9 Best Concealed Carry Guns in 2024: [Field-Tested]

by Travis Pike

October 9, 2023

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This is a question I get all the time – what is the best concealed carry gun? And I understand – this is a very important question because it really depends on things like how you intend to carry it, what your preferences are, and even your desired caliber.

Now that being said, there truly are certain handguns that are a cut above the rest in different categories. Therefore, to best answer the question of what is the top concealed carry gun, I’ll break down my personal favorites, as well as those that I think are the best in certain categories like best compact, full size, revolver, and so forth.

However, before we jump right to that list, I want to take a second to go over what makes a gun a good concealed carry gun, and then some of the different categories of concealed carry handguns, and some of their pros and cons. This way, you can start by deciding which type of concealed carry you would like, and can jump to that particular gun.

However, if you already know what type you are looking for, and just want to get to the list, then you can jump straight to our Best Concealed Carry Gun list, click here!

Types of Concealed Carry Guns 

Best Concealed Carry Examples

The entire purpose of a concealed carry gun (also called a CCW gun) is to ensure that you can not only effectively use it if you have to, but also be able to carry it on your person and ensure that other people can’t see it.

It is for this reason that one person’s preferred CCW gun can be different from another’s.

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 that meet concealed carry level 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 a tiny 9mm occasionally pops up. Pocket pistols are weapons of convenience and are often tough to shoot accurately for new shooters.  Example – Ruger LCP 2; you can find a full rundown in our dedicated 380 pistol article.

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 Inside the Waistband (IWB), Outside the Waistband (OWB), and Appendix Inside Waistband Carry (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. Note: single stack pistols are becoming ever more ubiquitous. They are so prevalent, in fact, that we have a separate article dedicated strictly to them.

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. Note: As with the single stack options, we have a dedicated comparison of wheelguns in our article on the best revolvers.

Sub-compact: Sub-compact 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. 

Now, there are other types out there, however, these are generally the categories we feel best represent the purpose of a concealed carry gun – or at least could be argued as one. So, as you can see, there really are different types, and this makes the question of what is the best concealed carry gun specific to your needs and preferences.

Because of this, we’ve instead listed the best concealed carry guns by category instead of a ranking.

List of the Best CCW Guns

Okay, so now that we understand the types of concealed carry guns, and what makes it a good one, let’s jump into our list of the top concealed carry guns on the market and the category they receive:

Best Concealed Carry Guns

Editor’s Choice

SIG P365 

SIG P365 
  • Excellent size to capacity ratio
  • Optics-ready options
  • Various capacity magazines
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Best Premium

H&K VP9sk

H&K VP9sk
  • Multiple grip options
  • Excellent crisp trigger
  • Excellent ergonomics
Check Lowest Price
Best Large CCW

CZ P10C

CZ P10C
  • Compact sized firearm
  • Optics-ready options
  • Easy to control
See Lowest Price
Best Revolver

Ruger LCR 

Ruger LCR 
  • Polymer frame revolver
  • Multiple caliber options
  • Exposed or enclosed hammer options
See Lowest Price
Best Pocket Pistol

LCP Max 

LCP Max 
  • Pocket pistol design
  • Single action trigger
  • Upgrade version of the LCP 2
See Lowest Price
Best Optics-Ready

Hellcat OSP

Hellcat OSP
  • Optics-ready options
  • Micro compact 9mm
  • Outstanding sights
See Lowest Price
Best Classic CCW

Glock 19 

Glock 19 
  • Classic compact pistol
  • Easy to accessorize and find holsters for
  • Glock brand Glock reliability
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Best for Rural Carry

Glock 20

Glock 20
  • Full size 10mm
  • Powerful, but controllable
  • Versatile
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Best for Women

S&W Shield EZ 9mm

S&W Shield EZ 9mm
  • Powerful
  • Affordable
  • Reliable
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Best CCW Guns Compared Side-By-Side

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

Best CCWBarrel LengthOverall LengthWeightWidthCaliber
SIG P3653.1 inches5.8 inches17.8 ounces1 inch9mm
H&K VP9sk3.39 inches6.61 inches23.07 ounces1.31 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

Best Concealed Carry Guns

The best concealed carry gun on the market broken down by category are:

Review of the Top Concealed Carry Handguns

In the above tables, I quickly listed what I think are the best guns for concealing. Since I’ve shot them all, in the below section I’m going to give you a quick synopsis on my thoughts, the grades they received and even other CCW guns people might think should fit in that category. If you’d like to learn more about a specific gun, I usually put a link to my full review on the gun in that section as well. So, be sure to keep a lookout for those as well.

SIG P365 Review

Editor’s Choice Sig P365

Editor's Choice
Sig P365 Featured Image

Sig P365

The Sig P365 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+

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 164 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

I’m giving this the editor’s choice award because I think this is the best overall concealed carry gun on the market. When Sig first came out with it, I thought it looked like a single stack sub-compact 9mm pistol and it even had the dimensions to match. However, it packed 10 rounds instead of six or seven. 

Therefore, with the slim and small design, plus the 10 rounds (later, the Sig P365XL added even more rounds), this truly is a concealed carry pistol that has enough rounds but a small frame so as to be effective and efficient at concealing.

However, what really makes this stand out is the ergonomics. Usually for a smaller pistol, you lose ergonomics and only have something that feels really compact in your hands. However, I think Sig knocked this out of the park with their design. The grip is slightly fat and short, so it lets me get a solid handle on the gun. The grip angle is somewhat vertical, similar to the P320 line, but the shape of the grip is different; I’d say it’s easier to maintain my hold on the gun and reach the controls without breaking my grip.

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. A nice touch is that the front, top, and back corners of the slide are beveled; this makes the draw snag-free and reduces the chances of the pistol printing once you holster up. 

The trigger definitely deserves a mention because its ergonomic design gives you a clean, crisp break and a tactile reset, making the P365 easier to shoot than your typical pocket-sized pistol. The trigger pull weight is around 6 lbs and it gets even lighter after a few hundred rounds because the parts smoothen with action. 

Another big reason why the P365 became the editor’s choice is its modularity. The pistol has a simple design that is great for customization. You can swap out just about any part in this gun; the grip module, trigger, slide, and even the fire control unit. I’m not saying you have to upgrade because the P365 is effective as it is, but having the opportunity to do so is awesome. 

The P365 also comes 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 Spectre Comp, the P365 SAS and other variations of the line. 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. 

Now, some might argue that the Springfield Hellcat should take this spot, if I’m such a big fan of the Sig. Well, we did a side-by-side comparison of the two guns, and based on the pricing being about the same, but there being some deficiencies in the Hellcat, the P365 won.

To learn more, you can read my full review on the Sig P365 here.

SIG P365 Pros and Cons

  • Small, but packs 10 rounds
  • Great sights 
  • Optics-ready options
  • Proprietary rail 

SIG P365 Deals

Best Premium Option 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

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 67 Reviews

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HK VP9SK Specs

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

H&K VP9sk Review

The HK VP9sk, the subcompact version of the popular HK VP, gets second place on this list and the category of best high-end concealed carry gun because of its amazing reliability, and incredible ergonomics. As a matter of fact, I believe the H&K VP9sk has some of the greatest ergonomics for a concealed carry pistol.

One thing that I really enjoy about this weapon is the ability to personalize the perfect grip for my hand, as it comes with a variety of interchangeable backstraps and lateral grip panels. There are even molded finger grooves in front of the grip to help position my fingers for optimal shooting.

The VP9sk’s trigger is, in my opinion, one the best features of the pistol. It’s a precision strike trigger with a clean break and a short reset, made even better by the decent pull weight at 5.1 lbs. It’s definitely one of the best triggers in the market right out of the box because it worked clean and smooth the first time I shot it. 

However, one of the things that is a bit of a drawback on this is that the VP9sk is a little thicker than a gun like the Sig P365. It’s 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 thanks to the proprietary captive flat recoil spring. It helps reduce the recoil and lets me have better control especially during rapid firing. 

As for dependability, I’ve fired at least 1000 rounds including 9mm ammo of various types, and as of yet there has been no problem or any malfunctions, and has given me great accuracy. The pistol is durable because it’s made of cannon grade steel and the barrel is cold hammer-forged so it can take a lot of abuse and still keep going strong. 

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.

One of the biggest issues for most though is its pricing. Like I mentioned above, this is probably one of the more expensive options out there. However, you are getting quality and reliability. As you’ll see in my full review of the HK VP9sk, it’s well worth that price.

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

Best Large Option for CCW 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-

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 16 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

When it comes to slightly larger options for a concealed carry handgun, one of my favorites for this is the CZ P10C.

Sure, it’s larger and thus not as easy to conceal, however, carrying a ‘compact’ firearm isn’t that difficult with the right combination of holster and belt. The CZ P10C is a large handgun slightly smaller than a full-size pistol that I believe is one of the best on the market. The Glock 19 long ruled this seat, but I feel as though Glock has fallen behind lately. 

The P10C packs 15 rounds of 9mm which is plenty for a concealed carry. It comes with a polymer frame that’s strong and thermally stable, and a simple and straightforward striker-fired design, meaning there are less parts that I need to maintain. 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 striker-fired design translates into a consistent trigger pull, helping me land accurate shots every time. The grip is designed according to the ergonomic DiFEND method, so the pistol is super user-friendly. It naturally clings to my hand and makes shooting comfortable, stable, and safe.

A trigger guard undercut and a high beavertail makes the gun very easy to get a high comfortable grip to control the weapon better. Plus, there are three safeties–the trigger safety, trigger bar safety, and the firing pin block–reducing the chance of any misfires. The recoil control on the P10C is decent, and I think it’s because of the size of the gun. As the gun is large, there’s space to get a better handle on the pistol, reducing the impact of the recoil a lot more effectively than with smaller CCWs. 

The P10C is one of the few guns that features a slide lock that’s not easily pinned down with a thumb’s forward grip, and it comes with iron sights with three luminescent dots for quick and intuitive aiming. It just does everything the Glock 19 can do, but a bit better. 

Basically, when it comes down to it, this slightly larger gun gives you better control, and comes with some premium features. Just remember to account for the size; it won’t be as slim as the P365 and is even larger than the H&K VP9sk.

So, in the end, if you don’t mind a little extra size, then the CZ P10C has your back. Read our complete review on the CZ P10C

CZ P10C Pros and Cons 

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

CZ P10C Deals

Best Revolver for CCW 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

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 16 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 barrel is less than 2 inches long and the overall length is 6.5 inches, so we have an excellent revolver for deep concealment. Plus, the edges of the Ruger LCR are beveled so it’s snag-free and ideal for a quick and smooth draw when you conceal carry. 

The trigger, I think, is an absolute dream and likely the best stock revolver trigger on the market. There’s a friction-reducing cam in the fire control system that consistently modulates the trigger pull, making the trigger wonderfully smooth. The LCRx offers shooters an exposed hammer should they want it, and the standard encloses the hammer for a snag-free design.

There’s some recoil in the Ruger LCR, but it comes with a Hogue® grip that helps insulate the recoil and reduce it to a comfortable degree. The grip sits at the top of the backstrap with grooves for my hand, and that makes for a solid and pleasant shooting experience.

I feel as though 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 guns, 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. The revolver fires consistently and accurately and it’s very easy to carry because of its small dimensions, meaning the reliability and the concealment you need from a concealed carry is right here. 

If you’d like to learn more, you can check out my full review of the LCR here. It is a focus on the 9mm version, however, if you’re looking for a different caliber, this review should still help.

Now, perhaps you like the idea of a revolver, but the Ruger LCR isn’t floating your boat? No problem. I also wrote an article listing the best revolvers out there. Just keep in mind that you’re best served going after a snub nose revolver for concealed carry purposes.

Ruger LCR Pros and Cons

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

Ruger LCR Deals

Best Pocket Pistol LCP Max

LCP Max

LCP Max

This pocket pistol packs a punch with 10 to 12 rounds–incredible firepower for a pistol so small.

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

Our Grade

B

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 11 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.

So, what is the best pocket pistol for CCW? I think the Ruger LCP is it. 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. Plus, the pistol is super lightweight at 10.6 oz and compact in size, so it’s a convenient option to conceal carry.

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. The trigger has a clean break and a positive reset making it easy to shoot the LCP Max–not too bad for a pocket pistol, in my opinion.

The felt recoil is much lower compared to other semi-automatic pistols and the follow-up shots are fast and accurate as well. The grip is solid because the finger grip extension floorplate gives an ergonomic fit when drawing and aiming the pistol. Plus, the grip frame is textured to give a secure, comfortable hold. 

The LCP Max has sights highly visible in all light conditions. The rear sight has a U-notch for easy alignment, so the pistol zeroes in on the target easily and effectively. 

If 10 rounds is not enough, Ruger produces a slightly extended 12 round magazine so you can pack a punch. 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 (or +6) 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. 

If, however, you like the idea of a pocket pistol, but you aren’t a fan of the LCP max, no worries because I also did an article on my favorite pocket pistols. Just remember that for concealed carrying, there are certain elements you need to keep in mind. On the other hand, if you are looking for the best 380 ACP instead, you can check this out. There are some good options out there.

LCP Max Pros and Cons

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

LCP Max Deals

Best Optics-Ready 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

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 14 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

Now, I’ll admit, I personally don’t like putting optics on my concealed carry handgun. I find it adds bulk, and can snag more easily. However, there are a lot of people out there that would disagree with me on this. Fair enough.

So, what is the best optics-ready pistol on the market? Honestly, I think the Springfield Hellcat OSP wins.

There are lots of optics-ready pistols out there for concealed carry. Hell, the majority of firearms on this list are optics-ready. So, 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 RMS footprint to mount the optics. Also, it utilizes iron sights that could co-witness with the mini red dot sights. 

The sights detect the level of brightness on the target and control the light output to make sure the red dot is clearly visible against the target. A huge plus in terms of optics is that it’s easy to keep the red dot on target, because the lighting adjusts automatically. The battery can ideally last up to two years, but here’s a pro tip to lengthen the battery life: cover the sights to stop auto-adjustment when you’re not using the Hellcat. 

Unlike other companies, Springfield offers packages that include both the gun and the optics preinstalled. This often comes at a little cost savings and makes it easy to grab and go.

There’s a full-sized accessory rail to attach any other accessory you need, but my advice is to not go overboard with additional attachments when using the Hellcat for concealed carry. You’d want to keep the draw snag-free and avoid printing when carrying, and too many accessories can mess with that. 

The Hellcat is a great gun that offers you capacities of 10, 11, 13, and 15 rounds for concealed carry. This is definitely more than you’ll get from a similar-sized pistol, so capacity-wise, you’re in good hands. 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. 

Sure, the Hellcat didn’t beat the Sig P365 for editors choice, but when it comes to the optics, this one holds a great one-two punch and was made for each other. Check out our review on the Springfield Hellcat.

Hellcat OSP Pros and Cons

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

Hellcat OSP Deals

Best Classic Carry 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-

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 40 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

Okay, there are a lot of classics out there. Dave Chesson, one of our writers, swears by the HK P7, however, I didn’t add this because that is one of the more expensive guns out there and was discontinued – so they are hard to come by.

So, what makes the best classical concealed carry gun? I’ll go with the Glock 19, because it has the accuracy of a full-sized pistol and the concealment of a small handgun. 

I know I mentioned the CZ P10C 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 ambidextrous slide locks. And even though it is a classic, it still holds pretty true, even when there was a Sig 320c comparison.

The Glock 19 has a magazine capacity of 15 plus one more in the chamber–more than enough for a concealed carry. Even fully loaded, the pistol is considerably light at 30.16 oz for its size because the Glock 19 is made with a polymer frame. 

The Gen 5 model comes with plastic sights, but I recommend getting a better option; it shouldn’t be too hard to find a good fit because the Glock 19 has a great aftermarket thanks to its popularity. 

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. 

I wasn’t a fan of the trigger pull though. The pull weight (around 6.3 lbs) on the Gen 5 is slightly easier on the hand than the Gen 4, but it isn’t a huge improvement. I got myself a trigger connector which cut down the pull weight to 3.5 lbs, and if you’re considering the Glock 19 for concealed carry I suggest you do the same, because your CCW shouldn’t be tough to shoot. 

The Glock 19 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 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 
  • Crap stock sights 
  • Trigger pull weight

Glock 19 Deals

Best for Rural Carry Glock 20

Glock 20

Glock 20

The Glock 20 Gen 4 delivers formidable force downrange with high accuracy over long distances.

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

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 30 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. I like the 10mm for either. For hogs, 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. This gun is big enough to make the 10mm easy to control, so I can land accurate shots every time.  

So, it is with this in mind that I think of the Glock 20 as the perfect rural concealed carry gun on the market.

This double-stack 10mm brings Glock reliability to the 10mm. It’s a big handgun, but with a little effort, it can be concealed well. There’s a chance of printing because of the bulk of the gun, but you can pair it with the right holster to effectively retain and conceal the Glock 20.  

Plus, it’s an affordable platform, and most 10 mms aren’t. Add to it the ease of having a lot of ammo options (because 10mm ammo is quite popular) and you’ve got yourself a convenient and affordable gun for concealed carry or self-defense. 

Glock updated the Gen 3 trigger when they came out with the Gen 4; it’s not anything special, but it works decently enough. The pull weight of 5 lbs 3 oz. isn’t too bad–the trigger does feel a bit stiff to pull but it smoothens over time and a few hundred rounds. That said, if you’re not too interested in waiting it out and want to switch the factory trigger for an aftermarket one, I’d say go for it. 

The Glock 20 Gen 4 has a dual recoil spring assembly, so the felt recoil has reduced a bit. It’s still more than a 9mm pistol’s recoil, but shooting the Glock 20 is not uncomfortable.

With 15 rounds of 10mm, you can easily use the weapon in a personal defense encounter against two-legged vermin, hogs, coyotes, and heck, even bears. Glock released a Gen 5 version of the Glock 20, read the full review.

Glock 20 Pros and Cons

  • Affordable
  • Reliable 
  • Powerful 
  • Quite large for CC 
  • Stiff trigger

Glock 20 Deals

Best for Women 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 9mm.

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

Our Grade

B-

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 10 Reviews

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S&W Shield EZ 9mm 

  • Barrel Length 3.68 inches
  • Overall Length 6.7 inches
  • Weight 23.2 ounces
  • Width 1.15 inch
  • Caliber 9mm

S&W Shield EZ 9mm Review

Okay, so let me be frank – I chose to call this the best concealed gun for women but really it should be named best concealed carry for someone who either has a smaller frame, or has some condition where they need something that makes it easier to handle and rack the slide.

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. 

Basically, for anyone who needs a gun that’s easy on them because they have a small build or poor hand strength or they are just completely new to guns, the S&W Shield EZ 9mm is the go-to. 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 9mm has a textured polymer grip which gives you a solid hold, and it’s angled just right for a natural and easy draw from your concealed carry position. The trigger is decent enough with a 4 to 5 lbs pull weight, which may not be the lightest to pull, but it’s manageable; it breaks and resets just fine without too much creep.

The slides are serrated and they have flared edges for an easy grip, so anyone with low hand strength can rack the slide without too much effort. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the flared edges aren’t sharp at all, giving you a snag-free draw–a necessity when you conceal carry. 

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. 

It is because of all of this, that I really think the S&W Shield EZ is the best concealed carry for women or those with a smaller frame or needing assistance with handling.

S&W Shield EZ 9mm Pros and Cons 

  • Super easy to use
  • Easy to rack
  • Low recoil
  • Limited capacity
  • Magazine feeding issues

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, sub-compact, 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 classics. 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 the best concealed carry gun. Obivously you’ll want to match a good quality holster designed specifically for it, not some 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 phrase optics-ready a few times throughout this article. A new shooter might wonder whether they need an optics-ready handgun. Need is a strong word, but I always suggest an optics-ready handgun. If, at first, you need “just” a good carry gun, then you don’t necessarily need an optic. However, if later down the road you decide you want one, it’d be nice to have one that is already set up to take one.

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, shooting 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. 

Other Factors to Consider When Buying a Concealed Carry Gun

Here are a few more things you need to look into when you are choosing your concealed carry gun. 

  • Concealment – This might strike you as a given, but yes, your gun of choice has to be well-concealable to avoid printing. To conceal well with sports wear and casual wear, you might need to go for a small pocket-sized pistol or a micro-compact gun. You can go for a larger hand gun like the sub-compact or the compact if your outfit has a few layers to help with concealment. 
  • Ease of draw – You should have easy access to your concealed carry gun, so the gun shouldn’t have too many parts that can snag on your clothes.  
  • Outfit – Concealment of your CCW can depend on your outfit, so think of the clothing you’re most likely to wear when carrying. If it’s a casual outfit, you can go for a pocket-sized pistol with deep concealment. If you’re wearing a coat, you can carry a larger handgun without printing. 
  • Legality – You need a permit to concealed carry in most states and some states don’t allow concealed carrying at all. Remember to check your state’s regulations before you decide on your purchase. 

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, and obviously, you’ll want the best concealed carry gun you can afford for your mission and lifestyle, but so are steady practice and competent training.

Conclusion

Being safe, armed, trained, and prepared makes you an effective concealed carrier.  Also, don’t forget; now that you have the best concealed carry gun, it would be best to start thinking about getting some CCW insurance to protect yourself against potential legal problems..

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.
  • Holsters: Having the right holster for your CCW helps you carry it concealed and accessible. See our recommendations for the Best IWB Holsters and the Best AIWB Holsters to choose the best-fit for you.
  • 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 protection can be very dangerous and detrimental to your hearing. Find out the best hearing protection for you in our full length review.
  • Storage: Check out 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.

FAQs

What is the easiest handgun to conceal carry?

The Sig P365 is the easiest gun to conceal carry. Ease of concealing might change depending on the holster and outfit choice, but the Sig P365 is small in size without sacrificing performance. It’s less than 6 inches long and about an inch wide, plus it holds 10 rounds that you can shoot easily and effectively.

What caliber is best for concealed carry?

Calibers like 380 ACP, 9mm, and 38 Special are my personal favorites for concealed carry. This is because smaller guns give you less control, but these calibers are small enough to conceal while being big enough to use comfortably.

What is the best gun to carry while running?

The CZ P10C is one of the best guns to carry while running because of its safety features that would prevent it from firing in case it accidentally falls out. This gun has trigger safety, trigger bar safety and a firing pin block. 

What is the safest concealed carry?

In my opinion, the Glock 19 is the safest concealed handgun out there. It’s highly trusted by law enforcement and special operations forces thanks to its reliability, and it’s also great for home defense. This gun has three safety features–trigger safety, firing pin safety, and drop safety–preventing it from firing if it’s accidentally dropped or jostled. The large size of this firearm makes it more stable, easy to carry, and easy to shoot with. 

What is the best concealed carry holster?

The best concealed carry holsters are Inside the Waistband (IWB) holsters. These holsters are a go-to for concealed carrying since they have minimal printing against your clothes and help keep your firearm in an accessible place.

What is the best Glock for concealed carry?

In my eyes, the Glock 19 is your best bet for a Glock concealed carry. This fighting pistol is easy to control, easy to shoot, has a high capacity, and is convenient to reload. What more can you ask for? It’s great for home defense because it gives you the accuracy of a full-sized pistol while also being very concealable. This is from the MOS line, so you can easily attach optics and lights to make it work just like a modern firearm. 

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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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