Best Concealed Carry Pistols of 2020 – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

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Finding the best concealed carry pistol can be tricky. But it won’t be difficult to find one if you know of some characteristics and features that will make one stand out among the rest of the pack. A concealed carry pistol without a doubt will be able to get you out of harm’s way if and when you are in danger. While most concealed-carry users won’t always fire their guns, there is a good chance someone will if such a situation is warranted (that may be you at some point in the future). But it is important to utilize responsible gun use and even take training classes if you have never concealed carry before. 

However, you can choose a pistol prior to training (some models on our list below are appropriate for that). While there are a ton of pistols for concealed carry on the market, only nine of them stand out among the rest.

Before we get to the list, we’re going to talk about what size would be needed for you and how you can choose a concealed carry pistol for your own use. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Concealed Carry Pistols

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Glock G26 G4

  • 10 + 1 round capacity
  • Chambered to fire 9mm rounds
  • Runner-up concealed carry pistol
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Smith & Wesson Bodyguard

  • Includes 2 6-round magazines
  • Best 380 pistol for concealed carry
  • Barrel length measured at 2.75 inches
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Walther Arms P22

  • 3.42 barrel length
  • 10 + 1 round capacity
  • Best 22 pistol for concealed carry
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Taurus G2C 9MM

  • Contains 12 + rounds
  • Removable magazine included
  • Best 9mm pistol for concealed carry
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Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0

  • Contains 15 + 1 rounds
  • Barrel measured at 4.25 inches
  • Best 40 Cal pistol for concealed carry
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FN Pistol FNX 45 Tactical

  • Contains up to 15 rounds
  • Includes a fixed three-dot night sight
  • Best full-size pistol for concealed carry
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Smith & Wesson Bodyguard

  • Weighs 12.3 ounces
  • Contains 6 + 1 rounds
  • Smallest concealed carry pistol
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What Size Pistol Do I Need?

Short answer: it depends. It will depend on your overall needs and preferences. But if you truly want the best concealability possible, you’ll want to find a pistol that is either compact or subcompact in size. This way, you are less likely to have a pistol that will print even when it’s in the holster. Printing can cause a bit of undue attention and will make it look obvious that you are carrying. If you must conceal carry with a full-sized pistol, be sure to find a large enough holster that can handle it. 

What to Look For When Buying a Concealed Carry Pistol?

There are some things to look for when you are in search of a concealed carry pistol. And it’s up to you to make the choice on which of the characteristics and features that will stand out as interesting. Is it light in weight? Does it have the number of rounds you want? Here are some things to look for:

Price

The price tag will matter a lot to budget shoppers. However, it shouldn’t be the only reason why you bought the pistol in the first place. If you are a budget shopper, it is important to find a pistol that is high in quality and excellent in performance (while affordable for your budget). Keep this in mind when you are in search of a pistol that falls within a certain price range.

How Many Rounds Do You Want?

The number of rounds will vary between pistols. Some will have fewer shots while others will have more. It all comes down to personal preference. So if you want a pistol that has 15 shots total, then that’s up to you. 8 shots? No problem. The pistols with more shots will more than likely be the best possible option if you are using it for both concealed carry and even casual target shooting

What Size Fits You Best?

This is another aspect that will be based on your personal needs and preferences. If you are serious about concealing your pistol and keeping it out of plain sight, you’re best chances of concealability will rest in the sizes of compact or subcompact. Yes, full-size pistols can be concealable but may be a challenge for some users. It will come down to a potentially limited amount of choices in terms of holsters. 

Quick Take - The Best Concealed Carry Pistols

These are our recommendations for the best concealed carry pistols:

  1. Glock G26 G4
  2. Smith & Wesson Bodyguard
  3. Walther Arms P22

Review of the Best Concealed Carry Pistols

The following is a list of the nine best concealed carry pistols that are currently on the market. As you go through each one, please make a note of the features and characteristics of each one. This way, you may find the perfect match for your “ideal pistol”. You might already have a description in mind and might find one that is close enough.

Here is the first concealed carry pistol on our list -- the “best overall”: 

Best Overall: 
Glock G26 G4

Pros

  • Solid in construction
  • Perfect for maximum concealability
  • Light in weight, even when fully loaded
  • Provides excellent grip, even in bad weather
  • Great for concealed carry and home defense

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

New users were looking for a compact-sized pistol that would provide excellent concealability and malfunction-free reliability. This pistol definitely delivered on the promise. Most of the new users were able to shoot through 100 rounds without a single malfunction while hitting their targets effectively from 25 yards out. This was also a pistol that fits in most pistols like a glove (especially the IWB holsters). Trigger pull was good, and not too light. They concluded that despite being high in quality, it was the overall reliability that won the day.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Glocks are yet another brand that exceeds the standards of reliability. And it’s probably the reason why so many military and law enforcement personnel in nearly 50 countries worldwide seem to trust it the most as their sidearm. Not only was the reliability spot on with this pistol, but its high-quality durability from the inside and out also makes this a pistol that you can use over and over again for years to come. No matter how often you use it, this puppy is built to last (so long as you clean it regularly). Plus, Glock’s firing power is one of the best in the business. They are one of a few good names where they are included in the conversation about power. If you are looking for a pistol that can hit hard and deliver an unmistakable performance, this Glock pistol might be it.

Who Will Use This Most

This would be ideal for those who conceal carry on an everyday basis or use sidearms in tactical applications. Not only will civilians use this, but so will a whole lot of law enforcement and military personnel also. If you want a pistol that will work hard, shoot straight, and deliver a reliable performance like nothing else, then a Glock might just be the answer.

Bottom Line

If reliability and firepower are two of the best qualities you are looking for, then you’re going to love the Glock G26. Once you put through some test shots at the range, you’ll know that you’ve made the best investment ever in your life. Of course, that would make sense knowing that this pistol can and will save your life in a dangerous situation.

Best 380 Pistol for Concealed Carry: 
Smith & Wesson Bodyguard

Pros

  • Magazine is easy to remove
  • Accurate at distances up to 25 yards
  • Super lightweight, even when fully loaded
  • Perfect for concealed carry use due to its size
  • It allows maximum concealability, no bulging at all

Cons

  • Can be a bit difficult to load sometimes
  • Magazine button may be hard to press at first
  • Trigger pull could be a bit lighter, but decent enough

What Recent Buyers Report

New users were using this pistol for the purpose of appendix carrying. But regardless of carrying position, they were able to carry it with comfort and confidence. One user said that he was able to carry it in his favorite IWB holster without any issues. Performance-wise, it can fire accurately and will be excellent in any “run and gun” situation that the user finds themselves in.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Once again, we revisit the Smith and Wesson name. Of course, we’ve already talked about how reliable such .380 pistols can be. And this one isn’t any different than the rest of them. But what really matters about this pistol is how compact in size it is. You can carry this in your holster and have peace of mind knowing that you are prepared for when attackers or assailants may be threatening your life or property. You can quickly draw this bad boy and make them think twice before messing with you. It’s shooting is accurate, reliable, and powerful. It’s no wonder why they call this the “Bodyguard”.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be an excellent concealed carry pistol for women (and yes, even men too). But women will certainly benefit from its size since they can fit it in a good-sized holster or even in the unlikeliest of places (like glove boxes or purses). No matter how you conceal it, it’s a pistol that is small in size but fierce in power. Don’t be surprised if this winds up being quite popular with newbies or seasoned concealed carry users in the not so distance future.

Bottom Line

The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard is a pistol that will certainly be a dream pistol for those that want to conceal carry. It’s got all the things you need in order to make it a really accurate and reliable pistol for the lifesaving situations. No attacker or assailant will be stupid enough to mess with you by the time you draw this out and take aim at them.

Best 22 Pistol for Concealed Carry: 
Walther Arms P22

Pros

  • Easy to load, takes a few minutes
  • The magazine is easy to remove and replace
  • Shoots accurate and precise shots up to 25 yards
  • Durable construction, designed to last you a long time
  • Doesn’t allow for any printing while concealed in most holsters

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

This .22 pistol was quite a hit with most users. Where it excelled was the size where it could be concealable in most holsters. No bulge? No problem according to one user. He said that it was easy to draw and easy to re-holster in his IWB holster that he’s relied on for the last year. He also added that he managed to load this pistol with his own hands quickly and didn’t strain his hands in the slightest.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you are looking for something that will be concealable and really sneaky when it comes to concealed carry, the Walther P22 just might be the pistol that will be right up your alley. Yes, it’s at the right size and will definitely provide you with super accurate and reliable shots within various distances. You better believe that this pistol will serve you best in the long run whether you are in an indoor or outdoor self-defense situation. So if you want something that will go the distance no matter what you’re surroundings are, this could be the pistol to go with.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are in search of a pistol that will be perfect for EDC carry or home defense, you’re going to want to consider this one in particular as your best possible choice. It’s concealable, accurate, and will definitely come through in the clutch when you draw it out. You can throw off an assailant or attacker that assumes you are not carrying just by pulling this out of your hip holster (or if you want to be creative with your shoulder holster).

Bottom Line

The Walther Arms P22 might just be the go-to option for a good number of users in search of the perfect concealed carry pistol. Yes, it’s at the right size for concealability and will shoot accurate shots almost every time you point and shoot. You won’t miss your bullseye (assuming you are not a terrible shot). But it will get the job done if and when you need it most.

Best 9mm Pistol for Concealed Carry:
Taurus G2C 9MM

Pros

  • Excellent durability
  • Excellent for EDC purposes
  • Works with many kinds of ammo
  • Can hit shots accurately from about 25 yards out
  • Super concealable, can fit in most IWB or appendix carry holsters

Cons

  • Trigger could use some work
  • Loading may be a challenge at first
  • Magazine release button may be difficult to press at first

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, new users were super happy with this pistol and for a few good reasons. They said that the pistol was great in size and also performed very well during a test shooting session at the range. When one user was dealing with sweaty palms, he said that he still had control over his pistol and was able to shoot through an entire magazine without dropping it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol is one of the smallest in size as far as concealed carry pistols go. But that’s usually a good thing if you intend on using it for the sake of keeping it concealed and out of plain sight. No one wants to carry a pistol in their holster and unintentionally make anyone uncomfortable (then again, it might not be a problem for you anyways). Aside from concealability, the performance is excellent. You can fire standing or while “running and gunning” and still be able to get a good accurate shot at your target. It will ideally be used in a self-defense situation, but those who are in tactical applications will use this to their advantage.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are a civilian concealed carry user or a law enforcement officer looking for a secondary concealed carry sidearm, then you’re going to give this pistol a chance. Yes, it’s easily concealable and super easy to fire. So don’t be shocked if you are able to get a shot or two off quickly while deterring the assailants that were dumb enough to break into your home or attack you while you are out and about.

Bottom Line

The Taurus G2C 9mm might be one of a handful of choices for pistols that are excellent in concealability. But it can travel a good distance and hit your targets with such accuracy and precision. If you want a pistol that is concealable and able to handle the high-stress situations, you’d be hard-pressed to find a pistol quite like this anywhere else. Just find a holster that will make this a lot more comfortable to wear and you’ll be prepared and ready for action.

Best 40 Cal Pistol for Concealed Carry: 
Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0

Pros

  • Well-built and durable
  • Super lightweight even when loaded
  • Great for concealed carry and home defense
  • Trigger pull weight is perfect, not too light or heavy
  • Fits well in a good number of OWB and IWB holsters

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

New users were looking for a pistol that fired 40 caliber rounds with reliability and accuracy while making sure you get the advantage over your attackers. This pistol was no slouch when it came to those attributes. The pistol didn’t jam through 100 rounds and was able to hit accurate shots from anywhere between 10 to 25 yards. One user said he tried it out with different kinds of ammo and got similar results. Simply put, this pistol was not one to underestimate.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The 40 caliber rounds can hit and hit hard. And they can leave a good deal of damage as well. So why not get a pistol that can deliver such shots with accuracy and reliability. And yes, the Smith and Wesson pistols on the market do not disappoint regardless of which caliber rounds you are firing. The firepower on this pistol is pretty solid as well so don’t be shocked if you notice the velocity of your rounds being a little faster than expected.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are looking for a concealed carry pistol that can pack a punch and will deliver each shot without malfunctioning, rest assured this pistol will do just that. You will have this in your favorite holster ready to go if and when needed. Accurate and dependable shooting is what you need in a pistol (or any other firearm that you intend to use for whatever purpose). If you want that within an arm’s reach, this is the perfect pistol for your concealed carry needs.

Bottom Line

If you want a .40 caliber pistol that will make every shot count whether you are at the range or when you are in a life and death situation, this could be the pistol that you can depend on. The Smith and Wesson M&P M2.0 probably will be the next concealed carry pistol that you own. If so, you’ll be quite fortunate to have a good deal of shooting power and accurate, precise shots each time you pull the trigger.

Best Full-Size Pistol for Concealed Carry:
FN Pistol FNX 45 Tactical

Pros

  • Provides excellent firing power
  • Accurate across various distances
  • Easy to conceal in most IWB holsters
  • Excellent for self-defense and EDC use
  • Trigger pull is just right, not too light or heavy

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

This full-sized pistol was quite impressive with most new users. They said that storing this in their holsters was not a challenge and no bulging occurred. They also added that the firing power was excellent and was also quick enough to provide follow-up shots. One user said that he was able to get a good amount of control over the pistol while wearing gloves and hit his targets with consistent accuracy. Targets were ranged from 15 to 25 yards away at best.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If there was any other caliber that can be trusted to get the job done in a self-defense situation other than a 9mm, it’s probably a 45. These rounds are known for having excellent penetration and can even provide instant kill wounds in the process. It’s the caliber of choice that will prepare you for any life and death situation. This pistol provides excellent shooting power and will make sure that every shot will count and thus get you out of danger.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are in law enforcement or in the military, this would be a good sidearm to have handy if you often find yourself in life and death situations. It can also come in handy for many civilian users as well. If your life and property are important, then you must defend it against dangerous criminals who should know better than to mess with someone with a pistol.

Bottom Line

The FN FNX 45 Tactical 45 ACP Pistol is no joke when it comes to how it can handle self-defense situations. You’ll have confidence in knowing that you can defend yourself with a pistol that can deal some damage like no other .45 on the market. If you need a pistol for the high-stress situations where life is on the line, this is the go-to option for you.

Smallest Concealed Carry Pistol:
Smith & Wesson Bodyguard

Pros

  • Pull trigger is decent
  • Durable construction
  • Perfect for EDC use and self-defense
  • Accurate shooting across various distances
  • Super concealable, no printing even when holstered in IWB holsters

Cons

  • Loading could be easier
  • Sights could be brought down just a bit
  • The magazine release button can be easier to press

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers were including newbie users (those new to concealed carry). A lot of them were using this for the purpose of CCW training and they surely were not disappointed with the overall performance of the pistol. Not only was the trigger pull just right for getting shots off quickly, but it also had no grit or overtravel to work with. So far, it’s fired off consistent and accurate shots between 10 to 25 yards out.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Of course, you already know by now how reliable a Smith and Wesson pistol is. But one of the main focuses of this pistol is the size itself. It’s lightweight, not bulky. It’s compact and allows for maximum concealability. So it stands out as one of the best pistols you can use to ensure a “stealthy” concealed carry without exposing the pistol itself. No one will ever know you are carrying unless you run into someone who might be a threat to your life or property. If you definitely want to produce an element of surprise on an unsuspecting attacker, this might be the pistol to use.

Who Will Use This Most

This would make a great concealed carry pistol for those who are new to concealed carry. It can be used for training purposes and even well beyond that. For a pistol that will be effective when it’s drawn or out of plain sight, you might find this Smith and Wesson Bodyguard to be quite appealing to you.

Bottom Line

The Smith and Wesson Bodyguard is at the perfect size for ultimate concealability. But it doesn’t stop there. It can shoot fast and hit targets with ridiculous accuracy. No matter if you are indoors fending off a burglar or out in the street preventing yourself from being mugged, this is a pistol that is definitely worth every penny. When you use this, it will definitely get you out of a jam.

Pros

  • Excellent reliability
  • Well-built and durable
  • Loads easily, takes a few minutes
  • Fits in most concealed carry holsters
  • Perfect for concealed carry and home defense

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the new users were quite happy with this pistol’s overall performance. They said that they were able to shoot effectively accurate targets from about 20 to 30 yards out. Some were putting this to good use at a target range where they were able to go through a “run and gun” course. One user said he was able to knock down his “targets” accurately while keeping in motion, training for the real thing if the real deal were to happen. He also said he had complete control over his pistol since it had little recoil right out of the box.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Smith & Wesson have been manufacturing firearms for a long time. And they have proven themselves time and time again to be one of the most reliable names. So it comes as no surprise that a Smith & Wesson pistol like this comes with excellent reliability and won’t jam once even through 100 rounds. It’s at the perfect size for concealability and will certainly be a strong candidate as a pistol that can keep to your side for EDC purposes.

Who Will Use This Most

This concealed carry pistol will stand out as a great EDC pistol for many users. If you are looking for a pistol that is perfect for maximum concealability, solid in construction, and will be dangerously accurate in the times when it matters most, this is the pistol that will get the job done. And best of all, the chances of this malfunctioning are slim to none. If reliability is a top make or break thing for you, this pistol will certainly be a deal-maker.

Bottom Line

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield PC 9mm pistol has proven itself to be a great choice for the “best overall” spot. If anything, it’s probably one of the best textbook examples of how a concealed carry pistol should work. With just enough rounds to work with and superior firing power to leave some lasting damage, it’s no wonder why many new users will trust this the moment they pull the trigger.

Pros

  • Super concealable
  • Affordable for most budgets
  • Accurate and reliable shooting
  • No issues with FMJ or HP rounds
  • Doesn’t print while holstered in IWB holsters

Cons

  • Sights could be a bit adjustable
  • The magazine may be difficult to load at first
  • Trigger pull may be a little heavy upon initial use

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new buyers were really happy about the overall concealability of the pistol. This was a great pistol for those who were appendix carrying since the trigger pull weight was not as light to pose as a safety hazard. One user said that this pistol was comfortable to carry around and it didn’t weigh him down when it was holstered. He also added that it was easy to grip in bad weather conditions and still fires accurate and precise shots from distances of 15 to 20 yards out.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you are looking for reliability and quality with an affordable price tag to boot, then your best bet is starting off with the SIG Sauer pistols. Yes, they deliver an excellent performance (and usually better than most pistols on the market). And it won’t suck the life out of your bank account in the process. This pistol, in particular, is hardcore and built for the tactical applications. And since it’s a compact-sized pistol, it’s small in size but good God almighty is it tough as nails. This puppy can shoot with such sharp accuracy at a decent range that it was built to be the sidearm for many tactical operations. Whether it’s primary or secondary side, you may need this handy in any given situation. Whether you are a civilian or in law enforcement, this pistol is one that should not be overlooked.

Who Will Use This Most

This will make a great beginner-level pistol for those starting out with concealed carry. Starting out with CCW training can be exciting. However, it’s a must for those that want to conceal carry properly and abide by the rules and laws. This pistol will stick by you from training day and so long as you are carrying it on a regular basis. If you want superior reliability and accuracy at a price that you can afford, this might be a good choice.

Bottom Line

The SIG Sauer P365 TACPAC 9mm Pistol is affordable, accurate, and reliable (among so many things). We can go on all day talking about how great this is. But if this checks off any of the boxes of “what to look for” in a concealed pistol, then you’re seriously going to want to give this one, in particular, a closer look. You’d be surprised how much it can accomplish compared to some higher-end pistols.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Knowing what aspects are important for your purchasing decision is key. And you’ll need to consider a few of them as you are searching for a concealed carry pistol. There are some of the common aspects that most buyers are mulling over:

Should I Purchase One Before Taking a CCW class?

Yes. In fact, it is highly recommended that you do purchase a pistol before taking a CCW class. That way, it will give you an opportunity to get to know your pistol and use it properly. It’s important that you find one that is newbie-friendly (like some of those listed above). 

Which Caliber is Best For Me?

The answer depends. There are different calibers of concealed carry pistols, each having the ability to do damage and stop an assailant right in their tracks. Keep in mind, some calibers like .45s may tend to do a bit more damage than 9mm or .22 caliber rounds. Don’t be confused with the idea that some calibers won’t be good enough to kill. Research some of the calibers you are interested in using and make a determination from there. 

Should I Purchase a Holster?

It is highly recommended that purchasing a holster should be one of the other things that you need to do aside from purchasing a pistol. Concealed carry laws require you to carry a pistol inside a holster while you are out and about. You can purchase it along with your pistol of choice or separately at a later time. But do not forget that a holster is needed for concealed carry purposes. 

Conclusion

The best concealed carry pistol is out there. Find one that will be the sidekick you need when it comes to protecting yourself against dangerous individuals that may threaten your life or property. It should come down to a pistol that is proven to be reliable, concealable, and worth the long-term investment. A great concealed carry pistol comes in different sizes and types. Find one that fits you best and you’ll be ready for action if and when a situation warrants it. 

People Also Ask

Below are two frequently asked questions by prospective buyers regarding concealed carry pistols. You should use the answers below so you have a good idea of what you need to know about these types of pistols and be more informed about them. Here are the following questions:

Which Caliber is The Best For Concealed Carry?

There really isn’t a “best caliber” for concealed carry. So that might come down to personal preference. Find a caliber that you feel will provide the best stopping power and damage for you. 

What is The Difference Between Open Carry And Concealed Carry?

Open carry means carrying a pistol without the use of a holster or a permit. Concealed carry is carrying a pistol with the use of a holster and a concealed carry permit (where it is required). 

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