There’s a misnomer amongst concealed carriers that you have to carry a tiny subcompact or similar-sized gun in order to be comfortable and discrete. The truth of the matter is that with the proper preparation and the proper holster, pretty much any handgun can be your EDC. Sure, the tiny ones are super easy and comfortable to carry inside the waistband, but most people can also conceal a full-size 1911.
Do holsters play in important role? Of course. So does your attire. Sometimes larger handguns are just a little too big to carry IWB comfortably, especially if you’re of smaller stature. That’s where a good belt/OWB (outside the waistband) holster and a cover garment come into play. With a little trial and error, you can absolutely conceal almost any size handgun. It just takes a little preparation to get it right for your body type.
I’ve taken a look at the top options for concealed carry in each of the following categories: full-size, mid-size, subcompact, micro-compact, mouse gun, and snub-nose revolver. While the options for each of these categories are endless and filled with very worthy handguns, these were my picks.
Full-Size Carry: Sig Sauer P320/M17
If it’s accurate and dependable enough for the United States Army, it’s good enough for me. The P320 is the civilian version of the military’s M17/M18. It's a full-size, modular 9mm handgun. It’s versatile, modular, and reliable. Conversion kits are available for you to customize this gun for your needs. It’s possible to not only change the grip frame but the barrel length and caliber as well. The pistols have a smooth, crisp trigger pull, an integrated accessory rail, and a safe takedown procedure that doesn’t require a trigger pull. Multiple holster options are available, both for IWB and OWB concealed carry.
Slightly smaller than its full-sized brother – the Glock 17 – the Glock 19 fits well in the mid-size category for concealed carry. First, it’s a Glock. It will go bang when you pull the trigger regardless of conditions. The Glock 19 is a striker-fired handgun that’s easily concealable, safe, and fun to shoot. It’s trusted by law enforcement, the military, and millions of law-abiding citizens around the world. Because of its popularity, there are many great holster choices from all of the top manufacturers, making the Glock 19 perfect for a concealed carry handgun.
Looking for a small, powerful pistol for concealed carry? The XD-S Mod.2 fits the bill perfectly. Optics ready, the XD-S is available in both 9mm and .45 ACP. Packed with safety features, the XD-S hosts a grip safety, a loaded chamber indicator on the slide, and a blade trigger safety. The textured grip will ensure your hand doesn’t slip even in wet conditions. Easily concealed IWB, the XD-S has tons of available holsters to suit any preference.
Available in a few different finishes, the P938 is the 9mm version of Sig’s best-selling P238 pistol. Featuring a stainless-steel slide, a 1911-style thumb safety, magazine release, and slide-stop lever, the P938 also features an ambidextrous safety. It’s small, dependable, and easy to conceal. A single-action-only trigger and full-size sights make the P938 feel like a larger handgun with very manageable recoil. Because of its small micro-compact stature, the P938 has many great holster choices, and it’s super easy to conceal.
A “mouse gun” is defined as a small, concealable firearm chambered in a less-powerful cartridge. The Beretta Bobcat fits that bill well. It features a tip-up barrel design so you don’t have to try to rack the small slide. It’s a great option for those with weaker hands who sometimes have issues racking slides. This pocket pistol is safe, dependable, highly concealable, and a great option for a backup gun or your bug-out bag. Holster options range from IWB options to pocket carry and ankle carry options.
Snub-Nosed Revolver: Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38
Featuring an ambidextrous cylinder-release button, the Bodyguard is perfect for left or right-handed carriers. It features a smooth trigger pull, which is considered light for a revolver, and it has a very manageable recoil for a handgun with such a short barrel. The Bodyguard was designed from the ground up for concealed carry. It’s snag-free and comfortable with no external hammer to catch on your clothes when drawing or re-holstering. The barrel is stainless, and the frame is aluminum to make it strong yet light. Because of its popularity, holsters are plentiful, too.