Warzone | Call of Duty Modern WarfareBest Pistol Handgun & Setup - Season 6
Read this Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare / Warzone guide to learn about the best pistol in the game! Find out the best season 6 handgun and pistol loadouts, attachments, and more!!
Table of Contents
Best Weapon & Best Loadout ArticlesRead How To Inspect Weapons Here!
Best Pistol: S Rank - Season 6
This tier list is for Pistols in Modern Warfare's Multiplayer Modes & Warzone
Extremely Reliable Sidearms
S Rank is given to pistols or handguns that extremely easy to use. These handguns are trusty sidearms which you can switch to if you ever need to deal some quick damage for finishing off an enemy, especially in heated and drawn out fights!
Renetti - Best Handgun / Pistol Setup
|Unlock Level||Using a Pistol, get 2 Headshot kills in 15 different matches|
Highly Customizable Handgun
The Renetti is an extremely customizable handgun, allowing you to tailor fit the weapon to behave the way you want. This versatility makes it a great secondary when you are fighting off multiple enemies.
Renetti - Recommended Attachments
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.50 GS - Best Handgun / Pistol Setup
Most Powerful Handgun
The .50GS is one of, if not, the most powerful handgun in the game. It packs quite a punch, but has a slow fire, rate. Make sure to increase the weapon's accuracy, and practice aiming to get the most out of this gun.
Effective Up To Mid Range
The weapon is able to deal damage from close up to the mid range. If needed, you can swap to this weapon when you run out of bullets on your primary in order to finish the job!
.50GS - Recommended Attachments
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.357 - Best Handgun / Pistol Setup
Extremely Powerful With Snake Shot & Akimbo
On it's own, the .357 is an overall average gun, with decent damage and fire rate. However, its true potential is brought out by adding the Snake Shot and Akimbo attachments. This turns the seemingly normal pistol into a pocket shotgun!
.357 - Recommended Attachments
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Best Pistol: A Rank - Season 6
This tier list is for Pistols in Modern Warfare's Multiplayer Modes & Warzone
The A Rank is given to weapons that are viable options. A rank weapons do not have the stats to rival the S rank weapons, but can be useful when attachments are added.
X16 - Best Handgun / Pistol Setup
The X16 is the first sidearm that you will have unlocked. Despite it being available early on, it is a great pistol to have in your loadout. It's well-balanced stats make sure that you get the job done during firefights.
X16 Recommended Attachments
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Best Handgun / Pistol Criteria
Can Hold Its Own During A Fight
The best handguns are able to hold their own during a fight. If you run out of bullets during an encounter, there is no problem with switching to your secondary to finish the job. These weapons can also take out an enemy single-handedly if ever a new enemy appears.
A pistol should also provide you with some mobility. This is to compensate for their lower damage output compared to your primary. Being able to move around will allow you to make yourself a harder target during fights!
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The Best New Handguns for 2021
Follow our full coverage of the best new hunting and shooting gear of 2021, including rifles, shotguns, ammunition, compound bows, crossbows, and more.
As with so many things these days, the production of new handguns has been stalled or scaled back or disrupted for most makers. But not entirely locked down. Despite all the difficulties, manufacturers have managed to introduce a number of excellent guns for 2021. A few of the big-name companies are absent from this year’s lineup, but there’s still plenty to gawk at, including new semi-autos and six-guns for hunters, competition shooters, and collectors.
Here, in alphabetical order, are the best new handguns of the year.
CZ TS 2
IPSC competitors loved the competition-ready CZ 75 Tactical Sport until it was discontinued in 2018. The long sight radius and crisp single-action trigger helped put plenty of shooters on the podium. Now, CZ has built on that foundation with the introduction of the TS 2. The new 9mm handgun has the same sighting plane and trigger as the previous iteration, but it has a new frame design that offers improved ergonomics. The TS 2 also borrows heavily from the slide design in CZ’s Shadow line, which keeps reciprocating mass as low as possible to further reduce muzzle flip. Fixed target sights with a fiber-optic front are easy to see and sturdy enough to stand up to vigorous competition. Aggressively checkered aluminum grips provide extra purchase, and the generous magwell makes keeping it stuffed easy. Though the pistol is new, there is already plenty of aftermarket support, as it accepts accessories built for legacy Tactical Sport models. Check availability here.
CZ P-10 S
The P-10 S also receives an update for 2021, though it is largely cosmetic. Now shooters can get the compact 9mm with an OD Green or Flat Dark Earth frame. Three-dot tritium night sights also upgrade the new edition, though it retains the same trigger and ergonomics as earlier models. Despite the smaller frame, the P-10S manages to hold 12+1. Check availability here.
EAA Girsan MC9 with FAR-DOT Optics
Optics have been popping up on pistols like wildfire in recent years. The craze started with competition guns, but has worked its way into everyday carry. EAA and Girsan’s new striker-fired 9mm MC9 optics-ready pistol was designed to make the most of electro-optics, keeping the aiming point as close to the bore axis as possible. To do so, the patent-pending Fast Acquisition Red DOT optics (FAR-DOT) mounts directly to the slide. The arrangement allows standard iron sight to be easily co-witnessed and provides rapid acquisition in competition or high-stress scenarios.
There’s an MC9 for both the carry and completion crowd. The standard version has a 4.2-inch barrel and weighs around 1.4 pounds to make concealed carry comfortable. The match version has a longer 4.63-inch barrel, but it features lightening cuts in the slide to keep weight down to only 1.6 pounds, despite the enhanced magwell and other competitive features. Both versions ship with three interchangeable backstraps to fit a variety of shooters, and to feed from 17-round magazine. A rail allows for accessories such as lasers or lights to be added. Check availability here.
SAR USA SAR9 Sport
As pistol competitions continues to grow, an ever-increasing list of handguns are built to win them. SAR USA offers a performance version of the SAR9 that brings all the features and performance of the original with a slightly longer configuration aimed at IDPA and USPSA competitors. The striker-fired 9mm x 19 SAR9 Sport comes standard with a 5.2-inch barrel, a slightly longer forged steel slide with cooling ports, and a lightweight black polymer frame.
The ergonomic grip design can be tailored to a variety of hand sizes, using three supplied back straps and side plates. Other features include a forged steel barrel, stainless-steel frame assembly, enhanced trigger guard, striker status indicator, and magazine release that can be changed from left or right. The SAR9 Sport takes steel magazines for 17 and 19 rounds, with a 10-round option for capacity-restricted states. Check availability here.
SAR USA SAR9 Optics-Ready
The SAR9 Optics-Ready is designed for both carry and competition, with a 4.5-inch hammer-forged barrel with recessed crown for improved accuracy. The lightweight polymer-framed striker-fired 9mm x 19 has a 20-degree grip angle and a low barrel axis-to-grip ratio to lessen muzzle climb for superior control and fast second-shot recovery, making it a good host for reflex optics. Interchangeable backstraps and side plates improve fit. The SAR9 Optics-Ready comes standard with 17- and 19-round magazines, with a 10-round option. Check availability here.
SAR USA SAR9 Compact Pistol
Chambered in 9mm, the SAR9 Compact strikes an ideal balance between a micro and full-size pistol. It’s small and light enough to be easily concealed comfortably, yet maintains the 19+1 capacity of the full-sized SAR9. All of the other features of the SAR9 line are present, including the interchangeable backstrap and side plates, black-oxide slide, accessory rail, and live-round indicator. Check availability here.
SAR K-12 Sport X Pistol
The new K-12 Sport X is SAR USA’s top-of-the-line race gun. The all-metal hammer-fired single-action 9x19mm semi-auto was purpose-built for the limited division of the USPSA, with an oversized, integrated, flared magwell; high-rise beavertail; extended ambidextrous manual safety; and adjustable trigger. The 4.7-inch hammer-forged match-grade barrel with recessed crown is aimed via a click-adjustable rear target sight with changeable front blade. Low bore axis minimizes muzzle flip for fast follow-up shots. A skeletonized hammer, precision-machined alloy steel frame/slide, a hard-white chrome finish, and front and rear slide serrations make this pistol look as good as it shoots. Check availability here.
Smith & Wesson M&P 9 M2.0 Compact OR
Smith & Wesson has expanded its line of M&P M2.0 Compact pistols to include an optics-ready variant, the M&P9 M2.0 Compact 4-inch OR. Building on the award-winning M&P9 M2.0 Compact pistol series, the new models are chambered in 9mm and feature a slide cut for optics, co-witness white-dot front and rear sights, and enlarged forward slide serrations. Built for both personal and professional use, the M&P9 M2.0 Compact pistols are available with or without an ambidextrous manual thumb safety. With a 4-inch barrel, the M&P9 M2.0 Compact OR comes standard with seven mounting plates designed to fit popular slide-mounted optics, two 15-round magazines, four interchangeable palmswell grip inserts, and more. Check availability here.
Taylor’s & Company Gunfighter Defender
If you like your carry gun to be at home on the range, take a good look at Taylor’s & Company’s new Gunfighter Defender. Available in the deer- and hog-stopping .357 Magnum, as well as the more traditional .45 LC., this classic six-gun offers an extra-long grip that improves ergonomics and control. Competitive shooters and outdoorsman will find the low-flat hammer spur a welcome addition, allowing the shooter to pick up the rear sight notch and fixed front blade quicker for increased accuracy and speed. The color-case-hardened frame is fitted with a blued barrel and trigger guard, and wears a checkered walnut grip for rugged good looks. Available barrel lenths are 4.75 or 5.5 inches, with an overall length of 10.35 or 11.1 inches and weight of 2.45 or 2.5 pounds, respectively. (A hand-tuned option with lightened hammer and trigger pull is available for slightly more money.) Check availability here.
Stoeger STR 9S Combat
Stoeger introduced their first pistol, a striker-fired 9mm semiauto, in 2019. Since then, the affordable STR-9 has been a hit. This year, Stoeger takes the polymer-framed pistol to new levels with the introduction of the STR-9S Combat pistol. The upgrades include suppressor-height sights, threaded barrel, and a flared magazine well for fast reloads. The optics-ready slide comes complete with four interchangeable plates that allow shooters to attach a number of popular aftermarket red-dot sights. Shooters can also tailor the grip size to their hands via three interchangeable backstraps. A lower accessory rail provides mounting options for lights and lasers, making the STR-9S Combat a good choice for everyday carry, home defense, or fun at the range. The new Stoeger ships with three magazines, in either 10- or 20-round capacities to comply with state regulations. Check availability here.
Sig Sauer Custom Works P320 AXG Scorpion
The P320 AXG Scorpion is the first commercially available metal P320 and the first pistol release from SIG Custom Works. The new handgun combines the weight and balance of a metal-framed pistol with the performance and reliability of the P320, delivering a unique shooting experience. Sig’s new AXG (Alloy XSeries Grip) metal grip module serves as a foundation for the high-end build, and wears a set of custom Hogue G10 grip panels and backstrap insert. The pistol comes with XRAY3 day/night sights on an optic-ready slide, which is compatible with three direct-mount options from SIG Sauer Electro-Optics: ROMEO1 Pro, Delta Point Pro, and RMR Reflex Optics. The P320 AXG Scorpion comes with a host of other high-end features and ships in a Negrini SIG Custom Works case with three magazines, a SIG Custom Works challenge coin, and an official Certificate of Authenticity. Check availability here.
Springfield Armory Ronin 10mm 1911
Springfield Armory decided 10mm is the best millimeter, so they added a new chambering, the Ronin 1911. The full-size 1911 offers plenty of control over the added horsepower, and maintains plenty of capacity with 8-round mags. Front and rear slide serrations provide options for charging the pistol, and the traditional 1911 beavertail grip safety is present—though the Ronin offers a “memory bump” for solid engagement. They’ve also added a fiber-optic front sight and tactical rack white-dot rear that are easy to pick up in low light conditions. The two-tone steel frame and wood laminate grips give it a distinctive look that goes beyond its relatively low price point. Check availability here.
Zev Technologies Z365 Octane Gunmod
ZEV Technologies and Sig Sauer joined forces to create the Z365. Sig’s popular P365 serves as the chassis for ZEV’s high-octane tuning, which ups the performance of the micro 9. The hot-rodding starts at the slide, which features aggressive serrations that give a better grip and reduce the weight of the reciprocating mass—allowing the pistol to shoot flatter and maintain sight picture more easily during follow up shots. The aftermarket slide is compatible with a number of electronic optics including Shield RMSc, SIG Romeo Zero, Holoson HS407K, PRO Barrel, as well as Zev’s fiber-optic Combat Sights. And the grip is enhanced with a laser-cut diamond pattern that increases purchase while still maintaining comfort in hand. Check availability here.
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Best Handgun: Top 12 Choices For Home Defense 
Almost nobody wants to be in the sort of emergency situation where they have to fire their handgun. However, in life it often pays to prepare for the worst even while you hope for the best. For many, that will mean owning a gun and training with it regularly so as to be able to use it to protect themselves and others.
For that task, you need the right tool. We want to help you to find the best handgun for everyday carry or home defense so that in a crisis you can be sure that it won’t let you down.
How We Reviewed & Determined which Handgun was Best
In order to help you find the best handgun for you, we compiled a list of some of the handguns suitable for everyday use and home- and personal-defense.
These handguns are all ones from reputable brands and which came highly recommended by their users. We have provided an overview of each handgun’s key features, a list of pros and cons, a rough price, and a link to where you can find more information on buying one.
Overall Prices of Handguns
The guns we reviewed ranged in price from the very affordable to the most expensive. However most were available for an affordable price. Prices of handguns of the same model may vary depending on the handgun’s finish, barrel length, magazine capacity and the size of rounds that it takes.
What We Reviewed
- Walther PPQ M2
- CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical
- Springfield XD MOD2
- Colt 1911
- Ruger 1707 GP100
- CZ P-10 S
- Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
- Sig Sauer MK25 P226
- Gen 4 Glock 19
- Beretta M9
- Taurus TX22
Walther PPQ M2
This pistol, a product of German precision engineering, incorporates a range of features such as striker fire action, three automatic safeties, and a loaded-chamber indicator, with accuracy, durability, and reliability.
It has almost negligible recoil, making it one of the best handguns for women or other users with less wrist strength or who have conditions such as carpal tunnel.
This handgun may be just slightly too big for concealed carry unless you are a large framed person yourself, but in almost all respects it’s a good gun. However, some users may want to switch out the plastic sights for something a bit more durable.
- Great bonus features
- Less recoil
- Plastic sights
- Slightly too big for CC
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This handgun is well suited to a range of tasks, such as personal defense, home security, and law enforcement. The frame is made of a tough polymer, but the barrel and slides are stainless steel, allowing users to get the best of both worlds.
It can be racked with either hand, meaning that it can be used easily by left handed shooters. On the downside, the grips are rather large.
Plus, some users reported that the grippy texture began to cut into their hands after they had been through a few magazines.
- Polymer frame
- Stainless steel slides and barrel
- Option to add red-dot sight
CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical
CZ, the Czech gun manufacturers claim that “CZ 75 Pistols are used by more government, law-enforcement, military and security agencies than any other pistol in the world.”
This model was designed to take the best features of military service pistols from around the world to create a tough, reliable, and accurate handgun.
Many users describe it as the best handgun they have ever owned, and it was very hard to find any criticisms of its design or performance. However, you might find it hard to get hold of.
- Great ergonomics
- Consistently accurate
- Restricted availability
- On the heavy side
Springfield XD Mod.2
This slimmer “sub-compact” new model in Springfield Armory’s XD range is comfortable in the hand and as a concealed-carry firearm.
It has a short trigger and short reset, meaning that follow-up shots are as accurate as the first shot.
The XD Mod.2 has a corrosion resistant Meltonite coating which gives it a rugged semi-matte finish.
- Corrosion resistant
- Very compact
- Requires a firm grip to fire accurately
- Difficult to rack
This pistol, sometimes known as “The Government” has a long and glorious history within the world of American Firearms. The single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed pistol fits comfortably in the hand and “points” well.
It can be easily modified and customized, including the ability to fine-tune the trigger action; one of the reasons it is loved by gun enthusiasts.
However, the pistol may be too large to be gripped comfortably by some users. Additionally, the lack of a de-cocker in the pistol means that great care must be taken when lowering the hammer.
- Easily modified and customized
- No de-cocker
- Costly maintenance
Ruger 1707 GP100
Ruger’s range of Centerfire revolvers are well-known for being dependable, reliable, and accurate.
This Ruger, the only revolver on our list, features a smooth-cycling triple-locking cylinder making sure of an accurate shot every time you fire.
The grip is designed to reduce recoil and make firing the gun comfortable. The revolver is available in a range of chamber sizes and finishes.
- Great balance
- Trigger too stiff
- Not easy to clean
CZ P-10 S
If you are looking for a flawless 9 mm striker-fired pistol for home defense look no further than the CZ P-10 Subcompact (S) optics-ready model (2019 release).
This beauty comes with flawless performance, stupendous accuracy, and one of the softest recoils in its league to date. This pistol is not only beautiful but performance-oriented too. There’s also a bigger version, the CZ P-10 Compact (C), and a full-sized model, the CZ P-10 Full Size (F), so the possibilities are endless.
The CZ P-10 S is an alternative to the beloved Glock 26, as they both fit 12+1 rounds of ammo and are very similar in size and design.
The P-10 S is a polymer gun with an amazing trigger pull that is real pleasure to fire. It was built to work flawlessly so you don’t have to worry about misfires when there’s a break-in on your premises.
- Insanely accurate
- Soft recoil
Smith&Wesson M&P Shield
This Smith & Wesson model is the handgun of choice for many military and law-enforcement personnel because of its rugged build, reliability, and accuracy.
This is one of the best handgun choices for a concealed-carry gun because of its compact frame. This handgun comes with two magazines of different sizes so you can decide which you want with you on any given day.
- Small but powerful
- Suitable for concealed carry
- Handgun of choice for many military and law-enforcement personnel
- Difficult to rack
- Trigger requires a lot of pull
Sig Sauer MK25 P226
This German-made pistol, with black hard-anodized aluminum frame and extra-grippy ergonomic grips is the choice of a wide range of law enforcement and military units, including the Navy Seals.
It is a ruggedly built, extremely tough gun that is easy to strip down and clean. It has no safety-catch and is designed to be carried with a round in the chamber and the hammer de-cocked so that it can be drawn and fired with ease.
Though there is little danger of the gun firing accidentally, this feature of the handgun may be a little too intense for some.
- Ergonomic grips
- Black hard-anodized aluminum frame
- Negligible recoil
Gen 4 Glock 19
Glocks are well known for their reliability and performance. This latest version of the Glock 19 featured a rough textured frame and grips, and three backstraps to customize the fit.
The handgun boasts a stronger-than-steel polymer frame coated with Tenifer to make them impervious to all kinds of bad weather.
The magazine release buttons are large and reversible to make the Glock 19 suitable for ring- and left-handed users.
- Small enough to serve as carry-gun
- Tough polymer frame
- Plastic sights
- Trigger may need replacing
The Beretta M9 was developed with input from military, police, and other law enforcement personnel to create a gun suitable for use in any sort of crisis, even meeting the requirements of the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Beretta M9 is available with single or double action. The handgun can be disassembled and reassembled without any tools.
It comes with two magazines so you’ll always have a spare. However, some users reported that their accuracy with the Beretta was far below that of any other of their guns, which may be a serious cause for concern.
- Developed to military specifications
- Single or double action
The Taurus TX22 is one of the gunmaker’s best .22 semiauto pistols for absolute beginners to date. The TX22 was designed as a plinker that feels like a full-size, feature-rich centerfire but a lot lighter (17 ounces) and with very low recoil, which makes it a perfect pick for new shooters.
This is also a gun that you can use for target shooting when you’re not in the mood of using your big boy gun (the 9mm, .308, .40 etc). Nowadays, rimfire rounds are readily available and a lot cheaper than centerfire ammo. This gun also comes with an additional 16-round magazine, it is suppressor ready, and has an adjustable rear sight.
When it comes to safety, this pistol has 3 safeties – the thumb safety (which is optional, depending on the model, and can be used by left-handed users too), the striker block, and the trigger safety. Fortunately, the manufacturer didn’t add the annoying, failure-prone key-lock internal safety, which many users deeply dislike.
And because the Taurus TX22 is so lightweight and low recoil, it can also be an excellent handgun for a lady’s delicate joints.
While some critics might argue that a .22 plinker is not the greatest option for home defense, don’t be deceived. A .22 LR might not have enough energy to insta kill a home invader, but killing people is not the point of self- and home defense. Your goal should be to slow down or stop the attacker, and the TX22 will elegantly just do that.
Plus, its current price (around $350) is hard to beat as you can buy this gem for as low as $300. And have we mentioned that it is USA made?
- Compact, lightweight, low-recoil
- Extremely reliable, fast, and feature-rich
- Cost effective
We’re loathe to make any definitive statement on the best handgun, because it’s such a subjective field. Nevertheless there were a few standout candidates in this field of ten.
The best handgun if you prefer a revolver is the reliable and compact yet powerful Ruger 1707 GP100. Amongst the pistols, we thought the best handgun for concealed carry was the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, and the best handgun overall was the CZ P-10 S.
When you go to try out handguns that you find that something completely different is to your liking, but whether you go for one of these guns or not, we hope that this was a good place to start.
Frequently Asked Questions about Handguns
1. What is the best handgun?
This question is probably impossible to answer. If you ask a hundred handgun owners what they thought was the best handgun, you could easily come away with a hundred different answers. The key things in finding the best handgun for you are to know yourself and know the use to which you plan to put your handgun. If you have unusually large hands, you may need to take that into account. If you want to use your gun for concealed carry, you’ll definitely need to take that into account; you don’t want to end up buying an enormous long-barreled gun when what would suit that task is something compact. Essentially, the best handgun is the one that works best for you.
2. Should I get a revolver or a semi-automatic handgun?
This is one of those questions that never gets old. Once again, the answer needs to be qualified with a question: what do you want to use it for? If you are looking for a handgun to keep in your house, then an automatic pistol which has on average twice or three times greater magazine capacity than a revolver may be your best choice. However, many gun-owners who want a gun for everyday or concealed carry prefer the reliability and heft of a compact revolver, ever though they have fewer shots.
3. How much does a good handgun cost?
As with many tools, with handguns you do to a certain extent get what you pay for. A hundred dollar gun may be better than nothing if you can get nothing else, but is likely to let you down when you really need it. We would say that decent quality, reliable handguns start from over $300, though these lower priced models will still be fairly basic. Finding the best handgun for you is an area where it is worth trying to get a good quality product that will last rather than an inferior cheaper product that you’ll end up having to replace.
4. What pistol do Navy SEALs carry?
The P226 MK25 is identical to the pistol carried by the U.S. Navy SEALs, the fleet’s special warfare operators. The railed P226 chambered in 9mm and engraved with an anchor on the left side of the slide is the official sidearm of the SEALs. It’s a true beauty of both aesthetics and craftsmanship. No wonder a highly trained team such as the Navy SEALs have chosen to rely on this particular model.
5. What is the most accurate 9mm pistol?
Widely regarded as one of the most accurate and best 9mm Luger pistols in the world, the Sig Sauer P210 is a sleek modernized update to the vintage 1947 model. It has a precision-machined stainless steel slide and frame with a lightweight target trigger. The Sig Sauer P210 is adopted by many sport shooters because of its outstanding accuracy and controls. It only fits an 8-round magazine but those rounds will be on target every time. The trigger is crisp and smooth (like breaking a glass rod), and is arguably the best feature of the pistol. It’s no surprise that the NRA named the Sig Sauer P210 the 2019 Gun of the Year.
6. What caliber handgun is the best?
By far the most popular caliber for handguns is the 9mm. Developed in the early 1900s by Austrian designer Georg Luger, the 9mm cartridge is the most widely used round in the handgun realm. Capable of running alongside full-sized handguns, compact pistols, and even pistol caliber carbines, the versatility, affordability, and prevalence of 9mm has secured it a top spot in gun owners’ hearts. The cartridge, which is especially popular among concealed carry and self-defense enthusiasts, can be found in some of the most popular defense handguns like the Glock 19, Sig Sauer P365, Smith & Wesson Shield, and Ruger LC9S also.
My articles appear in Marketing Edge Magazine, on Gizmogrind, and with various Medium publications. But one thing hasn’t changed in all of my life: no matter where I was or what I was doing. I’ve always loved to be outdoors.
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25 of the Best Handguns Ever
Want more of our “Best Ever…” lists? Then check our picks for the best waterfowl guns, EDC knives, axes, and more.
Colt, Glock, Smith & Wesson… Any time you’re debating what are the best handguns ever, those iconic names—and several others—have to be included. From classic cavalry sidearms of the 1800s to today’s accurate semi-automatic pistols, handguns have been a constant source for innovation and ingenuity. And that’s what inspired us to go back in time and highlight 25 of the greatest handguns, pistols, and revolvers in history—starting all the way back in 1850 when Colt released a game-changer that would go on to catch the eyes of soldiers and gunslingers alike. Many of the guns in this list are no longer available, but the impact and influence they had on handgun design will live on forever. Now, onto the list.
1. Colt 1851 Navy Revolver
In production from 1850 until 1873, the Colt Navy Revolver changed warfare and the world. Much lighter than the Colt Dragoon of 1847 and originally designated the “Ranger,” the Colt Navy was adored by cavalry soldiers, partisan ruffians, and gunslingers like Jesse James and Wild Bill Hickock. The revolver remained popular long after the introduction of the modern self-contained cartridge. The Colt Navy is a legendary sidearm and could be considered the first true fighting handgun.
2. Colt Single Action Army
Likely the most iconic handgun in existence, the Colt Single Action Army gained fame in the holsters of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and won the West in the hands of men like Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. General George Patton also carried an 1873 Colt Single Action Army, which should be all the endorsement a pistol needs to achieve fabled status. Known as the Peacemaker, the gun would’ve cost you about $17 in the 1870s. Today, you’ll pay 100 times that for a current production 1873 and as much as 500 times the original price for a first-generation specimen in good condition.
3. Smith & Wesson Model 10
Also known as the Military & Police or Victory Model, this fixed-sight, double-action revolver has been offered with barrel lengths ranging from 2 to 6 inches, and it is estimated that more than six million Model 10s have been manufactured. The revolver saw service in both World Wars and was chambered in .38 Long Colt, .38 S&W, and .38 Special. Thousands of policemen have walked their beats with a Model 10 at their sides. In 1974, S&W introduced a heavy-barrel version chambered for the .357 Magnum known as the Model 13.
4. The Luger Pistol
The Pistole Parabellum—also known as the Luger—was offered in a variety of configurations from 1898 until 1948. It is the pistol that made the 9mm Parabellum/Luger/9x19mm cartridge famous, and now the most popular pistol cartridge in the world. The Luger was used by the German Army in World War I and II and has, in a way, become a symbol of Nazi Germany. Because of this, it was a longtime favorite handgun for Hollywood villains. The Luger and its unique operating system essentially died at the end of WWII, but by then, it had already made history.
5. The Colt 1911
Created by John Browning—arguably the greatest firearm designer of all time—this pistol served the American military from 1911 until 1990 and is still in the holsters of some soldiers today. The Colt 1911 helped win two World Wars and may be the most copied handgun ever. Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper referred to it as the “Yankee Fist,” and today, the 1911 is more popular than ever before. It dominates the custom handgun market and is offered in multiple configurations by many manufacturers.
6. Colt Woodsman
Another great John Browning design, the Colt Woodsman was manufactured in various forms from 1915 until 1977. It was the first successful semi-automatic, rimfire pistol and is considered by many to be the quintessential .22 LR handgun. The Woodsman became very popular with small game hunters, trappers, hikers, and outdoorsmen, and it remains very popular with collectors, with some variations selling for as much as $4,000.
Read Next: Related: The 30 Best Handguns for Outdoorsmen
7. Colt Detective Special
This six-shot, steel-framed, two-inch-barreled, double-action revolver was instantly appealing to those looking for a pocket-pistol that could be easily concealed. It was one of the first of what would soon be called “snub-nose” revolvers and offered in .32 New Police, .38 New Police, and .38 Special. The latter chambering did indeed become popular with plain-clothes detectives and other lawmen who worked the desk and undercover jobs.
8. Smith & Wesson K22
You would never think that a high-quality, double-action revolver (with a six-inch barrel and Circassian walnut grips) chambered for the .22 Long Rifle, could have been a success–especially considering that it was introduced during the depression. But between 1931 and 1939, Smith & Wesson sold more than 17,000 K22s. With a crisp, single-action trigger pull and a guarantee to shoot within 1.5 inches at 50 yards, this gun became an instant classic and was the forerunner to a long line of .22 rimfire revolvers from Smith & Wesson.
9. Walther PPK
The Walther PPK (Polizeipistole Kriminalmodell or Police Pistol Detective Model) is a blow-back, semi-auto with an exposed hammer and a traditional double-action trigger. It has been offered in a wide variety of configurations and has been chambered for several cartridges; most notably the .380 ACP or 9mm Kurtz. The pistol reached meteoric fame as the sidearm of the fictional special agent, James Bond, and will forever be known as 007′s pistol. Compact but heavy, the steel-framed PPK is a great personal sidearm, and they are now manufactured in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
10. Browning Hi-Power
In its prototype form—as designed by John Browning—the Browning Hi-Power was a striker-fired 9mm pistol with a double-stack magazine, link-less barrel, and a pivoting, revolver-like trigger. Sounds like a Glock, right? In its final form, the handgun became a single-action, hammer-fired pistol, and would ultimately be used by more military units than any other handgun. The Browning Hi-Power was the first wonder-nine, and it laid the foundation for modern defensive handgun design as we know it today.
11. Ruger Standard Model
The Ruger Standard Model was the beginning of a company known as Sturm, Ruger & Co.—which, by the way, was founded with a $50,000 investment. The design is unique in that the pistol’s slide is internal, and the current model remains very similar to the original. The gun is now in its fourth iteration, and there have been more than two dozen variations of this handgun. An outstanding pistol for the new shooter, small-game hunter, or outdoorsman, today the Standard MK IV, which is much easier to field-strip than the original, retails for more than ten times the original price.
12. Smith & Wesson Model 36
Introduced at the 1950 International Association of Chiefs of Police convention, the S&W Model 36 would ultimately be known as the “Chief’s Special.” This name came about, rather uniquely, through a vote held at the convention. The gun was an immediate success and was originally available with either a blued or nickel finish. This five-round, double-action revolver has served law-enforcement officers well as a duty gun for detectives and administrators, and as an ankle or back-up gun for patrol officers. It is still being manufactured and retails for around $749.
13. Ruger Single Six
The 1950s were the heyday of the television western. Shows like Gunsmoke pulled the little bit of cowboy that was in all of us to the surface, and the world was ripe for a .22 LR single-action revolver that hearkened to the Old West. During its 66-year history, the Ruger Single Six has been chambered for the .22 LR, .22 Magnum, .17 HMR, and even the .32 H&R Magnum. With barrel lengths ranging from 4 ⅝ to 9 ½ inches, the Single Six became one of the best-selling firearms Ruger ever produced. Great for new shooters and hunters, this gun is still in production with the option of 6-, 7-, 9-, and 10-shot cylinders. Prices start at about $600.
Read Next: The Best Handguns for Deer Hunting
14. Colt Python
The Colt Python has a reputation for a smooth trigger pull, tight lock-up, and accuracy. It is described by many as the finest production double-action revolver ever made. Immortalized in a two-tone format by Robert Blake in the movie, Electra Glide in Blue, the Python was adopted by several state highway patrol departments and might be the Rolls Royce of revolvers. Discontinued in 2005, used examples in good condition command outlandish prices, sometimes fetching more than $10,000.
15. Smith & Wesson Model 39
This pistol has the distinction of being the first U.S. designed/manufactured double-action, semi-automatic pistol marketed in the United States. The Model 39 was chambered for 9mm Luger and was designed by S&W at the request of the Army to be an American equivalent to the Walther P38. The de-cocker and 8-round, single-stack magazine were like those on the P38, but it had a locking mechanism similar to the Browning Hi-Power. The Model 39′s true contribution was that after adoption by the Illinois State Police in 1967, it set the stage for a switch to semi-automatic handguns by American law enforcement. It also served as the forerunner to the higher-capacity Model 59—and many aluminum- and steel-framed S&W pistols—that so many police agencies would fall in love with.
16. Ruger Blackhawk
Following on the heels of the Single Six, Ruger’s next logical step was to design a more powerful single-action revolver. They decided on the Blackhawk and originally produced the revolver in .38 Special/.357 Magnum. It has since been chambered in a wide assortment of cartridges. In several cases, Blackhawks were called “convertibles” and sold with two cylinders, such as .45 ACP and .45 LC. The fixed-sight Vaquero version, offered in 1993, took sales to the stratosphere thanks to the popularity of cowboy-action shooting at the time. It has been produced in a stunning array of variations and is still available today for less than $700. The Ruger Blackhawk has become one of the most successful American made firearms.
17. Remington XP 100
An oddity for sure, the Remington XP 100 is a bolt action pistol intended for hunting and silhouette shooting. It also has the unique distinction of being the forerunner to a rifle—Remington’s Model 600. The XP 100′s centrally-located grip allowed the long-barreled handgun to balance well, and until the introduction of the Thompson/Center Contender, it was the most popular handgun for target shooters and handgun hunters. The XP 100 was chambered for a variety of cartridges including the .308 Winchester and .35 Remington. The gun was discontinued in 1998, but it might have been ahead of its time considering that in 2019, Remington introduced a similar handgun called the 700 CP.
18. Thompson/Center Contender
This single-shot, break-open handgun became very popular because owners could buy additional barrels chambered for a wide array of cartridges–from .22 LR up to .45-70. The Contender has a great reputation for accuracy, and it essentially brought about the end of Remington’s XP 100. Like with the XP 100, the Contender evolved into a rifle, and with the addition of longer barrels and buttstocks, shooters had a great deal of versatility. The Contender and the newer Encore are still sold as a kind of build-your-own system.
19. Beretta 92
The Beretta 92 has a distinctive look because the slide does not completely enclose the barrel. The pistol has a slide-mounted safety/de-cocker and a long, often described as “tedious,” trigger pull. None the less, in 1985, the U.S. Army adopted the Beretta M9 as the standard sidearm, and then the complaining began. This was partly because it was chambered for 9mm Luger instead of .45 ACP, and also because it was not American made. However, the Beretta M9 proved reliable, and due to U.S. military use, its popularity skyrocketed.
20. CZ 75
Though widely distributed, this Czechoslovakian-made pistol was not sold in that country until it was a decade old. Now it is the standard sidearm of the Czech Police. Similar to the Browning Hi-Power in that it uses a link-less, locked-breach barrel, the CZ 75 differs in that it is a double-action. Unlike most semi-automatic pistols, the slide rails on the CZ 75 ride on the inside of the grip frame. CZ 75s have a great reputation for reliability and accuracy, and there is a wide range of variants now offered with retail prices starting at about $600.
21. Smith & Wesson Model 686
Smith & Wesson’s Model 686 is one of the most successful revolvers ever created. There are more than a dozen variants with barrel lengths ranging from 2.5 to 6 inches, and at one time, the 4-inch version was one of the most prolific sidearms for law enforcement. At 48 ounces, it’s heavy enough to dampen .357 Magnum recoil, and these revolvers have an uncanny record of reliability and accuracy.
22. Glock 17
The Glock 17 was the first of an extensive line of polymer handguns to be offered by the Austrian manufacturer. Now in its fifth generation, the Glock 17 has become one of the most recognized pistols in the world, and today a Glock, in some form or another, likely fills the holsters of more policemen than any other handgun. Essentially the design is nothing more than a modification of the 1935 Browning Hi-Power, and the 17, like all Glocks, has a fine reputation for reliability and durability. Because of their performance for the price, Glocks are one of the widest distributed handguns in the world.
23. Ruger Single Seven
In 2014, Ruger took their iconic Single Six revolver and chambered it for the .327 Federal Magnum. They also drilled seven holes instead of six into the cylinder. Offered in three barrel lengths—4 ⅝, 5 ½, and 7 inches—this revolver became an instant hit because it finally housed the potent .327 in a handgun fitting of its service. With the ability to also chamber and fire .32 ACP, .32 Short, .32 Long, and .32 H&R Magnum ammunition, Ruger essentially created the ultimate trail/camp gun. Single Sevens are only available through Lipsey’s for $652.
24. Sig Sauer P320
Other than its really nice trigger, there’s nothing really ground-breaking about the design of the Sig Sauer P320. You could say it is just another polymer-framed, striker-fired, double-stack, 9mm handgun. However, in 2018, the P320 was selected as the standard issue sidearm of the United States Army and named the M17. That alone qualifies it as one of the greatest handguns of all time. Sig Sauer offers a wide array of P320 variants to include a civilian version of the M17, which sells for around an affordable $768.
25. Wilson Combat EDC X9
It could be argued that the three best modern fighting pistols are the 1911, Browning Hi-Power, and Glock 17. What if you could combine the best features of all three of those pistols? Well, that’s exactly what Wilson Combat did. The EDC X9 operates like a 1911, has the ultra-comfortable grip of a Hi-Power, and the capacity and size of a Glock 17. Available with or without an accessory rail, the EDC X9 is quite possibly the best fighting pistol ever made—and at around $2,895, it’s priced accordingly.
Honorable Mentions: 5 of the Best Handguns Ever
The Remington Model 1875
When folks think of cowboy guns, it’s most often the Colt Peacemaker that comes to mind. However, there was another single-action revolver that, while not as famous, was just as reliable. Remington’s 1875 became a cherished sidearm of many western lawmen and villains. It was also the handgun of choice for Frederick Russel Burnham, an American who served as the Chief of Scouts for the British Army in South Africa during the Boer War, and who was also the inspiration for the worldwide Boy Scout movement founded by Robert Baden Powell.
The Walther P38 (1938)
This was the service pistol of the Wehrmacht—the unified armed forces of Nazi German—at the beginning of World War II. Though not as famous in pop culture as the German Luger (1902), the P38 was a cherished battlefield prize for American soldiers. It was the first locked-breach pistol to use a double/single-action trigger. A testament to its design is that it’s been used in a number of military conflicts even as recent as 2017.
The Ruger LCR (2009)
In 1982, Glock revolutionized the semi-automatic handgun with the polymer frame. Some liked it, some loved it, and some still hate it. The same could probably be said for Ruger’s LCR. As the first successful revolver with a polymer frame—grip and trigger housing—it weighs 50 percent less than the Ruger SP 101, which is Ruger’s other compact revolver. The LCR is also affordable and available in .22 LR, .22 WMR, .327 Federal Magnum, .38 Special, 9mm, and .357 Magnum, with or without a hammer.
S&W Shield (2012)
The Shield is a compact, semi-automatic pistol in Smith & Wesson’s M&P Line. It has the distinction of being one of the most comfortable-to-hold and -shoot sub-compact semi-auto handguns ever—even today eight years after its introduction. It is available in 9mm and 40 S&W, and a 45 ACP version—that’s slightly larger—is also available.
SIG P365 (2017)
Introduced to great fanfare, the Sig Sauer P365 lived up to expectations. This is a micro-compact, polymer framed, striker fired semi-automatic, specifically designed from the ground up for every day—365 days a year—carry. Unlike many 9mm semi-automatics this small, the P365 utilizes a double-stacked magazine giving it a 10-round capacity. Twelve- and 15-round magazines are also available, and this pistol will handle +P ammunition.
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Best Concealed Carry Guns 2021
Why Are These The Best Concealed Carry Guns of 2021?
These are the hottest selling and best concealed carry guns on the market. Tens of thousands of our customers have collectively chosen these pistols over all the other concealed carry handguns available on the market. These are the best concealed carry guns for which we see the most Kydex holsters ordered at Clinger Holsters.
There are plenty of amazing pistols that are not on this gun list. That doesn’t mean they aren’t great. It just means we only included the most commonly used and popular concealed carry guns in this list. After all, we only have room for 50 of them!
This “Best Concealed Carry Guns” list contains some of the best pistols and handguns for concealed carry from the best gun/pistol brands out there.
However, I can only fit so many pistols in a blog post. Fifty of the best concealed carry guns is my limit. You’ll be pleased to see that there are quite a few American-made hand guns listed here too. Also, people have mostly gravitated toward 9mm handguns so that’s mostly what you’ll find here. However, there are a few other worthy calibers represented here as well.
Please try not to hurt my feelings too badly in the comments section if you don’t see your favorite pistol on this list of best concealed carry guns. Otherwise, have fun exploring the best concealed carry guns on the market (we’ve included lots of gun pictures for you).
Best Concealed Carry Guns: Big And Small (Best Guns)
You’ll notice way more small guns on this list than big guns. Yet, you’ll see a few larger guns here.
This is a good time to point out that you can Conceal Carry larger handguns if you try. Yes, you will have to dress a little differently when concealing a Glock 19 or Walther PPQ than you would with a small handgun.
However, big guns shoot better and the biggest pistols hold more bullets. It’s worth giving them a try.
That being said, smaller guns are comfortable to wear every day with less effort (especially if you prefer appendix carry). That’s exactly why this list is mostly comprised of smaller handguns. They are far more popular for Concealed Carry for a reason.
The funny thing about handgun sizes is there is no official sizing chart. Everybody uses their own terminology so that’s exactly what we’ll do here.
I’ve divided this article into four main sections: Mouse handguns, SlimSubcompact handguns, Compact handguns, and Full–Size handguns.
So there are 50 best concealed carry guns in this list. They’re just divided up into four main handgun size categories.
Best Concealed Carry Guns: Best Mouse Handguns (Top Guns)
Ruger LCP MAX
This is the next evolution of Ruger’s ever popular LCP line, and boy oh boy is this one exciting! It holds up to 12 rounds of .380 ACP. That’s insane. The LCP is usually the smallest pistol you’ll see in any list of the best Concealed Carry guns. It’s a true mouse gun. Only now it’s holds enough ammo to compete with the big boys.
To have a pocket pistol with twice the ammo of a j-frame? This was unthinkable until Ruger actually did it. The LCP Max fits in the palm of your hand while managing to pack the punch of twelve .380 ACP rounds.
The .380 ACP isn’t incredibly powerful but it’s more powerful than it used to be. New .380 ACP ammo is showing some promising improvements in stopping power. Many people trust a little .380 for self-defense & many people have successfully used the .380 for self-defense.
The LCP MAX has already proven to be a very reliable and high quality handgun right out of the gate. It has a good trigger and good sights. Now, that’s rare in a mouse gun.
The LCP MAX is so easy to conceal that you’ll never have to leave the house without having some sort of firearm with you. Even if it’s not as powerful as a 9mm.
If you are looking for tiny pistol, then you might want to consider this hand gun.
Ruger LCP MAX Holsters
Capacity: 10+1 (12+1 with extended magazine)
Weight: 10.6 oz
The Sig P938 feels like a high quality handgun as soon as you pick it up. It’s not hard to see why this is one of the best concealed carry handguns on the market. Sig Sauer has engineered a masterpiece here. This is a high pedigree pistol and it’s price reflects that. But we all know that quality doesn’t come cheap.
The Sig P938 was introduced by Sig Sauer to offer a slightly bigger version of the P238 to support the 9mm cartridge. It has the same great trigger and a metal frame. It’s ergonomics and balance feel good in the hand. Although it’s very small for a 9mm, the extra weight makes shooting it a little easier than small polymer guns (like the LCP MAX).
Sig P938 Holsters
Weight: 16 oz
Some people say that Springfield copied the Sig P238 with this pistol. However, that is not an accurate statement. In reality, Sig’s P238 was Sig’s version of the Colt Mustang (the Mustang itself is a miniature version of the venerable 1911).
I think that each version gets better. The Springfield 911 is just as sweet as the Sig P238. Yet, it’s a bit thinner and lighter.
Also, it’s trigger is a bit better. Once the safety of flicked off, a smooth 5-pound pull releases the hammer.
A sweet trigger is a great feature when you’re searching for the best concealed carry guns.
Plus, it comes with night sights, a G10 trigger shoe, G10 mainspring housing, and G10 grips. It’s truly a top-shelf pistol.
Now, the 911 is available in both .380 and 9mm. The 9mm version is just a tad bigger and is about the same dimensions as Sig’s P938.
Additionally, the 911 is now available in a version dubbed 911 Alpha that ditches the G10 for a smaller price tag. It shoots just as sweet but is a bit more affordable.
Springfield 911 Holsters
Caliber: 380 ACP, 9mm
Weight: 12.6 for .380 version – 15.3 oz for 9mm version
BarrelLength: 2.7 – 3.0 inches (depending on .380 vs 9mm)
Kimber Micro 9
Kimber’s Micro 9 is very similar to Sig’s P938. They’re both 9mm versions of Colt’s Mustang. However, the Micro 9 is more reliable than the Mustang ever hoped to be. It’s a very practical daily carry pistol. You can think of Kimber’s Micro 9 as a very small 1911 pistol. After all, it shares the same basic design.
The Micro 9 is a single action only pistol. That means that the hammer must be cocked back to take the first shot. All other shots will cock the hammer for you. That’s why single action pistols are usually carried “cocked and locked”.
One thing’s for sure. The trigger is buttery smooth and very light. Surely, the Micro 9 handles way better than its diminutive size should allow. It’s like it defies physics. You have to shoot it to believe it.
It’s an incredible shooter and is a very small Concealed Carry handgun. Therefore, it’s easy to see why Kimber sells so many Micro 9 pistols.
Kimber Micro 9 Holsters
Weight: 15.6 oz
Best Concealed Carry Guns: Best Slim Subcompact Handguns (Top Guns)
Sig changed the rules of the game when they released the P365 at SHOT Show in 2018. They caught everyone off guard. This little pistol is smaller than many Single Stack pistols on the market. Yet, it holds 10+1 rounds of 9mm rather than the usual 6+1 or 7+1 rounds. The optional extended mag adds two more rounds for a total of 12+1.
Sig tapered the top of the magazine a little differently and thinned out the walls of the frame’s grip to pull off this miracle. Also, the P365 comes standard with night sights and great trigger.
Now consider that everyone loves how this pistol shoots. It’s a winner in every category for the best concealed carry guns. If you want a pistol that will rock your socks off and carry up to 13 rounds of 9mm, check out the Sig P365.
If you demand those requirements in an unrealistically small package, the Sig P365 is one of the best concealed carry 9mm pistols for a reason.
This pistol isn’t just popular with men either. It’s been a very popular handgun for women in 2021 due to its smaller size.
Sig P365 Holsters
Weight: 18 oz
BarrelLength: 3.1 inches
Now, we know what the Sig P365 did for concealed carry. It ushered in the high-capacity micro-compact pistol category.
This is the first follow up. Meet the Sig P365X. Sig upgraded the original P365 in some key ways to create this new unicorn. It basically helps you shoot faster and more accurately.
The top of the slide has been milled out to accept red dot optics. It pairs perfectly with Sig’s own RomeoZero red dot sight. A red dot sight has proven itself as a worthy addition to a concealed carry pistol. It helps you get on target faster while keeping focus on the target itself.
The smaller sized red dots out there (like the RomeoZero) fit perfectly on this slim handgun.
The Sig P365X also has some of the features that Sig added to the P365XL because they both share the same XSeries grip module. In fact, you can think of the P365X as a P365XL with the shorter slide and barrel from the P365.
You’ll notice that the Sig P365X has a flat trigger and a longer beavertail. Both of these features help you shoot more accurately and with better control.
Plus, the longer XSeries grip module holds a standard 12-round magazine instead of the 10-rounder from the original P365. This longer grip allows you to reload magazines without pinching your hand during reloads.
This pistol is the new gold standard.
Honestly, it’s probably the overall best concealed carry handgun on the market right now. Sig has set the bar extremely high with this handgun and everyone else will be judged based on how they stack up to it.
If I was limited to only one pistol (I know…that would really suck), this would be that pistol. Of course, I would also opt for the optional 15 round mag too!
It’s good juju.
Sig P365X Holsters
Weight: 18 oz
BarrelLength: 3.1 inches
Sig P365 XL
Sig upgraded the Sig P365 to create the Sig P365 XL not long after releasing the P365. This version has a 12 round mag. That makes the grip is as tall as the original version was with the extended mag. This helps with reloads. Plus, the trigger is upgraded to a X-Series flat trigger.
Plus, Sig extended the barrel 0.6 inches longer. That’ll give you a longer sight radius and more accuracy (theoretically).
Sig also extended the beavertail and it feels much better than the original Sig P365. Sig also cut the slide for you to install a Red Dot. They even developed a slimmer RomeoZero Red Dot that fits it perfectly.
It’s a little more expensive than the original but well worth it as one of the best concealed carry guns.
This is basically a longer-barrel version of the Sig P365X. If you like the Sig P365X but prefer a little more barrel length, this P365XL the perfect concealed carry handgun for you. That longer barrel will help with muzzle flip during rapid fire shooting. It’ll also add a few more feet/sec to your rounds.
Sig P365 XL Holsters
Weight: 20 oz
BarrelLength: 3.7 inches
Glock took their best-selling Glock 43 and added 4 rounds to it. That’s pretty much the Glock 43X in a nutshell. This upped the ammo count from 6 to 10. While the grip is longer, it’s not that much longer than the original Glock 43 if you had the pinky rest on it. The Glock 43X’s frame is technically a couple of millimeters wider as well. However, you would have to look very hard to notice that tiny difference.
The bottom line is this: Sig created a near perfect concealed carry handgun when they debuted the P365. This was Glock’s answer.
So for all you Glock fans who were swayed (or almost swayed) over to Sig’s corner, Glock gave you a thin 10 round Glock that’s easy to conceal carry.
The grip fills your whole hand. Couple that grip with a short barrel and you have a very well balanced firearm.
Glock 43X Holsters
Weight: 16 oz
BarrelLength: 3.41 inches
Glock 43X MOS
Glock one-upped themselves with the 43X MOS. This is just a Glock 43X with two main differences. First (and most important), it has a slide cut that allows you to mount a red dot. Second, it has a proprietary Glock accessory rail. This is handy if you want to mount a flashlight.
If you won’t use a red dot or the accessory rail on this pistol, you’re better off getting the original Glock 43X. It’ll save you over $100.
If there’s a chance you might want to add a red dot to your gun, this is the best concealed carry handgun for you Glock fans. It’s slim, has a decent capacity, and has Glock’s legendary reliability.
Oh yeah, there’s a company called Shield Arms that makes 15 round mags for the 43X that are about the same size as the Glock mags. They’re pretty reliable too.
Glock 43X MOS Holsters
Weight: 16 oz
BarrelLength: 3.41 inches
The Glock 48 shares the same platform as the Glock 43X. The only difference is the longer barrel. While the Glock 43X is a short 3.41 inches, the Glock 48’s barrel has a length of 4.17 inches. That’s still quite manageable. Plus it weighs just two ounces more than its little brother.
You can also think of the Glock 48 as a Single Stack Glock 19. Truth be told, Glock fans have asked for this pistol for many years. That longer barrel increases muzzle velocity and reduces felt recoil simultaneously.
The Glock 48 is a great Concealed Carry pistol that feels and shoots sort of like a service pistol. You can get a full grip on this handgun no matter how big your hands are. Yet, its slim width makes concealed carry a breeze.
Glock 48 Holsters
Weight: 18 oz
BarrelLength: 4.17 inches
Glock 48 MOS
The Glock 48 MOS is just a Glock 48 with an accessory rail and red dot cutout on the slide. Choose this over the standard Glock 48 if there’s even a slight chance you’ll add a red dot (or light) to your Glock down the road. That option will cost you over $100 though. So, if you’re 100% sure you don’t need those features, you can stick with the Glock 48 (one of the most popular and reliable concealed carry handguns available).
Don’t forget about the 15 round mag from Shield Arms that will bump up the ammo count for you. The best part is, it’s the same size as the original Glock mag for the Glock 48 MOS.
Glock 48 MOS Holsters
Weight: 18 oz
BarrelLength: 4.17 inches
The Glock 43 is a blockbuster for good reason. The G43 is one of the smallest 9mm and lightest 9mm pistols on the market. Also, it’s incredibly thin.
Its grip is short enough to allow pocket carry. However, it shines in a good IWB holster (Inside the Waistband). In a good holster, this Glock subcompact 9mm is small enough to completely disappear.
Plus, it has the reliability and functionality that Glock fans depend on. This is the smallest Glock if you don’t count the Glock 42 (380). If you demand a Glock for concealed carry and want an incredibly small pistol, the Glock 43 is definitely for you. There are only two real drawbacks to the G43. First, is the limited ammo count. It only holds 7 rounds of 9mm. Secondly, people with big hands have commented that it’s hard to get a good grip on the Glock 43.
If you want the best all around Glock for concealed carry, look at the Glock 43X. If you want the smallest Glock 9mm (easier for concealment) the Glock 43 may be exactly what you need.
Glock 43 Holsters
Weight: 18 oz
Ruger jumped on the high-capacity, micro-compact bandwagon! This is Ruger’s answer to the Sig P365. The Ruger MAX-9 is one of the best bang-for-the-buck concealed carry pistols you can find right now.
Ruger is generally known for 2 things in the gun community. First, they make rugged, reliable guns. Second, they price them very competitively.
Ruger uses good old fashioned American labor and know-how to produce world class firearms at great prices. Sure you can find better prices on handguns that are made in South America or Turkey, but those cheaper guns don’t have Ruger’s reputation.
Let’s talk about the MAX-9. This is one sweet shooter. It’s lightweight, well-balanced, and easy to conceal.
The MAX-9 has great sights on it too. You can see what I mean in the picture above. Look at that front sight. It has fiber optics and tritium in it. You simply can’t ask for a better front sight. Look at the rear sight and you’ll notice it’s tall enough to co-witness through a red dot. The rear sight is a great example of what a rear sight should be. It’s blacked out to allow better focus on the front sight. The squared of ‘U’ shape allows the front sight to easily fall into its domain.
There’s a very easy-to-flick thumb safety as well.
All in all, this is an amazing pistol. When you factor in the affordability of what Ruger is offering, this is a steal.
Ruger MAX-9 Holsters
Weight: 18.4 oz
Springfield Armory Hellcat
The Hellcat is the first real competition to the blockbuster Sig P365. The Hellcat’s flush magazine squeezes 11 rounds in the pistol compared to Sig’s 10. The extended mag holds 13 to Sig’s 12. A difference of one round won’t convince many shooters to consider the Hellcat over the P365 unless it shines in all the areas that the P365 does.
Well guess what? The Hellcat won’t disappoint. It is phenomenal. Will it sell as well as the Sig? Who knows. However, we can tell you that we are shipping out huge numbers of holsters for the Hellcat. As of right now, it’s almost as popular as the P365. That’s very impressive considering the P365 has been around long enough to have a great reputation and market dominance. Best of all, it’s about the smallest 9mm pistol on the market that holds 13 rounds.
The Hellcat trigger is great. The break is a little crisper than the P365’s but it’s barely noticeable. The stippling works at least as well and maybe better than Sig’s.
We can’t say if the Hellcat outshines the P365. It’s so close that you’ll have to make up your own mind. But the Hellcat has a bright future. This pistol is everything the XD ever wanted to be but in a slimmer, lighter package. The Hellcat’s weight is 18 oz which is about equal to the Sig P365. It’s about time that Springfield started shaving the weight off their pistols. The XD line was always heavier than its peers and Springfield is finally wising up to what concealed carriers want in a carry pistol.
Springfield’s Hellcat is the whole package. It’s slim, lightweight, and easy to carry. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a 9mm pistol that holds 14 rounds!
Take a good hard look at the Hellcat if you’re shopping for the best concealed carry gun for your everyday carry. It won’t disappoint.
Springfield Hellcat Holsters
Weight: 18 oz
Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP
This is the OSP version of Springfield’s Hellcat. It has a slide cut to allow a red dot optic to mount on the top.
This pistol is everything the Hellcat is but better. That one simple addition makes this pistol much more accurate during rapid fire. If you haven’t jumped on board the red dot revolution yet, you’re definitely missing out.
A good red dot like the Shield RMSc (in the picture above) allows you to send rounds down range while focusing on the target rather than the front sight. This is a game changer.
When you focus on the front sight, the target blurs out. With a red dot on your Hellcat, you focus on the target and the red dot floats over the target. You never lose sight of where your shooting!
It costs a little more than the standard Hellcat and you’ll drop a couple hundred on a good optic. In the end though, you’ll have a high quality, very capable concealed carry pistol.
Springfield Hellcat OSP Holsters
Weight: 18 oz
Springfield Armory Hellcat RDP
Meet the Springfield Hellcat RDP! This gun may look like it belongs with a member of a S.W.A.T. team or maybe even a S.E.A.L. team. However, I assure you, it belongs in a concealed carry loadout.
This pistol obviously brings everything the original Hellcat brings to the table: lightweight, slim package, 14 rounds of 9mm, good trigger, and overall great handling.
There are, however, two very important ingredients added to this magic recipe that we need to examine: a Hex Wasp red dot optic and a compensator.
The Hex Wasp is a good quality optic with a 3.5 MOA red dot floating in your sight picture. That’s makes that little red dot small enough to be accurate, yet still big enough to find easily.
The compensator directs spent gas from the cartridge up and to the sides as it leaves the muzzle. This helps control muzzle flip. Because there’s less muzzle flip, you can get back on target faster.
After all, RDP stands for Rapid Defense Package. You’ll definitely get more shots on target faster with a compensator and red dot to help you out.
Oh, and don’t worry about the extra length that the compensator adds to the package: It’s still easy to conceal. Barrel length doesn’t affect concealment as much as the pistol grip does.
While this isn’t a traditional concealment pistol, it’s definitely a good one. It costs a couple hundred dollars more than a standard Hellcat but remember that it comes with a red dot (good ones like this usually cost a couple hundred) and a compensator right out of the box.
One last thing. Springfield says that they’ve changed out the trigger group to their new Gen 2 version for the Hellcat. So this version of the Hellcat also has an even better trigger than the original one (which was already quite good).
Springfield Hellcat RDP Holsters
Weight: 19.3 oz
BarrelLength: 3.8” (with compensator)
S&W M&P Shield Plus 3.1″
Smith and Wesson has sold millions of Shield pistols. They’re small, reliable and extremely comfortable in the hand. Then S&W released the M2.0 version. It was an updated version of the original with some key upgrades. Then they released this.
The Shield Plus is in a whole other category of awesomeness. It’s not just an upgraded Shield. Sometimes in life, the sum of the parts add up to more than you could ever expect them to. That’s what has happened here. The S&W M&P Shield Plus 3.1″ pistol combines everything S&W knows about making a great pistol into a concealed carry handgun.
Of course, they managed to cram a whole lot more 9mm rounds into it. However, the “Plus” part of the name doesn’t stop at more ammo. They’ve also updated the trigger. You can see in the picture above that it has a nice flat face to it. Believe it or not that really helps you shoot more accurately.
The trigger is great, the sights are great, and the stippling is great.
Let’s talk about what makes this pistol really great though: ergonomics. The grip is rounded off to fit your hand perfectly. The stippling lets you get a good grip without being overly harsh on your skin. The grip angle (18 degrees) is downright perfect for instinctive aiming.
Plus, now that the magazine holds 13 rounds, the balance is perfect. That’s something about a 3″ barrel with a double stack magazine that just feels good in the hand.
Try this one out. It’s hard to find a fault with it.
S&W M&P Shield Plus 3.1″ Holsters
Weight: 20.2 oz
S&W Performance Center M&P Shield Plus 4″
This is a Performance Center Version of the Shield Plus. It adds an extra inch of barrel and a red dot. Plus Smith and Wesson’s Performance Center has tuned the action. That extra barrel length helps reduce muzzle flip and also helps the 9mm rounds gain a little more velocity on their way out of the barrel.
S&W M&P Shield Plus 4″ Holsters
Weight: 22.6 oz
S&W M&P Shield M2.0
Smith and Wesson knocked it out of the park with the original M&P Shield. They outsold nearly every other Concealed Carry handgun on the market. Well, now S&W has the M&P Shield M2.0 available. They took a great gun and made it incredible.
Why’s it better? The M2.0 version has an incredible trigger. You see, the first version just ok. While the original Shield had amazing ergonomics, it didn’t have great stippling. The Shield M2.0 has amazing stippling. It gives you a good grip on the firearm during rapid fire.
This pistol is small yet ergonomic. Plus, it holds 8+1 rounds of 9mm with the extended magazine. It has good sights too. Best of all, it’s as reliable as the day is long. This pistol has Smith and Wesson’s stellar reputation backing it up.
S&W M&P Shield M2.0 Holsters
Weight: 18.3 oz
S&W M&P9 Shield EZ
While this is a newer version of the Shield, it’s quite different. This pistol’s name indicated the biggest difference: it’s just plain easy to use.
It’s easy to rack, easy to shoot, and easy to load. It takes very little effort to rack the slide. It’s simply amazing how easy it is to rack.
Also, the M&P9 Shield EZ is easy to load because of the magazine design. It has thumb depressor on the side of the mag that you’ve likely seen on .22lr pistols.
The grip safety even makes safety easy. Because it’s passive, all you have to do to disengage the grip safety is grip the pistol.
This pistol isn’t just for women or the elderly with weak hands. No, it’s one of the best concealed carry guns for anyone who wants a great shooting pistol with a great trigger. Its only downside is the “limited” ammo capacity of 9 rounds.
S&W added the other fan-favorite features from it’s Shield line too. It comes with a great trigger, perfect stippling, and an 18 degree grip angle for instinctive aiming.
S&W M&P9 Shield EZ Holsters
Weight: 23 oz
BarrelLength: 3.675 inches
S&W M&P380 Shield EZ
This is another M&P Shield EZ but setup to fire the .380 ACP cartridge. Why would anyone choose the .380 version over the 9mm?
It’s easier to shoot accurately when you’re sending rounds down range quickly. Because it has less recoil energy pushing against the gun, you can get the sights back on target faster.
Some people just plain prefer softer shooting pistols. Is this pistol a good concealed carry gun though? You betcha it is.
New bullet technology has proven that the 380 cartridge is perfectly suitable for self-defense. It’s no longer a debate. Sure a 45 ACP or 9mm will have better statistics on paper but consider this: the FBI tested the newer .380 cartridges available and found that they passed their ballistic gel test with flying colors. It penetrated more than 12″ but less than 18″ (this is preferred) and it opened up into a bigger mushroom shape quite reliably.
So, if you want the statistically better round, you can pick up the 9mm version of this Shield EZ. If you want the easier to shoot and pistol, pick up the S&W M&P380 Shield EZ.
S&W M&P380 Shield EZ Holsters
Caliber: .380 ACP
Weight: 18.5 oz
BarrelLength: 3.675 inches
The Taurus GX4 is in direct competition with the other high-capacity, micro-compact pistols on this list. The GX4 is very small for what it is. It’s a 9mm pistol that holds 12 rounds and shoots very well. When you consider how affordable it is, you have a concealed carry pistol that’s flying off the shelves.
Taurus has been making very good pistols for quite a while now. They’ve always priced their handguns competitively and the GX4 is no exception. This is the most affordable high-capacity, micro-compact on this list. If you want another pistol at this price, it’ll either be bigger& heavier or it’ll carry less rounds.
There’s a lot going for this little pistol other than the great price. It has near-perfect ergonomics and very good stippling. The front serrations help those who like to do their press checks from the front of the slide. Finally, the flat trigger feels amazing at the firing range.
Taurus produced a great pistol for concealed carry and they offered it at an unbeatable price. Check this one out.
Taurus GX4 Holsters
Weight: 18.5 oz
Ruger created the EC9s before the double stack micro-compact pistols became all the rage. It’s still a good concealed carry gun. However, like the Glock 43, it doesn’t carry many rounds. What it does have going for it, however, is a very small & lightweight package that conceals effortlessly.
The Ruger EC9s is pretty much the same pistol as the LC9, LC9s, and LC380. The all look the same and will all fit the same Ruger EC9s holsters.
Here’s how Ruger markets this thing (in a nut shell): It’s a good, reliable pistol (with Ruger’s reputation backing it) for just a little over a couple hundred bucks.
I mean think about it. The EC9s is one of the absolute cheapest guns on this list…. and it’s a good gun. Ruger has a good reputation for building rugged and reliable firearms. They mean it when they state that fact too.
This gun won’t let you down and it’s a fairly decent shooter. It’s small enough to never worry about concealment. It’ll conceal great. Plus, look at the price on these things!
If you can live with just 8 rounds of 9mm in your concealed carry gun, this is the best bang for your buck on this entire list of the 50 Best Concealed Carry Guns.
Weight: 17.2 oz
Walther PPS M2
Here’s another year with the PPS M2 on our list of best handguns. It’s still a great 9mm for concealed carry. I imagine it’ll stay here until the M3 comes along. There’s simply too much to love about the PPS M2 for it to fall out of popularity with Concealed Carriers.
First, it has Walther’s unmatched fit and finishes. All you have to do is pick this sweet pistol up and you’ll immediately notice its incredible quality. It just oozes quality all over the place.
Next, you’ll be floored by the sweet ergonomics. You’ll swear your hand and this pistol was designed together in the same engineering lab.
Lastly, this little heater is a reliable tack driver on the range. It comes with a flush-fitting magazine and an extended mag as well.
The limited ammo capacity is a bit of a drawback but it’s still a great gun for concealed carry from a company with tons of high pedigree pistols in its history.
Walter PPS M2 Holsters
Weight: 21.1 oz
Mossberg shocked everyone when they released a concealed carry pistol. They’re in the long gun business right? Well… now they’re in the short gun business too. Mossberg has most assuredly shown the world that they know how to build a great handgun.
The MC1sc is a great shooting 9mm pistol. It has tons of features that modern pistols are equipped with nowadays: front slide serration, flat trigger, aggressive stippling, reversible mag release, and good sights. Oh yeah, it’s proven to be quite reliable too. The price is pretty good too.
This gun does have an obvious deficiency though. Its capacity is only 7-8 rounds depending on whether or not you’re using the extended mag. Ever since the Sig P365 came along, all the other gun manufactures have been scrambling to squeeze a double stack magazine into a gun that’s less than an inch thick.
Mossberg’s new to the pistol game but this is a great entry. I’m sure they’ll release a concealed carry pistol with a better ammo capacity soon. In the meantime, this is a perfectly functional pistol for a great price from an amazing company.
Mossberg MC1sc Holsters
Weight: 19 oz
Here’s the classic that refuses to die. The Walther PPK has been James Bond’s Go-To Gun for decades now. It is most definitely small enough to conceal easily. It shoots very well and doesn’t kick bad either. Equally as important, its accuracy is touted by many.
Another great quality of the PPK/S is its amazing balance due to its metal frame.
Simply put, this classic pistol rocks. And as old as its design is, it still works for today’s Concealed Carrier. It doesn’t hold as many rounds as the new guns and it isn’t as light. It is still a viable concealed carry gun though.
Here’s one more bonus: As of 2019, the PPK and PPK/S are being made in the USA.
Walther PPK/S Holsters
Caliber: 380 ACP
Weight: 22.1 oz
Bersa Thunder 380
This is Bersa’s version of the Walther PPK. It’s a budget-friendly gun made in Argentina. I can point out a few disadvantages to this gun but I personally believe it’s advantages outweigh them.
Sure, it’s a 380 pistol that weighs more than the P365 and carries less rounds.
But look at what it has going for it: It’s small, cheap, and reliable. I’ve had one of these for years. Through hundreds of rounds, it’s never had a failure. Whenever I fly somewhere, I take this pistol because I cringe at the thought of bag-checking a $700 gun. If a $250 gun gets lost, I can replace it much easier.
Bersa Thunder 380 Holsters
Caliber: 380 ACP
Weight: 20 oz
The Springfield XDE is a little bigger than the Springfield XDS. It holds one more round too. The biggest difference is, of course, the hammer instead of a striker. Many shooters prefer and love hammer-fired pistols. The other difference is that the grip safety is gone. It’s been replaced with the manual safety (which doubles as decocker). The XDE shares the same Grip Zone design as the Mod.2 pistols. In fact, from the side, it looks like a Mod.2 with a hammer.
The original XDE came in a 3.3-inch barrel. Now, it can be had in two additional lengths. Therefore, you can choose to carry an XDE with a 3.3 inch, 3.8 inch, or 4.5-inch barrel. Because the grip is the same size on all three models, they are all easy enough to conceal. While the longer-barreled versions aren’t harder to hide they might be a little less comfortable to conceal. But the trade-off for the longer barrel is less muzzle flip and a faster-flying bullet.
The XDE comes with a flush-fitting 8 round mag, an 8 round mag with a pinky extension, and a 9 round extended mag that fits the grip perfectly with the included sleeve.
Springfield XDE Holsters
Weight: 23 oz
The greatest military the world has ever seen carried the 1911 for several decades until the mid-1980s. It has the proven stopping power of the 45 ACP cartridge.
It’s also a fairly thin handgun which makes it one of the best concealed carry guns. Just know that you’ll very likely either love or hate its manual of arms. It’s generally carried “Cocked & Locked”. Meaning, you’ll draw it from the holster, drop the safety, and find a sweet hair trigger waiting to be pressed. This is one of the most popular guns out there and some consider it to be the most reliable handguns available.
Although the 5” barreled versions can be heavy, the 3” Defender series pistols are a bit lighter.
Caliber: Take your pick
Capacity: 6-10+1 depending on caliber and brand
Weight: 24-35 oz depending on build and handgun brands
BarrelLength: 3”- 5”
Cost: From $400 all the way up to many thousands of dollars (depending on the brand)
Best Concealed Carry Guns: Best Compact Handguns (Top Guns)
Walther PPQ Subcompact
It took Walther a few years but they’ve finally shortened the PPQ into a chopped version for us Concealed Carriers. The PPQ Subcompact shares the same great ergonomics and trigger that the PPQ is known for. However, the grip and barrel have been shortened enough to make this into a more manageable Concealed Carry handgun.
Walther also includes a 15 round extended mag with a matching sleeve that perfectly matches the pistol. This is one of the highest quality subcompact double-stack pistols on the market. It has fast become extremely popular.
This pistol is easy to conceal and shoots incredibly well.
Walther PPQ Subcompact Holsters
Weight: 21.2 oz
BarrelLength: 3.5 inches
Canik TP9 Elite SC
The Canik TP9 Elite SC comes from a company that’s not extremely well known. However, there is a big following behind this handgun. It’s extremely popular and gaining more popularity every day. It’s a compact concealed carry handgun that shoots extremely well. It holds 12 rounds of 9mm but many owners of the TP9 Elite SC opt to carry the optional 15 round mag.
This pistol has a nice trigger, great sights, handling ergonomics, and reliability. It’s no wonder it’s become so popular. I’m sure the great price had something to do with it’s rise as well.
Canik TP9 SC Holsters
Weight: 24.8 oz
Glock 26 Gen 5
The Glock 26 has been a great selling Concealed Carry gun for years now. The fifth-generation makes the G26 even sweeter. The Gen 5 updates include a better trigger and more accurate barrel. The Glock 26 has a 10+1 capacity. While the Glock 43X holds just as many rounds as the Glock 26, they approach Concealed Carry a little differently.
The Glock 43X is very thin. However, the Glock 26 makes up for its thicker frame with a shorter height. The Glock 26 is one of the shortest 9mm handguns on the market.
The Gen 5 revamp has ensured that the Glock 26 isn’t going anywhere for a while.
Glock 26 Holsters
Weight: 21.69 oz
Ruger Security 9 Compact
While Ruger built the Security 9 as a direct competitor to the Glock 19, this was their answer to the Glock 26.
Like it’s big brother (the Security 9), the Security 9 Compact’s “claim to fame” is its price tag.
It’s may be affordable but it’s not a cheap gun. This handgun is a good quality firearm without even considering the price tag. When you factor in the price tag, it’s a great product that Ruger has blessed us Americans with!
Ruger claims to build “rugged” firearms. Their guns are supposed to be tougher than normal and last long enough to pass down to your grandchildren. The Security 9 Compact is no exception. It’s very reliable and well-built.
Ruger dropped a hammer-fired trigger into this pistol instead of the more common striker-fired style. However, it feels mostly like a decent striker-fired trigger. Is the trigger on this gun as good as the G26? No, but it’s close. The price tag was the trade-off here.
If you want a great shooting, reliable firearm from a reputable American company you have a few options. If you want all that and an incredible price point, check out the Security 9 Compact from Ruger.
Ruger Security 9 Compact Holsters
Weight: 21.9 oz
BarrelLength: 3.42 inches
CZ has always excelled at making ergonomic handguns that are incredibly reliable. CZ honestly makes world-class handguns. The CZ P-10S, in particular, is a world-class concealed carry handgun. It has everything you could want in a handgun other than it’s a touch wider than some of the newer double-stack-micro-compacts like the Sig P365 or Glock 43X.
This is a typical double stack compact sized pistol. It conceals well yet still carries a respectable amount of ammunition.
The P-10S shoots almost as good as it’s big brothers (the P-10C & P-10F). It is much better suited for concealed carry though because of it’s smaller size.
The trigger, sights, ergonomics, and reliability are all just as good as the bigger versions in CZ’s stable.
Plus, you’ll love the removable plate on the slide that allows you to attach a red dot. And because this pistol is a bit wider than the micro-compacts toward the top of this article, it can fit a bigger optic on the slide.
A bigger optic will help you get on target faster.
CZ did not disappoint when they released the ‘S’ version of the P-10.
CZ P10S Holsters
Weight: 24.4 oz
BarrelLength: 3.5 inches
This pistol just won’t go away! It has been popular for a long, long time. And for good reason.
The CZ RAMI is based on the time-tested CZ-75. It has a lighter aluminum frame, a short 3” barrel, and a flush fit magazine that manages to cram in 10 rounds of 9mm. Also, you can add an extended mag that holds 14 rounds.
It has enough heft to handle hot 9mm ammo pretty well. All while maintaining a small & lightweight package that makes Concealed Carry a breeze.
The RAMI has proved that you don’t necessarily need the latest fad in firearms to have an effective concealed carry firearm.
Sure, an external hammer is a rare sight in today’s usual handgun selection. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s benefits though. After the first shot, the gun switches to single action mode.
It just doesn’t get much sweeter than a smooth single action trigger.
The RAMI isn’t the lightest gun in this list. It’s not the cheapest either. It’s a classic that won’t go away for a reason. Good engineering made this a timeless piece.
CZ RAMI Holsters
Weight: 26 oz
Taurus has had a best seller for years in the PT111 G2. Well, Taurus still has a best seller in the PT111 G2. They just changed the name to the G2C and then the G3C. What did Taurus change to update the name? They took out the locking mechanism that allows a key to turn the pistol into a paperweight. Plus, they updated their logo. And Bam! New name.
In all honesty, ditching the locking mechanism was a smart move. It’s a moving part that can cause the pistol to not fire. Cases can be found on YouTube where the locking mechanism barely moves out of the “unlocked” position by a couple of millimeters. This caused the pistol to be “locked”.
The new G3C does not have this problem. Taurus took a great gun and made it more reliable.
Also, the G3C has a more durable finish. The trigger has also been improved over the older PT111 G2 and even over the G2C.
The G3C is barely bigger than a typical single stack pistol. Yet, it holds 12 rounds of 9mm.
Plus, it costs just a couple hundred bucks. If you’re on a budget, this should be on the top of your list.
Taurus G3C Holsters
Weight: 22 oz
BarrelLength: 3.2 inches
This pistol from Bersa is a very sweet shooter. The TPR9C is unique because Bersa utilizes some old-school features on this Concealed Carry gun. For instance, it has a metal frame rather than the usual polymer frame you’ll find on most new pistols. Also, it uses a hammer-fired trigger. These are still great features on a pistol. While the DA/SA trigger takes a bit more practice to master than a striker-fired trigger, the payoff is a sweet Single Action trigger.
Also, you’ll never know a balanced pistol until you’ve handled a metal-framed pistol. It truly feels great in your hand. Yes, it adds a few ounces. However, there are pros and cons to every trade-off. That extra weight absorbs recoil.
Truth be told, it’s not even very heavy. It’s a great Concealed Carry pistol.
Bersa TPR9C Holsters
Weight: 25 oz
The STR-9c is Stoeger’s follow up to the popular STR-9. Stoeger is better known for long guns but they’ve decided to jump back into the handgun game too. The STR-9C is a compact version of their full size STR-9. It’s a 9mm striker-fired pistol. This is a great all-around pistol. There aren’t really any stand-out features on this handgun but it does check most of the boxes that a popular handgun should have.
So why is the STR-9C on this list? It checks most of the boxes while coming in at just around $250. You get a whole lot of concealed carry gun for that price.
You can see good ergonomics, stippling, large trigger guard, front serrations, striker-fired trigger, accessory rail, Glock-style take-down levers, and more.
It’s small enough to easily conceal carry and it packs plenty of ammo too.
Stoeger STR-9C Holsters
Weight: 24 oz
Beretta APX Carry
Beretta released the APX Carry after they released the Full Size, Centurion, and Compact versions. To be honest, I’m not sure why Beretta called this gun the APX Carry. It’s an entirely different gun than the other (bigger) versions. Beretta made it look like an APX and called it an APX. In reality, the Carry version has its own thing going on. That’s not a bad thing either.
This single stack pistol is tiny. It only carries up to 9 rounds but it is a 9mm pistol. It’s reliable and a decent shooter. Beretta rarely makes a gun that isn’t amazing. This one is no exception.
It’s small, capable, and pack 9mm stopping power. Plus it’s backed up by Beretta’s pedigree.
Beretta APX Carry Holsters
Capacity: 6 – 8 +1
Weight: 19.8 oz
BarrelLength: 3.0 inches
Sccy CPX is an American Gun Company with just that focuses on affordable, small concealed carry pistols.
The CPX-2 is still their most popular pistol.
The CPX-2 is a very decent pistol which can be found for $250. It’s lightweight and small enough to easily conceal. Also, it fits the hand fairly well because of its integrated finger grooves.
It’s a double-action only hammer-fired pistol. It has a long trigger pull that’s pretty smooth. It’s very similar to a Smith and Wesson snub-nose revolver trigger.
10 years ago, it was hard to find a good pistol for less than $300-$400. Because of pistols like the CPX, it’s a little easier today. If you need a reliable pistol and you don’t have a ton of spare cash, this might be the pistol for you. It doesn’t have the best trigger on the market but it does get the job done. You’ll have 10+1 rounds of 9mm in a nice Concealed Carry sized pistol. This is most definitely not a Saturday Night Special that might not go bang when you need it.
You can rest assured this is a reliable American made pistol that just plain works. It lacks the latest bells and whistles but the affordable price reflects that.
Sccy CPX-2 Holsters
Weight: 15 oz
Ruger broke tradition with this one. The Ruger LCR was the first carry revolver offered with a polymer frame. It’s available in many different calibers and a couple of different barrel lengths. The snub-nose version (in just about any caliber it’s offered in) makes a mighty fine Concealed Carry companion. It may be the best revolver for concealed carry.
It works great in your pocket or a belt holster for many reasons. First, it shoots pretty well due to its cushiony grip. Second, it’s very lightweight (at 13 ounces, it weighs barely more than the giant phone in your pocket). Finally, it also includes Ruger’s well-known reliability. This is a modern small revolver built specifically for Concealed Carry and Ruger knocked it out of the park with this concealed carry revolver.
Ruger LCR Holsters
Weight: 13 oz
S&W J Frame
The little S&W J Frame revolver has been around for decades. They’ve been around for so long that gangsters in black & white movies would pull them out of nowhere to strike fear in people. The J Frame makes an excellent pocket gun and one of the most suitable revolvers ever created for concealed carry. Its curvy body is a little less noticeable in your pants than a blocky pocket pistol. This makes it one of the best carry revolvers.
Another factor making it great for Concealed Carry is how insanely reliable they are. When you press the bang switch, you’re almost guaranteed to hear a bang. They’re lightweight and hold 5 rounds of .38 Special +P (some argue that it’s pretty close to 9mm in stopping power). That is why is is in out list of the best concealed carry revolvers / best ccw revolver.
S&W J Frame Holsters
Weight: 15 oz
The HK VP9SK is a continuation of a good thing in the VP series from HK. It has all the qualities that VP9 fans love: great trigger, ergonomics, and handling. It holds 10 rounds of 9mm. Plus, 13 and 15 round magazines are available for the VP9SK. The useful charging handles remain on the subcompact version of the VP9. Now Concealed Carriers have a smaller option for Concealed Carry.
This is the only subcompact handgun on the market that has swappable backstraps and swappable lateral grip panels. The HK VP9SK also has completely ambidextrous controls. How about that for one of the best subcompact 9mm?
Throw in the fact that the flat recoil spring reduces recoil and it’s clear to see that this is a subcompact that shooters will enjoy on the range. Plus it’s compact enough that it’s easy to Conceal Carry all day long in a good kydex holster.
HK VP9SK Holsters
Weight: 23 oz
Best Concealed Carry Guns: Best Full-Size Handguns (Top Guns)
Glock 19 Gen 5
The Glock 19 handles well enough to qualify as a service pistol. Yet, it’s still light enough to conceal carry. You can get a full-size grip on it and it handles accordingly.
Furthermore, the latest generation of the Glock 19 is simply amazing. It sports greater accuracy and ergonomics than the Gen 4 version. The trigger feel is better as well.
You’ll immediately notice the absence of finger grooves! Glock ditched the finger grooves for the FBI on the Glock 17M just before deciding to lose the grooves on all new models.
The improved accuracy via the Marksmen barrel is a welcome change as well.
If you want the feel of a service weapon in a compact package, the Glock 19 Gen 5 is the perfect example and one of the best concealed carry guns available. This just might be the best selling concealed carry pistol of all time.
It is also the one of the most popular Glocks available.
Glock 19 Gen 5 Holsters
Weight: 24 oz
BarrelLength: 4.02 inches
Glock 19 MOS
Glock added a red dot Cutout to the Glock 19 and gave it the model name of Glock 19 MOS. That cutout will cost you but it is worth it if you’ve jumped on the red dot wagon. Red dots are amazing tools to help you get on target faster. Plus, you can actually focus on the target instead of the front sight.
If you like the Glock 19, you’ll love the Glock 19 MOS with your favorite red dot attached.
Glock 19 MOS Holsters
Weight: 24 oz
BarrelLength: 4.02 inches
The Glock 23 is just a Glock 19 that has been chambered for a .40 cal cartridge. The .40 has a touch more stopping power. It has more than a touch more recoil though. The Glock 23 is noticeably snappier than the Glock 19. Training will allow you to get follow-up shots on target fast but this pistol can’t handle as well as the softer shooting G19.
If you’re willing to accept more recoil for a bigger bullet, the Glock 23 is a fine gun for concealed carry.
Glock 23 Holsters
Caliber: .40 S&W
Weight: 24 oz
BarrelLength: 4.02 inches
The Glock 45 is one of the biggest guns on this list. However, it’s barrel isn’t extremely long at 4 inches. Also, consider that at under 25 ounces, it’s lighter than some smaller pistols on this list.
But here’s where the G45 shines: it holds 17 rounds. It’s longer grip balances with the 4-inch barrel very well. Not everyone can conceal a pistol with a larger grip as this pistol has. However, many people can. It mostly depends on how dedicated you are to dressing around the pistol.
The Glock 45 is basically a Glock 17 with a shorter barrel. So it feels like a service pistol with an easier to manage barrel length.
If you want to Conceal Carry 17 rounds of 9mm in a fantastic handling Glock, the G45 is right up your alley.
Glock 45 Holsters
Weight: 25 oz
BarrelLength: 4.02 inches
Beretta APX Centurion
Beretta’s latest polymer line of pistols is completely different than the PX4 line. Beretta moved into the polymer-framed striker-fired pistol market with a great entry. The APX lineup is loved by almost all reviewers. It is a sweet shooter for one of the best concealed carry guns.
Best of all, Beretta made Compact and Centurion versions especially for Concealed Carriers. The Centurion and Compact version both have shorter barrels and grips than the Full-Size APX.
The barrel length on the Compact and Centurion APX pistols is 3.7 inches rather than 4.25 inches. The Centurion grip is about 0.4″ shorter than the Full-Size APX while the Compact is about 0.4″ shorter than the Centurion.
The Centurion is extremely popular with Clinger Holster customers. It’s big enough to fill your hand. Yet, it’s small enough to be a great Concealed Carry gun. So, this is one of the best EDC guns for big hands.
Plus, it’s an excellent performer on the shooting range.
Beretta APX Centurion Holsters
Weight: 27 oz
BarrelLength: 3.7 inches
Beretta APX Full Size
This is the full size version of the APX. While it’s not quite the fit for concealed carry that the Centurion is, it still works for concealed carry. That’s especially true if you like your concealed carry guns a little on the bigger side. The good news is that this pistol is still light enough to easily carry all day long while still providing a generous 18 round capacity. That’s quite impressive.
The APX has much to love in its design. The slide serrations are very easy to grab, the trigger is excellent, the handling is extremely impressive, and it has the pedigree of Beretta’s name.
Beretta APX (Full Size) Holsters
Weight: 27 oz
BarrelLength: 4.25 inches
The CZ P-01 is based on the bulletproof CZ-75 design with a lighter weight aluminum frame, shorter barrel, and shorter grip. Its ergonomics are of legendary status. All gun makers should strive for this level of ergonomic satisfaction.
It’s much easier to carry the lighter P-01 than the CZ-75 on which it’s based (due to its lighter alloy). However, you still get the great shooting dynamics the CZ-75 is known for.
CZ P-01 Holsters
Weight: 28 oz
BarrelLength: 3.75 inches
CZ P-01 Omega
The CZ P-01 Omega is a hot-rodded version of the P-01 we all know and love. It’s main attraction is a suppressor-ready extended barrel. Plus the tritium night sights are suppressor-height so that the still work when you thread a suppressor onto the barrel. It’s painted Urban Grey to look cool too.
Most people shy away from longer barrels like this on their concealed carry gun. However, the longer barrel doesn’t make it harder to conceal inside the waistband. It may be more likely to bump your seat when you’re sitting though.
Having said all that, this is an amazing, tricked out pistol that does a decent job at concealed carry.
CZ P-01 Omega Holsters
Weight: 29 oz
BarrelLength: 4.4 inches
The CZ PCR is very similar to the CZ-75 Compact. However, it has a lightweight aluminum frame just as the P-01 does. The difference between the PCR and the P-01 is that the PCR doesn’t have a rail making it a little sleeker and easier to conceal.
It has the same legendary ergonomics that made CZ famous for manufacturing one of the best concealed carry guns.
CZ PCR Holsters
Weight: 27 oz
While CZ proved it could make a great polymer-framed pistol with its P-07 & P-09 handguns, CZ took it’s time striking out into the striker-fired market. If CZ was waiting to introduce the P-10 series because they were taking their time to perfect the trigger, they’ve succeeded.
The trigger on this pistol is staggeringly good. It inches very close to a good Single Action trigger. Plus there are many other things to love on the handgun. It seems to dissipate recoil like a champ. Also, it’s small enough to make a great Concealed Carry handgun. Yet, it pleasantly fills your hand.
CZ’s most modern pistol to date was made to be equally at home in a Concealed Carry holster or a nightstand.
CZ P10C Holsters
Weight: 26 oz
BarrelLength: 4.02 inches
The HK VP9 has shown how capable H&K is of producing fine firearms. Almost everyone loves this pistol. Its ergonomics and trigger are universally loved. It has the ergonomics of the great P30 but incorporates a great striker-fired trigger that loyal H&K fans have been asking for. It has the swappable back straps and side panels that people enjoyed on the P30.
Also, it was released with another surprising ergonomic feature: charging supports. Charging supports are small wings on the back of the slide that make racking the slide faster and easier.
You may be a little surprised to see a full-sized gun like the VP9 on a list of the best Concealed Carry guns. After all, it’s bigger than many will want for a Concealed Carry pistol. However, we sell concealment holsters for VP9 pistols in droves. Therefore, I know many people find it just fine for concealment.
HK VP9 Holsters
Weight: 25 oz
Ruger Security 9
Ruger developed the Security 9 as a direct competitor to the Glock 19. It’s barely big enough to be used as a service pistol. Yet, it’s just compact enough to make it viable as a daily Concealed Carry pistol. It is lightweight yet manages to hold 15 rounds of 9mm. Plus, it’s big enough to fill your hand while being compact enough to carry Inside the Waistband without tremendous effort.
Are you ready to hear the Security 9’s most talked-about feature? It’s incredibly affordable. You can almost buy two of these Ruger pistols for the price of one G19! Ruger was able to make a G19 competitor while keeping the price hundreds of dollars cheaper.
Is this another cheap 9mm gun then? No way. This is a great gun. Ruger has a reputation for building tough guns. They delivered. This is a well-built handgun. Ruger employed a hammer-fired trigger to cut costs. But let me tell you, this is a good trigger. It’s almost a great trigger. You see, it’s a double-action only trigger that feels incredibly close to a striker-fired trigger. I don’t know how Ruger’s engineers pulled it off but they surely made a sweet-shooting pistol at a crazy price point.
You won’t see fancy night sights or swappable backstraps at this price point. Many people don’t care for those features anyway (especially when hunting for a good pistol at a great price).
Ruger Security 9 Holsters
Weight: 23.8 oz
BarrelLength: 4 inches
S&W M&P Compact M2.0
Smith & Wesson makes three barrel lengths for this one. It comes in 3.6 inch, 4 inch, and 4.625 inch versions. While the shorter barrel is easier to conceal (especially in the appendix carry position), the longer barrels are a bit more accurate. Plus, the longer barrels have a little bit less muzzle flip. These pistols have completely amazing ergonomics. S&W knows how to make a pistol fit your hand. In addition to great ergonomics, Smith and Wesson nailed the stippling. It’s very tacky and easy to keep a good grip on during rapid fire.
Two things stick out with this pistol. First, the quality is outstanding. You’ll see the quality as soon as you pick it up. Truly, the fit and finish are amazing. It’s no wonder their M&P series performs so well on the range. Smith and Wesson have learned over the last century how to make an outstanding handgun.
Secondly, the price separates the M&P Compact M2.0 from the other pistols behind the gun counter. It’s very affordable. It’s over $100 cheaper than some of the other quality handguns you’ll see at your local gun store. Sure, you can get a cheap pistol for less money. However, I’m talking about value here. The M&P Compact is affordable. Plus it’s a better pistol than most of the other pistols behind the gun counter. It is one of the best self defense pistols out there as well.
The trigger, ergonomics, reliability, and shooting prowess is top-notch all across the board. This is truly an amazing pistol.
S&W M&P9 M2.0 Compact Holsters
Weight: 27 oz
BarrelLength: 4 inches
Sig P320 X-COMPACT
The Sig P320 XCOMPACT is a shorter version of the Sig P320 X-Carry. However, it has mostly the same features as the other X-Series pistols. It has a 3.6″ barrel rather than the 3.9″ of the X-Carry. Also, its shorter grip is easier to Conceal Carry while still holding 15 rounds of 9mm.
You’ll have the option to add a Red Dot without the need for a machine shop to cut out the slide. It has great night sights as well. Also, the ergonomics are unmatched in any other pistol of this size among the best concealed carry guns. Plus, it has the same amazing Sig trigger as the other X-Series pistols from Sig. The flat trigger has an entirely fantastic feel.
This is one of the highest quality polymer pistols in this entire list of best concealed carry guns.
Sig P320 XCOMPACT Holsters
Weight: 25.3 oz
The Sig P229 has been used by FBI, DEA, ICE, the Secret Service, and many smaller federal agencies. And for good reason. It just works. It’s heavy enough to produce fast follow up shots. Yet it’s not quite heavy enough to cause fatigue by the end of the day. You can bet your ammo stockpile on the fact that the FBI tested the P229 5x further than it needed to be tested too. To say that it’s highly reliable would be a huge understatement. It’s insanely reliable.
On top of its reputation for reliability, Sig tacks on great accuracy. Sig owners enjoy great accuracy out of the box with the P229. One more thing can be said about how awesome these pistols are. The fit and finish on the P229 are always top-notch.
Some may question whether a gun with the size and weight of the P229 belongs on a list of the best Concealed Carry guns (or a list of the best 9mm pistols available). Take my word for it: there’s a ton of these Sigs that are actively carried daily.
Sig P229 Holsters
Caliber: 9mm, 40, 357 SIG
Weight: 29-32 oz
The Walther PPQ enjoys a very special place among modern striker-fired triggers. It’s the Gold Standard by which all others are judged. It is loved by all who touch it. It’s not uncommon to find yourself deciding which pistol to trade in after shooting it. If you hold and shoot it…you will covet it. Most striker-fired triggers feel the same every single shot. But some guns nail the execution better than others. The PPQ nails it better than just about anybody.
The PPQ also helped usher in the wave of ergonomic advances in handgun design. Once the PPQ was on the market, all others had to catch up as quickly as possible.
It’s small enough for concealed carry, yet big enough to shoot well. this is a great all-purpose 9mm handgun. Plus, it weighs in at just 24 ounces with a 15 + 1 capacity. There are a lot of great pistols on the market today because of guns like the PPQ. When a gun this sweet raises the bar, everyone else has to up their game as well. It’s one of the best Concealed Carry guns on the market.
Walther PPQ Holsters
Weight: 24 oz
Walther PDP Compact 4″
The Walther PDP pretty much a newer version of the famous PPQ. Walther made the trigger better. The stippling is grippier now as well.
The biggest change you’ll see is the red dot plate on the slide. That’s a very welcome addition. While Walther is marketing this to police departments around the world, they were thoughtful enough to make one with a compact grip.
The Compact version is great for concealed carriers. It offers the performance of a duty pistol in a package that’s small enough to work as a great concealed carry gun.
Walther PDP Holsters
Weight: 24.4 oz
Stoeger makes great long guns. They now make great handguns too. The STR-9 is a great pistol at an amazing price. They really knocked it out of the park on their first go-around.
Let’s look at everything this amazing pistol has going for it: great ergonomics, good stippling, good trigger, very good slide serrations (front & rear), good handling, and the list keeps going.
This is a great gun for the nightstand but it’s lightweight enough to make a good concealed carry gun as well. This is a high quality firearm at an unbelievable price point.
It has different backstrap options for different hand sizes. The backstrap module actually wraps around to the sides too. That makes it more effective when trying to find the right one to fit your hand.
The low bore axis helps with fast follow up shots as well. This pistol handles really well.
Let’s be honest here: this gun should cost over $400. This looks, feels, and shoots like an expensive handgun. It’s crazy how affordable it is. Of course the price wouldn’t matter if it doesn’t have reliability to back it up. Fortunately, it has proven to be a very reliable firearm.
Remember that while Stoeger hasn’t made pistols in quite a while, they are a very large gun manufacturer with a long history of making reliable guns.
Stoeger STR-9 Holsters
Weight: 30.4 oz
This might seem odd to you. Not many people would expect to see a Ruger-57 in a list of the best concealed carry guns. Well, there’s a first time for everything.
Here’s why this gun is on this list. Our customers are ordering a lot of inside the waistband holsters for this gun. That means a lot of people are using this in their concealed carry rotation.
There are a few reasons why many people are carrying this pistol. It only weighs 24 oz. It holds 20 rounds. Plus, it’s a very soft shooting round for which this pistol is chambered. FNH developed the round to work in their Five-Seven pistol and P-90 rifle. The idea was a small bullet (translate into high capacity) that was soft shooting but still had a high velocity.
Ruger made a pistol that could use the round too. However, Ruger’s version is not only cheaper, a whole lot of shooters actually prefer it to the FN Five-Seven.
It can definitely work as a good concealed carry pistol.
Caliber: 5.7 x 28mm
Weight: 24.5 oz
We know that these guns qualify as the 50 best concealed carry guns on the market. We say these are the “best handguns” because these are the firearms our customers have ordered the most holsters for. We let the true market be the judge.
Which of these best concealed carry guns do you love? Let us know in the comments.
If you buy one of these handguns, be sure to check out Clinger Holsters for the best gun holsters to carry your new handgun in complete comfort. We hope that this review helps you select the best gun for your concealed carry routine (whether you prefer the best full size 9mm pistol or a small .38 revolver). Even if budget is an issue, some of the best handguns I’ve listed here very affordable handguns for the quality that you get.
Oh, I have a confession to make. There are quite a few more than 50 guns in this list. I just couldn’t narrow it down any further though. Every gun on this list belongs on it.
Checkout out our blog for everything concealed carry.
The Top 10 Best Handguns for Carrying (Plus Two Extras, Just in Case)
Opinions about carry guns are like armpits: Everybody has them and they all stink except mine. The argument as to the best handgun for carrying (and cartridge to go with it) has lit up the internet since Al Gore invented it, and it’s not likely to be settled soon. That is, unless everyone agrees I am right. While the choices are fluid, here are my top 10 choices for carry guns as of today.
Why a Revolver Is Still a Smart Choice for Personal Defense
Before you assume semi-auto is the only way to go, consider the personal defense revolver.
In today’s world of high-capacity, polymer-frame, semi-auto pistols, we often forget about the original repeating handgun. While the roots of the revolver go back to the revolving arquebus, produced by Hans Stopler of Nuremberg in 1597, it wasn’t until 1836 that Sam Colt figured out how to make it work reliably. Once Colt started making revolvers, the world of repeating handguns changed forever.
Whether you’re in the field hunting, hiking, or exploring, or in any wilderness setting, the revolver is the top choice in a handgun. For personal defense, the double-action revolver may be a bit less popular nowadays, but it’s every bit as good a choice as it ever was.
Reliability and Versatility of the Best Revolvers
One big upside of a revolver is that it is almost totally reliable. A quality revolver that is maintained and fed a proper diet simply does not jam. In the event of a misfire, another pull of the trigger lines up a fresh cartridge with the barrel.
Revolvers are versatile too. A double-action revolver lets you choose between a fast, double-action trigger pull for defensive situations, or cocking the hammer for a light, crisp, single-action trigger pull for precision shooting.
Revolvers can be chambered for much more powerful cartridges than semi-auto handguns, which makes them the clear choice in a wilderness setting, where the predators are on four legs and can be big, tough, and tenacious.
From deep-cover concealed-carry to defense against the world’s largest predators, the wheel gun still shines bright. It is our oldest successful repeating handgun design, and continues to be a great choice for personal protection.
Top 10 Carry Pistols
While the choices are endless, here are my top 10 choices for carry guns.
1. S&W J-Frame Revolver
It’s said that guns guys talk about 1911s, shoot Glocks, and carry a J-Frame. The current group-think opinion on the Internet is that this handgun is a bad choice. Sorry, but I don’t follow the herd. Want the truth? More often than not I grab my Model 340 S&W in .357 Magnum when I am heading out the door.
I carry it in a Blackhawk pocket holster. Yeah, the one the Internet Tactards say will get you killed on the street. It’s easy to conceal and simple to carry. That means I’ll have the revolver with me, which counts for a lot with carry guns. A surprising number of the hardcore shooters I know do pretty much the same thing.
2. Glock G17
Created by a 50-year-old manager for a car radiator factory in Austria, this pistol shocked the world. The simple gun had only 34 parts. Everything except the barrel, slide and a few small internal parts and springs was made of plastic. Even the magazine was plastic.
The gun was cheap to manufacture, priced well below the competition, and it changed the handgun world. The gun holds eighteen 9mm cartridges and became the darling of the “I need a lot of capacity” crowd. The Glock G17 is the carry gun of choice for millions.
3. Ruger 1911 Commander
John Browning’s masterpiece is more than 100 years old and remains one of the most popular fighting pistol designs in the world. Many experienced shooters prefer it to the plastic Tupperware guns that dominate the market, partly because they still believe that physics apply and a big cartridge hits harder.
They also know that it’s a sin to chamber a 1911 in anything other than .45 ACP. The full size 1911 is a bit heavy, the Officer size a bit unreliable; the Commander size is just right.
4. S&W M&P Shield
This gun created an entire new class of handguns, bridging the gap between the micro pistols and the much larger “sub compacts” of the day. It is small, lightweight and easy to carry. Yet, it’s almost as easy to shoot as most full size guns. The Shield is chambered in grown up cartridges like the 9mm and .40 S&W so it provided the best of all worlds. Now that it’s available in .45 ACP, it just might well be the ultimate carry gun.
5. Ruger LCP Pistol
About the time “shall-issue” concealed carry laws started sweeping the country, the little polymer frame .380 ACP guns became popular. It started with the Kel-Tec P3AT. Ruger announced their LCP in 2008, and with the force of the Ruger marketing machine behind it, the LCP became the most popular handgun in the world for a while.
It went on to launch a revolution of micro .380 handguns. The tiny gun is lightweight, inexpensive and comfortable to carry. The .380 ACP is not a powerhouse, but it’s often enough.
6. Ruger LCR Pistol
This is the J-Frame for the masses. Ruger developed the use of polymer manufacturing for this handgun and brought the cost down well below the S&W handguns. Like any Ruger, the quality is excellent. The Ruger LCR is a very popular, reasonably priced double-action revolver. This gun makes use of polymer in the frame, which keeps both weight and cost down, yet it can handle a powerful cartridge like the .357 Magnum. It’s offered in a wide range of cartridges, from .22LR to the .357 Magnum. Mine, of course, is in the latter, and it’s held up well to a lot of shooting. It’s a small handgun that is easy to carry, chambered for a very powerful cartridge, and priced so a working man can easily afford it.
7. Glock 23 Handgun
This is Glock’s “Commander” size handgun. Smaller than the full size guns, it makes carry easy without compromising power. The Model G19 in 9mm is probably more popular, but a lot of gun guys still believe in defensive cartridges that start with a four.
The G23 in .40 S&W has a 14 cartridge capacity in a compact package that is comfortable to carry all day. It’s the choice of a lot of savvy gun people for an everyday carry gun.
8. Glock G43 Handgun
The S&W Shield started a revolution in carry guns, by making a small, compact, lightweight handgun in full size cartridges. When the new category grew too popular to ignore, Glock jumped in with this 9mm handgun. Like all Glocks, it’s reliable to the point of being boring. This small, lightweight handgun holds six in the magazine and one up the pipe for a seven round capacity.
9. Smith & Wesson M&P
The Smith & Wesson M&P (Military and Police) is probably the second most popular handgun in the polymer-frame, double-stack, striker-fired pistol category. When you consider that the M&P was introduced in 2005 and that Glock had a 20 year head start in the market, running a close second to the Austrian wonder pistols is a pretty remarkable achievement.
There are many features on the M&P that I prefer over the Glock, like the grip angle, trigger and metal magazines. Plastic magazines have a tendency to stick in the magazine well when you try to eject an empty; metal mags behave and fall out. It’s also American made, which counts with a lot of gun buyers.
10. Charter Arms Bulldog
Charter Arms Bulldog
The Bulldog had its 15 minutes of fame when David Berkowitz, also known as Son of Sam and the .44 Caliber Killer, used one during his reign of terror in New York City during the summer of 1976. That story is yet another illustration that it’s not the gun but the shooter who determines if a gun is used for good or evil. It was just a pity that the good people of New York were not allowed to have the same gun.
Who knows, it might have ended differently and a lot of young people could have grown old. I have a Bulldog today and it’s a lot of thump in a small, simple revolver. At 21 ounces, this gun is a little larger than the smaller .38 Specials, but it uses the much larger .44 Special cartridge, which can be a formidable round for defense. With some of the newer ammo, like Hornady’s Flex-Tip loads, it’s an excellent personal-defense cartridge.
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Two More Revolvers for Personal Defense
You can never have enough options when it comes to choosing a personal defense handgun. If you’ve been convinced to choose a revolver over a semi-auto handgun, here are two more options to help with your choice.
1. The S&W Model 629
The .44 Magnum has been my favorite revolver cartridge for years. I started with an S&W Model 29, 6½-inch barrel—the same gun Dirty Harry used—and I have owned just about every other .44 Magnum on the market over the years.
My latest favorite is a custom Model 629 revolver that Mag-na-port worked on for me. It has a 2.5-inch barrel and a K-Frame round butt grip. I find that this lightweight .44 is very handy to carry for both urban and wilderness settings.
2. North American Arms .22 Long Rifle Mini Revolver
This revolver is so small that I carry it in my pocket like a pocketknife. It weighs 4.5 ounces, and most of the time I forget it’s there, which is part of its charm. While I have finished off wounded game with it, I mostly think of it as a last resort, hideout gun.
Outdoor Life is dedicated to covering safe and responsible gun ownership for hunting, recreation, and personal protection. We participate in affiliate advertising programs only with trusted online retailers in the firearms space. If you purchase a firearm using the links in this story, we may earn commission
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