6 Best Compact Concealed Carry Pistols in 9mm

By Col Ben Findley
It was very difficult for me to narrow down my original list of 21 compact 9mm carry guns to six of the best compact concealed carry pistols.

It was very difficult for me to narrow down my original list of 21 compact 9mm carry guns, but I want to briefly give you my criteria, considerations, on six of the best compact concealed carry pistols to help you make your own choice.
It was very difficult for me to narrow down my original list of 21 compact 9mm carry guns, but I want to briefly give you my criteria, considerations, on six of the best compact concealed carry pistols to help you make your own choice.
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

USA-(Ammoland.com)- There are many very good, top-rated 9mm compact pistols available now for concealed carry, so I want to help you narrow your decision by giving you just a few of my opinions here. Of course, picking the best compact concealed carry pistols is a very individual decision for you based on your personal preferences, criteria, and a lot of considerations.

It was very difficult for me to narrow down my original list of 21 9mm carry guns, but I want to briefly give you my criteria, considerations, on the final six best compact concealed carry pistols. I hope the ones here to help you make your own choice. (My previous article for this website and others gives my top 5 subcompact 9mm carry pistols.)

6 Best Compact Concealed Carry Pistols in 9mm

Any one of these six compact guns I present here would make a fine choice for best compact concealed carry pistols. I analyze by categories, compare, and rank all of my top 21 concealed carry guns that I recommend in my book “Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials.” It was difficult to narrow the options down to 6 CCW compacts, so consider all the features, specs, and your personal preferences and criteria for the best selection for yourself.

Set your own requirements and make your own tradeoffs, since there is NOT a perfect compact gun for all folks. Then decide if you want a single action only, double action only, or a striker-fired gun or something else, a 5 or 7 pound press, an external manual safety or not, night sights, etc. These compact pistols range in capacity from 10 to 17 rounds, from a 3.50″ to a 4.01″ barrel length, with a trigger press of between 5.0 to 6.5 pounds roughly, and from 21 to 31 ounces unloaded weight, with suggested retail prices from about $569 to $1179.

Remember, you can shop around and often pay less than retail prices. Certainly, price alone is not a major criterion for those who recognize that this decision is about a life-or-death tool, but it is one factor.

Maybe the solution is to own all 6 of these fine guns. I do own all of them, but I get strong hints from someone in my house to limit the inventory. Here, I give you my top 10 criteria you may want to use to save you some time in your selection process. Also, I show below comparative specifications for just these 6 of the many compact carry pistol models on the market now. You may want to add or subtract from my criteria and modify them to include what’s important to you.

Above all, rent or borrow and try the gun before you buy it to save you from buyer regret and cognitive dissonance.

I used my criteria to analyze, compare factors, evaluate, and field-test shoot all of these guns. I review them individually and in depth in various gun review articles. In my book, I compare and evaluate various concealed carry guns and rank them in several categories, like rankings by weight loaded, standard capacity, width, trigger press, price, etc.

Best Compact Concealed Carry Pistols : My Criteria

Here are just 10 of my criteria and factors I use for evaluating any handgun. In addition to my criteria, there are other subjective features that may be appealing for some, like a certain style, mag release location, action, caliber, appearance, number of mags included, type of sights/modifications, bore axis, rail, grip angle, non-porting or porting, included extras like a holster and pouch, customer service, etc. So, I combined these into my last Miscellaneous criterion. I must admit that ALL gun-choice decisions involve tradeoffs, but I really want ALL of my criteria to be met. Remember to not focus on just ONE criterion (e.g. only price or only trigger press), since for overall effectiveness several, if not most or all, factors must be met. I assigned a total possible point score of 10 points for each of my 10 criteria for a total possible score of 100 points. You can certainly add your own additional criteria and preferences or subtract any of mine. Here are mine:

  1. Accuracy and Reliability- Performs well without recurring malfunctions and stoppages and results in consistent, accurate target hits with a 3″ inch hit group or so at 5-15 yards for concealed carry;
  2. Trigger Press maximum of about 5.5-6.5 pounds – lessens force applied for less movement & better accuracy- and press that is crisp and identifiable (TRAIN to be Trigger Safe);
  3. Trigger with short travel distance (a short travel distance increases the speed the trigger can be fired) and easily identifiable and short reset point; Trigger with a smooth consistent press for every shot (less need to transition between presses & make adjustments);
  4. Barrel length of 3.0″-4.5″ (primarily for concealed carry); for compacts- length of 3.5″-4.1″ or so;
  5. Sights that are basic & simple (easy to use & see–I like Fiber Optic fronts); fast target acquisition; for my purposes– adjustable for windage; Optional Night Sights for low-light situations;
  6. Proper Gun Weight to minimize recoil (I prefer about 25 oz. or so for carry- but there are tradeoffs);
  7. Caliber match to my needs, characteristics & abilities (consider medical & physical limitations); 9mm is my preference for carry;
  8. Capacity -adequate for use & feature trade offs- usually prefer at least 10 rounds in a compact 9mm magazine for carry (but can carry a spare mag or 2 sometimes);
  9. Ergonomics – Hand Comfort and Grip Fit, controls easy to work and easily accessible; rounded, low-profile;
  10. Miscellaneous – Overall Finish, fit, & quality appearance & workmanship; mag release location; ambidextrous controls; accessory rail as required; grip angle; bore axis; competitive market price; excellent customer service with friendly & helpful representatives; ease of disassembly-assembly; Hard Case; Extras (third mag, holster, pouch, extended & flush mags); warranty length & extent; etc.

Below are my 6 top 9mm concealed carry 9mm COMPACT pistols, based on my criteria, my rankings, priorities, and preferences. Hope my opinions help you decide on your criteria and options, so you can personally select your best carry gun to meet your needs and preferences.

Final Six List of my Best Compact Concealed Carry Pistols (with gun review links)

9mm COMPACTS: SW M&P 9C (top left); Springfield EMP4 (center); Sig 320C; FNS-9C (bottom left); Ruger SR9C; Glock 19
9mm COMPACTS: SW M&P 9C (top left); Springfield EMP4 (center); Sig 320C; FNS-9C (bottom left); Ruger SR9C; Glock 19

Compact Pistols For Concealed Carry Specifications:

Here are the specifications side by side for my choice of six best compact concealed carry pistols in 9mm, for your consideration. Again, remember, to also consider your personal preferences, features, priorities, etc. and to shoot your final guns before your selection.

Here are the specifications for 6 current CC compact 9mm handguns, for your consideration.
Here are the specifications for 6 current CC compact 9mm handguns, for your consideration.

Best Compact Concealed Carry Pistols Range Test

For previous testing and evaluation reviews of the guns individually, I have shot all of them (and frequently do now), shooting at least 500 rounds in each using the drills in my book and my protocols. I have found each of these 6 compact handguns to be accurate and reliable for my use, skills, criteria, and preferences. I rotate among all six compact guns for my concealed carry everyday carry (EDC), as necessary. See my Reviews of all these guns separately on various websites and my rankings and factors in my book. So, safely shoot these guns for yourself to make your own decisions, before you buy.

I have found each of these 6 compact handguns to be accurate and reliable for my use, skills, criteria, and preferences.
I have found each of these 6 compact handguns to be accurate and reliable for my use, skills, criteria, and preferences.

For this brief follow-up range test which supplements my previous range tests and drills, I fired a total of 180 rounds or so of quality Sig Sauer Elite Performance 9mm 115 grain FMJ and V-Crown 115 grain JHP ammo and just a few on hand of the Polycase Sport Utility Ammo 65 grain (1525 fps velocity) 9mm frangible, with no-lead polymer RNP projectile. For each of the 6 guns this time at the range to verify my previous tests, I shot two trials of 5-round groups for each handgun from a standing Modified Isosceles Position, with a two-handed grip, at 5, 10, and 15 yards on IDPA targets. Understand that this brief, supplemental test is just a partial indicator of accuracy and reliability of the guns and ammo, so do your own range test with more ammo and thorough drills for your guns.

For this old codger, the average group sizes for all distances using mostly the Sig Sauer ammo and just a few on hand of the Polycase ammo were:

  • 115 grain JHP: 2.00″
  • 115 grain FMJ: 2.60″
  • 65 grain RNP: 2.80″

Best Compact Concealed Carry Pistols Conclusions

All 6 of these guns meet and exceed MY criteria and are excellent options for compact 9mm CC pistols. For this article, I did not rank them nor did I rate each of the criteria factors individually for each gun, like in my other separate Reviews of the guns. They all are rated very high on each criterion. As you certainly know, there are several characteristics, pros and cons, factors, and criteria to include and consider.

My list of six here may help you narrow your list some. Remember, you must make your own tradeoffs, ratings, and rankings according to your own goal, desired features, preferences for certain factors, specs, etc. We all want all of our criteria to be met for our ONE perfect compact CC pistol, but realistically because of the variation in our personal preferences, maybe only 8 or 9 of our 10 criteria can be met by any one compact gun.

There is not a one perfect best compact concealed carry pistols for ALL of us. Do your own analysis and decide for yourself.

Blend your personal, subjective evaluations with the specifications evaluations. Do the pros outweigh the cons and are the large majority of your criteria met by any one gun? Keep in mind that you can have more than one CC compact gun if the house “rules” and budget permit. So, you can use one compact 9mm for competition shooting, a different one for concealed carry, another for home defense, one for casual recreational plinking and range fun, and maybe one for hunting, etc.

I hope this article has helped you gain some information you did not previously have about some possible CC compact 9mm handgun options for CC. Consider that this is just my point of view, my opinions, with my live-range fire and shooting the guns myself. Again, as always, I recommend that you shoot any handgun yourself before you purchase it. Decide on your criteria, how you will primarily use the gun, and what features are important to you and that you are willing to pay for ahead of your range time. Then critically evaluate the gun YOURSELF per your criteria and purpose, with standard drills (several mentioned in my book), with various ammo types and brands, over an extended break-in period of about 500 rounds. Remember, Safety First Always.

Continued success and Be SAFE!

About Col Ben Findley

Col Benjamin Findley
Col Benjamin Findley

“Col Ben” is retired with 30 years service in the U.S. Air Force, with joint services Special Ops duty and training, and is Air Force qualified as “Expert” in small arms.

He is a Vietnam-era Veteran. Ben is an experienced NRA-Certified Pistol Instructor, NRA Range Safety Officer, and FL Concealed Carry License Instructor.

Ben recently wrote the book “Concealed Carry and Handgun Essentials for Personal Protection” (second printing 2016) with 57 comprehensive Chapters about concealed carry and handgun principles, techniques, and tips for both experienced and new shooters.

His reference book is endorsed by several organizations and is available on his website at www.FloridaHandgunsTraining.com.

  • 104 thoughts on “6 Best Compact Concealed Carry Pistols in 9mm

    1. These gun are all great gun but for me to large for conceal carry.
      You don’t need over 10 rounds in a conceal carry gun Just learn to hit what you shoot at !!!!

      1. On the surface, your statement holds water, until you look at the shooting accuracy of professional LEO’s during a stressful shooter encounter. The figures show an accuracy of 11-13 percent figure quoted in research papers. At these numbers. you’re looking at 1-2 hits within a 10 round mag. If you have multiple assailants, do you still feel that 10 rounds are enough, especially if you are not a trained LEO?
        As for what is the best concealed carry gun… it is the one that has the largest capacity, best personal accuracy and largest caliber that you can conceal and comfortably carry. I conceal carry 2 different pistols – Walther 9mm PPQ or CZ .40 P-09. Believe it or not, the larger CZ actually prints less and is more comfortable to IWB carry than the smaller PPQ with my holster configuration. I train monthly, but do not have any misconceptions as to my accuracy in a Life or Death situation and refuse to buy into “X” amount of ammunition is enough.

        1. Your statement is true, but you also realize that most situations that would require you to use your gun are going to be close quarters. With that said, why carry a larger firearm? The accuracy of the larger gun isn’t needed in most situations. I guess it is a personal preference for most people. I carry a small M&P Shield with 8 rounds. I prefer the comfort and lighter weight. I used to carry a Sig SP 2022 and found it to be too bulky and cumbersome so I switched. Like I say, carry what your comfortable with and you are familiar with. Practice with what you are going to carry on a regular basis and it really doesn’t matter what you carry.

          1. ” why carry a larger firearm?”

            Without a lot of detail, I use to carry a Beretta 21 in 22 lr. It worked all the time and thought it was a target pistol. I carried it everywhere with a false sense of security that the comfort of having it gave me. Then I found myself caught in real need of a gun and it broke me of that .
            My advice would be to carry all you can manage and control. You will never walk away from a gunfight saying “Man, I wish I’d have brought a smaller gun.”
            May you always have enough.

        2. Agreed. The day my oldest son was born the paper had an article about the police state pistol champion walking up on a couple of bank robbers. At a range of 10′, the three of them dumped their mags. About 40 rounds at 10′ yielded one robber was down hard, the officer was down and the 2nd robber was wounded. Fine motor skills don’t respond well to adrenalin.

        3. There are many factors at play with those studies that do not apply to civilian carry. First and foremost is, you are not bearing a badge, wearing a uniform, representing to the bad guy the person that will take their freedom upon contact. This causes the bad guy to start throwing lead when the LEO leasts expects it, causing the defensive fire while finding cover. This is a really bad situation. As a civilian, when encountered by a bad guy, you are perceived as the weaker, non armed victim. The CCW civilian is actually the wolf in this case. The bad guy doesn’t realize how much trouble they are in until the good citizen is throwing lead at them. It’s a completely different encounter.

          1. Agreed, the “bad guy” won’t focus on you if you act like a “sheep”, when he finds out you are actually a “wolf”, it’s too late for him, you’ve already killed him !!!

        4. Its all about practice and muscle memory. But at the range there may be some distracting noise or not. Next time go to the last lane then have a buddy lite and throw m50 fireworks around you as you practice. After a couple weeks you csn block it out and hit 10 of 10 insteadcof 2 of 10. But like fnx45 tactical with 3 mags thats 46 rds. Or fns9c to mags is 30 rds. You need more you are seriously in the wrong freaking place. Hope your will is up to date.

          1. This idiot thinks throwing fireworks is going to help him in a firefight? From a guy with multiple combat deployments, loud noises are not what causes stress in a combat environment and you wont know how you’ll perform till you see the real deal.

          2. Where in the world are you practicing that allows M50 fireworks being thrown in the range? My issue is size. I am in a suit most days and meeting many people. I typically pocket carry. IWB is just to bulky and uncomfortable, so I am very limited. With Pocket, size and weight are almost impossible in the 9mm size. A kimber Micro or Sig 938 are okay, but would prefer a striker fire. I have an LCP now, and carry back up magazine in other pocket. I HATE the slide not locking on last round…any thoughts there? I have a Shield with N82 holster I carry when casual

            1. To Chris with the LCP 380, I was wondering if you have looked at a Kahr P380 ? They are striker fired, and very compact. I really like mine. Kahr also makes it in a cheaper cost ” C ” series. It kind of suprises me that no Kahr Handguns were mentioned in this article. On one other thing for you, there is a new LCP out that locks back on last round.

        5. One problem , Most Leo’s only
          fire their weapons a few times
          per year, now there are the smart
          ones that go to the range to keep
          in tune. 3 maybe 4 times a year
          and only 100-150 rounds for most
          ( unless they train in a stressed situations)
          they are not at the top of their game.

          1. I am a retired peace officer ,worked as correctional officer and police officer in the state of ga. you have to shoot 80% or better from 3 to 25 yards at the range every year to keep your job.Most of the officers I worked with took it serious there life depended on it.

          2. I work for the largest state law enforcement agency in the country. We shoot pistols monthly, shotgun quarterly, and rifle quarterly. Two of those shoots must be night shoots as well. Officers shoot a minimum of about 800 rounds a year. Not a lot compared to those in the shooting sports, but then again these shoots are tactical sessions or qualification shoots, not plinking. Semper Fi, Out!

      2. I agree with Tim. You were on track until you made the ammo quantity judgement – that completely ruined your credibility.

        The seats I have seen say that on average there are 3 assaulters, it takes 3 shots under duress to get a hit, and it takes 3 hits to stop a determined assailant. 3 X 3 X 3 = 27 rounds you should carry. A Glock 19 with a spare mag covers that with 4 rounds to spare just in case you are in an above average situation.

        Guess, though, you are an absolute crack shot after you have been punched in the face, been knocked to the ground, and are being kicked while you are down. Bet you practice shooting in those conditions every day, don’t you?

      3. I carry several different guns in my rotation of EDC guns, right now it’s a Sig P225 A-1 or HK P30 SK, both in 9mm, but I also carry a Kimber K6S 357 mag revolver as a back up gun, as well as extra magazines and speed strip for the revolver, I’m 6′ 3″ and 260#, I can get away with these guns in a IWB holster and they don’t print, I have too many other carry guns to mention that I also carry at different times of the year based on the weather, but feel perfectly well armed with the 8 rounds my Sig carry’s or 10 rounds my HK carry’s and the 6 rounds of 357 that my Kiber carry’s my guns are totally accurate and reliable , most encounters are at close range, if they are further out, you might have a better chance of avoiding a problem all together by taking cover or just moving away from the problem, my guns have saved my life and that of my family and friends on three different occasions in my life time , I never had to kill or shoot a single person any of those times, the mere fact that I had a gun to bring to the game defused the problem before bad things could happen, but I was prepared to take action if need be, even today, I hope to never have to fire on any one, but I am always prepared…

      4. Well put the main thing is to have and Cary.
        I personally keep a nine in my back pocket and NOBODY knows it’s there. I might be 66 but I can still hit what I need to. At a much closer range that is. LOL

      5. Different strokes for different folks. I carry a full size .45 1911 in a deep concealment crotch holster. 7+1 and 2 extra Wilson combat mags. That’s 22 rounds of knock you on your ass ammo. You can’t see it, holster is comfortable, and draws fast. Maybe in the future I might go with a shorter barrel .45. What I hit stays down.

      6. Leos and everybody else needs more training if you only hit two out of ten then you need major training concealed carry should be about small compact unintrusive firearm with 10 to 12 at the most with three to four” Gun Barrel maximum total weight more than 30 ounces 9mm.or40 or 45acp

      7. I work in a gun store and some of the info you put out is questionable.

        You forgot the S&W Shield and the Springfield XDS. They are in the top 5 for cow 9mm’s.

        You also forgot that glock has a big recall going on right now.
        Also, the glock 19 has a really big issue right now. You need to research more before you put out bad info.

        According to the customers at my store, the S&W 9c and the SR 9c are a thing of the past and sales even back it up because they do not sell anymore.

      1. Maybe little time at range would not need all that. As you said “never had to fire a shot” One shot or double tap. Works also.

    2. Hi Pistol Pete. Thanks for your comment. I hear you. There are many personal factors to consider for deciding on a carry gun and your method of carry, etc. What works for one may not for another. Sure, you can carry an extra mag or BUG for those multiple attackers. If you have six in the gun for those 5 bad guys, you better be very accurate. Certainly, there are smaller (in length, width, height, weight, etc.) guns for carry. In my best SUBCOMPACT 9mm carry guns reviews and in separate articles and in my book, I give my top 14 subcompact pistols, rank them, and narrow those down. This article just briefly presents my top COMPACT pistols. Solution: Have both a Compact and a Subcompact or more than one for different situations, attire, etc., e.g. running shorts, jeans, or tux. Be Safe!

      1. See my article about my top 14 SUBCOMPACTS. The Sig 938 and Shield are included there. Both great guns & have them both… about 3 inch barrels.

        1. For your home defense circumstance I believe I have found a near perfect pistol. CZ Scorpion Evo 3 S1 comes with 2/20 round mags with 30 round mags available. Good news is that spare mags are around $20 each. It’s a big gun, but has rails for laser and light plus sling attachment point on the back plate. It’s also convertible to SBR. Your thoughts?

          1. Home defense know your angels shoot from a knee around corners . Do a little off hand shooting at range . Lay belly down behind corners. Even behind Sofa. They don’t know complete layout of your home , practice in the dark. you will be surprise how much light a microwave puts out. You use the darkest corners. It’s just like anything else practice. I’ll be surprise oh much you can see in the dark. After each shot move. Muzzle flash just blinded them (oh yea, close one of yours to save night vision. You’d be surprise muzzle their mouth and scamble the EGG. faster than bullet.

          2. my home defense is ar15s 45 rounds more than one in different locs in house.my carry is glock 17 with 33 round clips in my car door if needed in todays world there is not such think as over kill when it comes to protecting you family and your fellow Americans

      2. My Sig p229 love it carried it for years carry glock 19 gen 4 124gr.colt 45 custom.One shot one kill Its a mental game live or die.SURVIVAL THE KEY WORD HOW BAD DO YOU WANT TO LIVE Ruger SR22 with Magnums back up with spare mag all in one Holster.Sig 3 mags of 40 cal.12 x3=36

    3. I prefer the M&P Shield. Smal, lightweight and compact. Very easy to carry in a in waist holster and easy to shoot. With the eight round mag you have all you need. Check it out.

      1. Hi GunReference1! I have the Ruger American Compact 9mm pistol on its way to me next week or so to review. Stand by for my review and opinions. Be Safe.

    4. Hi Pistol Pete. Thanks for your comment about your personal preferences. Without a doubt: Practice, Practice, and don’t forget to Practice! Capacity and Size are important factors and width, height, length, weight, and number of rounds are certainly considerations. But, there are other things to consider. Some say you cannot carry too much ammo. Sadly, ten rounds may not even be enough to defend your life in some situations. If your gun holds less than 10 rounds (e.g. 6) and there are 5 attackers, you better be very accurate or have a spare mag or two or a BUG. This article gives my top COMPACT carry pistols. I have separate reviews of my top 14 SUBCOMPACT carry guns on various websites and in my book I compare, analyze, and rank my top 21 concealed carry guns. Thanks again and Be Safe!

    5. I’m not really fond of carrying a brick in my pants, SO the SIG 938 w/extra mags suits me fine. The weapon is accurate enough to shoot snakes heads off @ a few feet. IMO

      1. Hey Patrick. Yes I own the 938 and reviewed it several months ago. I really like it. It is one of my 14 Top CC SUBCOMPACT pistols, including others with near 3″ barrels like the Shield, LC9S, XDS, EMP, G2, etc. My book compares and analyzes 21 of my top CC guns. This article here just speaks to my Top CC COMPACT guns. Be Safe!

    6. As a Retired Federal Law Enforcement Officer, I am now carrying a SCCY Industries, CPX-2CB, made at SCCY Industries,
      1800 Concept Court, Daytona Beach, FL 32114. The SCCY pistol is a small, 9mm, 10-round, hammer fired pistol. It is inexpensive at $314 MSRP, accurate, reliable and durable with a lifetime warranty. My CPX-2 is DAO, rated at 9 Lbs trigger pull, OA length 5.7 inches, width 1.1 in, BBL length 3.1 in, and having an empty weight of 15 Oz. Capacity is 10 + 1 and has 3 dot sights, with rear sights adjustable for windage. Try Liberty Ammo
      50 grain, 2000fps, low recoil; Barnes, XTP +P, 115grain, 945fps; or Federal Hydra-Shock, 147grains. 813fps.

      1. I have a SCCY as well, my first weapon that I bought, yes very reasonably priced used. Took to range and fired 1 mag, no problem. Husband had the other mag, kept jamming, not sure if mag or ammo. So we need to take it back out to verify. Love the warranty on weapon as it does follow weapon and new owners, not many manufacturers do this. I also bought a Ruger SR9, nice weapon, couldn’t pass up a great deal on new one at $266.00. Easier for me to pull trigger on this one, although I struggle with slide. Very accurate and have practiced more with this weapon.

    7. I’ll repeat a comment that the system did not post earlier. Manufacturers have been falling over themselves to “flatten” carry pistols. All of these guns mentioned in the article are thicker than 1″. I’m satisfied with a Walther PPS and three 7 round mags. The gun is significantly less than 1″ thick, and the mag drops cleanly with one hand with the paddle release. If you can’t stop someone with 7 rounds of 9MM, you’re in the wrong fight.

      1. If you like the PPS as much as I did, then you use will really like the PPS M2. It’s much more ergonomic than the original. My PPS M2 is now my EDC with 7 + 1 ready and a spare 8 round mag. The gun comes with all 3 in the LE version; 6, 7, & 8 round in the 9mm.

      2. I agree with you partially. I carry the Walther PPS M1 with a 7 round mag in the pistol and 2 8 round mags for back up in some situations. I also carry the Springfield EMP 4.0 in 9mm most of the time, or the Springfield Range Officer Champion in .45acp. Both of the Springfields are barely wider than an inch at 1.10-1.15, but if you measure the slide and frame they are less than an inch wide as well, it’s only the safety and slide release lever that makes them wider. So really the 1911’s I think are some of the best carry guns available, and it’s a design that’s been around for well over 100 years so it’s had plenty of time to be perfected don’t you think? As the Col says it’s a decision that everyone needs to make separately based on their needs not based on an article. This was just to help someone decide or give them options to try out, copy? Also all of these guns are considered compact pistols per the written specs.

        SSG G. OUT

        “Death Waits in the Dark”

        1. Death may wait in the dark. But it tries to pull me to the dark I’ll get pitch freaking black, till i get done what needs doing.

      1. Colt light weight O model 1911 with 2 extra Wilson Mags are my favorite carry , a Sig 938 with extra mags works for T shirt weather. My oldest son has a Legion 229 and I’ve never felt a gun more comfortable the first time I fired it. Don’t shoot one because you will fall in love with it.

    8. down here in the HUMID Florida summer I wear shorts and t-shirt, which limits me to pocket-carry. I like my LC-9s w/ stock mag installed and extended mag in off pocket for a total of 16rds. Enough for most scenarios likely to confront me.

    9. I prefer my Glock 26 to any of the guns listed–smaller and lighter than any of them and little recoil–and I can carry it easily in an Uncle Mike’s holster in my front pants pocket. With Speer JHP Gold Dots and any of the Glock 9mm spare magazines from 10-15-17-33, I have plenty of firepower that hopefully will never be needed. With Glock reliability and ruggedness, it’s a great CCW. I have a Glock 19 also but that’s for the nightstand and bigger and heavier than I want to carry but it’s a great gun for LEOs or Navy Seals. Thanks for the article.

    10. I’ve owned some of these and I’ve shot them all. They’re great choices. I prefer DA/SA, and once I started shooting USPSA with my CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow, I knew I wanted a carry gun in the same format. I cannot overstate how much the increased frame space helps contribute to shootability. So my choice is the Sphinx SDP.

    11. I’ve enjoyed the article and especially all of the comments since I can relate to just about everyone of them. I’ve had a conceal carry license for almost twenty years and it has been a continuing experiment to find the best conceal carry handgun and the best wardrobe in which to properly conceal it. I am short of stature so it is somewhat difficult to cover up what appears to me, to be an anvil under my shirt. Most salesmen at the gun shop, will tell you that you are just being self conscious and that no one really pays attention to what is under your shirt on your waist. That is true to a point, I am still able to tell when someone is attempting conceal a weapon, if not poorly. For me, so far, the S&W Shield9 &40 and the Walther PPS-M2 are by far, the best handguns to conceal, the best price point and value I’ve been able to find for my own personal use. Of course, these are both sub-compacts and do not fit the compact conceal criteria that Col. Ben Findley is addressing in this article, but it is a response to some of the comments that have been made by others on here.

    12. I knew this article would stir the anthill. Some good ones were left out, and maybe a bad one included, but that is the responsibility of the author. Just train with the gun of your choice and at the end of every range session, shoot off a box of the ammo you chose to carry, so you know how it acts. Avoid after-market mags in your carry pistol as well. It took me a couple of different times to learn that truth.

    13. Great article. Thorough research and testing. My compact 9 mm carry choice is a CZ 75 PCR. Aluminum frame, steel slide, de-cocker, 2 mags, DA/SA and if I didn’t live in NY state 14 rounds. Barrel length is just shy of 4in. When you can find them they cost around $500 msrp. Never a hiccup no matter if the casing is brass or steel or what gr.bullet. Very accurate.
      Thanks for your efforts.

      1. I’m going to get one (or two) of these now that you brought them to my attention.

        I have and occasionally carry an IWI 941 F Jericho. It’ heavy as hell but it is THE MOST ACCURATE pistol I’ve ever used.

        I know I’d lose some accuracy with an aluminum frame–but the weight trade-off would be worth the small change in order to carry 14+1.

    14. Perhaps no one has heard of the Honor Guard 9mm. To my likeing is as an M&P Shield on steroids. Excellent Handgun. Secondly, the FNS 9c is my co-favorite. What was omitted was the fact it comes with two 12 round mags and one 17 round mag. If I were going downrange again, the FNS would be on my hip and the Honor Guard on my thigh or ankle.

    15. Of course, the best handgun for concealed carry is the one you are the most proficient with.
      That being said, I would not conceal carry a gun with an external safety or an exposed hammer. The safety could possibly slow down first shot time, and an external hammer could catch on whatever clothing is being used for concealment.
      And before the petty, “YEAH BUT THIS…” arguments start, I’m just saying in a situation where someone may have already gotten the drop on you, you need to do all you can to increase your draw and fire speed. This includes copious amounts of practice, but also minimizing equipment risks.

    16. What not a CZ to be found in the list?
      My vote goes to the CZ Rami. Heavy enough to put 13 rounds down range and on target and reliable as anything you will ever shoot. Great article I enjoyed reading .

    17. Was the Steyr “S” series in contention? I acquired mine in ’04 and have seen no need to go to another gun for my main carry piece.

    18. I cannot comprehend how you could have a 6 best compact pistols without including at least 1 model/version of the excellent Kahr CM/PM series! I rely on a CM-40 every day as backup in the cooler months as pocket pistol in pocket holster, and in the hot months carry it only in it’s pocket holster. While it in no way can possibly be construed as a fun to shoot range gun, it’s the most firepower you can get in a tiny 380 size package. Naturally whatever I carry I also have 2 extra loaded mags, in addition to a good quality, fast opening folding knife, for those situations where a firearm cannot be safely discharged such as crowded area, lack of backstop, etc.

      1. Hi Neil. Thanks for your opinion. Again, this is a very personal choice based on your own criteria. The Kahr CM9 is included in my Top 21 CC guns in my book per MY criteria and preferred features. A very nice gun, but for me the long and hard press was an important factor that left it out of my narrowed-down list. Again, I like the gun but others met my criteria better. You cannot go wrong with it in 9mm. We have found with our thousands of students over the years that the large majority of folks can shoot the 9mm more accurately than the .40 and with contemporary ammo ballistics the 9mm can get the job done. But shoot the largest caliber gun that you can shoot accurately and comfortably. Very personal decision. Continued Success!

    19. The guns listed, while nice guns, are too large for convenient concealed carry. Suggest you consider writing article about guns sized like Ruger LC9s, and or Ruger LCP and S & W Bodyguard 380.

      1. Hey Danny! I did write a SUBCOMPACTS CC pistols article. It’s recently posted on this website. Also my book has 21 great CC guns. Be Safe!

    20. I’m a little uncomfortable with the velocity loss of a typical 115 – 124gr. 9mm bullet when fired from a 3″ barrel – especially if the perp is wearing heavy winter clothing. I realize it’s foolish to worry about this if I’m not willing to carry the 4″+ barrel gun all the time. I haven’t fired any of the new gen. 9mm sub compacts with 9mm +P ammo. Thoughts?

      1. At a price of $267 new with two mags for the G2 , I bought 2 for the price of one high priced, one for the night stand and one to carry. I’ve been very happy with the results of performance.

    21. Legal Colorado CCW:
      Two Taurus PT111 Millenium G2 9mms
      Two extra 12+1 mags
      50 JHP – Magtech Guardian Gold 9mm – 124 Grain rounds

      Why Two of them?

      1. Drawing a second one is faster than reloading. I’m a realist–and I’m not Jerry Miculek.
      2. If gun one FTF/FTEs I can grab number two instead of going number two.

      If I’ve got a handbag, back pack or brief case with me I’ve got four more magazines. If not then the first 50 need to get me to my car where I can get the other four mags–preferably to my car where I can get the hell out of Dodge.

      I can’t ever imagine needing more than two mags in a single shooter situation. If I do then I’m probably not going to make it to my car; I’m going to get a ride in an ambulance or an unmarked white van– game over.

      I carry 24/7 in Condition Yellow, and I drive in Condition Yellow. My first plan is always looking for Plan B: How can I exit, swerve, move, accelerate and get the hell out of Dodge. I’ve got a family who are often with me. And I’ve got a bright future. I’ve always got more to live for than any would be assailant.

    22. The hit ratio is under 50%, with the average guy requiring 3-4 hit’s per perp. You better have a 15 round Mag. Or you will be standing there holding your penis.

    23. A shoulder holster on one side W/ a “” SIG”” 1911 W/ a WILSON 10 +1 .45acp, plus 2 spare 8 Rd mags (total 27rds), “”SIG”” **229** 40 S&W, W/ 14+1 MAG & 2
      14rd spare mags (43rds), all together a EVEN 70 rds.
      I always say; NEVER ENOUGH!!!!, & ONCE IN AWHILE I’LL STRAP A 2″ 357 MAG
      TO MY ANKLE W/ 2 6rd speed loader’s in my pocket (now that comes to a total of 88rds of ammo on me). I never walk out of my house W/O at least my 2 “”SIG’S””!!! +, CALL me paranoid ???, I JUST DON’T WANT TO GET CAUGHT W/ MY PANTS DOWN, AND NOTHING IN MY HAND (except my “””JOHNSON”””!!!)
      I think about those poor people in PARIS!!& FLORIDA AND NEVER EVER DO I WANT TO BE CAUGHT UP IN A SITUATION LIKE THAT. (230gr j.h.p.& 165gr j.h.p
      In both)

    24. I personally think the holster dictates the comfort of your cc pistol of choice and there are several guys on here
      with several different size and calibers. Now I’m not a leo or officer of any kind and surely not a quick draw artist
      so I use a shoulder rig that does not print weather wearing a tee shirt or over coat but I will say I’m a Glock guy
      and it carries everyone I own from the smallest model 42 up to my model 21 with all day comfort and is fully
      adjustable no matter what you carry.

    25. I’m going to stand with the Kimber slim 9mm. the gun will not let you down. Ladies will like the grips lite weight & will not let you down..

    26. Having read much of what was written here nothing will ever convince me there’s anything better than my full size beretta PX4 in .40 S&W. 17 + 1 plus two extra 17 count mags. Very comfortable carried in my SwapRig holster.

    27. i conceal carry a desert eagle 50 ae and a s&w 500 revolver for back up

      good friends of mine started training me for hostile shooting situations they would start by stomping on my hands spray me in the face with mace then shoot me with a taser, if the taser knocked me down i would get up draw my de and try to put 15 rounds on a 6″ target at 25 yards in under 20 seconds while one friend was kicking me in the balls and the other hitting me in the back of the head with a baseball bat, if i failed i would start the whole process over, after 15 tries my friends started laughing and left have not seen them since?

      1. Perhaps fair weather friends, but I cannot say for sure. While that sounds like a decent training session and a good place to start for a greenhorn like yourself, you should’ve stuck to it. You coulda been somebody…you coulda been a contender. Now you need to step up your game! Next range session commit to self immolation while quick drawing your derringer from inside the toe of your boot while hog tied. You want to simulate tough real world scenarios, not static 2 dimensional target practice. Now go get some!

    28. Not one mention of a Beretta PX 4 storm compact. Super accurate & a pleasure to shoot. In a N82 holster very comfortable to carry IWB. Not too big for OWB for us bigger guys either. Twelve +1 in 40 mm, fifteen +1 or more depending on mag for 9 mm. Type G for me. My 2 cents & my choice above all.

      1. The Beretta PX4 Storm is not only a good pistol, it is also reliable. I know what it feels like to find the perfect combination of handgun, comfortable holster, and extra mag. holders. The other side of that conversation is the enjoyment of shooting that pistol and going to the range.

    29. I carry a Kimber Ultra Crimson Carry II daily, usually in a leather positive retention belt holster. It is a 3″ bbl gun in .45 ACP. If I feel I will be in dangerous areas, I will carry the Kimber in a shoulder holster and a S&W M&P .45c in a Serpa CQC holster on my hip, and maybe a Kel-Tec P11 9mm in my pocket. A light vest will conceal these quite well. In all, I carry JHP defensive load ammo. I feel the key to never having to use these to date is situational awareness, which is essential to staying alive. As a 67 yo retired military member, I feel these edicts have kept me alive all these years.

    30. These are nice, but most of the time I carry a S&W SW1911 in 45 ACP it has a 3″ barrel and is about the size of most of the ones shown. If I carry a 9MM I carry a Sig Sauer P938, it also has a 3″ barrel.
      For some reason the Sig P938 seems to be over looked by most of the reviewers, haven’t figured out why though

    31. William, the Sig p938 is ignored for the same strange and unknown reason as the Sig p290. These both offer some of the very best characteristics a CC can offer and they are Sig Sauer. This is the brand I was raised on, trained with throughout my life and I trust my well being and the lives of my family to Sig Sauer. There is some sort of prejudice against Sig and it’s been going on for 25 years more or less.

    32. This article was about the best 9mm in his opinion. Always goes to 45acp or 22 or 380 all guns are up to what you like and what’s best for you.No one can stick to the point this was about the best compact 9mm .Great article lot of information if I was new to shooting new to the NRA I would think we are looking for a argument I think it was helpful if you are looking for a gun

    33. I HAVE A GLOCK 43 AND I LOVE IT. I DO NOT HAVE A MAGAZINE MORE THAN 6+1, THAT’S ENOUGH FOR MY
      PERSONAL PROTECTION. I SLEEP WITH IT UNDER MY PILLOW WITH A SPARE MAGAZINE.

    34. I’ve tried many fire arms but still love to carry the S&W M&P 9. I know, I know it’s full size but with an Apex trigger, it’s very deadly. It’s a tad heavy but recoil is contained fairly well. It holds lots of ammo and that’s a plus. My second choice would be the Glock 19 but after a box of ammo shot thru it, kills my middle finger. I get a “Glock finger” every time.

    35. After 3 incients with guns in 45 years, you need 15 rounds, FBI stats on their shootings show 50% of all rounds fied , missed. It takes 3-4 rounds to drop someone unless you can hit head shots while you are both moving. So with 15 , it leaves 7-8 hits, and with 2-3 perps, you need every round plus a spare mag, “that’s why we say carry 2 mags plus the one in the gun. This is not targets, targets aren’t shooting at you while knocking over people and objects. 5 round pistoles are useless, after you miss 3 shots what do you do? Look up the facts

      1. Iv’e read many articles that caution against carrying too many extra mags. After a shooting and you have to appear in court, an over zealous D.A. Will attempt to distort issues by labeling you a menace since you carry more bulletts than needed and also they will try to fry you if you carry an extra hot load. They are just waiting to crucify us gun owners.

    36. I was disappointed that the Walther PPS was excluded. It is very flat; accurate and controllable. Mine is the .40 and it is all the gun I need in that size group.

    37. As a former LEO of one of the top 3 murder cities I now carry a Kahr PM9 black diamond,8 in the mag. 1 in the tube. 9 MM. Man ,if you need more than 9 shots. Get a job guarding the fish at the aquarium at you local zoo. These guy’s that carry full size autos and 1 or 2 extra mags.. You need to sell your firearms and take up golf.. Maybe then you can hit something.

    38. For me, my carry rotation is Sig P225 a-1 9MM, HK p30 sk 9mm, Kimber K6S revolver 357 mag, Springfield Armory XD MOD 2 9MM, AND 45 ACP, kAHR PM9, AND kAHR K45 45 ACP, I also have all the guns mentioned, I just prefer these for my carry options…

    39. For 9mm I like my Taurus PT709s. If we’re actually talking “concealed” that’s the one. I also have a sticky holster for my Chiappa 2″ 357. It works and conceals just fine.

    40. Personally, I’m not sure I want a trigger pull on a self defense weapon as light as the author has listed in his personal criteria. Mine is around 8 1/2 to 9, and I have another that is a little stiffer than that (both semi auto 9mm). But that’s me.

    41. My Opinion! There are no good 9MM’s! That Muslim that got shot 5 times in Paris the other week? Yes it was a 9mm! A 45 acp and he would not be surviving!

      1. I carry .40 (and sometimes .45) caliber myself but the type of ammo you shoot can make as big a difference as the caliber… and the biggest difference is the knowledge of where to place your shots and the ability to do so. While larger calibers make bigger holes, they have more recoil which can translate to less accurate and/or slower follow-up shots. Like I said, I carry larger calibers myself but I know that I have to practice much more to be as accurate as someone with a 9mm. I also know that I am trading bullet diameter for the number of available rounds. We must each make an informed decision.

    42. I was glad to see the Sig P320c on the list. I carry it in .40 cal but have the exchange kit to change it to 9mm in about two minutes. I was always a hammer guy before but this gun won my heart and I am shooting much tighter groups as a result. Most people need to find a CC gun that fits the way they dress… but as a retiree, I dress to fit the gun. I carry a back-up 5 shot .38 special revolver on my ankle as well… not, so much, because I need two guns, but because it I find that I may be in a position where my ankle is much easier to access than the 4 o’clock IWB position where my Sig is located. I carry two extra mags on my weak hand side for the Sig, There are a lot of people out there who will tell you that what they carry is the only way to go but I have found that it’s a personal decision based on many personal need, size, and eperience factors. I you are committed, as am I, to everyday carry, I commend you. By your decision, you make the environment in which you live a safer place for yourself, your loved ones, and everyone else. The higher the percentage of good guys who are willing to carry, the lower the probability the bad guys (who are notorious for seeking the easy mark) will strike. It’s like making the statement, “4 out of every ten people in this crowd are armed… you guess which 4!

    43. I just received a Walther PPS M1 .40 as compensation for my work as the president of a gun company. I’m a full-time Tribal prosecutor out west and it will be a perfect companion once I put some Trijicons on it. I owned the 9mm version previously and it was a tack driver and shot like a much larger pistol. I can’t wait to send some rounds down range!

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