Excerpt from his top 6 choices article:
6 Best Compact Concealed Carry Pistols in 9mm
Any one of these six compact guns I present her
e would make a fine choice for best compact concealed carry pistols. I analyze by categories, compare, and rank all of my top 21 concealed carry guns that I recommend in my book “Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials.” It was difficult to narrow the options down to 6 CCW compacts, so consider all the features, specs, and your personal preferences and criteria for the best selection for yourself.
Set your own requirements and make your own tradeoffs, since there is NOT a perfect compact gun for all folks. Then decide if you want a single action only, double action only, or a striker-fired gun or something else, a 5 or 7 pound press, an external manual safety or not, night sights, etc. These compact pistols range in capacity from 10 to 17 rounds, from a 3.50″ to a 4.01″ barrel length, with a trigger press of between 5.0 to 6.5 pounds roughly, and from 21 to 31 ounces unloaded weight, with suggested retail prices from about $569 to $1179.
Remember, you can shop around and often pay less than retail prices. Certainly, price alone is not a major criterion for those who recognize that this decision is about a life-or-death tool, but it is one factor.
Maybe the solution is to own all 6 of these fine guns. I do own all of them, but I get strong hints from someone in my house to limit the inventory. Here, I give you my top 10 criteria you may want to use to save you some time in your selection process. Also, I show below comparative specifications for just these 6 of the many compact carry pistol models on the market now. You may want to add or subtract from my criteria and modify them to include what's important to you.
Above all, rent or borrow and try the gun before you buy it to save you from buyer regret and cognitive dissonance.
I used my criteria to analyze, compare factors, evaluate, and field-test shoot all of these guns. I review them individually and in depth in various gun review articles. In my book, I compare and evaluate various concealed carry guns and rank them in several categories, like rankings by weight loaded, standard capacity, width, trigger press, price, etc.
Best Compact Concealed Carry Pistols : My Criteria
Here are just 10 of my criteria and factors I use for evaluating any handgun. In addition to my criteria, there are other subjective features that may be appealing for some, like a certain style, mag release location, action, caliber, appearance, number of mags included, type of sights/modifications, bore axis, rail, grip angle, non-porting or porting, included extras like a holster and pouch, customer service, etc. So, I combined these into my last Miscellaneous criterion. I must admit that ALL gun-choice decisions involve tradeoffs, but I really want ALL of my criteria to be met. Remember to not focus on just ONE criterion (e.g. only price or only trigger press), since for overall effectiveness several, if not most or all, factors must be met. I assigned a total possible point score of 10 points for each of my 10 criteria for a total possible score of 100 points. You can certainly add your own additional criteria and preferences or subtract any of mine. Here are mine:
Accuracy and Reliability- Performs well without recurring malfunctions and stoppages and results in consistent, accurate target hits with a 3″ inch hit group or so at 5-15 yards for concealed carry;
Trigger Press maximum of about 5.5-6.5 pounds – lessens force applied for less movement & better accuracy- and press that is crisp and identifiable (TRAIN to be Trigger Safe);
Trigger with short travel distance (a short travel distance increases the speed the trigger can be fired) and easily identifiable and short reset point; Trigger with a smooth consistent press for every shot (less need to transition between presses & make adjustments);
Barrel length of 3.0″-4.5″ (primarily for concealed carry); for compacts- length of 3.5″-4.1″ or so;
Sights that are basic & simple (easy to use & see–I like Fiber Optic fronts); fast target acquisition; for my purposes–adjustable for windage; Optional Night Sights for low-light situations;
Proper Gun Weight to minimize recoil (I prefer about 25oz. or so for carry- but there are tradeoffs);
Caliber match to my needs, characteristics & abilities (consider medical & physical limitations); 9mm is my preference for carry;
Capacity -adequate for use & feature trade offs-usually prefer at least 10 rounds in a compact 9mm magazine for carry (but can carry a spare mag or 2 sometimes);
Ergonomics – Hand Comfort and Grip Fit, controls easy to work and easily accessible; rounded, low-profile;
Miscellaneous – Overall Finish, fit, & quality appearance & workmanship; mag release location; ambidextrous controls; accessory rail as required; grip angle; bore axis; competitive market price; excellent customer service with friendly & helpful representatives; ease of disassembly-assembly; Hard Case; Extras (third mag, holster, pouch, extended & flush mags); warranty length & extent; etc.
Below are my 6 top 9mm concealed carry 9mm COMPACT pistols, based on my criteria, my rankings, priorities, and preferences. Hope my opinions help you decide on your criteria and options, so you can personally select your best carry gun to meet your needs and preferences.
Final Six List Compact Concealed Carry Pistols (with gun review links)