Best Concealed Carry Guns

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 Double 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

Revolver Semi-Auto
.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

Revolver Semi-Auto
.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,”

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