While some defense-minded handgun carriers are more than happy to pack medium- to large-sized pistols and revolvers for their everyday carry (EDC) guns, in my estimation it is the smaller compact and subcompact pistols and revolvers that predominate. Certainly, there could be seasonal considerations—it’s easier to conceal a large handgun under a winter coat. But you are going to carry what you are going to carry and, in most cases, size matters. So, we take a look at the top 15 EDC pistols for 2021.
15 Top EDC Pistols for 2021
Weight matters, too. One must also consider extra ammunition, a tactical light and/or a practical knife. As a retired law enforcement officer (LEO), I am going to carry a concealed handgun, no doubt about it. However, as I age, I’m less inclined to carry 5 pounds of gun and gear in close proximity to my waistline. I want something effective, but at the same time I don’t want to come home following an outing and have to rub on pain-soothing ointment or pop several acetaminophen tablets. The most important rule is to have a gun. So, here are some that I’ve found for 2021 that fill the bill.
Beretta APX Carry
New to me especially is the APX Carry. This is a single-stack magazine version of the APX striker-fired 9mm with a 6+1 cartridge capacity and optional eight-round extended magazine. It has a 3-inch barrel, with an overall length of 5.63 inches and an empty weight of 19.8 ounces. A unique feature is an end-user removable serialized chassis and can be easily modified with replaceable grip frame housings. The slide has a full-length cocking surface with low-profile fixed sights. Finishes include a black slide with a black frame or frames in flat dark earth (FDE) and gray. MSRP is $349.
CZ P-10 S OD/FDE
CZ has come out with a new variant of the P-10 S. For those not wanting basic black, it’s now available in olive drab (OD) green and FDE. This very concealable pistol has a 3.5-inch barrel, 6.6-inch overall length and an empty weight of 24.4 ounces. It’s a 12+1 capacity 9mm (10+1 also available) with a polymer frame, durable non-reflective black slide finish and fixed tritium night sights. It has a striker-fired action with a crisp trigger and excellent ergonomics with textured panels on the grip frame. Controls include an ambidextrous slide release and reversible magazine catch, plus there’s an accessory rail. MSRP is $619.
FN 509 Compact
This new FN 509 Compact model features a design around deep concealment. It has a 3.7-inch barrel, an overall length of 6.8 inches and an empty weight of 25.5 ounces. A low-profile blackout rear sight mates with a high-visibility dot front sight. This striker-fired, double-action (DA) 9mm has a 10- or 12-round, flush-fit magazine and a 15-round extended magazine. There are also two interchangeable backstraps and advanced grip texturing, plus an integral accessory rail on the dust cover. The slide stop and magazine catch are ambidextrous. Finishes are black and FDE. MSRP is $679.
This newest version of the VP9SK has a push-button magazine catch (in place of a paddle catch) that’s also reversible, adjustable grip frame and interchangeable backstrap, allowing up to 27 configurations. It has a 3.39-inch barrel, an overall length of 6.61 inches and an empty weight of 23.07 ounces. Sights are fixed with optional night sights. There’s also an accessory rail, and the striker-fired trigger is the best in its class. Slide finish is Black HE with a textured polymer frame. This 9mm comes with 10- and 13-round magazines. MSRP for the standard version is $749.
Kimber Micro 9 Rapide (Black Ice)
A new Micro 9 version, this 9mm is hammer-fired with a single-action (SA) mechanism, plus ambidextrous manual safeties. The steel slide has stepped cocking serrations and cuts to reduce weight. It’s mated to an aluminum frame, with both in a two-tone KimPro finish. Tru-Glo TFX night sights are standard, as are black textured G10 grips. There’s a stainless 3.15-inch match barrel, and the overall length is 6.4 inches. Weight is 15.6 ounces empty. Cartridge capacity is 7+1 with a finger-rest magazine. MSRP on the Black Ice is $883.
Magnum Research Baby Eagle III
Recently returned to the Desert Eagle lineup, the Baby III comes in both steel and polymer frames with a black oxide finish. The polymer version has a slim, textured grip frame, with a finger groove frontstrap and accessory rail, plus three-dot fixed sights. Versions in 9mm and .40 S&W use double-column 12- or 15-round magazines. This is a double-action/single-action (DA/SA), hammer-fired pistol, with a slide-mounted manual safety/decocker. Its 3.85-inch barrel gives it a 7.825 inches overall length and the 9mm has an empty weight of 26.3 ounces. MSRP is $646.
Ruger LCP II Lite Rack .22
Not everyone can manage difficult gun manipulation and recoil. Now, Ruger has the LCP II Lite Rack chambered in .22 Long Rifle. Easily concealed, it has a 2.75-inch barrel and an overall length of 5.20 inches and weighs just 11.4 ounces. Cartridge capacity is 10+1 rounds in an extended-grip magazine. With a steel slide and polymer frame, this striker-fired DA has the Lite Rack System, with refined serrations and ears on the slide, push-forward safety option, plus a Hogue HandALL grip sleeve. While set up for high-velocity .22 ammo, it has low recoil. MSRP is $369.
Made by Sarsilmaz of Turkey, the SAR 9C chambered in 9mm is a striker-fired, safety-trigger-equipped, polymer-framed pistol with a steel slide and fixed-dot sights. Good hand fit is assured with interchangeable backstraps and side panels. The grip frame has textured panels, and there’s an accessory rail on the dust cover. The barrel is 4 inches in length, and overall length is 7.2 inches. Empty weight is 26.8 ounces. Magazine capacity is 15+1 rounds (10-round mags are available). Recoil is tamed with a low bore axis and 20-degree grip angle. MSRP is $421.
SCCY enters the striker-fired category with the DVG-1. Its straight trigger has a smooth, 5.5-pound pull, and the gun can be had with fixed sights or factory-installed CTS-1500 Red Dot Sight. This subcompact 9mm has a 10+1 capacity, a 3.1-inch QuadLock barrel and an overall length of 6.01 inches. Empty weight is 15.5 ounces. The steel slide has front and rear serrations and an H&M Black Nitride finish. The polymer grip frame has texturing on the sides, with finger grooves on the frontstrap. MSRP for the fixed-sight version is $300 with iron sights and $400 with the RDS.
Sig Sauer P365
The P365 Nitron is one of the most popular handguns out there today. For its size (3.1-inch barrel, 5.8 inches overall length, 17.8 ounces weight) and firepower (10+1 9mm), this is one extraordinary EDC pistol. Now you can upgrade your P365 with different slide options, like the SAS slide in Coyote Tan, with flush-fitting FT Bullseye sight. You can also add grip mods in gray or Coyote, a Coyote-colored 10-round magazine floorplate or a direct replacement straight trigger, which gives the shooter a lower position on the trigger that increases leverage for a smoother, more consistent pull. MSRP for a base P365 Nitron is $599.
Springfield Armory Hellcat
The Hellcat isn’t news, unless you live in a state with a magazine capacity limit. If so, you can now own a Hellcat in 9mm! The gun is very compact for its magazine capacity. The barrel is 3 inches in length, with an overall length of 6 inches and an empty weight of 18.3 ounces. The black steel slide is Melonite-finished, and the black polymer frame has an adaptive grip texture. The fixed night sights have a U-dot configuration. Other new options include an Optical Sight Pistol (OSP) and FDE finish. MSRP for the 10-shot model is $569.
Stoeger STR-9S Combat Pistol
Some folks don’t mind extra bulk in their EDC. If this is the case, you might like the STR-9S Combat Pistol. It’s set up with co-witness/suppressor fiber-optic sights, threaded barrel with cap, flared mag well, three interchangeable backstraps and optics-ready slide. This 20-shot 9mm is striker-fired and has a polymer frame, a textured, finger-groove grip and an accessory rail. The steel slide features front and rear serrations and has a Black Nitride finish. Barrel length is 4.17 inches, with an overall length of 7.44 inches. Empty weight is 25.6 ounces. MSRP $549.
Smith & Wesson M&P 9 M2.0 Compact OR
More shooters are going to micro red-dot (MRD) sights, even for EDC. S&W now offers its 9mm Compact version of the M&P9 2.0-C in optics-ready form. It comes with seven mounting plates, plus two 15-round mags and four interchangeable palm-swell grip inserts. Other features on this striker-fired, steel slide, polymer-framed semi-auto include co-witness dot sights and enlarged forward serrations. It has a 4-inch barrel, an overall length of 7.25 inches and an empty weight of 24 ounces. The stainless steel slide is available with Armornite FDE finish. MSRP is $616.
Taurus G3c T.O.R.O.
Introduced last year, the G3c subcompact 9mm is now being offered in a T.O.R.O. (Taurus Optic Ready Option) version. The slide has a factory-installed cover, which when removed, allows the installation of any four different adapter plates that permit the mounting of most popular red-dot sights. This striker-fired pistol has a 3.2-inch barrel, and an overall length of 6.3 inches. The unloaded weight is 22 ounces. The textured black polymer frame has an accessory rail, while the steel slide is Tenifer Matte Black. Capacity is 12+1 rounds. MSRP is $408.77.
Walther PDP Compact 4-inch
This Performance Duty Pistol has Super Terrain slide serrations and a distinctive Performance Duty trigger action with 5.6-pound pull. The 4-inch barrel gives it an overall length of 7.5 inches and an empty weight of 24.4 ounces. The steel slide has a white-dot adjustable rear sight and post front sight, and it’s optics-ready. The polymer grip frame has a Performance texture, and there’s an accessory rail. In 9mm, it has a 15+1 capacity and is modular for longer slides and barrels. The dull black finish is super-durable, and the MSRP is $649.
This article was originally published in the Personal Defense World June/July 2020 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email [email protected]
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