best handguns for concealed carry

Great Concealed Carry Pistol Choices

To be effective, a concealed carry handgun must be able to be concealed, but also must be capable of dropping the target. There is no one perfect handgun, as not every handgun is going to be good for every person. There also may not be a perfect handgun for each individual, as each person's mileage may vary, so to speak. Everyone experiences each gun differently.

That said, there's no reason to sit and grump around because you can't find ONE handgun that conceals well and packs a punch; that's a good reason to shoot MANY handguns that pack a punch! Try as many out as possible, and enjoy some target shooting or handgun training. If you happen to find the perfect CCW gun for you, so much the better.

Colt Mustang XSP

colt mustang handgun

The Colt Mustang XSP uses the 1911 design that so many know and love, but in a micro-pistol that's chambered for .380 Auto. Granted, there are so very many .380 micro pistols out there, so it's hard to choose just one mouse gun. However, the Colt Mustang XSP has garnered a reputation for being one of the best.

Colt New Agent

colt new agent pistol

Speaking of compact 1911 pistols, the Colt New Agent is an Officer-frame 1911 that's optimized for concealment. Instead of sights that snag and drag the draw, Colt machined trench sights into the top of the frame, so a channel running from the rear to the muzzle serves as the sights - meaning it can be drawn and brought on target in a hurry. The compact size (barrel length is 3 inches) and chambering in .45 ACP means it's a small gun but packs a full-size punch.

S&W M&P Shield 9mm

smith and wesson shield 9mm handgun

A lot of people believe the S&W M&P Shield 9mm is the perfect concealed carry pistol. It's slim and proportions are small enough to make it easily concealed. It's light, so it's easy to carry. It's very reasonably priced and available nearly everywhere, so almost anyone can buy one for not too much. There are so very many accessories, so you can do almost anything you want with it.

If you buy no other gun than the Shield, you won't have gone wrong in the least.

Springfield XDM Compact

Springfield XDM Handgun

The Springfield XDM is one of the most versatile pistols on the market. It's slim and compact enough to be easily concealed, and it's light enough to be easily carried. The barrel length of 3.8 inches is short enough for easy concealment, but long enough so that accuracy isn't impacted. You can stick to the shortened grip, or use an extension for a full 16-round capacity if carrying the 9mm version.

Best of all, you aren't limited to one caliber. You can choose 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP; it shoots them all brilliantly. Compact enough to carry everyday, but it can be big enough for use as a service arm or home defense gun - and it has an accessory rail.

If there is a do-it-all pistol, the XDM Compact is it.

Bersa Thunder .380

Bersa Thunder 380 for concealed carry

The Bersa Thunder .380 is, let's face it, a close of the Walther PPK. It shoots the same cartridge, which some people find underpowered. It looks the same. Both guns fit in the same holster. What's different? Most people find the Bersa shoots better, is available in more configurations and finishes, and it's also half the price of the Walther. Not that the PPK isn't a fine pistol and worth the price, but there's a premium involved because James Bond carried one.

Slim, concealable autos don't come much slimmer or more concealable; the Bersa Thunder is equally at home in a pocket or waistband holster. Worry no more about a .380 pistol being inaccurate due to compact dimensions - the Bersa can hit the 10 ring as well as pistols twice it's size.

Beretta Nano

beretta nano for ccw

Beretta is known for it's double-action service pistols, but don't discount the Beretta Nano. The Nano subcompact is geared for concealed carry, as it employs an easily-operated striker-fired design. Compact dimensions and low-profile sights make the Nano a great choice as a no-nonsense concealed carry pistol.

Kahr PM9

Kahr PM9 pistol

Kahr specializes in double-action only pistols with little unnecessary frippery; the Kahr PM9 is just such a pistol. It's a slim, compact single-stack 9mm and there's not much else because not much else is needed. The PM9 is designed to carry and conceal with ease, draw and get rounds on target with ease and that is what it excels at. It's a solid working CCW pistol that you can depend on.

H&K 45 Compact

H&K HK45 Compact

If nothing less than the .45 ACP will do, there are few compact .45s better than the H&K 45 Compact. The 45 Compact isn't the smallest gun in the world, but it may well be the best of the CCW .45s, as it's compact dimensions and weight are smaller than many other guns chambered for this round.

H&Ks superior ergonomics, accuracy, reliability and build quality are present in spades, and it's equally at home as a concealed carry gun, open carry or service pistol, or home defense gun. An accessory rail is standard, so those wanting to attach a light are able to.

If you're looking for a big bore in a compact package, there are few pistols that are as suited to the task.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.