16 Best Conceal Carry Handguns

Many Americans want concealed guns for safety because of real incidents they see on social media, this is undeniable fact that concealed handguns have their use in our society. This guide goes over the 16 best conceal carry handguns.

Let's discuss a few important points before revealing our top picks. Being a gun owner changes the way you carry yourself in public. You have to be a responsible and level headed person to carry a gun for personal protection. Be aware of your surroundings and don't look for a fight.

Owning a gun doesn't make you an expert. You need to learn and practice often. 

Best Conceal Carry Handguns

  • Glock 19
  • Glock 43X
  • Glock 26
  • Glock 36
  • Springfield XDS
  • Springfield Hellcat
  • Smith Wesson Shield Plus
  • Sig P365
  • FN 509 Midsize
  • Ruger LCP
  • Ruger Max 9
  • Ruger LCR
  • Sig P938
  • Kimber Micro compact 9
  • Walther CCP
  • Canik TP9 Elite SC

Glock 19

glock 19 gen 4

Glock 19 remains the most popular conceal carry handguns on the market. Some users don't like the grip and some don't like the sights. However, these are things you can upgrade, and you are left with a reliable safe action handgun you can conceal carry.

While it's hard for women to hide, loose clothes help. If I must hide it, there are various ways to conceal it.

Back in the day before all the newer options are available on the market, the Glock 19 is the best for inside the waist band and outside the waist band carry. It can accept all types of aftermarket upgrades including barrel, holster, trigger, sights, red dot optics, lights and more.

Glock 43X

glock 43x

The Glock 43X is slim and it works just like any other Glock handguns on the market with its safe action trigger system. The Glock 43X is the same as the Glock 43 but with a full size grip frame for users who want a full grip on the gun without the pinky finger hanging.

The overall size is smaller than the Glock 19 and it's slim. Users can carry appendix carry it under clothing without printing.

The single stack width of the gun makes it a very attractive feature for concealed carry. However, the round count maybe lower compared to a double stack gun.

Glock 26

glock 26

The Glock 26 is an excellent choice for concealed carry if it fits comfortably with your regular clothes. It may not be as fun to shoot like the Glock 19, but it's designed to serve you in an emergency to get out of a bad situation than doing high volume shooting with it.

Before buying, try holding one at your local gun store to see if it's comfortable. Some find the grip thick. If it's the biggest gun you can hide, it's a top choice.

Glock 36

glock 36

The Glock 36 (G36) is a significant model in Glock's lineup, representing an attempt to innovate within the original Glock design. It was designed to offer .45 caliber power in a relatively compact package.

However, A 45 ACP Glock 36 has limited ammunition capacity when compared to some of the micro compact 9mm pistols that can hold more rounds. While the G36 is mechanically reliable, it isn't particularly accurate. The best-performing ammunition in tests was the Hornady Critical Duty 220gr +P.

Springfield XDS

xds 9

The Springfield XDS 9mm is a popular concealed carry pistol known for its affordability and reliability. Released in 2012, this Croatian-built, striker-fired handgun offers unique features like the "Grip Zone" textured grip and an ambidextrous magazine release.

While it offers competitive pricing and a built-in grip safety that appeals especially to new shooters, some users have noted a heavier-than-average trigger and a challenging magazine release design.

Overall, the Springfield XDS 9mm presents a durable and cost-effective option for those seeking a compact firearm for concealed carry.

Springfield Hellcat Pro

hellcat pro

The Springfield Hellcat Pro stands out because of its small size and high capacity. Even though it's slim, it can hold 15 rounds. This makes it better than guns like the Glock 43X and 48, which only hold 10 rounds.

It's big enough for good shooting but slim for easy hiding. You can carry it in front or on the side, and it hides well. You can also carry it outside your pants because it's thin.

The Hellcat Pro's grip fits many hand sizes. It's blocky with rounded edges, so it might not fit every hand perfectly, but most people find it comfortable. The grip feels like fine sandpaper, so it's easy to hold without hurting.

Smith Wesson Shield Plus

smith wesson m&p shield plus

The Smith & Wesson Shield Plus stands out as a top choice for concealed carry, primarily due to its enhanced features tailored for the concealed carrier. One of its most notable attributes is the increased capacity, offering 10 rounds in a flush-fit magazine and 13 rounds with a slightly-extended magazine, ensuring users have ample firepower without compromising on the firearm's slim profile.

The Shield Plus also has improved ergonomics, designed to fit comfortably in the hand while allowing for effective control over recoil. The grip is further enhanced by its meticulously designed texturing, providing an optimal balance between a firm hold and skin comfort.

Additionally, the standard three-dot sights, available in white-painted or night sight variants, offer clear and precise targeting. With these features combined, the Shield Plus emerges as a reliable and ergonomic choice for those prioritizing concealability and performance.

Sig P365

sig p365

The SIG P365 is specifically tailored for concealed carry, offering a unique blend of features that make it a top choice for those prioritizing discretion and effectiveness. The P365's rounded design is a boon for those who carry daily. It ensures that carriers don't experience uncomfortable poking or prodding, especially when carried inside the waistband.

Furthermore, its compact nature ensures minimal printing, allowing wearers to maintain a low profile, even under light clothing. One of the standout attributes of the P365 is its compactness. Despite its subcompact size, which is comparable to most single-stack 9mms, it has a 10 to 12-round capacity. This combination ensures that carriers don't have to compromise on firepower for the sake of concealability.

In addition, the Sig P365's FCU (Fire Control Unit) is the actual firearm, which means the user can purchase aftermarket grip module to satisfy specific grip preference.

FN 509 Midsize

fn 509 mid size

The FN 509 Midsize is a top choice for hidden carry. It has all the good features of the bigger FN 509. It's the right size for easy carry but still fits well in your hand. You can hide it easily and it has a lot of power.

It comes with safety tools like a special firing system, a sign when it's loaded, and a safe trigger. These tools make it even safer to carry.

You can hide the FN 509 Midsize under your clothes without it showing or feeling bad. You can wear it inside or outside your belt, and it works well both ways.

The grip feels good in your hand and has a special texture. This helps you hold it tight and shoot accurately, especially in tough times.

Ruger LCP

ruger LCP 380 AUTO

The Ruger LCP .380 pocket pistol stands out as a top choice for concealed carry, offering a blend of compactness and performance. Its lightweight design, weighing just 9.4 oz when empty, combined with a 2.75-inch barrel and a 6-round magazine capacity, ensures discreet and comfortable carry.

Beyond its ideal size for concealment, the Ruger LCP has a commendable reputation for dependability among sub-compact .380s. At the shooting range, it consistently delivers accuracy, allowing for smooth, repeat firing and easy target realignment. While its design may draw inspiration from other models, the Ruger LCP has made notable improvements in inherent accuracy and reliability.

Overall, its blend of size, performance, and trustworthiness makes the Ruger LCP a preferred choice for those prioritizing concealed carry.

Ruger Max 9

ruger max 9 (2)

The Ruger Max-9 is specifically designed for concealed carry, offering numerous advantages for those who prioritize discretion and performance. With a slim profile of about an inch in width, it ensures easy concealment without compromising on capacity, holding up to 12+1 rounds of 9mm ammunition.

The Ruger Max 9's ergonomics are top-notch, fitting perfectly in the hand and providing a grip that's both comfortable and secure. The stippling on the gun is balanced, ensuring a firm hold without causing discomfort during prolonged carry. Additionally, the pistol is red-dot ready, enhancing its aiming capabilities.

In terms of concealability, the Max-9 excels with its compact dimensions: a 3.2-inch barrel, a total length of six inches, and a weight of just 18.4 ounces. This combination of features ensures that the Ruger Max 9 is not only easy to carry discreetly but also reliable and efficient when needed.

Ruger LCR

ruger lcr 38 spl

The Ruger LCR is a modern revolver designed with concealed carry in mind. Its unique hybrid aluminum and polymer frame sets it apart, making it lightweight and comfortable for everyday carry.

Weighing in at just 13.8 ounces for the .38 special variant, it's one of the lightest revolvers in its class. The LCR's frame is well-rounded, eliminating any sharp edges that might snag on clothing or cause discomfort. Its sights are notably better than many competitors, with a painted front sight featuring a high-visibility white stripe, ensuring quick target acquisition.

The LCR's trigger, especially in centerfire models, is praised for its smoothness and light pull, making it easier to shoot accurately. Additionally, the LCR offers various caliber options, giving users the flexibility to choose based on their preference. The gun's design, combined with its lightweight and efficient trigger system, makes the Ruger LCR a top choice for those seeking a reliable concealed carry revolver.

Sig P938

sig p938 single stack gun

The Sig Sauer P938 stands out as a prime choice for concealed carry, offering a blend of compactness and performance. With a frame under 6” long, it's designed for easy concealment without any parts catching on clothing or holsters.

The magazine fits flush, and there are options for both 6-round and extended 7-round clips, catering to different hand sizes. Notably, the P938 showcases impressive accuracy, especially within 10 yards, making it suitable for close-quarters defense.

The pistol's Tritium night sights enhance aiming in low-light conditions, while its Beavertail grip and rubber texture ensure a firm hold, even during recoil.

The gun weighing roughly a pound when unloaded, it's lightweight enough for all-day carry without discomfort. The combination of these features, coupled with Sig Sauer's trusted design, makes the P938 a top contender for those prioritizing concealed carry.

Kimber Micro Compact 9

kimber micro 9

The Kimber Micro 9mm is a top choice for hidden carry because it's light, compact, and comfortable. It's accurate right away, making it great for safety. The grip is just right, not too rough or too smooth, so you can hold it well even if your hands are sweaty. Its round shape means it won't catch on clothes.

Even though it's small, the gun doesn't kick back too hard because of its special spring and rod. It has a high-quality trigger that's smooth and resets quickly. The gun also has a special design to help you reload fast.

Overall, the Kimber Micro 9mm is perfect for hidden carry because it looks good, works well, and is easy to use.

Walther CCP

walther ccp

The Walther CCP (Concealed Carry Pistol) offers several benefits that make it an attractive option for concealed carry. At its core, the Walther CCP utilizes a gas-delayed blowback (GDB) action, which compensates for the snappy recoil typically associated with lighter, smaller pistols.

The CCP stands out in the compact-carry market with its single-stack, 8+1 9mm capacity, which is competitive with other popular models. Additionally, the thumb safety is strategically positioned for those who prefer appendix inside-the-waistband carrying.

Moreover, the CCP's longer, sculpted grip provides a more ergonomic feel compared to some competitors. The pistol also features front cocking serrations, user-adjustable sights, and a picatinny rail for attachments.

Canik TP9 Elite SC

canik tp9 elite sc

The Canik TP9 Elite SC is a top-performing pistol ideal for concealed carry. It comes with two magazines, a 12-round and a 15-round, ensuring ample ammunition. The gun is equipped with a fiber optic front sight, which aids in accuracy. When used correctly, the pistol demonstrates inherent accuracy, especially within 20 feet.

Despite its unique grip and magazine design, it offers a solid grip for the shooter. The Canik TP9 Elite SC has been tested with various ammunition types, including Blazer Brass 115 grain ball ammo, 124 gr. nato ball rounds, and Federal premium self-defense hollow points, and it performed flawlessly through about 300 rounds.

This pistol is not only dependable but also has features like a reversible mag release, ambidextrous slide release, and a striker status indicator. In essence, the Canik TP9 Elite SC stands out for its reliability, accuracy, and functionality, making it a strong choice for concealed carry.

How To Choose A Good Conceal Carry Handgun

Frame Size

Handguns come in various sizes: full-size, compact, and subcompact. Your choice should depend on your body type and concealment needs. While taller individuals might conceal larger guns, everyone can generally hide subcompact models without much wardrobe adjustment. Remember, smaller handguns might have a reduced ammunition capacity.

Seasons can also influence what you carry. During the winter time, you can get away with carrying a full size gun under a thick jacket without printing. However, during the summer time, a smaller gun maybe a better choice. Ultimately it depend on your outfit preferences. 

In addition, the gun you carry isn't the same gun you do high volume shooting with. A conceal carry handgun should hit the balance between good shooting performance and size for comfortable carry. Do not think that your conceal carry gun needs to be as good as a competition gun.

Barrel Length

p365 vs hellcat disassembled

Handgun barrel lengths range from 2.5-inch snub noses to full-sized 5-inch guns. The right barrel length ensures confidence and convenience in concealability. A 3.1-inch barrel, like the one on the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield, is easy to conceal and comfortable.

However, longer barrels, such as 4-inch or 5-inch, can offer better accuracy, especially at distances of 25 yards and beyond.

Trigger Quality

A predictable trigger break is essential. Whether double action or single action, a trigger that breaks predictably is more crucial than its weight or pretravel. Consistency in the trigger ensures better shooting accuracy. 

While there are many aftermarket trigger upgrades for pistols. Having a good trigger above at least 3.5 lb trigger pull is recommended.


Having a light is critical for identifying threats. While gun-mounted lights can reduce muzzle rise and aid in one-handed shooting, handheld flashlights offer versatility and ease of deployment without making the gun bulkier.

A mounted weapon light will increase the profile of the gun inside the holster.

Stopping Power

When selecting a concealed carry handgun, consider the caliber's effectiveness. While bullet size might not always determine lethality, calibers like 9mm are more effective at stopping an attacker quickly. It's essential to choose a caliber you're comfortable with, but a 9mm is generally recommended for its balance between comfort and stopping power.

While there are endless debate on caliber effectiveness, 9mm offers more round count. More ammo availability to train, and heavier bullets and powder charge can also match the stopping power of a regular 40SW or 45 ACP.

Holster Type

The type of holster you choose plays a significant role in how consistently you can conceal your handgun. Options include outside the waistband (OWB), inside the waistband (IWB), ankle, and shoulder holsters. Each has its advantages and drawbacks in terms of concealment, comfort, and draw speed. It's crucial to try different holsters to find the one that suits your needs and ensures quick firearm access in various positions. 

The carry position is a personal choice, but it's essential for effective concealment. Whether it's strong side, appendix, or ankle carry, the position should ensure comfort and quick access to the firearm.

This is not a one size fits all. As time goes on, most people will swap holsters and guns. We highly recommend just sticking with the same gear and the same gun without having to retrain yourself.

When selecting a concealed carry handgun, prioritize your comfort, the gun's effectiveness, and how easily you can conceal it. Always remember to practice regularly with your chosen firearm and holster to ensure safety and proficiency.

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