A guide to picking a concealed carry handgun.
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In this day and age, being able to protect yourself is undoubtedly a priority. One of the best ways to ensure you have protection at all times is to carry a concealed handgun. The problem that many face, when picking a concealed carry handgun, is that there are numerous firearms to choose from.

A Guide to Picking a Concealed Carry Handgun

Aside from doing your own research online and scouring reviews to see what other gun owners think, it’s a good idea to go to a local gun store to view your options in person. Seeing photos of a firearm on a website and holding one in your hands are two different things. You need to feel the grip and the weight, and the gun has to seem right. If it doesn’t feel natural in your hand, it isn’t the right gun for you.

Size Does Matter

The whole point of carrying a concealed weapon is to be able to protect yourself without letting others know that you have a gun. Still, CCW firearms come in a variety of sizes that need to be considered before purchasing. A couple of attributes to consider include the actual weight of the firearm, the size of the magazine and how many rounds it can hold, as well as how concealable it truly is.

In other words, does it leave a visible print, or not, through your clothes while you’re trying to conceal it? The importance of these attributes depends on your personal needs and desires.

Of course, the majority of concealed-carry weapons are on the small side. However, you still need to decide between compact and subcompact. What is the difference? They really differ only slightly in size and weight.

Subcompact handguns weigh less than compact handguns and are not quite as wide. They also differ when it comes to the recoil as well. Because they weigh less, subcompact firearms tend to have sharper recoil than compact models. More often than not—depending on the caliber of the ammunition they fire—subcompact and compact firearms alike pack the same power as full-sized handguns.

When it comes to a CCW, there is quite a variety to choose from these days. Some of the latest models have more safety features in place, and the guns have an overall great look. Have a particular caliber preference? Just about every handgun caliber is an option when it comes to a CCW. The type of ammunition you prefer may be another angle to consider when you are choosing your CCW.

9mm—SIG Sauer

If you’re looking for a reliable, 9mm micro-compact, the Sig Sauer P365 is the way to go. The standard model comes equipped with a magazine that holds 10 rounds plus one. But there are additional options for larger-capacity magazines. Making the P365 a small gun with the capacity of a full-sized handgun.

The Legion P229 from Sig Sauer is a compact pistol with a classic look. As a result, it is high on our guide to picking a concealed carry handgun.
The Legion P229 from Sig Sauer is a compact pistol with a classic look. As a result, it is high on our guide to picking a concealed carry handgun.

The P365 comes in four options, depending on what other features you may be looking for in a CCW. Another selling point with the P365 is that it’s easy to handle and light in weight but fires like a standard-sized gun.

For another compact option, the Sig Sauer P938 is a solid choice. The design is derived from the 1911, giving this modern pistol a classic look. Sig Sauer offers this firearm in four different designs, adding various features such as a choice of sights while still maintaining the classic, desirable 1911 look. The Legion version, for example, includes a night sight.

Sig Sauer has a variety of other CCWs available, such as the P229. All these compact and subcompact models are low profile and come in a variety of caliber options, too. Models such as the P938 and P229 are both 9mm, and great compact guns. These are all excellent options when it comes to compact handguns.

Sig Sauer’s P365 is ideal for those looking for a small handgun with the power of a full-sized gun. Micro-compacts, like the P365, are a great option when picking a concealed carry handgun.
Sig Sauer’s P365 is ideal for those looking for a small handgun with the power of a full-sized gun. Micro-compacts, like the P365, are a great option when picking a concealed carry handgun.
Sig Sauer’s P238 is available in a variety of options to suit everyone’s needs.
Sig Sauer’s P238 is available in a variety of options to suit everyone’s needs.

9mm—Ruger, Glock and S&W

The EC9 collection from Ruger includes several low-profile firearms chambered in 9mm and hold seven rounds. These also come in a variety of colors, so you may choose what suits you best. Each of these models is light in weight and comfortable to use.

Glock offers a wide range of CCW firearms as well. The G26 is the first one that comes to mind. Known as the “Baby Glock,” it resembles most of their other models, just in a miniature version. The grip is wider than that of some CCW guns, but it is great for a low-profile firearm.

For a subcompact handgun, this 9mm firearm holds a fair amount of ammo. The magazine holds 10 rounds, and optional magazines are available that hold up to 33 rounds. Glock recently came out with the G26 Gen4, which has few changes in regard to ergonomics.

Other sound choices from Glock include the G48 Slimline and the G43X Slimline. Both are 9mm handguns with a magazine capacity of 10 rounds. The G48 Slimline has a low profile and is considered a compact gun, while the G43X Slimline is considered to be a subcompact.

The Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm comes in numerous options to choose from, but one that stands out is the M&P 9 Shield. This handgun holds 8 rounds.

Three Eighty

The Ruger LCP model 03760 is new in the LCP lineup. This .380-caliber pistol is great for concealed carry and fits many different holsters. The magazine holds six rounds, and the grip is comfortable and easy to secure. Also from Ruger is the LCP 13710, which is another compact .380-caliber pistol. One difference in this firearm is the look, as it is a specialized model that displays the American flag on it. The LCP 13710 also has a six-round magazine.

Wheelguns

When it comes to CCWs, let’s not rule out the possibility of a revolver. The Ruger LCR is an ideal choice when it comes to discreet weapon options. Though revolvers typically hold less ammo in the cylinder than a magazine does in a semi-auto pistol, they still hold their own for personal-defense purposes.

Ruger revolvers make excellent concealed-carry options and come in a variety of calibers. When picking a concealed carry handgun, revolvers make great options because there is less potential for failures while shooting.
Ruger revolvers make excellent concealed-carry options and come in a variety of calibers. When picking a concealed carry handgun, revolvers make great options because there is less potential for failures while shooting.

Everyone has their own preferences, but those who are revolver fans will appreciate the Ruger LCR. Its lightweight, easy-to-conceal profile is ideal for personal protection and adding a laser to it gives you more control on your target without obstructing your view. The LCR comes in a few calibers, including .38 Special and .357.

Smith & Wesson’s Model 442 revolver is another great CCW option. It’s light in weight yet has the power equivalent of a full-sized gun. The Model 442 is available in many different caliber options, including .38 Special, and holds five rounds. It also has three hammer designs and is your classic Smith & Wesson revolver with modern improvements. A limited edition “We The People” model is currently available.

No matter what your individual preference may be, you are sure to find a firearm that was made just for you. The most important aspect is that you are confident with what you choose. There is a CCW firearm suited to everyone’s preferences and protection needs. The best way to choose is to do your research and figure out what features you absolutely want in a CCW.

This article was originally published in the Personal Defense World April/May 2021 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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