I’ve recently made the decision that it’s time to pick up another concealed carry handgun. As your Utah Concealed Carry Instructor and fellow concealed carry member, I thought I’d share some insight on handguns that I feel are the best concealed carry handguns. You might not agree with my assessment, so make a comment at the bottom about your favorite concealed carry handguns. If nothing else, you can take this list with you to the gun store and try them all out…just as a place to start. So here we go:
#15 Taurus Judge Public Defender
People ask me all the time about carrying the Taurus Judge. If someone really wants to carry this gun, I recommend they look at the Public Defender. Personally, I’m not really interested in carrying the Taurus Judge, mostly because of it’s awkward size. Also, I’m not totally in love with the .410 round for self-defense. I have to admit though that there are more and more companies creating amazing self-defense loads for the .410. It is pretty cool though that this handgun shoots the .45 LC as well. I’ll wait and see on this. If you’re a Taurus Judge lover, at least I put this handgun on the top 15 list. It has a lot of potential!
I think that Springfield got it right on this handgun. There are four things that I really like about the Springfield XD: First of all, I’m a big fan of the trigger safety. Second, this pistol has the back strap, grip safety that I love about the 1911. Third, this pistol maintains the grip angle of the 1911 that so many people love – me included. Lastly, I really like that this model comes with the light rail in the front. It’s almost as if Springfield did extensive research and asked “what are the best features of every handgun out there” and then incorporated them into one pistol. The only thing that I’m not crazy about with the Springfield XD is the trigger reset. I think that the Springfield XD-M models have fixed this but it’s something that I think can use improvement.
While the Glock is not the best looking handgun out there, I believe that Glock has a near perfect pistol. Some people aren’t crazy about the grip angle the glock, I’ve found from my experience, though, that most people don’t mind. I was first introduced to the Glock 26/27 models by an undercover FBI agent. This agent swore by the reliability/concealability of this model.
#12 Walther PPK/S in 380ACP (aka the James Bond Gun)
In addition to the popularity of this pistol from the James Bond movies, this pistol makes for an outstanding concealed carry pistol. A great thing about this pistol is that it’s small size and smaller caliber make it a great choice for those with small hands or limited concealment space. Some complain about the so called lack of “stopping power” to the .380 ACP. As I’ve said in my Utah concealed carry classes, placement always trumps power. Well placed shots are always the most important factor in stopping the bad guy. Whatever caliber you carry, you’ve got to be able to hit everything you mean to hit with precision accuracy. Personally, I carry a .45 ACP 95% of the time and only opt for the .380 ACP when I’ve got to run somewhere in a quick hurry and don’t have the time to set up my 1911 rig.
Very similar to the Walther above, I like the compact size of the Walther P239. When you take full measurements of the Sig P239, it’s very similar in size to the Glock 19/23 size pistols but there’s something about the P239 that makes it conceal rather well. This pistol has a single stack magazine. Also, this pistol also does well for people with smaller hands and/or for women. Many women and new shooters have really liked this handgun when I’ve helped them shoot this at the range. Good buy on this pistol!
#10 Sig Sauer P229
The Sig Sauer P229 is just a slightly larger version of the P239 (or the P239 is a smaller version of the P229, whichever way you look at it). This pistol has a slightly wider grip and touts a double stack magazine – which means more rounds for just a little bit of extra width. I’ve personally carried this pistol in several different configurations and really enjoy having it on my side. Another great thing about these Sig models is that they have a de-cocker on the side which allows you to easily decock the pistol from single action to double action.
#9 Glock 19 RTF Concealed Carry Handgun
Coming in at number 9 is the Glock 19. The Glock 19 and the Glock 23 are essentially the exact same pistol in terms of size. The Glock 19 is the 9mm and the 23 is the .40 S&W model. I just purchased the Glock 19 for my wife as she found the Glock 19 of all the pistols that she tried to be the most comfortable pistol in her hand. She hasn’t done a lot of shooting but she liked the safe trigger and the ease with which she could pull the trigger. This pistol is also a double stack so you get a bunch of rounds for a little more space over of a single stack. That upside also means that there is a little more width to the pistol. With proper grip instruction, I think that you can shoot/conceal this pistol without any real trouble.
#8 is the Kahr CW40 Concealed Carry Handgun
This pistol was my first concealed carry pistol. I don’t really like the way this gun shoots, but I sure love how concealable it is. This thing will fit in a pocket, an ankle holster or on the belt. Kahr is right in their slogan, thin is sexy.
Just like the Kahr above, this pistol is super slim and very easy to carry. You can pick up the Walther PPS in 40 S&W or in 9mm. I think I’d enjoy shooting the 9mm but would prefer the .40 S&W for carrying. Another great thing about this pistol is that you can shoot it with both hands…the firearm is set up with controls on both sides so this makes for a great concealed carry handgun for left handed shooters. Lastly, this pistol has a light rail so adding a light/laser won’t be any issue at all.
#6 Ruger LCP Concealed Carry Handgun
If you haven’t had a chance to get out the Ruger LCP, I’d recommend you go give it a try. This pistol makes for an excellent concealed carry handgun because of it’s super small size. Proper grip is extremely important when you’re dealing with this handgun because it’s small size can mean that there is a lot of felt recoil. Remember, the smaller the handgun, the more recoil you’re likely to feel.
Personally, I prefer the Kel Tec over the Ruger LCP. I know that lots of people will disagree with me but the Kel Tec hasn’t really had the same history as the LCP. While Ruger has fixed previous problems with the LCP, I know that several people have had issue with the magazine accidentally being ejected while the pistol was in their pocket. I’ve never had that happen with mine. Both are fine pistols and work great in a pocket holster. I love the ease with which I can just grab this pistol and go. It makes for a super easy carry in the summer months when it’s t-shirt and shorts. I love my kel tec even though it’s not my favorite gun to take to the range.
#4 Ruger LCR Concealed Carry Handgun
The Ruger LCR is an amazing innovation from Ruger. It’s a double action only pistol made with a polymer frame…so that means that you get a super lightweight handgun in a super safe carry pistol. Which brings me to the next issue, having a revolver is a great thing because the double action pull makes carrying the pistol that much more safe. I also really like that this pistol comes with the Hogue over molded grip. I have an over molded grip set on a couple of my firearms and I love them! Lastly, the Ruger LCR has a special trigger on it that makes the pull rather smooth. I was very impressed the first time I fired one of these.
#3 S&W J Frame 642 Concealed Carry Handgun
While I love the Ruger LCR, I’ve got the S&W at #3 because this pistol has such a strong track record. Several police officers prefer this handgun, and for good reason – it’s extremely reliable, lightweight and easy to carry. I don’t think you could go wrong with either the Ruger LCR or the S&W 642. This pistol is great for first time shooters and those with smaller hands. I know a gentlemen that carries this pistol in pocket day in and day out without issue.
#2 Remington R1 (or any other 1911 for that matter)
I love carrying my 1911! I never really thought that it was possible to carry a full size 1911…until I found the right holster. I’ve carried this pistol for hours at a time and love it! The nice thing about the 1911 is that it is super slim and profiles nicely alongside the body. This pistol would also work well in a carry bag, backpack or purse. Because this pistol is larger and heavier than some of the other pistols above, many women are able to shoot this pistol rather well because of its larger size. The days of not being able to carry a 1911 are over and this is my most favorite pistol to carry.
#1 S&W M&P Full Size
I’ve recently updated this post to indicate my current carry pistol. My number one carry pistol was listed as a compact Kimber…I never actually got around to buying one…mostly because I’ve had so many students so so many bad things about the pistol. I won’t make commentary about a pistol that I haven’t shot or carried, but I will give my thoughts on the above pistol.
First of all, I’ve found out that you can carry just about any pistol out there…so long as you have a good holster. Over at JoeFirearms.com, we’ve designed what we believe is the best holster – both for concealment and shooting at the range.
Now for the M&P, I’ve loved this pistol. I love the full capacity magazine at 17 rounds. Now, I’m the first to admit that I love the .45ACP and I love the 1911. I kept coming back to magazine capacity. You can see my dilemma here where the 1911 is my #2 and the 9mm M&P with 17 rounds coming in at #1. The M&P is very natural pointing gun and the adjustable backstrap is super comfortable. I also enjoy the ambidextrous nature of the pistol as well. I’ve been carrying this full size M&P for the last several weeks and I love it.
Well, there you have it, the top 15 concealed carry handguns. If you don’t know where to start, I’d take a look at the above pistols. What’s your favorite? Leave a comment below if you’ve got a different perspective.
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