Education|Conceal Carry

When conceal carrying a pistol it will always come down to user preference and performance. Some CCW practitioners prefer a smaller size for greater concealability a la subcompact handguns. The trade off with this type of handgun is that it has more snap to it and reduced magazine capacity. While other CCW practitioners prefer pocket pistols for their conceal carry because of its easily concealable nature and portability. While other CCW users prefer a compact handgun that is still concealable, greater grip area for better purchase on the handgun, and greater capacity. 

When comes to conceal carry it is all about what works for the end user. With that in mind needs and preferences will change. In this article we will be discussing the Top 5 compact pistols on the market for conceal carry.

Before, we head into the breakdown of the Top 5 we will briefly discuss the design characteristics of a compact, benefits of a compact, and discuss ammunition. 

The Characteristics of a Compact

When it comes to compact pistols they have a certain design characteristics unique to their category. The characteristics that compact pistols share are barrel length, overall length, and double stacked magazines. A compact handgun will be a firearm with a 3-4.1 inch barrel, an overall length of 6.7-7.5 inches with a magazine capacity 12-15 rounds. 

Benefits of a Compact Pistol 

Conceal carry users who prefer compact pistols are looking for certain benefits with a compact pistol. Those ccw users are looking for a firearm that is concealable, with greater purchase on the frame of the pistol, and increased magazine capacity. The are looking for a full size experience slightly reduced.

Good Old 9mm

My views about 9mm and its versatility has not changed. Below will be my thoughts from the last Top 5 post about the versatility of 9mm. 

When it comes to a conceal carry weapon, 9mm is arguably the most popular caliber. Some will argue that .40 S&W and .45 ACP have more stopping power. That is a debate for another day.  9mm is still a powerful and versatile round for conceal carry purposes. A lot of government agencies are switching back to 9mm from .40 S&W or .45 ACP. In this year alone, Customs and Border Protection switched to the G47 and U.S. Secret Service switch back to a Glock 9mm. It shows that 9mm has the right amount of versatility and lethality if Federal Agencies are returning to 9mm. 

Top 5 Rating Criteria

When it comes to rating this Top 5 I will be using reviews and personal experience with these firearms. I will not use the Gun Broker’s Gun Genius for Top Selling Firearms. Simply, because some of the guns aren’t on the top seller list. For those of that are they aren’t consistently on the list. So, no real benefit of using that as a rating factor. 

With that settled let’s get into the with the Top 5 compact pistols on the market. 

Top 5 Compact Pistols 

1. Glock 19

I believe the #1 choice on the list should be no surprise. Glock 19 is the king of compact handguns. The G19 gives you the concealment you want, the rounds you desire, with a great shooting experience. When a person is interested in a compact for conceal carry this is the first pistol that comes to mind. When customers ask me about a conceal carry compact pistol I would suggest, G19 first.

The G19 is a smooth shooting pistol, solid trigger, and well balanced. The G19 comes with a plethora of aftermarket options to fine tune it to your needs as a shooter. The G19 is the choice  for compact users. The G19 comes in at a price tag of $549.99. 

Check out reviews from Gun Advice and Pew Pew Tactical. 

2. Sig Sauer P320 Compact

The P320 Compact is a worthy challenger to the throne of the Glock 19 as best compact pistol. Sig Sauer gives you a completely Modular and customizable pistol in the P320 compact

The P320 compact is one of the best out of the box shooting pistols I have had a pleasure to shoot. It has a clean and crisp trigger with excellent feedback. Comes with Sig Night Sights, and a interchangeable grip module. Everything about the P320 series is about giving the user complete customization of their pistol. The P320 Compact also has a thriving aftermarket on parts and accessories. Which is rare for a Sig pistol in my opinion. The Sig Sauer P320 is priced at $549.99.

Check out review from The Firearm Blog and Concealed Nation. 

3. CZ P-10 C

I have one dark horse choice every Top 5 and the CZ P-10 C fits that bill. The P-10 C is an great shooting firearm. It comes with solid ergonomics. Dipping into CZ’s heritage with a CZ 75 grip design. A solid trigger with 4.5-lb trigger pull with a solid reset. CZ P-10 C shoots quite flat allowing for quicker follow up shots. 

The CZ P-10 is a well built firearm. It has a thriving aftermarket for parts and accessories also. You can definitely tailor the P-10 C to your needs. If you are looking for a alternative to the mainstream compact pistols on the market check out the CZ P-10 C. The CZ P-10 C comes in at $499. Fifty bucks under the G19 and P 320 Compact. 

Check out reviews from USA Carry and The Truth about Guns. 

4. HK VP-9

The VP-9 is the striker-fire version of the P30L pistol used by Keanu Reeves in John Wick. After the use of the P30L in the movie popularity of the pistol seemed to explode. The P30L is a very good pistol with one weakness, it’s trigger. That is something the VP-9 fixed. The VP-9 has a smooth and crisp trigger shooters will enjoy. The VP-9 offers a smooth shooting experience and reduce muzzle flip that allows for quick acquisition of sights for a follow up shot. The VP-9 also has awesome ergonomics with adjustable side plates and back strap to find that perfect fit. It has a European style magazine release as well. 

The HK VP-9 is priced between $550-600.

Check out reviews from Gun Advice and The Truth About Guns. 

5. Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 Compact 

Wrapping up the Top 5 is the M&P 2.0 Compact. Smith & Wesson has a solid pistol on their hands. The M&P 2.0 Compact has solid ergonomics and solid sights. The weight of the pistol somehow feels a little heavier that allows for the pistol to shoot flatter. The only real weakness with this pistol is the trigger in my opinion. It’s just not as smooth and crisp as other stock triggers in my opinion. There is a big market for aftermarket parts and accessories for the M&P 2.0. Potentially, just dropping in a new trigger could change my outlook. Overall, the M&P 2.0 Compact is a solid conceal carry option. 

The M&P 2.0 Compact comes in at $ $399.99.

Check out reviews by USA Carry and The Truth About Guns.


That’s wraps it up for the Top 5 compact pistols for conceal carry. I’m a consumer advocate first and foremost. Go out and shoot and find out what works for you. All that matters at the end of day is your proficiency with your conceal carry weapon. Due the work, research, with some trial and error to find the pistol that suits you. Then go out and train and master your weapon.

What was your favorite choice from the Top 5 compacts. What compact pistol did you think was left out? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks For Reading 

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