Top 10 Handguns for Concealed Carry
Concealed carry is a popular topic right now, and for obvious reasons. With the everyday threats to our safety and a growing number of states introducing constitutional carry, more people than ever are interested in handguns for personal protection.
While there are many excellent concealed carry-oriented handguns, the number of choices can be overwhelming. Among the many options, several handguns stand out as the best for their quality, performance, and dependability.
First and foremost, a concealed carry handgun should be reliable and function correctly when you need it the most. You also want to ensure your concealed carry handgun is, well, concealable, because that’s the whole point.
Below is our list of the top 10 handguns for concealed carry. We’ll go over some essentials on how to choose a concealed carry handgun, the basic specs for each gun, what makes these handguns great for concealed carry, and why they might be a good option for you.
What makes a great concealed carry handgun?
Aside from having a dependable concealed carry handgun, there are a few other things to consider when choosing one that’s right for you. These include:
Size is one of the most important characteristics of a concealed handgun. The goal with concealed carry is to be armed and prepared for the worst, but not in a way that others know, which may draw unwanted attention.
Many of the guns on this list are compact to micro-sized handguns designed specifically for concealed carry. A great concealed carry handgun is small enough to be unnoticeable, yet big enough to be comfortable in the hand for accurate shooting.
Weight is also something to consider for concealed carry. If you’re going to be carrying around a handgun on your hip all day, the extra weight will be noticeable.
Great concealed carry handguns are made of lightweight materials, but still, achieve a certain level of durability and just enough weight to make recoil manageable.
Even if you’re a sure shot at the range with paper targets, all that goes out the window in a self-defense situation. With the added stress of a life-or-death scenario, you’re going to need all the rounds you can get to survive.
The best-concealed carry handguns have a good balance of ample magazine capacity without adding too much weight and bulk.
You’ll see a majority of 9mm handguns on this list, but that’s because 9mm is generally accepted to be a superior caliber for concealed handguns. 9mm provides great ballistics while at the same time being compact enough to allow for better magazine capacity.
Everybody has their opinions, but it’s the consensus of many firearms experts that 9mm is a great all-around pistol caliber, especially for concealed carry.
Size: 7.36” L, 5.04” H, 1.26” W
Unloaded weight: 23.63 oz
Standard magazine capacity: 15+1
Approximate MSRP: $539.99 (gen 5)
The infamous Glock 19 is probably the most popular handgun in America. Although it’s the largest handgun on this list, it can successfully be concealed quite well, and many Glock fans have been doing so for years.
If ammo capacity is your main concern, the 15+1 magazine capacity is sure to give you some piece of mind. A variety of extended magazines, along with a ton of aftermarket parts and accessories are widely available for the beloved Glock 19.
Size: 6.1” L, 4.6” H, 0.95” W
Unloaded weight: 20.8 oz
Standard magazine capacity: 7+1
Approximate MSRP: $505
The Smith and Wesson is an unassuming, yet practical concealed carry handgun. With a great in-hand feel that feels much bigger than it is, it’s perfect for concealed carry.
The single stack design also makes it very concealable, and the magazine capacity with the 9mm option isn’t bad at all. With a variety of holster options available, the Shield can be carried with just about any kind of clothing option.
Caliber: .380 ACP
Size: 5.17” L, 3.71” H, 0.7” W
Weight: 10.6 oz
Ammo capacity: 6+1
Approximate MSRP: $419
Moving on to a great .380 option, the Ruger LCP II is an excellent choice for ultimate concealability.
The small size of the Ruger LCP II makes it disappear on your person no matter how you conceal it. Its small size is its only downside though, as it’s limited on shooting performance and penetration with .380.
However, the LCP II is a great option for people with smaller hands or carrying in warm weather where you’ll have fewer layers to hide the outline of a handgun.
Springfield XDs 45
Caliber: .45 AUTO
Size: 6.3” L, 4.4” H, 1” W
Unloaded weight: 21.5 oz (with flush magazine)
Ammo capacity: 5+1
You may have noticed this list is a little 9mm heavy. Well, there’s more to come because 9mm is one of the best and most proven pistol calibers ever created.
Having said that, I feel obligated to include a 45-caliber option because there are always those people who won’t shoot anything else.
The Springfield XDs 45 is a great option if you’re looking for a larger caliber for your concealed carry handgun. While you’re sacrificing a few extra rounds, some people just love the extra stopping power of 45.
The Springfield XDs 45 has a great feel and is compact enough to be concealed in a variety of carrying options. Much like the M&P Shield, the XDs 45 has a great balance of grip comfort and concealability.
Caliber: .357 Magnum
Size: 6.62” L, 4.46” H, 1.39” W
Unloaded weight: 23 oz
Ammo capacity: 6
Approximate MSRP: $985
Next, no concealed carry handgun list is complete without a couple of revolvers. Although revolvers are limited in ammo capacity, they have much fewer malfunctions than semi-automatics, meaning you can expect it to go bang every time.
The Kimber K6s is a beautiful short-barrel revolver chambered in the hard-hitting .357 Magnum. With a stainless-steel construction, this is one of the lightest compact .357 revolvers on the market.
The lightweight is great, but just know that the Kimber K6s is going to kick like a mule with a .357.
Size: 6.61” L, 4.57” H, 1.31” W
Unloaded weight: 23.07 oz
Standard magazine capacity: 10+1
Approximate MSRP: $839
If you want a semi-automatic and you’ve got a little more money to spend, consider the H&K VP9sk for your concealed carry handgun.
Based on the larger H&K VP9 handguns, the VP9sk is simply a smaller version that’s easy to conceal. With an ergonomic design and fully ambidextrous controls, the VP9 is a joy to shoot.
As an added benefit, the VP9 is also optic-ready and has an under-barrel Picatinny rail so you can mount a variety of different optics and accessories.
Size: 6.26” L, 4.25” H, 1.06” W
Unloaded Weight: 17.99 oz
Standard magazine capacity: 6+1
Approximate MSRP: $529
Another great concealed carry option from Glock is the Glock 43. This single-stack handgun in 9mm is a great option if you prefer Glocks, but want something just a little slimmer.
Although some similar styles of single stack 9mm have better ammo capacity and may have a better overall feel, it’s hard to beat the quality of a Glock.
Size: 6” L, 4.8” H, 1.1” W
Unloaded weight: 17.8 oz
Standard magazine capacity: 12+1
Approximate MSRP: $650
The Sig P365x has many great features while remaining very concealable. With a 12+1 magazine capacity, the Sig P365x outperforms many pistols of a similar size, and the little bit of extra grip length from the longer magazine makes for a much better and controllable grip.
The Sig P365x is also optic-ready, further adding to the possibilities. This Sig model is a fantastic concealed carry option, and it's priced rather well for a Sig, so it’s a great overall value.
Caliber: .38 Special + P
Size: 6.3” L, 4.2” H, 1.3” W
Unloaded weight: 14.4 oz
Ammo capacity: 5
Approximate MSRP: $532
Although there are tons of semi-automatics available today and they continue to get better, for some people a revolver is the best way to go.
Revolvers are great for absolute beginners or people who simply don’t trust a semi-automatic not to malfunction when they need it most.
In that case, the Smith and Wesson Model 642 is a simple and reliable revolver that’s incredibly easy to conceal. Even in a near-impossible situation where the gun malfunctions, it’s usually just a bad primer, so all you’ll need to do is keep pulling the trigger.
The model 642 has a 5-round cylinder that can accommodate hotter +P .38 Special loads, giving you some extra power behind an otherwise low-velocity cartridge.
Size: 6.5” L, 4.17” H 1.26” W
Unloaded weight: 21.5 oz
Standard magazine capacity: 10+1
Approximate MSRP: $499
If the Glock 19 is just a little too big for you to easily conceal, but at the same time you don’t want to settle for a single stack, the Glock 26 is the solution.
With 4 more rounds of 9mm in the magazine than the Glock 43, you’re only adding a fraction of an inch in width for the Glock 26. The Glock 26 is still plenty concealable, but you get some added round capacity and a wider grip.
Founders Tactical sells all of these handguns and so much more at FoundersTactical.com