 inches (in the REAL world, a foot or less, typically).
    Not a lot of more in nature.

    As for concealable pistols, one has a few choices, depending on clothing choice and concealment, as far as this article is concerned.
    For me, none of the choices are preferred, but I’m one of the hammer accessible types and prefer to be able to fire single action on a first shot.
    First shot accuracy is rather important in doing that surviving thing…
    But, I’m also a M1911 guy and prefer that larger caliber round. For, in that, one call does it all. 😉

  31. The headline said “tiny”. So, leave out the ones that aren’t close to “tiny”. PPS, etc. Compact? yep Pocket? nope.
    I’ve carried the Walther PPS in a ankle holster for years, it can be done. I’d never attempt it in a pocket. My Kimber Solo could be considered a pocket gun, provide the pocket is large and loose. It’s my new ankle gun. Better than the PPS for that. The Ruger LCP is an actual pocket gun, but’s it’s .380, not 9mm.

    If you really want to take something away from this mis-named article, make a list of these mentioned pistols, and then DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Get online, get the height/length/width and weight of all of them, then go to the forums and try to get a consensus of what they’re like, reliability wise. Not accuracy wise, as these are “tiny”, remember? Short sight radius, remember that the barrel with pistols is measured differently than a revolver. That might make the mfgr. feel good about the barrel length, but we all know that it’s nowhere near that long. Short barrels CAN provide some amazing accuracy, but that’s not the mission of “tiny” pistols. It also usually takes a Jerry Miculek or some such. Certainly not me. There is a name for these pistols…”belly guns”. Belly, or nasal/occular cavity. It’s all good.

  32. Richard, I find it interesting that another long time shooter came to the same conclusion as I have. As a background, I have been shooting for over 60 years and I am ex military and law enforcement. I have quite a collection of every kind of hand gun from small caliber up through .45 ACP, including two easy carries in the latter class – My Springfield XDs, and my Kimber Ulgtra Raptor II. I also have a slew of full-sized 9mm and even smaller ones such as my Kahr PM9. My usual weapon of choice for carry is my Ruger LCP with CT laser grips. It will always go bang when the trigger is pulled and through some miracle should it not go bang, I simply need to pull the trigger again rather than try to handle some kind of double malfunction such as a FTE/FTF under the duress of a scene requiring use of a gun. Furthermore, not only does the 15.5 ozs fully loaded with .38 +P make for an easy carry, the laser grip allows accurate firing from odd body attitudes. The editor of “American Rifleman” carries a S&W J frame with CT grips, and he certainly has shot and carried every gun known to man! Too many civilians faced with a malfunction under battle conditions would wind up being toast if the other guy was also armed!

  33. I have owned and carried for 50 yrs. We recently got CC here in Wiscons.I have, through out the years tried many holsters, guns, etc. My present choice is:S&W 38 Spec. +P. Bodyguard revolver. I’m lefe handed so I use a left hand Galco thumb break belt holster worn on the right side so that I dont have to fight with the car door if I need to draw it while still in the car. My rationale is as forllows: the gun is small, light (approx 14.5 oz. empty), the j but makes it easy and comfortable to wear. The 38+P hollow point is a stopper. Wheelguns don’t jam……..even if fired from a position or posture that causes the shooting arm to absorb some of the recoil/recock energy. Yes,I only have 5 shots (10 if I use my speed loader) but most civiliam self defense is going to be very close range and very quick. i.e. I’m not charging into combat. Additionally, my wife is comfortable with the gun (has a Ladysmith) and can use it if necessary.

  34. Nobody mentioned the Sig Sauer P938 (9MM), It’s got the Sig quality, small like the P238 .380acp. It has the same 1911 modified architechure but comes with an ambidextrous saftey standard. It has a stainless steel slide and barrel, with a fine aluminum lower frame. It also very accurate, with a manageable recoil (not much to mention), and night sights, making it a joy to shoot. It has never FTF with any ammo I’ve tried. The frame could use a bit more melting (dehorning) but all-in-all it is an attractive piece. I would like to see it come in an all stainless model like the P238HD in the future. I would also like to see the trigger and main spring housing replaced with stainless or aluminum and get rid of the composite plastic.

  35. I agree Lou, 9mm does the job. Interestingly, the XDs is surprisingly mild to shoot – much more so than my Kimber Ultra Raptor II. It’s very easy to handle for an accurate double tap.

  36. I have total respect for the 9mm round as an effect self defense caliber when in the right hand but my choice for primary carry is the Colt New Agent in .45 caliber. You will not find a smaller pistol chambered in .45 caliber and it is made in the tradition of the 1911 so nothing is thinner. It kicks like a stallion..lol! so hold on.

  37. Bob, my issue with the PM9 is that after a few hundred rounds, it is still a feat of strength to rack the slide – something that bothers me should a malfunction occur during a critical time. Mine also has been totally flawless in execution, is very accurate, but that slide has me trying other options. My most recent acquisition has been a Springfield XDs which has a very easy slide to rack and is not much bigger.

  38. I purchased a Kahr PM9 for my CCW and I am very pleased with this weapon. It shoots everything I put thru it without a glitch. It is very accurate an comfortable to carry in my front pocket. Would highly recommend to pick one up!

  39. I’ll never get back the time I wasted reading what essentially is just ads for all the same stuff you see everywhere. No useful info.

  40. I always thought the job of the reviewing press was to come to conclusions, but alas, I guess advertising revenue is more important than actually rating the guns from best to worse.

  41. FYI, the recent issue of Guns and Ammo magazine has an interesting article on many of the current pocket 9mm handguns along with comparison specs. As always, the ultimate proof will be in your experience and what seems to work best for you. But, just more information to feed upon.

  42. Best pocket pistol for me is my Taurus PT738. Light weight, concealable, smooth trigger with no external safety. Very accurate and so far, goes bang every time it’s tried.

  43. I had a body guard and sold it. I had a trigger job on it and still couldn’t pull it nor could I pull the rack back.I do dmit to being a 76 year old woman and am still looking for the perfect carry piece. I am hoping to get a chance to try the Shield.

  44. I’m surprised that you walked past the Sig Sauer P938. The feel is better than any of the ones you mentioned. Accuracy is excellent due to the best sights of any gun I have (I have an LC9 too). It feels like and acts pretty much like a 1911, but in a smaller package. Definitely concealable and the 7+1 capacity w/extended mag doesn’t change the profile enough to mention. The single-action trigger is another plus. I like my Ruger, but the looooooong trigger pull is definitely not as desireable as the Sig. Besides, you can buy two of them for the price of the Kimber.

  45. I,m happy to see that some of you handgunners had so much luck with your Diamond Back 9mm.Now it,s my turn.Fresh out of the case and using the recomemed ammo,the very first round jammed trying to get into the barrel.Once I got it into the barrel it was fire one round and jam the next every time.Bullets where FMJ and nose diving into the magazine.I E-Mailed factory and they sent me anew magazime spring and follower.Installed these items and the same results.Sent gun to factory.3 weeks later factory sent me a new gun and said they destroyed the old gun.This time the gun started jamming on the 3rd.round,stove piping failure to extract and failure to eject.The second gun was worst than the first gun,and you guys want to trust your life on it.All I can say is good luck to you.Two other people fired this gun beside me.I tryed 10 different types of ammo.For another $50.00 I could have got a real gun.The best thing you can do with this thing is tie a leather boot string around the trigger guard and beat someone with it if your in a struggle for your life.Don,t trust it.

  46. I am a Boberg owner and I believe it trumps everything on the list. If you hand someone a Boberg XR9-S, the expressions returned range from pleasant smiles to delighted surprise. It feels great in your hand, the recoil is so much less than the other small guns I’ve tried. It is the first shooter’s pocket pistol. Sometimes you pay more and receive more.

  47. I have a keltec p11. Great gun. Small, extremely affordable, and goes bang every time
    I squeeze the trigger. Not for people with big hands.

  48. I’ve carried pistols for many years, and have seen all the trends come and go. The best gun to carry is the one you have WITH you when you need it. My collection has had many ups and downs due to divorce, the economy, and chasing that “ultimate” gun based on the bull that many so called “experts” write. One gun that has survived all the changes is my S&W Bodyguard with the shrouded hammer in .38 special.Loaded it weighs about 17oz. It’s not pretty, with the bluing worn off, no laser sights, a humpback, but it’ll put 5 rounds in a tight 5 inch circle as fast as I can fire it at 12-15ft. It rides in my pocket with a speedloader all Summer. The other gun that I frequently carry in a holster is my glock 26 with a magazine extender. I’ve got 11 rounds of 9mm +p available. Are there thinner,lighter, sexier guns out there? Absolutely! Do I care? Nope. These work just fine. Although, lately, I’ve been thinking about the new ruger LCR in .357. The grips are awesome. Regardless, the bodyguard will still be here, though.

  49. Why didn’t u include te Dimondack DB9? It is the smallest of all the concealed 9 mm and I personally love the gun! I have had no problems and with lifetime warranty it’s hard to beat. It’s price varie by model anywhere fo $350-$450 the EXO is their top of te line model and it is very accurate.

  50. I’ve always been a longarm shooter and the Walther PPS was my first purchase of a pistol, which I got for CHL. The very first time we took the Walther PPS 9mm to the range we put 500 rounds through it without cleaning. We’ve never put less than 350 rounds through it in a single trip to the range. I keep hearing comments about “break-in periods”. If your gun doesn’t function great from the start, maybe there’s somethging wrong with it. The only time we’ve had issues with it was when my daughter did a sloppy job of loading the mags and it only happened with the first two rounds because of her not pushing the top few rounds properly all the way in.

  51. At the high end, but not mentioned, is the Boberg XR9-S. DAO, very smooth but long trigger pull, accurate, +P rated, and semi-custom built. The bullpup design takes getting used to. Arne Boberg is very responsive to questions and feedback. The SS barrel and slide with an aluminum frame and 7 + 1 magazine weigh in at 17.5 oz empty. The light recoil makes shooting a couple hundred rounds a snap instead of the hand pounder that other small 9s are reported to have, even with +P ammo. At only 5.1″ OAL and a 3.35″ barrel is very concealable.

  52. I have a varity of pocket pistols to carry. I like my S&W MP 340 most it’s like jewelry to me. You can carry it anywhere on you with the right style holster. Kydex on a string over the neck has worked well all summer for me. Or a nice Kramer pocket holster and it looks like a wallet in a pair of docker style pants. Next is a beautiful little Sig Sauer P238 with there wallet holster. With hornady critical defense the 380 has good controlled expansion for 12 inch penetration. This is a very good choice for recoil shy people and very accurate at 21 feet. For more fire power I like the Sig Sauer P938 a new 9mm that is just inched bigger than the P238 but has more kick and could be a problem for new shooters. The Sig Sauer pistols I have are 1911 single action and if you are not use to this style practice before you carry them in your pocket or you may end up with Glock Leg! I tried other cheaper pistols and it was not worth the savings of a few hundred buck to bet my life on. Best advice read about the gun. Handel one at the shop and shoot one at the range I you can before you buy. If you need advice find a few gun nuts like myself and ask them. Take your time before you buy, days or weeks will result in an informed purchase. Enjoy!

  53. Despite all the keyboard commandos’s critisism this article did a nice job of introducing a variety of good, reliable pocket pistols to the average reader.

    Anyone posting a recommendation to carry a Kel-Tec, Taurus, Ruger or Diamondback instead of most pistols listed here shouldn’t be taken seriously anyway. If your life depends on it, or you carry professionally, step up to a quality, reliable firearm and skip the cheap stuff.

  54. As a firearms enthusiast/salesman, I have to ask: how is it even remotely possible the Diamondback DB9 did not make it to this list?

    It’s the thinnest, lightest 9mm auto on the planet with a better trigger than anything mentioned in this article. Amazingly accurate at defensive-handgun distances. I get tighter groupings (quarter sized) with a DB9 than I do even with the 1911-inspired Sig P938. I traded my hard-chrome PF9 for the DB9 with nickel-boron finish (which never needs lubrication). And while the PF9 is a very decent pocket 9mm that I would recommend, the DB9 is superior.

    And by the way, who routinely wears pants with pockets large enough to carry a Shield, Nano, LCP or PPS without printing horribly or without the back of the grip visible to anyone who looks at your pocket? They’re all good guns, but anything larger than a PF9 should not be considered a “pocket” pistol. It’s fine in cargo pockets, but with that consideration you might as well label every officer model 1911 as a “pocket .45”.

  55. The PF-9 is NOT a reliable weapon! Read the blogs. My first time shooting a brand new PF-9 resulted in 6 failure-to-eject problems out of 80 rounds! I used multiple types of ammunition (no +P) and tried to isolate the problem with various grip methods…FAIL. The gunsmith says it’s an issue related to sharp edges around the chamber and will require some sanding/polishing. Keltec needs to work on their Quality Control.

  56. I truly believe the Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact Pro deserves mention. Accuracy – out of the box and 2K + rounds later, Reliability – no FTE’s, Missfeeds, or anything 2K + rounds (any brand ammo), and Cost. Gimme a break!!!!

  57. Lucky, I presume that by “eye by eye” you mean that you better hit them in both eyes to have any chance of being effective with those pea shooters! 🙂 Then of course run away in that they probably will still be alive but blinded.

  58. Matt, I haven’t had a wheel gun in many years, but carried one both on and off duty as a police officer for many years. The last one I had was a J Frame, but at the time I was an FFL holder and bought and sold a lot of guns that came in and out. I have a fondness for S&W, but decided to try something new based on TV and internet reviews. I ordered a Ruger LCR with CT laser grips yesterday from Bud’s Gun Shop. Also ordered a Galco Ankle Lite to carry it. I’m anxious to get that rig and try it out!

  59. I’ll stick with my J Frame model 360 in 357 mag. Only 5 rounds but it is 5 sure rounds and it handles heavier bullets with more power than a 9mm. Full house 357 is a bit rough but downloaded magnums or uploaded 38+P (like the Buffalo Bore FBI load) it is great!

  60. Unfortunately, I did get to know my Kel-Tec P-32 and with its inability to get through a single box of ammo without dropping magazines, even after spending six weeks for alleged repair (which I consider rather crappy service), and after getting to know it, I think I would be better off throwing it at someone unless I can pull off a kill shot with one .32 caliber bullet! I would have to be rather lame to trust it after what i have been through with this Saturday Night Special. You get what you pay for!

  61. I own 2 keltec PF9s, 2 keltec P3ATs, and a P11. Never had a misfire nor FTE in either. I’ve put a combined total of around 500 rounds in the 9s and about 150 rounds in the .380s. For size, conceal-ability, and price, these weapons can’t be beat. Sure, I’d trust my life with any of them. After all, having a lightweight in the pocket is much better than having the heavyweight in the truck. Come on, it’s summertime in Alabama, and you can’t carry your Glock 22 or 1911 very well in sweltering heat, while wearing a minimal amount of clothing. Remember, getting to know your weapon does not mean that you need to torture test it nor fire 10,000 per week through it.

  62. I would have to echo some of the comments above, it would appear the article blows a lot of smoke for the gun companies and doesnt list any negatives and we all no nothing is perfect. I am a sig man,I have several and carry a p290 every day, its a bit chunky but I take that into concideration as to how I carry and dress. I have big hands and it works well for me, its reliable and nuts on accurate for me but not the only choice out there, and I am looking forward to trying others. thanks guys I am new here too so thanks for the chance to comment.

  63. No mention of the Kel-Tec P11? If your looking for small, high capacity (10+1) 9MM, the P11 is very reliable and eats up just about any brand of ammo. Also extremely affordable if on a budget.

  64. Forgot to mention the Hi-Point CF-380…best bang for your buck…no jamming/straight shooter 7 years & running. Range/target shooting a box of 50 rounds every month. All American made in Ohio & Lifetime warranty with free factory repair…. Semper Fi !

  65. ibweeb: From my experience which entails military, police and shooting for about 60 years, that would be my counsel to you – especially in this age of very concealable 9mm pistols.

  66. The comments on this article are all valuable inputs. I will now be re-thinking my purchase of a new 380 for a 9mm instead. Has anyone had any experience with the S&W Bodyguard 380?

  67. First, let me say that I am new to here. Now, with that out of the way. I found all the comments more helpful to me than this article. I have a little trouble trusting a comparison article by a ‘professional’ when there is not a single negative on any of the articles. I cannot believe that everyone of these pistols were so perfect that the only negatives were that the trigger was too heavy until you got use to it and the other was that it looked odd (two different pistols). I learned more about these (and other) pistols from the comments than from the article. Very disappointed in the article, but thank you to all that left a comment.

  68. The Shield does NOT have adjustable grips. Fact check before publishing please. I also agree that the article was just a rah rah session for all the guns. No critical comparisons were made, so not really very helpful.

  69. The Ruger LC9 is my pick. Light weight, shoots straight. Never had a problem with it and can’t express how accurate it is! Others say different, but accuracy is alot shooter not gun!

  70. I was not impressed by the article at all. It read like it was written by manufacturers. It was completely lacking in critical thinking, didn’t compare the guns, and, the descriptions didn’t match my experience with some of them at all. I owned an LC9 for 2 weeks. Trigger was terrible. Trigger on the Kahr pistols is little better. Trigger on M&P Shield is much better. Shield is much nicer to shoot than either the LC9 or PF9.

    I got the feeling the author never picked up a gun he didn’t like.

    The LC9 isn’t a pocket gun (I owned one). Neither is the Shield (I have one and like it a lot – best trigger of all the guns listed except the Solo). The CM9/PM9 maybe.

    The best of true pocket nines, and maybe the only real pocket nines, the SIG P938 and Rohrbaugh (which has been around for a long time) weren’t mentioned at all.

  71. This article by far is the worst written. It seems as though the writer is working for the gun manufacturers. All the reviews boast like a sales pitch with absolutely no cons or negative points on any of the features. Highly disappointed with chesperthandirts editorial team. Strike these bogus reviews out of publication.

  72. There is truly no shortage of sub-compact carry guns and I am sure we all have stories to tell through our own experience or the experience of someone we know regarding good and bad points for some of those firearms. I overlooked the Rohrbaugh as well and it is, indeed, a good example of a VERY concealable 9mm. However, as with any small design like that (the Diamondback suffers from this as well) they are not designed for anything but standard 9mm rounds (No +Ps) and not made to shoot frequently. I read a post today regarding a user of the Rohrbaugh that sent it back to the manufacturer for repair. When he followed up with a call to the factory to discuss the gun’s problem he told them he had shot about 150 rounds through it. He was then told he shot it “too much”. The Diamondback is also recommended to be shot “occasionally”. So, concealability in 9mm has its trade-offs.

    I had a Kel-tec P11. Really not a bad firearm, but, I disliked the trigger. Traded it for a Kahr CW9. Not as small as the CM9 described above, but, not a bad carry piece. I am considering the Diamondback only because of better concealability for certain modes of dress and because I want to stay with a 9mm round. The .380s are selling like hotcakes right now, but, I don’t want to maintain yet another type of ammunition and the better effectiveness of the 9mm speaks for itself.

  73. Ditto on both the Rohrbaugh and the DB9’s absence being just short of negligence, however, some of us won’t carry a gun you can’t mount a laser on – preferably a Crimson Trace. I haven’t been able to find a laser for either. Kahr, in all calibers, melds with C/T lasers almost like Kahr designed them, and the lighter Kel-Tecs wear them just as well. I’ve never had trouble with Kahr or Kel-Tec and getting either to hiccup/jam takes real talent. Maybe I’ve just been lucky.

  74. While you are recapping small cary concealed 9 mm I wonder why the Rohrbaugh was not mentioned. They had small and reliable down when all else were clunkers?

  75. The Rohrbaugh R9 has all of the best attributes of the guns mentioned and has to be the smallest 9mm in the bunch. It’s only downside in the price but IMO it’s well worth it.

  76. Broderick, interestingly enough my local gun dealer recommended the Diamondback – he carries one. My problem was that I had such a bad experience with Kel-Tec with both their quality control and their terrible customer service, and knowing that Diamondback is a company in the same FL town as Kel-Tec formed by Kel-Tec ex employees, my fear was that it would be the same. It looked like the old adage that you get what you pay for holds pretty true.

    I do have a Kahr PM9 BTW, which is accurate and reliable, but I have one major issue with it. After 400 plus rounds, the slide remains incredibly difficult to operate, and clearing a malfunction with a tap and rack might not be a happy experience. I also have a Ruger LCP, but I am leaning towards a S&W Shield if I can ever find one for sale. I have a special place in my heart for S&W in that I carried a Model 15 for many years as a police officer.

  77. I agree with Steve above. I am surprised the Diamondback was not included in the list. My next small 9mm purchase will be the Diamondback. It is darn near as small as the little .380s on the market and packing the 9mm punch. I have a Kahr and had a Kel-tec before that. But, I think the Diamondback leads the pack in concealability for its caliber.

  78. If I had to do it over I wouldnt have bought a Ruger LC9. The rear site is to low. My wife was shooting hers at 25 feet with the target was setting at two feet high and the LC was shooting two feet in the ground in front of the target. Now,They (Ruger) did not even want to talk about this told me the site was stamped and every gun was differant on siteing. Thats funny because mine was the same way as hers and were Machined not stamped.
    I replaced the rear sight (machined it) 3/16 higher and the LC9’s shot a 5 shot 5in. pattern at 25 feet not in the ground.
    BCC

  79. there is also the American made SCCY(pronounced sky) CPX-2 a 15 oz 9 with 9+1 great carry guns

  80. You did not tell us ANYTHING that we did not know already. You could have at least got out a caliper and measured these pistols and listed a chart comparing the dimensions and weights. I am surprised that a company like you does not seem to know that Taurus manufactures a fine single stack 9mm called the Slim.

  81. This article didn’t tell me anything, except that every offering was GREAT. Why waste out time on something like this, if you want to compare and contrast do so. Not every gun is right for everyone.

  82. I was hoping that this article would be more of recommendation type article. Most of us in the market for a small, concealed carry gun know everything mentioned – I was looking for expert recommendations. As far as Kel-Tec guns being reliable, that has not been my experience. Mine has been back to the factory twice not getting through one box of ammo without dropping magazines. On the first trip back, they addressed everything but the problem, and I had to wait 6 weeks to get my gun back from the factory which is about a 2 hour drive from my house. Would I trust my life to a Kel-Tec? Hell no!

  83. Why you passed by the Diamondback DB9 is beyond me, after a short break-in period and hundreds of rounds later, it moved my LC9 into my safe out of the daily carry gun position. The DB9 is also astounding as to how accurate this little pistol is and shoots rings around my LC9.

  84. I had a Taurus PT 709 Slim but sold it after three trips to the factory failed to correct excessive FTEs. Own several Kahrs and love them – very reliable Just purchased S&W Shield [9mm] and so far so good – also very reliable – no failures of any kind. John

  85. I agree that the Taurus PT709 slim deserves honorable mention, instead of these high priced guns like the Khar and Kimber. Its like when a car magazine only writes articles on the high priced cars like nobody drives the very efficient yet cheap ones!

  86. I followed the instructions for breaking-in my Kimber Solo with low-recoil 147 gr quality ammo and I have had no issues with it, works like a champ! I really like the positive thumb safety and its small size and it’s a 9mm in the package of a 380. A little pricey and hard to find but what is your life worth to you?

  87. Had a lc9 and sold it for the Taurus pt709 slim. By far the best pocket subcompact 9mm trigger I have found for an affordable price. It has adjustable sights, a clean breaking trigger, and a double strike capability.

  88. You left out the Taurus 709 entry. Its’ stats virtually duplicate the others, and their market performance in “units sold” exceeds, the Nano, the Kahr, and the Kimber. When comparing price points these last three are high, and so is the S&W. S&W’s front cover on “Guns & Ammo” was at best misleading, at worst a damn shady example of subliminal advertising. The manipulation of print fonts and color shading, result in negative poll results. It appears to be saying that S&W has the smallest 9mm EVER. Not true, and I resent strange Bedfellows in anycase, and I won’t consider this piece at all. It certainly has been a hot topic of conversation in the AZ gun Community. I contribute as much as possible. My 35+ years of “going armed” daily in my work.

  89. I had a Solo and sold it for the shield. It had trouble feeding/jamming with several types of ammo:

    1. Barnes tac XP by corbon and double tap
    2. Golden saber 124 and 147
    3. Gold Dot 147

    To me, any pistol that can’t handle three of the.most well respected carry loads is not worth owning, much less carrying.

    Shield has fed all of the above flawlessly as well as Hst 124 and 147, and Ranger t 124

  90. I have had a Kel-Tec since they were first introduced. I have the 40 S&W caliber out of production some years and the 9mm version as well. Both pistols are the same size with slide, barrel, recoil spring and magazine being the difference. Great little pocket pistols and a great value. Another plus is you can walk in a gun shop and buy the 9mm version without having to wait months for the dealers to get some to sell. I really like the little 9mm Kimber so I will keep waiting until I can find one to buy.

  91. I think Walther’s are ‘da bomb. Back in the day, I carried a PPK in .380ACP as I was about to ship out to Vietnam (In those days we didn’t have to disrobe to board an airplane)

    I also have a Walther PPQ in 9mm which is a little bit larger than the PPS but has a really light, smooth trigger. On top of all this I have a P22 which is a joy to shoot and allows me to practice with a lighter weapon that very closely resembles the PPQ. The rear sights are adjustable and this is great even though I use a laser/light module. Be careful of moving up caliber to .40. You may find the pistol becomes capable of “biting” your hand. I’m not aware that anybody was happy to be shot by a 9mm in cold weather w/heavy clothes. Some things become a little over the top.

    I live in Michigan and while our laws don’t specify a gun imprinting as illegal they do call any display of a gun as “brandishing”. This part of the statute was put in as a result of some crank being frightened at the sight of a weapon. It makes no sense and I do not know of anyone being harassed or prosecuted for such a violation. However, it seems easy enough to conform and abide by this rule.

  92. In this article it says ” In many states, it is illegal to show an imprint of your gun through your clothing, so thin guns work best for concealing.” What are some of this states and any examples of their laws. Thanks

  93. I love my Walher PPS! I have had it since it got warm in these partss. The PPS is remarkably accurate and quite reliable. The trigger breaks clean unlike my other deep concealment pistol, a Glock 27. The Walther cycles hollow point reliably, even the Golden Saber 147 grain round. In the first 100 rounds down range, the pistol didn’t even hiccup. I hope to pick up the .40 caliber version for cold weather.

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