Concealed Carry Pistol: Criteria, Comparisons, and My 9mm Choices

Concealed Carry Pistol: Criteria, Comparisons, and My 9mm Choices

Concealed Carry Pistol: Criteria, Comparisons, and My 9mm Choices

Frequently students ask me to suggest some concealed carry pistols in 9mm for them to consider. They want a few options to begin their own research and to save them some time narrowing down the huge list of choices. It is difficult and very personal to whittle down the list, but here are just five of the criteria I use to do that and 12 options in 9mm pistols I suggest you consider at the present time. I believe it is very important to try each (or at least your top 3) of your carry options for yourself before you buy. I use a standard drill that is based on testing application of the fundamentals by the shooter for each of their top options, so they can compare the criteria for each carry option. Note that my .45 and other caliber carry options and other very good guns are not included here, because I tailored the options to match my personal preferences. I like primarily compact size 9mm for carry. Below represents only my current 9mm options, since I prefer that caliber for my carry gun, but I do carry others.

Some Criteria for my Concealed Carry 9mm Handgun are:

1. Accuracy– well-placed shots (slow and fast-fired) hitting the target in a 9-inch diameter area with one-handed and two-handed shots at tactical, combat distances of 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15 yards; without gun modifications (out of the box); 9mm gives me less movement and more accuracy with the right ammo;

2. Reliability– consistency of target hits over repeated trials with the gun; being able to count on the handgun to be a quality, well-functioning gun, without malfunctions and stoppages, to hit the target each time I shoot the gun;

3. Ergonomics– the way the gun adapts to my hands; is it comfortable and can I easily reach the controls, trigger, magazine release button, slide lock lever, grip angle, type of safeties, decocker (if present), etc.

4. Trigger Press– can I press the trigger easily and make the gun fire efffectively, while minimizing movement of my fingers, hands, wrist, arm, and body and controlling recoil and getting acceptable target hits; I prefer 4 to 6 pounds of trigger press and no trigger modifications with a short reset and travel for my carry handgun;

5. Concealability– can I conceal the handgun easily, given my body characteristics, my method of preferred carry, and the dimensions of the gun. For carry, I pay particular attention to the width and angle of the grip and frame area (so for ME the Glock 19 below is not a carry consideration with its steeper grip angle and extra relative width), how well, easily, and where my trigger finger touches the trigger, barrel length (3-4″ for carry), capacity in rounds, total gun length, and loaded gun weight. For my aging eyes, easily seen sights are a plus and can be added as preferred to just about any gun, if not standard equipment.

Here are 12 current 9mm Pistol Options with their standard configurations that meet the criteria for me, at this time (not in priority rank). Try to narrow down the list to only your top 3 pistols to use in your handgun evaluation drill. I use a standard drill that has 5 shooting stages, firing 5 shots, at 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15 yard distances with one-hand and two-hand grips and a standing shooting position.

I believe you have to actually handle and shoot the guns to decide for yourself. I know this is a big time-consuming challenge, but the reward of knowing you took the time and effort to actually decide this for yourself, based on your own thought-out criteria and hands-on experience, will be well worth it. So, what price is it worth to you to “bite the bullet” and spend the time to evaluate your top 3 guns? I believe the benefits are priceless and far outweigh the costs of this. After all, your life and the life of your loved ones could be at stake here. As an example, I just recently had a friend and student of mine spend a few hours at the range with me making this important decision. He narrowed my list (and his list) of guns down to a list of 4 of the guns I own and ran my drill to decide on his best carry gun. He and I are confident that he made the best decision by following a standard drill and evaluation process for each gun. He demonstrated to himself through live-fire structured, shooting scenarios what gun he was most accurate with and enjoyed shooting the most. This was not just randomly shoot-paper fun. He then made a fine decision and was rewarded. He presented the comparison data, his hits and variations by gun by distances, and all his results to his wife, convincing her that he could defend her and himself in a violent encounter with one particular handgun. His wife recognized the importance of the results, wanted him to get that particular gun, and actually bought the gun for him as an early Christmas present. Wow! Let’s get started now on paring our list down, shooting our final choices, and getting a new gun for Christmas. Go for it! Here are my finalists:

9MM HandgunActionWeight (oz)Barrel Length "Total Length "Capacity (Rounds)Height "Width "
Ruger LC9s
Manual safety
DAO
Striker Fired
17.23.106.0074.500.90
SIG P938
Fiber Optic Fr. Sight
Manual Safety
SAO16.03.005.9073.901.10
Springfield EMP
Tritium Night Sights-1911 Style
Match Barrel & Trigger-grip Safety
SAO23.003.006.6394.811.11
Smith & Wesson M&P 9C
No Manual Safety
DAO
Striker Fired
21.73.506.70124.301.20
Springfield XDs 4.0
Fiber Optic Fr. Sight
No Manual Safety-Grip Safety
DAO
Striker Fired
25.004.007.007-9 w/ ect.4.400.90
Ruger SR9C
Manual Safety
DAO
Striker Fired
23.43.506.85104.611.27
Heckler & Koch Model P30 -
LEM V1

Luminescent Ft. Sight
Rail - Bobbed Hammer
DAO
Hammer Fired
26.003.866.99155.431.37
SIG P320 Carry
No Manual Safety
DAO
Striker Fired
26.003.907.20155.311.40
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
With or W/O Manual Safety
DAO
Striker Fired
19.003.106.1074.600.95
Springfield XD-9 Mod 2
No Manual Safety-Grip Safety
DAO
Striker Fired
26.003.006.2513-16 w/ ext.4.751.19
Glock 19 *DAO
Striker Fired
23.654.017.36154.991.18
Kimber Solo **SAW
Striker Fired
17.002.705.506-8 w/ ext.3.901.15
*Does NOT Meet My Grip Criteria
**Does NOT Meet My Barrel Length & Trigger Pull Criteria- with 2.7″ barrel and 7# pull

 

Handgun Testing and Evaluation Drill

Now that you have narrowed down your possible 9mm handgun purchase options, it is very important to rent or borrow the finalists and actually shoot before you buy. We help our students by providing many handguns for them to choose from, with them providing their own ammo. It is less expensive to rent a handgun, fire some rounds yourself through it to evaluate it, than fork over the $600 or more to buy the wrong handgun. You should shoot each of the pistols on your short list following a standard drill process with the same procedures/steps while using your criteria to more objectively evaluate the performance of each gun, while following the shooting basics. It is important to use the same decision making criteria and try your best to apply the shooting fundamentals for each stage of the drill to get valid and reliable results for your decision making. The routine drill we use will help you standardize your approach to more fairly evaluate your accuracy with & handling of each gun. With our standard drill, I have students use my 4-Step Shooting Process which focuses on the basics of sight alignment, front sight focus, breath control to minimize movement, and trigger press and control for each gun. At each stage of the drill at different distances, students focus on the eight fundamentals of shooting. This basic drill is a good indicator of your abilities, your application of the fundamentals of shooting, and your match to the handgun for results. It can be repeated with fast fire for each stage, especially for considering close combat-tactical use with your concealed carry gun.

Your standard drill or mine for all guns evaluated is useful when checking your ability to use and control a certain handgun well and when checking a new technique, treating all guns the same as much as possible. Recognize that a handgun that is too powerful for some (such as a .40 sub-compact or snub-nosed .357 Magnum) may strike far from the point of aim and will scatter the grouping of hits on the target. So, most will do well with the first few stages, then have a larger grouping of hits at longer distances as recoil becomes tiring. That is why it is important to fire the short-distance stages first. If you do fine at short distances and then a problem becomes apparent at 15 yards, you have accomplished the goal so do not get discouraged. Remember, you are not shooting to beat the qualification drill nor competing against other shooters. You are shooting to learn about the blending of the features and performance of each handgun with your skills and preferences for your purpose, while applying the fundamentals, to help you decide on the best gun for yourself. You are really judging the gun and yourself together, while deciding if that is the best gun for your purpose. So, recognize that key difference… and have fun! Incidentally, your performance with the handgun might help you learn some technique, skill, or fundamental that can be improved.

If you want to evaluate the gun up very close for combat or tactical shooting, you can rerun your standard drill stages using only the front sight or Flash Sight Picture shooting with gradual rapid fire at closer distances. But, recognize when evaluating a gun that accuracy is more important than speed, although certainly both are important in self-defense and your use for the gun is a major consideration. While variations are possible, ensure the revised drill and stages are consistent for each gun evaluated.

Continued success!

Photo with Permission from HKuulapaa.

This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney in your state or jurisdiction for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense, stand your ground law, and concealed carry. This is not legal advice and not legal opinions. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.

© 2014 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at [email protected].

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  • Winston

    Disappointed that the Walther PPK/S .380 did not make the list.

    • Col Ben

      This is just 9mm CC handguns.

      • billy

        Did you shoot the barest a pig storm by chance?

        • billy

          Beretta px4 storm? I hate auto correct!

  • James Johnson

    Why does the PX4 Compact from Beretta get overlooked in these types of comparisons? I absolutely love mine

    • Col Ben

      Hi James and Scott,
      Appreciate your ideas and have the Beretta PX4 you mention, but not NOW the Keltec PF-9. Like I said in the article—MY list of guns and MY criteria and try before YOU buy. Sounds like you already have them and I understand its your individual choice. They both don’t make MY list and that is just my opinion. Glad they work for you, really! Like with any gun, some seem to work very well and others do not.
      Both have some positive points, like all the 12 guns on my list that I recommend. They just didn’t make MY cut. My biggest reason for not including the PF-9 was RELIABILITY for me and echoed in some reviews. Several have concurred with my thoughts that you cannot trust it and that it is not very reliable over time. Some say strongly that you can’t depend on its consistency, it had problems digesting various standard pressure ammo and jammed often. It had light primary
      strikes, feeding and ejection problems, and extractor issues. Also to me the fit and finish of the PF-9 does not compare to any on my list, but of course they all cost more than its $250-$300 .
      Sometimes small and very light like the PF-9 means very snappy recoil that requires much practice to be accurate with the gun. Others, not so.
      So just MY 3 cents minus 1 cent worth, just some input, and you must decide for yourself, no
      matter what anyone else says. What are the strong points and negative points for you.
      Continued success!

  • Jarhead6541

    As far as your criteria goes in choosing a 9mm carry weapon, reliability would be first on my list. If it doesn’t fire, accuracy means nothing. Number two would be ergonomics. If it doesn’t feel right when aiming, consistent accuracy will just not be there. Accuracy, while important, usually won’t occur until these two standards are met.

    • Col Ben

      Hey Jarhead, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? It depends!? My criteria are not listed in priority order, but accuracy and reliability are BOTH very important and to me are interchangeable for #1. My definition of reliability is consistency of being able to fire the gun each time I pick it up. I own all the guns on my list and they are all reliable; very important to me. But so is accuracy. Accuracy to me is hitting the bullseye or my aimpoint with my first shot fired; of course, that depends on your application of the fundamentals of shooting, e.g. grip, trigger control, sight alignment, etc. You can be accurate if the ergonomics are not there, but of course want to have the gun feel good, be comfortable, AND be accurate. However, some can shoot accurately with a gun that does not have the best ergonomics and does not feel good. I’ve done this. If I had to sacrifice comfort in grip for reliability or accuracy… I would chose to shoot the gun that doesn’t feel comfortable, but certainly would always want BOTH. Accuracy can exist without comfort but I don’t want that. Just my thoughts and I understand yours. Continued success!

  • Chuck

    I love my Kahr PM9 and it is my EDC for almost all situations. I have carried it daily for more than 5 years and shoot it often. It is small, but handles well, has been 100% reliable, and is very concealable. It does not meet some of the criteria listed here but I have no trouble considering it my number one choice for every day carry. I would not hesitate to recommend one to other people.

  • Tim Montoya

    Need slightly more info to compare the weapons. You weight is for an unleaded gun. Loaded the weights of the weapons increase dramatically. Also, capacity can be a plus, but as I mentioned, can add substantial weight. The list of weapons really runs a very wide spectrum and goes from larger compact size weapons to almost pocket carry. The EMP is a nearly $1,100 firearm while the Ruger can be had for less than $400. There is a huge difference in quality with that nearly 300% spread. Concealability will vary from person to person and dress. I would venture to say there is not one pistol for all seasons, persons or occassions.

  • Tropical

    And again we totally ignore the Taurus PT-111 millennium G2, which feels better than the M&P 9 any day and holds 12 rounds compared to 8 in the shield. Also the Taurus runs about $100 cheaper. Common sense prevails.

    • James

      A truly underrated and under recommended pistol.

      • Col Ben

        Yes, I agree. There are many favorable comments about it from readers and some reviewers, so I have requested a PT111 9mm Millennium G2 to review & field test for myself. I will share the results when I complete my review, testing & evaluation.

  • Mark Anderson

    Hello Col. Ben! Thank you for your service and sacrifice!
    I have had very good luck with my Walther PPS in 9 mm. I would like to know what your thoughts are on it since it didn’t make your list..,

    • Col Ben

      The PPS is a very nice gun, but didn’t make MY cut. Your decision. It has two interchangeable polymer backstraps, a large and a small and the PPS only fires if a backstrap is snapped very securely into place with its built-in pin that mechanically enables the striker. Some have said the lightweight backstrap and pin are brittle plastic and break easily and if you try to force them into place and they snap, you will not be able to fire the gun. Maybe not a high probability, but some. I understand the need to manufacture this part in plastic to cut down on weight, but at what cost? Reliability is very important to me and I don’t want to take even a small chance. Also, I use CC guns for teaching new students and carefully consider many things and would change backstraps often. Also, the paddle-style magazine release lever is on the trigger guard and not the typical standard button-style release and is not ambi. And the PPS has three magazine lengths (S, M, and L) with only 5, 6 and 7 rounds capacity. Again, YOUR criteria and YOUR needs. Continued success!

      • TCT

        You wrote this: “Also, the paddle-style magazine release lever is on the trigger guard…and is not ambi.” I don’t believe that’s accurate. The trigger-guard-integrated lever-style magazine release is ambidextrous by design and the nature of its location.

      • Raven Lee

        The magazine release is fully ambidextrous and can be activated on both sides. Much more ergo than one that needs to be flipped manually to the other side. If you are injured in your shooting hand, would you be able to release a magazine with a standard mag release button that’s only on the left side?

  • american121

    Where is the Beretta PX4 Storm Compact?? My wife hates her GLOCK 19, but loves the Beretta.

  • american121

    Recommending guns is like recommending cars. In the end, what works best for you is the best – for you.

  • garence lee

    I’m surprised that my Taurus PT-709 didn’t make the list [in my case, with a Crimson Trace laser site].

    • James

      I find most “gun” people leave Taurus out of everything except hate lists. I love my Slim although mine lacks the laser.

  • JCA

    I don’t like any of the options you have recommended. The current offerings from S&W are garbage. My favorite 9mm CCW is a S&W 908, 3913(NL) or CS9, I own two 908s, three 3913NLs and a CS9. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh carried a 3913. He may still carry one for all I know. Both have been out of production for over a decade now. They’re not too difficult to find on the secondary market via gunsamerica, gunbroker, or gunauction in 97% or better condition.

    • Col Ben

      Hi JCA, thanks for your opinion. I think the word “garbage” is an exaggeration about S&W and hope you can be open-minded and allow others their own opinion, without an unsubstantiated bias. I’ll bet you own none on the list. The 3913NL is a good older gun, is the same as the LadySmith, but without the Ladysmith logo. It honestly is a nice, thin gun. It has a 3 1/2 inch barrel, a slide less than 1 inch in thickness, weighs in at 24 ounces, is about the same as a Glock 19, and is a 9mm with a capacity of 8+1. Be aware that +P ammo is not suggested for use, due to excessive frame wear, and is a small limitation. It is a double-single action pistol with a heavy first shot with lighter
      follow-ups, so does not have the consistent lighter press of striker fired guns. My friend’s has about a 12 pound first press and 6 subsequents out of the box. It has a magazine disconnect, a decocker and manual thumb safety. Unfortunately, Smith & Wesson discontinued this model several years ago in 1994, in favor of the contemporary M&P. Some are still available but pricey and mags are hard to find and almost non-existent. I saw one sell for over $600. Glad you like yours and whatever works for you. Continued success.

      • JCA

        No, I don’t own any on the list. It’s pretty obvious that I prefer previous generation metal framed pistols. I remember the S&W Sigma days. Those were a big embarrassment to S&W. They probably had more recalls than GM vehicles.

        I only use +P ammo in steel, scandium or titanium framed pistols. You don’t need +P ammunition with modern JHPs. I use Federal C9BP, Remington Golden Sabers 124-gr or Winchester Silvertips all standard pressure 9mm rounds. All of them have an excellent track record.

        The only current production 9mm pistols I would consider to buy with MY criteria would be a EAA Witness Steel Compact (still in production and I own one in 10mm which can be easily converted to 9mm), SIG P229 or a P239 Tactical. There are still quite a few of us who have been carrying for quite awhile that are use to the conventional DA trigger pull. If that’s what you have trained with and have been use to there’s no reason to change it if your collection of firearms are in good working order.

        As you’ve stated before elsewhere in this discussion thread, “MY list of guns and MY criteria and try before YOU buy.” You of all people should know that people are just as opinionated about their firearm choice as they are about their choice of a motor vehicle, politics or a sports team.

        My former step daughter is thinking about acquiring a firearm. She’s
        about 5′ and maybe 100 lbs soaking wet. She has tiny hands and can’t
        even effectively utilize the semi-auto controls of a S&W 908/3913 with her small hands. None of them fit her hand well. A J or K frame revolver she can handle just fine and possibly the Beretta 85 Cheetah family or Walther PPK/S in .380 ACP. My former domestic partner loves her Bersa Thunder .380 which is basically a Walther PPK/S knock off. Sometimes you need to downgrade the firearm to fit the student. She doesn’t like handling my S&W 3906. I doubt she’d have an issue with it, I think she’s just intimidated by the larger size and weight due to it being a steel framed pistol. My former step daughter didn’t want to touch it either for the same reasons.

        • James

          The cheetah is a great pistol but is heavy. P238 is a good option.

          • JCA

            I have a Beretta 86. The reason I purchased it was for the tip up barrel. They go for about double the gun blue book value now on gunbroker. I had major spine surgery two years ago. I lost my right shoulder for about a year following the surgery.or anyone who has upper body strength issues your choices are a revolver or a semi-auto with a tip up barrel.

  • James Van Valkenburg

    I see you missed an golden oldie – the CZ-75. True it is a tad heavy (all metal, no plastics), but for my frame it is fine. It mets all you requirements except for #5 Concealability. True for your body style, but for me, I like that little extra weight.

    • Col Ben

      Hi again James! Yes, I love my CZ-75B SAO! All steel and feels great, but like you said concealability is a factor. Very personal decision and I like mine, but didn’t make the list.

  • Franco Eldorado

    Why the glock 19 and not the 26. Empty the 26 is only 20oz and still carries more than the others. HK P90? It’s huge

  • FrankLuska

    What? No Kahr tested, move along people

  • Angus

    S&W M&P compacts are pigs to conceal and carry. But love the Shield. Bersa BP9CC is just as good, but with a trigger that light (3.5#), it needs a safety. Now that Ruger engineers came to their senses and lightened the normally horible LCS trigger pull, that’s a win-win. I’ll second the Taurus Millenium G2, Tropical.

  • mikie

    The glock 26 and sccy cpx2?

  • Judy

    Hello, I am having a difficult time finding a .38 or 9mm small conceal gun that i can pull the slide back
    . I have even tried holding the slide and pushing the gun down. That was a suggestion at the gun shop i go to, but with my arthritis even that is too hard.
    I am a 60 yr old female with a smallish hand. Any suggestions?

    • Jarhead6541

      Walther PK380’s are popular for this reason, among others. Sig P238 & S&W Shield are also easy racking guns. You may want to wait for Walthers new CCP coming soon. It’s attractions, according to the manufacturer, are that they will appeal particularly to women in that they’re very easy to rack & have less felt recoil than comparable weapons.
      Of course, a small/midsize revolver is also an option.

    • Col Ben

      Hey Judy! I really understand this issue and see it very regularly,especially with new male and female students. While it is true that some guns are easier to rack than others, racking the slide on any pistol is about technique, training, mindset, and practice, much more so than strength. What usually works for my arthritic students and my petite, small hands & fingers, rheumatoid arthritic wife is to place the gun in close at strong-side hip level touching her body as an anchor and then PUSHING the gun forward with the strong hand, rather than PULLING the slide
      rearward with the support hand. This works for 200+ pound men, as well as women. For most, the strongest method in racking is the overhand grasp or over-the-top method of grasping the slide, rather than the slingshot method and breaking the wrist. For a right-hand shooter, rotating the gun to the left with the ejection port facing up helps. It is OK to rotate the hand if necessary
      when racking the slide, but the strong thumb should be used to shove up on the slide lock lever AT THE SAME TIME that one racks the slide WHEN THE GU N IS IN MOTION. Most new shooters have this racking problem and must be taught the proper mindset and technique. The fine motor skills and muscles must be developed through proper technique training, practice and more practice, and perseverance. Some cheat and install a pull handle device where you lock 2 fingers on a handle, but this is a crutch and may get you in trouble. The genuine solution is to have a positive mindset to overcome the uncertainties and fear and not be intimidated by the gun, firmly hold the slide in place with the support hand, and quickly push the gun forward with the strong hand. TRAINING and PRACTICE. Lighter recoil springs may help some, but
      there is the tradeoff with reliability, etc. Also, the larger and heavier the slide (usually on full-size guns), usually it is easier to rack the gun. But, many smaller 9mms and .380s are easy to rack with technique, like my wife’s Sig 238 in .380. Both of our practice, however, is to carry a 9mm. Using the technique, my wife can easily rack 9mms like: Springfield 1911 Range Officer, SW 1911 Pro, Sig 226 SAO, SW M&P Pro, Browning Hi-Power, H&K P30, Sig 938, Springfield EMP, Sig 320 Carry, XD-9 Mod.2, Ruger SR9C, and SW M&P9C. Some other ideas about this are in my “Racking Pistol Slide” article on this website on January 7, 2013. PRACTICE and Continued success!

      • Judy

        I am so grateful for all your suggestions and tips! I’ll also look back to your article from Jan.7, 2013.
        I’ll get out there and see whats available to try.
        Regards, Judy

    • Phil Luttrell

      Judy – May I suggest a revolver? Check out the LCR’s at the Ruger website. Would also suggest the 5 Star speed loaders.

  • Andrew C

    M&P Shield holds 9 rounds with one in the chamber and the extended mag. I actually found it interesting that one of the main complaints I’ve heard about the Shield is that it’s big compared to a lot of other carry guns. But in this list of 12 that meet your criteria, it’s actually one of the smallest. I love my Shield and plan on getting it in .40 soon as well.

  • Pavel Redko

    I would volunteer the Beretta Nano to be on anyone’s 9mm CCW list. I found it to be the most concealable 9mm option, with great accuracy for such a short barrel. I’ve seen claims of FTE’s and stovepipes using 115gr ammo, but I have yet to experience any issues with mine. The Nano with a Crimson Trace integrated laser is my EDC, typically in my pants or jacket pocket wherever I go.

  • LRW63

    Lovin’ my SCCY CPX-2!

  • Dr.Good

    Having carried a concealed firearm for many years I know that there is no perfect ccw. So when I bought the kimber solo i knew that the only way I liked to grip it was with the extended magazine so I bought four of them. None of extended mags were reliable as to feeding the firearm so I call Kimber customer service and was informed that I was right and they are not reliable and they do not sell them any more but are working on it. Firearm went in the safe and I went back to my springfield xd/s with extended grips that works everytime. I call back six months later and no they stil don’t have extended mags and don’t know when they will. The kimber is not for someone who needs the extended grip. Mine is now owned by a much smaller person but for self defense I want more purchase on the grip than two fingers. The kimber did work with the original small mag though just didn’t work for me.

  • joesphx

    Anything is better than nothing but beyond that are so many personal preferences and ergonomic factors I would have a somewhat different list. One of my carry favorites is the CZ 75c in nickel. Made of metal yes but accurate, fast shooter with 14+1. But if I had my druthers, my ol Browning HP with 17rd mag.

    • Col Ben

      Love my Browning Hi Power 9mm, but not on my short list for this criteria. It’s all relative & about priorities. Personal preference and very subjective. Continued success!

  • Steve G.

    What have you got against the Kel-Tec p11? I’ve put over 100 rounds thru mine with only one cleaning and one stoppage (done on purpose with a limp handed hold).

  • Guda

    Hello, you forgot the Kahr CW9.

  • mkuisi8mo

    Ever hear of CZ75 D Compact (PCR)?

  • Spooln30

    While some of your concealed carry handguns are good choices you left out some very good options one being a favorite of mine. The Taurus Pt111 millennium g2 in 9mm, which is my everyday carry handgun. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, I’ve read all sorts of bashing Taurus firearms and quite frankly its old and it’s not true of Taurus firearms now. Yes they had some minor reliability issues years ago but in the last 10 years they have come a very long way. Their firearms of late, especially the PT111 G2, are very good firearms and should not be over looked because of some Internet trash talker that has never even owned a Taurus let along shot one. The PT111 Millennium G2’s build quality and reliability are just as good if not better then comparable firearms hundreds of dollars more. When I first purchased my Taurus and closely inspected it I was very pleased with the gun overall and love the features it has that many of the high dollar guns just don’t. I mean a $500+ handgun should have every feature and creature comfort the Taurus has but they just don’t and in fact some of the other manufacturer features are quite clumsy and don’t function very well for a every day save your life in an instant firearm. So what I am getting at is please don’t confuse Taurus the firearm manufacturer to Taurus the vehicle because unlike the car, Taurus firearms have gotten better over the years where the Ford Taurus has not.

  • BFSCOB

    Everyone has their favorite gun and the author could not all possibly list all the good options on the market. This was a fair list of capable concealed carry guns. It was not all inclusive, but clearly it was not intended to be. For those who are interested in purchasing a 9mm, here are some observations I have with respect to various 9mm handguns I own:
    CZ-75 PO1 – currently my favorite 9mm pistol. Its mid-frame but I do carry it frequently and it works. Bought from Cajun Gun Works so it came with a trigger job (and various other modifications) and is simply a joy to shoot. I have yet to find an overall better gun when everything is considered, but again, when you buy them from either Cajun Gun Works or CZ Custom, they come will the standard inadequacies corrected.
    XDS 9mm – Point and shootability with this gun is great. Its a natural pointer which is important for a concealed carry gun. I bought this for summer carry being single stack, but even so, I still can’t help but wish it had more capacity.
    XD Subcompact Mod.2 – to me, this was the biggest surprise. I bought this about a month ago because it really is not that much bigger than the XDS but had 13+1 capacity. I thought the whole “Grip Zone” sales pitch was a little over the top but I was mistaken. Went to the range with it for the second time this weekend, along with four other 9mms (CZ P01, Walther P99 AS, S&W M&P and the XD Mod.2). To my surprise, the Mod.2 had less felt recoil to it than all the others, including my beloved P01. And that is from a subcompact! I can’t stress how good of a shooter the Mod 2 really is for its size. If you are in the market, I strongly suggest you add this to your list of guns to try.
    Walther P99 AS and P99c AS – both great guns. Fit and finish is excellent. Because of the excellent AS trigger system, they are the easiest guns I own (or have ever shot) with which to accurately double tap. The trigger reset is so short and crisp, I can double tap rounds about an inch apart at 8 yards. For me that is good and I can do it better with this gun than any of my others.
    S&W M&P – Nothing really bad I can say about this gun. It has run flawlessly, is accurate, and feels realy good. The only downside is that does not have the same fit and finish of my other guns. For instance, if you hold the gun sideways, you can see light through the gap between the slide and frame. Does this (should this) matter? Probably not, but yet still bugs me. And heck, for all I know, that could help it be more reliable.
    The new H&K VP9 – I don’t own one, but shot one this weekend. I was impressed. It felt good, was very manageable and even had a decent trigger (I really like H&K guns, but have never been fond of their triggers). With a street price of around $565, this really seemed like a great gun.

  • G50AE

    There are five pistols that I would recommend if one is going to carry a nine millimeter pistol.

    These are, in order of recommendation

    Glock 19
    Glock 17
    Glock 34
    Glock 17-L
    Glock 26

    • Col Ben

      Hi G! I certainly value your opinion and thank you. What are your main Criteria and some pro and cons assessments of them to support your recommendations? Continued success!

      • G50AE

        1- Reliability, which is a given with the Glock line of pistols.
        2- Availability of holsters, since a good holster affects conceal-ability more than the actual pistol itself. And every holster maker makes holsters for the Glock line of pistols.
        3- Ease of maintenance and availability of spare parts, another given with the Glock line of pistols.
        4- Availability of accessories, if needed. With the Glock you can easily change the controls, sites, or trigger components to better suit the individual operator.

  • Ty Tansel

    PPQ for me please!

  • CZRex

    wow, no CZ PCR D or Rami on your list. I’ve been thru many of the guns on your list and the CZ’s exceed all in overall….for me. your results may vary.

    • Col Ben

      Yes, CZs are great guns and I have some, but for ME not on my short list for this purpose. Such a personal and individual decision, with so many possible criteria, considerations, and skill attributes involved. Accuracy is so very key for me and influenced a lot by my personal skill set, physical features, and medical concerns. Glad the CZs work for you. Continued success!

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