We will talk about the best concealed carry pistols. There are countless single-stack 9mm pistols that fit the bill. In fact, I can go as far as to say that being single-stack is a norm for pistols before you can even begin to consider it an option for concealed carry.
Nowadays, the handgun market is skewed heavily toward the guns that make concealed carry easier. For this reason, there are a ton of compact, lightweight micro and subcompact pistols out there. Most of them are single-stack, allowing them to have a smaller form factor, therefore easier to carry and conceal. The problem then is that there are so many that any beginner gun owner would be spoiled for choices and doesn’t know where to start?
That said, what single-stack pistol should you buy?
Get the 1911 in 9mm. And there you have it, guys. Thank you for watching and I will see you again next time.
I’m joking. I’m fully aware that the 1911 isn’t the only solid pistol out there and some of you are probably sick of hearing it by now. Other than the 1911, there are a few other amazing options for single-stack 9mm pistols.
The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield was launched back in 2012 and it comes in 9mm, .40 Cal and .45 ACP although the third option means you have to deal with a bulkier gun. I can say that the Shield is the first among the compact single-stack pistols. When it first debuted, it received a lot of love from the community for its small form factor, light weight, reliability, accuracy, and other desirable characteristics. There is the M2.0 edition that you can buy from Smith, but they also have the original Shield.
The M2.0 has an updated slide, grip stippling, and a much better trigger. The trigger in particular is the only gripe I had about the original Shield. The M2.0 nailed the feel of the trigger.
The Shield comes with a 3.1-inch barrel, and a magazine capacity of 7+1, or 8+1 if you use an extended mag. It weighs just under 20 ounces and has a dimension of about 6” x 5” x 1”.
In its stock configuration, the Shield has three-dot white sights. But you can pay extra to have it fitted with fiber optic or night sights. You can also get integrated lasers straight from the factory as well. You have the option to go with or without the thumb safety and countless Performance Center models to choose from if you want.
The Glock 43 is another excellent choice for a self-defense concealed carry gun. Although still in its infancy and very late to the single-stack party, the 43 has proven itself to be the go-to CCW gun. This tiny guy carries 6+1 9mm rounds in the mag with a 3.3-inch barrel.
Some people may say that the 43 isn’t the sexiest-looking gun out there, but it’s a concealed carry weapon. The only time it sees sunlight is when you need to shoot someone. Even then, no one is going to get a good look at it if you draw fast enough. It just doesn’t have to look good. It just has to shoot well and I can tell you right now that it shoots very well.
Size-wise, it is about the size of the M&P9 Shield, just half an inch shorter. This is pretty much the standard size for CCW, especially single-stack 9mm pistols. The 43 is a popular option among law enforcement agents and civilians alike. You can’t go wrong with this one.
Springfield also soon joined the single-subcompact party with its XD-S. In terms of specs and size, the XD-S is very similar to the Shield. The only difference is that the magazine sits flush in the grip and it carries 7+1, or 9+1 if you use an extended mag.
The grip is heavily knurled, which I can say is subjective. Some people hate having the rough texture of the grip pressing on their fingers as they hold the gun. Others appreciate having some grip safety. Personally, I like having a little bit of redundancy so long as there isn’t any compromise to the gun’s performance. In this case, having a grip safety won’t hurt anyone.
Similar to the Shield, the XD-S has an updated variant, although you can still get your hands on the original version. The updated version has the Springfield Armory’s Mod.2 grip and frame texturing.
You can get both of these versions with the standard three-dot white sights or with a fiber optic front sight. If you go for the Springfield XDS Mod.2, you can get one with a factory laser, in tactical gray, or an FDE frame. You can also get black or stainless slides as well.
One thing about the Walther PPS M2 is that it’s different, in a good way. Size-wise, the PPS M2 is the same size as all the guns I’ve mentioned before. For carry capacity, you have 6-, 7-, or 8+1 of 9mm using flush or extended mag.
So, what is so different about the PPS M2? The ergonomic design. It fits comfortably into your palm and the stock trigger is excellent. This puts the PPS M2 a bit above most of the guns I’ll talk about today. Despite the relatively low price tag, you can tell that a lot of consideration went into designing the gun, especially the overall look and feel of the gun.
Many pistols from Kahr are underappreciated, overshadowed by the likes of 1911, Shield, and Glock. Although they don’t get to be in the spotlight often, I can say with certainty that these are very solid and reliable guns.
Kahr only produces single-stack guns in a double-action-only system with an internal hammer and a long trigger pull, making it not the gun for everyone. The trigger is similar to that on a revolver and Kahr goes the extra mile to ensure that the trigger pull feels incredibly smooth.
Size-wise, there are plenty to choose from. You can go for the micro, which is the CM9, to the full-sized S, ST, or the CT series. No matter which frame size you choose, every one of them has a budget, mid-shelf, and premium model with polymer or stainless-steel frames. This video would take all day if I have to list every single one of them. But among all of those, the CM9 is the most popular. Its barrel is 3.1 inches long and its magazine capacity is 6+1, or 7+1 if you use an extended mag. The CM9 is a simple gun with only a few features, but you have a few upgrade options such as slide finish and night sights. Though simple, the CM9 is solid and reliable.
Different but reliable, the Sig Sauer P938 is an enlarged version of the Colt Mustang. It carries 6+1, or 7+1 with an extended mag. The barrel is 3 inches long. When it comes to customizability, you can choose which finish you want.
The P938 is basically a micro 1911-pattern pistol, so it is hammer-fired and single-action, unlike other striker-fired pistols. However, the P938 lacks any grip safety. Therefore, you have to carry Condition One with the thumb safety engaged (cocked and locked) or rack the slide to cock it on the draw. How you want to do it is up to you, as long as you get enough practice in.
For the budget-minded people out there, I present to you the Ruger LC9s. The LC9s is a gun in the LC series, starting with the LCP in .380. The LC9 is, of course, scaled up to chamber 9mm rounds. Its size is similar to the XD-S, Glock 43, and Shield, as expected.
The LCP uses the double-action-only system and it’s just terrible. Thankfully, the LC9s instead comes with a striker operation system, which is a huge relief. Also, it features drift-adjustable sights. The only price you have to pay for this budget gun is the lack of features. When you consider its performance, I’m sure you’ll think that this is a fair tradeoff. The LC9s does its job well. Though lacking in features, it has a surprising number of aesthetic options as there are countless frame and slide color options.