Every now and then, someone will ask what the best handgun is for concealed carry. The most asked question I get is “What caliber is best to carry”?
My personal preference is the 9mm and here are some reasons for my choice.
The 9mm ammo is easy to get.
The 9×19 is probably the most plentiful in the ammo market, and it’s affordable. It’s used by the military, most law enforcement agencies, and NATO. It has enough power to stop the biggest majority of aggressive attackers and frequently do the job with only one well-placed shot. It is appropriate to say here that any caliber is ineffective with one shot if it’s not well placed. This is why the recommendation is “two to the chest and one to the head” if possible. Often this is not the case , but a good shot will get the job done.
One of my friends in the past used the rationale of finding sufficient supplies of ammo in the ‘collapse of society’ scenario. If the military, NATO, use this round and you are in short supply during an all-out survival instance, you can find 9×19 ammo laying around anywhere there has been a serious firefight.
9mm is the round most law enforcement uses.
“If it’s good enough for the cops, then it’s good for me, too”. This is one of the main reasons I choose to carry the 9mm. If, God forbid, I am forced to use my gun for defense of myself or a loved one, I most assuredly will be going to court to defend my actions once again. The courts and juries will/should not have difficulty understanding my reason for carrying the same round used by police. It would not be considered “overkill” as may be interpreted with something larger (.45ACP, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, etc.).
Handguns chambered in 9mm are frequently less expensive.
This isn’t always the case, of course, but a great many of the 9mm handguns can be had for less than $500. People have said for decades,” you get what you pay for”, and this is true in many instances. However, you can get a 9mm handgun for much less than you would expect, like the Taurus PT111 Millennium G2, (MSRP of $316). There are several 9mm compact handguns in the $450 to $600 range and are some of the most popular guns around. I have seen some US-made 9mms for less than $200. Hi-Point Firearms has a 9mm for well under $200 and a .45ACP for only $199. They have an unearned reputation for being lower quality, but the reviews are not supporting this line of thinking.
What are the best concealed carry guns – 9mm ?
When I refer to the best concealed carry 9mm guns in this article, I am talking about the most popular guns. This would point to what the consumer market would consider “the best” because that’s what they are buying.
Probably the most well-known handguns are the Glocks. Glock has a very large selection. They have the .380, 9mm, 10mm auto, .40 S&W, and .45ACP, .45G.A.P., and .357. They are also made in several sizes, from full-sized to sub-compact.
The 9mm Glocks are the G17, G19, G26, G43, G34 and the G17L. I have three of them; the G17, G26, and G43, I enjoy shooting all of them at the range. And they are all suitable for every-day carry.
The Glock has a polymer frame and steel slide, making it lighter than the all-steel weapons. The Glocks don’t have a thumb safety. However, the “Safe Action” design makes the external safety totally unnecessary. This gun can be carried with a round in the chamber without danger of going off unintentionally. It’s said you can drop a Glock from a three-story building without fear of it discharging. Some of the other gun makers are using this design as well. There are three safety features built into the design. The trigger has a safety lever that must be depressed in order for the trigger to be pressed back to release the striker. There is also another lever inside to prohibit the striker from moving until the trigger is pressed. In addition, the striker is held in the half-cock position. All three of these features must be activated in proper order for the weapon to discharge.
These safety features in the Glock make it one of the quickest guns to employ. The shooter doesn’t have to remember to first take the external safety off to fire in an emergency. Just draw the weapon, aim, and press the trigger. I wonder, how many people trying to defend themselves have forgotten to release the safety before trying to fire? They have a “dead trigger”and it creates confusion and hesitation. This gives the attacker more time to overcome their victim.
The GLOCK “Safe Action”® pistol is manufactured with only 34 component parts, a significantly lower number of parts than the semi-automatic pistol designs of GLOCK’s competitors. This smaller number of component parts increases reliability by reducing the potential for technical problems. The cost associated with spare parts inventory is reduced, which contributes to the lower overall maintenance costs for the life of the GLOCK pistol.
Pricing for the Glock Concealed Carry Pistols is quite reasonable for what you are getting. They can be had for between $450 and $750. depending on which one you choose.
Kahr Arms began it’s life as a manufacturer of computer numerical controlled (CNC) machining tools in 1981. It was a relatively obvious step going into gun manufacturing due to the ability to use their CNC experience to make quality guns at an affordable price. The video shows the retail of the CT9 at around $300. The video was produced in 2014, and since then the retail of the CT9 has gone to an MSRP of $449. Still quite affordable.
One of the more popular models in the Kahr Arms line is the CW9. It’s a bit smaller and is referred to as a concealed carry compact pistol.
The first time I looked at a CW9 I thought the slide spring was very strong. It was a little hard to rack the slide, too. But the store guy just said, “it’s a new gun”. I guess he meant it needs some breaking in. The video said the same thing about the CT9. But then this is kind of normal. My Rugers were pretty stiff when I got them, too.
The Kahr does have a thumb safety that doubles as a slide lock. The one lever does both jobs quite nicely.
Kahr makes both Polymer frame guns and all steel guns. So you can have it either way. I prefer the polymer frame mainly because of the weight difference.
MSRP of this gun is also $449 as is a number of their products. Very affordable, and one of the most popular defensive handguns in the market.
Sig Sauer has always shined in the full-size duty carry and compact pistol market. Each handgun is painstakingly engineered and crafted in New Hampshire and carries the full weight and promise of the manufacturer. Where the P250 really shines is in its modular nature. It is comparable to the Glock 19 in terms of size and magazine capacity but that’s where the similarities end.
Sig Sauer got its start in 1853 as a wagon manufacturer. The Swiss military soon asked them to make rifles, and the rest is history, so they say. Sig began their efforts to market in the US in 1985 in Virginia. They called themselves SIGARMS, Inc. Then in 1992 they moved to New Hampshire. Sig Sauer is now imported into the Us, and SigArms, Inc. is manufactured in the US. If you are interested, the history of Sig Sauer and SigArms, Inc. can be found at http://www.sigsauer.com/AboutUs/History.aspx.
Sig Sauer makes a model labeled the P250. This one can be chambered in many calibers and sizes. You can choose whatever combination needed for your own purpose. The very popular P239 is a compact version that can also be chambered in 9mm, .40S&W, and .357SIG.
“The P239® was developed in response to demands from law enforcement and federal agents for a compact back-up pistol ideal for off duty concealed carry. The slim profile of this single-stack pistol provides easy concealment without sacrificing handling. The excellent handling characteristics of the P239 are the result of engineering we call “performance engineering” and it’s one of the keys to all SIG SAUER® pistols. The P239 is available in three calibers – 9mm, .357SIG or .40S&W – offering you the choice that’s right for you.” http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductDetails/p239.aspx MSRP; $993
I only have one Sig. I love it. It feels great in my hand, isn’t too heavy, and shoots sweet. My Sig Sauer is the Mosquito version in .22 LR. I didn’t get it for defensive carry, though. It’s just for fun.and practice shooting. If a novice goes to the range with me this is what they start out with. The only drawback I have with this gun is the fact it eats only lubricated ammo. Winchester white box ammo won’t feed through it. A minor inconvenience to remember when I buy ammo for it.
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm
Smith & Wesson could well be one of the most well-known brands of firearms in this country. Headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts, they have been making quality firearms for over 165 years.
In 2005, Smith & Wesson debuted a new polymer-frame pistol intended for the law enforcement market. Dubbed the M&P (for Military and Police), its name was meant to evoke S&W’s history as the firearm of choice for law enforcement agencies through its previous lineup of M&P revolvers. The M&P is a completely new design with no parts interchangeable with any other pistol including the Sigma. The new design not only looks completely different than the Sigma but feels completely different with 3 different back straps supplied with each M&P. Many of the ergonomic study elements that had been incorporated into the Sigma and the SW99 were brought over to the M&P. The improved trigger weight and feel and unique takedown method (not requiring a dry pull of the trigger) were meant to set the M&P apart from both the Sigma and the popular Glock pistols.
The M&P is available in 9×19mm, .40 S&W, and .357 SIG. Also, a .22 LR M&P was developed with Carl Walther and is made in Germany. A .45 ACP model was released in early 2007, after making its debut at the SHOT Show. In addition, compact versions are available in 9×19mm, .40 S&W, .357 SIG, and .45 ACP.
The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm Pistol features a Melonite barrel and steel, white dot, dovetailed sights. Designed to be less than 1″ thin, this semi-automatic double-action pistol has polymer grips and is striker fired with a 9-round capacity. It is equipped with thumb and striker safeties. I read somewhere recently, the thumb safety is optional on the M&P Shield.
Springfield Armory XDS 3.3 9mm
The XD-S 3.3″ 9mm belongs to a specific category of carry pistols and is not meant to compete with or replace compact double stack 9mm pistols like the Glock 19 or a Sig P250. Rather, the XD-S is made for when a thin, single-stack subcompact pistol is appropriate, but without giving up the 9mm chambering. It’s also very appropriate for when you want to own only one carry gun that will work in just about any carry context.
Direct competitors in this category include pistols like the M&P Shield, Kahr PM9, Ruger LC9, and the Glock 43. Some people say the XD-S has features and benefits over these competitors and it ranks as a top contender with all pistols in the subcompact category.
The XD-S is a polymer-bodied pistol with a forged steel slide. The polymer is a bit thicker than you’ll find in most pistols and the finish is excellent.
Given that this is a striker-fired pistol with no external safety, the controls are minimal. The internal safety mechanisms are just like those found on a Glock pistol. The slide lock and takedown levers are sturdy and have nice texturing for ease of use. The magazine ejection controls are ambidextrous and the magazine actually jumps out of the frame when the button is depressed. I wish all magazines ejected this easily.
The grip is a little too short for my taste. I would suggest using the extended magazine for added comfort and control. It would also add another round to the capacity.
Sturm Ruger has been making guns in the US since 1949. They have built a reputation of being one of the best, most rugged firearms made today. I have owned four Rugers in my lifetime and still have three of them. One of my first handgun purchases was a used Blackhawk six-shot .357Magnum revolver I found at a gun show in 1982. I have put that gun through firearm “hell” over the years and still trust it to do its job faithfully. My next purchase was the Ruger SP101 in .357Magnum.
I have two 9mm Rugers I carry frequently. One of my EDC’s is the LC9. This is a 9mm subcompact single stack. The only Ruger smaller than this is the LCP, which is a .380 and sold only to law enforcement in many states.
The LC9 is hammer fired by a concealed hammer and has the external thumb safety. I like this gun with only one exception. The grip is a little too thin for my comfort. The first time I picked one up I put it down again right away because of the thin grip. I couple years later, I took another look and found a sleeve to put over the grip. This adds a bit of width and made it much more of a handful.
The other Ruger I carry is the SR9C. It’s striker fired and still has the thumb safety. It also has the internal safeties similar to the Glock Safe Action design.
This gun is a bit bigger than the LC9 and I like the way it fits my hand. The first time I held this one I knew I had to have it. And when I fired it I was sure I had a winner. It was more comfortable than my first Glock, the G26 Baby Glock, and I could shoot it more accurately.
What are the Best Concealed Carry Guns in 9mm?
I don’t know if there is a conclusion I could draw from this. There is a great number of excellent 9mm handguns out there in the marketplace. And, actually, most of them are pretty good. Let’s see if I can name a few more.
I just had a look at a list of handguns and almost choked. I can’t even begin to count them all. I’ll leave you with a link to the list I found at Wikipedia and let you peruse them at your leisure. But I can list some of the top names that I would not shy away from. So here they are…..
Beretta, Colt, CZ, Desert Eagle, Heckler & Koch, Hi-Point Firearms, Kel-Tec,
Kimber, Remington Arms, Taurus, Walther Arms
Thanks for stopping by and putting up with me rambling on. Please let me know what your favorite handgun is and why you like it so much. Just leave your comments below and I’ll get back to you right away.