Concealed Carry

The Top 15 Most Concealable Semi-Automatic Handguns

Taurus curved pistol with integral pocket clip, laser and light sighting system

It wasn’t too long ago that the subcompact semi-auto .380 ACP hit like a fever. These concealable semi-automatic handguns were lightweight, small-enough-to-fit-in-your pocket pistols and flying off the shelves in record numbers when more states than ever started allowing concealed carry.

An unprecedented amount of women and first-time gun owners were buying at this time, as well. After all, the little .380 ACP is not intimidating to a new shooter, yet it is sufficient for self-defense, unobtrusive, affordable and felt recoil is manageable to most.

It did not take long for the firearms industry to notice and quickly (most) manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon. Though it took years, even GLOCK released a subcompact .380.

For some, though, the .380 just wasn’t enough, so the pocket nines started rolling out. More than likely, if a manufacturer makes a subcompact .380, they make a subcompact 9mm—GLOCK included. Interest hasn’t waned and the guns just keep getting smaller!

The Top 15 Most Concealable Semi-Automatic Handguns

This list compares the smallest of the small, the most lightweight, and the easiest and most comfortable semi-automatic pistols to conceal — basically, the most concealable semi-automatic handguns. They vary in price and quality.

Some of them will serve better as a backup than as your primary gun. They are also all either .380 ACP or 9mm with polymer frames—simply because subcompact pistols are easier to make in a smaller caliber.

A polymer is used most often because it keeps the overall weight of the gun down. Of course, the .25 and .32 ACP will get even smaller, but no one recommends those calibers for self-defense, so I have left them out.

And now without further ado, here are the top 15 most concealable semi-automatic handguns, in order from shortest to longest:

1. Smith & Wesson Shield

The Smith & Wesson Shield just might be the easiest concealed carry pistol to shoot. Easy to load, easy to rack and easy to use, it belongs on any list of the most concealable semi-automatic handguns.

S&W M&P Shileld
Concealable semi-automatic handguns like the S&W Shield are surprisingly compact, yet have a modest recoil.
 
Smith & Wesson Shield
Caliber .40 S&W or 9mm
Barrel Length 3.1 inches
Capacity Up to 8 rounds
Overall Height 4.6 inches
Overall Length 6.1 inches
Overall Width 0.95 inches
Weight Unloaded 19 ounces
Sights 3-dot white
Frame Polymer
User rating 5 out of 5 stars
Learn more

2. Taurus G2S Slim

Offering subcompact protection with a unique look and an affordable price, the Taurus G2S Slim is the next evolution of subcompact personal protection pistols from the Brazilian manufacturer.

The Taurus G2S is a slim handgun designed for concealed carry
The 9mm-chambered Taurus G2S holds seven rounds and is one of the great concealable semi-automatic handguns out there.
 
Taurus G2S Slim
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3.25 inches
Capacity 7 rounds
Overall Height 5 inches
Overall Length 6.3 inches
Overall Width  1.2 inches
Weight Unloaded 20 ounces
Sights Adjustable Rear
Frame Polymer
 User Rating 4 out of 5 stars
 Learn more

3. SIG Sauer P238

SIG Sauer was born in Europe, but perfected in America. The P238 provides a tactical advantage with its smart design and a unique looks thanks to its metal frame and custom grips.

Black-framed SIG P238 pistol with rosewood grips
The SIG P238 is different from most concealable semi-automatic handguns, as it has a metal frame.
 
SIG Sauer P238
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.7 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.9 inches
Overall Length 5.5 inches
Overall Width 1.1 inch
Weight Unloaded 15.2 ounces
Sights Contrast or SIGLITE night sights
Frame Anodized alloy beavertail style
User rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
Learn more

4. Glock 42

Shooters quickly realized the little GLOCK 42 was one of the softest shooting .380 Auto pistols available. Once you shoot one you will recognize why the minute GLOCK is so very popular with shooters.

GLOCK 42 profile view
Small enough to carry comfortably, but large enough for proper hand purchase.
 
Glock 42
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 3.25 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 4.13 inches
Overall Length 5.94 inches
Overall Width 0.94 inches
Weight Unloaded 13.76 ounces
Sights Adjustable rear
Frame Polymer
User rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
Learn more

5. Kahr Arms P380

If you prefer function over form, the Kahr Arms P380 is for you. A value series subcompact pistol that features a 2.5″ barrel, the P380 is built with a high-quality textured polymer frame.

Two-toned Kahr Arms .380 pistol
They may not be very pretty, but Kahrs function every time.
 
Kahr Arms P380
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.5 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.9 inches
Overall Length 4.9 inches
Overall Width 0.75 inches
Weight Unloaded 9.97 ounces
Sights Drift adjustable, white bar-dot combat sights
Frame Polymer
User rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
Learn more

6. Beretta Pico

Truly sized to be a “pocket pistol”, the Pico packs six rounds of .380 ACP punch into a package weighing less than 12 ounces and just over 5″ long. Super thin and easy to conceal, the Pico is a great choice for when you need deep concealment or a backup gun.

Two-toned Beretta Pico .380 semiautomatic pistol
Beretta claims the Pico is the smallest .380 on the market.
 
Beretta Pico
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.7 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 4 inches
Overall Length 5.1 inches
Overall Width 0.75 inches
Weight Unloaded 11.5 ounces
Sights Adjustable
Frame Polymer
Price Starting at $353.05
User rating 4 out of 5 stars
Learn more

7. Kel-Tec P3AT

The P-3AT is a semi-automatic, locked breech pistol developed from the highly successful P-32 pistol with a negligible increase in weight and size. The small grip size and light trigger pull make the P-3AT ideal for concealment.

Extended P3AT magazine holds three more rounds. A smaller +1 magazine is also available.
Kel-Tec P3AT extended magazine holds three more rounds.
 
Kel-Tec P3AT
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.7 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.5 inches
Overall Length 5.2 inches
Overall Width 0.77 inches
Weight Unloaded 8.3 ounces
Sights Notched front sight
Frame 7075-T6 aluminum
Price Starting at $235.29
User rating 3 out of 5 stars
Learn more

8. Taurus Curve

The Taurus Curve is a truly unique ergonomic pistol design that features a slight curve built into the frame. This allows the firearm to conform to your body and improves grip angle, giving you an easily concealable, go-anywhere pistol that is amazingly accurate.

Taurus curved pistol with integral pocket clip, laser and light sighting system
The Taurus Curve is truly one of the most innovative handguns we’ve seen in a long time.
 
Taurus Curve
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.5 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.7 inches
Overall Length 5.2 inches
Overall Width 1.18 inch
Weight Unloaded 10.2 ounces
Sights Integral light and laser
Frame Polymer
User rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
Learn more

9. Diamondback DB380

Easy to operate, with less felt recoil and a compact package make the DB380 an excellent back-up gun or a low profile carry gun. Made in the USA with superior materials, the Diamondback DB380 is the top-of-the-line pocket pistol everyone should have on hand.

Diamondback .380 with FDE polymer frame
Diamondback makes these concealable semi-automatic handguns in .380 and 9mm.
 
Diamondback DB380
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.80 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.75 inches
Overall Length 5.26 inches
Overall Width 0.750 inches
Weight Unloaded 8.8 ounces
Sights Fixed
Frame Polymer
User rating 4 out of 5 stars
Learn more

10. Kahr CM9

The CM9 is a double-action striker-fired pistol that is an excellent choice for CHL/CCW concealed carry and fits shooters of all sizes. It’s a value-priced, no-compromise option specifically designed for concealed carry situations.

Kahr Arms CM9 two-toned 9mm semiautomatic pistol
The competition to produce the ultimate subcompact 9mm carry pistol just went up another notch as Kahr unveiled its CM9 handgun.
 
Kahr CM9
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 4 inches
Overall Length 5.42 inches
Overall Width 0.90 inches
Weight Unloaded 14 ounces
Sights Drift adjustable rear, dot night sight front
Frame Polymer
User rating 5 out of 5 stars
Learn more

 11. DoubleTap

Featuring two different calibers, the DoubleTap gives you flexibility in a compact size. Just 5.5″ in overall length and weighing a mere 12 ounces, you’ll barely know it’s there.

Black over/under pocket pistol.
The DoubleTap comes in 9mm or .45 ACP with a 3-inch barrel.
 
DoubleTap
Caliber 9mm or .45 ACP
Barrel Length 3 inches
Capacity 2 rounds
Overall Height 3.9 inches
Overall Length 5.5 inches
Overall Width 0.665 inches
Weight Unloaded 12 ounces
Sights Fixed
Frame 7075-T6 aluminum
User rating 4 out of 5 stars

12. Colt Mustang XSP

The Colt Mustang Lite semi-auto pistol is designed primarily as a personal protection firearm easy enough to carry on a daily basis. With no need for bulky waistband holsters, you too can carry in something as small as a purse for a lady, or in a pocket for a gentleman.

Black Colt Mustang .380 pocket pistol
The Colt Mustang was originally introduced in 1986.
 
Colt Mustang XSP
Caliber .380 ACP
Barrel Length 2.75 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 3.94 inches
Overall Length 5.5 inches
Overall Width 1.02 inch
Weight Unloaded 11.5 ounces
Sights High profile
Frame Polymer
User rating 5 out of 5 stars
Learn more

13. Beretta Nano

The Nano is a feature-rich, semi-automatic pistol built from the ground up to be reliable, accurate and dependable. CHL and CCW permit holders will appreciate its small frame.

Black Beretta NANO
The NANO is compact and at 20 ounces unloaded, light enough for all day carry.
 
Beretta Nano
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3.07 inches
Capacity 6 rounds
Overall Height 4.17 inches
Overall Length 5.63 inches
Overall Width 0.90 inches
Weight Unloaded 19.97 ounces
Sights 3-dot low profile
Frame Polymer
User rating 4 out of 5 stars
Learn more

14. SCCY CPX-1

Easy to rack with a smooth effortless trigger, the CPX-1 is the next generation of concealed carry pistols. Packing 10 rounds of 9mm Luger firepower, this is an excellent back-up pocket pistol or low-profile personal protection carry gun.

Black SCCY CPX2 handgun
As for the pertinent dimensions, the CPX 2 weighs but 15 ounces, stands 4.25 inches tall, has a 3.1-inch barrel and is just over an inch wide.
 
SCCY CPX-1
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3.1 inches
Capacity 10 rounds
Overall Height 4 inches
Overall Length 5.7 inches
Overall Width 1 inch
Weight Unloaded 15 ounces
Sights 3-dot
Frame Polymer
User rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
Learn more

15. Kel-Tec PF9

Developed from the highly successful P-11 and P-3AT pistols with maximum concealability in mind, the PF-9 has a single stack magazine holding seven rounds and is the lightest and flattest 9MM ever made.

All black Kel-Tec PF-9 handgun
For the pocket carrier, the Kel-Tec PF-9 is a fine 9mm handgun.
 
Kel-Tec PF9
Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 3.1 inches
Capacity 7 rounds
Overall Height 4.3 inches
Overall Length 5.85 inches
Overall Width 0.88 inches
Weight Unloaded 12.7 ounces
Sights Windage adjustable rear
Frame Polymer
User rating 4 out of 5 stars
Learn more

Note: Ruger has three subcompact semiautos that would make this list—the LCP, LCP II and EC9s, but we were unable to sell them at the time of this blog’s original posting. Be sure to click the links to view them on our website.

If you would like more information on any of the listed firearms, read these reviews:

Which pocket gun sounds like it suits you best? Tell us which one and why in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog. "The Shooter's Log", is to provide information - not opinions - to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decicions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (206)

  1. I Sig P365 too, to replace the Bersa Thunder .380 I was conceal-carrying. I’m loving it as an IWB carry and it SHOOTS so nice…

  2. I have 3 .380’s. The Walther PPK is wonderful but hard on the hand. Have nor fired the Ruger enough to tell. The Kimber is the best feel in the hand and easiest to shoot. My top choice is the Kimber raptor.

  3. The CM9, like the Sig P290RS, is really a great POCKET gun for light, thin shorts such as the ones you would wear in Florida. As a matter of fact it is about 1/2 inch shorter than the last 4 guns on the list and about 1/2 inch shorter than the last 2 (the Taurus is incorrectly listed as 3.5 inches in height, it is actually 4.5 inches). What makes it better than the Sig P290RS is the best trigger in this size group.

    1. Horrible idea. I can attest to it being just as expensive in the long run, but with more clutter. And now I have two expensive hobbies that my wife just “loves”.

      But hey, at least the family is safe at every inch of our house.

  4. My best choice depends on weather. and clothes.
    Sig P365 has replaced my glock 43 for colder weather and low import of concealment excursions. sig is same size hold more rounds and has a better trigger. I had tried out an XDE but its trigger sux.
    and P380 for high concealability days.

  5. I bought a Kahr CM9 when they first came out. I wanted a lightweight 9mm pistol I could conceal and draw from my front pocket. I was just getting back into guns at the time.

    The size and power was fine but the long trigger pull of the DA only pistol was a turn off. So I went on a hunt to replace it.

    After purchasing another 10 hand guns and twice as many holsters I came back to the Kahr as my EDC pistol of choice.

    You see all the time during my search I would still take the CM9 to the range and little by little I became more proficient with the trigger.

    I started treating it like a two stage trigger where I would take up the trigger travel right before the break, slight pause and then squeeze through the break.

    Eventually it became a fast fluid motion that allows me to quickly empty the mag with consistent baseball size groupings at self defense distances. Slower rate of firing would produce golf ball size groupings.

    The only concern I had was the 6 round mag. So I bought the extended 7 round mag and practiced rapid mag changes, I carry the extra mag in a Remora mag holster inside my waist band.

    For me there is no better solution.

    My home defense handgun of choice is my CZ -75

  6. Where is Ruger? Ruger started the small concealed carry pistol back in 2008.

    Whoever wrote this is either a “Ruger hater” or blind to all USA Firearm Manufacturers here in country.

    Ridiculous article.

  7. I think all of these pistols would serve fine so it is a matter of personal preference. But my preference is not to own any striker fired weapon. A double action, external hammer auto design solved the ‘problem more than a half century ago. Call me an Old Fogey but striker fired wepons, especially without a grip safety (like a 1911) I feel are too dangerous to carry chambered. My carry in the pocket pistol is Polish p64 in 9 x 18 Makarov. This is an all steel clone of the Walther PPK but more reliable.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit exceeded. Please click the reload button and complete the captcha once again.

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.