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Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

best concealed carry gun

We tapped Hook & Barrel pro staff to figure out our best concealed carry guns of the year. Here are our picks.

Choosing the best concealed carry gun for you means you’re committing to a lifestyle. First and foremost, let safety and continuing education take the wheel. We recommend finding local shooting instructors that can help you gain an advanced skillset. Once you have some knowledge in your pocket, you also have the opportunity to get specific with what type of firearms will work best for you.

We’ve rounded up our top pistols and revolvers for concealed carry purposes. Each caters to different scenarios, budgets, and preferences but all are capable of doing the job.

Best Concealed Carry Guns

Note as you’re looking that we don’t include exact prices, mostly because a lot of these guns are often offered at prices lower than MSRP. It’s best to check prices to see where they’re at today!

FN’s Reflex Micro Pistol

The FN Reflex from FN America is a new micro-compact 9MM pistol purposefully designed for the concealed-carry buyer. It aims to set a new standard in the world of everyday carry with its advanced ergonomics; light and crisp five-pound, single-action trigger; optics-ready capabilities; and extended capacity. The pistols are available in both standard and MRD (micro red dot) configurations, as well as in both black and flat dark earth (FDE) finishes.

Specs: FN Reflex Micro Compact

  • Caliber: 9MM
  • Capacity: 11+1, 15+1
  • Length: 6.2”
  • Weight: 18.5 oz.
  • Sights: TruGlo Night 
  • MSRP: Under $700

Kimber R7 Mako 9mm 

kimber mako

Small but powerful, the R7 Mako is polymer-framed, striker-fired micro-compact that packs 12 rounds total capacity with the flush-fit standard magazine—and 14 rounds with the extended magazine! Stippling molded into the frame makes for a sure grip even when hands are sweaty.

Measuring a mere one-inch wide, the pistol is also a lightweight at just 19.5 ounces empty. The barrel lug sits farther back than most designs to minimize cant when the slide is unlocked. Less cant means less movement, and that reduces perceived recoil. Available in two models: Optics Ready and Optics Installed. The Optics Ready model sports 3-Dot TruGlo Tritium Pro Night Sights, while the Optics Installed version comes with the Crimson Trace CT-1500 optic already mounted.

Specs: R7 Mako Optics-Ready

  • Caliber: 9MM
  • Capacity: 11+1, 13+1
  • Length: 6.2”
  • Weight: 19.5 oz.
  • Sights: TruGlo Night 
  • MSRP: All options under $800

Ruger LCP MAX

concealed carry gun ruger

Ruger’s LCP and LCP II pistol have been popular choices for discreet carry for several years, and the LCP line up has only improved with the LCP MAX chambered in .380 AUTO. Based on the same platform as the LCP II, the micro-compact design of the LCP MAX has an improved standard capacity of 10+1 with the flush mount magazine.

There is also an extended magazine with a 12+1 capacity. This small pistol ships with a soft holster, though it’s also compatible with most of the existing LCP II holsters. For women, and even while wearing a dress, the LCP MAX is concealable as a holstered pocket pistol, with a belly band, or with a flash-bang holster. It also features an improved green tritium front sight surrounded by a white ring for faster target acquisition. 

Specs: Ruger LCP MAX 

  • Caliber: .380 AUTO
  • Capacity: 10+1, 12+1
  • Length: 5.17”
  • Weight: 10.6 oz.
  • Sights: Rear Adj., Front Tritium 
  • MSRP: Under $500

Springfield Hellcat Micro-Compact

best concealed carry weapon

A micro-compact 9MM, the Springfield Hellcat is available in over a dozen variations, measures just one-inch wide, features a patented magazine with an ammunition  capacity of 11+1, and 13+1 with the included extended magazine. Like all Hellcats, the Hellcat 3” Micro-Compact OSP model sports a three-inch barrel. The custom pressure-activated grip texture on the frame features a pattern of staggered pyramid shapes.

The taller pyramids have a flattened top to ensure comfort in the waistband and minimal wear on clothing. The shorter pyramids come to a point and lock into the hand for a secure hold. OSP denotes “Optical Sight Pistol,” and the rear deck of the slide on the OSP model is cut to fit the most popular micro red dots, including the HEX Wasp, JP Enterprises JPoint, and the Shield RMSc.

Specs: Springfield Hellcat Micro-Compact OSP 

  • Caliber: 9MM
  • Capacity: 11+1, 13+1
  • Length: 6.0”
  • Weight: 17.9 oz. (unloaded, w/Flush  Mag)
  • Sights: Tritium Front, U-Notch Rear  
  • MSRP: $633

Taurus Optics Ready Option (T.O.R.O.) Revolvers

best concealed carry gun

Smaller revolvers have a lot of positives for concealed carry. Yet the knock on them has always been the tiny, hard-to-pick-up sights. Taurus changes all this with the new Taurus Optics Ready Option (T.O.R.O.) revolvers in the 856 and 605 models. Both handguns are derived from Taurus’ popular Defender Series, and sport three-inch barrels and steel frames.

The Defender 856 is chambered in .38 Special and holds six rounds, while the Defender 605 in .357 Magnum and five rounds. The T.O.R.O. versions of these revolvers are designed with unique mounting plates that fit any optic built on either the Holosun K-series footprint or the Shield RMSc footprint. Viable carry options for people who prefer a revolver and like the quick-sight picture provided by an optic. 

Specs: Taurus Defender 605 T.O.R.O.

  • Caliber: .357 Mag.
  • Capacity: 5
  • Length: 7.5”
  • Weight: 23.52 oz.
  • Sights: Fixed Rear, Removable Front 
  • Special Feature: Optics Plate Included  
  • MSRP: Under $500

Specs: Taurus Defender 856 T.O.R.O.

  • Caliber: .38 SPL +P
  • Capacity: 6
  • Length: 7.5”
  • Weight: 23.5 oz.
  • Sights: Fixed Rear, Removable Front 
  • Special Feature: Optics Plate Included  
  • MSRP: Under $500 

How To Choose The Best Concealed Carry Guns

Choosing the best concealed carry weapon is a critical decision that depends on the carrier. Below, we include some steps to help you make an informed choice:

Before you even start looking at specific firearms, familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations regarding concealed carry in your area. Different regions have different requirements, so make sure you’re aware of what’s allowed and what’s not.

Why Do You Need to Concealed Carry?

Consider why you want to carry a concealed weapon. Is it for personal defense, home defense, or both? Your intended use can influence the type and size of firearm you choose.

Caliber, Size, & Weight

The caliber of a firearm refers to the size of the bullet it fires. The most common calibers for concealed carry are 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. Smaller calibers like .380 ACP are suitable for some people. Consider your comfort and accuracy when choosing a caliber, and try to shoot a variety of guns before you commit to a caliber that works for you.

Concealability is a key factor in choosing a weapon. Smaller and lighter firearms are easier to conceal, but they may be less comfortable to shoot, especially with higher-caliber rounds. Recoil and control issues can get intense with lighter guns, so strike a balance between concealability and shootability.You’ll also want to choose a firearm that feels comfortable in your hand. Grip size, trigger reach, and overall feel should be considered.

Capacity Doesn’t Always Need To Be High

The number of rounds a firearm can hold is an important consideration. Higher capacity can be advantageous, but it may also increase the size and weight of the weapon. Strike a balance that suits your needs.

Safety Features & Concealment Options

Ensure that the firearm has safety features that you are comfortable with and can use effectively. Some models have external safeties, while others rely on internal safeties or trigger safeties. Being familiar with your safety is integral to your own safety.

Here, you always want to consider how you plan to carry your firearm. There are various methods, including inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters, outside-the-waistband (OWB) holsters, shoulder holsters, and ankle holsters. Your choice of carry method can impact the size and type of firearm you select.

Training, Practice, & Accessories

You’ll want to consider what accessories you may need, such as spare magazines, a quality holster, and proper training. These can be just as important as the firearm itself.

Regardless of the firearm you choose, investing in training and regular practice is essential. Becoming proficient in drawing, aiming, and firing your concealed carry weapon is crucial for safety and effectiveness.

Final Thoughts: The Best Concealed Carry Guns — It’s About You!

Remember that the “best” concealed carry weapon varies from person to person, depending on individual preferences, body type, and intended use. Take your time researching and testing different options to find the one that best fits your needs and feels right for you. Additionally, ongoing training and practice are essential to being a responsible and effective concealed carry permit holder.


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Six Things to Consider When Carrying a Concealed Weapon

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