In the United States, over 82% of the guns owned by private citizens are handguns. 

Not every pistol is going to be the best-concealed carry pistol, because there are specific criteria for that. If you intend to conceal carry for personal protection, always remember that the best pistol you can get is the one you will carry. If you don’t carry it, for any reason, then it is not a good conceal carry pistol. 

To figure out what the best-concealed carry pistol in 2024 is for self-defense, let’s take a look at what we mean and what we need. 

Easy to Conceal

One of the most important things about a concealed carry pistol is that it is easy to conceal. This doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone, as some people have no problem concealing a full-size pistol. For most of us, that isn’t an option, so we have to get a gun that is smaller and easier to hide. 

The strength a self defender gets from concealed carry is ruined if the bad guys can tell they have a gun. For this reason, smaller pistols, like the Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ in caliber .380 ACP is always a great choice. This pistol is small, concealable, and easy to control for even a novice shooter. 

Stopping Power

There is a great deal of folklore when you look into the myths and truths behind stopping power claims. The point is, you need a gun of sufficient caliber that takes a minimum number of bullets to stop the threat. For this reason, weapons in the caliber of 9mm when using modern self-defense ammo are considered best. 

A great example of this is the Sig Sauer P365 Nitron Micro-Compact is always a great choice. Law enforcement agencies like the FBI have been going back to 9mm because modern ammunition is cheap and effective. With a small frame and 10+1 bullet capacity, this is a sure winner. Higher stopping power might not be necessary in self-defense situations compared to hunting, for example, in which case 308 ammo is used in hunting rifles for proper effectiveness.


When you choose a weapon for self-defense it needs to work every time. The key to successful self-defense is to use a weapon that behaves the same way every time you pull the trigger, so you can count on it. For that reason, a weapon with a lot of reliability is always a great choice. 

If you’re a larger person and can conceal it, reliability makes the Glock 17 a perfect choice. If you’re not a large person but want the same reliability, a great choice is the Smith & Wesson M36. Chambered in .38 special, this revolver is one of the top concealed carry guns for the last several decades. 

If you don’t want to use a revolver, but still want something with legendary reliability you can check into guns like the Walther PPK. While this weapon uses a small-caliber round that many may want to avoid, it does have some advantages and will work when you pull the trigger. 

Comfortable to Carry

The best self-defense gun is the one that you can stand to carry all the time. This means you don’t find excuses not to carry, but you are comfortable and at ease with it on your person all the time. Any weapon that isn’t comfortable is not a good choice because if you don’t have it with you, it won’t help you protect yourself. 

The Springfield Hellcat is a great example of the high-capacity compact concealed carry pistols that are easy to carry. With slim lines and low weight, this weapon doesn’t weigh you down or feel clunky or out of place. The only downside is that if you have large hands, it may feel a bit cramped when you get a firing grip. 

Bullet Capacity 

While it is debatable how many bullets you’ll need, it is never a bad thing to have more. If you have a good conceal carry gun belt, you can even fit a larger frame pistol without as much trouble. More capacity is also important if you find yourself in a situation with multiple attackers.

If you want the best-concealed carry gun combined with a good capacity is a Glock 19. A scaled-down version of the amazing Glock 17, the Glock 19 combines reliability, ease of carrying, ing and a 15 round standard magazine. You won’t have to worry about running out of ammo in a gunfight with this choice. 

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What You Know 

Part of concealed carry is knowing how to operate and use your weapon of choice. If you spent a lot of your childhood growing up shooting revolvers, you might want to stick with them. If you’ve already got training with a full-size pistol, that might be the best choice for you. 

The same can be said of manufacturers. There are a few differences but they are important, such as the thickness of a Glock may not feel good in your hand. If you’re used to shooting Smith & Wesson, check out the M&P Shield line of pistols, they are all fantastic and you will already be comfortable. 

If you don’t have any experience with weapons, you need to have the time and energy to put in significant range time. Practicing essential skills like drawing, aiming, and firing drills can make whatever concealed carry guns you choose your best choice. 

Make sure that your choice complies with the local and state laws in your jurisdiction. You can find out more about concealed carry in your state and others by doing research. Putting all of this together will deliver you the best-concealed carry pistol for you. 

Best Concealed Carry Pistol 

When you break down what makes the best-concealed carry pistol, it is difficult to recommend a single pistol. If all things are equal and you want to look into an industry favorite that is beloved by gun owners around the world, the Sig Sauer P365 remains a game-changer and an amazing option in 2024 and beyond.

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