If you’ve been living under a rock for the last five or so years, then you probably have no idea why the civilian self defense handguns market is now overflooded with micro nines.

There are a lot of possible reasons why the micro nines have become prevalent, off the top of my head I can think of a few: the introduction of the SIG P365, the expiration of Glock’s gen 3 patent, and the recent reemergence of STI’s double stack 1911s under their new brand name, Staccato.

If you’re in the market for a concealed carry pistol, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different models on the market — from budget models like SCCY’s DVG series, Taurus’ G3 and GX4 series, to moderately priced options like Glocks and Smith & Wesson M&P series, all the way to up to more premium production models like SIG’s P365X Macro and Walther’s PDP series. 

But what if you absolutely have to have the best concealed carry handgun and you have ZERO budget constraint? 

You can do hundreds of searches here on YouTube or on Google, but all you’ll ever find are videos and blog posts using regurgitated info, often showing a Top 10 list with nothing but pistol models from the aforementioned manufacturers.

Well, if you’ve had no luck so far, you’ve clicked on the right YouTube thumbnail. In this topic, I’ll talk about the best of the best handguns for concealed carry that money can buy. Without further ado, let’s begin.

5: Staccato CS

Number five on our list is the 2011 CS model built by Staccato, the company formerly known as STI. 

Prior to its executive team’s decision to rebrand the company a little under three years ago, STI was known by people in the firearms community as the company that fixed the one major drawback associated with John Moses Browning’s most famous design: low ammo capacity. With their double stack pistol platform and their registered trademark, 2011, STI redefined the 1911 and changed the rules of the game.

With its superb ergonomics, double stack magazine capacity, and significantly more manageable recoil compared to the original 1911, STI’s 2011 platform became a household name in the gun world as the premier choice for competitions that require the fastest and most accurate pistols. And having won thousands of championship matches, STI is still the most decorated 1911 manufacturer in the competitive shooting arena, even after it decided to rebrand itself.

Staccato CS

Fast forward to today, STI is now Staccato. It still manufactures some of the best double stack 1911 pistols in America and all over the world. But these days, they don’t just build match grade 2011s for competitive shooters, they also make defensive 2011s for law enforcement and civilians, and their best concealed carry model is the Staccato CS.

Like all concealed carry pistols of today, the Staccato CS is chambered in nine mil. It comes with three mags, each with a capacity of 16 rounds. It has a barrel length of 3.5 inches, which is a little longer than officer size 1911s but shorter than commander size ones. 

With an overall length that measures 7.1 inches from the tip of the beavertail to the front of the slide, and an overall height that measures 5.6 inches with the mag inserted, the Staccato CS is easily concealable in an IWB holster, even though it is a little thick with its thickest portion measuring 1.45 inches wide. 

The Stacatto CS comes optics ready out of the box but does have redundant Dawson Precision sights, making it a pretty good deal considering that it is the most affordable concealed carry handgun on this list with its MSRP of $2,499.00. 

4: TTI Day Shift “Snake Eyes” G45 Combat Master

Based in Simi Valley, California, Taran Tactical Innovations or TTI is a gun manufacturer that does custom gunsmithing on rifles, shotguns, and pistol parts. 

Well-known for his marksmanship, Taran Butler, the founder of the company, is the first Glock Grand Master shooter in history, not to mention a USPSA Grand Master. Taran Tactical training for the movie industry is legendary.

Butler became involved in providing tactical training for some of the actors in the movies Top Shot and Impossible Shots and also worked as a technical advisor for the movie Public Enemies, which led to his company developing a reputation for providing the best tactical training services for the movie industry. 

One of the many fine handguns his company developed was for John Wick, the Combat Master Glock 34 Gen 3, which made movie history as one of Keanu Reeves’ side arm of choice. 

Number four on my list is the Day Shift “Snake Eyes” Combat Master, a finely tuned and aesthetically improved Glock 45 offered by Taran Tactical. The Gunsmithing Package comes with a factory Glock 45 and starts at $2,454.99. 

TTI Day Shift "Snake Eyes" G45 Combat Master

The TTI Snake Eyes Combat Master features a Glock 45 with a full wrap stippling and a custom “Snake Eyes” Dice logo hand painted onto the grip that is reduced to a custom width to ensure a super tight positive purchase on the gun which aids in better recoil control.

In addition, the TTI Snake Eyes Combat Master has slide cuts with a lustrous, highly polished silver finish that looks great. These slide cuts ensure a tight purchase on the slide so it can be racked with very little effort. The grip has a carry magwell that is low profile and gives the pistol perfect balance, allowing for super quick reloads even with its small foot print. TTI also includes its very own fiber optic sight set for fast and easy sight acquisition that allows for faster follow up shots. 

TTI also used to offer professional installation of a Timney Alpha Trigger for an additional $220. It has a light trigger pull weight that measures anywhere between 2.25 and 2.75 pounds which lets you do the fastest and most accurate mag dumps you can manage, but as of the making of this topic, their Timney Alpha Triggers are out of stock.

3: Wilson Combat EDC X9

Based in Berryville, Arkansas, Wilson Combat has been at the forefront of building high performance custom 1911 handguns, tactical long guns, and accessories in the last 46 years. Very few competing companies can rival the levels of durability and reliability for which Wilson Combat products are known, and over the years, they have also painstakingly built a reputation for providing superb customer service. 

In addition, Wilson Combat serves more than a handful of different local and state law enforcement agencies, some of which include The Department of Homeland Security, US Border Patrol, HQ SOCOM, US Marshal’s Service, US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, US Marine Corps, US Coast Guard, Diplomatic Security Service, Texas Rangers and other elite law enforcement and military units worldwide. 

Six years ago, Wilson Combat introduced the EDC X9, which, like most of the pistols on this list, is a double stack 1911. But before it was released, the company had a double stack 1911 style pistol known as the Spec Ops 9, which was a full size pistol much closer as far as dimensions to a traditional government model with a 5-inch barrel. It had a polymer frame and sounded like a good alternative to STI’s 2011, but for some reason, it didn’t take off and Wilson Combat ceased its production.

Unlike the Spec Ops 9 and similar offerings from competing gun makers of the time, the EDC X9 was more of a proprietary design when it was released. It’s about the same size as a Glock 19 but with the same light weight trigger and the same mag capacity of a 1911.

WILSON COMBAT EDC X9 9MM PISTOL, BLK

Chambered in 9 mil, the EDC X9 has a mag capacity of 15 rounds but Wilscon Combat has optional 18 round mags available. It has a barrel length of four inches, which makes it shorter than traditional commander size 1911s with a 4.25 inch barrel. Its overall length measures 7.4 inches, its overall height measures 5.25 inches, and its thickest section measures 1.4 inches. These dimensions make the EDC X9 easily concealable.

With a full mag, it measures just shy of 35 ounces which makes it a bit heavier than the typical polymer framed sub compact pistols on the market, but that excess weight does make it easier to handle and shoot. And with a base price of $3,145, the EDC X9 is extremely accurate, guaranteed to shoot 1.5 inch groups at up to 24 yards.

2: Nighthawk Custom Bob Marvel Double Stack

It was in 2004 when a few of the gunsmiths who used to work for Wilson Combat decided to leave the company to focus solely on building custom made pistols. These gunsmiths formed what is now known as Nighthawk Customs, a firearms manufacturer that is also based in Berryville, Arkansas. A relatively new player, it developed a reputation for building some of the finest 1911 pistols, rifles, revolvers, shotguns, and tactical knives for both military and law enforcement and civilians.

Since the company was established, Nighthawk gunsmiths have grown from building nothing but 1911 pistols to now also making custom shotguns, revolvers, knives, and a greatly improved update of another one of John Moses Browning’s greatest designs, the Hi Power. They have their own machine shop that lets them fabricate all the parts to spec which are used for building all of their firearms. This makes them different from most of their competitors that procure parts from other suppliers.

One thing that makes Nighthawk customs stand out is they like to collaborate with legendary names such as Richard Heinie, Doug Turnbull, and Bob Marvel, and the collaborations always result in some of the best 1911s that money can buy in America.

Nighthawk Custom Bob Marvel Double Stack

It was in 2012 when the company released a commander sized 1911, a result of their team up with Bob Marvel who is well known for building some of the most accurate custom 1911s for bulls eye pistol matches. 

On its own, the Nighthawk Customs Bob Marvel is a superb concealed carry pistol on the custom 1911s market. Retailing for $4,899, it’s a single stack 1911 with a stroked slide and frame, a 2 piece sleeved bull barrel, an Everlast Recoil System, a Bo Mar rear sight that is fully adjustable for windage and elevation, and front and rear serrations for easier manipulation of the slide. 

But not too long ago, Nighthawk Customs started offering a Double Stack Upgrade option on new orders of select government and commander size 1911s chambered in 9 mil, and one of the models that can be upgraded is the Bob Marvel 1911. 

For an additional $650, they will install the original Bob Marvel upper on a fully machined stainless steel lower with a double stack grip which will increase its ammo capacity from 10 rounds to an astounding 17 rounds. It’ll set you back $5,549, but you’ll surely get your money’s worth.

1: Atlas Gunworks Ares 4.25

Atlas Gun Works is another relatively new player in the world of custom 1911 guns. The company was started in the early 2000s as an answer to two very dissatisfied customers’ dilemma. 

At the time, there was a high demand for high performance double stack 2011s and since there weren’t a lot of people who could build superior competition pistols fast enough, supplies couldn’t keep up with the high demand. 

Acquiring such pistols entailed an absurdly long wait time of anywhere from 12 to 24 months, so the two individuals — Adam Nilson, a USPSA shooter, and Tod West, a master machinist — decided to just build their own. They eventually started a small business. 

Shortly after, with the help of a veteran 1911 gunsmith and IPSC World Champion Allan Zitta, the two gentlemen developed the expertise to build what many competitive pistol shooters today consider as some of the best custom built double stack 1911s money can buy.

All pistol models being built by Atlas Gunworks are engineered from the ground up to allow the shooter to pull the trigger as fast as they possibly can without sacrificing accuracy. The recoil spring pushes just enough against the slide to ensure that when it returns to full battery, the sights realign on their own and quickly return to the shooter’s original point of aim.

Atlas Gunworks Ares 4.25

Of all the double stack 1911 models being offered by the company, the Ares 4.25 that they released last year stands out as the most feature packed. It’s available in two configurations, a 4.6 inch and a 4.25 inch, both are bull barrels. But since this is a concealed carry handguns list, we’re only interested in the 4.25-inch variant.

The Ares 4.25 features a textured lightweight aluminum grip frame, a fiber optic front sight, a fully adjustable rear sight, and an ambidextrous thumb safety. It comes in matte black finish and is optics ready out of the box with an adapter plate of your choice. With an MSRP of six grand, three 17 round mags with a DLC finish are included, and you can choose to purchase the pistol with or without a magwell. If you want to add porting, they’ll do it for an additional $400.

And that’s all I have for you in this topic. I’m sure there are other prohibitively priced handguns out there that some of you prefer to carry concealed. Let us know what it is and how you like it by commenting below.

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