Finding the right handgun can be hard enough. Between price, reliability, availability, and a host of other factors, you never really know when you might be able to come across something that’s a decent purchase. For those with limited disposable income being dedicated to guns each month, a new firearm can make for a special occurrence.
The job of finding an ideal pistol gets even more challenging when you are looking for one that can be used capably as a concealed carry piece. When looking for a concealed carry handgun, you will need everything that is integral to an open carry or range weapon but in a much more compact frame.
Of course, you do not have to opt for a compact weapon if you want to carry a concealed firearm if you would prefer a pistol with a full-size frame.
Over the course of this guide, we will go over the best full-frame semi-auto pistol you can use for concealed carry, the best compact semi-auto, the best revolver, and so much more. We’ll also take a look at pistol modifications and whether or not they should play a role in concealed carry.
The Glock 19 is one of the best options if you are looking for a versatile concealed carry gun that is small enough to be comfortable but large enough to have a respectable capacity. Since the Glock 19 is essentially a compact version of the Glock 17, parts for this gun are relatively common and affordable.
Of course, the Glock 19 being chambered in 9mm means that you won’t have to worry about ammo being scarce or expensive and the capacity is as high as you would expect. The Glock 19 is compatible with several different magazines, including its own 15 round magazine and the 17 round magazine from the Glock 17.
The Glock 19 is an excellent choice of concealed carry firearm since it is a striker-fired model. The lack of a hammer means that you won't have to worry about snagging or any other issues with clothing and the relatively clean case of the Glock prevents similar problems occurring elsewhere.
The SHIELD is one of the preferred next-generation compacts from Smith & Wesson. This model is preferable to much of the competition due to its slimmer profile that makes printing much less likely. This gun is also far cheaper than some of the other recommended models that you will come across, costing about 450 dollars.
Since it's striker-fired, you don't have to worry about the hammer when you are drawing or holstering it, and this gun is light enough to go almost unnoticed all day under your clothes.
The inclusion of a thumb safety means that you will be ready to fire as you draw this pistol. The SHIELD can also be considered the best concealed carry gun for small hands thanks to its compact design.
This pistol from Smith & Wesson also comes with two magazines when purchased from the manufacturer, one with a capacity of 7 rounds and one which can hold 8. The large capacity relative to this gun's size can be attributed to the decision to chamber this pistol in 9mm.
For those who prefer revolvers, Ruger makes a relatively effective model which can be used for concealed carry. The SP101 comes available in several different varieties, but we think that the best one for concealed carry is model number 5720. This is the model which is chambered in .357 magnum (or .38 special) with a 2.25" barrel.
There is a slight but crucial difference between this gun and the SP101 model 5718, which has a slightly more traditional design. While both weapons share the same caliber and barrel length, the 5720 uses a spurless hammer design which will prevent it from snagging on your clothes while you draw it.
Since the hammer is spurless, this model can only be fired in double-action so you will want to be prepared for a heavier trigger pull, but this is a small price to pay for a concealable .357 revolver. The five round capacity should be sufficient considering the stopping power of the .357 magnum cartridge.
The 1911 is a legendary firearm which is credited with influencing a generation of pistols. We have chosen not to recommend a particular manufacturer since there are so many of them that make the 1911. We would suggest that you select a 1911 from your favorite gun maker should you choose to carry one concealed.
If you want to carry a full-size pistol under your clothes, the 1911 is one of the best choices thanks to its slimness. Due to the single-stack magazine and the relatively simple design, the 1911 can be surprisingly comfortable for concealed carry. Of course, there is the issue of the hammer, but many modern examples have smaller ones.
Since the 1911 is chambered in .45, you may find it a little easier to put down an assailant, but the debate of whether it is worth the trade-off in capacity compared to 9mm will go on forever. You will also find spare parts for 1911s relatively common, so maintenance should cause you no headaches.
Whether or not you should modify the weapon you use for concealed carry is a subject which is disputed by different firearm owners. Some may say that modifying your gun can make it unsafe in the holster while others will insist that there is nothing wrong with customizing a pistol used for concealed carry.
If you want to avoid customizing your weapon's internals in a way which can be potentially hazardous, you may wish to opt for something a little less intrusive. Some holsters can support a laser sight or a flashlight, should you want to attach either of those to your concealed carry weapon.
As you can see, there is no single weapon which can be considered the best gun for concealed carry; it just depends on what you want out of it. Let us know what you think of our choices in the comments section below.