The best micro-compact pistols for concealed carry

The best micro-compact pistols for concealed carry

Microcompact concealed carry guns are super easy to hide, but sacrifice capacity and shootability. If your primary concern is concealment, these are sacrifices well worth making. We’ll take a tour of the best micros on the market.

Here are our top picks.

Quick links:

Ruger LCP II

Springfield Hellcat

Taurus GX4

Ruger Max 9

Sig Sauer P365

Kimber Micro 9

Glock 42

How do I choose?

If you wear your micro in a KYDEX IWB holster, you’ll want a GunZee holster pad. You’ll forget your piece is there. Maybe even fall asleep with it. That’s how comfortable it is.

Ruger LCP II

Ruger LCP II

Ruger LCP II

Image source: https://ruger.com/products/lcpII/models.html

Capacity

6+1 .380ACP

Barrel length

2.75”

Overall length

5.16”

Overall width

Overall height

3.71”

Sights

Tritium rear sights, optics ready

Weight

10.6oz


The low-profile LCP II features a slick double-action trigger with an internal hammer. The improved trigger has a short, smooth pull averaging 5.5 pounds, enhancing accuracy during rapid fire. It utilizes a locked breech and short recoil action, enabling smooth cycling and excellent recoil control.

The textured grip frame provides a secure hold without abrasion. The integrated trigger safety and upgraded trigger pull lighten and smooth out the trigger press. 

Sights consist of a low profile snag-free front and adjustable rear for windage correction. They provide an adequate sight picture in various lighting conditions. The manual thumb safety provides an additional layer of security against accidental discharge.

“Its accuracy is spectacular,” says this YouTube commenter about her LCP II.

UGC

Springfield Armory Hellcat

Springfield Armory Hellcat

Springfield Armory Hellcat. Image source: https://www.springfield-armory.com/hellcat-series-handguns/hellcat-3-micro-compact-handguns/

Capacity

11+1 9mm

Barrel length

3”

Overall length

6”

Overall width

Overall height

4”

Sights

Tritium rear sights, optics ready

Weight

17.9oz

 

The Springfield Armory Hellcat packs awesome firepower into a microcompact 9mm. With a capacity of 13+1 rounds, this petite pistol carries easily yet brings serious capacity to have your back. It also has a reversible magazine release, making it one of the better ambidextrous concealed carry options in this article. 

The Hellcat is available in standard and optic sight (OSP) versions, and a threaded barrel compensated model.

The grip texture provides just enough traction without abrading clothes or skin. The sights stand out with a bright front dot in a snag-free design. An optics-ready version will please those wanting a micro red dot sight.

The flat trigger delivers a fairly crisp break that enables accurate shots.

“[The Hellcat] is an extremely attractive, competitively priced micro-compact that gives the gun buyer more carry capacity and does it in a package that’s easy (and even fun) to shoot.” —CrossBreed holsters

Taurus GX4

Capacity

11 rounds

Barrel length

3.06”

Overall width

1.08”

Overall length

5.8”

Overall height

4.4”

Safety

Stricker block, trigger safety, manual thumb safety

Weight

18.5oz


The GX4, a hammer-fired pistol, features a durable polymer frame with abrasive texturing for a solid grip. The slide has front and rear serrations to aid manipulation. Standard white dot sights come installed, while a loaded chamber indicator provides quick visual inspection. The trigger, though not match grade, exhibited a reasonably clean break in testing.

Accuracy is suitable for defensive use at typical handgun distances. Recoil is very manageable despite the micro size.

“I am surprised by how well [the GX4] shoots. It has good sights that are easy to pick up.

You could easily switch out the front sight for a better option and still have a fantastic sight picture without spending a lot of money. Also, the trigger on this gun is excellent for what it is.” —Harry Holster review

Ruger Max 9

Capacity

12+1 rounds

Barrel length

3.2”

Overall width

0.95”

Overall length

6”

Overall height

4.52”

Sights

Tritium fiber-optic sight

Weight

18.04 oz


The Max 9’s textured polymer frame strikes a balance between grip and comfort. Controls are smooth and intuitive, including forward slide serrations and an optics-ready slide. The trigger breaks cleanly at 5.5 pounds with a positive reset.

The low bore axis mitigates muzzle rise, though some shooters may find the Max-9 a bit snappy with full-power loads.

Sights utilize a bright fiber optic front paired blacked-out rear for fast acquisition. The included Picatinny rail adds flexibility for accessories. For disassembly, a punch pushes out a cross pin.

“I put over 1000 rounds through it for this review. I saw exactly zero malfunctions. This gun ran perfectly. That’s very impressive for a brand-new gun in a new category for a gun manufacturer.” —Clinger holsters review

Sig Sauer P365

Sig Sauer P365 i

Sig Sauer P365 i. Image source: https://www.sigsauer.com/p365-380.html

Capacity

10+1 9mm

Barrel length

3.1”

Overall width

1”

Overall length

5.8”

Overall height

4.3”

Sights

XPAY3

Weight

17.8oz


Constructed with a polymer grip module and steel slide, P365 tips the scales at 17.8 ounces unloaded.

Despite the micro size, the P365’s stainless steel magazine packs 10+1 rounds of 9mm capacity in a flush-fitting double stack design. Extended 12-round magazines are also available. The grip texture provides a secure hold, while the XRAY3 day/night sights quickly align on target.

The P365 utilizes a striker-fired mechanism with a smooth, consistent trigger pull averaging 6 pounds. The crisp trigger press aids in precision shooting while the short reset gets back on target rapidly.

The P365 changed expectations for how many rounds can be fit into a highly compact platform.

Kimber Micro 9

Capacity

6+1 9mm

Barrel length

3.15”

Overall width

1.08”

Overall length

6.1”

Overall height

4.6”

Sights

Tritium night sights

Weight

15oz


With an aluminum frame, the Micro 9 weighs only 15 ounces unloaded for easy carry. The satin silver finish on the slide complements the matte black frame nicely. Sights utilize a low snag tritium 3-dot night sight picture.

The operation uses a single action trigger with a smooth 5-pound pull. The Micro 9 reliably cycles a variety of ammunition without adjustments.

The grip frame has finely checkered rosewood panels that provide an elegant look along with a secure hold. Forward and rear slide serrations allow easy manipulation of the slide. For concealed carry, an ambidextrous thumb safety provides added security.

Glock 42

Capacity

6+1 .380ACP

Barrel length

3.25”

Overall width

0.94”

Overall length

5.94”

Overall height

4.13”

Sights

Tritium night sights

Weight

13.76oz


Although small, the G42 incorporates standard Glock features including a safe action trigger system with a smooth 5.5-pound pull. The rifled barrel provides accuracy while the locked breech recoil operation allows manageable control in the micro-compact platform.

The slim slide and frame accommodate a single stack 6+1 round magazine capacity. The textured grip surface provides a secure hold. Drift adjustable polymer sights align quickly on target.

The felt recoil is very manageable, making the G42 a great option for new shooters. Accuracy is more than sufficient for self-defense use at typical handgun distances.

How do I choose the right microcompact pistol?

Consider these factors when choosing your new CCW gun in micro version:

  • Caliber. 9mm is the most common but .380 ACP is also popular for microcompacts. Choose a caliber you can shoot accurately and that meets your stopping power needs.
  • Capacity. Microcompact capacity ranges from 6+1 to 15+1 rounds. Evaluate your carry needs and priorities between slimness and firepower.
  • Ergonomics. Make sure to find a microcompact with grip size and controls that fit your hand size and shooting style. 
  • Recoil management. Heavier micro-compacts often have less felt recoil. Test to find one with manageable recoil for accurate follow-up shots.
  • Sights. Many microcompacts have basic sights, but night sights and optics-ready upgrades may be important.
  • Single vs. double stack magazines. Single stacks are slimmer, doubles have more capacity.
  • Polymer vs metal frames. Polymer is lighter, but metal provides heavier recoil mitigation.
  • Manual vs striker-fired triggers. Manual triggers allow crisper and more controlled shooting while striker-fired systems are simpler and have fewer parts to fail or tune.

Wearing micro-compact pistols for concealed carry

Here's what you need to know for effective microcompact concealed carry:

  1. Get a microcompact holster that fits the gun snugly. 
  2. Get a holster with adjustable retention and thank us later.
  3. Figure out which concealed carry position works best for you based on your body type and fashion preferences.

What is the best concealed carry position?

Popular holster styles include inside-the-waistband (IWB), appendix carry, shoulder holsters, and ankle holsters.

IWB holsters position the pistol against your body, usually behind the hip. Appendix carry holsters position the pistol in front of the hip on the abdomen. While also highly concealable, comfort depends on body type. Shoulder holsters allow you to carry under a jacket or shirt. Ankle holsters are popular with women wearing skirts or dresses.

No matter the holster style, always consider comfort, accessibility, and ease of draw when deciding on a carry position. Practice drawing from concealment regularly to ensure you can access your micro-compact quickly and safely. With the right CCW holster and positioning, micro-compact pistols can provide reliable concealed carry.

Whether you choose to carry an IWB or AIWB holster, our holster pad will bring comfort to the next level. No more uncomfortable poking of your holster while sitting or driving—the GunZee made a revolution!

Micro-compact pistols FAQ

What is the highest capacity micro-compact pistol?

The SIG Sauer P365 XL has the highest capacity of any true micro-compact pistol on the market today. This slick little gun takes a 15-round double-stack magazine. 

What is the most powerful compact handgun?

The most powerful compact handgun is the Glock 20 chambered in 10mm Auto, which generates over 500 foot-pounds of muzzle energy from its 4-inch barrel, providing excellent stopping power in a controllable compact semi-auto platform.

What is the smallest micro pistol?

The smallest micro pistol is the Beretta Pico .380 ACP at just 5 inches tall and 4.8 ounces empty weight and with a capacity of 6+1 rounds.

What is the best size gun to concealed carry?

The best size gun to carry for most people is a compact 9mm like the Glock 19, which provides a good balance of power, capacity, shootability, and ease of concealment for EDC.

What is the strongest pistol in real life?

The strongest pistol is the 5.7x28mm FN Five-Seven, which can generate up to 600 foot-pounds of muzzle energy from its 5.5-inch barrel, giving it tremendous power and armor penetration capabilities.

What pistol has the highest capacity?

The pistol with the highest capacity is the KelTec CP33 in .22 LR caliber, which has an astonishing 33-round extended magazine capacity option, made possible largely due to the small size of the rimfire .22 round.

What pistol holds 30 rounds?

The Beretta 93R "Auto 9" machine pistol was an early pistol design with a 30-round detachable box magazine, meant for counter-terrorism use in the 1970s before high-capacity pistols were common.

What pistol has 15 rounds?

Many modern full-size and compact service pistols from companies like Glock, SIG Sauer, Springfield, and Smith & Wesson commonly offer 15-round magazine capacities in popular defensive calibers such as 9mm Luger and .40 S&W.

Further reading

What is the easiest pistol to conceal?

What is the best semi-auto for women?

What are the best EDC holsters to get?

What is the best Beretta for concealed carry?

What are the best subcompact handguns?

What are the best 9mm single-stack pistols?

What is the most comfortable IWB holster?

What is the best concealed carry gun without manual safety?