Five Best Concealed Carry 9mm Handguns

Guns chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum/Luger are typically the most popular for concealed carry. This is partly because 9mm is a cartridge with a major following and partly due to the way manufacturers are now catering to the concealed carry market more than they did in the past. Gone are the days when full-sized or double-stack handguns were the way to go. Today’s carry guns are lighter weight, concealable, and accurate.

Check out our list of five of the best concealed carry 9mm guns to get an idea of which models see the highest use, and why.

1. Sig P365XL

Sig P365XL
The Sig P365XL is a slightly larger version of the original P365. (Photo credit: SIG Sauer)

The Sig P365 had a near-instant fan base when it was launched in 2018, so it’s no surprise the P365XL was also a hit when it launched a year later. To date, there are concealed carriers who either love or hate the P365, but the P365XL seems to have more followers (at least in certain circles). There are a ton of hardcore shooters who consider the Sig P365XL the best concealed carry 9mm available.

This is a great micro-compact carry pistol in 9mm with a 12 +1 capacity. In fact, its capacity is one of the things that sets the P365 family of carry guns apart, because until recently, many 9mms designed for concealment just didn’t hold a lot of ammo. Features that make it concealment-friendly include its height of 4.8 inches and overall length of 6.6 inches; this is a gun that can be concealed without too much fuss. It’s also optics-ready, which is great if you want a red dot sight on your EDC (every day carry).

Years of proven use already back the P365XL. Time has shown it to be a reliable, durable platform capable of solid accuracy. As with any gun, running a P365XL comes down to personal preference and your specific needs, skills, and hand size.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Sig Sauer
  • Model: P365XL
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Capacity: 12 +1 (ships with two12 round steel magazines)
  • Sights: Optic Ready with X-RAY3 Day/Night Sights
  • Threaded barrel: No
  • Frame size: Micro-Compact
  • Overall length: 6.6 inches [168 mm]
  • Overall width: 1.1 inches [28 mm]
  • Height: 4.8 inches (122 mm)
  • Barrel length: 3.7 inches (94 mm)
  • Weight: 20.7 ounces, empty (588 g)
  • Sight radius: 5.6 inches (142 mm)
  • Accessory rail: SIG Rail
  • Action: Striker-fired
  • Trigger: XSeries Straight
  • Grip type: Polymer
  • Grip color: Black
  • Barrel material: Carbon Steel
  • Frame material: Stainless Steel
  • Frame finish: Stainless Steel
  • Slide finish: Nitron
  • Slide material: Stainless Steel
  • Optics ready: Yes

2. Glock 43X

Glock 43X
The Glock 43X is part of the company’s Slimline series of handguns. (Photo credit: Glock)

Best concealed carry 9mm? Has to be a Glock, right? Well, maybe.

The Glock 43X has been around since 2019, but Glocks have been trusted carry weapons for decades. This particular model is part of the company’s Slimline collection of pistols that aren’t double-stacks but also aren’t exactly single-stacks (well, they are, but they aren’t). It has a 10 +1 capacity which is less than its double-stack siblings but still a good round count for a compact 9mm.

This is one of those guns that fits a wide range of hand sizes. If you aren’t a fan of double-stack Glocks, odds are you’ll like this gun, and even if you do like the width of a classic Glock the 43X might be a fantastic fit. Somehow it falls into a happy medium that’s drawn new shooters to the Glock family and made longtime Glock aficionados happier than they expected to be with a new, slimmer pistol.

Precision is where this gun shines; it isn’t just an accurate gun, it’s capable of stellar precision. Glock will say that’s due to the use of their match-grade Glock Marksman barrel and that undoubtedly helps, but it seems there’s just something a bit extra well done with this model. The Glock 43X is available in solid black or two-tone. It has a close relative, the G48, which has all the same specifications except for the barrel, which is less than an inch longer.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Glock
  • Model: G48
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 10 +1
  • Sights: Fixed front and rear
  • Threaded barrel: No
  • Frame size: Compact
  • Overall length: 6.5 inches (165 mm)
  • Overall width: 1.1 inches (28 mm)
  • Slide width: 0.87 inches (22 mm)
  • Height: 5.04 inches (128 mm)
  • Barrel length: 3.41 inches (87 mm)
  • Weight: 16.40 ounces, empty, no magazine (465 g)
  • Sight radius: 5.24 inches (133 mm)
  • Accessory rail: Glock rail
  • Action: Striker-fired
  • Trigger: Standard Glock blade safety trigger
  • Grip type: Polymer
  • Grip color: Black
  • Barrel: Match grade Glock Marksman
  • Frame material: Polymer
  • Frame finish: Black
  • Slide finish: nDLC
  • Slide material: Stainless Steel
  • Optics ready: No

3. Mossberg MC2SC

Mossberg MC2SC, #3 in the lest of best concealed carry 9mm
The Mossberg MC2SC is a compact carry pistol and part of the handgun line that signaled the company’s return to manufacturing pistols. (Photo credit: Mossberg)

Mossberg thrilled the gun industry and handgun lovers in general when they announced they were returning to the pistol market. The first gun, the MC1SC, was officially released in 2019—yes, you might be noticing a trend of compact 9mms coming out all at once—and this next generation of sorts came out in 2022.

What’s different about the Mossberg MC2SC? Aside from the fact that it’s a Mossberg, which comes as a shock for those of us used to the longtime gun maker being known for shotguns, it has a lot to recommend to the carrying public. Using a flush-fit magazine this micro-compact pistol has an 11 +1 capacity, but you can boost it by using the extended magazine for a 14 +1 capacity. The MC2SC is a bit smaller than the other guns in this roundup; it has an overall length of 6.25 inches and a height of 4.30 inches. Its smaller size might make it a bit more challenging to shoot accurately, but it’s possible (and depends on your hand size).

The grip on the Mossberg MC2SC is designed to facilitate a firm hold even with wet hands. So far the Mossberg pistol lineup seems to be reliable, accurate, and able to withstand hard use. This model is a welcome addition to their already hot-selling line of guns.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Mossberg
  • Model: MC2SC
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Capacity: 11 +1 (flush fit) or 14 +1 (extended)
  • Front Sight: White dot, drift adjustable, dovetail
  • Rear Sight: Dual white dot, drift adjustable, dovetail
  • Threaded barrel: No
  • Frame size: Micro-Compact
  • Overall length: 6.25 inches
  • Overall width: 1.1 inches
  • Height: 4.30 inches
  • Barrel length: 3.4 inches
  • Weight: 19.5 ounces, empty
  • Sight radius: 5.4 inches
  • Accessory rail: No
  • Action: Striker-fired
  • Trigger: Flat profile trigger
  • Grip color: Black
  • Barrel finish: 416 stainless steel, DLC
  • Frame finish: Matte black
  • Slide finish: 416 stainless steel, DLC
  • Optics ready: No
  • Twist rate: 1 in 16 RH
  • Trigger pull: 5 pounds, 5 ounces
  • Trigger Travel: 0.5 inches

4. Ruger Max-9

Ruger Max 9, #4 on list of best concealed carry 9mm
The Ruger Max 9 is a slightly larger yet still compact concealed carry pistol. (Photo credit: Ruger)

Although these are all striker-fired 9mms, they do have differences. For example, what sets apart the Ruger Max-9 are things like its different balance, heftier slide, and specific, aggressive grip texture. This pistol has a 10 +1 or 12 +1 capacity depending on the model you choose. It ships with a tritium fiber optic front sight, which is excellent for target acquisition and visibility in low-light scenarios, and it has a drift adjustable rear sight so you can fine-tune shot placement.

Angled serrations at the front and rearward portions of the slide make it easier to manipulate with wet or dirty hands. Keep in mind that if you intend to rack your gun from the front you have to take care not to cover the muzzle with body parts you’d rather not perforate. There are safe ways to do it, so practice accordingly. This is a generally accurate pistol from a trusted manufacturer. It has a rugged design and it’s made for carry. Thanks to its overall size it’s relatively easy to conceal.

If you prefer a more aggressive grip texture straight out of the box, check out the Ruger Max-9. Many guns require you to either get a grip sleeve or have the grip stippled, but this one arrives ready to go.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Ruger
  • Model: Max 9
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Capacity: 10 +1 or 12 +1
  • Front Sight: Tritium fiber optic
  • Rear sight: Drift adjustable
  • Threaded barrel: No
  • Frame size: Compact
  • Overall length: 6.0 inches
  • Slide width: 0.95 inches
  • Height: 4.52 inches
  • Barrel length: 3.20 inches
  • Grip frame: High performance, glass-filled nylon
  • Weight: 18.4 ounces, empty
  • Accessory rail: No
  • Action: Striker-fired
  • Grip color: Black
  • Barrel material: Alloy Steel
  • Slide finish: Black oxide
  • Slide material: Through-hardened alloy steel
  • Optics ready: Yes
  • Twist rate: 1 in 10 RH

5. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus
The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus is the company’s latest concealed carry gun and is made in 9mm and 30 Super Carry. (Photo credit: Smith & Wesson)

This is a gun made with concealed carry in mind that appears to have been designed by guys that shoot. For example, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus has wavy front and rear slide serrations, but the ones at the front of the gun are located at the bottom of the slide instead of the top. This makes sense because a common method for racking at the forward portion of the gun involves reaching under it rather than over it. It’s also optics-ready, something many companies are catching onto as a good idea. This pistol can be ordered with an orange ring front sight or a standard white dot depending on what you prefer.

The grip of the M&P Shield Plus is the usual Smith & Wesson texture that you can literally pour water or oil all over and still hang onto. It has a safety blade trigger and is available with or without an external thumb safety. At 19.3 ounces, empty, it’s a lighter gun, and its 6.1-inch length can be concealed without trouble. It’s the latest in a line of carry guns that have proven themselves time and again in the firearms industry.

Side note: if you want to step outside the 9mm realm, this pistol is being offered in 30 Super Carry, the new cartridge Federal announced in early 2022.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
  • Model: M&P Shield Plus
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Capacity: 10 +1 or 13 +1
  • Front sight: Orange ring tritium night sight
  • Rear sight: Black tritium night sight
  • Threaded barrel: No
  • Frame size: Compact
  • Overall length: 6.1 inches
  • Barrel length: 3.1 inches
  • Weight: 19.3 ounces, empty
  • Action: Striker-fired
  • Trigger: Flat face trigger
  • Grip type: Polymer
  • Grip color: Black
  • Barrel material: Stainless Steel
  • Barrel finish: Armornite
  • Frame material: Polymer
  • Frame finish: Matte black
  • Slide finish: Armornite, matte black
  • Slide material: Stainless Steel
  • Optics ready: Yes

What’s the Best Concealed Carry 9mm?

Guns are purpose-driven tools and there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all pistol. Factors like your skill level, hand size, and overall personal preferences will influence your choice. If you don’t like aggressive texturing on grips, then the Glock 43X may be a better fit for you than the Ruger Max-9. And if you want to use a red dot sight on your carry gun without having the slide milled, consider the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus. We all have our own opinions about the fit and performance of various firearms, and that is what leads to specific brands having such dedicated followings. 

Selecting the best concealed carry 9mm is a matter of finding what works for you and going from there. That means a lot of testing and trigger time. Enjoy the process, and when you figure out the perfect fit for you, then hone your skills on your gun of choice.

Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you've seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master's Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.

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