11 Best Concealed Carry Guns of 2022: [Field-Tested]

by Travis Pike

March 2, 2022

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We are wading into a pool of sharks today, am I right? What are the best-concealed carry guns? Well, that’s a solid question, and everyone will have a weapon that works for them. However, there are trends, features, and specs that make some guns stand out from others. For new shooters, you might be curious as to exactly which guns you should even be paying attention to. That’s why we’re here. 

We’ve gathered ten of the best-concealed carry guns currently on the market. They run a gamut of sizes and calibers, but each comes from notable and trustable companies with solid track records. More than just talking about what is the best gun that is suitable for concealed carry, we will help you gain the knowledge to pick out the best firearm for you. 

If you’re want to jump straight to our Best Concealed Carry Gun list, Click here!

Concealment as a Concept 

Concealed means concealed, and if someone can see or tell you are carrying a firearm, you aren’t carrying concealed are you? Well, with that in mind, what complicates concealment? Well, a variety of things can complicate concealment. Holsters, belts, and clothing, in general, can challenge your ability to conceal a firearm. In regards to weapons, the most significant factor that compromises concealment is weapon size. 

Handguns come in a wide variety of sizes, and obviously, the smaller the gun is, the easier the gun can be to conceal. However, on the inverse a smaller compact handgun can be tougher to shoot. The larger a firearm is, the more control you can exert over the gun, and most people shoot more accurately with a larger gun. 

It’s very much a give-and-take scenario. Let’s cover some of the more popular sizes of firearms, so you have an idea of what to look for. 

Pocket Pistol: Pocket pistols and mouse guns are the smallest of firearms. As the name implies, a pocket pistol is small enough to fit in your pocket. These firearms are often 380 ACP and below, but occasionally a tiny 9mm pops up. Pocket pistols are weapons of convenience and often tough to shoot accurately for new shooters.  Example – Ruger LCP 2

Micro Compact: Micro compacts are a new genre of size, and they blend a small pistol with a 3 to 4-inch barrel with a relatively high capacity for the size. Typically these guns are too big for the pocket but suitable for IWB, OWB, and AIWB carry. These are almost universally 9mm guns. Example – SIG P365

Single Stack Compact: The single stack compact is a very thin firearm with a single stack, limited capacity magazine, and a barrel length between 3 and 4 inches. Although they’ve become dated in the face of the Micro Compact, they are still quite popular. They often come in 9mm and 40 S&W, with the occasional 45 ACP variant. Example – Glock 43

Snub Nose: Snub nose is a term that applies to small revolvers. Smith and Wesson call these J-frames, and they are known for being compact and powerful. Calibers made from .22 LR to 357 Magnum. These guns feature barrels typically 2 inches or shorter and pack 5 to 6 rounds of ammunition. Example Ruger LCR

Subcompact: Subcompact pistols are often double-stack pistols with a short frame and barrel of roughly 3 to 3.5 inches. They come in 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP, most commonly. These guns have fallen out of favor in the face of single stacks and micro compacts but remain for sale widely. Example Glock 26.

Compact: Compact pistols have a deceitful name as most feature a barrel near 4 inches long and have been a choice for police forces. They are smaller than full size and, for many, are just right for concealed carry and home defense. Calibers include 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, 10mm, and more. Example – Glock 19

Full Size: Full-size firearms often have barrel lengths ranging from 4 to 4.5 inches, with some like the 1911 reaching the 5-inch mark. These firearms are not the most popular for concealment, but some hard-chargers prefer the advantage size offers. 

Beyond Full Size – Beyond full-sized firearms are often aimed at the duty market and the competition circuit with their 4.7 to 6-inch barrels. These firearms are often massive. Concealing one is possible, but it’s uncommon in practice. 

What Makes A Good Gun 

Now, this is a land minefield in a shark tank. Ultimately, you could go on about quality control, metallurgy, design, and specs, but these don’t mean much for the average person. If I need to decide what a good firearm is for concealed carry, I will look at its forward-facing design. I’m going to take into account its size, capacity, operating design, and caliber. 

Then, I’m going to consider the track record of the company that makes the firearm. What are their main complaints? Do professionals, I.E., police, and the military use their products? Do they find favor with professional competitors but do receive sponsorship money in return? Do professional firearms instructors utilize the product? 

Also, one of my favorite things to do is Google “X firearm problems” and see what pops up across forums and message boards. Plus, I use websites like Gun University who reviews firearms honestly and openly. 

List of the Best CCW Guns

Best Concealed Carry Guns

SIG P365 
  • Excellent Size to Capacity Ratio
  • Optics Ready options
  • Various Capacity Magazines
See Lowest Price
H&K VP9sk
  • Multiple grip options
  • Excellent crisp trigger
  • Excellent Ergonomics
Check Lowest Price
CZ P10C
  • Compact Sized Firearm
  • Optics Ready Options
  • Easy To Control
See Lowest Price
Ruger LCR 
  • Polymer Frame Revolver
  • Multiple Caliber Options
  • Exposed or Enclosed Hammer Options
See Lowest Price
LCP Max 
  • Pocket Pistol Design
  • Single Action Trigger
  • Upgrade version of the LCP 2
See Lowest Price
Hellcat OSP
  • Optics Ready
  • Micro Compact 9mm
  • Outstanding Sights
See Lowest Price
Glock 19 
  • Classic Compact Pistol
  • Easy to Accessorize and Find Holsters For
  • Glock Brand Glock Reliability
See Lowest Price
Glock 48 
  • Single Stack Compact
  • Easy to Carry
  • Easy To Shoot
See Lowest Price
Walther PPK 
  • DA/SA Gun
  • All Metal Frame
  • Fixed Barrel
See Lowest Price
Glock 20
  • Full Size 10mm
  • Powerful, but Controllable
  • Versatile
See Lowest Price
S&W Shield EZ 9mm
  • Powerful
  • Affordable
  • Reliable
See Lowest Price

Best Concealed Carry Guns

A list of the best concealed carry guns are:

Best Concealed Carry Guns Specs 

Below we’ve lined up out best of list so we can compare the individual specs as we look at these side-by-side.

Best CCWBarrel LengthOveral LengthWeightWidthCaliber
SIG P3653.1 inches5.8 inches17.8 ounces1 inch9mm
H&K VP9sk3.39 inches6.61 inches23.07 oz1.31 inches9mm
CZ P10C4.02 inches7.3 inches26 ounces1.26 inches9mm 
Ruger LCR1.87 inches6.5 inches 13.5 to 17.2 ounces 1.28 inches Various
LCP Max2.8 inches5.17 inches10.6 ounces.81 inches380 ACP
Hellcat OSP3 inches 6 inches18.3 ounces 1 inch9mm 
Glock 194.02 inches 7.44 inches24.83 ounces 1.3 inches9mm
Glock 484.17 inches7.28 inches20.74 ounces1.1 inches9mm
Walther PPK3.3 inches 6.1 inches 23.7 ounces 1.1 inches380 ACP
Glock 204.61 inches8.07 inches30.69 ounces1.34 inches 10mm
S&W M&P Shield 9 EZ3.68 inches6.7 inches23.2 ounces1.15 inch9mm

1. Sig P365

Editor's Choice
SIG P365

Sig P365

The Sig 365 set a new definition for what a great concealed carry handgun can be – it quickly became the go-to 9mm for many shooters.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 44 Reviews

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SIG P365 Specs

  • Barrel Length 3.1 inches
  • Overall Length 5.8 inches
  • Weight 17.8 ounces
  • Width 1 inch
  • Caliber 9mm

SIG P365 Review

When you create an entirely new generation of firearms, you know you’ve done something right. SIG did just that when they produced the SIG P365. Upon release, the SIG Sauer P365 looked like a single stack subcompact 9mm pistol and had the dimensions to match. However, it packed 10 rounds instead of six or seven. 

Additionally, SIG must have a doctorate in ergonomic and grip design. They took the SIG P365 to new levels of awesome. With the ten-round magazine, you could fit your entire hand on the gun without a hanging pinky. Plus, a little beavertail keeps your hand from getting slide bite, something common with small firearms. 

The P365 also came with a fantastic front and rear sight, a great trigger, and the option for 10 and 12 round magazines. The P365 line extended to include the larger P365 XL, the P365 X, and the P365 SAS. Any of these firearms make a great carry gun. It’s perfectly sized for most shooters and provides a fair bit of firepower with its small size. 

SIG P365 Pros and Cons

  • Small, but packs 10 rounds
  • Great Sights 
  • Optics Ready Options
  • Proprietary Rail 

SIG P365 Deals

2. HK VP9sk

HK VP9sk

Heckler & Koch VP Series handgun, VP9SK has all of the sought-after characteristics of larger frame VP pistols but in a more concealable design.

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A
  • Value B+

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 6 Reviews

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HK VP9SK Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Length 6.61 in
  • Width 1.32 in
  • Height 4.57 in
  • Barrel Length 3.39 in
  • Weight 23.07 oz
  • Capacity 10/13/15
  • Trigger Pull 5.1 pounds

H&K VP9sk Review

I believe the H&K VP9sk has some of the greatest ergonomics for a concealed carry pistol. One of the things I enjoy most about this weapon is that it comes with a variety of interchangeable grip panels. Now I can personalize the perfect grip for my hand.

As we’re talking about CCW guns, I’ll admit the VP9sk is a little thicker than the Sig p365. Therefore, it is not the smallest option you can get and doesn’t ride as comfortably as an appendix carry. However, I still don’t feel as though the size of the VP9sk is that much of a deal breaker, and it is still comfortable. I think the size is just right and coupled with the grips, I personally handle this model better than I do other smaller sized CCW firearms. 

As for dependability, I’ve fired at least 1000 rounds and haven’t had any problems. I’ve fired 9mm ammo of various types, and as of yet there has been no problem or any malfunctions, and has given me great accuracy.

This product is impressive because it has a lot of features and it is backed by a good reputation. I have used this product in many different situations and it has never let me down.

To read through the full review of this pistol specifically, you’ll find the H&K VP9sk Review here!

H&K VP9sk Pros and Cons

  • Multiple grip options
  • Excellent crisp trigger
  • Nice serrations in the slide
  • Rear Slide wings
  • Price is on the high end

H&K VP9sk Deals

3. CZ P10C

CZ P10C

CZ P10C

The CZ P10C is a compact firearm that’s one of the best on the market

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Accuracy A
  • Value B

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 9 Reviews

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CZ P10C Specs

  • Barrel Length 4.02 inches
  • Overall Length 7.3 inches
  • Weight 26 ounces
  • Width 1.26 inches
  • Caliber 9mm 

CZ P10C Review

Small guns are great, but I. like many, typically prefer a slightly larger gun. Carrying a ‘compact’ firearm isn’t that difficult with the right combination of holster and belt. The CZ P10 C is a compact firearm that’s one of the best on the market. The Glock 19 long ruled this seat, but Glock has fallen behind lately. 

The P10C packs 15 rounds of 9mm, a compact size, a polymer frame, and a striker-fired design. It sounds basic but packs several features that make it a step above the rest. First, the flat-faced trigger is smooth and exceptionally well done. The grip is very aggressive and will cling to your hand. 

A trigger guard undercut and a high beavertail makes the gun very easy to get a high comfortable grip to control the weapon better. This is one of the few guns that features a slide lock that’s not easily pinned down with a thumb’s forward grip. Plus, it comes with metal sights. It just does everything the Glock 19 can do but does it a bit better. 

If you don’t mind a little extra size, then the CZ P10C has your back. 

CZ P10C Pros and Cons 

  • Great Grip texture
  • Awesome stock trigger
  • Excellent ergonomics 
  • Grip texture can rub the body

CZ P10C Deals

4. Ruger LCR 9mm

Ruger LCR

Ruger LCR 9mm

The trigger is an absolute dream and likely the best stock revolver trigger on the market.

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  • Shootability C
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics B+
  • Accuracy C
  • Value B

Our Grade

B

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 8 Reviews

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Ruger LCR Specs

  • Barrel Length 1.87 inches
  • Overall Length 6.5 inches 
  • Weight 13.5 to 17.2 ounces 
  • Width 1.28 inches 
  • Caliber 22 LR, 22 Magnum, 327 Federal Magnum, 38 Special, 357 Magnum, 9mm

Ruger LCR Review

Revolvers aren’t dead. As much as we all know and love the old automatic pistol, the revolver still holds a special place in our American hearts. Picking one ‘snub’ nose is tough, but I think the Ruger LCR offers the most bang for your buck. You can get it in 22 LR, 22 WMR, 327 Magnum, 38 Special, 357 Magnum, and even 9mm. 

This polymer-infused revolver keeps things light and stubby. The trigger is an absolute dream and likely the best stock revolver trigger on the market. It’s wonderfully smooth. The LCRx offers shooters an exposed hammer should they want it, and the standard encloses the hammer for a snag-free design. 

Most LCRs are pretty affordable, with a bit of a premium attached to the 9mm model. This little snub nose gives you an extremely reliable weapon that packs a big punch in a small size. If you insist on a .22 LR or 22 Magnum for concealed carry gun, this is the one I’d carry. Heck, if you want a wheel gun, I don’t think you can find a more practical option that’s also lightweight, with a great trigger pull. 

Ruger LCR Pros and Cons

  • Amazing DA trigger
  • Lightweight design
  • Affordable 
  • Hefty recoil with some calibers 

Ruger LCR Deals

5. LCP Max

LCP Max

LCP Max

The trigger is an absolute dream and likely the best stock revolver trigger on the market.

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  • Shootability C
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics B+
  • Accuracy C
  • Value A

Our Grade

B

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 6 Reviews

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LCP Max Specs

  • Barrel Length 2.8 inches
  • Overall Length 5.17 inches
  • Weight 10.6 ounces
  • Width 0.81 inches
  • Caliber 380 ACP

LCP Max Review

Pocket pistols champion convenience, and sometimes you just don’t want to strap on that big mohaska. Sometimes the way you dress doesn’t allow it. A good pocket pistol with a pocket holster is tough to beat. The Ruger LCP Max took the standard LCP 2 and upped the firepower to ten. Yep, this little pocket pistol packs ten rounds of 380 ACP on tap in a flush-fitting magazine. 

If 10 isn’t enough, Ruger produces a slightly extended 12 round magazine so you can pack a punch. The trigger is an impressive design. It’s not the lightest, but ultimately, not the worst I’ve seen in an LCP. The original LCP’s DAO trigger was much worse. This seven-pound fella is crisp and far from tough to pull. 

Even with the amped-up capacity, the Ruger LCP Max remains a fantastic option for a pocket pistol. It might be a hair wider, but the + 4 rounds are well worth it. It still squeezes with ease into a pocket and provides a comfortable concealment option in both board shorts and tuxedos. Make sure you get plenty of practice, though, because little 380 ACP are a literal handful. 

LCP Max Pros and Cons

  • Packs 10 to 12 rounds
  • Superbly small
  • Okay trigger 
  • Small and snappy

LCP Max Deals

6. Hellcat OSP

Hellcat OSP

Hellcat OSP

There are lots of optics-ready pistols out there for concealed carry. Springfield wisely designed the gun and its optic platform.

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  • Shootability C+
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy B
  • Value B

Our Grade

B

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 7 Reviews

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Hellcat OSP Specs

  • Barrel Length 3 inches 
  • Overall Length 6 inches
  • Weight 18.3 ounces 
  • Width 1 inch
  • Caliber 9mm 

Hellcat OSP Review

There are lots of optics-ready pistols out there for concealed carry. Hell, the majority of firearms on this list are optics ready. Why does the Hellcat OSP take first prize? Well, it’s because Springfield Armory wisely designed the gun and its optic platform. Like most Micro Compacts, it uses the Shield footprint. Also, it utilized iron sights that could co-witness with the mini red dot sights. 

No need to purchase extra sights. Your stock Hellcat sights work perfectly. Plus, unlike other companies, Springfield offers packages that include both the gun and the optic preinstalled. This often comes at a little cost savings and makes it easy to grab and go. Not only that, but the Hellcat is a great gun that offers you capacities of 10, 11, 13, and 15 rounds for concealed carry. 

You get a flat face trigger, fantastic day/night sights, and an excellent grip texture. They came out swinging after the release of the SIG p365 and produced the first true competitor to the little fella. What’s not to love? Plus, the RDP model includes not only a Hellcat and optic but a compensator to help fight recoil. 

Hellcat OSP Pros and Cons

  • Optics ready
  • Awesome capacity
  • Great iron sights 
  • Shallow slide serrations

Hellcat OSP Deals

7. Glock 19

Glock 19

Glock 19

The GLOCK 19 in 9 mm Luger is ideal for a versatile role thanks to its reduced dimensions when compared to the standard sized option.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 13 Reviews

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Glock 19 Specs

  • Barrel Length 4.02 inches 
  • Overall Length 7.44 inches
  • Weight 24.83 ounces 
  • Width 1.3 inches
  • Caliber 9mm

Glock 19 Review

I know I mentioned the CZ P10 C does everything the Glock 19 does, but better, but I couldn’t leave the warhorse off the list. Let’s be specific, this is the Gen 5 model. Glock made some worthwhile changes to the Gen 5 Glocks to make them a little more ergonomic and a fair bit more accurate. They cut those stupid grooves off, added a marksman barrel and ambi slide locks. 

The Glock 19 is a compact fighting pistol trusted by generations of law enforcement officers, special operations forces, and concealed carriers. It became the standard-bearer for both Glock and the world of compact handguns. The little Glock 19 is exceptionally easy to shoot and plenty easy to carry. 

It does fall on the larger side, but as a bigger gun, it’s easier to shoot accurately, easier to control, has a higher capacity, and is faster to reload. Glock brand Glock reliability is also worth noting. The Glock 19 is so popular that you’ll easily find several holsters dedicated to the gun, making it very easy to conceal. 

Glock 19 Pros and Cons

  • Great aftermarket
  • Superbly Reliable
  • Battle Proven 
  • Cap stock sights 

Glock 19 Deals

8. Glock 48

Glock 48

Glock 48

At its core, the Glock 48 is essentially a Glock 19 with a single stack magazine.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability B+
  • Ergonmics A
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 14 Reviews

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Glock 48 Specs

  • Barrel Length 4.17 inches
  • Overall Length 7.28 inches
  • Weight 20.74 ounces
  • Width 1.1 inches
  • Caliber 9mm

Glock 48 Review

Alongside the Glock 19, I want to mention the Glock 48. At its core, the Glock 48 is essentially a Glock 19 with a single stack magazine. Sure, that means capacity goes from 15 to 10 rounds, but you are also shedding width. The Glock 48 is a slimline pistol that provides the Glock 19 barrel and grip length with a thinner overall profile. 

As a thinner gun, it’s extremely easy to carry concealed and can be carried IWB and appendix with absolute ease. The longer grip and barrel length ensure the weapon is easy to control and easy to shoot accurately. The Glock 48 gives shooters a very easy-to-manage platform that’s more comfortable to carry. 

I gotta mention the Shield S-15 magazines offer an aftermarket magazine that increases the capacity to 15 rounds without increasing the weapon’s size. With those mags, the Glock 48 is a much thinner Glock 19. The Glock 48 MOS also allows you to use Shield footprint optics and small lights, like the TLR 7 SUB. This takes the Glock 48 into modern fighting gun territory without all the weight and bulk. 

Glock 48 Pros and Cons

  • Slimline design
  • Easy to Control 
  • Reliable 
  • Needs aftermarket mag for true potential 
  • Poor stock sights

Glock 48 Deals

9. Walther PPK

Walther PPK

Walther PPK

An iconic classic that’s good enough for super-spy James Bond–enough said.

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  • Shootability C
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics B-
  • Accuracy B
  • Value C

Our Grade

B-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 2 Reviews

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Walther PPK Specs

  • Barrel Length 3.3 inches 
  • Overall Length 6.1 inches 
  • Weight 23.7 ounces 
  • Width 1.1 inches
  • Caliber 380 ACP

Walther PPK Review

What’s cooler than James Bond? Probably, his favorite gun, the Walther PPK. The old Walther PPK has been kicking, screaming, and blasting Bond’s enemies for decades. The Walther PPK is a direct blowback, all-metal, DA/SA pistol that fires the 380 ACP cartridge. Old-school cool hardly describes how nice the Walther PPK really is. The gun is a bit big and heavy compared to most 380 ACP’s, but it’s still relatively small and easily concealed. 

Bond does it in a tuxedo, so you can handle it in your t-shirt and slacks. The direct blowback operation makes the PPK a little snappy, but the fixed barrel does help with accuracy. The double-action trigger won’t win any awards, but the single action is remarkably lovely. 

The Walther PPK provides a very reliable platform that’s more than proven itself across time. It’s downright ancient in design compared to most modern pistols, but that’s not a bad thing. The simple design ensures it always goes bang. It’s also quite ergonomic and a lot of fun to shoot. 

Walther PPK Pros and Cons

  • Accurate
  • Awesome SA trigger
  • Bond is always cool
  • Snappy for a 380 ACP

Walther PPK Deals

10. Glock 20

Glock 20

Glock 20

The GLOCK 20 Gen4 delivers formidable force downrange with high accuracy over long distance.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 3 Reviews

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Glock 20 Specs

  • Barrel Length 4.61 inches
  • Overall Length 8.07 inches
  • Weight 30.69 ounces
  • Width  1.34 inches 
  • Caliber 10mm

Glock 20 Review

Rarely do people address the issues a rural concealed carrier may have, but as a rural living pistol-packing padre, I have concerns that exceed two-legged vermin. My issue is hogs, which could be several hundred pounds and easily kill me. In these situations, I need something with more punch than the 9mm or even 45 ACP. 

Also, killing coyotes is a neighborly duty. For either, I like the 10mm. For hog, because it can penetrate deeply and cut through their thick hide, fat, and muscle. For coyotes, I like the flat shooting design because they are often outside of the average pistol range. For these tasks and more, the Glock 20 is perfect. 

This double-stack 10mm brings Glock reliability to the 10mm. It’s a big handgun, but with a little effort, it can relatively easily be concealed. It’s big enough to make the 10mm easy to control and tame. Plus, it’s an affordable platform, and most 10mms aren’t. With 15 rounds of 10mm, you can easily use the weapon in a personal defense encounter again two-legged vermin, hogs, coyotes, and heck, even bears. 

Glock 20 Pros and Cons

  • Affordable
  • Reliable 
  • Powerful 
  • Quite Large for CC 

Glock 20 Deals

11. S&W Shield EZ 9mm

S&W Shield EZ 9mm

S&W Shield EZ 9mm

Smith and Wesson’s bold combination of the .380 shield platform in 9 mm.

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  • Shootability B-
  • Reliability C
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy C+
  • Value B

Our Grade

B-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 4 Reviews

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S&W Shield EZ 9mm Review

Let’s say you have arthritis, small hands or poor hand strength. What kind of gun will work for you? Many might say a .22 of some kind, but I’d point you to the S&W Shield EZ 9mm. Smith Wesson MP made this weapon easy to use for anyone with reduced hand strength of any kind from the ground up. The Wesson Shield EZ 9mm provides an easy to cock slide, an easy to load magazine, and a size of gun that’s easy for anyone to handle. 

It’s not massive, and it’s not a pocket pistol. It’s just the right size to be easy to conceal and easy to shoot which makes it a great concealed carry gun. The S&W Shield EZ also comes in 380 ACP, but I think the extra oomph and affordability of the 9mm round make it a better choice. The magazines are single stack, and you only get 8 rounds. However, 8 rounds of 9mm you can shoot accurately and confidently is much better than 15 rounds you can’t hit squat with. 

The MP Shield EZ serves an often under-appreciated demographic in the gun world. It’s not a gun for everyone, but for a great trigger pull and for those with reduced hand strength, it’s a godsend. The S&W Shield EZ features a manual and grip safety, and I think it’s a little overdone, but it can be overcome with the proper training. 

S&W Shield EZ 9mm Pros and Cons 

  • Super easy to use
  • Easy to rack
  • Low Recoil
  • Limited Capacity

S&W Shield EZ 9mm Gun Deals

Staying Concealed – Buyers Guide

Let’s walk you through some of the considerations you should make when purchasing a pistol. These considerations could apply to any of the above pistols, as well as any pistols you might be considering in their stead. 

Caliber – Caliber refers to the cartridge and projectile these firearms discharge. The four most common for automatic pistols are 380 ACP, 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP. 10mm is a more niche round but pops up here and there as well. For revolvers, the most popular carry calibers are 38 Special and 357 Magnum

We’ve covered gun size, and gun size has a lot to do with control. As you get smaller in the firearm’s size, you begin sacrificing control. As you get into larger calibers, you also get into higher recoil. It’s all give and take. 

When you get a 45 ACP or 40 S&W in a small, subcompact, or single stack design, you’ll find it best described as ‘snappy.’ That snap can involve a healthy amount of muzzle rise and the gun trying to wrestle its way out of your hands. Larger guns are easier to control but harder to conceal. 

Calibers like 380 ACP, 9mm, and 38 Special make small guns typically comfortable to shoot, easy to control, and offer you a higher capacity. Ultimately it’s always your choice, but I typically steer people to 9mm. 9mm is a do it all cartridge that with modern ammunition keeps up with larger calibers. 

380 ACP is typically the minimum in projectile size and strength one should consider. Anything lower often lacks the penetration necessary to reach vital organs and shut the central nervous system down. Smaller calibers like 32 ACP, 25 ACP, 22 LR, and 22 Magnum are all very lethal, don’t get me wrong. However, they simply don’t consistently penetrate deep enough to consistently stop a threat. 

Availability of Defensive Ammo 

One of my favorite cartridges is the 7.62 Tokarev round. It’s a hot little cartridge designed before WW2 for SMGs and handguns. It’s really neat and very capable…but I wouldn’t carry one for defensive use because finding good defensive ammo is tough. Actually, finding a modern gun in 7.62 Tok is tough as well. 

So with that in mind, when you consider a caliber, whatever it may be, you need to consider your ability to purchase capable defensive ammunition for it. I always suggest a jacketed hollow point from a reputable ammunition company like Speer, Hornady, SIG, or Federal. 

I avoid gimmick ammo like G2 Research RIP because it’s not proven to work. Stick with the classic. They’ve been around for a reason.  

Holster Options 

Defensive ammo is one consideration, but a second is holster consideration. You need a holster to conceal carry. Lots of guns come and go, and never seen dedicated holster support. Those SAR pistols are reportedly solid little guns that are budget-friendly…but it can be tough to find a variety of holsters that allow for effective concealed carry. 

You typically want options for a best concealed carry handgun. If you’re buying the best You also want a high-quality holster designed and made for your gun, not a cheap piece of nylon. You want a holster that is safe, retains your firearm, makes it easy to access, and doesn’t collapse when the weapon is drawn. If you use an unusual or sometimes new-to-the-market firearm, finding a good holster can be tough. 

Optics Or Not 

I’ve mentioned the word’s optics ready a few times through this article. A new shooter might wonder whether they need an optic’s ready handgun. Need is a strong word, but I always suggest an optics-ready handgun. If at first you just need a good carry gun, then you don’t need an optic, but if you decide later on down the road, you want one, it’s a lot easier if you already have an optic’s ready handgun. 

Optics refers to mini red dots. Mini red dots on a handgun can be a very valuable piece of gear. An average shooter will find themselves shooting faster, shoot further, and shooting with greater accuracy with the addition of a red dot sight. They work day or night and provide an eye-catching reticle that forces your eye to see it. Plus, you can have a target focus and just lay the dot on the target. 

Carry On 

Concealed carry is a right and a responsibility. It’s a responsibility to yourself and those you protect, as well as a responsibility to your community to be a safe gun owner. You are not armed because you own a gun any more than a man who owns a guitar is a musician. Guns are part of the equation, but so are steady practice and competent training. Being safe, armed, trained, and prepared makes you an effective concealed carrier.  Also, don’t forget that now that you have the best concealed carry gun, it would be best to start thinking about getting some CCW insurance so as to protect you.

Concealed Carry Starter Pack

So what’s next? Well, if you decide to get one of the pistols off this list above or even if something else catches your eye, you’re going to need to pick up some must-have basics. Here’s our recommendation for what you need to get started.

  • Gun Cleaning Kit: Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box on Amazon or build your own personalized cleaning kit with premium components.
  • Shooting Glasses: All it takes is one piece of rogue hot brass, and you’ll learn the importance of shooting glasses. But not all glasses are built the same. See our recommendations for the Best Shooting Glasses.
  • Hearing Protection: Firing a gun without wearing proper ear pro can be very dangerous and detrimental to your hearing. Find out the best hearing protection for you in our full length review.
  • Storage: Check our our article on the Best Biometric Gun Safes
  • Targets – If you’re wanting a great resource for shooting practice or zeroing your optics on your optics rifle or pistol, download our FREE Sighting in Targets below.

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About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. May I suggest the CZ P-10S instead of the P-10C? The P-10S is smaller than the P-10C but retains all the positive characteristics. Definitely a favorite of mine.

  2. > First, the flat-faced trigger is smooth and exceptionally well done.

    I’m not sure who needs to hear this… but the CZ P10C does not have a flat-faced trigger. It’s curved. It should also be noted about the ambiguity concerning the P10C, as one version of it was discontinued in 2018 (91520), and it was re-released as a new SKU (91531) in 2020. This fact might mean readers could be finding discontinued models in some gun stores and thinking it’s the current model. In your comparison to Glock, you may have mentioned the CZ is both heavier and has a larger grip length, putting it between the Glock 19 and 17 size; citing the same 15 round capacity but being more difficult to conceal given its increased weight and size. Not that the P10C isn’t a good gun, but when stating “It just does everything the Glock 19 can do but does it a bit better.”, you’re leaving out several key decision factors.

  3. The P-10 Compact is an excellent handgun in all respects. I happen to have the 91520 Czech-made model. The factory trigger would be hard to improve upon. I tried with a well-respected after-market trigger, and went back to the factory trigger. It is highly accurate, at least for me. I have had no reliability issues with all different kinds and quality of ammo in 2,000+ rounds. I also prefer the aggressive grip texture, but I do have somewhat calloused hands. Since this was a Gen 1 version, I sent it off to get an OR cut, which made it even more accurate for me.
    Regarding Concealed carry, get the P-10S. It is the same gun in all positive respects as the P-10C.

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