Back in 2015, I published a video called The Five Best Handguns for Concealed Carry; it listed specific makes and models of handguns that I thought were good choices. Well, there have been some significant developments in the world of firearms since then. Let’s update that list, but this time focus on classes of firearm. Welcome to the Five Best Handguns for Concealed Carry. Before we get into this list, the primary judging criteria was going from specific applications to a #1 choice that was the most useful for the largest number of people.
5. Pocket Pistols Starting our list of the 5 Best Handguns for Concealed Carry, we have pocket pistols. I love small semi-automatic pocket guns as much as the next guy, but they truly are a niche weapon. Their primary purpose is to fulfill the 1st rule of a gunfight: have a gun, and technically a 32 ACP in your pocket counts as a gun. Examples include the Ruger LCP, the Kel-Tec P32, and my personal favorite: the Beretta Tomcat.
4. Medium frame revolvers in 357 Magnum A medium framed revolver like a GP100 or a S&W Model 66 Combat Magnum can basically do anything. They’re concealable, they can be home defense guns, backpacking guns, you can even compete in IDPA with them. The reason they’re not higher on the list is because of the lack of capacity when compared with a similar size semi-auto.
3. Small frame revolvers There was a time when J-frames and LCRs would have been the top of my list, but as I’ve gotten better at shooting, I’ve come to accept that true mastery of the small revolver is an expert’s task. But these small guns have all the versatility of their medium framed brothers, while being easier to conceal on a day to basis, and a better choice for a larger group of people. Like a pocket pistol, they can be carried in a pocket, or on a belt in a holster, or an ankle, or a discreet day planner, etc. They’re useful for massive groups of people…but a little hard to shoot.
2. Full size service caliber pistols Here on the list of the 5 Best Handguns for Concealed Carry we have your big guns. Glock 17s and 19s, HK VP9s, the Beretta 92, Sig P320, and other models are the 2nd choice on our list. All these guns are chambered in a service caliber cartridge such as 9mm or 40 S&W, they all have standard capacity magazines, and most, if not all, can be equipped with red dot sights and weapon mounted lights. The reason these aren’t number 1 is that their size can make them a challenge to carry if you’re not thoughtful about your holster and attire.
1. Compact semi-automatic 9mm pistols But our best of the 5 Best Handguns for Concealed Carry is a no-brainer. The Compact segment of pistols is huge, and encompasses guns from the Beretta APX Centurion all the way down to the Glock 43. In between we have guns like the Taurus G3c and Glock 26, or the HK P30sk. The reason this category is so big is that every gun on this was designed for one thing: to pack a service pistol punch in a platform small enough to conceal every day. These are the kings of concealed carry.
Obviously, this list is intentionally broad. The goal is to give a new shooter options to look at, big broad categories to start from, and from there they can narrow their search to the perfect handgun for CCW.