The Best Concealed Carry Gun

Concealed carry is something that I take very seriously. For my family, it is the option we chose to protect ourselves from the predators of the world. It’s not for everybody, and that’s okay, but it works for us. The firearm is a tool for a specific job, and just like all tools, some are better suited for this job than others. The best gun to carry concealed is a hotly debated topic. Well, this is it. This is what you’ve all been waiting for. In this article, I’m going to reveal to you the best concealed carry handgun.

What Makes A Great Concealed Handgun?

Before we can crown a king (or queen) of concealed carry handguns, we need to establish what qualities we want to look for. There are a lot of things to consider, but for simplicity, I boil it down to three criteria (well, four, but we’ll get to that later).


I don’t care what caliber your gun is. What’s more important is how many rounds you have. I don’t think anyone has ever been in a gunfight and thought, “I wish I had a bigger bullet!” Well, maybe the officers in the 1997 North Hollywood shootout, but they were trying to stop a bank robbery; we’re talking about self defense. I’d much prefer to have 12 rounds of 9mm than six rounds of .45 ACP. Sometimes people will say something about how many rounds you should need to stop a fight, but consider that bad guys sometimes travel in packs. If you need to deliver three rounds to stop an attacker and there are three of them, that six-shot .45 is going to leave you in a tough situation.


This might sound like a no-brainer, but some people forget to consider the cardinal rule of concealed carry; keep it concealed! When we talk about concealability, we’re talking about how easily the gun disappears into your waistline, ankle, or wherever you carry. There are a number of concealed carry holsters that can help with this, including appendix carry holsters, pocket holsters, or even a leather shoulder holster. There are many ways to carry concealed. I have a permit, so this is all legal. However, failing to hide my firearm can mean an unnecessary law enforcement contact, or worse, an attacker knowing my hand before I play it.


A self defense firearm that you can’t hit your target with is as useless as a screen door on a submarine. You have to be able to shoot it well in a variety of circumstances. Features that add to shootability are the size of the grip, the angle of the grip, the caliber, and the sights. While most defensive shootings happen within BBD (Bad Breath Distance), I still want to know that I have the capability to take a longer shot if I needed to. If you’re in a grocery store and are faced with an active shooter scenario, do you have to close distance, or can you take the bad guy out from down the canned goods aisle?


In a perfect world, we’d carry a pistol that excelled at all of these. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Like most of life, the perfect carry gun requires a delicate balance of these qualities. To further complicate matters, a gun’s ability to perform in these categories can be greatly affected by your size, the weather, your personal style, and a dizzying number of other variables. What this all comes down to is finding a balance that works for you and your needs.

The Best Concealed Carry Gun

I hate to break it to you, but no matter how many articles you read and videos you watch to answer this question, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. I am not, however, going to leave you hanging. Below are a few examples of firearms that hold these three considerations in a very good balance.


The Sig Sauer P365X maintains an excellent balance of features. With a 12+1 capacity and an optics-ready slide, the gun is nearly as capable as many full sized handguns. All three of the pistols listed are chambered for the 9mm cartridge. This is for a few reasons: capacity, ballistics with modern defensive ammunition, and recoil management. The X and XL versions of the P365 feature a slightly longer grip, allowing shooters to get a full grip on the lightweight pistol.


For a long time, the Glock 19 was thought of as the do-it-all handgun. For many applications, it still is. However, when it comes to concealed carry, it has been eclipsed by the G48 MOS. The G48 has all of the same dimensions as the G19, but is significantly thinner. This makes it more concealable, but still gives you a fully capable combat handgun. While the stock magazines only have a 10 round capacity, the aftermarket has delivered. Shield Arms redesigned the G48 magazines to hold 15 rounds. This is the same capacity as the G19. The MOS version also comes optics-ready and with a rail for mounting a variety of accessories. The gun is thin, but definitely not the smallest in its class. This would not be the best gun for ankle carry.


The Springfield Armory Hellcat was a surprise to me. The grip isn’t thick, but the shape fills my medium-sized hands very well. Shooting the Hellcat feels like shooting a larger gun. Of the three pistols I’ve listed, it has the lowest capacity. Eleven rounds in the magazine is no failure, though. It wasn’t long ago that an eight-round single stack 9mm was the norm. Springfield Armory also offers 13- and 15-round magazines that would work great as a spare.

You might have noticed that there are no revolvers mentioned. It’s not that I think revolvers no longer have a place. They simply don’t hold enough ammunition, especially considering how cumbersome reloading can become. While revolvers are not obsolete, they are definitely struggling to stay relevant, and have been pushed into a lane that is far more narrow.

My Pick: The Glock 48 MOS

So, which is my choice for the top gun for concealed carry? If you can find one, the Glock 48 MOS has all of the features one could possibly want for a defensive handgun. This isn’t even my everyday carry gun, though I wish it was. With aftermarket magazines, an optics-ready slide, and an accessory rail, it takes all the best features from the much loved G19 and shrinks them down. Many of us already have a lot of time training with Glock pistols. The built in familiarity allows you to translate all of that training to your carry gun. It won’t work with all methods of concealed carry, but you could even get a .380 ACP G42 to have a smaller gun with the exact same battery of arms. Having all of your firearms operate the same way is incredibly valuable. The grip length is a good balance of concealability and getting a full grip. A concealed handgun is a very personal choice, and the vast Glock aftermarket gives you opportunities to tailor the gun to your needs.

Nic Lenze

Nic is an avid shooter, trainer, daily concealed carrier and loves firearms industry since his childhood.

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