Top 15 Concealed Carry Handguns

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

Taurus Judge Public Defender Concealed Carry Handgun

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!

#14 Springfield XD Sub Combact
Springfield XD Sub Combact Concealed Carry

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.

#13 Glock 26 Concealed Carry (aka the Baby Glock)
Glock 26 Concealed Carry

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)

#12 Walther PPK/S Concealed Carry Handgun

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.

#11 Sig Sauer P239
 Sig Sauer P239 Concealed Carry

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

Sig Sauer P229 Concealed Carry Handgun

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

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. Buy Now

#8 is the Kahr CW40 Concealed Carry Handgun

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.

#7 Walther PPS Concealed Carry Handgun
Walther PPS Concealed Carry Handgun

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

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.

#5 Kel Tec P3AT Concealed Carry Handgun
Kel Tec P3AT Concealed Carry Handgun

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

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

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, 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. – Buy Now

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.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed reading this post, please check out our handguns & holsters over on


  1. Joe Harrell says:

    I just got the Ruger LCR for all the reasons you mention. BUT, it has a really nasty recoil. I have large hands and not having a full hand grip is very bad on this revolver. I am looking for a replacement grip that employs all the fingers for a stronger grip.

    I am currently using the little finger and ring finger to grip and the middle finger as trigger finger. The index finger is a floater. This grip allows for about 1/2 the felt recoil , but will take years of practice to have it become the default grip in an emergency. Hind sight being 20/20 an SP101 would probably have been a better choice for me.

    Any grip modification suggestions appreciated.

    • I’m not sure if Hogue makes grips for the LCR but I’ve always been a fan of Hogue grips. One thing that I’d say about the recoil on any concealed carry handgun is that there are some techniques to help. Have you tried the push-pull method? Check it out here on my how to shoot a handgun video. You can start the video at 3:54 for the grip technique. I hope that helps!

      Happy shooting!

  2. John Clary says:

    I recently sold all my poly frame pistols in favor of steel, including an LCP and a P345. After much trial and error, I ended up choosing the 3.5″ Kahr K40. The CW40 and PM40 conceal very well, and carrying a steel frame pistol certainly has some challenges, but what it comes down to is I’d rather carry the gun that shoots better than carries lighter. The slim single stack Kahr tucks up so close in a good IWB that the weight has really not been an issue. It practically disappears. I am super happy now.

  3. Mike Allen says:

    I carried a Kel-Tec .380 for a good while but shooting it was painful. I expect that most all of the light weight .380’s are very similar that way. I sold the Kel-Tec and bought a North American Arms Guardian .380 and have never looked back. It has more heft, is stainless steel, and not plastic like the other light .380’s and shoots just as well if not better. It is made here in Utah and is a great side arm. I also carry their .22Mag 5-shot when I am wearing a T-shirt as it just fits in my pants pocket and is not noticed. Ever see what a .22 Mag hollow point will do to a solid target at 7 yards?

  4. I’m still waiting to get my actual permit from the good folks at BCI but after doing some research and harassing many a gun counter salesman I drew it down to two types of pistol for carry. I absolutely love the Ruger SR9c. It’s a bit small on the caliber at 9mm but the ergonomics and accuracy of this pistol is something to behold. The fact that it comes with a larger magazine from the factory makes it that much more fun to shoot at the range. I haven’t purchased yet because of the second option I’m considering. It’s the Rock Island Armory 1911A1-MS. I know some people consider Rock Island to be the poor man’s 1911 manufacturer but the fact that you can buy it on the cheap and add your own details for a substantial savings over some other manufacturer’s is a real highlight. I have yet to shoot this particular model and that’s what has me on the fence. Caliber selection isn’t so much important to me as comfort and ease of shooting is. Maybe someone here can give some insight into my dilemma?

    • In my opinion, you get a lot of great gun for the price on a Taurus 1911. All 1911’s are not created equal and small variances in the gun can create a lot of headache in the gun later on. As someone who does carry a 1911, I’d recommend that you make sure quality is as good as you can afford. As for the other Polymer based guns like the newer rugers, Glocks, and Springfields, I think you can get a little better quality for the money.

      Just my .02.

  5. Charles W says:

    hi –
    thx for yr advice! who makes the 1911 IWB holster?



    • The holster is a Winthrop Holster. He’s online at I’ve been happy with his products.

  6. Jack Jowett says:

    I have to say a Sig Sauer P238 ought to be mentioned on this page. It may be a little more pricey, but the small frame and quality craftsmanship make it an ideal concealed carry weapon that you can actually take to the range and enjoy shooting.

    • I agree. I’m actually making a list of handguns to include on this post. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the P238. I’m a big fan of all things Sig.

  7. Nathaniel says:

    Great list. I agree with your choices of the 239 Sig, the Kahr CW series and the Kimber. My daily carry is either the Kahr as it is the lightest and most concealable but I alos am very comfortable carrying my Kimber using a Crossbreed IWB Holster. The Crossbreed holster is by far the most comfortable holster I have used for concealment and I understand that Galco now makes a similar style

    • UtahCCW says:

      I’ve read very similar things about the crossbreed holsters. The Winthrop holster you see with my 1911 STI is very comfortable as well. I really like the way it carries plus the $60 was a nice pricetag compared to others. If it doesn’t hold up, I plan on trying the crossbreed.

  8. Charles W says:

    Thanks! Looks like the stock Winthrop 1911 IWB holster is for 3.5-4″ barrels; would prob. be great with my Firestar M43, but not my Govt. model, for which I have an older OWB Bianchi Shadow . Did you have them make a custom holster for a 5″ barrel? Have you checked out these guys in my neck of the woods:

    Thx again & regards, Charles

  9. Reginald Green says:

    I have to agree with you on the price of the Kimber but I have also learned that while the NIB is up there you can find a used Kimber have it over hauled and refinshed by Kimber Custom guys and presto chango you have a 500.00 used now 1400.00 in value for under 700.00 total cost. Not a bad way to go, I have done two that way thus far. I am happy the wife is really happy a quality CCW for half the price. So never knock the used specials, some just buy and trade becuase they can; so why not get in on the deals. Have a blessed day folks, thank you.

    • UtahCCW says:

      My Brother in law did this exact thing. It seems like many of the gun ads I look at, people want way too much for their used guns. I guess we’re all a little selfish at times.

  10. Maria Keown says:

    I am so glad I found this site during my web search. I just recently moved to Utah from NY, and looking forward to be able to try a gun before purchase. I currently carry the full size springfield xd in .45, love that thing, easy to conceal in the winter on the body, not looking forward to the summer months, though, therefore I am interested in checking out the compact version. Used to carry the Walther ppk in .380, sleek pistol and very easy to conceal,but the stainless steel frame sure makes it heavy,and difficult to carry when you wear a skirt, sags way too much.

    • Taurus, Ruger, Kel-Tec and S&W all make rather light .380 ACP pistols that might be worth checking out. Also, check out the Ruger LC9. Thanks!

    • UtahCCW says:

      Thanks again for attending the class! I look forward to helping you with some more training.

  11. Wes Schield says:

    I love my Taurus 738 TCP. I can shoot 200 rounds in an hour without a problem, not with the gun or my hands. Recoil is very manageable plus I’ve added the Crimson Tide laser and Uncle George holster. Last week I ordered a S&W M&P Compact 9mm. I loved the great reviews, safety location and the way it felt in my hand. When you add in, a lifetime warranty and Made in America (On both guns) it was a win win situation.

    • UtahCCW says:

      That’s good to hear! I’ll have to check out that M&P compact.

      • Wes Schield says:

        The reviews were right. The S&W M&P 9 mm compact is a great gun. Dave, my son in law, and I took it to the range last Sunday and ran 200 rounds through it. We were both very impressed with everything about it. The gun felt and performed wonderfully. No jams, misfires or issues of any kind. When Dave gets back to Utah I’m sure he’ll let you know all the details. Thanks again for the Utah CCW class, Mike. I truly enjoyed it.

  12. Tony Nudo says:

    If you love the 1911 you should try the Para-ordanance P-14 45. A double stack in .45 acp. talk about awsome. My buddy found the P-14 while trying to choose between a double stack handgun or a .45 acp handgun. The P-14 fills the bill.

    • UtahCCW says:

      Yeah, I’ve looked at that gun many times. The double stack .45 has me a little concerned about shooting comfort. It’s good to hear from others on their experiences. A year ago, I didn’t think it was practical to carry a full size 1911 on a daily basis…now, I can’t imagine life without my 1911.

    • UtahCCW says:

      Double stack .45. That’s hard core!

  13. Ed Stanley says:

    I have a Smith&Wesson 40 caliber sigma series semi auto,It fires very well and it is easily concealed,I have a shoulder holster and a side holster,Both work fairly good.

    • UtahCCW says:

      That’s good to hear. I don’t have a lot of experience on the Sigma pistols but I’ve heard good things. It’s on my list of pistols to review. Thanks!

    • UtahCCW says:

      I keep hearing good thins about the S&W Sigma. What do you wear over your shoulder holster? I’ve always thought that unless you wear a suit coat, a winter coat or some kind of Harley Davidson leather vest, you couldn’t get away with a shoulder holster.

  14. Mike Jano says:

    Looking for the best iwb holster for Glock 26, anyone have input ?

    • UtahCCW says:

      Hey Mike, great name! A good friend has that gun and he uses a Fobus paddle holster and loves it. I’ve got one as well and have used it in competitions and liked it – plus, they aren’t that expensive! I have had a good experience with De Santis, Galco, winthrop holsters, Rett Robbies kydes ( and others that I can’t think of now. First question is how do you want to carry?

    • Two suggestions for the G26 that I have firsthand experience with. The Milt Sparks VM II is a great leather holster and is a time proven design by a quality leather smith. I use this rig for suit use when required by my employer. My suggestion for everyday usage would be the Galco King Tuk. In my opinion, it is more comfortable than the VM II, is adjustable and is readily available. The same rig(s) can also be used for the G19 (the BEST all around recommendation in a concealed carry pistol I could offer.) Your G26 loaded with a quality 147 grain defensive round meets all established penetration requirements of the FBI. Good luck in your choice and carry 24/7/365. Best

  15. Robert Reichert says:

    I like the posting on the different handguns. However, when my wife and I received our concealed permits she wanted to carry my S&W 9mm single stack so I had to buy another. With many to choose from out there, I decided to spend the money and buy the .45 Kimber Stainless Ultra Carry II with 8 round capacity in the clip and one in the chamber for 9 rounds. I have not found the right holster for summer time but found a nice one for winter with my coat to cover it. The handgun is out there in price but very well worth the money. If you have not shot one you need to but if you have had the chance then you will know what I am saying. The Kimber fits very well in your hand has a smooth trigger pull and to be honest not much to me on the recoil. My wife does not have the littlest hands but they are small and she also agrees that this is a great .45 to shoot. The holster that I use is a Bianchi Model 83 PaddleLok Hip Holster. Again this was a little expensive but worth it. I hope that this posting helped those that were considering the Kimber and others to maybe give a try at the range.

    • UtahCCW says:

      For a summer carry, I’d recommend IWB or inside the waste band. As you’re likely to be wearing a t-shirt, you’ll be concerned about the shirt not hanging down far enough. I’ve personally been very pleased with my IWB holster from Winthrop holsters. There are other companies out there making quality IWB holsters. I’ve also liked kydex IWB holsters from Rett Robbie (

  16. Ed Stanley says:

    You can get by wearing tje shoulder holster with the 40 Sigma series by wearing a nice loose long sleeve shirt,My holster adjusts to fit very snug.

  17. Matt May says:

    Mike, you have got to try the Bersa Thunder .380 conceal carry. 🙂

    • Matt May says:

      By the way I like the site, well done.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve used that pistol quite a bit actually. It’s a great little gun for the price. It’s a pain to put back together after you’ve stripped it for cleaning. Thanks Matt! Good to see you on here. I’m assuming the Bersa Thunder is your Carry piece?

      • Matt May says:

        Yeah it is a pain to put back together. I’ve been going back and forth between that and a Baby Eagle in 9mm. I am debating my next one, Glock 26 (9), Ruger SP101 (.357), Rugar Alaskan (454), and a few different 1911’s (.45). The Alaskan is only in the running because I do a lot of hiking. Any thoughts?

  18. Harrellscat says:

    I have the Ruger LCR. I wish I had gotten something else. I have big hands and the recoil is way to much. I have found the 38 special Wad Cutters are perfect for practice. I would sell or trade this LCR is a micro second. I also have a High Point C9 9mm Pistol. I have fired about 1000 rounds with not a single problem. I use Hornady Critical Defense amo.

    Wish I had gotten the Ruger SP101 vs the LCR

  19. Anonymous says:

    MIke, I have the Springfield XD Sub Combact, .40 cal, and I love it! I have an extended grip and due to the fact I have a small hand the grip is a perfect size. I purchased a CrossBreed holster where I am able to put the holster inside of my pant. Due to the smaller size of the XD I can keep my shirt tucked in and no one can tell I am carrying. The XD weight and accuracy is outstanding. Breakdown the gun in seconds, easy to clean, and reassemble in seconds.

    On another note I took your CCW class in Illinois and you teach a great class. I like the website. I look forward to taking a FL class sometime in the future.

  20. Enjoyed the reading but didn’t help me pick out which carry I am going to buy next. I will probably start in the middle and go both ways .
    Jeff NC

  21. You missed the best of the bunch. The Para Carry LDA .45 caliber. It is smaller than the #1 Kimber listed, makes big holes and has a very smooth short double action only trigger which means you don’t have to carry the pistol cocked & locked. It is as small as almost any of the listed firearms and has no sharp edges & has a bobbed tail.

    • That’s good to hear that you like the LDA. I’ve been a little hesitant for various reasons but am slowly warming up to the idea of the LDA trigger.

      • Gumshoe009 says:

        I own the Para Ordnance 14-45 LDA in Stainless (Canadian Manufacture) and the PTX Para Carry .45 in stainless ( ( I don’t think Para manufactures the Para Carry anymore in Stainless and it took me a lot of searching to find one this summer. They are no longer in the Para website catalog. The LDA trigger, in my opinion, cannot be beat. Very smooth and consistent shot to shot. I carried the 14-45 on duty and it is quite a bit of firepower at one disposal. Th Carry model I believe is the smallest .45 1911 you can find and it has a full grip which I really like. It is significantly smaller than my Kimber Pro Carry II in stainless with the advantage that you don’t carry it cocked & locked for greater piece of mind.

        • Anonymous says:

          I continue to hear nothing but good about the Para LDA trigger setup. I will have to give that pistol a try. Anyone here in the Charlotte, NC area? 😉 Let’s take it for a shoot.

  22. Mike, I am seriously considering the Ruger SR9C and am wondering if you have any experience with this pistol. I would like the SR40 but they are not making it in a compact version yet.

    • I have not had experience with that pistol but have had generally good experiences with Ruger. I like the LC9 for sure.

    • Usabilityfirst says:

      Bowhunt, Ruger has or shortly will release the SR40c. The dimensions, weight and appearance are identical to the SR9c. I don’t own either but have shot the SR9c and enjoyed it. Its small, light, high capacity and very well made.

    • Ruger SR9c is a great CCW gun. Fantastic trigger and recoil is minimal. I would recommend either the Ruger SR9c or the Smith&Wesson M&P 9mm compact as ideal CCW guns.

  23. Tripoli10879 says:

    when im not in illinois i carry a officer model 3 inch barrel 1911 45acp and i ankle holster it just fine.

  24. Well done! I own five of the above handguns, and it happens that my the Kimber IS my favorite, and lives on my hip nearly every day.

  25. There is more than one Kimber Ultra CDP II listed on the Kimber site. To which one are you referring?

  26. I have a colt 1911 defender 9mm WOW !!!! I think its the perfect pistol , fits the hand well nothing bad to
    say about it…….. little pricey BUT U get what u pay for !

  27. Ghoastrider 5150 says:

    EAA witness in 38 super = 18 rounds of bad ass . Full size CZ75 clone . Pops ’em & drops ’em .

  28. I know..I know, everybody has an opinion, here is mine. The Ruger LCR (or any lightweight hammerless revolver) is the best concealed/carry because (1) they are easy to conceal/carry (2) easy to present and fire when micro-seconds count, remember altercations are most likely to occour within three feet of your person (3) the perp might grab the muzzle but the weapon in still firing. Alot of people are concerned about the five rounds that most revolvers hold, in my opinion if one of us is not incapacitated or running away after five rounds then neither of us should have been carrying a gun to start with. Yes, it would be great to have a 1911A1 .45 auto leveled when the situation arises but it’s just not practical to carry day in and day out.

    ETA; It’s also a good idea to carry on the left front for a right hand draw in close quarters, this position also allows a possible left hand draw in a pinch.

    • Usabilityfirst says:

      Whoa, don’t jump off the deep end here! A 1911 is certainly practical to carry day in and day out. As always you need to find the right holster. I carry the all-stainless Colt Combat Commander very comfortably in a Tucker Gunleather Texas Heritage IWB holster. It is amazingly comfortable and concealable, and Tucker’s “The Answer” is another good option. Most people have to experiment with several holsters to find one that’s a perfect match, but it is very possible even for large pistols. I bought a Sig P238 for a “universal” carry piece for any and all situations. IMHO it is that, but with the Tucker holster the Colt is able to be comfortably carried 90% of the time. Plus the two pistols have the same manual of arms which is ideal. Its hard to justify carrying .380 when .45 is a comfortable and available option, but with both I feel I have a win-win situation.

      • You are right, I stand corrected. The best CCW is the one that a user feels comfortable carrying and is effective using. I apoligize for getting carried away.

        • Nothing to apologize for…absolutely great comments and someone that feels the need to sport wood about not choosing the 1911 isn’t your problem

  29. rich vendor says:

    Don’t forget the Taurus PT145 Millennium. While not the best gun for an avid shooter, it packs a ten-shot mag, has a nice “big” feel for a smaller gun. For a self defense situation, it is a great little weapon.

  30. Love my judge,with the home defense rounds I found from winchester, for carrying no thanks,to heavy and bulky, just my opinion.

  31. Michael Washington says:

    I have a Sig 229 Elite Stainless 40 and its great,the extra weight keeps the gun accurate with head shots at a lil over 50yrds,the hogue grips really help too.

  32. I personally have a kimber eclipse pro 2 it is a fantastic gun . I also have a cold war era ppks manufactured in west Germany . I also have an issued Glock 30 while not a Glock fan I will say it’s the most accurate Glock I’ve ever fired . Good list check out that eclipse ultra a 3 inch 1911 with a steel frame great list though and some nice comments

  33. howard Sobel says:

    The ppk/s is extremely heavy as it is all steel. Also jams easy and takes almost 500 rds to break in. The Springfield xd subcompact is a great gun butnu need to add Trijicon nite sights. As for 1911s I’m surprised the Colt Defender did not make the list. Mine is extremely reliable and is also recommended by Massad Ayoob. Don’t put crimson trace on it because u will lose the rubber grips and make it bulky, instead put laserlytes new rear sight mount laser. U can shoot from the hip with the laser on and be almost on a dime on tarxget at 7 to 15 yards. Glocks suck big time. Had a model 21 blow up with factory ammo and block never told me why.

  34. Whatever gun you pick, just make sure you carry it and pull the trigger if needed. There is a good chance, that you’ll freeze up or freak out and not shoot, or shoot and miss all rounds.

    Depending on the expertise and experience of the criminal. The smarter, more evil and experienced the criminal the less likely you will hit them.

    For many crime is their job, just think how good you’d become at it if you were a criminal. They think of angles that most normal people don’t understand or can’t.

    Predator and prey. The smartest hit when people are most vulnerable.

    Restrooms, when you are putting groceries in the car, when you go outside and check on your dog barking, they sneak attack.

    Have a pretty woman come up and talk to you and then wham.

  35. Wife just purchased a S&W .380 Bodyguard semi-auto after looking at several different brands and styles. She likes the way it fit her hand and the laser sight can be used or dismounted. I am sure you know the deal, she’s happy, I’m happy.

  36. Doug Rodrigues says:

    Both Ruger LCP’s I purchased shot 7 inches low at 30 feet. No way to adjust the un-adjustable sights. Other than that, the pistol had no problem, however, it’s mostly for small hands. I also purchased a SCCY generation II 9mm compact pistol. It’s not perfected. The elevation can be adjusted with modification only: It’s designed for windage adjustment only. It shot 6 inches high and 12 inches right at 30 feet. Terrible! With the rear sight adjusted far left, it shoots straight. Took a feeler gauge shim wedge and lowering the rear sight to bring down the impact point on the target. The magazine release button is too long, can be bumped too easily, and the spring isn’t strong enough to keep the magazine from falling out when bumped. Other than that, the pistol doesn’t jam and seems to function well with just about any ammo. I’m going to grind the magazine release button down flush with the grip, but the button is still large enough that pushing the lower profile button will still drop the magazine out yet not accidentally be bumped. Like I said, the pistol isn’t perfected. Shame, it’s a good small size for 10 rounds of 9mm in a small pistol. Maybe they’ll get their act together with a Generation III? Re: The SCCY Generation I: Don’t even think about that one!

  37. Finally, a site with an honest review of some handguns that may work well for a lefty!

    As a lefty, I’ve tried out several different handguns for concealed carry and all of them eject the casing back into my face. Now I have a new list to work from and help me decide before I buy. I like the Ruger LCR, Walther PPS and Springfield XD from what I’ve read so far. There wasn’t a review on the new Springfield XDS and I may give that a try, as well.

  38. I have been shooting handguns since 1991.I have so many to date that I lost count and always selling and trading ones I grew bored of.For myself opions are like assholes,everyone has one and what works for you may not work for me,you only figure out what works the best for you over time and if you have unlimited funds to buy 15 differant pistols and try them all out god bless you!Being left handed was sometimes a problem for me also with pistols not having ambidextrious decockers or safeties,like 1911’s.I never had patience for tearing 1911’s down so I sold my colt commander which I shot very well!I never bought another! I’ve owned almost every glock and a few HK’S and some sig’s acouple XD’S also. My favorite small gun is the glock 26 or 27,you can carry these with ease but the grip is tiny and they need the extension’s for sure. Can’t rule out the glock 19,23 either both great guns.Pick up a sig sauer and you may notice it feels as good as your pecker in hand,I have a new 229 in 9mm and this gun is super nice!I’m not a fan of small guns at all like the new ruger’s or any of these micro revolver’s. I say only carry what you can shoot and shoot well!! If you think bigger caliber is better ? Thats great but if you can’t shoot a barn door at 10 yards with that spanky new kimber 45 ACP you better re-think what your doing in case you really need it to save your life!I have had many caliber’s and what works best for me is the old 9MM. I shoot it very well close up and at distance,better than 40SW and the 45ACP so thats what I stick with because if duty calls I’m going to put those hollow points in the 10 ring or between the eyes which ever looks better at the time?Look around alot and touch some gun’s,it must feel good to you and if you can test fire it thats even better!So for now I will continue to carry my glock 17 or my sig sauer 229, both with trijicon’s and in 9MM but I will always miss the accuracy of my HK USP 40SW that I had about 10 years ago.Another gun I traded for something?I pulled off some amazing shots with that gun and why I didn’t buy another I can’t tell you but HK’s are very nice gun’s Good luck!!!!

  39. Being left handed I have never had an issue with empty case coming back at me?? FYI

  40. A full sized 1911 can be carried concealed. I have carried my 1911 for the last 4 yrs,without anyone knowing it. I wear mine in a Don Hume belt holster strong side, with some sort of un-tucked shirt. Of course, I have a good quality belt to support the weight of it. I carry a .45 because that is what I shoot the best. At 25yds, I can put all 8 on a basketball-size target amazingly fast.

  41. I question a 1911 as a CCW. For one thing, are you going to keep it chambered? Cocked and locked? Hammer down? I don’t like any of those options.

    My pref is a DA/SA gun with a hammer. Sure, the hammer can get snagged or blocked by debris…but I can see the hammer. These striker fired weapons are spooky to me.

    My pref would be a HK USP in 9mm or .40 or a Beretta PX4 Subcompact in 9mm. I guess I could also suggest a CCW in something like my Desert Eagle in .50…but not wearing shorts & a tank top.

  42. Great information, thank you UtahCCW et al. Anyone care to comment on the Springfield XDS? Would you stack it any differently than the older XD?

  43. You are correct about the springfield design, except that it was call the hs2000 , and it is a croatia design team that implemented these into the gun. Springfield bought the rights to the design or something like that.

  44. Picked up a springfield xds last Oct. and love it.Got 2 extended mags for the gun which gives you a full hand grip.The extended mag from springfield gives you a 7-1.A friend made me a custom in the pants holster and conceals very well and is comfortable.Shot about 400 rounds through it with no problems at all.Love a 45.

  45. I will never believe some one recommends a KelTec for self defense.I had a 32 and 9 and even though I loved the size and liked shooting the guns I always had jams and would not let my life depend on that.I gave them away because I wouldn’t sale someone a problem.I bought Rugers and haven’t had any jams.

  46. I think it’s crazy that you’ve included the ppk here. I’m a big, strong guy and its a tough gun to use! It’s very clearly old technology. Don’t get me wrong, I love my ppk, but holy hell it’s hard to operate and super dangerous.its crazy that this is listed as a great concealed carry gun, and you left off firearms like the px4 subcompact. Seems biased to the cool factor rather than utility factor.

    • GunBlawger says:

      I do appreciate that everyone has their own opinion and writing a post like this is not going to fit everyone’s needs. I can assure you though that I actually do like the Walther PPK and purposefully left the PX4 off the list. I do not like the PX4 line in the least bit. The safety is way too big and digs into the hands and feels sharp to me. Be that as it may, this list is intended to be a starting point for someone new to conceal carry to consider more than one option. Many people in the industry become so fixated on what they like that they cannot see past what’s on their hip. I admit that the Judge is not really a practical firearm for conceal carry. It’s on the list to encourage people to think outside the box when it comes to firearm selection. Just to change up my routine and to show that it is possible, I will, on occasion, conceal my S&W 44 mag with 3″ barrel.

      Nothing biased here. Just a list for people to start with. Thanks for the post.

  47. I just purchased a Walther pk380 for my conceal weapon. I shot both the Ruger LCP and LCR and i didnt feel comfortable with only getting two fingers on the grip. I have big hands and they fit very nicely on the PK380. I dont think I would ever want to conceal a 1911 or the M&P even though I do own an M&P and love it to death

  48. Hello,
    One thing you really never see mentioned anywhere – and it’s not really the main topic here, but …
    If you live in a hot & dry climate – stay away from these “rubber / rubbery” grips on any gun (or knife).
    After a while their surface will become sticky and dull looking.
    I’ve changed some of them to wooden grips on a few of our revolvers already.
    Thanks & carry on.

  49. Hey great article. I carry a Smith and Wesson J frame almost everywhere I go and when I don’t it my m&p 9. Keep up the good work.

  50. I’ll stick with my three, all used in different types of carry: Ruger MK11 stainless standard,my old Colt 1908 in perfect condition or my newest, Ruger SR22. All top of the line in the different carry situations.

  51. I’m very happy with my Glock26 and my Crossbreed IWB holster. Not having large hands, the Glock’s shorter grip doesn’t bother me at all (although I can see where this would be a problem for big guys). Most important to me is safety, reliability and ease of maintenance, and nobody beats a Glock on those terms. I’ve not had a single mis-fire or jam.

  52. Haggy USMC says:

    MY vote is the Smith & Wesson 3913 in 9mm. I carry it all the time with Halo rounds. You will not find a better carry gun but may not find one, folks usually don’t part with them.

  53. Haggy USMC says:

    By the way get you a custom holster from Andrews Leather in Florida, google his website best holsters you can buy…

  54. mountain man says:

    i have found that the cw kahr 45 acp and walther pk380 are a great peir to carry. they are interchangeable when it comes to holsters saving mopney on carry holsters. i have also found both guns very reliable and easy to draw and shoot. recoil is minimal with both of them and easy for a man with big hands to handle. many carry weapons are designed to be small and just are have just to small of grips for a larger man. if that is a concern for you try the above two models out.

  55. I just got an XD9 subcompact but am having trould finding a good holster. In a regular belt slide holster the gun is top heavy and pulls away from the body making it quite visible under a shirt. Otherwise it is a great pistol.
    I have found that the best gun for me anyway to carry CCW is a S&W SD9VE in a belt slide holster, It only weighs 22 oz an dliteraly disapears in the right holster. I use a Bulldog belt slide [$26] a really well made holster. The SD9VE is a full size pistol not a compact one which makes it easier to shoot. Like I said it literaly disappears CCW. You wouldn’t believe it to look at the pitol but I recommend it highly for CCW. You can carry it all day and not even know it is there. 16 rds of 9mm HP is very reassuring too.

  56. What about the S&W MP 9mm and 40 Shield? I have been carrying the 40 model in the Crossbreed Mini with great comfort and concealment. The S&W MP Shield is a great CCW weapon in conceal ability, accuracy and price. Anyone else have any comments about it?

  57. any body TELL ME WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE STOGER A BEST DURABLE PISTOL IN 40/SW IT IS ONE OF THE BEST GUNS I SHOOT TRUST ME I HAVE A NEW H&K U S P COMPACT THE STOGER HAS IT ALL OVER THE H&K 45 acp try it i own 3 of the 9mm/compact silver finish.40 s/w 45 blue beretta mini cougar 100 percent the stoger with the rotating barell hardly no recoil AND THE PRICE IS ABOVE GREAT. i dont know why people are afraid of STOGER ANOTHER GREAT GUN MQADE IN TURKEY GOOD LUCK GUYS LAST THIS STOGER WILL NEVER LET ME DOWN NEVER NO JAM UPS UST GREAT. THANKS PAT L. P.I. C.A.

  58. I carry the Remington 1911 R-1 Enhanced but I am 6’3″ tall and 265lbs iwb holsters make it very very hard to carry. I currently use a strong side fast draw custom made leather holster but occasionally the tip is visable under my sportscoat, summer is almost here and I like my weapons to be invisable I am a professional bodygaurd. During work a suit and tie is fine but when I take a client out to a night of bar hopping I need the weapon to disappear. I recently protectd a CEO of a nationally recognizable bank at the Kentucky home ( my home turf) he gets mugged everywhere he goes people wanting money people wanting their homes out of forclosure h cares but the is a time and place you know geesh anyway I need an IWB for big guys like me anything stuffed into an IWB jabs into my side and causes discomfort, making me less effective any idea’s? I also carry a backup gun when wearing a suit, in addition to the remington R-1 I carry a Galco custom shoulder holster with a Beretta 92FS under my left arm and three 15rd mags under the right any help would be appreciated email me

  59. Correction above the CEO was my client at the Kentucky Derby not the Kentucky Home, although my old Kentucky home is a great place to go see it doesn’t require a bodyguard lol :0)-

  60. By the way when I run to the store the gun I keep ready for me is a Kel-Tec P-11 I did some custom work to my P-11, anyone who has had feed trouble with their Kel-Tec needs to do the following #1 take a dremel tool and some jewelers rouge or some mothers mag and wheel polish and polish the feed ramp to a mirror finish. All Kel-Tecs are sold at low price points to help buyers afford a great gun but they do need a little work, after polishing the feed ramp mirror smooth it will eat any ammo you feed it secondly go ahead and polish the entire barrel assemble, lastly the slide release use the dremel remove the slide and polish the indentation where the slide lock engages I used a sanding wheel first but don’t Recommend it unless your Dad was a gunsmith and taught you if not stick to the polish wheel what your looking for is to clean up the burs and roughness on the indent. This will do two things make it easier to lock the slide back and make the release function with one finger anyone who owns a P-11 knows the slide release is useless you need to pull the slide back and then release it, this will make the slide release functional. This has been my grab and go store gun for 11 years it has saved me from a car jacking once, and when the police show up to find the perp with his hands zip tied behind their backs and they tell you to drop the gun, you don’t mind it getting scratched up when you drop it, I asked the policeman the last time how many bad guys do you find zip tie the car jacker then wait for the police? Then they apologize for making me drop the gun, I show them the gun and they always say never mind, but I am here to tell you it is a fantastic grab and go gun, unlike many inexpensive guns the P-11 is the real deal but I am not a big fan of the new Kel-Tec 9mm they changed a good thing and damn it I am averse to change lol

  61. Stephen how can you say those ridiculous things about the walther ppk? Dangerous? Hard to operate and super dangerous, old technology but the 1911 is brand new technology! Your a big strong guy but find the PPK hard to operate? The PPK was copied from the Russian Makarov it is a simplistic design with the fixed barrel making it obscenely accurate I don’t know where you are coming from saying it is dangerous, but all guns can be. Maybe your not as big or as strong as you think????

  62. You left out the excellent Ruger LC9. This pistol has great potentinal foe accuracy, reliability, and concealability. It is much much more powerful than the LCR or LCP or Kel-tec 3AT or P-32
    Lighter anad easier to conceal than a XD or Glock.
    All things considered is it THE CCW gun.

  63. Speaking of Ruger, I found an old Speed Six a few months ago: .357 snubby, blue w/stock grip, very clean & tight, obviously spent most of its life in a holster (bluing a little worn around the edges), but runs like a dream. Pocket carry in a DeSantis Nemesis (Duluth Trading Fire Hose Work Pants have huge & deep front pockets.) Gun comes right out, holster stays put. If need be, can be field stripped & re-assembled with a dime! I love this gun, and I bet my grandkid will too… Still playing around with assorted loads, but tending to 125gr. semi-jacketed hollow point so far… I also like the versatility of .357 or .38…

  64. I find the beretta 380 cheetah to be the best gun anybody can carry 3000 rounds in 1 tear in perfect cond not a flaw still going strong???? Last any beretta with rotate barrel cant beat them not any problems in 4 years !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! buy one !! laino Detective agency I carry one????????? or the other…………………..

  65. Most of your guns that rank high are going to be to large for the average person. I would rather have a 1911 than a ppk, but the 1911 is going to be a little bit of a disavantage when concealing a gun. The single stack 239 has and advantage over the 229 as far as a carry gun, The sig 229 has more rounds , more controllabe to shoot and would win in this type of situation.


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