11 Best Concealed Carry Guns – Long Term 2024 Test

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We reviewed all the available options and found the Sig Sauer P365XL to be the best concealed carry gun available.

This handgun can carry up to 16 rounds and has an extended grip to help me completely control the gun. This secure hold is hard to find in compact concealed carry guns, especially if you have bigger hands like me.

That said, the gun is still plenty small enough for concealment.

Buying a concealed carry gun is an important decision, and with so many options out there it can be hard to choose. In this guide we will give you all of our tips to help you choose the best gun for you.

Best Concealed Carry Gun
Jason's collection of concealed carry guns that were tested
Just some of the concealed carry handguns we have tried

Our team has over 40 years of combined experience with concealed carry guns. I have took numerous handgun courses, even a handgun course in college, and learned from the best. I have also competed in IDPA and USPSA competitions.

Over the years I have learned what works for one person isn’t necessarily what works for someone else. You may want something bigger or smaller than the P365 XL, for instance.

Keep reading for our 11 favorite concealed carry guns, plus a full detailed guide to help you choose what is best for you.


A Quick Comparison of Our Favorite Concealed Carry Guns

BEST OVERALL
Sig Sauer P365XL

Sig Sauer P365XL

Compact

12+1 or 15+1 Capacity

Optic Ready

MSRP: $699

BEST VALUE
Glock 19 Gen 5

Glock 19 Gen 5

Affordable

Reliable

Customizable

MSRP: $569

BEST COMPACT
Sig Sauer P365 XMacro

Sig Sauer P365 XMacro

17+1 Capacity

Compensator

Optics Ready

MSRP: $999

BEST MICRO-COMPACT
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus

Good Trigger

Ergonomic

Optics Ready

MSRP: $549

BEST FULL SIZE
Walther PDP Compact

Walther PDP Compact

Ambidextrous

Great Trigger

Full Grip

MSRP: $699


Best Concealed Carry Gun

Sig Sauer P365 XL

Sig Sauer P365 XL - Best Overall Concealed Carry Gun
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 12+1 (or 15+1)
  • Barrel Length: 3.7″
  • Size: Subcompact
  • MSRP: $699

Out of all the concealed carry guns I’ve used, the Sig Sauer P365 XL is easily the best overall handgun.

I’ve found the P365 XL much more ergonomic than other handguns. The extended grip module, with the integrated magwell and extended beavertail, allows me to get a full firing grip on the handgun. This is important for accuracy and control.

I also like the flat trigger profile. However, the trigger is not what I would call very “clean”. It does not have a well defined wall, and has more creep than I care for. It isn’t as crisp as someWalther or other concealed carry handguns.

Jason comparing the Sig P365XL with the Glock 19
The Sig P365XL (bottom) compared to the Glock 19 (Top)

Of course, I am picky when it comes to triggers. In my experience unless you shoot a lot, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference.

The factory sights are also decent on this gun. It is also optics ready, and will work with both RMSc and Holosun K footprint red dots.

Blake shooting the Sig P365XL
Our entire team has spent the past two years with the Sig P365XL

Having spent considerable time with the P365 XL, I can confidently say it checks all the boxes for most people and is the best value in the huge concealed carry gun market.

Be sure to check out our guide on the Best P365 Holsters as well.

Recommended for:

If you’re in the market for a concealed-carry gun, the Sig Sauer P365 XL is one of the best.

PROS

12+1 (to even 15+1) rounds

Extended grip – full firing grip

Optics Ready

Compact, micro-size

CONS

Trigger Creep

Video of the Sig Sauer P365XL


Best Value Concealed Carry Gun

Glock 19 Gen 5

Glock 19 Gen 5 - Best Value Concealed Carry Gun
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 15+1
  • Barrel Length: 4.02″
  • Size: Compact
  • MSRP: $569

Glock is well-known for making reliable, durable concealed carry guns. The Glock 19 Gen5 is no different. It has quickly become one of the go-to firearms for everyday carry and is one of the more affordable handguns. Therefore, it’s a great option for those looking to save money.

The Glock 19 has reduced dimensions that make it a cross between a full size and a sub-compact. This makes it very suitable for concealed carry. Whether I’m carrying it for self-defense purposes or just having fun at the range, the compact size of the Glock 19 shoots like a full-size but conceals easily as well.

Plus, the new Gen 5 doesn’t have finger grooves, which makes it much more comfortable to handle. It also features several other improvements, including a flared magwell, ambidextrous slide stop lever, and reversible magazine catch. It also comes with multiple backstraps that I can change depending on my hand size.

The author comparing the Glock 19 to the Glock 43
The Glock 19 (center) compared to a Glock 43 (Top). (Glock 17 on the bottom)

That said, the Glock 19 is larger than the sub-compacts, so I tend to use it more in the winter. For me, it is not the best for IWB or appendix carry, but I like it for OWB carry.

The Glock 19 has renowned reliability. It’s designed to function no matter what. This reliability factor is crucial for a concealed carry weapon, as I need complete confidence that my firearm will perform when it matters most.

Not everyone likes the ergonomics of the Glock. The Sig grip angle is about 18°, while the Glock is about 22°. It might not sound like a lot, but it makes a huge difference when presenting the gun to the target.

However, there is a vast aftermarket of parts that allow for easy customization. That’s one of my favorite parts about this gun (and why I had difficulty switching to the P365). From upgrading the trigger to adding a flashlight to the integral accessory rail, the customization possibilities are endless.

Plus, the magazines from the larger Glocks, like the Glock 17, will also fit in this gun. There is even a 31 round extended magazine available. Holsters are very easy to find.

Jason shooting the Glock 19
We have been shooting the Glock 19 Gen 5 for the past 5 years.

The Glock 19 has exceptional value. It’s a budget-friendly option that you can trust. It doesn’t compromise reliability or performance, and you won’t have to pay $1,000.

Check out our guide on the Best Glock 19 Holsters to see our recommendations on holsters for this gun as well.

Recommended for:

The Glock 19 Gen 5 is for anyone looking to save a bit of money. It also handles better that the smaller sub-compacts.

PROS

Extremely reliable

Very customizable

Affordable

15+1 capacity

CONS

Ergonomics can be hit-or-miss

Video of the Glock 19 Gen5


Best Compact Concealed Carry Gun

Sig Sauer P365 X-Macro

Sig Sauer P365 X-Macro - Premium Option
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 17+1
  • Barrel Length: 3.1″
  • Size: Compact
  • MSRP: $999

The Sig Sauer P365 X-Macro is a bit more expensive than other concealed carry guns. However, the price is absolutely worth it. I’ve been carrying a Sig Sauer P365 X-Macro for the past few months, and I’m really impressed with it. It’s an overall improvement over the original P365.

It is also our top pick as the best 9mm handgun overall.

What really sets this pistol apart is its capacity. It has a 17+1 capacity packed into the slim, profile of the P365. I get the capacity of a full size handgun with this pistol, and I am not sacrificing much concealability.

It surprises me how much ammo capacity Sig Sauer could fit into this handgun. (And makes me wonder what in the world other companies are doing.)

One of the things I like most about the P365 X-Macro is the integrated compensator. It really helps to reduce muzzle rise, which makes follow-up shots faster and more accurate. On the range, I could tell that the muzzle rise was less than the P365XL.

Jason comparing the Sig P365Xmacro to the Glock 19
The Sig P365 Xmacro (top) compared to the Glock 19

I also like that it has a standard 1913 rail that allows me to attach accessories like a weapon mounted light.

I’ve used it for hours at the range and love how comfortable it is to shoot, even for extended periods. The gun is also reliable; I’ve never experienced a malfunction, even with low quality ammo.

Blake Shooting the Sig P365 XMacro
We have over 18 months of experience with the Sig P365 XMacro

This handgun comes optics ready, so you can easily add a red dot if you want. Standard RMSc and Holosun K footprint red dots will fit directly on this gun without an adapter plate.

Be sure to check out our guide on the Best Holsters for the Sig P365 for the best holsters for this gun.

Recommended for:

If you have the extra money, get the Sig Sauer P365 X-Macro. It’s only a few hundred dollars more than our top pick, but the integrated compensator and extended capacity make it worth it.

PROS

Integrated compensator

Optics Ready

Very comfortable to shoot

17+1 capacity

CONS

Price

Video of the Sig Sauer P365 X-Macro


Best Micro Compact Concealed Carry Gun

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 13+1
  • Barrel Length: 3.1″
  • Size: Micro-Compact
  • MSRP: $549

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus is a solid entry-level concealed carry handgun. It’s cheaper than many handguns, but the quality matches other, more expensive handguns.

I have owned the Shield for about 5 years now. Despite being extremely small and lightweight, I like how the Shield Plus’s controls are laid out. It just feels natural and is easy to shoot.

The trigger on this handgun is very crisp with minimal creep. The short, audible reset makes this trigger easily one of the best on a concealed carry handgun. The trigger is my interface with a handgun, so the feedback I get is extremely important.

Because the Shield Plus is so small, it has a lower capacity of only 13 rounds. However, it is a great option for those prioritizing concealed carry comfort over firepower. If you’re only going to wear a smaller gun, fewer rounds are better than nothing.

The author comparing the S&W M&P Shield, Glock 43, Sig P365XL
The S&W M&P Shield (Top), Glock 43 (center), and Sig P365XL (bottom)

Another minor gripe I have with the Shield Plus is its lack of an ambidextrous slide release. Our left-handed team member (Blake) finds that using his index finger to drop the slide down slows him down considerably.

Additionally, while I appreciate the sleek design, I would have loved to see a rail for mounting a light or laser. For now, the gun is unusable at night.

Jason shooting the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
We have over 5 years of experience with the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Series

If you decide to get this handgun, you can purchase it with or without a trigger safety. Which option you choose is a personal decision. Regardless, make sure you train how you carry, and understand how the safety works.

Recommended for:

The S&W M&P Shield Plus works great if you need a very small concealed carry gun. Whether you have small hands or want to prioritize comfort, the small frame of this handgun has you covered.

PROS

Outstanding trigger

Optics-ready

Great ergonomics

CONS

No rail

Lower capacity

Video of the S&W M&P Shield Plus


Best Full Size Concealed Carry Gun

Walther PDP Compact

Walther PDP Compact
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 15+1
  • Barrel Length: 4″
  • Size: Compact
  • MSRP: $699

In my opinion, Walther is an undervalued brand that deserves more second looks. The Walther PDP Compact is their latest concealed-carry handgun.

It’s not your typical sleek, slim handgun. From an aesthetic point of view, this may be a downside. However, the tall slide with the aggressive serrations is easier to grip than most other handguns.

This gun also shoots with much less felt recoil than the others above. I can really grip down on this one and shooting is much quicker and more comfortable.

This gun can accommodate 15 rounds. While this is about average, its larger size makes me wonder how they couldn’t fit more. I mean, just look at the Sig Sauer P365 X-Macro.

I have always loved the triggers in Walther handguns, I think they are one of the best. The PDP improves on the previous PPQ model. I have shot the Q5 (which is the full size competition version of the PPQ) in numerous matches, and the PDP’s trigger is very similar.

Jason Shooting the Walther PDP
Jason shooting the PDP

I really like the slide stop lever. Not only is is ambidextrous, it is large and easy to operate. I find that I can hit the leaver consistently while reloading with my thumb. This is impossible with a lot of other guns. I don’t have to come back over the top and rack the slide, which saves me a ton of time on reloads.

The Walther PDP Comapct is optics-ready out of the box. I did have to order an adapter plate, but it was easy to do online and I received it in about one week. I have used various red dots on this pistol, and the slide design allows them to sit low on the slide.

To see a guide on how to mount a red dot on this pistol, see our how to mount a pistol red dot guide.

Jason showing the PDP with a Red Dot.
Testing the Holosun 507Comp on my Walther PDP

The price of this gun is surprisingly low. It isn’t the cheapest, but it’s affordable for a Walther.

That said, this gun is larger than most. Therefore, concealing it can be challenging. It won’t just disappear under a T-shirt.

Recommended for:

The Walther PDP Compact has a few unique features, such as its excellent trigger and slide serrations. It shoots better than most other guns I have tried.

PROS

Slide serrations

Low Felt Recoil

Great Trigger

Large Slide Stop Lever

CONS

Harder to conceal

Video of the Walther PDP Compact


Best Glock for Concealed Carry

Glock 43X MOS

Glock 43X MOS
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Barrel Length: 3.39″
  • Size: Compact
  • MSRP: $485

The best thing about the Glock 43X MOS is its slimline design. It shares the same length and height as the compact Glock 19, but its reduced width is similar to the Glock 43. This makes it an ideal choice for concealed carry. It’s a lot of gun in a very slim frame.

Despite being slim, the grip is long enough to provide a secure hold. I don’t have to worry about my fingers slipping off the end while I’m shooting.

I also didn’t find that the slim profile impacted my shooting ability. It is also more comfortable to carry since it is thinner and lighter.

The MOS model comes optics-ready and has a rail for a light. I highly recommend it over the regular 43, as you can add a red dot. Plus, it isn’t that much more expensive!

While some don’t care for the Glock grip texturing, I personally found it to be OK. I don’t hate it. I can get a good grip on the handgun and control recoil fairly well. It is a small gun, so there is only so much grip texturing will provide. But it isn’t my favorite.

I bought the original Glock 43 the day it came out, and have been using it off an on over the years. I added a grip extension to it, so it effectively became a 43X before they came out.

Jason shooting the Glock 43
We have over 5 years of experience with the Glock 4x line of handguns. This is a Glock 43 shown.

I don’t really care for the small slide stop lever. It is also only on one side of the gun. As a right-handed shooter, this wasn’t a significant concern for me. The magazine release can be swapped to the other side, but the slide stop remains single-sided. However, our left-handed team member, Blake, was quick to point out this drawback.

To find the best holsters for the Glock 43X MOS, see our Best Glock 43X Holster guide.

Recommended for:

The Glock 43X MOS is for anyone that wants a Glock but doesn’t like the thickness of the Glock 19. The slim profile of this gun is appealing and the grip is just as good as the larger Glocks.

PROS

Slim profile

Optics-ready with rail

Long grip for added control

CONS

Right-hand controls only

Small capacity

Video of the Glock 48 MOS


Best Duty Ready Concealed Carry Handgun

Heckler & Koch P30 V3

Heckler & Koch P30 V3
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Barrel Length: 3.85″
  • Size: Compact
  • MSRP: $949

The Heckler & Koch P30 V3 is a standout police and security pistol. Its primary purpose is for duty use, but many also carry it concealed.

The first thing I noticed about the P30 V3 was the stock grip. While finger grooves aren’t typically my preference, the ones on the P30 felt exceptionally comfortable. Additionally, the pistol has interchangeable backstrap inserts and lateral grip plates so I can tailor it to my preference.

However, with how comfortable the default grip is, I don’t see why many people would change it.

The P30 V3 does not have a separate external safety. However, it does have the decocking lever by the hammer. Personally, I consider this a design genius, as it provides an added layer of safety while maintaining a practical trigger mechanism.

The trigger is also very good (and I, for one, can’t figure out why more companies don’t take a hint from H&K).

The P30 V3 pistol has a double-action/single-action trigger system that makes it more versatile. The double-action pull is long and heavy, in line with the Law Enforcement Modification (LEM) system. It enables safe carrying with a long first-shot trigger pull. However, the first shot is followed by a shorter and lighter single-action trigger for subsequent shots.

Therefore, after making your first shot, the follow up shots are fast.

The P30 V3 has a control layout that distinguishes it from popular models such as Glocks and S&W pistols. Its ambidextrous magazine release, placed at the back of the trigger guard, is a great design feature that makes it easy to use for both left and right-handed shooters. For this reason, it’s one of the best concealed carry guns for left-handed people.

Additionally, the fully ambidextrous slide stop lever, extending further back than usual, is a significant advantage for those with smaller hands, providing easier access to release the slide quickly. Our female team member (Kristin) also very much approves of this slide stop lever, as it made racking the pistol easier.

Recommended for:

The Heckler & Koch P30 V3 is designed as a duty pistol that can also function as a concealed carry handgun. It’s a great option for anyone that must carry a duty pistol, as well as left-handers that prefer hammer-fired pistols.

PROS

Completely ambidextrous

Double-action/single-action trigger

Equipped with a rail

CONS

Trigger doesn’t suit everyone

Controls different from other guns

Video of the H&K P30 V3


Best Concealed Carry Revolver

Kimber K6s DASA 3″

Kimber K6s DASA 3"
  • Caliber: .357 Magnum
  • Capacity: 6
  • Barrel Length: 3″
  • Size: Sub-compact
  • MSRP: $1194

The Kimber K6s DASA comes in two sizes: one with a 3″ barrel and one with a 4″ barrel. For conceal-carry purposes, I recommend the 3″ barrel, so that’s what I’ll be reviewing here.

I’ll be honest: I’m not a huge fan of revolvers. However, I can see the appeal of them, especially if you’re used to revolvers. I leaned heavily on our team member that has used revolvers throughout his life for this pick (he qualified with a revolver in the military a long time ago).

The K6s DASA is an improvement on previous K6s lines in its accuracy and precision. It offers a wider sight radius, which is something previous Kimber owners had trouble with. It’s also extremely reliable – after all, that is the main appeal of a revolver.

It’s slightly on the heavy side. However, a heavy gun will produce less felt recoil than a light gun. The grip is comfortable; I wouldn’t change anything about it.

Despite its sight radius and the large .357 Magnum cartridges, the K6s DASA remains suitable for concealed carry. Its compact size, coupled with a six-shot capacity, provides a perfect balance of firepower and concealability. It isn’t nearly as hefty as other revolvers.

I expected a lot of recoil from this revolver. After all, it is a .357 Magnum. However, its weight helps control recoil, and it remains surprisingly useable. It does have a kick (what revolver doesn’t), but it’s not overly abusive.

I wanted to like the trigger of this revolver, but it was a bit of a mixed bag for me. The double-action pull is smooth but very heavy. It hits 11 pounds on a Lyman digital gauge. However, you can use it as a single-action pull, which brings it down to 5.5 pounds.

Another downside is the price. It MSRPs for over $1,000, making it pricier than some comparable revolvers. However, for those seeking a high-quality and performance-driven revolver, the investment may be well worth it. It also looks great.

Recommended for:

The Kimber K6s DASA is for anyone looking for a concealed carry revolver. It is one of the best.

PROS

Excellent Sights

Low Recoil for its Size

More Compact than Other Revolvers

CONS

Expensive

Heavy Trigger

Video of the Kimber K6s DASA


Best 45 Auto Concealed Carry Gun

Heckler & Koch HK45 Compact

Heckler & Koch HK45 Compact
  • Caliber: .45 ACP
  • Capacity: 8
  • Barrel Length: 3.9″
  • Size: Compact
  • MSRP: $849

If you want to carry a .45, the Heckler & Koch HK45 Compact is a perfect option. It blends accuracy, reliability, and customization into a very usable pistol.

Unlike other .45s, the HK45 Compact is, well, compact. It is small at .79 inches shorter and 2.72 ounces lighter than its full-sized counterpart. This size reduction makes it ideal for concealment.

The HK45 Compact is extremely reliable. Heckler & Koch makes great, reliable guns, and this .45 is no exception.

That said, one minor drawback I noticed was the magazine capacity. It feels like it should be a double-stack pistol with 15 rounds. But it only holds 8 rounds. You can get a larger, extended magazine to hold 10 rounds. However, this adds a lot of heft in my experience.

Of course, it’s a .45, so some limited capacity is to be expected.

The HK45 Comapct has an okay grip. It’s very minimalistic with little texturing. The grip is completely different from the original HK45 design. I would have liked more grip enhancements, though this is my preference.

This concealed carry gun comes with the standard 3-dot sight made with phosphorescent paint for extra visibility. They are not my favorite, but are easy to change to aftermarket sights.

Recommended for:

The Heckler & Koch HK45 Compact is one of the few truly concealable semi-auto .45s on the market.

PROS

.45 Caliber Power

Good Sights

Reliable

CONS

Expensive

Limited Capacity

Video of the H&K HK45


Springfield Hellcat Pro

Springfield Hellcat Pro
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 15+1
  • Barrel Length: 3.7″
  • Size: Micro-Compact
  • MSRP: $679

The Springfield Hellcat Pro is a big improvement on the original Hellcat that corrects many initial complaints.

For instance, the extended grip is a must have, in my experience. The extension not only provides a more comfortable shooting grip but also gives me more room to really grip the handgun. My pinkie doesn’t slip off the bottom, allowing me to get more leverage on recoil.

The slight grip increase changes how the gun shoots tremendously.

I have a friend with huge hands (and I mean HUGE) and he likes carrying this gun and shooting it in competitions. I keep seeing more people with this gun.

I love that the Hellcat Pro is optic’s ready (which is a must-have, in my opinion). I can mount any RMSc red dot directly to it without an adapter plate.

The main thing I like about the Hellcat Pro is its 15+1 capacity in a compact and easy-to-conceal footprint. Handguns are starting to hold more and more rounds, and the Hellcat Pro has followed suit.

That said, this pistol does not have a great trigger. It takes longer to reset than most. While some gun owners prefer this, I do not (and you might not, either).

Additionally, while the Hellcat Pro shines in many aspects, the slide stop lever isn’t ambidextrous. But, the magazine button is reversible for left handed shooters.

Recommended for:

If you’re looking for a micro-compact pistol that is optics-ready out of the box, the Springfield Hellcat Pro is undoubtedly one worth considering.

PROS

Extended grip

Optics-ready

15+1 capacity

CONS

Slide Stop Not Ambidextrous

Slow trigger

Video of the Springfield Hellcat Pro


Smith & Wesson CSX

Smith & Wesson CSX
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Barrel Length: 3.1″
  • Size: Micro-Compact
  • MSRP: $749

Out of the box, the Smith & Wesson CSX feels and looks very well-made. It’s built solidly out of aluminum alloy, which gives it some reassuring heft without making it too heavy. The glare-reducing serrations on the top seem like a thoughtful touch, though I’m not sure how effective they really are.

Like many modern handguns, it does come with interchangeable, textured backstraps. Therefore, I can easily customize the grip to fit my hand.

The single-action trigger is crisp with a short, tactile reset. I can really feel when the trigger is reset, in other words. I really like good feedback from a trigger.

Because this handgun is so small, it’s easy to conceal. I particularly like the 18-degree grip angle, though this is largely a matter of personal preference. The EZ tab integration on the slide make it easy to manipulate, which is particularly crucial in high-stress situations.

The CSX’s capacity isn’t great. It can have either a 10+1 to 12+1 capacity, depending on the mag I am using. That’s not very much, especially compared to other concealed carry handguns.

Additionally, the single-action operation and manual cocking of the hammer may require some extra practice and training for those accustomed to other types of pistols. However, other people absolutely love it. (I am not one of those people.)

I also didn’t like the magazine release buttons, which are somewhat recessed. They’re harder to press than necessary and were an aspect of the gun I really struggled with.

Recommended for:

If you are looking for a small concealed carry gun with a single-action hammer trigger, the Smith & Wesson CSX is one of the best concealed carry handguna you can choose.

PROS

Great, crisp trigger

Textured backstraps included

18-degree grip angle

Compact Size

CONS

Low capacity

Recessed magazine release buttons

Video of the S&W CSX


The Best Concealed Carry Gun Features and Tips

The best concealed carry gun can mean something different for each person. However there are some important features that they all have in common.

For more details, see our how to choose a concealed carry handgun guide. It fully goes through all of the points mentioned below.

Jasons's top concealed carry gun, the Sig Sauer P365XL
Our top pick, the Sig Sauer P365XL
  • Size and Weight – This is the obvious one. A huge, heavy gun is just not going to be comfortable.
  • Action Type – In general I recommend a semi-automatic striker fired handgun.
  • Caliber – 9mm is my go to caliber for concealed carry. Make sure you consider the cost of ammo as well as the cost of a concealed carry handgun in your overall budget.
  • Capacity – More is better without compromising size
  • Ergonomics – Make sure the gun feels good in your hand and you can reach all of the controls
  • Trigger – While this is mostly personal preference, a trigger that is too light or too heavy is a problem. All of the guns above have good triggers for concealed carry.
  • Sights – I prefer a red dot or iron sights with a high visibility front sight. Read our red dot vs iron sights guide to learn the differences.
  • Safety – Some prefer a separate, manual safety on their concealed carry gun. This is a personal decision. I, personally, do not carry a gun with a manual safety since most concealed carry handguns have a trigger safety. The Glock Safe Action system is a well-known example of a trigger safety. Regardless, make sure you train using the manual safety if you plan to carry a gun with one.
  • Reliability – All of the manufacturers on our list produce reliable handguns. However, I prefer to shoot at least 1000 rounds through my gun before I carry it.
  • Concealability – While smaller guns are easier to conceal, they are harder to shoot as well. Look for a compromise here, don’t buy the smallest gun you can find.
  • Aftermarket Support – Make sure you can buy a holster for your concealed carry gun. The availability of holsters for new gun designs is usually limited for a few months. It won’t do you any good if you can’t carry it.
  • Ambidextrous Capability – If you are left handed, certainly keep this a priority. Some handguns won’t go either way.
Jason showing the range of calibers for concealed carry handguns
Concealed carry calibers can range from 9mm (left), 5.7mm (center), to .357 Magnum (right)

What is the Best Concealed Carry Handgun for You?

The only way to know whether or not a concealed carry gun works for you is to purchase it, practice with it (see our guide on the Best Defensive Handgun Training), and wear it. It’s taken me months to figure out that a gun just wasn’t working. Often, you have to wear it through several seasons.

I recommend choosing whatever gun fits your needs the most. Don’t overthink it, as all the guns on this list are a great choice. The Sig Sauer P365 XL is the best option for most shooters and the one I most recommend.

However, you may want to try the larger Walther PDP Compact or the Glock 19 Gen 5 if you’re looking to save some money.

Purchasing a gun online is often easier than many people think, and it usually provides you with more options. The number of guns available online is practically endless, allowing you to select the perfect gun for you – not settle for whatever your local gun shop happens to have. Usually, they just have something that they want to sell, and it may not be the best for you.

These links to Palmetto State Armory and Guns.com describe how it is super easy to buy a gun online. Also check out our guide on how to purchase a gun online.

Of course, owning a firearm isn’t the only part of being prepared to defend yourself. Be sure to go through our full concealed carry guide for everything you need to know.

Next: Concealed Carry Gun Safety Guide

Go back to the Main Concealed Carry Guide

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Jason has an engineering and problem solving background. He is an avid outdoorsman, survivalist, and competitive shooter. He enjoys researching the best and most practical solutions for the problem at hand, studying stoicism, and finding innovative ways to be prepared.