Ahhh…the age-old question. “What is the BEST Concealed Carry gun?” There is no one answer. It’s not binary or black and white. This question is as alive today as it was first asked decades ago.
The best concealed carry handgun may not be what you think it is. The first thing we need to do is put things in perspective. What exactly is it that you are looking for? Is it firepower? What about size and weight? Don’t forget the price point and reliability. Or the almighty “readily available accessories” for your gun.
There are so many good concealed carry guns on the market today. So many that people have to jump around to see if there is a decent holster manufacturer for that particular gun type. (this is where readily available accessories come into play)
Let’s start with that point. Guns that are easy to find accessories for. This may include aftermarket sights, triggers, barrels, slide releases, magazine catch, etc… The most notorious gun in the market for aftermarket accessories goes to non-other than the Glock family of guns especially their compact and sub-compact short barrel models like the polymer framed Glock 19 and Glock 26 not to mention the Glock 43.
Easily Accessible Accessories
The Glock 19 is considered the Chevy 350 engine of the gun community and for much reason. Just like finding a set of headers or a high rise intake for that engine at your nearby Walmart, you can easily find aftermarket products like gun holsters for the G19 in almost any gun store on the internet.
This makes the Glock 19 a very good proponent for concealed carry. The G26 follows closely to that but many skip on it due to the same width and almost identical weight to its big brother but with fewer rounds overall. The Glock 19 carries 15 +1 in the chamber for a total of 16 rounds while its stubby brother carries only a total of 11 rounds.
Because of its simple design, the Glock is also proven to be a favorite for everyday carriers especially those who are new to the carry life. There are other manufacturers that have taken note of this and have resembled Glock’s popular attributes. One of these manufacturers is Smith & Wesson. S&W has come up with some very well made striker fired pistols on the market. One of their most popular guns to date is the M&P line of guns including the famous M&P Shield. This little guy took the subcompact game by storm when it was first introduced to the market back in late 2012. It came out in 9mm and .40 S&W version with the .45 ACP trailing in not too long after. The simplicity and reliability of this gun make it a favorite in the concealed carry community.
Now let’s talk about conceal-ability without having to give up too much when it comes to comfort and “dressing around” your daily carry. Let’s talk about pocket pistols. These little “get off me"guns are very popular. Much of it has to do with many factors like price, weight, and comfort. This allows these guns to be bought up by the masses. In this category, there are many to choose from BUT be aware! With so many to choose from there are some not so good choices out there because of the “reliability” factor.
The Ruger LCP is a very good gun when it comes to these “pocket pistols” Is has many good factors like reliability, lightweight and accessories like gun holsters to choose from. (excluding Bravo, we don’t make one for this little guy yet… sorry) Not to mention the more attractive 5 lb trigger pull on the LCP II. There are a good variety of holsters out there though including IWB holster and pocket holsters as well.
Sig Sauer has also joined the game in smaller framed firearms with its hammer fired P238. Sig came out with this little “bad boy” back in early 2009. It’s a small pocket size gun based off the 1911 with its single action trigger and thumb safety. Its reliability and long-standing 1911 platform make it a good choice as well. Price may set you back a bit at around $650 and weighing in a little over 15 oz. That’s over 5 oz. when compared to the Ruger LCP II.
Sig Sauer has also released the new Sig Sauer P365 sub-compact pistol. The little fellow offers great ergonomics with a 10 + 1 round count. The optional 12-round and 15-round extended magazines give this carry gun great firepower capabilities while keeping it ultra concealable.
Affordable And Reliable?
If you are asking yourself, "How much should I spend on a gun?" You should check out our Vlog on that subject matter. It may shed some light on how you may not need a whole lot of money to start concealed carrying.
Here is proof of that. Although with a price point of a little over $500 for a Glock 19, there are many compact and subcompact firearms that won’t take you over that price mark. One of them is the Taurus PT111. The Taurus Millennium series has been around for almost 15 years now and they have a good following. This little fellow weighs in at under 19 oz. Not too shabby for a gun that cost around $250
Ruger also makes the LC9. This is a very affordable semi-compact gun that many people choose. With a price point of around $300 and its availability pretty much anywhere guns are sold, it's no wonder it sells well.
Another factor people look for is stopping power. When people hear this phrase in the concealment world there is one thing that comes to mind, the .45 ACP round. The “one and done” mentality exist strong in the EDC community. The .45 ACP was introduced to us by the brilliant John Moses Browning back in 1905. Not only has this round been around for over a century, but it was also made here in the good ol’ USA! Manufacturers know that the full sized 5" barrel lengthed 1911 won't make a great concealment gun, this is why you will find 3" 1911 sub-compact guns chambered in the .45 ACP
The Springfield Armory XDs is a great choice for concealed carry in a .45 ACP. Its small design with a single stack magazine that holds 5 +1 rounds with optional 6 and 7 round magazines has made this little fellow a great choice in concealment. Not to mention its 3.3” barrel and only 1’ in total thickness, this gun is more than capable for everyday carry.
Smith & Wesson is back in this discussion with its little friend that packs a good wallop. The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 45 has made a ruckus in this industry. Its predecessor, the M&P Shield in 9mm and .40 S&W has left a good legacy for its newer comrade chambered in .45 ACP. With a slightly wider frame than the original Shield, it still holds a good position for the masses. And why wouldn’t it, it’s a good concealable firearm with very good ergonomics and optional manual safety.
There are many guns that have not been mentioned in this article. To try to fit them all in is somewhat impossible, why? Because the BEST is subjective.
In The Eye Of The Beholder
Many people shy away from the .380 because it lacks in power. My thought is, I’d rather you carry something rather than nothing at all. If you buy a Glock 19 but never carry it because it’s way too heavy but you are perfectly fine carrying a pocket pistol like the Ruger LCP? More power to you! At the end of the day, it’s all about carrying.
At the end of the day, it's whatever works best for you. It's not gonna matter what "tacticaldude_556X76239_45acp9mm..." on Instagram says. Don't get suckered into buying a gun that is gonna stay at home because you just can't seem to carry no matter what you do.
Now, is listening to experienced people a good thing? Of course, is it. Just remember that carrying is about you and what you feel comfortable with.
What ultimately matters is that you have something that will allow you to leverage a situation so that you don’t end up on the wrong side of a statistic? Concealed carry can be an acquired taste, per-se. You may have to go about it through small increments.
Do your due diligence. Know your state and local laws. Know your gun, go out and train. It’s a conscious decision that you need to live around. It is a way of life and there will be certain things you may have to give up or work yourself around but in the end, it’s all worth it!
Thanks for your time
Owner - Bravo Concealment
Rene Aguirre is the founder and owner of Bravo Concealment. Rene has been carrying concealed on a daily basis for over 8 years and has been a CHL (concealed handgun license) holder for more than 20 years. Finding a high interest in firearms for many years, Rene started Bravo because of the “lack of” a good concealed carry holster on the market.