10 Great Concealed Carry Guns
February 18, 2016
The market for concealed-carry guns is growing; here are 10 great small pistol offerings to consider for personal defense.
Think the market for concealed carry guns is dying? Think again. Since 2007, the number of CCW permit holders has more than doubled, with an estimated 13 million adults exercising their right to carry concealed guns. Those shooters, many of whom have never owned a gun in their lives, are prompting gun companies to build more innovative, user-friendly concealed carry guns.
Many of these "new" concealed carry guns are updated or upgraded versions of existing models. Some are completely new designs. But no matter whether you prefer single-action, steel-framed guns or super slim polymer pistols, we've got something here for you.
Beretta Px4 Compact Carry
Ernest Langdon of Langdon Tactical teamed up with Beretta to develop a version of the company's Px4 Compact specifically aimed at those looking for concealed carry guns. The resulting gun, the Px4 Compact Carry, comes with low-profile controls, a Talon grip for a more secure hold on the gun and a Cerakote slide that is equipped to stand up to daily exposure to perspiration and moisture without corroding.
The Ameriglo night sights have a low-profile design that's more conducive to low light shooting and the contoured design insures that the sights won't hang in your clothing when you draw the gun. There's a new trigger as well which helps improve accuracy and allows you to deliver faster follow-ups.
Kimber owns a substantial share of the market in semiauto concealed carry guns, but for 2016, the company is treading new waters. The K6s is Kimber's first revolver, and there was substantial buzz around this new wheelgun in Vegas. The cylinder is extremely narrow, and the all-stainless construction means that this is a carry gun that can stand up to the elements without any problems.
There's no external hammer, so the gun is DAO, but the K6s's trigger is extremely smooth and very controllable. If you want to stage the trigger for slow-fire shooting, that's easy to do. If you want to fire quickly, that's easy, too, and the gun's design keeps recoil manageable.
The edges are rounded, like many concealed carry guns, and with a cylinder width of just 1.39 inches and an unloaded weight of 23 ounces, the K6s is a revolver that carries like a semiauto. It's chambered in .357 Magnum and has a 2-inch barrel and functional low-profile sights. (MSRP: $899)
Walther PPS M2
The PPS M2 isn't among the newer concealed carry guns but rather a tweaked and modernized version of the original PPS, which will henceforth be known as the PPS Classic.
The striker-fire design stays, but the paddle magazine release found on the PPS Classic is gone, replaced by a button that is more familiar to American shooters. The slide is steel and the polymer frame features Walther's signature textured grip, which is among the most comfortable in the industry.
The standard PPS M2 comes with low-profile, snag-free three-dot sights (rear sight is dovetailed, front post is replaceable), and there is an LE version with phosphoric sights. The 6.1 trigger is excellent, and takedown is exceedingly simple.
There are front and rear slide serrations and options for 6-, 7- or 8-round magazines. The flat-bottom 6-round version is ideal for carry, and the larger 7- and 8-round mags provide a comfortable grip even for those with large hands. The slide is less than an inch wide, and weight is just 21.1 ounces, making this gun a breeze to carry. (MSRP: $469)
SIG P225 A1
Like the PPS, the P225 A1 is a revamp of a previous product, in SIG's case, the original 225. That's not a bad thing. The original 225 was a fan favorite, and it was one of the most functional, reliable concealed carry guns on the market.
Like the original, the 225-A1 is a single-stack 9mm with a SA/DA trigger system and a 3.6 inch barrel. The new 225-A1 gets a new, better trigger (10 pounds DA, 4.4 SA) which makes a good gun even better. Other features include a Nitron-finished machined slide, SIGLITE night sights, two-piece grips and an 8-round magazine.
At 1.26 inches wide, almost 7 inches long and weighing just over 30 ounces the P225-A1 isn't as small as some of its competitors, but smaller isn't always better. The SIG offers a substantial-sized grip and allows for complete control even with powerful loads, and that smooth SA trigger makes this a compact gun that feels and shoots more like its full-sized counterparts. (MSRP: $1,236)
Browning Black Label 1911 380 Pro
The Browning design, which was developed by John Browning himself, dates back over a century. During that time, the original 1911 design has been tweaked, tuned and, in the case of the 1911-380, shrunken to compete in the market of concealed carry guns.
The 1911-380 is a 15 percent scaled-down concealed carry version of the original 1911 .45 with a high-tech composite frame and machined steel slide. The 1911-380 retains the grip safety of the original 1911 and has the same low bore axis and natural grip angle. Unlike smaller .380s, the new-for-16 1911-380 Pro with rail and night sights boasts an 8-round capacity, yet it weighs just 18 ounces unloaded.
The fixed night sights are contoured for an easy draw and are dovetailed into the steel slide. The grips are G-10 composite and the rail offers the ability to add lights and lasers as needed. If you love the full-sized 1911 .45 but don't want the bulk or recoil, the 1911-380 Pro is an excellent choice. (MSRP: $909)
Glock 17/19 Gen 4 with MOS
The Glock 17 and 19 Gen 4 guns now come with the company's MOS (Modular Optic System), which allows the owner to quickly and easily add an optic to their firearm without the need to have the slide customized.
Each MOS gun comes with a cover plate (which goes in place when no optic is mounted) and four additional plates that accommodate popular red dot sights. Why is this important? Simply put, adding optics to a handgun is quickly becoming the norm. The trend started with competition shooters who found they could shoot more accurately at long ranges and in all lighting conditions with red dot optics.
The trend toward handgun optics has shifted to the LE and military community and, and now more owners of concealed carry guns and defensive shooters are adding high-quality red dots like the Trijicon RMR and Leupold Delta Point to their firearms. It wasn't very surprising when Glock added the MODS system to its larger competition and hunting handguns, but the MOS 17 and 19 are clear indications that Glock believes red dots are the wave of the future. Now it's easier than ever to mount one on concealed carry guns. (MSRP: $726)
Kahr Tungsten .380 ACP Series
Kahr .380s have been popular with owners of concealed carry guns, and with good reason. The CW380, introduced in 2013, and the CT380, which broke cover last year, are both lightweight, compact lock breech semiautos with a Browning-style recoil lug and Kahr's "safe cam" design.
For this year, both of these guns will be available with a new Tungsten Cerakote finish, which adds a unique look to the gun and, more importantly, protects the slide with a baked-on ceramic finish that is impervious to perspiration. The CT380 has a 3-inch barrel, and the CW380 has a 2.58-inch pipe, and both of these compact pistols weigh less than 12 ounces unloaded.
Best of all, the new slide coating doesn't bump up the price, which is a rarity. (MSRP: $419)
Springfield EMP 4-Inch Lightweight Champion
EMP4 for short, this new offering from Springfield is an in-betweener for 1911 enthusiasts.
Following on the heels of the three-inch EMP, this new gun offers for barrel length for better accuracy and higher velocities and a longer grip more control and additional ammo capacity (10+1 for the new 9mm). The EMP4 comes with cocobolo grips and a two-tone color scheme: black on the anodized aluminum frame, satin for the 416 stainless steel slide.
The low-profile dovetailed front sight has a high-visibility fiber optic insert for easy acquisition and the two-dot rear won't interfere with your draw. Unloaded, the gun weighs 31 ounces, and it is one of the growing number of 1911-designed pistols that are lighter, more compact and easier to carry in order to compete in the growing market for concealed carry guns. (MSRP $1,179)
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield with Night Sights
The S&W M&P Shield has become one of the top-tier concealed carry guns in terms of sales and popularity and with good reason. At .95 inches wide and just 19 ounces, the Shield is easy to carry, easy to conceal and shoots very well, considering its compact size.
In a year when many of the most popular concealed carry guns got an upgrade, the Shield received an important additional feature: night sights. Violent encounters don't just happen in broad daylight, and relying on a sighting system that only works during certain hours of the day is not prudent. These new sights contain tritium for battery-free illumination and they have a smooth contoured shape that prevents snagging. Both the front and rear sights are dovetailed into the slide. (MSRP: $549)
Colt Lightweight Commander
Fans of the 1911 get another new semiauto for 2016 and this time from the original manufacturer.
Colt announced the introduction of the Lightweight Commander, which has a 4-inch barrel and lightweight aluminum Commander frame. Weight for this SA pistol is minimal at 29.4 ounces, but magazine capacity is impressively high (8+1 in .45 ACP).
It comes with a pair of sleek Novak sights and G-10 grips that are engineered to look like wood yet are impervious to the elements. The Lightweight Commander gets the same dual spring system that Colt launched in its M45A1 CQBP. This system lessens recoil and Colt says service life is tripled from 5,000 rounds to 15,000.
This is also one of the more affordable Colt concealed carry guns with an MSRP under a grand. (MSRP: $949)