9 Best Concealed Carry Guns [2023]: 9mm, .45 ACP, & More By: Wyatt Sloan

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What is the best concealed carry gun?

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Spoiler alert — there isn’t one.

Variety of CCW Handguns
Variety of CCW Handguns

The real question you should be asking is, “what is the best concealed carry gun for me?

People who choose to carry come in all shapes, sizes, and skill levels. Sometimes it may just come down to what you are wearing that day. All these factors mean different market feedback, which is reflected in the sheer amount of different guns available.

Today, we are going to take a look at a varied but non-exhaustive list of some of the best concealed carry guns on the market.

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Highest Capacity

    Sig Sauer P365 X-Macro

    The X-Macro makes use of crazy magazine technology to create a thin, concealable firearm that packs a whopping 17 rounds of 9mm.

    $799 at Palmetto State Armory
    Jump to Details
  2. Editor’s Pick

    Walther PDP

    The PDP’s emobdies everything a great carry pistol should be, and the excellent trigger is icing on the cake.

    $529 at Grabagun
    Jump to Details
  3. Best Concealed Carry .380

    Ruger LCP Max

    The LCP Max is the thinnest and lightest gun on our list, but still holds its own when it comes to capacity.

    $329 at Palmetto State Armory
    Jump to Details
  4. Best Concealed Carry Revolver

    Kimber K6s

    The Kimber K6s blends high quality and high performance while keeping everything lightweight, slim, and concealable.

    $879 at Kygunco
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  5. Best High-End Concealed Carry

    Staccato C2

    It may be expensive, but it is hellbent for fast, accurate, and reliable.

    $1999 at Staccato
    Jump to Details

Table of Contents

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Caliber Considerations

Before we dive in, you may ask, “well, what caliber should I get?” This is a great question, but also a topic that usually brings heated debate.

Once again, I propose you ask yourself, “what is the best caliber for me?” The real answer to that is “the one that you will use.”

Choices choices.

There are pros and cons to each caliber, but a gun you aren’t comfortable with, or won’t buy ammo for, doesn’t help much when it comes to carrying.

That said, most common concealed carry calibers such as 9mm, .45 ACP, .40 S&W, .380 ACP, and .38 Special are proven and well-suited for self-defense.

What about .22 LR or .22 Magnum?

.22LR (CCI vs Winchester vs Super Colibri)
.22 caliber guns are great for recoil control and ammo costs but generally aren’t considered the best for self-defense.

While the morgue has seen its fair share of victims taken by rimfire calibers, we typically recommend stepping up to a larger diameter, more powerful, and more reliable cartridge like the ones mentioned above.

However, if this is your pick, something is better than nothing, and these can still get the job done.

You can learn more in our definitive guide to handgun calibers.

Best Concealed Carry Guns

1. Sig P365 (and variants)

Micro-compact pistols have taken the world by storm, and rightfully so. They offer a reasonably high ammo capacity in a small, thin, lightweight package.

P365 Comparison
A P365XL (top), P365 (middle), and a P365X (bottom).

Sig has been leading the micro-compact charge with its ultra-successful P365 series.

These guns are just over an inch thick, but depending on the particular model, they boast anywhere from a 10-round (P365) to a whopping 17-round capacity (X-Macro).

499

at GrabAGun

Prices accurate at time of writing


499
at GrabAGun

  • GrabAGun (See Price)
  • Palmetto State Amory (See Price)
  • Kygunco (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

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Excellent ergonomics, good triggers, OEM night sights, and solid accuracy and reliability have propelled these to the top spot for many gun owners worldwide.

The XL version is what our founder carries.

Hard to argue against 12+1 9mm in a small compact form that has always gone bang!

599

at GrabAGun

Prices accurate at time of writing


599
at GrabAGun

  • GrabAGun (See Price)
  • EuroOptic (See Price)
  • Palmetto State Armory (See Price)
  • Kygunco (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

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Additionally, the P365’s modularity and rapidly growing aftermarket have pushed it even further, making it one of the most supported guns on the market today.

The latest in the series is the X-Macro which gives the Glock 19 a run for its money.

Highest Capacity
799

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing


799
at Palmetto State Armory

  • Palmetto State Armory (See Price)
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  • Sportsman’s Warehouse (See Price)

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Check out our full reviews of the P365, P365XL, and the P365 X-Macro!

2. Springfield Hellcat

Much like the P365, the Springfield Hellcat is another top-tier option for those wanting a micro-compact.

A standard capacity of 11+1 gives it a slight capacity advantage over the base P365, but that’s not all.

Springfield Armory Hellcat
Springfield Armory Hellcat with the 13-round extended mag.

The Hellcat’s factory U-notch rear and tritium front sight are one of the best stock sight setups on the market. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can toss a micro red dot on the optics-ready models.

Aggressive grip texturing, a crisp trigger, optional 13-round extended mags, and overall solid performance make the Hellcat a homerun choice.

490

at Bereli

Prices accurate at time of writing


490
at Bereli

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You can read up on our full review of the Hellcat!

What do you think of the Hellcat? Rate it below!

Readers’ Ratings

4.89/5
(3790)

Your Rating?

3. Walther PDP Compact

We love Walther at Pew Pew tactical, and it is no secret, but with good reason.

Walther PDPs
Walther PDPs

The PDP Compact is a true Glock 19-sized compact gun that can double as a duty gun or a concealed carry piece.

What places the PDP above its peers is the exquisite Performance Duty Trigger — a crisp 4-pound trigger with a clean break, almost no overtravel, and a very short reset.

Trigger aside, you get an optics-ready pistol that is boringly reliable, dead-nuts accurate, and extremely ergonomic.

For concealed carry, the 4-inch barreled compact model with the 15-round compact grip module is our top choice in the PDP lineup.

Best Compact 9mm Pistol
529

at Grabagun

Prices accurate at time of writing


529
at Grabagun

  • Grabagun (See Price)
  • Palmetto State Armory (See Price)
  • EuroOptic (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

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Not sold yet? Check out our 10,000-round review of the Walther PDP!

4. Ruger LCP Max

Sometimes when you are concealed-carrying, you really want to make sure your gun is concealed.

That is where the Ruger LCP Max comes in.

LCP Max with Mag
LCP Max with Mag

Pew Pew Tactical founder Eric Hung describes it as “the ultimate combination of weight, size, and capacity for a .380 concealed carry gun.”

The LCP Max Comes in under an inch thick and is only 10.6 ounces. It is 5.17 inches long, 4.12 inches tall, and has a capacity of 10 or 12 rounds (extended).

With those stats, we agree with Eric.

Best Concealed Carry .380
329

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing


329
at Palmetto State Armory

  • Palmetto State Armory (See Price)
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A set of solid sights help squeeze out surprising levels of accuracy for a gun of its size, and the gun’s popularity means holsters are plentiful.

Take a peek at Eric’s hands-on review of the LCP Max!

5. Kimber K6s

Kimber surprised everyone when they dropped what is arguably the best gun the company has ever produced — the K6s.

Kimber K6s
The Kimber K6s was an unexpected entry into the revolver world.

At 23 ounces, these guns are the lightest 6-shot .357 revolvers on the market, already making them a great candidate for concealed carry.

On top of that, the sights are snag free and offer an excellent picture, the trigger is great, and the build quality is absolutely top-notch.

Kimber K6s
The K6s features a flat-sided cylinder that keeps the gun slim while retaining 6 shots instead of 5.

Not only are these guns built well, but they also shoot well and are gorgeous to boot.

Kimber offers the K6s 2, 3, and 4-inch barrel lengths, with the 2 and 3-inch variants available in either hammerless or exposed hammer (DASA) versions.

It may not be the cheapest revolver out there, but its price reflects its outstanding quality.

Best Concealed Carry Revolver
879

at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing


879
at Kygunco

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Prices accurate at time of writing

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If this one is calling your name, you can read more in our full review of the Kimber K6s.

6. Staccato C2

The Staccato C2 is a departure from the rest of the list in that it is the only gun north of $1,000.

Staccato C2
Staccato C2

So what do you get for all that dough?

Just a hand-fitted barrel, frame, and slide, precision machined parts, extreme accuracy, an ultra-crisp 4-pound single-action trigger, and arguably the flattest shooting concealed carry gun on the market.

While that might sound like quite a claim, the C2 backs it up thanks to years of building experience by the industry-leading 2011 manufacturer Staccato (formerly STI).

With a 3.9-inch match-grade bull barrel and 16 rounds of 9mm on tap, the C2 is on the bigger side for a concealed carry gun, but it is still a compact gun at heart.  

Optics-ready versions are available for those that want to squeeze even more accuracy and speed out of an already blazing-fast gun. If you are looking for a pocket sniper rifle, this is the one.

Best High-End Concealed Carry
1999

at Staccato

Prices accurate at time of writing


1999
at Staccato

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You can read more in our full review of the Staccato C2!

7. Springfield XD-M Elite OSP .45

Although it may be associated with older guns and the older crowd, .45 ACP is far from dead.

While it may be a bit chunkier than other options on this list, it is still reasonably sized for concealed carry. (Photo: The Armory Life)

Shooters who enjoy this caliber will want to take a look at the Springfield XD-M Elite OSP.

The Elite XD-M line brings some awesome features, such as an improved META flat-face trigger, a removable flared magwell, fully ambidextrous controls, and an optics-ready slide.

There are not a lot of factory options for optics-ready compact .45 guns out there, but the XD is an excellent choice. (Photo: The Armory Life)

Although the barrel is a carry friendly 3.8 inches, the XD-M Elite OSP keeps 10+1 rounds of .45 ACP on tap, pushing you above the capacity of most 1911s and other single-stack .45s of similar lengths.

If you love moving big bullets out of small guns, this might be the one for you.

559

at GrabAGun

Prices accurate at time of writing


559
at GrabAGun

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8. Canik TP9 Elite SC

While micro-compacts currently rule the roost, not everyone fancies an ultra-thin gun. Alternatively, some people still want something shorter than the standard 4-inch compact barrel.

A Canik TP9 Elite SC shown with an extended magazine and Shield RMSc optic. (Photo: Gallery of Guns Blog)

Whether it is hand size, comfort, or control, there is a still a solid argument for the good ole’ basic sub-compact handgun—especially one as good as the Canik TP9 Elite SC.

Canik has come on strong in the last few years with the TP9 lineup, which are Walther-derived guns. The Elite SC is no exception and features Canik’s famously good triggers, great accuracy, and reliability.

The TP9 Elite SC is the spiritual successor to the awesome-but-discontinued Walther PPQ SC. (Photo: Breach Bang Clear)

The TP9 Elite SC features a 3.5-inch match-grade barrel, blacked-out rear and phosphorous front sight, ambidextrous slide release, and an optics-ready slide cut for Shield RMS/RMSc pattern dots.

Standard flush fits magazines offer you 12 rounds on tap, with extended 15-round magazines also available.

399

at GrabAGun

Prices accurate at time of writing


399
at GrabAGun

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If you want something short and easy to conceal but isn’t overly thin, the Elite SC might be for you. Oh, and it is easy on the wallet too!

9. Smith & Wesson Shield Plus

As we cap the list off, we are headed back into the world of micro-compacts with the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus.

M&P Shield 9 Plus
M&P Shield 9 Plus

In 2012, the original Shield redefined what a modern, slim, concealed-carry gun for the masses was. It enjoyed widespread popularity, and it only makes sense they would update it to compete with higher-capacity guns.

Smith and Wesson added only a tiny bit of width (1.1 inches wide) but upped the capacity from 10 and 13 (extended) rounds of 9mm.

Surprisingly they were able to cut a bit of weight over the original, bringing it to 20.2 ounces.

A new flat-bow trigger and the M&P 2.0 aggressive grip texture help with accuracy and recoil control.

Optics-ready versions and models with or without thumb safeties are available. Additionally, Smith and Wesson offers the Shield Plus in the newer .30 Super Carry caliber, further increasing the capacity.

399

at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing


399
at Kygunco

  • Kygunco (See Price)
  • Palmetto State Armory (See Price)
  • GrabAGun (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

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Don’t forget to take a look at our full review of the Shield Plus!

Final Thoughts

Covering all the great concealed carry guns out there would take ages; thus, sacrifices had to be made (including some of my personal favorites).

This list is meant to cover some of the best and easily available carry guns that work well for a majority of shooters.

If your gun didn’t make the list, don’t fret, and remember, the best concealed carry gun is the one that works for you.

What are your thoughts on these guns? Let us know in the comments below! Still considering more options? Check out our articles on the 8 Best Compact 9mm handguns and Best Micro Compact 9mm Handguns.