Best Concealed Carry Handgun

best concealed carry handgun
The best concealed carry handgun should include any of these three Glocks.
Midwest Carry Academy
Midwest Carry Academy

Eden Prairie, Minnesota –-( What should one consider when searching for the best concealed carry handgun?

This question comes up over and over in classes in one way or another. And the answer isn't quite straight forward or as easy to arrive at as one might think.

Reason being, the answer will potentially be very specific to the person asking the question.

Probably one of the most important considerations when deciding what gun one will carry as their concealed carry handgun will be their lifestyle. What I mean by lifestyle is the multitude of factors that affect our everyday life. From the small things like what you wear on a daily basis to the big things like your career or family life, many of these factors should be considered if one wants to avoid an abrupt realization that the gun he or she invested in isn't what they actually needed or wanted for a daily concealed carry handgun.

Analyzing our lifestyle within the context of carrying a gun will help us more clearly define exactly what we want.

Best Concealed Carry Handgun

For most people this is the easy part; it doesn't take long (even for individuals who may be relatively inexperienced with the subject of carrying a gun) to make statements about what they want in a concealed carry handgun. Statements such as “I want something that's going to be easy to conceal” or “something that's going to be comfortable to carry” are not bad or shallow things to want in a carry gun, although it is foolish to be completely ignorant of the compromises that come at the expense of your preferences.

Most are quick to list the things they want in a concealed carry handgun, but how many identify, accept, and truly understand the compromises in their decision.

Ruger LC9 best concealed carry handgun
Ruger LC9 with Adjustable 3-Dot/Crimson Trace Laserguard makes the list as one of my choices for best concealed carry handgun.

There is a per-requisite to understanding these compromises and that is education. Obviously one will not be able to identify these compromises without first having knowledge of them. Assuming we are working with someone who has zero knowledge we obviously start from the ground up with basic handgun familiarization: safety of course, handgun anatomy, understanding various action types, etc. This could be something like a beginner's handgun course based more in a classroom environment or maybe even your states basic requirement for concealed carry training.

Beyond the ground level basics its very important to graduate to a class that has more range time than your average concealed carry course that teaches you how to shoot and maybe even gives you an opportunity to shoot different types of handguns for comparison. More training beyond these basics that give you a solid knowledge base is definitely encouraged and I would argue, is required. But, even with a good basic knowledge one can not only more readily determine what they are looking for in a handgun but also quickly identify the compromises that are attached to it.

So to illustrate, the commonly held preference for a small handgun more often than not comes from a desire for something that will be easy to conceal and comfortable to carry. These are perfectly reasonable preferences so long as one understands the compromises associated with the small gun.

The more educated/experienced one is, the more compromises they'll be able to identify when deciding on the best concealed carry handgun for their situation;

  • The magazine capacity (how many rounds the gun can hold) may be low
  • Being smaller and lighter, the gun may have more felt recoil or snap
  • The shorter sight radius may make it more difficult to be precise (the sights themselves may be designed to be very low profile to keep from snagging if one was to carry in a pocket and therefore make the sights themselves more difficult to see and align).
  • Your grip may not be as ideal due to the frames smaller size and therefore reduce surface area contact with your hand (making it potentially even more difficult to manage the muzzle flip of the gun).

These are just a few of many examples of the compromises that one should be aware of. There is no perfect carry gun that will work for all because what I value may not be what you value, and the compromises I'm willing to accept, may not be compromises you're willing to accept.

Fobus Holster GL42ND holster for Glock 42's as the Best Concealed Carry Handgun
Fobus Holster GL42ND holster for Glock 42's

As long as an individual can identify these issues, live with them, and most importantly keep them in consideration in their training, then who's to say that person shouldn't carry that gun.

So what is the best concealed carry handgun?

There is no perfect carry gun that will work for all because everyone values different features in their handguns.

There may however be good places to begin your search as you start to flesh out what you're looking for in a carry gun. Modern sub-compact and pocket pistols have some of the more obvious downsides that accompany their size but are extremely popular as many, both uneducated and educated, value comfort, light weight, conceal-ability, etc. when they think of a carry gun.

The market responds to this demand and has a slew of small sub-compact to pocket pistol sized options such as the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, Glock 42, Ruger LC9, and the list goes on.

Some larger but not to large options such as the Glock 19 are extremely popular giving people a reasonably sized compact gun that many could comfortably carry and conceal while being perhaps a little more comfortable to shoot as well. There's a plethora of options, which is all the more reason for people to educate themselves as much as possible.

The more they know, the easier it is to quickly identify the compromises they're willing to accept and the compromises they're not willing to accept.

About Midwest Carry Academy;

Midwest Carry Academy is the premier firearms training resource in the upper-Midwest.  We provide instruction for the responsibly armed citizen through a catalog of courses including concealed carry training in Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin.  Visit:

  • 150 thoughts on “Best Concealed Carry Handgun

    1. hi i am 5-5ft in height i was wondering what kind of ccw for my daily carry can you please help me to buy one i like 9mm my hands are medium size and less recoil not hard to pull slide becauce my hands are not too strong i had r–arthiritis thank you so muck

    2. Y’all are looking at the wrong thing. The issue is not the gun!!!! The issue is wearing trousers or shorts that are loose enough to carry the highest capacity pistol in the largest caliber you can shoot well, which means you practice your draw and your shooting. Always carry a backup or two–two backups? After you have been shot, it is good to have a revolver for when you get so weak that you limp wrist the semis. The fastest magazine change is another pistol. You have to work out the tradeoffs between speed of draw holsters, holsters that don’t print the pistol under your clothes, holsters which don’t cause the pistol to dig into your skin, and holsters from which you can draw with either hand. It is hard to conceal a pistol under ballet tights. You also have to consider retention and limitations on body movement.

    3. I have the best concealed firearm: a Smith and Wesson 686 plus with three inch barrel. I prefer revolvers and no one is going to walk away after being hit with a .357.

      1. Whooa I just purchased a S&W 686 Plus Deluxe 3″..waiting on my holster to arrive. I also have the S&W 38 Nickel Classic Model 63 and a S&W Compact M&P Shield 9mm..yeaa I’m team Smith and Wesson all the way.

    4. I guess I’m a bit different here. I started a bit too late for my appreciation of guns and started with a New Army Remington in black powder, 454 ball, of which the cylinder has been made to accept .45 ACP, my carry for fishing and camping. My CC daily carry is the Star Model 43, 9 mm. Being a lefty, the safety is amdextrise and I carry cross draw or with a shoulder holster under a jacket. At times, I also carry a 7.65 (.32) 1914 Mauser, summer carry also cross draw or on my left hip. Through much practice, I can draw with my left and knock off the safety with my right, bringing to eye level. It is very comfortable to carry. The only peev is finding a suitable holster. Now, I’m in the market for a carry revolver, like SP 101 or an Airweight in .357. QUESTIONS: is anyone familiar with the EAA Windicator, snub? I much like heavier guns and was wondering if anyone has used one?

    5. Gotta’ love the S&W M+P Shield in 9MM. Can shred the bull at 13 ft. with the larger mag. Had to put an extender on the shorter mag to achieve the same accuracy. Love the idea of a thumb safety on a striker fired handgun. If a bad guy gets it away from you he may take a few seconds to figure out why nothing is happening when the trigger is pulled. The thumb safety “off” position is down -not up as one might imagine. Comfortable either inside the waistband or out on the hip. Great concealed carry choice of many LEOs for off-duty carry.

    6. I carry a Glock 21SF .45 with 13+1. I haven’t had any conceal issues using a Mic holster. I also carry an old school Walther PP .32 from time to time. The Walther, for me, is the most accurate off the shelf pistol ever made.

    7. I recommend going and do some hands on. revolvers are nice but wait till you grab an auto. I went from a Taurus 66 6 shot and a s&w 19-3 both .357s to a llama sub compact .45 then a Taurus p140pro .40 a kel-tec p11 .9mm there is a need for you.. yourself handle them. the subcompact .45 will pull your drawers right down around you ankles while you will almost forget the 9mmon a clip on inside the pants the .40 is very comfortable ..also the right holster and a very good belt then there is double stacked vs single stack. go look and remember ” no drooling”

    8. I have a Beretta PX 4 storm it will hold 17 range bullets and 14 hollow points I haven’t got my cc yet I was just wandering how may shells I could carry in it in Ohio the mags came with it when I bought it at the gun shop.

      Beretta Px4 Storm Full Size .45ACP

    9. I have a S&W .357/38 model 66 w/4″ barrel. Not quite conceal carry worthy but OWB boss! I am leaning toward the Beretta PX4 Storm Compact for CC. I like the weight, feel in the hand & the rotating barrel. Not too bad on the recoil. The one thing I might change would be getting the G series so it would be decocker only.

    10. My favorite concealed carry semi-auto is by far, my Kimber Crimson Ultra Carry. Lightweight, accurate, built in laser, .45 acp power, and extremely difficult to pull from your grip when holding it properly. I have fired approximately 5,000 rnds without a single mechanical problem. I trust it 100%.

      Kimber Pro Crimson Carry II Concealed Carry Handgun

      1. I could NEVER own a firearm made in Yonkers,NY ! Jeeeesshh ! Them pilgrims in Yonkers like to say “enough already” all the damn time ! And that’s what I say too,…”enough already” !

    11. My best CCW is Sig Sauer P938 BRG. But every day I wake up and maybe it’s one of the others: Glock 32, Taurus PT111 Mil. G2, or maybe even the Sig 1911 or Ruger GP100…….but when I just can’t decide it the P938.

      Sig Sauer P938 BRG Handgun

    12. Also a PT111 G2 man. Love the color of your frame!

      My only grip is that they could have made the area under the trigger guard where it meets the grip a lot deeper – as I Springfield did with the XD-9 Mod2. I had to put a Hogue grip on mine as the grip is too thin for my big hands. Without it, the grip tends to rotate towards my elbow. I grabbed a Glock grip and cut it down to fit.

      I like how it takes Gen 1 24/7 mags – which hold 17 rounds. Also had to make my own spacer, aka “X-tender grip,” to cover up the gap between the base plate and the Hogue grip.

      I also like the long uptake on the trigger because it doesn’t add to the pull weight. It’s a safety feature, IMHO, in that you can walk it up to where the trigger breaks which gives you time to think about whether or not you will need to actually complete the trigger pull, which takes 1/8″ to fire and 1/8″ to reset.

      Also, I wish they kept the front end like the Milleniium Pro that had trigger guard auto lasers made to fit it.

    13. Many opinions in this blog but as long as they all practice a lot it makes up for the 380’s and occasional 22’s. I prefer .40 caliber and depending on clothing worn I use a Clock 27 or a Heckler Koch p.40 full size. Both are carried outside the waist band and the H&k is a fantastic shooter because of its weight and longer sight plane. Heavy but easy to cover with a shirt in a Blackhawk holster.

    14. I have many pistols, some concealable some not! The Ruger LCP – the lightest and 2nd most concealable, even with the new generation trigger, it sucks, forget the second shot! Ruger LC9, bad,bad,bad trigger but I understand the new models have significantly improved the trigger, but still big to CC in summer wear. The Sig Sauer P938, great gun but has a nasty kick, again forget the second shot. The Ruger SR9C, the best all around pistol I own, large capacity, low recoil and you can just point and shoot and keep all rounds in a 3 inch circle, but a little too to big to CC. Springfield XDS45, nice gun, fairly accurate, but hard to handle multiple shots with aggressive recoil (would like to try the XDS9MM). North American Arms Wasp 22WMR, cute and I can wear it in a necklace holster, by far the most concealable, but not very accurate at more than 10 feet. S&W Airweight Performance Shop 38 SPL, a little snappy but a nice carry due to weight and does have good stopping power. I also have a S&W 460 XVS, Ruger SP357 Wiley Clapp, Beretta 96A1, Sig Sauer 1911 C3, Ruger SR1911 CMD, Rock Island Armory 22TCM/9mm, all too big to CC, various 22LR guns for fun, but now for the winner!

      Sig Sauer P238, small size for CC, but enough weight to reduce recoil and get spot on with fast follow-up shots. With the extended magazine it gives bigger hands that extra finger hold for a nice grip purchase along with 8 rounds. You can carry it chambered, cocked and locked. Like many have said, the best CCW is one you will carry and that you get proficient with for both my Wife and I it’s the P238.

    15. My best carry? That depends. When the weather permits a jacket it’s a Sig Sauer 1911 45ACP full size. For hot summers in Texas: Sig Sauer P938 9mm. In the car it’s a Glock 32 357 Sig . At home it’s a Taurus Millennium
      PT111 G2 9mm. On the ranch property: Ruger G2 357 Mag. Sometimes I’m carrying 2 of them. I regularly train with them all so there will be no surprises if I have to use them. And of course I always carry the extra mags.

    16. This has helped but EVERYBODY has a diff answer for the same question ! grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr i guess it’s all on the person Pref. ; I’ve been a Gun man all of my Life, I’m in my mid 40’s getting ready to take my CCW class, and i think…… i”m going with a Stub nose 357 magnum on my Ankle,,,,, i have a Smith Light weight 38 Love it but as we all know a 357 can PUNCH into things a 38 just can’t ! thanks for all the info very helpful later BRAD, NEWARK OHIO

    17. I have read a lot of real good comments, The only comment I would have is, If you carry or you are planing on carrying a fire arm what ever brand it is MAKE SURE you get the training to know what it is to carry a gun. And learn what it is your gun will do and the way to keep it clean.

      BE SAFE

    18. My Keltec P11 is with me daily, I trust it with my families life. Owned since 1997 and no fails ever! It takes a few mods like glueing the rear sight with Godgilla glue, a trigger boot and a Hogue grip for comfort. I now use Hornady Customs, great ammo! I have six carry pistols that cost much more, but my P11 is my pick.

    19. I’ll go with the Ruger LC9S for concealed carry (including pocket carry). It is striker-fired and has a great trigger pull, making it extremely accurate for its diminutive size and weight. The recoil for such a light 9mm pistol, even using +P ammo, is quite manageable. (Per the owner’s manual, limited use of +P ammo is okay.) It is very reliable and rugged and is equiped with an extremely easy to use manual safety (especially if you’re used to a 1911). The safety’s use is, of course, optional. The LC9S is compatible with countless holster types. Also, field-stripping is quick and simple. Ruger clearly got it right with the LC9S.

      Ruger LC9s Pro Pistol

    20. I think I’ve tried them all from glocks to Bersa, [email protected] and Rugers. All have been iwb and all have their good qualities. I finally settled for the cheapest Sig on the market the gen2 P250 sc in the most powerful cartridge of them all the 357 sig Concealable, accurate and dependable. After 1500rds.not a single failure with anything I feed it. I still take out my 1911’s once an awhile, but always revert back to the little Sig. Love the trigger after a lot of practice I mean a lot of practice. Try one out sometime you’ll understand!!!

    21. Of my seven CC firearms,I seem to go most often with my Taurus TCP in 380. In a pocket holster or an IWB or inside breast pocket of suit jacket. Carries light and has functioned flawlessly at the range. Lazerguard made it perfect for real world all the time carry. I still love my Taurus 1911 in a shoulder rig or my PPK IWB when I can. Even my NAA 22mag is great when I ‘can’t’ carry a gun. Point is, one gun all the time doesn’t always work. All my carry guns are in stainless & I practice with all of them as ammo permits. Peace,until peace doesn’t work.

      1. Got rid of my TPC, failure to feed over and over again. Great size just not a great gun. Bought the flock 26 gen 4. The best automatic I have ever owned. From twenty paces shattering 12″x12″ tiles with very little time spent coming back on target. Little recoil no snappiness.

    22. I have an S&W Bodyguard 380. Small and easy to conceal. Long hard trigger pull, but being double action you expect that. This makes for a safe gun in my opinion. Not easy for a younker to fire. and since it’s not semi auto an excitable person might not be waving it around and firing rapidly. close range, of course! This is my churchgoing gun. otherwise I carry a Sig Nitro 1911.

    23. I agree with Larry accuracy is the key, shoot the gun that you get the best accuracy with. Where live a 250 is the best score you can get. I constanly get that score a shoot a Springfield range officer in .45 cal. Remember you must practice,practice and continued practice is the key to good accuracy. One can never get enough practice.

      1. I have the CZ RAMI BD Decocker. It’s all steel construction, a little heavy. I use a DeSantis IWB holster and don’t ever notice I’m wearing it. It is an absolute tack driver, equaling my CZ SP-01 Tactical, shooting consistent 3″ groups at 10 meters. Due to construction and weight there is minimal felt recoil in 9 mm. Best subcompact I’ve ever owned. It took almost a year to find one. Had trigger work done on the SP-01 by Cajun Gun Works, but the RAMI BD did not need it. Awesome EDC, and extremely concealable with any clothing.

    24. I normally carry a Sig P220 .45acp in a Sam Andrews IWB holster, backed up by a compact version (P245) in the same caliber. The P245 will accept the P220 magazine so the two pistols make a great pair for every day carry.

      There are some circumstances where I want a more potent caliber and I then carry a 3″ S&W 629 .44 mag and a S&W 640 .357 magnum. No commonality in caliber but the two revolvers are an awesome duo.

      Regardless of what one carries, practice and environmental awareness are key factors. Hopefully the time will never come when blood must be spilled because it is definitely a life changing experience. But better to kill in self-defense than to lose your own life or that of a loved one.

      Be safe!

    25. I have been carrying Sig P938 for few years now. Very comfortable, concealable and accurate. Just purchased Springfield Armory EMP, 9mm and it may well become my new carry. Like the 1911 style, concealable and like 9 +1 mag.

    26. boberg xr9-s. I like the full size grip and the +3″ barrel in such a small package. The entire design of the gun is different from the competition. Once you have it broken-in, its incredible reliable (I trust my life with it). The recoil spring runs the entire length of the gun and absorbs recoil better than anything in its class. A little pricy, but you get a custom feel from the gun. do yourself a favor and look into it

    27. Zastava M88a 9mm thats what i cary, 8 rounds +1 in chamber i use 1911 holster for it. You can get gun at that where i got it 220$ about 2000 rounds thru it only had 1 jam and it was first round fired.
      I chose this gun next to my beretta px4 sub compact and my springfield xd compact, just great gun all around and you can’t beat 220$ price.

      1. I agree: I own one, carry it regularly, and just think its wonderful. Its been a rock-solid, reliable gun for me – and Ill admit it – I like that its sort of retro in its design, much like a 3/4 size 1911. Not a big surprise as it’s designed mimicked the 1911 in many ways. For me, that makes it even better. My wife has a Glock 19, which we both also consider to be fantastic, although it is bigger and fatter than the m88a as it is a double-stack pistol, but its hard to find any fault with that pistol, either.

    28. Just got the Springfield Armory xD subcompact 9mm mod 2 a couple of weeks ago and for a gun with a double stack magazine it conceals very easily and is very accurate,

      Springfield Armory XD MOD.2 – 3

    29. I have and carry many guns. I wrestle with the question all the time. My public defender makes me feel very secure. My fns 9 is wonderful. The 5.7. Has aggresive stippling on the grip, this can abrade your skin as does the millennium g2. A great gun in a reasonable price point sccy cpx-2 love it for all the right reasons. Ruger lcr 357 wonderful. Smith wesson 22wmr revilver with crimson trace laser grips and 7 rounds is right at the top of my concealed carry shortlist also

    30. Questions of what to carry for your safety. It depends on what you are comfortable with and what you practice with and are good with it. As for me I carry three or four different handguns at separate times.. I carry my S&W .500,.45 Springfield,,Desert Eagle .50, 44 Magnum handguns. I am at my range 3 to 4 times a different defensive problems that I may encounter in my travels..

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