You decided to get a concealed carry permit, but now you're wondering what gun you should carry.
First off, congratulations. That's a big step and definitely one worthy of praise. Second, welcome to the never-ending conversation that is concealed carrying.
Concealed carry is a very subjective and personal choice.
What you decide to carry is largely going to be dependent on how you plan to carry it, how you're going to be dressed and, most importantly, how comfortable you feel with the firearm.
The comfort factor will most likely be determined by a combination of the previously mentioned factors and the gun itself.
That is an inherently subjective decision that each person must make on their own.
Luckily, there are some non subjective factors that can be discussed to help you narrow down ideas for what you eventually decide to carry.
Caliber is always important, but the topic can lead to many arguments and some subjective debates on its own.
However, a good concealed carry gun should come in standard calibers from something like a .380 all the way to a .45 CAL.
After narrowing it down to that range, the remaining factors are reliability and concealability; which are the factors we used to determine which weapons made this list.
While the best concealed carry gun may be a personal decision, we can certainly say which ones best fit these standardized criteria.
5. Ruger LCP II
The Ruger LCP II is the second iteration of Ruger's Lightweight Compact Pistol. While it's available in .22, the main caliber is .380.
It has the trigger and frame enhancements from the original, and the hammer is covered, making it appear like a striker-fired pistol at a glance.
It was designed and intended to be exactly what the name implies: a small concealable pistol for everyday carry. In this, it achieves its mission.
The gun is very accurate, especially for something in such a small package, and it has a number of features that are nice for concealed carry.
Its compact frame and single stack magazine bring the total size of the gun to 5.17 inches long and 3.71 inches tall.
Weight is not an issue either, as it clocks in at just 10.6 ounces. It's also not too shabby in the capacity department: The magazine holds six rounds plus one in the chamber.
That's a decent offering for such a small gun. Seven rounds from a gun that fits in your pocket is nothing to balk at.
Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks is that at such a small size, the gun is a bit snappy.
That means it has a tendency to try and jump around in your hand when fired because there isn't as much gun to absorb the recoil.
This translates to multiple shots being slightly more difficult, as there is more time involved to reset your sight picture and alignment.
That's nothing too unexpected in such a small gun and is certainly manageable with practice.
That being said, the gun can potentially have issues cycling ammo, and it's unclear whether that is a result of the snappiness causing mishandling or whether it's just finicky with ammunition.
Either is possible, but neither seem to occur regularly enough that the gun is unreliable. It's just something to look out for.
4. Smith and Wesson M&P9 Shield
The Smith and Wesson M&P line is one that is a recurring theme within these blogs. An M&P model has made multiple lists, and with good reason. These guns are accurate and reliable.
All of the models in the M&P line were designed to be combat ready.
This is important because they were designed with the intent that they perform in life or death situations.
While that might seem a bit extreme for everyday carry, it's good to know that if you need it, you have it. Isn't that why you're carrying to begin with?
The M&P9 Shield is a 9mm polymer frame striker-fired pistol with a slim, lightweight design that's roughly the size of the average adult hand.
It weighs in at 20.8 ounces, and its overall length is just 6.1 inches with 3.1 of that being the barrel length. It comes with two magazine options, one of which fits flush and has a seven round capacity.
The other magazine option is a slightly extended magazine with eight round capacity, giving you the option of eight or nine rounds total when you count the one in the chamber.
So, if you're the type to carry an extra magazine with you in your EDC, you have the potential for 16 total shots. Not bad for a hand-size gun.
Similar to the Ruger, this gun can be a little snappy due to its polymer frame and short barrel; although, it does have a little more weight, which reduces some of the snappiness.
Accuracy can also be an issue for some because the shortened barrel means any inconsistencies in your technique will be amplified.
This can be overcome with practice, though, so the main reason this gun isn't higher on this list is because of capacity.
3. Glock 43
A year or so ago, this gun would have been in the conversation for the number one spot on the list.
It's that good. Until recently, it was the literal standard by which all other concealable guns were judged.
Just as with the M&P, this gun was also designed for police and military, but the Glock 43 has the benefit of being backed up by the Glock name.
More than just a name, Glock has proven to be one of the most reliable gun brands on the market. The model 43 continues with that tradition.
A single stack offering chambered in 9mm with the same ergonomics of the larger Glock models makes it easier to deal with recoil.
Since small framed guns tend to have increased recoil, the Glock 43 was specifically designed with this in mind. A 6.06-inch overall slide length is paired with a concealable frame that still offers plenty of grip surface.
Its 1.02-inch width is thin, but the grip depth is a little thicker than other small framed guns.
Additionally, Glock is one of the most popular brands of gun in the United States — if not the world.
This is a huge mark in its favor as there are an almost endless amount of companies offering aftermarket parts to personalize and upgrade the performance of these guns even further.
There are an equal amount of companies making holsters, so you really have your pick of the litter in that regard.
For concealed carry, this can't be overlooked because it adds to the value of the gun by increasing your ability to conceal and carry it comfortably.
The Glock brand and ergonomics aren't for everyone. Glock inspires as much hate as it does love, so this can be a drawback for some.
If you don't like other Glocks, you probably won't like this one. Capacity is another issue, as it comes standard with two magazines that only hold six rounds.
It’s also worth mentioning that even Glock fans will tell you that not everyone is a fan of the sights, and that it's often one of the first items changed on a Glock.
2. Springfield Armory Hellcat
Another company with its share of fans and haters, the Springfield Armory Hellcat sent shockwaves through the gun world.
This gun truly changed minds about what a concealed carry gun could, and should, be. It's a polymer-framed, striker-fired, single- stack frame with full-sized gun carry capacity.
The Hellcat is a micro-compact gun that has the dimensions of something that could fit in your pocket yet could potentially carry 14 total rounds of 9mm.
It has a length of 6 inches and a width of 1 inch.
It has dimensions similar to the Glock 43 but almost twice the carry capacity without an extended magazine.
It comes with a flush fit 11 round magazine and an extended 13 round magazine. With the additional round in the chamber, it has double the Glock's standard capacity.
This is a huge feat.
On top of that, it also comes with the ability to add optics and, in some cases, come with the optics standard for a slightly higher price.
With so much to offer, the Hellcat packs a punch straight out of the box.
Perhaps the biggest drawback to this gun is the manufacturer. Springfield Armory has had an interesting relationship with consumers to say the least, and it's XD line of guns are questionable at best.
The XD line is plagued with either bad manufacturing or poor quality control. Numerous professional instructors and XD owners have complaints about a variety of failures.
While the Hellcat isn't an XD, it's definitely something to consider.
Also, the triggers are less than optimal and are often a cause of concern for those having never shot anything Springfield.
The gun is still relatively new, though, and quite popular, so time may work out some of the kinks.
1. Sig Sauer P365
Imagine having a highly concealable compact gun with similar capacity to the Hellcat but with a better trigger, better texturing, and better reliability — a gun with reliability and carry-ability similar to that of the Glock.
That gun is the Sig Sauer P365.
The Sig Sauer P365 is a micro-compact gun with a 10 round flush fit magazine for an 11 round total capacity.
It has day and night sights, with a stippled texturing from the factory for a sure grip, and is chambered in 9mm.
It is accurate to distances farther than you would ever want to shoot a compact carry pistol.
There is a newer XL model with an extended magazine and Sig Romeo Zero optic as well, and the SAS model has sights that are flush with the slide to aid in concealment.
It has a 5.8-inch overall length with a flat 1-inch width.
Highly concealable with a plethora of factory options as well as aftermarket ones, the Sig Sauer P365 is the one gun that meets all the criteria for a best concealed carry gun.
There aren't many drawbacks to this gun. For some, especially Glock owners, the ergonomics may be an issue.
The grip angle is noticeably different from a Glock or other similar polymer pistols. Additionally — and this was almost listed as a pro — there is no safety on this gun.
This gun is always in a state of readiness; if the trigger is pulled, it goes bang. This is obviously a concern for some people.
Concealed carry is a personal choice, but this list should at least help you find some options.
Try these out, see how you like them, and find one that works for how you intend to carry. Reliability, concealability, and capacity are the least subjective points to consider and these five guns best fit those criteria.
The rest is entirely up to you.