Individuals who want to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their property will find a concealable handgun a solid choice. If you are looking for a weapon of this type, the question is: Which one best meets your needs?
We ask this because the number of handgun choices is huge. And what suits one person may not be the best for another.
With this in mind, we take a look at eight of the best concealed carry handguns available. The models reviewed range across manufacturers, weapon sizes, weights, and calibers. There are also considerations relating to personal needs and an overview of the types of concealed carry holsters available.
Once armed with this information, we hope you will be in a far stronger position to choose a handgun that best meets your concealed carry needs.
- 0.1 First, here are some important pre-purchase considerations…
- 0.2 Your Physical Size
- 0.3 Weapon Size
- 0.4 Climate and everyday Wear
- 1 Top 8 Best Concealed Carry Handguns in 2021 Reviews
- 1.1 1 Sig Sauer P365 Semi-Auto Pistol – 365-9-BXR3 – Best Nightime Concealed Carry Handgun
- 1.2 2 Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ Pistol, BLK – 12611 – Most Popular Concealed Carry Handgun
- 1.3 3 Glock 19X Gen5 9mm Pistol – PX1950703 – Best Full Frame Concealed Carry Handgun
- 1.4 4 Springfield Armory Hellcat Micro-Compact Semi-Auto Pistol – Best Small Concealed Carry Handgun
- 1.5 5 Taurus G3C 3.2″ 9mm Pistol, Black – 1-G3C931 – Best Budget Concealed Carry Handgun
- 1.6 6 Ruger SR9C 9mm Black Nitride Finish Pistol – 03317 – Best High Capacity Concealed Carry Handgun
- 1.7 7 Glock 43 9mm Pistol – UI4350201BFG – Most Versatile Concealed Carry Handgun
- 1.8 8 Kahr CM9 9mm 3.0″ Barrel Black Polymer Frame – Best Double Action Concealed Carry Handgun
- 2 Best Concealed Carry Handguns Buyer’s Guide
- 3 So, what are the Best Concealed Carry Handguns?
First, here are some important pre-purchase considerations…
It’s a cliche, but size really does matter!
When considering the most suitable handgun for concealed carry, the ‘size’ factor comes in two forms.
Your Physical Size
Whether you are male or female, it would be wise to take into consideration your physical size. This relates to anyone on the smaller/thinner side or anyone who regularly wears tight clothing. These will have different needs than taller people, those who carry excess weight, and anyone who prefers loose clothing.
The whole idea of concealed carry is to ensure your weapon is not noticeably visible to others. We will get into the different methods of concealed carry later in this article.
Choosing a weapon that ‘feels’ right and one you can handle comfortably is of the utmost importance. Larger/heavier weapons are not the best choice for those new to handguns, or for anyone with weaker hand strength. This is because they can be unwieldy, difficult to draw, and just as difficult to aim and shoot accurately.
Always consider the level of recoil against the type of handgun and caliber of ammunition you will use.
Climate and everyday Wear
Think about average temperatures in the area where you live. If you often need layers of clothing to keep warm, then concealing any size weapon is easy.
However, those blessed with sunshine and warm weather for most of the year have different considerations. This pertains to how easily their weapon can be concealed while wearing such clothing as shorts, a t-shirt, a button-up shirt, or a blouse, etc.
If you work in an environment where suits or jackets are the order of the day, then, once again, concealment will be easier. But those into manual labor need to consider how their daily activities will affect weapon concealment.
Good concealment of a weapon also has a lot to do with the type of holster you use. More on this later.
Let’s move forward with our eight reviews of the best concealed carry handguns
Once you have an idea of what these handguns offer, we delve into other aspects of weapon concealment. So, let’s start with the…
Top 8 Best Concealed Carry Handguns in 2021 Reviews
1 Sig Sauer P365 Semi-Auto Pistol – 365-9-BXR3 – Best Nightime Concealed Carry Handgun
We begin with a top-quality semi-automatic pistol from a renowned manufacturer, Sig Sauer.
Those looking for an easily concealable handgun will appreciate the P365 Nitron Micro-Compact Semi-Auto pistol from Sig Sauer.
It has a barrel length of 3.1-inches in its overall length of 5.8-inches. This quality striker-fired weapon has a height of 4.3-inches, is 1.0-inch wide, and weighs in at 17.8-ounces (1.112-lbs).
Made with a stainless steel chassis and slide that is finished in Nitron, it comes with a durable polymer frame. A powerful punch is yours thanks to the 9mm caliber and capacity of 12+1-rounds. Three 12-round steel magazines come with the purchase.
Included sights and ease of use…
The P365 Nitron pistol comes with trademarked Electro-Optics XRAY3 high-visibility 3-dot tritium sights. These day/night sights offer a sight radius of 4.9-inches to ensure rapid target acquirement under most lighting conditions. There is also a built-in integral slim-line rail that allows users to add a light or laser accessories.
Operation is kept very straightforward via three controls:
- The takedown lever
- A slide lock/release
- The magazine release
Ease of use is further enhanced through the pistol’s ergonomic design, which includes a textured grip for non-slip handling. The smooth yet consistent trigger pull gives confidence that multiple-precision shots will be achieved.
Ease of concealment and cleaning…
This pistol lends itself to ease of concealment. This is particularly noticeable from the chamfered and de-horned slide design. However, if you choose to conceal carry the P365, then comfortable all-day carry will be yours.
Cleaning and maintenance of any weapon is an essential part of the best firearms practice. Sig Saur makes this easy through the ability to rapidly field strip the weapon. This process is achieved without the need for tools or trigger pulling.
- Quality material used.
- Acceptably lightweight.
- Robust, reliable.
- Day/Night sight included.
- Three steel magazines included.
- Easily concealable.
- Fast, tool-less field stripping.
- Requires a constant solid gripping for consistent functionality.
- Not the cheapest option.
2 Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ Pistol, BLK – 12611 – Most Popular Concealed Carry Handgun
When talking about the top concealed carry handguns currently available, one handgun family is sure to be in the conversation. This is the Smith & WessonM&P .380 Shield EZ.
The Smith & Wesson engineers certainly hit the right spot with their M&P (Military & Police) Shield family of handguns. They come in a variety of configurations, calibers, and accessories to please. As the name suggests, this model is chambered in .380 ACP and is designed for ease of use.
Dimension-wise, this internal hammer-fired, double-action pistol comes in at 6.7-inches in length, which includes a 3.675-inch barrel, and it weighs 19.1-ounces (1.19-lbs). Capacity is 8+1 rounds, and your purchase includes two 8-round magazines.
A good variety of applications…
When it comes to the best concealed carry handguns, the M&P 380 Shield EZ is up there with the best. It consists of a polymer frame and grip along with a stainless steel barrel and a slide that is finished in Armornite. The quality of material used ensures hard-wearing use and with good accuracy.
More on this gun’s accuracy shortly…
Its design lends itself to a good variety of applications. This is regardless of whether you are new to the shooting world or are more familiar and experienced with firearms. You will be comfortable using the M&P 380 Shield EZ for personal and home protection purposes as well as for recreational shooting.
Among a variety of benefits, you will experience an easy-to-rack slide and an easy-loading magazine. As for cleaning and maintenance, disassembly is tool-less.
Accuracy is yours…
As with any weapon, consistent and regular practice will improve your gun handling ability, confidence, and accuracy. This pistol certainly helps you along in terms of accuracy. So, here are three ways in which it achieves this:
- A crisp and light trigger. This comes with a tactile and audible trigger reset.
- A white-dot front sight and windage adjustable white-dot rear sights, with a tool included.
- A powerful green laser and the Crimson Trace instinctive activation function. This means that when the pistol is gripped and ready to fire, the laser is automatically activated.
Get a grip…
Other features worthy of mention include the grip texture that has been optimized for size and recoil. Then there is the TLCI (Tactile Loaded Chamber Indicator). This allows users to see and feel whether there is a round in the chamber.
Those wishing to add a light, a laser, or other accessories can do so using the included Picatinny style equipment rail. This pistol is available with or without an ambidextrous manual thumb safety and comes with a reversible magazine release feature.
It’s popular for a reason…
All-in-all, it is easy to see why this is such a popular handgun. It is one that is ideally suited for a variety of applications as well as comfortable all-day concealed carry purposes.
- Very popular pistol.
- Proven quality and effective ease of use.
- Crimson Trace green laser is included.
- Two magazines with the purchase.
Are you specifically interested in .380 caliber weapons for concealed carry?
If so, we covered seven models in our reviews of the Best 380 Pistols currently available.
3 Glock 19X Gen5 9mm Pistol – PX1950703 – Best Full Frame Concealed Carry Handgun
No review of the best concealed carry handguns would be complete without mentioning Glock. Therefore, their G19X Gen5 9mm pistol is the first of two we’ll include.
Glock’s first-ever “crossover” pistol…
Glock produces a huge range of popular handguns, but their G19X Gen5 pistol is classed as their first-ever “Crossover” pistol and combines a full-size frame with a compact slide. This combined design is a mix of their G17 (frame) and G19 (slide).
First developed for military use, it offers civilians a practical and powerful everyday pistol that is both reliable and efficient. Durability and robust use will not be an issue. The G19X is of rugged construction and finished with an nPVD corrosion-resistant coating.
While various colors are available, we are looking at the Flat Dark Earth (FDE) version that comes in 9mm caliber and has a capacity of 17+1 rounds. Plus, your purchase includes three magazines.
The G19X has an overall length of 7.44-inches, which includes a 4.02-inch barrel. It is 5.47-inches high and has a width of 1.30-inches. Weight-wise, you are looking at 24.83-ounces/31.39-ounces (unloaded/loaded). Those looking at trigger-pull will find this comes in at 5.8-lbs.
Thanks to the inclusion of the improved Glock Marksman barrel and Glock night sights, increased accuracy is yours. Another feature worthy of note comes with the grip design has no finger grooves. This works to give shooters enhanced weapon versatility and handling.
Should it really be placed in the best concealed carry category?
In our opinion, the answer to this question has to be a big ‘Yes.’ This highly effective handgun is certainly not the most concealable for those wearing light clothing. However, when heavier outer clothing such as jackets and longer coats are worn, concealability is yours.
Couple this with the power it packs and its use under any conditions. This combination alone makes it a very solid personal defense weapon.
- A quality “crossover” design.
- Large capacity.
- Three 17-round magazines included.
- Packs a telling punch.
- Glock Marksman barrel.
- Glock night sights.
- Too heavy/large for some to handle.
- Not the easiest to conceal (but it can be!)
4 Springfield Armory Hellcat Micro-Compact Semi-Auto Pistol – Best Small Concealed Carry Handgun
We move from one of the largest handguns for concealed carry to the smallest, the Springfield Armory Hellcat Micro-Compact semi-automatic pistol.
Concealing this weapon should be no issue whatsoever. It is just 4-inches tall, 6-inches long, 1-inch wide, and weighs in at 17.9-ounces (1.118-lbs). No matter its size, it still comes in a powerful 9mm caliber.
This striker-fired pistol comes with a hammer forged 3-inch barrel designed to provide maximum accuracy. The slide billet is machined. And both are finished in matte-black Melonite, which ensures wear and corrosion resistance.
A textured polymer frame, and more…
The pistol has a polymer frame designed with Springfield’s Adaptive Grip Texture, meaning it will afford shooters a firm grip. There is also a well-placed beavertail feature that sits below the slide. This helps shooters index the pistol during drawing procedures as well as also controlling the felt recoil.
You get a boron-coated trigger group along with a flat trigger body. These features ensure a clean, consistent trigger pull. Other notable features include a loaded chamber indicator and reversible magazine release.
Magazine choices to suit your needs…
The Hellcat comes with two magazines. The first is a standard 11+1 magazine. This is a good choice for those looking at improved concealability through a flush-fitting. It also comes with an optional extender floorplate. Although this does make the overall weapon a little taller, the benefit is that it gives your little finger some additional space.
The second included magazine has a capacity of 13+1. Attaching this does extend it out at the bottom, but the extension matches the grip shape and texture.
A laser/red dot can be added…
The Hellcat pistol comes equipped with front and rear sights. The front sight is of high-visibility tritium and luminescent design, while the rear is a trademarked Tactical Rack U-Dot sight. This combination helps shooters rapidly and easily line-up shots in most lighting conditions.
We are looking at the ‘standard’ version of the Hellcat pistol. As with all Hellcat frames, it does come with a slotted rail for the addition of a small laser, a light, or accessories, as well as a single locking point that sits to the front of this rail.
Those looking for a ready-made red-dot sight option should check out the Hellcat OSP model. This has been pre-machined and is ready for a small red-dot sight to be installed.
- As small and light as concealed weapons come.
- 9mm caliber packs a punch.
- Two high capacity magazines are included.
- Acceptable front and rear sights.
- Red-dot/laser sights can be added easily.
- May be too small for some folks.
5 Taurus G3C 3.2″ 9mm Pistol, Black – 1-G3C931 – Best Budget Concealed Carry Handgun
Our next review will please anyone on a tight budget. And the Taurus G3C model must be classed as one of the best value concealed carry handguns on the market.
A compact pistol with safety in mind…
This striker-fired pistol has a polymer frame and a stainless steel 3.26-inch barrel. It has an overall length of 6.3-inches. It is 5.1-inches high, 1.2-inches wide, and weighs in at 22 ounces (1.375 lbs). The G3C takes 9mm ammo, and included in the very attractive purchase price are three magazines. The pistol has a capacity of 12+1.
Safety is realized in four included features:
- An internal striker-block safety
- Manual thumb safety (this is positioned on the left side)
- A trigger block safety (positioned in the center of the trigger)
- Loaded chamber indicator
Designed features to please…
Coming with a tenifer finish, the G3C has been sculptured to reduce its profile while being conceal-carried. There are also front and rear cocking serrations and steel sights. The rear sight is plain, serrated, and the front sight is a white dot.
The trigger is single-action and comes with a restrike capability. This is a feature that the majority of guns do not have. In terms of weapon design, you will benefit from a palm swell, a slight beavertail, and aggressive stippling panels.
To help users locate their weapon more quickly, the G3C frame includes “memory pads.” Those looking to add a laser or small light will find that this pistol is slotted and comes with a single forward locking point.
- Excellent price point.
- Memory pads.
- Highly popular.
- Good safety options.
- Trigger restrike capability.
- Designed for EDC (Everyday Carry).
- Will be a little heavy for some.
6 Ruger SR9C 9mm Black Nitride Finish Pistol – 03317 – Best High Capacity Concealed Carry Handgun
For this one, we stay with a very keenly priced 9mm pistol. This quality offering from Ruger is their highly popular SR9C handgun.
Ruger is renowned for the design and build of its weapons. The SR9C model is an advance on their famous SR9 family of handguns. It comes with a compact frame made from high-performance glass-filled nylon. The slide is made from alloy steel and has a black nitride finish.
Designed for comfortable everyday concealed carry, it measures in at 6.85-inches in overall length. This includes the 3.4-inch barrel. Height-wise, it is 4.61-inches, with a width of 1.27-inches and a weight of 23.4-ounces (1.462-lbs).
This is a striker-fired semi-automatic pistol that takes 9mm caliber ammo. Included in the attractive purchase price are two 10-round magazines, each giving a capacity of 10+1. Other models in the SR9C family offer different clip options, including one that carries 17 rounds. It should be noted that the SR9C will accept most full-sized SR9 magazines.
Light recoil, smooth action…
Following the SR9’s popularity, shooters will find the SR9C offers the same shooting pleasure. When fired, it gives light recoil and smooth action. Consistency and reliability again will be yours.
In essence, the SR9C offers all of the benefits seen in the SR9 only in a smaller package. This makes it perfect for concealed carry.
This model has a unique reversible backstrap that can be used either flat or arched and an optional finger extension magazine floorplate.
What does that mean for you? No matter what hand size you have, these features ensure a comfortable weapon hold and grip. As for adjustability, this can be achieved without the need for separate inserts or any special tools.
Sighting system and integral Picatinny rail…
Accuracy is consistent and is enhanced with the adjustable 3-dot sight system. This features a raked-forward front sight that allows the weapon to be easily removed from your chosen holster. The rear sight is also adjustable.
In terms of safety, there is a manual, ambidextrous safety feature. Any shooter wishing to add accessories will find an integrated Picatinny rail on the receiver. This provides space to mount a laser, lights, and any other tactical accessories you deem useful.
- Renowned manufacturer.
- From the extremely popular Ruger SR family.
- Consistent and reliable.
- Designed for ease of concealed carry.
- Flexible to fit the vast majority of hand sizes.
- Very well-priced for what is offered.
- Heavier than it needs to be.
- Not recommended for the elderly or infirm.
7 Glock 43 9mm Pistol – UI4350201BFG – Most Versatile Concealed Carry Handgun
We promised you a second Glock model that sits very nicely in the top concealed carry handguns category. It is the G43.
Specifically designed for ease of concealment…
Glock’s G43 comes in a variety of flavors and has already attained a staunch following of users. This is thanks to the reliability offered along with how easy this pistol is to conceal. The model we are looking at has a Battlefield Green frame finish and black slide. However, there are a host of other colors available. Whichever you choose, the important specs are the same.
This single-stack 9mm pistol has a capacity of 6+1 rounds, and the price includes two magazines.
The overall length of the G43 is 6.26-inches, which includes the 3.41-inch barrel. Height and width are 4.25-inches and 1.06-inches, respectively, and its weight is 17.99-ounces (1.124-lbs). The included sights are 3-dot, and the pistol offers a sight radius of 5.24-inches.
Designed for all hand sizes…
Not only is the G43 very easy to conceal, but it has also been designed to fit shooters with any hand size. The grip comes with a built-in beaver tail design that ensures a tight, high grip can be acquired. Then there is the aggressive texture grip surface feature, which helps give consistent, comfortable, and reliable use of the pistol.
Another feature worthy of note is the noticeably large magazine catch. This makes for fast work of removing the 6-round magazine. While the G43 may well be compact and very easy to conceal, Glock has not cut corners on testing it. This popular pistol goes through the same torture tests as its larger relatives.
Glock 43 vs Smith & Wesson M&P…
It should be said that Glock weapons divide the shooting community. Some shooters swear by them, and others swear AT them.
If you happen to be sitting on the fence and would like to see a side by side comparison of the just-reviewed Glock 43 and earlier S&W M&P handguns, then check out our informative Glock 43 vs M&P Shield comparison.
- Highly popular Glock model.
- Comes in a wide choice of colors and finishes.
- Easy to use.
- Built for concealed carry.
- Fits the vast majority of hand sizes.
- Ergonomically, it is not the most attractive.
8 Kahr CM9 9mm 3.0″ Barrel Black Polymer Frame – Best Double Action Concealed Carry Handgun
When it comes to concealed carry handguns, the Kahr CM9 is worthy of consideration.
Compact, with a choice of calibers…
While we are looking at the CM9093 (9mm version) of this compact handgun, it is also available in .40 S&W as well as in .45 ACP models. Measuring in at 5.42-inches in overall length, which includes the 3.0-inch barrel, it is 4.0-inches high and weighs 14-ounces.
Capacity-wise, you get 6+1-rounds, and the CM9 ships with 1 x 6-round magazine that has a flush floorplate design. This will add another 1.9-ounces to its overall weight. These dimensions make it a convenient, concealed carry weapon.
Features and trigger action to note…
The CM9 version we are looking at comes with textured polymer grips and a black polymer frame. It has a conventional rifled barrel and matte stainless steel slide. The slide stop lever is metal-injection-molded (MIM), and this gun includes a Browning style recoil lug. As for the sights, these are of drift adjustable, white bar-dot combat style.
Trigger cocking is DAO (Double Action Only). While DAO triggers are not as popular as other actions, it does offer safety benefits. This is because the trigger pull is longer and therefore acts as an additional safety mechanism.
A bit more on this one…
Shooting practice is essential! Many shooters are unfamiliar with DAO triggers. Therefore, you should always take the time to become familiar, comfortable, and confident with any weapon(s) you own. But, it is particularly important that you familiarize yourself with a DAO trigger.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Designed for concealed carry ease.
- Well-priced for what is on offer.
- DAO trigger adds to safety.
- Trigger action will take some getting used to.
- Ships with just only one 6-round magazine.
Best Concealed Carry Handguns Buyer’s Guide
Many factors go into buying the right handgun for concealed carry. What type of gun, the caliber, and personal needs will vary from person to person. Therefore, it is important to remember that what suits one person may very well not be the best choice for another.
So, here are five factors you should bear in mind when choosing a handgun:
- The size of the gun
- Your regular daily wardrobe
- Your daily activity
- Body shape and size
- Hand strength
The right handgun for your concealed carry needs to be powerful enough caliber-wise and should fit comfortably in your hand. You also need to be able to control and efficiently operate it.
Finally, it should be comfortable for you to carry and conceal.
What concealed carry style best suits you?
Once you have the gun you’re going to carry; the next step is to choose a convenient concealed carry style that is right for you. Again, this will vary from person to person, and many handgun owners have more than one holster.
This is because different concealed carry holsters can fit different occasions. Whichever holster(s) you choose should offer safe and secure carrying, feel comfortable, and be easy to access when required.
So many choices…
You can choose from many holster options such as Pocket, Fanny pack, Purse/Handbag, BellyBand, Ankle, Shoulder, OWB (Outside the Waistband), IWB (Inside the Waistband). All of these options have their benefits and drawbacks. Once again, look at the different options and see what best suits your lifestyle.
Those looking for concealed carry holster options should take a look at the eight models we featured in our in-depth review of the Best Concealed Carry Holsters you can buy.
Also, do not dismiss training and/or regular practice
Your aim should be having one of the best handguns for concealed carry and matching it with a quality concealed holster. However, this combination will be of little use if you are unfamiliar with the weapon’s operation. You also need to know how to draw it from your concealed holster quickly and efficiently.
There is no magic pill for this. Life-threatening situations can and often do occur rapidly. This means that the more familiar you are with your chosen handgun and how to access it efficiently, the better off you’ll be.
Those new to handguns should get some good initial training and follow this up with regular practice. Those familiar with handguns need to keep up and improve their expertise through regular practice. This is because weapon familiarity will foster confidence and a calm mind. In many situations, this is exactly what you need.
Looking for some excellent Concealed Carry Holster recommendations?
If so, explore our comprehensive reviews of the Best Fanny Pack Holsters, the Best Ankle Holsters, the Best Springfield XDS 45 Holster, the Best Sig P238 Holsters, the Best Cross Draw Holster, and the Best Small of Back Holster on the market in 2021.
So, what are the Best Concealed Carry Handguns?
As we’ve seen, there is a significant number of concealed carry handguns currently available. Your lifestyle will play an important part when choosing such a weapon. Our eight choices reviewed are certainly not exhaustive. Having said that, we feel all models mentioned will suit concealed carry perfectly.
If pressed to make a top choice, though, we would go for the…
This handgun is built on a long-proven platform from a quality manufacturer. This weapon is easy to use, reliable and comes with two 8-round magazines. Weighing just 19.1-ounces (1.19-lbs), it is built for comfortable, concealed EDC (everyday carry). It will suit beginners as well as more experienced gun handlers.
To round things off, there is an included built-in Crimson Trace Green Laserguard. This powerful green laser is automatically activated once the pistol is held in a firing grip. This all makes this a truly nice pistol.
That’s it for our best quality concealed carry handguns roundup. May you have a safe and secure concealed carry experience.