Best Handgun For Concealed Carry

Criteria for Choosing the Best Handgun for Concealed Carry

Understanding Size and Weight

For those new to concealed carry, determining the right handgun size and weight is crucial. The firearm must be compact enough to conceal effectively but not so small that it sacrifices performance. Subcompact and compact models generally offer the best balance, fitting comfortably in a waistband holster while maintaining ease of handling and accuracy. It’s imperative to select a gun that you can carry all day without experiencing discomfort. Popular options include the Glock 43X and the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield due to their balance of portability and functionality.

Assessing Caliber Choices

Caliber selection is another vital factor. While larger calibers like .45 ACP offer more stopping power, smaller calibers like 9mm are often recommended for concealed carry due to their manageable recoil and high capacity. The 9mm offers a robust selection of ammunition options, making it a versatile choice for both novice and experienced carriers. Additionally, the cost of ammunition is lower, making practice more affordable. Consider the Glock 19 or Sig Sauer P365 for a reliable 9mm option that combines compact design with effective performance.

Ergonomics and Comfort

Ergonomics cannot be overlooked when selecting a handgun for concealed carry. The firearm must feel comfortable in your hand, with controls that are easy to reach and operate. A gun that fits well in your hand will be easier to control, especially under stress. Look for models with customizable grips, such as the Springfield XD-S, which allow for a tailored fit. Visiting a firing range to test different models can provide valuable insight into which handgun feels most natural for you.

Reliability and Durability

A concealed carry handgun must be reliable under all conditions. The last thing you want is a firearm that malfunctions when you need it most. Researching various models and reading reviews from experienced users can provide an idea of a gun’s reliability. Brands like Glock, Sig Sauer, and Smith & Wesson have established reputations for producing dependable firearms. Opt for models that are tested rigorously and proven to withstand frequent use and adverse conditions.

Ease of Concealment

The ease of concealment is a defining feature of a good concealed carry handgun. Slim profiles and lightweight frames contribute significantly to this aspect. Appendix, IWB (Inside-the-Waistband), and pocket carry options can influence your choice. The Ruger LC9s, for instance, offers a sleek profile that makes it an excellent candidate for discrete carry. Choose a handgun that can be easily hidden under everyday clothing without printing, ensuring that your firearm remains unnoticed.

Trigger System and Safety Mechanisms

The trigger system and safety features should not be overlooked. Some shooters prefer a double-action/single-action (DA/SA) trigger system, while others may opt for a striker-fired system. Safety mechanisms vary widely; some models come with manual safeties, while others rely on passive safety features. The Smith & Wesson M&P series provides multiple options, including models with or without manual safeties, allowing for a customizable safety experience based on individual preferences.

Magazine Capacity and Reloading

Magazine capacity is a crucial consideration for self-defense scenarios. Higher capacity magazines reduce the frequency of reloading, which can be an advantage in critical situations. However, increased capacity often means a bulkier firearm. Striking a balance between capacity and concealability is essential. Models like the Glock 43X manage a respectable 10-round capacity while maintaining a slim profile. Consider your comfort level with reloading under pressure and the likelihood of needing multiple shots when making your decision.

Cost and Value for Money

The cost is a factor that every potential gun owner must consider. While more expensive models often offer advanced features and superior craftsmanship, there are many affordable options that provide excellent performance. Determine your budget, and seek out models that offer the best value within that range. The Ruger EC9s is an example of a budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on quality, delivering reliable performance at an accessible price point.

Choosing the right handgun for concealed carry involves balancing multiple factors, each contributing to the overall effectiveness and comfort of carrying a firearm daily. By carefully considering size, caliber, ergonomics, and other critical elements, you can find a handgun that meets both your needs and preferences. Investing time in research and practical testing will lead to a choice that not only enhances your self-defense capabilities but also ensures peace of mind in everyday situations.

Top Recommended Handguns for Concealed Carry in 2023

Compact and Ergonomic: Glock 43X

For those seeking a reliable and compact firearm for concealed carry, the Glock 43X fits the bill perfectly. This model is designed with the user in mind, featuring an ergonomic grip and a slimline design that facilitates concealed carry without compromising on comfort. The Glock 43X holds ten rounds in its magazine, striking a balance between capacity and concealability. Its lightweight polymer frame makes it ideal for daily carry, and the consistent trigger pull ensures accuracy in stressful situations.

Moreover, the Glock brand’s longstanding reputation for durability and reliability adds an extra layer of confidence for those who choose this model. Compared to other handguns in its class, the Glock 43X stands out for its ease of use and widespread availability of aftermarket accessories, allowing for customization to suit individual preferences.

Versatile and Reliable: Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus is another excellent option for concealed carry enthusiasts. Known for its versatility and reliability, this handgun is a favorite among both new gun owners and seasoned shooters. The M&P Shield Plus features a crisp trigger pull, enhanced ergonomics, and improved sights, making it a highly effective tool for self-defense.

With a capacity of up to 13 rounds, this handgun offers more firepower than many of its competitors, yet remains slim enough for easy concealment. The Shield Plus also includes a range of safety features, such as a tactile and audible trigger reset, to ensure safe handling. For those who prioritize a balance of power, safety, and ease of use, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus is a compelling option.

Compact Powerhouse: Sig Sauer P365

When it comes to packing a punch in a compact size, the Sig Sauer P365 is hard to beat. This model is renowned for its high capacity despite its small stature, holding up to 12 rounds in its extended magazine. The P365 features Sig Sauer’s XRAY3 Day/Night sights, which provide excellent visibility in various lighting conditions, an essential aspect for any concealed carry weapon.

Designed with a nitron-coated stainless steel frame, the Sig Sauer P365 offers impressive durability and corrosion resistance. Another standout feature is its smooth, crisp trigger pull that aids in accuracy and rapid follow-up shots. The P365’s compact size doesn’t compromise on ergonomics, ensuring a comfortable grip for most hand sizes. Its reputation for reliability makes it a go-to choice for many looking for an efficient concealed carry weapon.

Enhanced Precision: Springfield Armory Hellcat

The Springfield Armory Hellcat is making waves in the concealed carry market thanks to its exceptional capacity and precision. With a standard magazine holding 11 rounds and an extended option for 13, the Hellcat offers significant firepower for its size. The Adaptive Grip Texture ensures a secure hold, which is crucial for quick, accurate shooting.

One notable feature of the Hellcat is its high visibility sights, which include a U-Dot rear sight and a tritium front sight. This makes target acquisition swift and intuitive, even under stress. Additionally, the Hellcat’s precision-machined frame and slide enhance overall accuracy, while its compact design ensures it remains easy to conceal. Users also benefit from Springfield’s reputation for quality and robust performance in their firearms.

Ideal for Concealment: Ruger LCP II

For those needing an ultra-compact option, the Ruger LCP II is an ideal choice. This lightweight handgun is designed specifically for deep concealment, fitting comfortably in a pocket or a purse without printing. Its streamlined profile and light weight make it virtually unnoticeable when carried, allowing for discreet self-protection.

The Ruger LCP II chambered in .380 ACP features improved sights and a trigger compared to its predecessor, offering better accuracy and ease of use. Although it has a smaller capacity of six rounds, it’s often preferred for scenarios where ultimate concealment is necessary. Its compact size and reliable performance make the Ruger LCP II a popular choice among those seeking a highly concealable defensive handgun.

Cutting-Edge Design: Walther CCP M2

The Walther CCP M2 brings an innovative approach to the concealed carry market with its soft coil gas technology. This system reduces recoil, making the CCP M2 easier to control and shoot accurately, especially for those new to firearms. The ergonomic grip facilitates a comfortable, secure hold, further enhancing accuracy and control.

Another significant feature of the Walther CCP M2 is its tool-less takedown, simplifying the cleaning and maintenance process. With a capacity of 8 rounds and a slim profile, it is designed to deliver a balance between concealability and shooting comfort. The high-quality build and advanced features of the Walther CCP M2 make it a valuable option for both new and experienced shooters.

Each of these handguns brings unique advantages to the table, catering to different preferences and requirements for concealed carry. Whether prioritizing size, capacity, ergonomics, or innovative features, users can find a model that meets their specific needs in the concealed carry market of 2023.

Key Takeaway:

When it comes to selecting the best handgun for concealed carry, there are several critical criteria to consider that will ensure both safety and proficiency. Essential factors include size, weight, caliber, ergonomics, and ease of use. These elements significantly impact how comfortably and discreetly you can carry your firearm, as well as how effectively you can use it in a self-defense scenario. For instance, a handgun that is too large or heavy might be difficult to conceal and could hinder mobility, while a smaller, lighter handgun might be easier to carry but could compromise on firepower or grip stability.

Beyond physical characteristics, the reliability and durability of the handgun are paramount. A concealed carry weapon must perform reliably under various conditions, as it is intended for potentially life-threatening emergencies. Factors such as ease of maintenance, availability of accessories, and aftermarket support also play a crucial role in the overall suitability of a handgun for concealed carry.

As we step into 2023, several top-recommended handguns stand out for their excellence in meeting these criteria. The Sig Sauer P365, for instance, is lauded for its compact size, impressive capacity, and stellar ergonomics, making it an excellent choice for everyday carry. Another notable mention is the Glock 43X, which combines Glock’s renowned reliability with a slim profile, making it a highly effective concealed carry option.

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus also garners high praise for its balance of size and firepower, offering a comfortable grip and enhanced magazine capacity. Additionally, the Springfield Armory Hellcat has earned its place as a top pick due to its robust construction, high magazine capacity, and compact dimensions.

Ultimately, the best handgun for concealed carry in 2023 will vary based on individual preferences and needs. It is crucial to handle and test different models to find the firearm that best fits your hand, comfort level, and lifestyle. Remember, the right handgun will provide confidence, reliability, and peace of mind, making it not just a tool, but a critical component of your personal safety strategy.


Selecting the best handgun for concealed carry is a critical decision that should reflect a thorough understanding of personal defense needs and preferences. The criteria for choosing such a firearm cannot be overstated. From the onset, key factors such as size, weight, reliability, caliber, ergonomics, and safety features come to the forefront. Prioritizing these elements ensures that one selects a handgun that is not only easy to conceal but also effective and reliable in high-stakes situations. A concealed carry weapon must balance the need for portability with the need for stopping power, making smaller calibers like 9mm, .380 ACP, and .45 ACP common choices. Equally important is the consideration of the gun’s reputation for reliability; a concealed carry firearm must demonstrate consistent performance without failure. Handling comfort, too, plays a significant role – the grip and overall ergonomics impact how quickly and accurately one can deploy the weapon in an emergency. safety mechanisms integrated into the design of the handgun ensure that it remains secure and controllable in various conditions.

Armed with this understanding, one can navigate the landscape of concealed carry firearms with greater confidence. The list of top recommended handguns for concealed carry in 2023 reflects the latest advancements and trusted models in the market. The Glock 19, for instance, remains a perennial favorite due to its reliability, manageable size, and substantial firepower. This semi-automatic pistol is lauded for its ease of use and minimal maintenance requirements, making it an excellent choice for both experienced shooters and those new to concealed carry.

Another standout is the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, known for its slim profile and impressive accuracy. Its lightweight frame and user-friendly design make it ideal for day-to-day carry, providing peace of mind without sacrificing comfort. Similarly, the Sig Sauer P365 has made a significant impact with its high-capacity magazine and compact size. The P365’s innovative design manages to pack more rounds into a smaller frame, addressing concerns about both capacity and concealability.

The Springfield Armory Hellcat is yet another worthy contender, offering exceptional ergonomics and an optic-ready slide. Its adaptability and modern features cater to those seeking a cutting-edge solution for personal defense. The Ruger LCP II stands out for those prioritizing ultra-compact build and ease of carry, often favored for its role as a backup firearm or when ultra-discreet carry is necessary.

The Kimber Micro 9, with its classic 1911 styling, appeals to those wanting a blend of traditional aesthetics with modern performance. Its single-action trigger and high-quality build offer an exceptional shooting experience. The Walther PPS M2 combines a comfortable grip with a lightweight design, and its reputation for accuracy and reliability makes it another top pick for concealed carry.

Ultimately, the best handgun for concealed carry in 2023 is not a one-size-fits-all solution but rather a decision influenced by individual needs, lifestyle, and preferences. Whether prioritizing ease of concealment, firepower, or a balance of both, the market offers a diverse range of high-quality options to meet these demands. Ongoing training, familiarity with the selected firearm, and staying informed about advancements in gun technology will further ensure that the choice made today continues to serve well into the future.

By focusing on key selection criteria and considering only the top-recommended models, armed citizens can make informed choices that enhance their safety and preparedness. The advancements and innovations in handgun technology highlight the importance of continuous evaluation and education in the realm of personal defense. The interplay of reliability, comfort, and concealability is a dynamic field, ever responsive to the evolving needs of those seeking to protect themselves and their loved ones discreetly and effectively. With mindful selection and ongoing practice, one can confidently carry a concealed handgun, knowing it best aligns with their personal defense strategy.

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