Best Pistols to Consider Concealed Carry (CCW)
One of the most common questions we’re asked by those who have just completed their CCW certification and licensing is “what type of gun should I carry?”
That’s a tough question to answer! In fact, ask a group of CCW permit holders this same question and you’ll get answers that range from “I only carry Glocks” to “A .22 is the ideal carry gun” to “I carry a full-bore 1911 in .45-auto.”
What these answers tell us is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to concealed carry guns, rather – you need to find the gun that fits right for you. Taking a CCW class will help you determine the right hand gun for you.
That said, there are few guns that we feel offer a terrific balance of all of the attributes you’ll likely want in a carry gun – an appropriate caliber, a lightweight frame, compact dimensions, a reasonable price tag, and most of all…reliability!
After reading this list, visit the Range 702, your friendly Las Vegas shooting shooting range and test fire each one. You’ll really want to get a taste of what feels like the right gun for you.
Glocks are universally lauded for their simplicity, long term durability, and incredible accuracy. They are also among the more affordable guns on the market today due to their use of polymers versus costly stainless steel. The 9mm version (Glock 26) delivers 10 rounds in a compact package, while the more potent Glock 27 offers 9 shots of .40 caliber. The 9mm version is a little more pleasant to shoot, but the additional stopping power of the .40 might be worth a look.
It’s a Glock, so it’s reliable. It’s a .380, so its power is adequate. Its capacity is only 6+1 in a single-stack magazine (the gun is thin, and the grip is short), so it’s super-concealable. The G42 may be best as a backup gun, but it can serve as a primary concealed carry pistol.
The same size and capacity as the G42, the G43 is chambered in the more powerful 9mm cartridge. The G42 is an excellent subcompact 9mm.
Like all Glocks, both pistols have more aftermarket accessories (such as pinky extenders and higher-capacity magazines) than you could ever count.
RUGER SR9C – 9MM:
The Ruger is a traditionally-styled semi-automatic pistol that is a little bit heavier than your average carry gun. While this may immediately scare some CCW holders away, it is important to note that the SR9C shoots quite softly – even with full power 9mm loads. And, this steel-framed pistol holds 17 rounds in the magazine – possibly eliminating the need to carry a spare mag at all times. The trigger is a joy to manipulate, and the price tag is quite attractive given the feature content of this gun.
SMITH & WESSON M&P COMPACT – .45ACP
Sure, you could order one in 9mm, .40, or .357 SIG, but why not opt for the thunderous, classic .45ACP to give you the ultimate in self-defense capabilities? This medium sized pistol is built like a tank and can hold eight rounds of .45. Interchangeable palm swells offer a customized fit, and the mag extension provides room for all of your fingers – not always standard with CCW guns.
LCR stands for Lightweight Compact Revolver. A very accurate description for this double-action-only handgun. The LCR’s barrel length is less than two inches, and the overall length is only 6.5 inches. The gun is less than three inches wide. It is available in several calibers and capacities: .22LR (8 rounds), .22 WMR (6 rounds), .38 Special +P (5 rounds), .357 Magnum (5 rounds), 9mm Luger (5 rounds), and .327 Federal Magnum (6 rounds) which also can fire .32 Auto, .32 Short, .32 Long, and .32 H&R Magnum. The different models weigh between 13.5 ounces and 17.2 ounces.
SMITH & WESSON SHIELD
This spectacular single-stack, striker-fired auto-loader is available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. The 9mm is 7+1 and 8+1 (it comes with one 7-round and one 8-round magazine). The .40 is 6+1, and the .45 is 7+1. The Shield is dependable and accurate, like all S&Ws, and small enough for easy concealment. The Shield may be the best 9mm under 400 dollars.
SCCY CPX 2
An excellent “budget gun.” The SCCY (pronounced “sky”) is inexpensive without being cheap. As of this writing, the MSRP is $269.99.
It is double-action-only, so it has a long, heavy (though smooth and manageable) trigger pull. It has a 10-round magazine and no external safety. The SCCY CPX 2 is a reliable, good-quality choice for a concealed carrier on a budget.
KAHR PM9 – 9MM
The Kahr is a light, thin, semi-automatic pistol that holds six rounds of 9mm in the magazine – or 7 with the optional extended mag. This gun offers a super smooth trigger pull and a classy overall look. Kahr pistols are available in a range of styles and trim levels to suit any budget.
As with any list, there is always an element of personal preference to consider. Your ideal gun doesn’t have to be on this list, but it does have to be a weapon that you can shoot accurately, manipulate safely, afford, and it never hurts to be one you like to look.