What’s the best handgun for concealed carry? That depends.
By Corey Graff, Online Editor
I am a big proponent of Glocks for concealed carry. The Glock Model 19 is a mid-sized semi-automatic handgun that holds 15 rounds and is accurate and simple to shoot and maintain.
In the blink of an eye your concealed carry gun could be the one thing standing between you and a threat. Therefore you need to be sure you’re carrying the absolute best handgun for concealed carry that you possibly can.
But that doesn’t mean you need the most expensive handgun. Or the most fancy. You don’t necessarily need a hand-fitted custom pistol, but you do need one that is reliable.
Concealed Guns to Fit Your Lifestyle
As a general rule, choose a carry gun that will fit with your lifestyle most of the time. If you live in a warm part of the United States, you might gravitate toward thinner designs with shorter barrels, such as the mid-sized 1911, or the single-stack polymer handguns on the market like the Springfield XDs, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, Ruger SR9, Sig Sauer P239, Kahr CW9 or Glock Model 36. (Expert tip: For a full run-down on top handguns, check out Massad Ayoob’s Greatest Handguns of the World Vol. I and Vol. II).
In those warmer parts of the country, you’ll normally wear t-shirts and the like, thus you don’t want your gun to buldge or “print” through your shirt. A slimmer, more mid-sized handgun will make it easier to conceal. However, if you’re a woman, there are specialty purses on the market for concealing a full-size handgun. In fact, some men use fanny packs for concealed carry for just this very reason.
On the other hand, if you live in the north where cold weather dictates wearing jackets and heavy shirts for most of the year, consider the full-sized handgun. There are advantages in doing so. A full-size gun carries more rounds and that’s a good thing. They also have longer barrels (wider sight radius) making them easier to shoot accurately. And a bigger gun will tend to tame recoil more effectively (thanks to its mass) than will a smaller, lighter pistol.
Good choices for full-sized carry guns include the Glock 17 or Glock 22, full-sized 1911 like the Kimber Super Carry Custom HD or Rock Island Armory Standard 1911, Springfield XDm, Browning Hi-Power, CZ P-07 or Heckler & Koch P2000.
While it may seem counterintuitive, one of the mistakes that well-meaning boyfriends and husbands routinely make when buying their ladies a concealed carry handgun is choosing a small, lightweight revolver, usually in .38 special. Don’t do it. The truth is, these cute little guns are among the hardest to shoot — even for large-fisted men — with intense recoil that will discourage new shooters. If you’re buying a handgun for a lady, a full-sized (or possibly mid-sized) semi-automatic is a much better choice. It’ll be much easier to shoot. And for that she’ll thank you.