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  • Ray Campbell

I Ranked And Reviewed The Best Concealed Carry Handguns In 2022

Concealed carry handguns are the perfect weapon for those looking to remain clandestine, but there are a lot of options out there to choose from. Read hands-on reviews of my top ten and compare prices for new, used and certified-used guns.

FYI, prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.


1. SIG Sauer P365 - Comfortable and Accurate


SIG Sauer P365

Highlight: It’s small, checking in at just 5.8 inches in overall length, but still has a magazine size of 10 rounds. It is also quite light, weighing only 17.8 ounces.

Helpful review: "I came to enjoy shooting the little pistol and had no problems or difficulty running the gun; inserting mags, getting a grip, firing, ejecting the mag, locking the slide back, etc… The controls seem to be well located for my medium-sized hands and perfectly functional to what I’d expect. Frankly, I was expecting difficulty and never encountered any.
Generally speaking, it’s a tiny pistol so shooting 9mm from it means it’s going to be snappier than a mid-sized pistol. That said, I found it very easy to control—even with a modified grip—and easy to make quick follow-up shots. This is especially true when I was using the extended magazine, where I was able to get my whole hand on the grip. I still find it amazing that this short, thin, little grip can hold a magazine with 10 rounds. It seems impossible, yet here it is.
The trigger is plastic and does not have a safety-tab rib, making it a bit more comfortable on the finger pad than most striker-fired pistols’ trigger shoes. The trigger action is very nice for a stock trigger. It has some takeup, a clear wall, and a sort of dull break (not super-crisp). The reset is quite short and a bit soft; not as tactile as you’ll find on many striker-fired pistols. I found the trigger to be very nice when running the gun and, I think, it’s a component that contributes to the easy accuracy.
The P365 has the best size-to-capacity ratio of any subcompact pistol. While small, the pistol’s ergonomic design makes it fit comfortably in the hand and the extended magazine allows most folks to get all of their fingers on the grip. For carry, the pistol is small enough to disappear onto your body no matter what carry location you choose. I found it to be easily accurate out to 15 yards, which is plenty for a subcompact.
Sig has seemingly done the impossible here; squeezing 11 rounds into a super-tiny striker-fired pistol that is both comfortable and accurate. It’s the kind of thing that most concealed carriers always wish for. I have to believe that this P365 will eventually become a concealed-carry staple for lots of folks." — Andy Rutledge

Get your P365 now at Guns.com: from $429.99 & FREE Shipping



 

2. Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield EZ - Excellent for Beginners


Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ

Highlight: There is an easy to use trigger safety as well as a safety on the grip that is depressed when you hold the gun. There are also passive safety reminders throughout the gun, including a visual indicator when there is a round in the chamber. Aside from that, this weapon is user-friendly and simple to use.

Helpful review: "You might consider the 9 Shield EZ for the fact that it is deliberately made to be easy to rack the slide—as the spring is far softer than is found on most pistols. It is therefore well suited to people who may have trouble manipulating the slide of other pistols. You might also consider the 9 Shield EZ for the 8-round magazines that are extremely easy to load. Pull tabs on either side of the single-stack magazine allow virtually anyone to easily load the magazine to full capacity. Or you might consider it for the fact that it’s one of the few modern poly-pistols that has a grip safety; a feature that some find very appealing and comforting.
Despite the prominent visual feature of the large grip safety protruding from the backstrap, I’m happy to report that it is a non-factor in running the gun. I never felt it or noted its engagement. And that’s the way it should be. Yes, it looks a bit weird when the gun is not in your hand, but it’s something one should and likely will get over.
The frame is right in what I consider to be the sweet spot for size and configuration. It’s small enough to be somewhat compact, but large enough so that you get a full grip and full control when firing. The grip features M&P’s M2.0 texture, which is pretty nice, but still not rough enough for my taste. But it’s better than you’re apt to find on most poly pistols.
Loading the magazines is as easy as reported and anyone should be able to load them. Similarly, racking the slide to chamber the first round was ridiculously easy. That is one soft spring! I took my first shots for precision and slow fire to get a feel for the gun. Pretty much what I expected; neither too stout nor overly soft-shooting. If feels like a gun its size and weight should feel when shooting 9mm. It was not at all difficult to control the gun in shooting strings. I then picked up the pace.
The trigger on the 9 Shield EZ is pretty darned good. The action is smooth and the trigger breaks at around 4.5 lbs. The reset is very soft; while the spring on some pistols’ triggers push your finger forward in the reset, the EZ’s trigger reset is comparatively weak. I don’t think that’s good or bad, it’s just different from what I’ve found in most triggers. I had no trouble with the trigger and it completed what was, overall, a very easy-to-shoot experience." — Shooty McBeardface

Get your 9 Shield EZ now at Guns.com: from $349.99 & FREE Shipping



 

3. Taurus G2C - The Cheapest Option


Taurus G2C

Highlight: Aside from the price, there’s a lot to love about the Taurus G2C. For one, testers found that it is "very reliable and will never fail to fire." It also has an excellent grip, something that can come in handy during tense scenarios.

Helpful review: "This gun is very popular in the US market due to its price point, as the Millennium G2c comes in at under $250 in most shops. The magazines themselves are fairly affordable at around the $25 per piece price point and have a nice yellow follower that’s very easy to see. You can actually turn the gun parallel then tip it up slightly, and the empty magazines will still shoot out of the gun. It is really quite impressive. The magazines do not have a flush back base pad, but instead, they have a pinky extension that allows you to get all three fingers from your pinky up to your middle finger on the grip of the gun.
You really can’t expect anything more from a gun at this price point. The walls of the grip are pretty thin, which makes the grip feel good in the hand. But the downside of that is there’s not enough material to chamfer on the interior of the mag well to help you guide in the magazine.
Ergonomically, the Taurus G2C feels great in the hands. This gun is really an amazing size. And considering when it was introduced in 2013, it was really ahead of its time. The only other offerings that were available then were the Glock 26 and the Glock 19 as well as the M&P series and the Glock was a chunky awkward feeling gun.
The Taurus is that perfect Goldilocks size for most people. The thicker grip over something, like a single stack Smith and Wesson Shield, gives you a little confidence than a single stack would. Holding 12 rounds in the magazine doesn’t hurt either. And the gun is just thin enough that you feel like you have complete control over it.
Overall, it’s very ergonomic and easy to use. You can ride your thumb on the safety if you so wish, which is what I would suggest. The safety itself is very thin, so there’s not a whole lot of room to grab onto it. But as long as you train to use it, you’re not going to have any issues activating that safety.
If you’re a new shooter, this gun is probably going to have more recoil than you would expect from handling it. It has quite a heavy slide, or at least it kind of appears heavy when you’re feeling it, and that leads to quite a decent little bit of recoil. It’s exactly what you can expect from a budget-priced gun." — Harrison

Get your G2C now at Guns.com: from $249.99 & FREE Shipping



 

4. Springfield XD-S - For Concealed Carry in Different Types of Clothing


Springfield XD-S

Highlight: With an overall length of 6.3 inches and a weight of 23 ounces, the XD-S definitely works well for concealed carry. It also has a 7+1 magazine, which is not bad at all. It’s easy to fire, comfortable in hand, and surprisingly controllable for a gun of its size.

Helpful review: "Springfield has been making minor tweaks to the XD-S over the years, but this time they did a major overhaul. The pistol combines many of the attributes that existing XD-S fans know and love with some upgrades that might draw a completely new following. Springfield could’ve simply rechambered the existing 45 ACP XD-S Mod.2 in 9mm. Instead they designed a new version around the 9mm round itself. By doing so, they were able to package it into a smaller frame with a slimmer profile.
One of the things that keeps guys with Dremel tools and soldering irons in business is the inability or unwillingness of gun manufacturers to take a clue from their base and design their polymer frames with the kind of textures and contours that shooters love. Springfield appears to be one of the few companies that has figured out they can offer many beloved grip features right out of the box.
The Mod.2 “GripZone,” as Springfield has christened it, features three different textures around the grip to enhance shooter comfort and control. Zone 1 covers the frontstrap and lower portion of the backstrap with a skateboard-tape-style texture. Zone 2 covers the peripheral areas, where the palm and fingers wrap around the grip, offering a slightly more aggressive variation of the same texture. Zone 3 is a slick portion extending up the middle. These varying degrees of texturing make for a comfortable yet secure gripping surface that won’t rub your abdomen raw when it’s concealed under your shirt.
The Mod.2 also has a higher cut tang to lower the bore axis and place the shooter’s hand closer to the slide. The deep undercut on the trigger guard combined with the extended beaver tail allows for a higher grip and provides excellent recoil management.
The Mod.2 upgrades were chosen to perfect the XD-S for everyday carry. The front sight has been upgraded to a bright AmeriGlo Pro-Glo tritium sight for quick sight acquisition during day or night. The rear sight has been replaced with Springfield’s serrated “tap-rack” sight, with a shelf that offers a positive surface to rack your slide (e.g. against a belt, boot, doorway, etc.) should one-handed slide manipulation become necessary.
One surprisingly under-advertised advantage built into Springfield’s XD line of pistols is its standoff capability. During an extreme close-quarters confrontation where you might find yourself in a clinch with an attacker, it may be necessary to make a contact shot. The danger is that press contact will likely push the slide out of battery, preventing the gun from discharging. The XD series full-length guide rod protrudes slightly past the muzzle, providing a contact surface that takes the pressure off the slide and keeps the slide in battery. It’s not foolproof, but it increases the odds in your favor.
The Mod.2 has three passive safety mechanisms. The trigger safety blocks the trigger from moving to the rear unless the safety lever and trigger are depressed simultaneously. The grip safety located behind the tang must also be depressed for the gun to fire. An additional “drop-proof” striker block safety is connected to the grip safety. This prevents the striker from moving forward and striking the primer until it’s disengaged during the firing sequence. All three safeties work in unison to ensure the gun won’t go off unless it’s in your hand and you’re pulling the trigger." — Chad McBroom

Get your XD-S now at Guns.com: from $349.99 & FREE Shipping



 

5. Glock G42 - The "Compromise" Firearm


Glock G42

Highlight: The G42 is an excellent choice for those who want to conceal carry but can’t get out to practice shooting all of the time. It is comfortable enough to take to the range every now and again, but a bit small to routinely spend all day shooting. It’s big enough that it can still be accurate without a lot of practice, but small enough to conceal well. In a way, it’s a great “compromise” firearm if you don’t have specific goals.

Helpful review: "Although I am quite pleased with the 42, I’ve long thought the 26 was an excellent bug out gun due to its small size and big performance. And I still believe that. The issue is that the 42 is just such an excellent gun at half the weight... The robust but simple aspects of every Glock are alive and well in the 42. Just smaller. Yes, I am well versed in the 43, Glock’s single stack 9mm. It’s a great gun, but as one deeply involved with the G17, 19 and 26, the G43 is little more than a need for new 9mm mags. And if I’m going with new Glock mags, I am going with a new and smaller caliber.
The Glock 42 has another use for me. And one that larger guns just cannot fill. I love EDC Pistol in the outdoors. All of it. From the snowy mountains of Alaska to the stone deserts of Utah. From mountain bike trails of Montana to the canyon rivers of Wyoming, carrying a gun must be as convenient and versatile as carrying a pocket knife.
I’ve run into hikers packing giant caliber revolvers strapped to their chests, but that’s not for me (and makes little sense in the big picture). I’m not scared of bears or mountain lions. Instead it is the wacko drug-crazed two-legged variety that cause me concern. When relaxing at the apex of a mountain bike ride, or scratching out a campsite near a high mountain lake, or just wandering through the woods towards a secret fishing hole, carrying a larger gun on the hip is often not an option worth considering. But slipping a Glock 42into the side pocket of a Camelbak, or dropping a 42 next to my iPod for a mountain run makes more sense than trying to justify not carrying iron at all because of its weight, size and snag-potential." — Doc Montana

Get your G42 now at Guns.com: from $399.99 & FREE Shipping



 

6. Glock G43 - Comfortable to Grip and Simple to Shoot


Glock G43

Highlight: The main selling point of the G43 is how compact it is. This is one gun that is incredibly easy to conceal. It is basically undetectable in a holster, and you can even carry it in your pocket if that’s your thing.

Helpful review: "I ran a variety of ammunition through the gun, including Hornady Critical Defense 9mm 115-grain FTX, Inceptor 9mm 65-grain ARX, Remington 9mm 115-grain UMC and SIG Sauer 9mm 124-grain Elite V-Crown JHP. The pistol cycled well, and I experienced no failures of any kind. It does, of course, perform better with some brands than others, but that’s normal.
Using Remington 9mm 115-grain UMC, I ran through playing-card drills — five rounds from a distance of 5 yards while shooting off-hand. The G43 produced average five-shot groups around 1.25 inches. Groups would have been smaller, but a flyer tended to appear with every group. This continued out to 10 yards, which is when the groups began to open up. From 25 yards, it remained possible to fire five-shot groups around 4 inches in diameter. Keep in mind that the G43 has a short barrel and was not designed for precision shots but rather for concealed carry (at which it excels).
You can conceal the G43 with relative ease. Unlike thicker guns, the pistol’s frame rests snugly against your body and doesn’t protrude excessively. I was able to conceal the firearm whether I wore a sweatshirt or a loose T-shirt. If you wear higher-waisted skinny jeans, you might be pleased to hear the G43 is well-suited to those — with the right holster. Now, before you ask if it can be worn with yoga pants, let me mention that using a proper belt both secures the firearm in place on your body and retains it should you need to draw. If you want to carry the G43 while wearing yoga pants, you can — but you need to spend time drawing (just as you would with any carry wardrobe). Carrying a gun involves making some concessions in how you dress, especially for women.
Time and significant ammo use have proven the G43 is a reliable, accurate carry gun. Ease of concealment matters. After all, depending on your job or the climate of your home state, you may not be able to carry a larger firearm on a regular basis. Having a gun like the G43 in your collection allows you to carry when the weather is hotter or you’re in a less permissive environment. Remember, the weapon you have on your body is better than one constantly left behind in your safe. Sacrificing capacity for concealability is a solid trade when it means your gun will be available at the most important and entirely unplanned moment of your life. The G43 is a reliable, compact pistol available at an affordable price. It just might be the best choice for your next handgun purchase." — Kat Ainsworth

Get your G43 now at Guns.com: from $359.99 & FREE Shipping



 

7. Springfield Hellcat - Fits 11 Rounds With One More in the Barrel


Springfield Hellcat

Highlight: There's a version that comes with a red-dot sight out of the box. This may turn off some shooters who are more used to iron sights, but it actually works very well with this gun, and I recommend shelling out the extra bucks for it.

Helpful review: "The Springfield Armory Hellcat is as easy to use well as some larger guns, more accurate than smaller guns, and holds 14 rounds of 9mm with the extended magazine in place. That is a good reserve of ammunition. There is an optics-ready version of the Hellcat as well.
My example is the standard, fixed-sight model. The pistol is similar to the Springfield XD-S handguns, and this means proven technology and reliability. The Springfield Hellcat is smaller, however, and features a high-capacity magazine. The steel slide features standard and forward cocking serrations, and even a set of cocking serrations on top of the slide. The U-notch rear sight is the type that was once called the old man’s sight. It is easy enough to rapidly acquire this sight, and once lined up, the combination of a U-notch rear sight and the fiber-optic rear sight makes for excellent visibility. The rear sight may be locked on a gun belt and used to rack the slide.
The Hellcat disassembles easily enough for routine maintenance. Simply unload the pistol, double-check to be certain the chamber isn’t loaded, lock the slide to the rear, rotate the takedown lever, and then release the slide lock and run the slide off of the frame. The pistol is well-finished and there are no obvious tool marks. The recoil spring is a big part of the pistol’s recoil-absorbing qualities. This is a dual-spring setup, the hot number for controlling recoil in very light pistols.
The pistol isn’t a hard kicker. Recoil is straight back and muzzle flip is limited. This isn’t like shooting a GLOCK 19, but it is a good shooter at usual combat ranges. I fired at man-sized targets at five, seven and 10 yards in the initial firing stage. By this point, I had fired the pistol extensively with a wide variety of ammunition without a single failure to feed, chamber, fire or eject. I had good results on the first outing and enjoy better results in fast shooting and accuracy today.
I took the pistol out just this morning as I write this and fired 100 rounds of Winchester’s Active Duty. This is a full-power 115-grain FMJ intended for practice and training. It is a clean-burning loading that demonstrates good accuracy. It isn’t difficult to get on target quickly. Unlike many small pistols, the grip frame leads the shooter to an accurate first shot. Control is good and fast follow-up shots are good — not as good as a full-size pistol, but good. Fire, allow the trigger to reset during recoil, and get back on target.
I fired 100 cartridges as quickly as I could refill the magazines, with good results. The pistol handled well and offered good results on the firing line. It wasn’t difficult to get solid X-ring hits, quickly, to 10 yards. If the range is longer, you need to slow down a little to get hits, true with any pistol. I also fired a smaller number of Winchester’s 115-grain Silvertip with good results. The pistol is reliable and Winchester ammunition is a good match. I have fired the pistol extensively with a wide range of ammunition. At 15 yards, firing from a braced barricade position, five-shot groups of two to 2.5 inches are possible. That is plenty accurate for personal defense. You are far from helpless with this pistol at extended combat ranges. I think the Hellcat is going to be a great addition to the personal-defense world." — Bob Campbell

Get your Hellcat now at Guns.com: from $449.99 & FREE Shipping



 

8. SIG Sauer P320 - The US Army's Sidearm of Choice


SIG Sauer P320

Highlight: It’s easy to take apart and clean, something which is always appreciated. And as you might expect of SIG Sauer, this gun is constructed with high quality materials.

Helpful review: "I was severely jet lagged with just a couple of hours sleep when I turned up at the range and picked up this weapon for the first time. Immediately, I was hitting plates at 20 yards with no issues. I should add I hadn’t been on a range for about six weeks beforehand. This anecdote is an example of the accuracy and usability of the Sig Sauer P320 – a gun that’s perfect for experienced shooters and beginners alike.
The Sig Sauer P320 is a US made, striker fired, automatic pistol available in many different models… lots of shapes and sizes. The reason for this is a revolutionary feature known as the Fire Control Unit (FCU). In layman’s terms the FCU is the trigger group, but it’s the actual serialized “firearm” which in seconds and with no tools can be moved from frame to frame. The “so what” of this means you can set up your pistol to however you want…whatever size…whatever caliber…for whatever task you may have. With so many options out there, I could talk all day about their many features – I’ll talk about the P320 I’ve used the most, the P320 RXP XCompact.
It’s 7.0 inches with a slide mounted optic, the ROMEO 01 PRO. It has a 15 round magazine and a Nitron black finish that reminds me of a F-117 Stealth Bomber. The flat trigger has a clean and crisp 90 degree break that aids in the pistol’s accuracy. When picking up the 320 you’ll get the instant Sig Sauer combat-ready feel – the grip and controls are all perfectly set up.
Should you buy it? Of course, this is one question that opens up a whole load of questions from me like, “How often are you going to train?” “Do you plan to conceal carry?” “What exactly do you want it for?” The answers to these questions always influence my advice, but it’s always a P320 that I recommend. Most of the time I recommend with the P320 RXP full size. It’ll get you started as a great out-of-the-box ready pistol, and if there are any issues or features you want to change, it’s an easy fix.
Summary: It’s the P320 suitable for carry? In my opinion, absolutely. The P320 is a safe and performance-oriented weapon if you use a proper holster and carry out practice drills. There’s no substitute for practice.
Pros: It’s an accurate and reliable pistol which can be set up to suit almost any shooter. Cons: Dare I say it, none. Ok, there isn’t a P320 Craighead Edition available." — Chris Craighead

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9. Walther Q4 SF - Perfect for Long Trainings at the Shooting Range


Walther Q4 SF

Highlight: The Q4 SF weighs a good bit more than most of the other handguns on this list at about 40 ounces. But the added weight isn’t just a bad thing. You’ll get increased accuracy and a more comfortable shot thanks to it, making this gun a better candidate for long training days at the firing range.

Helpful review: "Both versions of the new Q4 SF come as all-steel, striker fired guns with no external hammer. The polygonal barrel is 4 inches long, or 102 mm. The difference between the two is immediately visible to the attentive observer in the sights. While one gun comes with a drift-adjustable rear sight, Walther also has an OR (Optics Ready) version up its sleeve. This features a factory fitted LPA micrometer sight, which can be replaced by a red dot sight using 3 different, separately available plates.