Choosing a handgun for concealed carrying is a decision that never gets easier, no matter how much experience you have with firearms. Shooters must consider many factors for CCW: size, caliber, capacity, ergonomics, shootability, and more.
Whether you’re a new shooter looking for your first concealed carry weapon or an experienced gun owner seeking the latest and greatest models on the market, explore the best handguns for concealed carry in 2021.
1. SIG Sauer P365
Since its introduction on the market in 2018, the SIG Sauer P365 has won multiple awards, including the 2019 NRA Handgun of the Year award. Even today, the P365 remains one of the best concealed carry guns ever made.
This 9x19mm pistol accepts a wide array of proven self-defense ammunition, combining high capacity for a concealment pistol, a crisp trigger, and quality sights in a slim and compact package. And as a SIG pistol, you can be sure of the build quality and reliability for years to come.
If the standard flush-fit 10-round magazine does not offer enough ammunition for you, you can use 12-round extended baseplate mags instead. The increased capacity comes at the cost of just 0.4” more height, which does not compromise the P365’s concealability.
2. Glock 43X
As one of the most anticipated small handguns of SHOT Show 2019, the Glock 43X is a crossover pistol chambered in 9x19mm, marrying a subcompact barrel and slide with a compact slimline frame. The standard magazine is a staggered-column single-stack with a capacity of 10 rounds.
If you’re used to the way standard double-stack Glocks feel, you will find the stock sights and trigger are just like what you’d expect from a Glock. Some shooters prefer keeping theirs completely stock, while others may choose to take advantage of the myriad of third-party parts and accessories available.
Whether you modify yours or not, you can be sure of one thing: the Glock 43X is a dependable concealed carry pistol that you can trust.
3. Glock 19
The humble Glock 19 was first introduced to the US civilian market in 1988 alongside the second-generation Glock 17. Over time, the G19 received gradual upgrades, reintroduced in every new Glock generation that followed.
Despite starting life as the compact version of the Glock 17, the Glock 19 has become one of the best-selling handguns of all time, and one of the top concealed carry guns in 9mm, despite being neither the lightest, the smallest, or the highest-capacity handgun.
The G19 remains one of the most popular choices for concealed carrying, not because it is the best in any specific domain, but because it is an affordable and highly reliable all-rounder.
It may be the closest thing to a general-purpose pistol, suitable for home defense and concealed carry. If you must have only one handgun, you can’t go wrong with the Glock 19.
4. Ruger LCP II
The Ruger LCP II is the second generation of the popular LCP pocket pistol, first released in 2016. Building on the original pistol’s success, the LCP II is first and foremost a small pistol for deep concealment, suitable for IWB or pocket carry, as a backup gun, or a primary when wearing light clothes (for working out, during summer, etc.).
At 5.17” long, 0.91” wide, and 3.71” tall, the LCP II is one of the smallest pistols of its category, making it one of the best concealed carry handguns for small hands.
Because it is chambered in .380 ACP instead of the more popular 9x19mm, it is also a noticeably lightweight handgun, weighing under 13 oz. with a full magazine, which makes it perfect for CCW. In other words, it may not be powerful, but it is easy to shoot and control.
5. Ruger LCR
The LCR is probably the best carry revolver you can find today, and it has been a fan favorite since its initial introduction in 2010.
Initially offered in .38 Special +P and .357 Magnum only, this double-action-only (DAO) revolver is now available in various popular chamberings, including .22 Long Rifle, .22 WMR, 9x19mm, and .327 Magnum.
Although the exact dimensions and capacity vary depending on the chambering, all models feature a snub-nose 1-⅞” barrel. The .357, .38, and 9mm feature a 5-round cylinder, the .22 Magnum and .327 models accept 6 rounds, and the .22 LR model can carry up to 8.
6. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield M2.0
The Shield is the subcompact model in Smith & Wesson’s line of polymer-framed, striker-fired semi-automatic pistols, and the M2.0 is its second generation. It is available in all three of the most popular self-defense calibers: 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.
Besides the chambering, Smith & Wesson offers several options on the Shield M2.0 right from the factory: your choice of three-dot or night sights, with or without a laser sight, and with or without a manual thumb safety.
The pistol’s capacity depends on the chambering: 7+1 in 9x19mm or 6+1 in .40 S&W and .45 ACP with the flush-fit magazines. On all three versions, the extended baseplate magazine adds one extra round and additional grip space for your pinky finger, making it taller but more comfortable to shoot.
7. Smith & Wesson Model 340PD
Although Smith & Wesson produces excellent semi-automatic pistols, their most well-known and most successful products are their extensive line of revolvers, and the Model 340PD is no exception.
Although based on the classic J-frame, the Model 340PD is notable for being a 5-shot, concealable .357 Magnum revolver weighing less than 12 oz., making it the world’s lightest .357 Magnum revolver – perfect for CCW.
Smith & Wesson achieved this feat without compromising safety by employing a scandium alloy frame, a titanium alloy cylinder, and a stainless steel barrel, combining high strength with low weight.
8. Heckler & Koch P30SK
If you’re on the market for a small gun for concealed carrying, you’ve probably noticed that the vast majority of them are striker-fired pistols, which may not be to the taste of every shooter.
If you’d rather have a hammer-fired DA/SA handgun, but with all of the conveniences and amenities of a modern pistol, you should consider the Heckler & Koch P30SK.
The P30SK features a 3.27” barrel, an overall length of 6.42”, a Picatinny accessory rail, an ergonomic grip with interchangeable side panels and backstrap, and a flush-fit magazine patterned after the P30 magazine, capable of accepting up to 10 rounds of 9x19mm.
Various baseplate extensions are available, adding 2 to 5 shots to your P30SK magazines, depending on the model selected. Alternatively, you can use full-size P30 and VP9 magazines (they are fully interchangeable), featuring capacities ranging between 15 and 17 rounds.
9. Taurus G3c
Shopping for a new concealed carry handgun can be challenging if you have a limited budget. The conventional wisdom of the past suggested that you should look for a used gun from a reputable manufacturer and hope for the best.
However, today’s shooters have access to more affordable models and options than ever before. The Taurus G3c is one of these choices. This Brazilian compact pistol offers excellent value for the money and a surprising amount of features that even some of its higher-priced competitors don’t always provide.
Despite possessing dimensions on par with typical slim subcompacts, the G3c’s main advantages are its price and magazine capacity. With an MSRP of just $339 and a 12-round metal magazine, the G3c offers mid-size firepower in a compact pistol, making it one of the best concealed carry handguns for shooters on a budget.
10. Walther PPS M2
Walther is a name synonymous with history, but also quality and innovation. The original Walther PPS, introduced in 2007, was one of the first polymer-framed single-stack 9mm pistols ever made, and the first to achieve commercial success, arguably starting an industry trend.
The PPS M2 is the second-generation version, featuring many improvements while retaining all of the aspects that made the original an excellent choice for concealed carrying.
One of the most notable changes is the redesigned grips, featuring subtle finger grooves, modern stippling, and textured backstrap. It is also only 1” thick, comparable with other pistols in the same category.
What hasn’t changed is the Walther build quality, the accurate barrel, and the smooth, crisp trigger, with a pull weight of just 6.1 lbs. Standard flush-fit magazines fit 6 rounds of 9x19mm or 5 rounds of .40 S&W, with magazine baseplate extensions adding 1 or 2 rounds available separately.
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