Best Handguns For Concealed Carry

Top Picks: The Best Handguns for Concealed Carry

Glock 19: A Balanced Choice for Concealed Carry

When it comes to concealed carry, the Glock 19 is often the first choice for many enthusiasts and professionals alike. Known for its reliability and ease of use, this handgun provides a good balance between size, capacity, and performance. Its compact design makes it suitable for most body types, and the 15-round magazine offers ample firepower without being overly cumbersome.

The lightweight polymer frame reduces fatigue from carrying all day, and the consistent trigger pull aids in accuracy. With its simple design, the Glock 19 is also exceptionally easy to maintain. This combination of features makes the Glock 19 one of the top picks for concealed carry handguns.

Sig Sauer P365: Compact and Powerful

The Sig Sauer P365 has earned a reputation for packing a lot of power into a small package. Despite its compact size, it offers a 10 to 12-round magazine capacity, which is impressive for a firearm of its dimensions.

The P365’s ergonomics make it comfortable to grip, and its steel sights provide a clear sight picture, enhancing accuracy. The gun’s striker-fired system ensures a smooth and consistent trigger pull, while its relatively low bore axis reduces muzzle flip, allowing for quicker follow-up shots. These features make the Sig Sauer P365 an ideal choice for those who prioritize concealability without sacrificing performance.

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield: Reliability Meets Convenience

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield has been a long-time favorite in the concealed carry community. Its single-stack magazine makes it one of the slimmest handguns available, which is ideal for those looking to minimize printing. The M&P Shield is available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP, providing a range of stopping power options.

Features like the textured grip, enhanced trigger, and optional manual safety contribute to its user-friendly design. The M&P Shield’s reliability and ease of use make it a popular choice for both novice and experienced shooters.

Ruger LCP II: Ultra-Compact Excellence

For those who need an ultra-compact firearm, the Ruger LCP II is hard to beat. Its small size and light weight make it almost unnoticeable when carried in a pocket or small holster. Chambered in .380 ACP, the Ruger LCP II offers adequate stopping power for close-range encounters.

The firearm’s upgraded trigger and improved sights over its predecessor, the original LCP, provide better accuracy and handling. The Ruger LCP II excels in situations where maximum concealability is crucial, making it a prime choice for deep concealment carry.

Springfield Hellcat: High Capacity Micro-Compact

The Springfield Hellcat has quickly gained a reputation for being one of the best high-capacity micro-compact handguns on the market. Offering an 11 to 13-round magazine, it boasts one of the highest capacities for a gun of its size.

The adaptive grip texture ensures a secure hold, and the U-Dot sight system aids in quick target acquisition. The Hellcat’s durable construction and reliable performance make it a formidable option for anyone looking for a concealed carry handgun with a high round count.

Walther PPS M2: Comfort and Precision

The Walther PPS M2 is known for its exceptional ergonomics and precision. Its slim profile and smooth lines make it easy to conceal, while the elongated trigger guard allows for a more comfortable grip.

With a 6, 7, or 8-round magazine option, the PPS M2 provides flexibility in capacity based on your carrying needs. The firearm’s smooth trigger pull and outstanding accuracy set it apart from many of its competitors. For those prioritizing comfort and precision, the Walther PPS M2 is an excellent choice.

FN 509 Compact: Versatile and Adaptable

The FN 509 Compact combines the reliability of the FN brand with user versatility. With a standard 12-round magazine and options for 15 or 24-round extended mags, this handgun offers unparalleled adaptability for various carry situations.

The FN 509 Compact features a low-profile optic mount, making it red-dot ready, and its aggressive grip texture ensures firm control. The overall compact design doesn’t sacrifice performance, making it a strong contender for anyone seeking a versatile concealed carry option.

Choosing the best handgun for concealed carry depends on your specific needs, including factors like size, capacity, and personal preference. Each of these top picks offers a unique combination of features designed to provide reliable performance, ease of use, and maximum concealability. Whether you prioritize a balance between size and firepower with the Glock 19, or prefer the ultra-compact dimensions of the Ruger LCP II, there’s a handgun on this list to suit every concealed carry need.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Concealed Carry Handgun

Size and Weight

When selecting a handgun for concealed carry, size and weight are paramount factors. A firearm that is too large or heavy can be uncomfortable to carry throughout the day, leading to potential negligence in carrying it consistently. Opt for compact or subcompact models that balance both ease of concealment and manageability. Many gun owners find that a smaller frame, such as a Glock 43 or Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, provides the right blend of concealment and comfort.

Caliber of the Handgun

The caliber of the handgun plays a crucial role in both its effectiveness and your comfort level with it. While larger calibers like .45 ACP or .40 S&W can offer more stopping power, they also come with increased recoil, which might be more challenging to handle in high-stress situations. Many experts suggest that a 9mm strikes a good balance between manageable recoil and sufficient stopping power. Popular choices in this caliber include the Sig Sauer P365 and the Springfield Hellcat.


Reliability is a key consideration in the realm of concealed carry. Your handgun should function flawlessly when you need it the most. Researching and reading reviews from reputable sources can help determine a handgun’s reliability. Brands like Glock, Ruger, and Sig Sauer are often celebrated for their dependable performance. Trying out the firearm at a shooting range can further provide a practical feel of its reliability.

Ease of Use

The ease of use is another critical factor. Your concealed carry handgun should be simple to operate under stressful conditions. Consider mechanisms like the safety, slide release, and magazine release; they should function smoothly and intuitively. Striker-fired pistols, such as the Glock 19, are often recommended for their straightforward design and consistent trigger pull, making them user-friendly.

Magazine Capacity

Magazine capacity can influence your decision, as it determines the number of rounds you can carry before needing to reload. While double-stack magazines offer higher capacities, they can also make the firearm bulkier and harder to conceal. Conversely, single-stack magazines have fewer rounds but are typically easier to conceal. Evaluate your personal needs and preferences; for instance, an individual who prioritizes a lower profile might opt for a firearm with a single-stack magazine like the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.

Comfort and Ergonomics

Comfort and ergonomics cannot be overlooked. A handgun that fits well in your hand can make a significant difference in accuracy and ease of use. Features like grip texture, shape, and angle are important. Some manufacturers offer interchangeable backstraps and grip panels, allowing for a customizable fit. Models like the Walther PPS M2 are noted for their ergonomic design, providing a comfortable shooting experience.

Concealment and Clothing Options

The manner in which you plan to carry and the clothing you typically wear are vital considerations. Different methods of carry – such as inside-the-waistband (IWB), outside-the-waistband (OWB), appendix carry, pocket carry, or shoulder holsters – can influence your choice. Additionally, your typical attire should comfortably accommodate the handgun without printing, which refers to the gun’s outline being visible through clothing.

Cost and Budget

Cost is inevitably a consideration for many prospective handgun owners. While it might be tempting to opt for a cheaper model, investing in a reliable, well-reviewed handgun is often worth the extra expense. Remember that the firearm itself is only part of the cost; factor in expenses for ammunition, holsters, and possible upgrades or customizations.

Training and Practice

The importance of training and practice cannot be overstated. Even the best handgun is ineffective without proper training and regular practice. Before making a final decision, try to test-fire a few models at a local range. Familiarizing yourself with how it shoots, its recoil, and overall handling will ensure that you’re making an informed choice suited to your personal preferences and needs.

By considering these diverse factors, you can select a concealed carry handgun that not only fits your lifestyle but also provides the security and confidence you seek in a self-defense tool.

Key Takeaway:

Key Takeaway: The Best Handguns for Concealed Carry

When it comes to choosing the best handguns for concealed carry, informed decisions are paramount for ensuring both safety and practicality. Among the leading choices for concealed handguns, notable models such as the Glock 19, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, Sig Sauer P365, and Ruger LCP II emerge as top contenders. Each of these firearms offers reliability, compact design, and ease of use, catering to the varied needs of those prioritizing self-defense.

The Glock 19 is celebrated for its versatility, blending a manageable size with a formidable round capacity, making it a favored choice among both law enforcement and civilian carriers. Meanwhile, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield stands out for its slim profile, ergonomic design, and dependable performance, ideal for daily concealed carry. Another top pick, the Sig Sauer P365, offers an impressive round capacity given its size, combined with a smooth trigger pull, making it a preferred option for those seeking a balance of firepower and concealability. On the smaller end of the spectrum, the Ruger LCP II is a lightweight, easily concealable handgun designed for ultimate discretion and maneuverability.

Selecting the best concealed carry handgun is not a one-size-fits-all decision; it requires careful consideration of several factors. Size and weight are crucial, as the firearm must be both easy to carry and capable of being comfortably concealed without print. Reliability is also key; a concealed carry weapon must function flawlessly every time, without exception. Ergonomics play a significant role as well, ensuring the gun fits comfortably in the hand and can be operated easily under stress. Additionally, caliber choice impacts both recoil and stopping power, striking a balance between manageability and effectiveness in a defensive situation.

Ultimately, the best handguns for concealed carry merge compact design, reliability, and user-friendly features to provide effective protection in critical scenarios. Potential carriers should evaluate their personal requirements, preferences, and the specific circumstances they anticipate encountering, ensuring their chosen handgun aligns perfectly with their self-defense strategy.


Selecting the right handgun for concealed carry is a deeply personal decision, influenced by a range of factors tailored to each individual’s needs and preferences. When examining the top picks, it becomes evident that each handgun offers unique attributes designed to cater to different aspects of concealed carry. The Glock 19, for instance, stands out for its reliability and ease of use, even under stressful conditions. Its compact size and substantial magazine capacity make it a favorite among law enforcement and civilian carriers alike.

For those seeking a blend of power and ease of concealment, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield provides an excellent option. This handgun is well-regarded for its slim profile and lightweight frame, ensuring comfort and ease of carry throughout the day. Moreover, it offers impressive accuracy and manages recoil well, making it a versatile choice for both new and seasoned shooters.

The Sig Sauer P365 has revolutionized the market by offering a high capacity while maintaining a subcompact frame, making it an exceptional choice for those who prioritize both capacity and comfort. Its innovative design and robust performance have earned it high praise and a solid reputation among concealed carriers. The Ruger LC9s, with its striker-fired mechanism and smooth trigger pull, offers an ideal balance for individuals who value simplicity and performance.

Equally important to selecting the best handgun is understanding the broad array of factors that must be considered when choosing the right concealed carry weapon. Size and weight are paramount; a handgun that is too bulky or heavy may deter consistent carry and quick deployment in a high-stress situation. Comfort and ease of carry are critical—aspects that can be further optimized by selecting appropriate holsters and attire for daily wear.

Caliber is another significant consideration. While larger calibers offer more stopping power, they also come with greater recoil and larger frame sizes, which might compromise concealability. Thus, it’s crucial to strike a balance between stopping power and the ability to effectively manage and conceal the handgun. The 9mm caliber, for instance, has gained immense popularity due to its efficient balance of power, capacity, and manageable recoil, making it a leading choice for many concealed carry enthusiasts.

Grip texture and ergonomics play a vital role in ensuring a secure hold on the firearm, particularly under duress. A handgun that fits well in your hand enhances control and accuracy, thereby increasing your confidence and effectiveness in a life-threatening situation. It’s advised to test fire various options to find the one that feels the most comfortable and natural.

Training and practice are often overlooked but are essential components of concealed carry preparedness. Possessing a high-quality handgun is only the beginning; regular practice at the range combined with situational training will enhance your proficiency and reaction time. This ensures that you’re not only comfortable with your firearm but also adept at using it should the need arise.

Legal considerations should never be overlooked. Laws regarding concealed carry vary significantly from state to state, and it’s imperative to be well-versed in local regulations to avoid legal complications. Possessing the appropriate permits and understanding the extent of permissible use of force are foundational aspects of responsible firearm ownership.

Ultimately, the best handgun for concealed carry is one that aligns with your specific needs, lifestyle, and level of comfort. The market offers an array of high-quality options, from the versatile Glock 19 to the innovative Sig Sauer P365, each designed to provide dependable performance in critical situations. By considering factors such as size, weight, caliber, ergonomics, and legal requirements, you can make an informed decision that enhances your safety and peace of mind.

The journey to finding the perfect concealed carry handgun is both a personal and practical endeavor. It requires a thoughtful assessment of your daily life circumstances and a commitment to ongoing training and responsible ownership. With the right choice, you not only safeguard yourself but also contribute to the broader ethos of responsible and prepared firearm ownership in society.

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