I don’t know much about the Nice list, as I’ve never actually been on it myself. But I’m told there’s a flip side to the record. And I think I know nice when I see it.
Many companies have made some genuine contributions to the market this year. My Naughty list tended to focus on some traditional designs that have been made unnecessarily tactical. The list will focus on some concealed carry guns that have made major contributions to self defense.
1. The Beretta Nano
Beretta knocked one out of the park with the Nano, which became widely available in 2012. This 9mm isn’t as compact as the 9mm gets, but it is close, and easy enough to conceal. And with an MSRP of $475, it isn’t going to set you too far back.
There are two things that define the Nano for me. The first is the gun’s reliable accuracy. It shoots very well for a gun with a 3-inch barrel. The sights are functional. The ergonomic feel of the Nano is ideal, which makes point shooting easy at close range. And the snag free exterior means drawing from a IWB holster happens gracefully. If you are looking for a 9mm for concealed carry, try the Nano. I have yet to meet anyone who has been disappointed.
2. The Colt Mustang
Colt knows single action pistols. Though the original Mustang had its issues, the new one seems to be perfect. It is single action, and a .380, so it will have a hard row to how with some folks. But this is the best of the truly pocket sized .380s I’ve ever handled.
The fit of the gun is superb. The aluminum is more substantial than polymer, and the result is a gun that feels like an honest gun. And this thing shoots to point of aim better than most pocket pistols. Still, it costs twice as much, too. With an MSRP of $615, a Mustang can set you back. But it is an investment, of sorts, and will hold its value well.
3. The Kimber Solo
Let’s say the .380 isn’t your speed. The 9mm of the Nano might be more appealing. But the Nano has a distinct aesthetic, and it has a harder time fitting in with a tuxedo, and simply clashes with pearls. Maybe the Solo would be better. The Solo is sleek and stylish, and a 9mm, too.
Kimber is on to something here. But with an MSRP of $747, the Solo will certainly speak to a more affluent audience. I’m still waiting on Kimber to send me one. When they do, I’ll really put it to the naughty/nice test. But all of the reviews I’ve seen so far tend to respect Kimber’s work.
4. The Ruger LCR .22
While there haven’t been any eath-shattering development in concealed carry revolvers lately, Ruger hasn’t stopped trying. And for that, they make the Nice list. Ruger’s LCR in .357 is enough to earn them a spot on the list. Shoot it a few times, though, and you might begin to question my judgement. The lightweight little dude kicks.
But that’s where this gun comes in. The LCR 22 is the ideal concealed carry practice gun. The weight is the same, as are the size and clean trigger pull. Shooting the .22 LR will give your wallet a break. And your hand. And if you are inclined to practice holster draws in live fire scenarios, as you should if you intend to carry a gun, than the .22 LR is the safest way to do so. The MSRP on this is $525, but it sells for less and is worth it.
5. The Springfield Armory XDS
And now back to the semi-autos. Springfield Armory makes the most practical, reliable, and affordable .45 ACP pocket gun on the market. This gun is just slightly larger than guns like the Mustang. The XDS feels larger than it is because of the squared slide (something it shares with the Nano).
The XDS’s only limitation is the round count. We can argue all year about which round is best for concealed carry. And the short barrel is going to trim some speed off of the already sluggish .45 ACP. But that is splitting hairs. I’ve reached out to 75 yards with the XDS with little effort. And for realistic distances, the XDS is a tremendous gun. And affordable. The XDS seems to be selling for around $500. That is a lot of gun for that money.
There are a lot of others out there on the list, for sure. And we’ll see more in the coming year. I hear Beretta has some big things planned. And I’m still hoping for a Solo I can run head to head with the Nano and the Mustang. But that’s between me and Santa, and the elves at the ATF.