The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Concealed Carry Gun

In the realm of self-defense, concealed carry guns have become an increasingly popular choice for law-abiding citizens. From the seasoned veteran to the novice beginner, the demand for the perfect balance of size, power, and comfort is at an all-time high. In this article, we delve into some of the most common questions posed by concealed carry enthusiasts, providing clarity on the best caliber for a carry gun, the top choice for beginners, the ideal firearm for those with larger hands, and the preferred sidearm of law enforcement officers.

Selecting the Right Handgun for You

Choosing the best handgun for your concealed carry needs is a personal journey that can differ greatly from one individual to another. What works perfectly for someone else may not necessarily be the ideal choice for you. Here are a few essential tips to help guide you in this critical decision-making process.

Try out many different makes and models of firearms

Just as you would take a car for a test drive before purchasing it, it’s beneficial to try out different makes and models of handguns. Many gun ranges have rental options, allowing you to experience a variety of firearms before deciding which one to invest in. Experiment with various sizes, calibers, and brands to see which ones align with your comfort and skill level. From Glock to Smith & Wesson, from .380 ACP to .45 ACP, the choices are plentiful, and finding the right one requires some hands-on experience.

Check to see which fits your hand the best and feels the most comfortable

Comfort and fit are critical when selecting a concealed carry handgun. The firearm should fit your hand comfortably and provide a secure grip. A handgun that’s too small might be hard to control, while one that’s too large can be difficult to handle effectively, particularly in a high-stress self-defense situation. When testing out potential options, pay attention to how the gun feels in your hand and ensure you can maintain a firm, comfortable grip.

Try operating each firearm

The mechanics of operating a handgun—loading the magazine, racking the slide, engaging the safety—should feel smooth and manageable. If you struggle to operate any of the essential functions, that particular model might not be the best choice for you. Also, consider the weight of the firearm, both unloaded and loaded, and ensure it’s something you are comfortable carrying for extended periods.

Check to make sure the handgun fits your budget and your caliber choice

Finally, budget and caliber choice are key factors in your decision. Ensure that the handgun you choose is within your budget, including the ongoing costs for practice ammunition. Additionally, ensure that the firearm’s caliber aligns with your comfort level. As discussed earlier, smaller calibers like .380 ACP offer less recoil but also less stopping power, while larger calibers like 9mm or .45 ACP provide greater stopping power at the cost of increased recoil. Finding the right balance for your personal comfort and proficiency level is crucial.

Selecting the right handgun for concealed carry is a significant decision that requires careful consideration and hands-on experience. By taking the time to test different firearms, assessing your comfort and ease of operation, and taking into account your budget and preferred caliber, you can find a handgun that fits your specific needs and allows you to carry with confidence.

As always, remember that owning and carrying a firearm comes with a great responsibility. Regular practice, safe handling, and continuing education are vital components of being a responsible concealed carry permit holder.

Once you’re ready to purchase a firearm, you need to select a reputable local FFL dealer to help with the transaction (this is true even if you purchase the firearm online).

Considerations for Selecting a CCW Handgun

In addition to the information above, there are a few more things you should consider when selecting what the right handgun will be for you and your particular needs.

What caliber is best for a carry gun?

Deciding on the ideal caliber for a concealed carry gun often boils down to a balance between stopping power and recoil management. The .380 ACP is a popular choice for its manageable recoil and compact size, suitable for smaller handguns designed for concealed carry. Yet, some prefer the 9mm for its superior stopping power, despite a slightly higher recoil. Ultimately, the best caliber will be one that the individual shooter feels comfortable and confident using under pressure.

Which gun is the best for CCW beginners?

Selecting the right concealed carry weapon (CCW) as a beginner can feel overwhelming given the wide array of options. An ideal starting point is the Glock 19. This 9mm handgun is praised for its durability, reliability, and relatively manageable recoil. It is also simple to operate, making it a practical choice for beginners. The Glock 19 provides an excellent platform for new shooters to develop their skills before potentially moving onto more specialized concealed carry firearms.

What is the best CCW for big hands?

Those with larger hands may find compact pistols uncomfortable or challenging to handle effectively. In this case, the Sig Sauer P320 Compact can be an excellent choice. The interchangeable grip modules of the P320 Compact allow for customization of size and circumference, ensuring a comfortable and secure grip even for individuals with larger hands. Not to mention, the P320 Compact is a 9mm handgun, offering a good balance of power and control.

What gun do most police carry?

The sidearm of choice for law enforcement officers can vary based on agency policies and personal preferences. However, one of the most commonly carried guns by police is the Glock 22. This .40 caliber handgun is renowned for its reliability, high capacity, and potent stopping power, all qualities that are paramount in law enforcement situations. It’s important to note, though, that while a police officer’s weapon may be a good choice for them due to their training and job requirements, it may not necessarily be the best choice for a civilian’s CCW.

Which Concealed Carry Gun is “Best?”

The “best” concealed carry gun can vary significantly depending on individual needs, comfort, and experience level. Whether you are a seasoned gun enthusiast or a CCW beginner, it’s crucial to consider factors like caliber, gun size, handling, and stopping power before settling on the right firearm. Regardless of your choice, remember that the ultimate goal of carrying a concealed weapon is to protect yourself and those around you. Thus, regular practice, safe handling, and proper training should always accompany your CCW.

Choosing the Proper Holster for Concealed Carry

Once you have selected the ideal handgun for your concealed carry, the next crucial step is choosing the right holster. An effective holster needs to maintain the firearm’s secure position while ensuring quick and easy access when needed. It should be comfortable to wear for extended periods and, above all, it should uphold safety. When deciding which holster is best for you, consider the following factors: quality, comfort, and safety.


The quality of your holster directly affects its performance and lifespan. Look for holsters made with high-quality materials like premium leather or durable Kydex. These materials are sturdy, providing consistent shape and retention over time. Check the holster’s stitching and hardware as well; they should be strong and well-crafted. A high-quality holster may require a bigger investment upfront, but its durability and reliability will make it a worthy purchase in the long run.


Comfort is a key factor when choosing a holster. If your holster isn’t comfortable, you’re less likely to carry consistently, defeating the purpose of having a concealed carry firearm. Whether you prefer inside-the-waistband (IWB), outside-the-waistband (OWB), shoulder, or ankle holsters will largely depend on your daily activities and personal comfort. It’s also essential to consider how the holster fits with your typical wardrobe. Before settling on a holster, try wearing it for a day to ensure it stays comfortable over extended periods.


A good holster secures your firearm safely while still allowing for quick access in emergency situations. It should cover the trigger to prevent accidental discharges and provide sufficient retention so that your firearm won’t fall out or be easily grabbed by someone else. Additionally, the holster should allow for a full firing grip during the draw – you should be able to access and draw your firearm without the need to adjust your grip.

Choosing the right holster is as crucial as selecting the right firearm for concealed carry. Prioritize quality, comfort, and safety in your selection process. You may need to try several different styles and brands before finding the one that meets all your requirements. Remember, carrying a firearm is a serious commitment to your personal protection. The right holster can make this responsibility a much more manageable part of your daily routine.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. Laws regarding concealed carry vary widely by state and municipality. Always ensure that you are following your local laws and regulations regarding firearm possession and concealed carry. Consider seeking professional training to safely handle and effectively use your concealed carry firearm.