Concealed carry is on the rise. More and more citizens are opting to exercise their right to protect themselves under the United States Constitution. With each passing year it becomes ever clearer that the dependence upon others to provide for your and your family’s safety is perilous at best. Given America’s foundation on the idea of self-reliance, each year more people exercise that concept when it comes to personal protection.

Dangerous World

The world is most certainly changing. The days of depending on local law enforcement alone to “keep you safe” are long gone. The economy continues to struggle, resulting in police budgets continually being cut and good officers being laid off. Most police agencies are doing all they can with what they have, but it remains a struggle to keep heads above water. Counting on a police officer to protect you against violent crime is optimistic at best.

Violence is on the rise, making the need to protect oneself even more prescient. Civil unrest in the rest of the world seems to increase with each day, doing nothing to instill any idea of future stability. Coupled with the political climate of the day, many are choosing to take steps to protect themselves before that right is further infringed upon. Presented with this reality, the industry has answered the call with flying colors.

Most Choices Ever

The choices for those who decide to carry a concealed weapon are many, and growing with each year. It remains one of the fastest growing market segments of the firearms industry. Having been involved in this business for well over 15 years, witnessing the differences has been astounding. The last five years alone have seen countless changes and choices—first and foremost with the firearms themselves.

Not long ago you really had just a few choices for a concealed carry weapon, and most were a compromise. Carrying a pistol that was actually useful in a defensive encounter meant it was large and difficult to conceal. Virtually every mainstream weapons manufacturer now offers a small, lightweight and powerful handgun that can be easily concealed. Beretta’s new Nano is a perfect example. A simple and reliable pistol chambered in 9mm or .40 S&W, it is easy to conceal, accurate and well suited to self-protection. Springfield Armory’s new XDS offers a single-stack .45 ACP with all the features of a modern combat pistol. Both of these companies continue to offer full lines of compact or subcompact pistols for just about every need. Even custom builders like Wilson Combat are answering this call. Their new Sentinel line offers the discerning pistol buyer a custom-built 1911 pistol in a small yet reliable package. Their latest offering, the Super Sentinel, provides excellent ballistics using the .38 Super round in a small and concealable package.

Kimber America continues to offer one of the largest selections of 1911 pistols with 3-inch barrels. This platform remains a favorite amongst many concealed carry holders.

For armed citizens looking to go smaller, Ruger’s LCP remains a top choice. Similar pistols like the BodyGuard .380 and Kel-Tecs provide very small pistols for deeper concealment. Smith & Wesson continue to provide dozens of choices in small revolvers. Taurus and Ruger continue to offer solid selections in small revolvers as well. The choices seem endless, and this buyers’ guide provides the opportunity to look at many.


In order to facilitate the ability to properly conceal your firearm, the rest of the industry has stepped up as well. In fact, I cannot recall a time when there were more choices in quality holsters. Whether you are looking for leather, Kydex or nylon, there are a ton of choices. Galco continues to offer holsters for just about every pistol you can conceive of in almost every material available. Often the first to accommodate new guns, their line grows almost monthly. BlackHawk is now providing a complete line of holsters, including leather. Blade-Tech continues to provide a huge selection of simple Kydex holsters. Smaller companies like JM Custom Kydex are making superb holsters custom-fit to your weapons. These many choices mean you can fit just about any handgun into a quality holster and conceal it safely and properly.

Bottom Line

All in all the choices for the lawful concealed carry holder are huge and getting larger with each year. As you look through this publication you get a snapshot of what is out there, how to carry it, and in many cases the best way to use it. Harris Publications is proud to provide the best coverage of this ever-growing part of the industry. It’s a bold new world, and we hope to give you a good look at it here.

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