Weapon choice is, and should be, a very personal decision and a lot of factors come into play. This list is intended to provide you with a starting place in your search for the perfect gun to carry concealed. Each of these firearms have a lot going for them and we suggest visiting a range that allows you to rent/try a variety of them.
Glock 19 9x19
Also known as the “Compact,” the Glock 19 9x19 has become synonymous with concealed carry firearms. First produced in the late 1980s, it was designed primarily for use among military and law enforcement personnel. Because the Glock 19 is compatible with factory magazines from earlier Glock 17 and 18 models, it can be used with 17-round (standard), 10-round, 19-round, and 31-round magazines, although we don't recommend concealed carrying with a 31-round magazine loaded into your Glock 19.
Sig P238 .380 ACP
Modeled after the classic M1911A1, the Sig P238 .380 ACP is an excellent choice for a concealed carry firearm. This single-action semi-automatic pistol features a lightweight aluminum frame with a stainless steel slide, weighing just over 15 ounces. And with a 4.9 out of 5 star rating on Academy.com, you can rest assured knowing the Sig P238 .380 ACP is the real deal.
S&W M&P Shield .40
Developed by Smith & Wesson, the M&P (Military and Police) Shield is an affordable, reliable semi-automatic pistol that's easy to conceal. Like many popular concealed carry pistols, it was originally marketed to law enforcement. However, it's use has since spread into the civilian world. The S&W M&P Shield .40 is incredibly lightweight thanks to its Zytel polymer frame.
S&W Bodyguard .380
Another Smith & Wesson CCW pistol is the compact double-action Bodyguard .380. Much like the aforementioned Shield .40, the Bodyguard .380 is also made of a polymer frame. The barrel, slide, and internal components, however, are made of stainless steel. In terms of size, the S&W Bodyguard .380 measures just under 12 inches in length, with a barrel length of 2.75 inches.
H&K P2000SK .40
The H&K P2000SK .40 is the smaller, sub-compact version of the Heckler & Koch P2000. It's small, sleek, and packs a serious punch with .40-caliber ammunition. Keep in mind, though, that the H&K P2000SK .40 sub-compact design may result in longer magazines protruding out from the bottom of the grip.
Ruger LCR .38 SPL
If you prefer revolvers instead of semi-automatics, you should check out the Ruger LCR .38 SPL. This is one of the newer revolvers to hit the market, with Ruger announcing the compact LCR line in 2009. The acronym LCR literally means “Lightweight Compact Revolver,” which reflects this gun nicely. It weighs 13.5-17.1 ounces (depending on the model), and measures just 6.5 inches in length.
Springfield Armory XDs 9MM
This line of 9mm striker-fired semi-automatic pistols features a polymer frame. Among the most notable features of the Springfield XDs 9MM is its use of a Match Grade barrel and trigger, which according to the company's website, allows for tighter tolerances and better accuracy.
The Kahr PM9 is a double-action-only (DAO) semi-automatic pistol manufactured by Kahr Arms. Like all of the PM series, it's made with a polymer frame to reduce both size and weight. The Kahr PM9 is widely recognized for having one of the smoothest and most consistent trigger pulls on the market, making it a great choice for concealed carrying.
These are just a few of the top concealed carry firearms. Remember to pay close attention to the size, weight, and drawability before deciding which one is right for you.
* Image used by creative commons license, credited to Bill Bradford.