Best Concealed Carry Pistol


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What is the Best Handgun for Concealed Carry?

When someone asks, "What is the best concealed carry pistol?", inevitably there will be a lot of different answers to that question.  Many different people will have many different opinions on which pistol is going to be best for concealed carry.  There are many different factors involved in answering that question: size & weight, knockdown power, magazine capacity, recoil & muzzle blast, ease of shooting... these are just some of the factors involved.  In addition, cost also comes into play for people that don't have an unlimited supply of money.  So, with these factors in mind, this article will give some suggestions of what may be the best concealed carry pistol for some people.


One possible contender for the best concealed carry pistol is a .357 Magnum revolver.  It's legendary stopping power, the simplicity & reliability of a revolver, and the compact size of a small .357 revolver with a short barrel are all strong attributes for a concealed carry pistol.

.357 Concealed Carry Pistol   Taurus Model 605 Handgun 

Smith & Wesson Model 649 Revolver and Taurus Model 605 Revolver

There are many different .357 revolvers available on the market.  One option for a compact carry .357 revolver is the well known Smith and Wesson Model 649 with 2-1/8" barrel and 5 shots of the potent .357 Magnum round.  The concealed hammer design of the S&W 649 helps to ensure the hammer does not hang up while quickly withdrawing the gun, and it even allows the gun to be fired at an attacker from within a coat pocket in an emergency situation.  For those looking for a more economical choice, Taurus makes a wide variety of concealed carry revolvers including the Taurus Model 605 with 2" barrel and 5 shot cylinder.  For tamer recoil, a .38 Special +P load can also be used in these .357 revolvers.  Or, there is also a good selection of compact .38 Special revolvers specifically designed to shoot this round.  One of the newer compact ultralight revolvers for concealed carry is the Ruger LCR designed to shoot .38 special +P ammo.


For a personal defense gun, it's hard to beat the combination and benefits of a semi-automatic handgun like a compact Glock 23 chambered for the potent .40 S&W with a standard magazine capacity of 13 rounds.  For those wanting less recoil, the compact Glock 19 chambered in the popular 9mm with a capacity of 15 rounds is another popular choice.  Glock is well known for making a quality gun, and they are widely used by law enforcement officials.

Glock 22 Pistol   Sigma Concealed Carry Handgun

Glock 23 .40 S&W Pistol and Smith & Wesson SW40VE Pistol

For those not having as much money to spend, another popular choice is the Smith and Wesson Sigma series of pistols.  The SW40VE chambered in the potent .40 S&W with 14 round magazine, and the SW9VE chambered in the popular 9mm with 16 round magazine are both economical alternatives to the Glock pistols.  In fact, some people have been able to buy a Smith and Wesson Sigma series pistol for around 1/2 THE PRICE of a comparable Glock.  Keep in mind that these pistols are full size and require a little more effort to carry concealed.  Glock does offer compact and subcompact models, but keep in mind that generally the smaller you go in size, then the more kick and felt recoil you will experience for a given caliber of ammunition.  Other gun manufacturers also offer more compact versions of their semi-auto pistols.  Pistols such as the Kahr 9mm PM9 and .40 caliber PM40, and the more economical Kahr CM9 and CM40 handguns are popular choices.

These are just a few possible contenders in the best concealed carry pistol category.  There are many other guns available that could also fit the bill of a concealed carry gun.  A lot of it will depend on personal preference.  A person can check online gun forums to find out what other people are using and why.  If at all possible, try to test fire a particular pistol before buying.  Some local indoor gun ranges rent different pistols.  See what you feel most comfortable shooting.  For those looking for less recoil, a 9mm semi-auto pistol or a .38 Special revolver might offer better control.  The nice thing about a .357 Magnum revolver is that you can also shoot the tamer .38 Special round.   


Some people are also fond of the ultra-compact guns like the North American Arms mini-revolvers available in .22 Magnum and .22LR.  These are very small and can be kept in one's pocket.  They are generally regarded as not having enough stopping power for self defense - even in the .22 Magnum load.  But, as the old saying goes, "any gun is better than no gun!"   There some truth to that; however, if you can carry more potent firepower, then you are probably well advised to do so.  A more potent pocket pistol is the Ruger LCP (and similar Kel-Tec P-3AT) that is chambered for the .380 Auto round.  The Ruger LCP is also a very compact pistol and weighs in at only 10 ounces (unloaded).  As you can see, there are many options available.

Ultra Concealable NAA Revolver   Ruger LCP Concealed Carry Pistol

North American Arms .22 Magnum Revolver and Ruger LCP .380 Pistol  

Keep in mind that just as important as the gun itself (and probably more important) is your ability to properly handle and fire the weapon.  Along those lines... practice, practice, and more practice!  You want to be so familiar with your pistol that it's operation becomes second nature to you.  Being faced with a confrontation is not the time to start practicing your shooting! 

Once you've made your decision on what pistol to carry, another important choice is the ammunition.  Generally speaking, the experts say that the best concealed carry pistol ammunition is JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) in terms of it's stopping power in self defense situations.  Just make sure that you practice shooting with whatever ammunition you carry to make sure that it works properly in your gun.  This is especially important for semi-automatic pistols that might jam with some ammo.  As a side note, some people highly recommend reading the book, "In the Gravest Extreme" written by well known shooting expert Massad Ayoob.  This book covers a lot of the laws and ethics surrounding the use of guns for personal protection.  And of course, always be sure to obtain your concealed weapons permit so that you can legally carry.  Follow all applicable gun laws, practice proper gun safety, and then hope that you really never need to use it after all!