Having a concealed carry weapon means you have protection wherever you go. When the SHTF, having the very best concealed carry weapons will be incredibly important. However, that doesn’t mean concealed carry isn’t a necessity or a desire today.
The National Firearms Survey, administered in 2015, found that 9 million people carried a loaded handgun at least once a month, and 3 million of them carried a loaded handgun every day. By May of 2017, more than 15 million Americans had received their concealed carry permit.
The best concealed carry weapons are pistols, which will allow you to carry the protection you need without looking like a threat. Of course, gun owners have their preferences when it comes to the pistols they favor.
So, we have taken a look at these favorites and come up with our list of best concealed carry weapons for you to consider adding to your preps. These include the best concealed carry 9mm and the best concealed carry .380. But first, let’s take a look at the rights and responsibilities of the concealed carry pistol owner.
Concealed Carry Responsibilities
In order to use any of the best concealed carry pistols in regular society, you will need to have a concealed carry permit. The ability to get one of these permits will depend on the state in which you live. Check your state laws regarding concealed carry.
Obviously, you will need to have the appropriate firearms license and be fully trained to use a pistol. That means you have to go beyond just learning enough to pass your firearms test. You have to get out there frequently and practice using your weapon of choice, so you are completely comfortable with its use.
You should also enroll in additional classes for the use of concealed carry pistols. These include classes that teach you how to use it in a tactical or defense situation. You will learn all the most important rules, and you will learn how to draw your pistol the right way, which is important in self-defense situations.
Best Concealed Carry .380
The .380 makes an ideal concealed carry pistol. The primary reason for this is that these guns tend to be smaller and lighter, making them much easier to conceal. Many .380s weigh less than a pound when fully loaded.
Unfortunately, these lightweight, small pistols are more apt to experience malfunctions than their larger counterpart. However, they are still the go-to for many people looking for the best concealed carry pistol their money can buy.
With that said, here are the top .380s for concealed carry, along with what makes them so good:
1. Ruger LCP .380
This pistol is made to be concealed. The “LCP” in the name literally stands for Lightweight Compact Pistol. This gun is just 0.8 inches thick and 5 inches in length, and it weighs 10 ounces when not loaded. The size makes it easy to fit into a pocket or a waistband.
However, for its size, it does have a decent recoil, meaning you will need to really practice to be able to shoot with some accuracy. It’s also not the most powerful weapon out there, but it’s 7+1 rounds do the job when it comes to protection in tight situations.
Perhaps one of the most appealing things of the Ruger LCP 380 is the price point. This gun can be purchased for less than $300, making it an inexpensive alternative to some of the other best concealed carry options.
2. Bersa Thunder .380
This .380 lives up to the .380 name. It is very light—23 ounces when fully loaded—and it can easily fit in your pocket. It offers 8+1 round capacity. Both single-action and double-action triggers are available, and the single-action trigger is a mere 4 pounds. With an external thumb safety, this pistol is extra safe while being carried.
The Bersa Thunder is also easy to grip, although it’s on the smaller side and the stock grip is made of a thin plastic. The pistol is just a little bigger than the Glock 43 (we’ll talk about this one below), making it comparable in width and length. Again, this pistol has a stronger recoil than you might expect for a gun of this size.
3. Kel-Tec P-3AT
This pistol is definitely one of the best concealed carry weapons you can get. It comes with 6+1 capacity and double-action trigger, meaning it doesn’t need a safety hammer. This makes the finish smooth and snag-free.
This pistol is also very compact and light. It is 0.77 inches wide, 3.5 inches high, and 5.2 inches long. Fully loaded, it weighs 11.1 ounces. For its size, it does have a bit of recoil. The biggest downside to this pistol is that it isn’t terribly comfortable to shoot, particularly for bigger hands, and the trigger has sharp edges that many people tend to file down.
4. Kahr P380
This is another .380 that can be counted as one of the best concealed carry weapons. The Kahr P380 is built to the same standards as a full-sized pistol, making this a more reliable small pistol than many out there. In fact, this pistol has a dedicated following, including law enforcement and security officers.
The gun is just 10 ounces when unloaded, and it’s a mere 0.75 inches wide and 4.9 inches in length. It literally fits in your pocket, yet the recoil is decent for a gun this small. The standard magazine has a 6+1 capacity, and the extended magazine offers 7+1 rounds. At over $700, this pistol is in the higher price point range but well worth the investment.
5. Diamondback DB380
The Diamondback DB380 is a reasonably priced pistol that is designed for concealed carry. It weighs just 8.8 ounces when unloaded. However, the barrel, at 2.8 inches, is nearly an inch longer than the barrel on most small pistols.
This pistol is quite comfortable for its size. The grip is fairly large, making it easy to handle for larger hands. There is also ample room for the trigger finger to get comfortable, and the trigger action is smooth. The sights on the Diamondback DB380 are decent for a small pistol.
Best Concealed Carry 9mm
The 9 mm, which is a measure of the bullet size this pistol shoots, makes an ideal concealed carry weapon for a number of reasons. First off, there are a lot of 9mm options out there, available in a wide price range. There is also a wider selection of ammo and holsters for these pistols.
The 9mm is in general a heavier gun, with a higher degree of energy and velocity. The heaviness of the gun helps reduce recoil and improve shooting accuracy. It also makes the gun more reliable, with less chance of jamming. However, the extra 4 or 5 ounces above the weight of the .380 turns a lot of people off. You’ll see here that it doesn’t have to be that way.
Before we get into our top 9mm picks, a word on ammo. The absolute best ammo for the 9mm is the Federal HST 124 grain JHP. This is the preferred ammo for 9mm users because it is designed specifically for use by law enforcement. Thus, it maximizes expansion without limiting penetration, making it an ideal tactical ammo.
Here are our top picks for 9mm pistols:
6. SIG P365
This pistol brings you full-size power in a pocket-sized package. The SIG P365 come at a length of 5.8 inches, a height of 4.3 inches, and a width of 1 inch. The weight is a little on the higher side compared with other concealed carry pistols, sitting at 18.6 ounces.
This pistol offers three magazine options, the 10+1 round flush, the 10+1 round extended, and the 12+1 round extended. SIG has accomplished this by using a double-stack magazine. The frame of the pistol is ergonomically designed to provide a comfortable hold and easy access to the trigger.
There has been some concern from people that striker breakage was common on this mode, or the trigger return spring would come off. Apparently, a very small percentage of strikers were not on spec. But that issue was resolved, and only 0.08% of P365s that had been sold were returned due to striker issues.
7. Beretta Nano
The Beretta Nano is sleek and easy to stash in a holster or a purse. With no external safety lever or other type of lever, there is nothing that can get stuck when you need to pull the pistol in a hurry. But although this pistol is small and sleek, it weighs just slightly under 18 ounces.
As for the dimensions of the Beretta Nano, it is 5.63 inches in length, 4.17 inches high, and 0.9 inches wide. The gun capacity is 6+1, and the price point sits in the middle of the range at $475.
8. Glock 19
This is a great pistol for everyday carry. It is comparable to the Glock 17 used by law enforcement, but the reduced size makes it easy to use as a concealed carry. While it has a smaller frame than the Glock 17, it’s still easy to hold for the larger hand, and the recoil is minimal. Plus, this gun can take a 33-round magazine, making it ideal in heavy situations.
9. Glock 26
While the Glock 26 boasts the same width as full-size Glocks, its frame is smaller, and the barrel is shorter. This makes it easy to conceal this pistol. However, despite the smaller size, the Glock 26 is still easy to grip and shoot, even for people with larger hands.
The innards of the Glock 26 are more compact, but this does nothing to diminish the performance of this pistol. Plus, it still has a capacity of 10+1 rounds and is every bit as reliable as full-sized Glocks.
10. Glock 43
We have saved the best for last. The Glock 43 is the best of the concealed carry 9 mm pistols. It is incredibly thin, with a frame that is barely more than 1 inch wide and a slide that is 0.87 inches. The pistol itself is 6.26 inches, and the trigger distance is 2.6 inches. But don’t count this pistol out for larger hands. The design of the Glock 43 makes it an ideal pistol for anyone with big or small hands.
The Glock 43 has a single-stack magazine that lends itself well to concealed carry. However, with an extended magazine, you can enjoy 8+1 shots and still get the benefits of a slim, easy-to-carry pistol. In a pinch, this pistol can be carried in a pocket or a bugout bag, tucked away in your vehicle, or carried easily in your hand when necessary.
Here is a video that demonstrated why the Glock 43 makes the best concealed carry weapon.
BONUS: 3 Best Concealed Carry Holsters
We couldn’t end a discussion about the best concealed carry pistols without talking about the best concealed carry holster. After all, you need to be able to carry your pistol in the most comfortable and easily accessible way possible. Here are the best concealed carry holsters on the market:
1. T.Rex Arms
T.Rex Arms holsters are ideal for concealed carry. They are custom designed for your specific gun, so they ensure a good, close fit. When ordering the holster, there are a series of questions to answer. T.Rex Arms takes these answers and makes the holster by hand. You can’t get better precision than this. Plus, all of their holsters are adjustable for retention.
T.Rex Arms holster options include the Raptor, the Sidecar, and the Fenrir. The Raptor and Sidecar are exceptionally concealable. Because of their custom process and attention to detail, T.Rex Arms holsters do run at the higher price point (well over $100), but they are worth the investment.
2. Bravo Concealment Torsion Holster
The Bravo Concealment Torsion Holster is a high-quality holster that is easy to use with any type of clothing. Despite the fact that the best conceal carry holsters are designed to be used with a belt, this holster can still function well and keep a firearm in place even when worn with an elastic waist.
Having said the above about its versatility with clothing, when worn with a belt, the slim holster sits inside the waist of the pants, while still attaching to the belt. This keeps it and the pistol tucked neatly out of sight. The holster is very durable and has good retention.
3. G-Code Holsters
These holsters are designed and made in-house to offer an incredible fit, no matter the firearm. This was the first Kydex holster to offer a full modular system, which keeps the holster sitting snug and offers a cowling system for lights and belt conversion and attachment systems.
There are two main variants of holsters, Standard and RTI, each of which has multiple models. This makes it easier to find a model that fits your concealed carry well.
The above said, the retention of the G-Code is not as good as the above options, particularly for law and security enforcement. However, for everyday wear, it should be sufficient. Plus, the holsters are very secure and keep your weapon exactly where it should be.
When it comes to the best concealed carry weapon, the choice ultimately comes down to what is the most comfortable for YOU. If it isn’t comfortable, you won’t carry it every day, and that defeats the purpose.
If you aren’t sure what will work best for you, by all means, head in to your local gun shop and handle them. Find out which ones feel the best in your hand and which might draw better. If you have connections at the local firing range, see if you can try someone else’s concealed carry to get a feel for how the different pistols shoot.
Also, consider how your concealed carry handgun will fit in with the rest of your weapons. Are you trying to keep less types of ammo and want to stick with one caliber? Will this concealed carry handgun be added to your bug out bag in case of emergency?
In the end, you will find the right concealed carry for your body and your needs. And if there is anything we haven’t covered here, please feel free to let us know in the comments section below.