Concealed carry is the talk of the town these days. As laws around the country are becoming more lenient towards concealed carry, either from court hearings, or the will of the people, more and more are carrying. I am a certified instructor and the variety of people that are coming to my concealed carry classes is amazing. Men and women of all ages, all races, and all creeds, are looking to take their personal defense into their own hands.
The market has recognized this and now more than ever before there is a wide variety of small, concealable pistols on the market. One can find anything from a pocket sized 380 to a lightweight 357 revolver. Most of these guns can be found in any caliber in the smallest of sizes.
With so many small handguns out there you may find it difficult to make a choice. I’ve had the opportunity to train a wide variety of different individuals and I have had the chance to see and use a wide variety of different weapons. In doing so I’ve made a list of my top five favorite weapons.
In no particular order here are, in my opinion, the best concealed carry handguns :
Ruger LCR or LCRX
The Ruger LCR and LCRX will hereby be known as just the LCR to make it a bit easier. The only difference is the LCRX has an exposed hammer that can be cocked for single action fire and the LCR is double action only with an enclosed hammer. The LCR is one of the first revolvers to make heavy use of polymer materials. This allows the weapon to be lightweight, and affordable.
The LCR is extremely lightweight and very carry friendly. The trigger in double action mode is absolutely amazing. It’s very smooth and lightweight, a bit long, but still it’s an amazing double action trigger. The LCR comes in a wide variety of calibers including 38 Special, 357 Magnum, 9mm Luger, 22 Long Rifle, and 22 Magnum. Although I suggest keeping with the 38 Special, 357, and 9mm for self defense and carry.
The revolver is very simple and offers a few advantages. A misfire just means pull the trigger again, and you do not have to worry about failures to eject, failures to feed, or failures to extract. Plus it’s the only option in the concealed carry realm to carry a magnum cartridge. The LCR just happens to be lightweight, feature an excellent trigger, and incredible reliability.
The M&P Shield
The M&P Shield is the little, skinnier brother of the popular Military and Police automatic handguns. The Shield is a single stack firearm that comes in both 9mm and 40 S&W. The Shield is a polymer frame pistol that utilizes a single stack magazine to insure it remains thin, but comes at the cost of a lower ammunition capacity.
The Shield blends both size and excellent ergonomics to form an excellent compromise. You see, the Shield isn’t something you can toss in your pocket, it’s too big for that. However unlike those pocket guns, the Shield is easy and comfortable to shoot. The Shield has one of those triggers I think is just a bit too heavy.
However that being said it’s not the worst trigger. It’s a bit heavy, but the pull is still smooth and doesn’t have grit or grind that a lot of polymer autos suffer from.
The Shield features large sights, nothing compact here, these sights are the same you see on any full sized duty pistol. This helps make accurate shots easier, and big sights are always better in a gunfight. Accuracy is top notch, which is aided by a full grip and it’s large white sights. You also get a major advantage with an automatic, which is a higher capacity than a revolver.
The Glock 26 is an old favorite of concealed carry. The Glock 26 has been around since before concealed carry was cool. This is classic weapon is part of the new greatest generation. The Glock 26 uses a double stack magazine, that while is wider, does provide additional ammunition. The Glock 26 is of course a polymer frame, striker fired, semi-automatic pistol.
The Glock 26 is an extremely functional pistol, and has been popular for so long that there are tons of holsters, accessories, and magazines available for it. The weapon is easy to use, and is reliable, compact and rugged. The trigger is just average, it’s a light 5.5 pounds, and has grit, and a bit of over travel to it. The Glock pistols do have a very audible and nice reset. The lack of a manual safety may turn some off, but it can be an advantage when one is properly trained.
The Glock 26 can also use magazines designed for other 9mm Glocks, so it can accept 10, 12, 15, 17, and 33 round magazines. The weapon is easy to handle, but a bit short grip wise, but this can remedied with pearce grip extensions which allow two extra rounds in your stock 10 round magazines. The Glock 26 has been on the market since 1994 and has been serving both police and concealed carriers and has gained an unparalleled reputation for reliability and dependability.
A relatively new weapon on the market, the Walther CCP is an excellent choice and sets itself apart from the competition for numerous reasons. CCP stands for concealed carry pistol, and is Walther’s newest pistol on the market. The CCP is a striker fired, semi-automatic handgun in 9mm, it’s a single stack pistol utilizing an 8 round magazine.
The CCP uses a gas retarded system than aids in decreasing felt recoil. Walther calls this the soft coil system and it makes a big difference when it comes to felt recoil in the hand. This system allows the weapon to be racked very easily, perfect for those with weak hand strength.
The CCP is not a pocket pistol, but is still lightweight, compact and very soft shooting for such a small pistol. The pistol suffers from two main issues. First off it requires a tool for take down, which is a big no-no in my book. Secondly it fails in terms of the trigger, it’s a long pull, with a long reset. The trigger has a lot of grit and a creep, but is light. Overall the CCP is an excellent pistol for carry.
The 1911 is a century plus old design that is an American classic. It’s right up there with a 57 Chevy. It served our country for decades, and has remained popular with sport shooters, concealed carriers, and American firearms enthusiasts as a whole. Sig has taken the design and shrunk it down to become a very nice, lightweight, concealed carry firearm.
The Sig 938 is a 9mm 1911 shrunk down to pocket size. It’s a single action only weapon with a classic thumb safety, and a single stack magazine. The 1911 design has always been known for its thin design and the 938 takes that to a new level. The pistol is remarkably easy to conceal and comfortable for all day carry.
The weapon uses either a 6 round flush magazine, or a 7 round extended magazine. The Sig 938 is an all steel pistol that is remarkably lightweight and easy to shoot. The single action trigger is superb, and has just a hair of pre travel. The stock sights are nice and big, easy to use, and they aid greatly when using the small gun. The Sig 938 is a classic designed, infused with enough modern trends that the weapon keeps up with the carry guns.
These are my top 5 guns for concealed carry. This list was built from my experience with a variety of different firearms, and doesn’t represent every concealed carry pistol on the market. However, all of these guns are from a reputable manufacturer, and in shooting them, I’ve found them to be excellent pieces for concealed carry.