So you're ready to pull the proverbial trigger on the concealed carry lifestyle. But before you commit, you must ask yourself first: "which firearm should I purchase for concealed carry?" And while there is no single correct answer, there are plenty of wrong ones. (Leave the Desert Eagle at the gun range). For your convenience, we've created a list of some of our favorites. It's not comprehensive by any means, but any of these firearms are super solid options. But before we get into specific model recommendations, let's explore the basics of what to look for in a concealed carry handgun.
What Size Handgun is Best for Concealed Carry?
The classic gun adage is true: size matters. And when it comes to concealed carry, smaller is traditionally better. It's no good to go out and get a .44 caliber hand cannon and then try to carry it daily. Trust us; it's just not gonna happen. Chances are the gun will show or "print" through your clothing, eliminating the element of concealment. And it that's not the case, it will be too heavy and uncomfortable for everyday carry. So, when you pick a firearm, it's got to be concealable. This can mean everything from a Glock 17 full-size pistol to a tiny micro-compact gun for different body shapes and sizes.
What Caliber of Handgun is Best for Concealed Carry?
The next thing to consider is that you should carry a firearm with a caliber with good terminal results. No one wants to be involved in an altercation and have to defend themselves. But if things go down, we recommend having a caliber and good defense ammo to provide great terminal results on the bad guy. The faster the conflict ends, the safer it is for you and the people you may be protecting. We recommend you don't carry anything smaller than 9mm.
Your Concealed Carry Pistol Needs to Be Reliable.
The third element to consider is that your gun of choice needs to have a strong track record of reliability in all conditions. You never know when you might have to use a weapon. You could have been knocked down in the mud; it could be snowing, raining, etc. You need a gun (and conceal carry holster) that provides a high confidence level and fires every time. Anything less could cost you more than the price of the firearm.
The Best Firearms for Concealed Carry
Okay, now let's look at specific models of guns we can recommend for concealed carry. The first and most popular concealed carry gun is the Glock 19. This model started the journey into smaller, "micro-compact pistols." The problem is the Glock 19 is still a "duty-sized" gun. Albeit it's a small one, it still is. Today, several smaller options have the same - or greater - capacity.
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
Our first recommendation for a dedicated conceal gun is the M&P Shield. The Shield has been around for a long time and has a fantastic track record. There are a couple of models to choose from, including the M&P Shield, M&P Shield 2.0, and the M&P Shield Plus. We like the Shield Plus. This gun is phenomenal, and it has a 13+1 magazine capacity, which is outstanding. The Shield Plus has an excellent record and packs a lot of features into a small package.
Another gun we recommend is the micro Glock line of guns, including the Glock 43, Glock 43X, or Glock 48. These Glock pistols are pretty much the same, except they have slight grip and barrel length differences. These firearms are super reliable, just like you'd expect from Glock! However, they only have a 10+1 capacity, so that's the only potential drawback. Definitely not a deal-breaker, though.
The Sig Sauer P365
Next on our list would be the Sig Sauer P365 or the P365 XL. Again, these guns are mostly the same except, as the name implies, the P365 XL is larger and has a longer barrel. The P365 had some issues with striker drag when it was first released, but Sig has since resolved those issues. The P365 made a big splash because when it came out, it was super small but had 10+1 and 12+1 capacity. Sig offers a 15-round magazine, but they tend to get rather long for everyday carry.
Our last recommendation is the Springfield Hellcat. While relatively new, the Hellcat is currently the highest-capacity micro-compact handgun in the world. The Hellcat can hold 15+1 rounds with a pretty short factory magazine. The Hellcat has been put through some torture tests, including over 20,000 rounds of +P ammo, which proves its durability.
Find the Best Handgun for You.
These are just some of our top recommendations for concealed carry firearms. There are plenty more options out there, but we tend to gravitate towards these options. Go to your local gun store, hold one of these in your hand and see which one you like the best. If you have a gun range nearby, you might try renting one and shooting it there.
The Springfield Hellcat RDP is now available.
This content is for general educational and informational purposes only. Readers and viewers are responsible for knowing and understanding all appropriate local, national and international laws relating to self-defense, reasonable force, and the use of any and all weaponry, acting in accordance with all applicable laws, at all times. Tulster does not assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of information or instruction. We encourage all firearm owners to seek out professional in-person instruction. No video or blog replaces in-person training with qualified professionals to ensure you learn and train safely.