The Kimber Micro 9 is a compact 1911 that should fit a wide variety of shooters. It is made with exceptionally tight tolerances from a mix of steel and aluminum. It is essentially a micro 1911 and includes a nice single-action trigger and well-shaped controls. This design also features a lowered and flared ejection port for improved reliability and a beveled magazine well for fast, positive reloads. Sticking to its concealed-carry design, the magazines on the Micro 9 are flush-fitting and available in six-round capacities. The entire gun is deburred and void of hard sharp edges that can make concealed carry uncomfortable. The “X” factor in this particular Raptor variant is its looks. With a stainless steel frame and hardwood grips, it is as much a work of art as it is a defensive handgun.
Glock has long been known as a solid name in the concealed-carry market with a variety of “baby Glocks.” Along with their cut-down cousins, though, Glock offers two single-stack semi-autos pistols for concealed carry. The one we prefer is the Glock 43. This is a compact, lightweight 9mm pistol that makes any type of carry comfortable. The gun mates Glock’s renowned reliability with super-small dimensions. It has a built-in beavertail design with an aggressive grip, allowing shooters to more easily manage the small package. It is built along the same lines as all other Glocks, so the trigger and manual of arms are identical to all of the other Glock pistols you may have run. If you enjoy the simple function and reliability of full-sized Glocks, the 1.02-inch-wide G43 is certainly worth a close look.
Beretta has linked up with Ernest Langdon to develop a carry version of its popular Px4 series. The result is the Px4 Compact Carry. The gun comes with low-profile controls, a Talon grip for a more secure hold on the gun and a gray Cerakote-finished slide that is equipped to stand up to daily exposure to perspiration and moisture without corroding. The AmeriGlo night sights have a low-profile design that’s more conducive to low-light shooting, and their contoured design ensures the sights won’t snag on clothing when you draw the gun. There’s a new trigger as well, which helps improve accuracy and allows you to deliver faster follow-up shots. Easy to shoot, the Px4 Compact Carry is a solid part of our selection.
Like Beretta, Sig Sauer is a well-known name in the gun world. One of its most popular pistols has been the P225. With some engineering and dedication, the gun now has a compact twin. The P225-A1 retains the exceptional look and feel of the original P225 but features an enhanced trigger and the precision manufacturing and quality from Sig’s state-of-the-art facility in New Hampshire. The P225-A1 is a single-stack 9mm with the time-tested double-action/single-action (DA/SA) trigger system. The fully machined stainless steel slide is finished in durable Nitron, and the hardcoat anodized frame sports two-piece grips with Sig medallions. The slim slide profile and shorter barrel length make for an easy-to-carry pistol while retaining familiar controls. With its inherent accuracy, reliability and durability, the upgraded P225-A1 makes a great concealed-carry weapon.
Kahr Arms’ small, comfortable, striker-fired pistols have been popular for concealed carry for some time and that shows no sign of changing. The Kahr CM9 Tungsten, officially the CM9093TU3, offers a good balance between size and accuracy. The gun comes with a new a tungsten Cerakote finish, which adds a unique look to the gun and, more importantly, protects the slide with a baked-on ceramic finish that is impervious to perspiration. The gun also sports three-dot sights, a Pachmayr Tactical Grip Glove and a Pearce finger rest magazine extension.
S&W created a phenomenon when it released the M&P Shield series. These have been popular concealed-carry guns for some time. The natural evolution in this particular variant, the M&P9, is the addition of night sights. The plain truth is that a majority of lethal-force encounters occur in low light, and it’s a good idea to have night sights on your guns. The sights included on the M&P9 Shield have tritium inserts for battery-free illumination, and their smooth shape prevents snagging. Both the front and rear sights are dovetailed into the slide, meaning they can easily be adjusted as needed. The gun is very lightweight with a polymer frame and an embedded steel chassis. Like many of its competitors, this is a striker-fired pistol and has a short, consistent trigger pull. Models are also available with thumb safeties if that’s a feature you desire.
Ruger’s LCP is known for being a lightweight, compact semi-auto that is easy to conceal. It’s also a double-action-only, hammer-fired pistol with the hammer recessed into the back of the gun. This helps prevent any snagging that can occur with an exposed hammer. Well, Ruger has taken a good thing and made it even better with the new LCP II, which features a completely redesigned slide and frame. Shooters familiar with the original will notice new front slide serrations, a wider, more comfortable grip frame with a longer backstrap and next texturing along every side of the grip for a secure hold. The slide also sports improved sights that are larger while still being integral, making them extra durable. The most important update, however, is the trigger. The LCP II features a short, crisp, single-action trigger with a safety toggle.
The XD-S pistols are the only single-stack XDs from Springfield Armory. These guns are inherently slim and seem to disappear when you carry them. The 9mm XD-S 3.3″ is well designed and includes several critical features. Its comfortable ergonomics—complete with two interchangeable backstraps—allow it to work without punishing your hands. The fiber-optic front sight and two-dot rear sight align quickly and provide a clear sight picture for accurate shooting. The trigger on the XD-S also feels more like it belongs on a target pistol than a carry piece. Shooters who are used to difficult, heavy triggers on deep-concealment pistols tend to enjoy this smooth, crisp trigger. The XD-S is a solid addition to Springfield’s successful XD line, and the company also offers a 4-inch-barreled model.
We would be remiss if we did not include at least one revolver in our mix. One that should warrant serious consideration is the Kimber K6s. Its claim to fame is being the world’s lightest six-shot .357 Magnum revolver. The K6s is a small-framed gun sporting a 2-inch barrel. Most of the gun is machined from stainless steel for superior integrity, strength and resistance to the elements. The gun also has a very smooth match-grade trigger that allows exceptional accuracy for such a small gun. It has an internal hammer, and the gun’s edges are rounded and blended to help avoid snags. One other design feature is the inclusion of serious sights on the gun. Gone are the days of point and hope. Chambered for the ever-serious .357 Magnum, the K6s still allows shooters to get some rang time in with .38 Special rounds. If you’re interested in a deep-cover revolver, the Kimber K6s warrants a serious look.
One pistol that is seen in concealed-carry holsters around the world is the Bersa Thunder .380. This affordable gun offers accuracy, reliability and versatility in a lightweight, compact design. Unlike its striker-fired competition, the Thunder includes an external safety and a decocking mechanism. The gun has a light aluminum alloy frame that reduces weight for easier carry, yet the pistol still retains enough mass to help tame recoil. The nearly straight-in alignment of the chamber and the topmost cartridge in the magazine seems to be responsible for the pistol’s reliable cycling. The Thunder offers another option for those who prefer .380 ACPs.
There are many trends inside the firearms industry that seem to ebb and flow. Sometimes what was all the rage three months ago is almost non-existent now. There are a few cornerstone items, though, that will be around as long as humans walk the Earth. The most prevalent of those is the concealed carry handguns market.
The number of people looking for the perfect CCW is as big now as it has ever been, and it’s only showing signs of growth. Every major gun manufacturer has at least one handgun dedicated to the concealed carry handguns market.
Like every other aspect of firearms, though, opinions on just what is “the best” changes from person to person. With the vast number of easily concealed carry handguns on the market, it can be tough to figure out what is what. With that in mind, we have pulled out a list of 10 of the most popular handguns in this arena and assembled the details about each to further your CCW knowledge.
With that said, let’s explore a variety of concealed carry handguns, from striker-fired compact to tiny revolvers.
For more information about the concealed carry handguns featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.
Kimber Micro 9 Raptor
Beretta Px4 Storm Compact Carry
Sig Sauer P225-A1
Kahr CM9 Tungsten with Grip Glove
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
Ruger LCP II
Springfield XD-S 3.3″
Bersa Thunder .380
This article was originally published in ‘Personal & Home Defense’ Spring 2017. To order a copy, please visit outdoorgroupstore.com.
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