There are tons of micro and subcompact pistols out there that tuck away completely yet still pack enough punch to get the job done in a self-defense situation.
Whether you're a beginner in the concealed world or just looking for an upgrade, read on for our recommendations.
Oh, and buy GunZee holster padding to make your IWB carry comfortable!
Go subcompact or microcompact
Small pistols are the clear choice for maximum concealment. Full-size handguns are a no-go if concealment is your primary concern. You may as well have a neon sign announcing your concealed carry weapon. Compacts are also challenging for many body types to conceal well.
Subcompact and micro-compact pistols have become very popular in the last decade, and for good reason: they’re tiny. That makes them an excellent choice for concealment.
- Lightweight and compact for comfort
- Won't poke or print, even under tight clothing
- Convenient to carry in purses, bags, and pockets
- Maintain stopping power despite small size
- Easier to draw and maneuver
- Greater wardrobe options without printing
Of course, this all comes at a price: tiny guns are less accurate to shoot, have less capacity, and are harder to control. But hey, if concealment is your main concern, you’re probably willing to sacrifice in these other areas.
As with most things in life, it’s all about trade-offs.
What are the best microcompact CCW guns?
Check out these top microcompacts:
Ruger LCP II
Ruger LCP II
Image source: https://ruger.com/products/lcpII/models.html
With dimensions of just 5.17" (length), 3.71" (height), and 0.91" (width), the Ruger LCP II is exceptionally compact and slim for concealed carry. It measures only 10.6 ounces unloaded, making it one of the lightest and smallest .380 ACP pistols available.
The low-profile LCP II features a slick double-action only 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 LCP II packs 6+1 rounds in the standard flush-fit magazine. Additional extended 7-round magazines are also available for added capacity. Sights are basic, with a fixed front and adjustable rear notch.
With its polymer frame, stainless steel slide and barrel, smooth snag-free profile, and super lightweight design, the Ruger LCP II excels at discreet carry.
Sig Sauer P365
With just 5.8” in length, 4.3” in height, and 1.0” in width, the Sig Sauer P365 is remarkably small for a micro-compact 9mm pistol. It weighs a mere 17.8 ounces unloaded.
The P365 utilizes a striker-fired mechanism with a crisp, light trigger pull averaging around 6 pounds. The short, smooth trigger enhances rapid shooting while maintaining accuracy. The locked breech, tilting barrel system allows smooth cycling and excellent recoil control in the micro frame size.
Despite the tiny size, the P365 packs 10+1 rounds in the flush-fit magazine. Extended 12-round magazines are also available for even greater capacity. Sights consist of high visibility SIGLITE night sights with a front notch and rear tritium insert.
Kimber Micro 9
The Kimber Micro 9 measures 6.1” in length, 4.07” in height, and 1.06” in width. It has an aluminum frame and weighs only 15 ounces unloaded.
The Micro 9 features a smooth single-action trigger with a short pull averaging around 5 pounds, promoting accuracy for rapid-fire sequences. The locked breech short recoil action allows smooth cycling and excellent recoil control in the micro-sized aluminum frame.
Although it is small, the Micro 9 packs 6+1 rounds in the flush-fit magazine. Extended 7 and 8-round magazines are also available for added capacity. Sights consist of low-profile snag-free night sights with a front and rear tritium insert.
With dimensions of just 5.94” in length, 4.13” in height, and 0.94” in width, the Glock 42 is a small .380 ACP micro-compact pistol. It has a lightweight polymer frame weighing only 13.76 ounces unloaded.
The G42 utilizes a striker-fired mechanism with Glock's characteristic Safe Action trigger system featuring a smooth, consistent 5.5-pound trigger pull. The crisp break and short reset promote accuracy and fast follow-up shots. The locked breech, tilting barrel design allows smooth cycling and excellent recoil control despite the micro-compact size.
In keeping with other single-stack Glocks, the G42 has a slim profile with a flush 6+1 round magazine capacity. The grip frame incorporates finger grooves and a non-slip texture for a secure hold. The sights consist of drift-adjustable polymer sights with white dot fronts and white outlined rears for fast target acquisition.
Springfield Armory Hellcat
The polymer-framed gun, the Hellcat measures 6 inches long and 4 inches tall, with a notably slim 1-inch width. Its 18.3-ounce unloaded weight keeps it lightweight for carrying and concealing.
The Hellcat’s flat-faced trigger optimizes pull smoothness, aided by the integrated blade safety mechanism. Accuracy is bolstered by the durable Melonite-finished, 3-inch hammer-forged barrel.
Standard high visibility sights enable rapid targeting, while the flush 11+1 round magazine provides substantial capacity. This can be further extended with the available 13-round magazines.
An accessory rail, internal safeties, and automatic striker block all complement the Hellcat’s reliable firepower. Its nimble frame houses robust features and capabilities.
What are the best subcompact CCW guns?
If you need more than a micro but aren't ready for a full-size, subcompact pistols are the sweet spot. Still compact for EDC but with enough grip and capacity for serious business. And so easy to conceal.
Here are our top subcompact picks:
Image source: https://us.glock.com/en/pistols/g26
With dimensions of 6.41" x 4.17" x 1.18" and weighing 21.71 oz unloaded, the G26 is built for concealed carry but retains the shootability of its larger Glock counterparts.
The polymer frame absorbs recoil well and provides a full grip despite the abbreviated profile. A 10+1 flush fit magazine keeps the G26 slim for discreet carry, while extended magazines are available for added capacity. The striker-fired safe action trigger delivers Glock's consistent 5.5 lb pull for accurate shot placement.
Standard Glock fixed sights and polygonal rifling provide functionality and reliability. As a 9mm, the G26 benefits from readily available and affordable ammunition. The G26 frame accepts larger magazines and accessories for enhanced versatility.
Smith & Wesson Shield
At just 6.1" long, 4.6” high, and 1.0" wide, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield conceals well. Despite its compact form, an empty weight of only 18.3 oz keeps the pistol lightweight for comfortable carry.
The crisp striker-fired trigger delivers consistent 6.5 lb pulls, promoting accuracy during rapid fire. A grip angle optimized to 18° mitigates felt recoil, allowing quick follow-up shots on target.
The slim single-stack magazine fits 7+1 or 8+1 rounds in a compact frame.
Available extended magazines offer additional capacity. The 3.1" barrel length is comfortably compact.
Mated with a durable polymer frame, the stainless steel barrel and slide enhance durability and corrosion resistance. Textured grip surfaces provide positive weapon control even with compact proportions.
CZ P10 S
The CZ P10 S is a 9mm pistol with a 6.5-inch length and 4.7-inch height. At just 1.2 inches wide, it has a trim profile. Unloaded it weighs 22 ounces.
A nitride-coated, cold hammer forged 3.5-inch barrel length provides durability and accuracy. The striker-fired mechanism utilizes a flat-face trigger with integrated safety.
The textured polymer grip enables secure handling, aided by the full-length metal magazine baseplate. It ships with a 12+1 round flush magazine and accommodates extended 14 and 15-round mags.
Three-dot metal sights and an automatic striker block complement the P10 S’s reliable performance. It has a robust feature set in a streamlined, compact package.
Walther PPS M2
The Walther PPS M2 is a slim, single-stack 9mm semi-auto pistol. It has a polymer frame with ergonomic grip texturing and measures 6.3 inches long, 4.4 inches tall, and 1.3 inches wide. Unloaded it weighs approximately 21 ounces.
The PPS M2 utilizes a striker-fired mechanism with a light, crisp trigger pull. The 3.2-inch barrel is cold hammer forged steel with a hard chrome coating for durability and corrosion resistance. It ships with a flush 6+1 round magazine and an extended 7+1 round magazine.
Fixed steel sights include a white dot front sight and a rear sight with a white outline notch. The slide features front and rear cocking serrations for easy manipulation. Safety features include an integrated trigger safety and internal drop safeties.
What factors should I consider when choosing a CCW gun?
Focus on these factors to find your ideal everyday companion:
- Size and dimensions. Consider your body type, method of carry, and clothing choices. Compact pistols conceal most easily.
- Caliber and stopping power. Bigger isn't always better. 9mm offers a balance of control and stopping ability.
- Capacity. More rounds mean more firepower but can compromise concealment.
- Shootability and accuracy. A smooth, comfortable trigger and quality sights promote proficiency.
- Recoil management. Controllable recoil enables faster follow-up shots. Look for ergonomic grips.
- Grip and ergonomics. A comfortable, natural grip instills confidence and control when drawing.
- Manual safety vs striker fired. Choose your preferred safety system. Both have pros and cons.
- Holster compatibility. Ensure your pistol works with your carry style and body type.
How do I choose the right CCW holster?
With your CCW holster, you should make the balance between comfort, concealability, and accessibility. Rather than making trade-offs, the right holster optimizes all three for your unique needs.
Here are the factors you should keep in mind when choosing the right CCW holster:
- Material. Consider leather or KYDEX construction. Leather promotes comfort while KYDEX offers retention and durability.
- Fit. Ensure a precise fit to your firearm for proper retention and smooth draw. The holster must correctly accommodate your specific gun.
- Carry location. Popular positions include inside waistband (IWB), small of back (SOB), and appendix carry. Consider your routine activities and needs.
- Concealment. IWB and ankle holsters prioritize concealment. OWB focuses more on accessibility and ease of draw.
- Comfort and wearability. See if the holster has contours or soft materials to avoid pressure points for extended wear. Minimal material also aids comfort. Get the GunZee memory foam padding to expand the comfort of your chosen holster.
Easiest pistols to conceal FAQ
What is the easiest concealed carry gun to hide?
The easiest guns to conceal are ultra-compact pistols like the Ruger LCP or Smith & Wesson Bodyguard that can disappear into a pocket or waistband. These micro .380s are only 5-6 inches long and under 1 inch thick, making them undetectable under even light clothing. While larger than a tiny revolver, their slim, rectangular shape hides better than chunky small-frame wheel guns.
What caliber handgun is best for concealed carry?
For concealed carry, one of the best calibers is 9mm. Here’s why:
- Modern 9mm defensive rounds like 124gr +P JHPs deliver 12-15 inches of penetration and .60-.70 inch expansion to disable attackers.
- Minimal 9mm recoil in small pistols enables faster follow-up shots during defensive shootings.
- Higher magazine capacities (10+ rounds) allow more shots without reloading.
- The 9mm cartridge fits in slim, single-stack magazines for better concealment.
- Barrel lengths of 3-4 inches provide enough velocity for defensive 9mm loads.
What is the simplest concealed carry pistol to use?
One of the simplest pistols to use is a basic double-action revolver like a Smith & Wesson .38 Special. The almost intuitive pointing shooting, double-action trigger, and manual safety of a snub nose .38 Special make it easy for any beginner.
The limited recoil and simple operating procedure allow new shooters to build skills without being overwhelmed. Revolvers skip semi-auto intricacies like safeties and jam-clearing.
What is the smallest concealed carry handgun that holds the most rounds?
The Sig P365 and Springfield Hellcat have set a new standard for concealed carry capacity. These mini semi-autos boast unprecedented 10+1 and 11+1 round counts despite weighing around 18 ounces and measuring under 6 inches in total.
Is there a silent pistol?
No firearm can be truly silent. "Silencers" are suppressors that only muffle and alter the sound signature, not eliminate it. They reduce the noise and muzzle flash by containing and slowing down propellant gases.
What caliber pistol do most police use?
The vast majority of American police forces issue 9mm pistols as standard duty sidearms. Models like Glocks, Sigs, and Smith & Wesson in 9mm offer high ammunition capacity, controllable recoil, and proven stopping power with modern ammunition—attributes ideal for self-defense and law enforcement uses.
Where do most people hide guns?
Popular concealed carry locations include inside the waistband, side, or appendix positions. Ankle holsters, shoulder holsters, fanny packs, and purses are other common options. Small guns can hide in pockets as well.
Is ammo capacity important?
Yes, ammunition capacity matters, but needs to be balanced against other considerations such as concealability