With so many great handguns on the market, how can anyone effectively weed through the options to determine which guns are worth their price tag?
On social media, at the range, or over a few beers at the local tavern, everybody has a passionate opinion on which gun the best handgun for concealed carry. With more new gun owners joining the ranks of armed Americans and a glaring need to protect ourselves, we wanted to see which guns you know to be worth their weight in lead.
Pre-pandemic, we looked at holster sales for both wheelguns and semi-automatics from the past 10 months to determine which guns to survey people on. Then, we polled our customers, industry partners, and employees to see which firearm they believe is the most concealable, reliable, and affordable carry handgun on the market today!
First thing’s first – although they didn’t quite make the list, the Mossberg MC1sc received .5% of the votes and the Taurus 856 received .6% of the votes in the poll, earning them both an honorable mention to kick things off.
Think you know which gun reigns supreme?
Here they are: the Top Ten Concealable, Reliable, and Affordable Carry Handguns!
#10: Walther PPS
Caliber: 9mm (also .40 auto and .357 Sig)
Length: 6.3 inches
Width: 1 inch
Weight: 19.1 oz unloaded
Capacity: 6+1 / 7+1 / 8+1
Sights: 3-dot, drift adjustable rear
Price: $469/MSRP $299 on SALE
Earning 3.9% of the votes is the Walther PPS; Polizei–Pistole Schmal or Police Pistol Slim is a double-action-only, polymer-framed, striker-fired handgun. Although it’s been around for more than a decade, it’s still a first-class choice for a concealed carry handgun.
When it was released, the PPS series transformed the industry by introducing a polymer single-stack concealed carry pistol, effectively establishing a trend that remains popular to this day. Walther’s upgraded PPS M2 took the gun to the next level, offering 6-round flush-fit mags as well as 7- and 8-round extended magazines, switching from a paddle-style mag release on the trigger guard to a more traditional mag release button on the frame, as well as keeping one of its most popular features – the striker indicator.
#9: Glock 26
Capacity: 10+1 rounds
Caliber: 9mm (also .40 auto and .357 Sig)
Length: 6.49 inches
Width: 1.18 inches
Height: 5 inches
Weight: 21.7 oz. unloaded
Sights: Fixed front sight dot, rear sight channel
Price: $499 on GunBroker
With so many handguns to choose from, the Glock 26 is the first one to make the list at number seven with 4.5% of total votes received. Dubbed the “Baby Glock”, the G26 is a great option for concealed carry.
Since it’s release in 1994, the Glock 26 remains one of the most sought-after concealed carry pistols with a magazine capacity of 10 rounds, a reversible mag release, interchangeable backstraps, and improved frame texturing for solid control despite the pistol’s size.
#8: Smith & Wesson Airweight
Caliber: 38 S&W SPECIAL +P
Sights: Integral front, fixed rear
Grip: Synthetic or Walnut
Weight: 14.4 oz
Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy
Frame Finish: Several Available
Price: $477 (depending on model)
A mighty little revolver with 5.6% of the votes is the iconic Smith & Wesson Airweight. One of the most common wheelguns for concealed carry, S&W Airweights are a line of J-frames that feature an aluminum alloy frame without scandium.
The Airweight comes in several models including the 37, 38, 42, 427, 637, and 642, but no matter which one you choose, it’s hard to go wrong with a J-Frame from Smith & Wesson!
#7: Taurus G2C
Action: Semi-Auto w/Restrike
Caliber: 9MM LUGER
Weight: 22.00 oz.
Sights: Front fixed, rear adjustable
The second Taurus to make the list is the G2C handgun, earning 6.3% of the votes in our poll!
The Taurus G2c series was engineered specifically for everyday carry – and it delivers. With a streamlined, ergonomic design and rugged, compact polymer frame, the G2c performs well even shooting cheap ammo, has a good tacky grip, looks great, and has one heck of an impressive MSRP.
#6: Springfield Hellcat
Capacity: 11+1 / 13+1
Width: 1 inch
Length: 6 inches
Height: 4 inches/4.5 inches (w/extended mag)
Weight: 18.2 ounces
Released in 2019, the wildly popular Springfield Hellcat earned the sixth spot on our list with 6.8% of your votes. Continuing to rise in popularity, the Hellcat swiftly gave the SIG P365 a run for its money! After a few months of slinging lead and consistently carrying it, the Springfield Hellcat is absolutely worthy of being an everyday carry firearm. Compact, class-leading capacity, reliable, easy-to-use, and affordable, the hardest decision you’ll have to make is which holster to carry it in!
Springfield also offers the Hellcat in an Optical Sight Pistol (OSP™) configuration with a milled slide to accept the smallest, most popular micro red dots on the market.
#5 Ruger LC9
Length: 6 inches
Height: 4.5 inches
Width: 0.9 inches
Weight: 17.1 ounces
Price: $295 on GunBroker
8.1% of you voted for the snappy little Ruger LC9. The Ruger LC9 was a follow-up to their wildly successful .380 Auto handguns, the Lightweight Compact Pistol, or LCP. Although Ruger replaced it with the LC9s, the LC9 still remains popular with concealed carriers.
The LC9 is small, perfect for pocket carry since it’s accurate and affordable.
#4 Springfield XDs MOD.2
Capacity: 7+1 / 9+1
Caliber: 9mm (also available in .40 SW & .45 ACP)
Height: 4.4″ flush / 5″ extended
Width: .9 inches
Weight: 21.5 oz flush/22.5 oz extended
Length: 6.3 inches
Sights: Pro-Glo™ Tritium/Luminescent Front, Tactical Rack Serrated Rear
Price: $524 MSRP / $350 on Guns.com
The Springfield XDs earned 9.2% of your votes, earning it a spot in the top five. As far as concealed firearms go, the XDs has an outspoken fanbase. No doubt one of the major driving forces behind the popularity of the XD-S is the market demand for smaller and thinner defensive-caliber pistols. Springfield could have simply rechambered the existing 45 ACP XD-S Mod.2 in 9mm, which happens frequently in the firearms industry. Instead, they designed a new version around the 9mm round itself making it possible to package it into a smaller frame with a slimmer profile.
This single stack 9mm pistol is highly concealable, accurate, and easily carried in a variety of positions. With a firm grip, the XDs doesn’t produce excessive recoil or muzzle rise, making it a great choice to carry and shoot!
#3 Glock 43
Caliber: 9×19 (9mm)
Length: 6.26 inches
Height: 4.25 inches
Width: 1.02 inches
Weight: 17.95oz. (w/empty magazine)
With 10.5% of the votes, the Glock 43 is the second model to make it into our list. The G43’s super-compact size, as a 9mm pistol, is its main selling point. Small enough to pocket carry but comfy in an IWB, it has great ergonomics, a sure grip, and seems to chew up and spit out a wide variety of ammo just fine. Pretty impressive for a handgun of its size!
Time, significant ammunition usage, and the overwhelming ease of concealment have determined the G43 is a great carry gun for anybody.
#2 Sig Sauer P365
Impressively, the second spot and first runner up with 21.9% of the votes, is the SIG P365! This close-to-pocket-sized 9mm holds 10+1 rounds and gained a huge following right out of the gate. The P365 also has a factory 12 round magazine that extends the length of the gun just a hair for twice the capacity of the Glock 43 at roughly the same size.
The X-Ray3 day and night sights are fantastic, a light crisp trigger break, short reset, and a highly comfortable grip. The P365 is fun to shoot, easy to carry, and easy to rack.
A firearm with double-stack capacity in the body of a single stack from an industry leader like SIG? No brainer.
But that still leaves one question:
Who took the top spot in our poll of the most affordable, reliable, concealable handguns on the market today?!
#1 The Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield!!
Capacity: 7+1, 8+1
Length: 6.1 inches
Height: 4.6 inches
Width: .95 inches
Weight: 19 ounces
Sights: White Dot
One million Shield owners can’t be wrong! Standing the test of time and narrowly taking first place on our list of the most reliable, concealable, affordable handguns on the market by just one vote is the timeless Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield!
The M&P Shield is an easy to conceal pistol that offers professional-grade features with simple operation and reliable performance day or night. Solid grip, crisp trigger, short reset, easily concealable, fun to shoot, and massively affordable, the Shield is arguably one of the most common carry guns in America.
Congrats, Smith & Wesson!
Laying it All Out
This was a tight poll but in the end, the top three firearms earned 54.5% of all votes cast!
What do you think?
Are these guns in your top 10 concealable, reliable, affordable guns on the market? Do you carry one of the guns on our list? How long have you carried it and what do you like most about it?
Do you think these trends have changed since the pandemic!? Maybe we should do another poll… what do you think??
Let us know in the comments below, we want to hear from you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jenn Jacques is a fierce defender of the 2A, concealed carry advocate, fishing enthusiast, avid hiker, hunter, and an all-around great gal with a gun. As a former Private Detective, Jenn put those skills to good use, fighting for gun rights in her home state of Wisconsin before becoming the first female editor of a 2A/Gun News site and moving on to become a publication writer, popular multi-media guest, and respected news expert.
Jacques has hundreds of hours of firearms training under her gun belt including USCCA’s Street Encounters and Low Light/No Light Training, she is a graduate of the Gunsite Academy, and was named a S.A.F.E. Summer Local Champion of Firearm Safety by the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe.
A staple in the firearms industry since 2009, Jenn is proud to be raising her three children with her husband John who is also an avid hunter, 2A supporter, and an amazing father.
©MTC Holsters, LLC and CrossBreed Holsters Blog, 2020.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jenn Jacques and the CrossBreed Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.