Important Form Factors for micro and sub compact concealed carry handguns

choosing a ccw gun form factors

For those in the concealed carry community, the question gun developers are always asking is what form factor makes the most sense for concealed carry. The problem? One size never fits all. It's a question of a person's own style of movement, their shape, and the clothing they prefer to wear that dictates which handgun form factor is going to make it.

However, there are important questions related to functionality. Just because a weapon fits comfortably on the person doesn't make it particularly effective. And conversely, just because a handgun functions great doesn't mean it's going to fit well concealed on a person.

Let's go over some form factors for the micro and sub-compact class of concealed carry weapons.

From Factors for concealed carry handgun consideration include:

Ability to blend seamlessly with waistline

Concealed carry means exactly that. For a weapon to be concealed, it has to blend seamlessly with either the waistline or along the ankle. Putting on a full size pistol into a holster can make conceal-ability a bit more difficult – unless the person is wearing a thick jacket.

Performance specifications

For a form factor to really count for CCW, it has to have a decent history of performance. Guns that jam often, have “unique” loading and unloading options, or are prone to misfires are all weapons to avoid for CCW. CCW pistols and revolvers need to be safe and reliable.

Magazine Capacity (relative to size)

If a CCW holder feels confident that four or fewer rounds is perfectly sufficient to take down an opponent – great. For most, capacity both means the ability to sustain conflict for a short period of time and reducing the number of reloads necessary. For a concealed carry form factor to be successful, it needs to hold five or more rounds.

Micro-compact CCW revolvers

The Chiappa Rhino revolver has a 2” barrel designed specifically for micro-compact concealability. Very user friendly, it can fit nearly anywhere and is easy to learn. For this form factor, it can be placed in the traditional inside the waistband concealed carry holster or stored as a backup in either a cargo pocket or ankle holster. Its unique hexagonally shaped cylinder allows for quick reloading and a flatter form factor unlike traditional revolvers.

For the more traditional, the Ruger LCR 357 Mag Revolver still meets the criteria of heavy caliber .357 ammunition delivered in a micro-compact form factor. It's perfect for concealing in an inside the waistband concealed carry holster and can even come with a custom laser sight to put rounds on target faster. With a five round capacity, it puts more pressure on the shooter to make sure rounds go on target versus putting down suppressive fire (never recommended).

Micro and sub-compact CCW pistols

Kimber makes a fantastic sub-compact (arguably on the verge of micro) version of the 1911 for .45 ACP. That's quite a feat considering most sub-compacts chambered in .45 ACP suffer a lot on magazine capacity making a double magazine carrier a good idea to keep on hand. For the Kimber Ultra CDP II, it manages to fit “8+1” rounds into 4.25 inches of height. For those that love that 1911 form factor, Kimber has their number.

For those looking for a more affordable solution in the sub-compact range, Taurus makes an excellent taurus slim line 709. Chambered in 9mm, it was made specifically with concealed carriers in mind. With a barrel length of 3” and a capacity of “7+1”, it meets all the specs and performance requirements to be one of the most affordable sub-compacts on the market.

Do you have a preferred micro or sub-compact pistol or revolver you prefer? Tell us about it in the comments section below.


About The Author

James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.