Best Concealed Carry Guns

There are variables to consider when choosing the best concealed carry gun. The debates are traditionally between calibers and whether the gun should be a revolver or a semi-automatic. Each side has its merits and there’s no right or wrong. It all comes down to preference on which concealed carry gun suits an individual the best.

Semi-Auto or Revolver as a Concealed Carry Gun?

The great thing about revolvers is that they are less likely to jam. If for some reason a round doesn’t fire, pull the trigger again and rotate to the next round. Thus making revolvers the preferred concealed carry gun.

However, most revolvers max out at 6 rounds (many concealed revolvers have 5 rounds). Also revolvers tend not to have a traditional safety. Instead they either have a long trigger pull or require the hammer to be pulled back before firing (Also known as Single Action Only).

Semi-automatic handguns can provide an advantage with a larger magazine capacity. The smaller framed semi-autos can be smaller and less noticeable than some of the small revolvers. Also it’s much faster to reload if you have a spare magazine ready. Many prefer semi-autos for their concealed carry gun.

Large or Small Caliber as a Concealed Carry Gun?

Smaller caliber handguns, in many cases, can have a less intrusive frame. This makes it easier to conceal but also increases the recoil. Currently the most popular caliber is a .380. Despite it’s reputation for not having a lot of stopping power, the .380 actually uses the same slug as a 9mm. The only difference is that a 9mm cartridge is longer and usually holds more gunpowder. A 9mm is 9mm x 19mm whereas the .380 is 9mm x 17mm. Because of this many people believe they are the best concealed carry guns.

For help with visualizing caliber sizes use this article by Guns & Ammo Info. It’s a good resource to help familiarize yourself with caliber sizes when searching for your concealed carry gun.

Most Common “Small” Caliber Handguns

.22 Long Rifle (22LR).25 ACP
.22 Magnum (22 Mag).32 ACP
.38 Special.380 Auto (9mm Browning)

Larger caliber handguns have a bulkier, uncomfortable, and harder to conceal frame. However, their stopping power can be stronger. It is possible to get an extremely small framed firearm with a larger caliber. Though this will most likely yield a greater recoil.

In addition to the weight of the frame, one must also consider the weight of each round. Larger caliber rounds have a noticeable weight difference. Using an inside-the-pants holster with 6 .45 ACP rounds will most likely pull down your pants. However, the stopping power combined with the small frame on a large caliber makes these some of the best concealed carry guns.

Most Common “Large” Caliber Handguns

.357 Magnum (357 Mag)9mm (9mm Luger)
.44 Special (44SP).40 (40 S&W)
.44 Magnum (44 Mag)10mm
.45 Colt.45 (45 ACP)

As mentioned earlier, it’s all a matter of preference. A .22 Long Rifle will not have the same stopping power as a .40 S&W. However, having “a” firearm for protection is better than having none. Here’s a list of some of the best concealed carry guns.

Best Concealed Carry Pistols


  1. Mike says

    Well J.S.T., looks like you covered darn near everything.

    The only thing I’d say is to choose a gun you’re realistically going to carry. I love my full size handguns. They have better sights, more rounds, more to hold on to and are just easier to shoot accurately. They’re also next to impossible (for me) to conceal (unless I’m wearing a parka). The ‘biggest’ gun I feel comfortable concealing on my person is my Glock 27. It still has decent sights, a capable round and is pretty comfortable to shoot (I also like that I have the ability to swap out the barrel & mag and turn it into a 9mm). For me, it’s a good compromise between size and concealability. But sometimes (depending on where I am and what clothes I’m wearing), even it is too big. That’s when I carry the little pocket .380 (in my case a KelTec P3AT). To be honest, it’s one of the most difficult guns I have to shoot accurately (which is why I practice with it a lot). The sights are crude and (because of it’s small size & weight) it’s snappy to shoot. And, obviously, the .380 ACP round is not as good as a .40 S&W. But it’s dependable and, what I love about it, it’s very easy to conceal. Sometimes the fact that I’m carrying simply CANNOT be compromised. On those days, I’d rather have a small .380 in my pocket than a bigger gun in my car. (By the way, I do keep a bigger gun in the car too)

    • says

      I agree with you completely. I almost always have my Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 on me, even when I go to the grocery store. When conditions permit I’ll even have my Springfield XD9 on me. It’s a lot heavier and bulkier, but it is exceptionally more accurate.

      Living in Florida doesn’t permit the wearability of most clothing. Unless it’s shorts and a T-Shirt, even during the “winter,”

  2. says

    A great deal of thought goes into choosing the right concealed weapon, it seems. May I ask how many times it has become truly necessary to draw these weapons? Or, even worse, shoot them? I’m trying to decide whether carrying is more for peace of mind, or out of real necessity. I try to envision situations that might call for protection, but I don’t usually put myself in many of these, and even if the unexpected did arise, I’m afraid there’d either be no time to dig a gun out of my purse or the assailant would get hold of it. It isn’t an easy decision, and with gun violence these days and accidental shootings, I hesitate to buy a gun. This is probably the wrong forum in which to bring these things up…:-/

    • says

      Hey Teresa,

      You actually bring up a great deal of valid points. Everyone carries for a different reason. The majority of people treat it like insurance: “It’s great to have, but they never want to use it.”

      Luckily I’ve never had to even draw my weapon. However, my wife had to when someone followed her home. She didn’t put herself in that situation and, in fact, did everything she could to avoid it.

      As you mentioned, it is possible that you might not even be able to reach your firearm at the time of an attack. For this reason some people carry multiple firearms. Possibly on in your purse and one in your car or on yourself. It’s also possible that you will be able to reach it and save your life. Or even save the life of a loved one.

      The best way to avoid accidental shootings is to practice safety. In all honesty it’s a relatively rare occurrence. Both Gun Shows and Gun Ranges are taking initiatives to reduce that number even more.

      If you are still considering purchasing a firearm, I’d advise that you at least take Concealed Carry Class. This will give you a lot more information. It will provide some hands on experience.

      I hope this helps.

    • Keri says

      Would you rather sit and consider it… what happens if your attacked within this time, don’t you think you would’ve rather made this decision a long time ago. How many stories have you heard that am unlikely hero saves the day? A man the other week was being praised for shooting a robber at a convenient store who was killing all the customers. He, like many, is am average American with a permit to carry. It’s for protection, yes. But many people think it’s for your own protection. That’s not the only reason. Maybe it’s the motherly side of me, but I feel the need to protect not only myself but my kids, friends, and other innocent people around me. I do what I can to keep myself out of bad situations, and I live in Williston ND. Not saying its a bad place to live but we have our fair share of crimes around here. But you can do everything right and still end up in a bad situation, criminals don’t care if it’s day or night, good side of the neighborhood, or the bad. It can happen to you, so Protect yourself now, before it’s too late.

    • RAY says

      FYI I have lived in Peoria IL for 40 years and have had to pull my fire 3 times. I was robbed broad daylight downtown at knifepoint several years ago and did not carry until then. the worst time was when I was going to visit a disabled Vet from church and 6 young black men strung across the street down town and was wanting me to get out of the car. I did as they asked only I came out with my revolver with a 12 inch barrel . One of the men yelled “Da honky got’s a gun” and it was over. Thank God I had my revolver I probably wouldn’t be here today. It’s not a good feeling to have to pull a gun on someone but neither is having you life threatened just because some wants to be mean. It is your decision and thank God you live in a country where men have died and paid with there lives blood to protect you right to choose.

    • Dee says

      Theresa I am 64 years old and have carried for 40 plus years, had to pull mine out 2 times for the protection of myself, kids and grand kids. Luckily I didn’t have to shoot anyone they backed down as soon as they saw I could protect us ( keep in mind that IF you pull your gun out be ready to use it ), I would if necessary. I always conceal carry a .380 that has a thumb safety inside pants holster. Sometimes I carry my .38 special on my hip but it is mostly left in the car or in the home, out of sight but easy reach.. Take gun safety classes, conceal carry class and practice , practice, practice until it becomes so that you feel natural

  3. J.Q. Tony Q says

    I was on that side, against guns, and I still believe the world would be better without guns, but that is not realistic, I just needed to get more information to see the real picture, at least for me, no necessarily for everybody, good people will always do the right thing, following the rules, good citizen, etc, for example if I go to a restaurant and they have the policy of no guns allow, my question is: do they do enough to be sure nobody will carrier guns? because if I do the right thing, because I am good, but the bad guy won’t, then that is not fear, I mean, ” I am not worry about people carrying guns, I am afraid of bad people with guns”, your position or my doesn’t affect this fact, bad people will do their wrong things anyway, but now I am “insured” and next time this “pacifist” will be in a different position to stop him/her.

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