What is the Best Concealed Carry Gun

Ultimately, the point of a concealed carry gun is to protect yourself or your loved ones from someone who is trying to kill you or your family. If you cannot come to terms with that fact, then you need to stop reading this article right now. If you are not ready to kill somebody in order to prevent them from killing you or your family, then you need to stop searching for the best concealed carry gun. There are many factors to consider before one firearm can be labeled the best concealed carry pistol. The answer is different for each individual. The best concealed carry gun is the pistol 1) that you will actually wear every day, 2) that is 100% reliable, 3) that you can shoot accurately, 4) that holds enough bullets to provide adequate protection, and probably most importantly 5) that has adequate threat stopping power.

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Will it Stop the Threat?

“One shot one kill” is rare in the world of concealed carry. For the most part, stopping power is determined by the size of the bullet. A bigger bullet creates a larger wound cavity. You need to put a large hole (or holes) in an attacker to stop him in the shortest amount of time possible. Unless you are an ex-special forces type, you probably don’t have the training or skill necessary to make head shots when you’re your life depends on it. The best case scenario is that you are going to strike your attacker in or near the center of body mass. This sort of hit rarely produces one shot stopping results.




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The experts recommend a bullet no smaller than 9mm for concealed carry purposes. That rules out some guns that are extremely small and extremely comfortable to wear. You can find some tiny guns that are chambered in .380 ACP, .32 caliber, or .22 LR (these are all smaller than the 9mm bullet). Obviously, a .380 ACP to the brain, brain stem, or spinal cord is going to produce immediate threat elimination. As a new concealed carry licensee, you might get lucky and actually hit your target when the lives of your family members are at stake. You might just get extremely lucky and make a head shot or brain stem shot. But if you don’t want to let your life depend on extreme luck, you need to buy a caliber of concealed carry hand gun that is no smaller than 9mm and aim for multiple hits in the center of body mass.

easy to conceal a .380 ACP

The most popular law enforcement caliber is the .40 Smith & Wesson bullet. This bullet is slightly larger than a 9mm round, and slightly smaller than a .45 ACP round. It is widely debated whether the .45 ACP round is the king man stopper for concealed carry or whether the .357 Magnum is the king. However, both the .45 ACP and the .357 Magnum are generally fired out of guns that are too large to conceal comfortably, or even open carry comfortably. This is why most law enforcement agencies use the .40 S&W bullet. It is a compromise. It’s not as big and powerful as the .45 ACP or .357 Magnum, so you can carry more rounds in a smaller gun. And it is larger than the 9mm round, so it has greater stopping power. However, many people consider the .40 S&W round difficult to shoot accurately as it has a large amount of felt recoil compared to the 9mm round or even the larger .45 ACP round.

.45 ACP, big bullet, big gun
.45 ACP, big bullet, big gun

If this is your first concealed carry handgun, I suggest you choose a handgun chambered in 9mm. The 9mm bullet is possibly the most common round in the world so theoretically it will be easier to find. The 9mm isn’t the largest bullet, but it is large enough to give decent stopping power while still being able to fit in a gun that is easy to conceal and carries a decent amount of bullets.

You should also consider that the 9mm round is generally less expensive than the .40 S&W and the .45 ACP round. If you take training classes to learn how to defend yourself with your concealed handgun (as you should) then you are going to shoot hundreds and sometimes thousands of rounds. Many “tactical” classes require 800-1000 rounds just to take the course. You can spend close to $300 for 1000 9mm bullets, or you can spend twice that if you are shooting .40 S&W or .45 ACP. This is another good reason to consider a 9mm caliber gun as your first concealed carry gun. Once you get trained up, you may want to consider one of the larger calibers.

Will You Wear This Gun Every Day?

It’s difficult to find a gun that is actually comfortable to wear concealed on your person. This is what most people who are searching for their first concealed carry gun do not realize.

The author driving with concealed Glock 19
The author driving with concealed Glock 19

You don’t have any idea when you are going to be attacked. You don’t have any idea when someone is going to try to rob you, try to rape you, try to kidnap you, or when you are going to be involved in an active shooter scenario. Some optimistic people believe the answer to that question is never. Even most police officers never have to shoot anyone in self-defense. But all you have to do is turn on the news to realize that any one of us could be involved in a life or death situation at any time.


Because the enemy is not going to tell you when he is going to try and kill you or your family, it is important to wear your concealed carry gun whenever it is legally possible. That means you need to be shopping for a gun that is comfortable to conceal on your person. If it’s not comfortable, you will not wear it. That’s human nature.

The holster you choose will also determine just how comfortable your concealed carry experience is. See my review of my Crossbreed Supertuck below (a great fist time CCW holster).

Width Determines Comfort

How wide your gun is will determine how easy it is to conceal on your person, how comfortable it is to wear every day and consequently whether you will actually wear it on a daily basis whether you will actually have it at your disposal when you need to defend your life with it.

Here’s the major problem. Thin guns are comfortable to wear and conceal. But, the thinner your gun is, the fewer bullets it is going to carry and the more difficult it is going to be to shoot accurately. My favorite concealed carry gun is the Glock 19, which is chambered in 9mm and carries 15 bullets in the magazine and one in the chamber (15+1). However it is not an ultra-thin gun, and requires some self-discipline to wear on a daily basis. I am generally uncomfortable when I am wearing this gun, but that is a sacrifice I have chosen to make. A thinner gun chambered in 9mm is the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.

Glock 19 vs. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

Glock 19 9mm, 20.99 oz unloaded, Barrel Width 1.18″, Barrel Length 4.02″, Overall Length 6.85″, Bullet Capacity 15+1, Cost $530

S&W M&P Shield 9mm, 19 oz unloaded, Barrel Width 0.95″, Barrel Length 3.1″, Overall Length 6.1″, Bullet Capacity 7+1 or 8+1, Cost $450

You can see from the comparison above that the M&P Shield is thinner than the Glock 19, and is therefore more comfortable to conceal on your person (especially if you wear an inside the waistband holster). However, as a matter of personal preference, I don’t feel safe carrying only 8 bullets, or 9 bullets with the extended magazine. You are going to have to decide how many bullets you need to carry to feel safe, and then you will be able to better select a suitable gun. Here is a list of some common, high quality / high reliability, concealed carry pistols.

Firearm Weight Unloaded Barrel Width Barrel Length Overall Length # of Bullets Cost
Glock 19 9mm 20.99 oz 1.18″ 4.02″ 6.85″ 15+1 $530
S&W M&P Shield 9mm 19 oz 0.95″ 3.1″ 6.1″ 7+1 or 8+1 $450
Beretta Nano 9mm 19.97 oz 0.90″ 3.07″ 5.63″ 6+1 $475
Kel Tec PF-9 9mm 12.7 oz 0.88″ 3.1″ 5.85″ 7+1 $400
Ruger LC9 9mm 17.1 oz 0.90″ 3.12″ 6.0″ 7+1 $450
Glock 26 9mm 19.75 oz 1.18″ 1.26″ 6.29″ 10+1 $530
Springfield XDM Compact 9mm 27 oz 1.2″ 3.8″ 7″ 13+1, 19+1 $679
Sig Sauer P290 9mm 20.5 oz 0.9″ 2.9″ 5.5″ 5+1 $500
Walther PPS .40 S&W 20.8 oz 1.04″ 3.2″ 6.3″ 6+1 $560
Glock 27 .40 S&W 19.75 oz 1.18″ 3.46″ 6.29″ 9+1 $530
Glock 30S .45 ACP 20.28 oz 1.13″ 3.78″ 6.89″ 9+1 or 10+1 $637
Springfield XDS .45 ACP 21.5 oz 1.00″ 3.3″ 6.3″ 5+1 $530

You can see that the thinner and more comfortable a pistol is to conceal, the fewer bullets it holds. Take a look at this side by side comparison of the Glock 27 and the Walther PPS, both chambered in .40 S&W. The Glock 27 holds 10 rounds and the Walther holds 7 rounds, but you can see that the Glock 27 is much thicker. Is the added discomfort of the thicker Glock worth the extra bullets? That’s a decision you need to make before you buy.

Glock 27 left, Walther PPS right
Glock 27 left, Walther PPS right



Revolver vs. Semi-Auto

Revolvers are generally thicker than semi-automatic pistols and generally carry fewer bullets than semi-automatic pistols. Most conceal carry revolvers carry only 5 bullets in them, and a revolver is generally harder and slower to reload than a semi-automatic pistol. In the semi-automatic pistol world, a thicker gun means more bullets. But revolvers are generally thicker than semi-autos and carry fewer bullets than semi-autos. I don’t see the advantage to carrying a revolver for concealed carry.

I have already written an article about the best revolvers for concealed carry. You may want to check it out, but I advise you to purchase a semi-automatic pistol for concealed carry purposes. If you do decide to purchase a revolver either for home defense or concealed carry, I recommend you get a revolver that is rated for .38 special +p rounds or a revolver like the Ruger LCR .357 Magnum that can handle both the .357 round and the .38 special +p round. The only possible advantage to getting a revolver vs. semi-auto is that people consider revolvers to be reliable and simple to shoot. I don’t believe that any revolver is more reliable than my Glock 19 or easier to shoot than my Glock 19. It’s not as if you need to be a rocket scientist or MIT Grad to learn to shoot a semi-automatic pistol so I have never understood the “revolvers are simpler” argument.

Ruger LCR 5 rounds .38 special +p
Ruger LCR 5 rounds .38 special +p



Gun aficionados will debate all day about which gun is the most reliable. Every gun listed in this article is reliable enough to trust your life to. Is Glock more reliable than Smith & Wesson? Maybe, maybe not. If so the difference is probably negligible.

If you want to know which guns are reliable enough to trust your life to, then look to see what guns the professionals are using. I know an Army Green Beret who carries a Glock 27 for concealed carry and used a Glock on the field of battle. I know that Sig Sauer is used by the Navy SEALs. Several law enforcement agencies use both Glock and Smith & Wesson.

There are some guns that are made to withstand the rigors of combat. They are made to operate under dirty conditions. And there are some “pretty” guns that are made especially for concealed carry or civilian use. I’ve never heard of soldiers taking a Kimber or a Kahr to war, so I don’t list those guns here. I know that Glock is very popular with military personnel, and that it is a battle tested gun. This is why I carry a Glock 19 for concealed carry. I need a gun that will operate when my life is on the line.

Before you choose your gun, you will want to do some research on its reliability. You also want to go to the range and rent one so that you can actually shoot that gun before buying it.

No matter how reliable your gun is, you still need to train to clear basic malfunctions in an emergency situation.

Can You Shoot it Accurately?

This is directly related to how much training you have. In concealed carry land we aim to be “combat accurate.” That means striking your attacker in the center of body mass, i.e., putting holes in

vital organs. This kind of accuracy balances high probability shots with high stopping power shot placement. Hitting an attacker in the head will have a greater stopping ability, but it is a low probability shot.

You can train to shoot any gun listed in this article with combat accuracy. You first need to spend lots of time doing dry fire drills, then you need to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars taking classes with titles like: Combat Pistol I, Concealed Carry Tactics, Fundamentals of Defensive Pistol, etc. You will shoot 400 – 1000 rounds in these kind of classes. If you are shooting 9mm bullets it will be like shooting 400 – 1000 dimes. If you are shooting .40 S&W or .45 ACP it will be like shooting 400 – 1000 quarters. This is why I recommend 1) that beginners do lots of dry fire exercises, and 2) that they purchase a pistol chambered in 9mm.

Dry fire exercises will fix your trigger pull and shooting mechanics so that you are not just wasting your money when you actually start training with dimes and quarters. Click here for a free introduction to defensive pistol and combat pistol/concealed carry tactics.


How Many Bullets Are Enough?

The statistics say that most gunfights last less than three seconds. There will be some confrontations where it is enough just to draw down on the enemy without having to fire a single shot. The appearance of your gun will sometimes be enough to deter an attacker. In that case, zero bullets is enough.

Never A VictimIf you get involved with multiple assailants it is going to take 2-6 rounds to put each attacker down. If you find yourself in an active shooter situation at the mall, you may need enough bullets to score a head shot on a body armor clad attacker armed with an assault rifle. It’s probably better to just run for your life in that situation, but you can see from these few scenarios that more bullets is better than less bullets. This will be a battle between ease of concealment and number of available bullets.

I don’t mind saying that the benchmark in concealed carry is the Glock 19, which holds 16 bullets (15+1), but as I’ve already said, it is not the most comfortable gun to conceal due to its 1.17” thickness. You are going to have to decide what amount of bullets you feel comfortable carrying. I feel comfortable with 10-16 bullets, you may feel comfortable with more or less.


Should You Carry One in the Chamber?

Yes, you should carry one in the chamber. Handgun enthusiasts will notice that there are no 1911 style pistols in this article. That’s because I believe you should always carry your concealed handgun with a bullet in the chamber so that you do not have to do anything other than pull the trigger when it’s go time.

The Glock 19, and most other striker fired pistols, do not have an active safety. The Glock has 3 safety mechanisms that prevent it from firing inadvertently. This allows you to carry with a bullet in the chamber and cocked and ready to fire the minute you pull it out of your holster.

However, 1911 style pistols are carried in “condition one,” which is a bullet in the chamber, the hammer cocked back, and the safety on. There is no hammer on the Glock 19 because it is a striker fired pistol. I prefer striker fired pistols because there is no hammer to cock back before firing, and more importantly there is no hammer to snag on any garments in an emergency draw from concealment.

The 1911 is a hammer fired weapon. So in order to have a round chambered, you must rack the slide back. Racking the slide back will cock the hammer. Since there is no de-cocker on 1911 style pistols, it is advised to keep the safety on anytime you have the hammer cocked back. Most people don’t feel safe carrying a loaded pistol concealed on their body with the hammer cocked back, unless they have an external safety activated.

This presents a problem because now when you get mugged by two assailants outside of your parking garage, you have to do an emergency draw, aim the gun at the attackers, and remember to de-activate the external safety before you fire. Hopefully you remember to do that because the alternative is death.

Or you can choose to carry your 1911 style pistol without a round chambered so that you don’t have the hammer cocked back and you don’t have to de-activate the external safety before firing. Now when you get mugged you have to remember to rack the safety back, i.e., chamber a round before firing. Hopefully you have both hands free and time to do that before they kill you.

Or you could carry a striker fired pistol with passive safety systems, like the Glock 19. Now when you get mugged, you draw your weapon, point and shoot, then go home safely to your family.

You should buy a gun that allows you to safely carry one in the chamber, and you should carry a gun that requires you to do nothing other than pull the trigger once you draw it (no racking the slide, no de-activating a safety).


Best Concealed Carry Pistol

I could just tell you that the Glock 19 is the best concealed carry gun, but that is only true for me, and may not be true for you. Instead I’m going to give you a checklist. First there are a few constants that are true for everyone 1) it needs to shoot bullets that are 9mm or larger (.38 special +p or larger for revolvers), and 2) you need to be able to do nothing more than pull the trigger when it’s time to shoot (no racking the slide back to chamber a round, and no de-activating an external safety). Here’s the checklist:

  1. It must shoot bullets that are 9mm or larger
  2. It must allow you to carry a round in the chamber safely, with no external safety to de-activate and no hammer to cock, just point and shoot.
  3. Decide how many bullets you need to carry to feel safe (I like at least 10).
  4. Find the thinnest gun that meets the first 3 requirements.
  5. Is this gun made by a reputable company proven to be reliable in an emergency situation?
  6. Can you afford to train (shoot several hundred rounds) with this gun on a yearly basis? This will mostly be a factor of bullet size. 9mm is less expensive than .40 S&W or .45 ACP.

Top 3 Concealed Carry Handguns

Here are my choices in order: 1) Glock 19, 2) Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, and 3) Glock 26.

Glock 26 right, Beretta Nano left
Glock 26 right, Beretta Nano left


Firearm Weight Unloaded Barrel Width Barrel Length Overall Length # of Bullets Cost
Glock 19 9mm 20.99 oz 1.18″ 4.02″ 6.85″ 15+1 $530
Ruger LC9 9mm 17.1 oz 0.90″ 3.12″ 6.0″ 7+1 $450
Beretta Nano 9mm 19.97 oz 0.90″ 3.07″ 5.63″ 6+1 $475

Truthfully, I am “physically” very comfortable carrying the M&P Shield and Glock 26 because they are relatively small guns. But the M&P Shield only carry 8 or 9 bullets, and I feel safer with a few more. All of concealed carry is a compromise. I would probably be outgunned in any defensive situation when carrying the M&P or the Glock 26, because criminals don’t have to worry about concealing their weapon. This is why regular and consistent training is so important.

Ruger LC9
Ruger LC9 (short & thin)

The criminal who is planning to attack you will probably choose the biggest gun he can hold and bring as many bullets as are needed to successfully kill you. That gun vs. your Ruger LC9 comfortably concealable handgun means that you are going to be outgunned in almost any defensive pistol situation. But the alternative is to be comfortable, dress however you want, and carry nothing. Find a gun that you are comfortable with so that you will actually wear it on a daily basis, and keep in mind that 7 or 8 rounds of 9mm is much better than trying to stop an attacker’s bullet with your good intentions.



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    1. ray kaminski

      Good article? It makes no sense. He says a 9 mm is bigger than a 0.38. However, simple math tells you that a 9 mm is equivalent to a 0.354 caliber. Even the 0.357 is smaller than the 38. Where is the sense of this? Can someone explain? Or is it the load of powder or charge that is actually different, NOT the caliber?

  1. David

    Just a small clarification, 380 ACP is a 9MM. The 380 ACP was original name the 9mm Kurz which is German for short. The 380’s measurements are 9x17mm vs the 9mm luger which is what you are referencing is a 9x19mm. Both the 380 and the 9mm Luger use a .355 inch diameter bullet. I do my own reloading, this is why I know this. Not to start an argument, I would say the 380 would be the smallest round you should ever consider carrying. 40 S&W is a good choice as there are several single stack weapons available is you are a small person such as myself.


    1. Thanks for the info David. I did not know that about the .380 ACP. I love the arguments about the smallest rounds you should carry. They ALWAYS involve the phrase “shot placement is key.” And then once someone unleashes the “shot placement is key” comment, then another dude will chime in with “then why don’t we all just carry BB guns and train to shoot for the eyes?”

      Once those two phrases have been uttered (or written in ALL CAPS), then you know you have a genuine concealed carry caliber argument brewing.

      1. Lee

        I purchased a Ruger 380 on the advise of the conceal weapons instructor. I love the weapon but dissapointed that it does not have a safety. I want to be ready in case I have to use it but I;m leary about having a round in the chamber with no safety.


        1. I always carry one in the chamber with the safety off. I don’t have a ruger lcp, but it was made with a long trigger pull, which I think makes it just as safe as any other pistol to carry one in the chamber. Both of my Glocks are striker fired pistols so i don’t have to worry about any exposed hammer when i carry one in the chamber. i have a taurus that is hammer fired, but it also has a de-cocker that releases the hammer when you are carrying one in the chamber. I think as long as you have a good concealed carry holster that covers the trigger, then you should be safe carrying with one in the chamber.

          I don’t think it is safe to carry without a bullet in the chamber, and i don’t think it is safe to carry with your safety on…because if you ever need your gun, chances are you will not have time or the mental where withal (or the training) to either un-safety it, or rack one into the chamber (or both) in time to defend your life against an attacker.

          1. Shayne

            Excellent points.
            Lee – Pistols with double-action triggers are, generally speaking, safe to carry. As mentioned, the heavier, longer trigger pull is basically the safety. When carried in a proper holster protecting the trigger, all should be well and the firearm will be ready if you need it.
            Folks will talk about the ‘Isreali method’, racking the slide on presentation of the weapon. You don’t always have that option.
            Carry safely, know your weapon well, train! Practice your draw at home with dummy rounds/snap caps. Be comfortable with your choices! Understand and respect your firearm. Remember… It’s a tool.

          2. Ron

            Are you serious? The safety can be turned off as you draw your firearm if you have any hand dexterity at all. If you don’t have at least that much skill you shouldn’t even be handling a firearm in the first place. If you don’t think quick enough to remember turning your safety off then you shouldn’t be carrying a firearm.

          3. Robert

            Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9MM with the thumb safety is simple to operate and I agree with one of the posters that said you practice your draw many many times until it is locked in muscle memory. I can pull out my Shield from any holster and thumb down the safety in the same motion in 1.25 seconds. Time yourself as I went from terrible to that time after hundreds of draws both with and without rounds. At the range and just sitting at home. Even if you carry a Glock or other trigger pull safety type you should practice. LE and military do it the same…..make it to where you can do it without thinking or it won’t matter what you have. If ever in a true life threatening situation you will end up either dead or unable to react. Practice practice practice. Take a class if you can. I doubt if you ever played a sport you didn’t practice so you would be the best you could. This is life and death we’re talking about so do us all a favor and treat it with the respect it needs.

    2. Nitram

      If you are going to consider the 380 you might as well go 9mm. Smith & Wesson MP9 shield , ruger lcr. Both are smaller and easy to handle. If you want to go with a small caliber I like 22 mag. It out powers the 380 and does a tremendous amount of tissue damage.


    3. Thugs must laugh at us, ballistics, fps, stopping power, penetration, extra magazines etc. Really? A thug knows that a white hot, tumbling bullet is gonna leave a bloody tunnel in his body. He’s not looking at the gun size or if he will acquire a 6” or 16′ tunnel that he wasn’t born with. No? Watch any store’s security cameras on u-tube, at the 1st appearance of a clerk’s gun they scramble like cockroaches..they know flying lead is bad. The longer you carry …the smaller the piece gets. Just practice with whatever ya use . “there’s a lawyer attached to every bullet.”-George Zimmerman.

  2. Rebel Yell

    Just something to keep in mind: You’re not limited to only what is loaded in your pistol. Carrying a spare mag or two is a decent idea. I recommend always carrying at least one spare mag, and it’s easy to do since most magazines will fit comfortably in the front pocket of a pair of jeans. Carrying two mags in an IWB mag holder is a great option too. Again, it’s a physical comfort vs. mental comfort sort of thing. It’s pretty easy to carry an extra 17 rounds for my Glock 19 in my front pocket though, and that gives me 33 rounds in a firefight. Make me feel reasonably comfortable knowing I’ve got that sort of firepower. I carry a Glock 17 mag as my spare and it rides in a Desantis Mag Packer.

  3. SamT

    I found this very helpful. I live in NY and the walls are coming in on gun owners.
    I am a backwoods hunter looking to buy a pocket pistol, and this pointed me in the
    right direction.


    1. Hey SamT, I’m glad I could help. Good luck with your purchase, let me know what you get.

  4. Shayne

    I’d like to throw my 2¢ in. Springfield’s XDs pistols are some great carry guns. Just as easy as any Glock, has an extra grip safety. I have the .45 and carry a spare mag, 13 rounds on hand.


    1. I don’t like the way the grip safety feels. Just never been able to get used to that safety, but I love the xds .45.

  5. Kirk kronenberger

    Excellently written, I’ve always invited those who say the 9mm isn’t powerful to stand in front of one and pull the trigger.


  6. I love my 19 but yes is a little bulky. So when that’s an issue my Colt Mustang 2 .380 fits about anywhere. By the way I had some issues with the Colt. It wouldn’t eject from time to time. Sent it to Colt and they totally rebuilt it at no charge including freight.
    Great article and details are good!


    1. Thanks Chad. That’s not the first time I’ve heard good things about Colt’s customer service.

  7. David Lostaunau

    I agree that modern semi-autos are reliable, but…

    A Revolver works when case hardened steel moves case hardened steel. It doesn’t work with the steel fails or the ammo is bad. Steel doesn’t feel very often. If the ammo is bad, the procedure for fixing it is to pull the trigger again.

    Expanding gases cycle the action on the semi – auto. If you don’t hold it properly, your hand absorbs the energy meant to move the slide. If your gun is not cleaned, or properly oiled, the slide might not move properly. Bad ammunition can prevent the gun from working properly. Parts like extractors and ejectors can create different problems, requiring a shooter to know multiple methods of fixing the problem.

    For many years I bet my life on a semi auto. The sad reality is that many people will never take the time to become proficient with one. For them, the revolver is by far the best choice. For someone who does not shoot, The best choice is usually the heaviest gun they will actually carry and conceal.


    1. you make some excellent points. i just prefer the semi-auto glock b/c that’s what i have trained with and I like the ammo capacity.

  8. Greg

    Any problem with a Ruger SR9? I hardly notice it until I sit or stand jp


  9. I enjoyed reading your write up and agree with most of it. If I lived in South Chicago, Detroit, D.C. or South Oak Cliff in Dallas (add New Orleans) I would consider a high capacity combat gun like the Glock 19. But the vast majority of us live in a less dangerous environment. Therefore thickness and weight of a concealed carry gun is of prime consideration for every day carry. All double stacked magazines are going to be too thick and heavy for comfort. I wish Glock had made the G 42 single stack in 9mm instead of .380, I would buy one.


    1. I doubt that Glock will be much longer without a single stack 9mm, but until that day comes, I recommend the S&W M&P Shield 9mm.

  10. graylon person

    Talk about a god sent article… almost every question I had has been answered and then some. I hate to ask question in person sometimes people make you feel uncomfortable cause they feel like you should know everything. I wish I had read this before I bought my first gun. Don’t get me wrong I love my baby because of the high capacity but it is a .45 and didn’t think about how expensive the ammo would be. I conceal carry a big gun the fnx .45 I don’t have a problem concealing it and I am 5’11 156 lbs not a big guy. The only issue I have is the weight but not enough for me not to carry what I love is the weapon is 15+1… and deadly accurate and she’s not a diva she doesnt need special round she eats everything. I don’t normally have a round chambered but I’m going to take your advice about being ready at all times.


    1. yes there are a ton of internet commandos out there who try to make you feel like you should know everything. those people do more harm than good. I’m glad you liked the article.

  11. Pete

    Just about to pick up my lc9 with a laser Max to replace my bobcat .25
    Also have the glock 27 to carry instead od my H&K USP .40 compact.
    May have get LCP for pocket carry in jeans
    Thanks for the input great help


    1. You have some great guns. I’ve been thinking of getting a .38 ACP too. Let me know how the LCP works out.

  12. Raven Lee

    Bersa BP9CC.

    3.5 lb trigger.
    8+1 magazine.
    23 ounces empty.
    Very thin.
    Did I mention the awesome trigger?

      1. Ronald M Gubler

        My wife and I both own and carry bersa thunder 380’s. They are very comfortable to shoot and recoil straight back, not up. They are very easy to stay on target. I reload with cast bullets using Lee 105 grain mold bullets in front of 4.4 gr.WAP powder. They crony at just under 1,000 fps anb we have fired several thousand rounds of this load. For personal defense I load using 95 grain hollow points loaded +p+ loads at 1182 fps. The bersa has several grip options, laminated or walnut. They also have a wrap around with finger grooves. also, They
        have a cancer version with pink grips, holster and case. For
        the money this handgun is very comfortable and worth considering. Ron.


        1. thanks ron. i can’t believe the velocities you are getting out of a .380…impressive.

  13. Ralph Boswell

    After retiring from a large urban police force, I carry a Glock 27. Good gun but not having a single stack does make it uncomfortable to wear concealed. I’m in the market for a replacement that is single stacked for comfort. Don’t believe I’ll be taking any police actions where I would need more than 9 or 10 rounds. But you never want to regret not having those extra rounds if ever needed. Can you recommend a single stack for comfort? I feel your studies have hit the bullseye. In the article, someone mentioned the Ruger SR9 being hardly noticeable. How would this fair as a replacement for Glock 27? The pros and cons. Thanks.


    1. Hi Ralph,
      I have been carrying a Keltec PF-9 for several years because of the extreme comfort of a single-stack, magazine-fed weapon. Since Keltec came on the market with the PF-9, several manufactures have followed their lead with some excellent products. You may consider a Sig P938 if you are a 1911 fan or a S&W M&P Shield in 9 or 40. What ever you decide, always carry and be safe. db

    2. Robert

      Highly recommend the Shield in 9mm or .40. Both exact same frame and are single stack. You can buy with or without the thumb safety. The 9 holds 8 in the mag and the .40 holds 7. Add one in chamber and an extra mag….if you need more than that you are probably either a lousy shot or in a situation you should never have drawn on. I have the 9 and it is a fantastic CCW if you live in the South where it is warm so much of the time and we wear shorts and tshirts a lot. I also have the Springfield XD .45 ACP. I love the gun and have put a few thousand rounds through it of all different types with not a single issue. Problem is it the size and weight for conceal carry ( 13+1 Hollow points). Speaking of which….anyone carrying the 9 using +P rounds I hope you are shooting quality hollow points or you will likely hit someone innocent after your round goes through a target. I have set up some old CPR dummy’s to see June difference between the .45 and 9. Not using hollow points the 9 has gone though the dummy and a the 3/4 inch plywood behind it and who knows how far into the burm. Not same w .45 or with hollow points.

  14. Joe Stonica

    Does anyone have an opinion on the Taurus Millennium Pro PT145 .45acp as a concealed carry weapon? I’ve put a bunch of rounds through it and it’s very accurate and have had zero glitches with this weapon. I’m bouncing around the idea of keeping this as my CCW or maybe going to a 1911. Any thoughts or input on this?


    1. I have never used that weapon. I have a Taurus PT 809 that seems to work well, but otherwise I don’t have a lot of experience with their .45s. I did take a class out on a farm where we had to do some combat reloads and all of the Taurus .45s and other 1911 style pistols that were there ended up jamming several times due to the dust and grit that was acquired from dropping magazines in the dirt during combat reloads. My Glock kept on firing.

  15. Sal Passos

    Dustin, very good article now I’d like to step this up one notch. I have applied for my permit and when it arrives my next step is to obtain my blue card for armed security in my state (Connecticut) do you have any opinions on a choice of weapon that can be a hybrid of sorts between my conceal carry and service weapon. Any thoughts would be helpful.



    1. Hi Sal, of course, the best hyrid weapon for you is the Glock 19. It is just small enough for concealed carry and has 15 + 1 capacity for your service weapon needs.

  16. Frank Schmitt

    I have carried and taught others to carry for years. Most of those I have taught go on to carry the Glock or the 1911. Those who train the most usually carry the latter. I carry with a round chambered and the hammer at half cock. Easily cocked back during my draw. I am am ex military and Law Enforcement. I determine the number of mags I carry by where I’m going that day. If I’m traveling to a place I’m unfamiliar with or that is known to be a bit rough I carry two extra mags. Otherwise, I am confident I can handle 99.99% of what comes my way with 8 in the mag and one in the pipe. I am not a spray and pray kind of shooter. Every bullet is a serious liability I have to live with. Two quality hollow point .45s to center mass is a very damaging. I have been involved in situations were as a cop, a methhead was hit 10 times at arms length by the same ammo I use before dropping his weapon and falling. So there are NO sure things in self defense. There is NO reason to leave the 1911 off the list. With proper discipline it is one of the finest out there and as for snagging cloths with the hammer….that is laughable if you have a modern hybrid 1911. And as for thinner guns being harder to aim??? Really??? That is just plain old BS. I agree with 9mm or larger. 380 is under powered and MOST guns in the caliber are unreliable. Nuff said’

    1. Robert

      Great post Frank. I wish you would have emphasized just how much training with whatever you carry matters. I am sure you were required to practice all kinds of different draw and Fire scenarios to the point where it becomes muscle memory. I wish I could carry my XD .45 or a nice 1911 but they are too big to really conceal in the South where we wear shorts 70% of the year. I also agree the .380 is just not big enough and I only carry my Shield 9MM with high grade hollow points recommended by several friends I have in LE, including one on a SWAT Team. People don’t realize some hollow points with the sharp sections won’t always “flower” like you want so don’t skimp on your service loads. Also have heard many stories on meth heads getting hit with multiple rounds but keep coming. Thankfully that is the exception and if you hit center mass with anything 9mm and up in hollow point you will put pretty much anyone down. If you practice like you should given the heavy responsibility you have (and liability) by carrying a loaded weapon, you shouldn’t need 30 rounds. Practice, time your draws…take a combat course and see the difference it makes. Those who buy, carry and maybe go to the range one every few months scare me as much as the bad guys.

  17. Jason

    I’m looking at the Glock USA website and it lists the length of the Glock 19 at 7.36″ That makes a big difference over the length you have listed at 6.85″. It’s a half of an inch. Why the discrepancy? Also the Glock 26 is 6.49 rather than the 6.29 you list. I’d really like the dimensions in your article to be correct. I’m breaking my brain over what to buy for a CC gun and fractions of inches matter.


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  19. Robert

    Great info in the article. Thanks for taking the time to write it. I take exception to your advice to not have a weapon with a safety. You did well in telling people to practice like crazy so if they do that then they will have no problem thumbing down the safety on a quality carry gun like the Shield. Modern ergonomics on these guns puts the safety in a place where you can be thumbing it down as you draw. I have personally practiced this and can draw & Fire my Shield faster than my XD. Granted I have practiced more with the a Shield because my XD .45 is too fat to carry. It is shorter than some of the guns you listed so if you live somewhere that allows you to wear light jackets most of the time then just get the full XD that holds 13+1. Also on ammo cost you are a little off depending on where you buy. If you buy online at gunbroker dot com you can get 1000 rounds of Remington .45 ball for $330 shipping included. I suspect you wrote this article during the time when ammo was jacked up in price. Things have calmed down now but if you can wait then buying in bulk online is still best bet. There’s even an App called AmmoFinder any of you will love. Be safe!

  20. pierre

    After reading these comments I am more scared of you CCP people than any criminals.


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  22. I’m a lefty, and so have tended toward revolvers as a necessary evil because of the general right-handedness of autoloaders. So I have a GP100 with a 4″ bbl. It carries 6 and will fire (of course) on the first trigger pull, but if I need the accuracy I can cock the hammer and have a better trigger pull weight. The thing is accurate, so the only problem in an emergency would be my own erroneous response. The .357 caliber is preferred for me because I carry this revolver in territory where black bears roam. Should I load this with .38 bullets instead of .357 when doing a normal carry? They are lighter. The loaded handgun is over 2 pounds.

  23. evan

    john gonser

    if you are a lefty take a look at the ruger sr9 great for right or left hand use

  24. Mick

    I have; S&W .380 Bodyguard, S&W .40 Shield,
    Ruger SR.40C, Springfield XDs .45, Glock 30s .45,
    XD compact .45, H&K P130 V1 .40,
    Sig 1911 Ultra .45, Kimber Ultra Carry II .45,
    and a Berretta PX4 Storm .40 Sub.(10+1 max in CA).
    The PX4 is my carry. I think it is heaviest and close to the largest, but the single/double lets me carry chambered with safety off safely.
    My biggest concern is, the long hard first pull could cause a missed shot, but stats say over half the first shots miss in a threatening situation at 8 feet anyway, so I’ll take the chance and carry a extra magazine.
    I might add the XD Compact to my CCW, it is a double stack and has the extra power of the .45.
    We can only have 4 weapons on our permits in CDA.


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