Concealed Carry

The Top 15 Most Concealable Semi-Automatic Handguns

Ruger LCP II

It wasn’t too long ago that the subcompact semi-auto .380 ACP hit like a fever.

These concealable semi-automatic handguns were lightweight, small-enough-to-fit-in-your pocket pistols and flying off the shelves in record numbers when more states than ever started allowing concealed carry.

An unprecedented amount of women and first-time gun owners were buying at this time, as well.

After all, the little .380 ACP is not intimidating to a new shooter, yet it is sufficient for self-defense, unobtrusive, affordable and felt recoil is manageable to most.

It did not take long for the firearms industry to notice and quickly (most) manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon. Though it took years, even GLOCK released a subcompact .380.

For some, though, the .380 just wasn’t enough, so the pocket nines started rolling out. More than likely, if a manufacturer makes a subcompact .380, they make a subcompact 9mm—GLOCK included.

Interest hasn’t waned and the guns just keep getting smaller!

The Criteria

This list compares the smallest of the small, the most lightweight, the easiest and most comfortable semi-automatic pistols to conceal—basically, the most concealable semi-automatic handguns. They vary in price and quality.

Some of them will serve better as a backup than as your primary gun. They are also mostly either .380 ACP or 9mm with polymer frames—simply because subcompact pistols are easier to make in a smaller caliber.

A polymer is used most often because it keeps the overall weight of the gun down. Of course, the .25 and .32 ACP will get even smaller, but no one recommends those calibers for self-defense.

The List

And now without further ado, here are the top 15 most concealable semi-automatic handguns, in no particular order.

1. Smith & Wesson Shield

Performance Center Ported M&P Shield pistol
The Smith & Wesson Shield just might be the easiest concealed carry pistol to shoot. Easy to load, easy to rack and easy to use, it belongs on any list of the most concealable semi-automatic handguns.

 
Smith & Wesson Shield
Caliber .40 S&W or 9mm
Barrel Length 3.1 inches
Capacity Up to 8 rounds
Overall Height 4.6 inches
Overall Length 6.1 inches
Overall Width 0.95 inches
Weight Unloaded 19 ounces
Sights 3-dot white
Frame Polymer
User rating N/A
Learn more

2. Taurus G2S Slim

The Taurus G2S is a slim handgun designed for concealed carry
Offering subcompact protection with a unique look and an affordable price, the Taurus G2S Slim is the next evolution of subcompact personal protection pistols from the Brazilian manufacturer.

 
Taurus G2S Slim
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3.25 inches
Capacity 7 rounds
Overall Height 5 inches
Overall Length 6.3 inches
Overall Width  1.2 inches
Weight Unloaded 20 ounces
Sights Adjustable Rear
Frame Polymer
 User Rating N/A
 Learn more

3. SIG Sauer P238

SIG P238 pistol left profile
SIG Sauer was born in Europe, but perfected in America. The P238 provides a tactical advantage with its smart design and a unique looks thanks to its metal frame and custom grips.

 
SIG Sauer P238
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.7 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.9 inches
Overall Length 5.5 inches
Overall Width 1.1 inch
Weight Unloaded 15.2 ounces
Sights Contrast or SIGLITE night sights
Frame Anodized alloy beavertail style
User rating N/A
Learn more

4. GLOCK 42

GLOCK 42 .380 Handgun
Shooters quickly realized the little GLOCK 42 was one of the softest shooting .380 Auto pistols available. Once you shoot one you will recognize why the minute GLOCK is so very popular with shooters.

 
GLOCK 42
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 3.25 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 4.13 inches
Overall Length 5.94 inches
Overall Width 0.94 inches
Weight Unloaded 13.76 ounces
Sights Adjustable rear
Frame Polymer
User rating 4.9 out of 5 stars
Learn more

5. Kahr Arms P380

 

Kahr .380 Tungsten pistol, profile right
The Kahr is a neat, trim package.

If you prefer function over form, the Kahr Arms P380 is for you. A value series subcompact pistol that features a 2.5″ barrel, the P380 is built with a high-quality textured polymer frame.

 
Kahr Arms P380
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.5 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.9 inches
Overall Length 4.9 inches
Overall Width 0.75 inches
Weight Unloaded 9.97 ounces
Sights Drift adjustable, white bar-dot combat sights
Frame Polymer
User rating N/A
Learn more

6. Beretta Pico

Two-toned Beretta Pico .380 semiautomatic pistol
Beretta claims the Pico is the smallest .380 on the market.

Truly sized to be a “pocket pistol”, the Pico packs six rounds of .380 ACP punch into a package weighing less than 12 ounces and just over 5″ long. Super thin and easy to conceal, the Pico is a great choice for when you need deep concealment or a backup gun.

 
Beretta Pico
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.7 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 4 inches
Overall Length 5.1 inches
Overall Width 0.75 inches
Weight Unloaded 11.5 ounces
Sights Adjustable
Frame Polymer
Price Starting at $353.05
User rating 5 out of 5 stars
Learn more

7. Kel-Tec P3AT

Extended P3AT magazine holds three more rounds. A smaller +1 magazine is also available.
Kel-Tec P3AT with an extended magazine holding three more rounds.

The P-3AT is a semi-automatic, locked breech pistol developed from the highly successful P-32 pistol with a negligible increase in weight and size. The small grip size and light trigger pull make the P-3AT ideal for concealment.

 
Kel-Tec P3AT
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.7 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.5 inches
Overall Length 5.2 inches
Overall Width 0.77 inches
Weight Unloaded 8.3 ounces
Sights Notched front sight
Frame 7075-T6 aluminum
Price Starting at $235.29
User rating 5 out of 5 stars
Learn more

8. North American Arms Guardian

North American Arms Guardian
Stainless steel construction, good sights, and a smooth trigger make the Guardian .380 ACP pistol a good companion. Compact enough for pocket carry, the Guardian is a comfortable handgun to fire.

 
North American Arms Guardian
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.49 inches
Capacity 6+1
Overall Height 3.53 inches
Overall Length 4.75 inches
Overall Width 0.930 inches
Weight Unloaded 18.72 ounces
Sights Low-profile, fixed
Frame 17-pH stainless steel
User rating N/A
Learn more

9. Beretta APX

Beretta APX
Designed to offer full-size APX reliability with significant improvements over the NANO, the Beretta APX Carry is a superior compact handgun. Good sights and an excellent trigger make for a good shooting firearm.

 
Beretta APX
Caliber 9mm Luger
Barrel Length 3 inches
Capacity 8
Overall Height 4.17 inches
Overall Length 5.63 inches
Overall Width 0.9 inches
Weight Unloaded 19.8 ounces
Sights Replaceable
Frame Polymer
User rating N/A
Learn more

10. Kahr CM9

Kahr Arms CM9 two-toned 9mm semiautomatic pistol
The competition to produce the ultimate subcompact 9mm carry pistol just went up another notch as Kahr unveiled its CM9 handgun.

The CM9 is a double-action striker-fired pistol that is an excellent choice for CHL/CCW concealed carry and fits shooters of all sizes. It’s a value-priced, no-compromise option specifically designed for concealed carry situations.

 
Kahr CM9
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 4 inches
Overall Length 5.42 inches
Overall Width 0.90 inches
Weight Unloaded 14 ounces
Sights Drift adjustable rear, dot night sight front
Frame Polymer
User rating 4.8 out of 5 stars
Learn more

 11. DoubleTap

Black over/under pocket pistol.
The DoubleTap comes in 9mm or .45 ACP with a 3-inch barrel.

Featuring two different calibers, the DoubleTap gives you flexibility in a compact size. Just 5.5″ in overall length and weighing a mere 12 ounces, you’ll barely know it’s there.

 
DoubleTap
Caliber 9mm or .45 ACP
Barrel Length 3 inches
Capacity 2 rounds
Overall Height 3.9 inches
Overall Length 5.5 inches
Overall Width 0.665 inches
Weight Unloaded 12 ounces
Sights Fixed
Frame 7075-T6 aluminum
User rating 4 out of 5 stars

12. Ruger LCP II .380

Ruger LCP II
The Ruger LCP II is a good shooting little pistol. The trigger and sights are considerably improved over the original LCP. Overall, this is one of the best buys on the market.

 
Ruger LCP II
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.75 inches
Capacity 6
Overall Height 3.71 inches
Overall Length 5.17 inches
Overall Width 0.75 inches
Weight Unloaded 10.6 ounces
Sights Integral
Frame High-performance nylon
User rating 4.4 out of 5 stars
Learn more

13. CZ P-10 S

CZ P-10 S
The subcompact CZ P-10 is the newest version of the popular P-10 Series from CZ-USA. This handgun features good sights, a good trigger and an excellent reputation.

 
CZ P-10 S
Caliber 9mm Luger
Barrel Length 3.5 inches
Capacity 12+1
Overall Height 4.6 inches
Overall Length 6.6 inches
Overall Width 1.26 inches
Weight Unloaded 24.4 ounces
Sights Front tritium night sight, rear serrated combat sight
Frame Fiber-reinforced polymer
User rating N/A
Learn more

14. SCCY CPX-1

CPX-1
Easy to rack with a smooth effortless trigger, the CPX-1 is the next generation of concealed carry pistols. Packing 10 rounds of 9mm Luger firepower, this is an excellent back-up pocket pistol or low-profile personal protection carry gun.

 
SCCY CPX-1
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3.1 inches
Capacity 10 rounds
Overall Height 4 inches
Overall Length 5.7 inches
Overall Width 1 inch
Weight Unloaded 15 ounces
Sights 3-dot
Frame Polymer
User rating N/A
Learn more

15. Kel-Tec PF-9

Kel-Tec PF9 pistol left profile
While small, the PF-9 chambered the powerful 9mm cartridge.

Developed from the highly successful P-11 and P-3AT pistols with maximum concealability in mind, the PF-9 has a single stack magazine holding seven rounds and is the lightest and flattest 9MM ever made.

 
Kel-Tec PF9
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3.1 inches
Capacity 7 rounds
Overall Height 4.3 inches
Overall Length 5.85 inches
Overall Width 0.88 inches
Weight Unloaded 12.7 ounces
Sights Windage adjustable rear
Frame Polymer
User rating 5 out of 5 stars
Learn more

If you would like more information on some of the firearms listed above, read these reviews:

Which pocket gun sounds like it suits you best? Tell us which one and why in the comment section.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July of 2015. It has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and clarity.

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 (233)

  1. If you base best concealment strictly on size you may solve the concealment issue but not answer the question of why are you carrying. Many of your choices were 380acp. IMHO, the smaller the caliber the more accurate one needs to be should you ever be required to defend yourself to hopefully stop a threat. I think any caliber less than a 9mm might have stopping power issues. Much has been written both in support of that and against. My preferred carry is either my M&P Shield 9 or 40. It isn’t that much bigger than most of the 380s you mention & it conceals quite well. Regardless, what’s most important is that one feel comfortable w the gun and shoots it well.

  2. Read your list of 15 conceal weapons and was disappointed that the semi-automatic I use was not on the list as it is one of the finest shooting weapons on the market (my brag). It is the Walther PPK 380.

  3. What? No Walther PPK’s? The original CC Weapon and the first successful DA/SA? For shame😤😤LOL. I carried a Walther PPK/S for nearly 25 years. The only reason I stopped was due to my aging eyes. The sights became nearly impossible to see in low light conditions, so it went to the safe and goes to the range every now and then. My PPK was one of the early Interarms models, before Interarms was completely tooled up to produce the guns here, so the slide and its components were manufactured in Ulm. Still one of the most accurate guns in my possession. Out of a Ransom, sub 1″groups at 25 feet (better than I can shoot freehand). Now that Walther USA is reintroducing the line, I may try to pick up a blue model. I understand that at the time of the article it was no longer in the catalogue, but honerable mention would have been nice.☺

  4. To those posting their chagrin that the P365 was not on this list, the article was written in 2015, years before the P365 was available.

  5. Hey people let’s take a look at the facts, I’m a retired marine, and my son is on his 17th year of his army career, we have an well established security firm , and today’s carry weapons are nothing but cookie cutters.Your Sig’s ,kimber’s , Ruger’s ect. Look at history our military started out with colt , and it ran for how long , decades. Then replaced by berettas, and than the battle between glock and sig for the military contract , which in my opinion was won by the politicians . Someone’s pocket got lined, if you know what I mean. I was able to purchase 6 of the fifteen hundred of the glock G19x’s that they had on stand by to give the government for the final test run, before they determined who was to get the contract. Well never the less, they went with a cookie Cutter. We put those glocks threw a number of tests from sand, water , rock, and a few other trails, along with a thousand rounds put threw one and not a single malfunction . So my opinion for all you pretty boys out there,you want to run with the big dogs on the block, my suggestion to ya is run with the GLOCK. Good luck Semper fi , god bless our troops ,and god bless America.

  6. How was the Sig P365 left of this list????? I own multiple guns on this list and the Sig P365 is my favorite. By a wide margin might I add.

  7. You missed one on your list that I have and love to carry as a backup or as an only carry when required. The micro desert eagle .380, as a 100% permanent and totally disabled veteran without the ability to wear a holster on a belt or inside/outside a waistband this is a perfect pocket gun and even with a custom pocket holster. It’ll go bang every time you squeeze the trigger to put a round down range.

  8. I finally pulled the trigger on a SIG P365. It’s much smaller and snappier than I thought. Very accurate though I had practice a bit as I don’t have a lot of range time with small semi automatics. Quite concealable and 13 rounds is nice.

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