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How to Pick a Concealed Carry Handgun

Choosing the right concealed carry handgun is a crucial decision for anyone who takes their personal safety seriously. It’s not just about buying a gun; it’s about finding the perfect balance between comfort, effectiveness, and suitability for your specific needs. With countless options available in the market, picking the right concealed carry handgun can be a daunting task. Here, we will guide you through the process of selecting the ideal concealed carry firearm, ensuring that you make an informed decision that keeps you safe and confident.

  1. Understand Your Purpose:

Before diving into the world of concealed carry handguns, it’s essential to understand your primary purpose for carrying a firearm. Different individuals have different needs, and the choice of a handgun should reflect those needs. Common purposes for concealed carry include personal defense, home defense, and recreational shooting. Once you have a clear understanding of your purpose, you can proceed to select a handgun that aligns with it.

  1. Consider Caliber:

The caliber of a handgun refers to the size of the bullet it fires. It plays a significant role in determining the firearm’s stopping power, recoil, and ammunition capacity. When choosing a concealed carry handgun, you’ll need to strike a balance between stopping power and manageability. Some popular concealed carry calibers include 9mm, .380 ACP, .45 ACP, and .38 Special. A 9mm is often recommended for its manageable recoil, sufficient stopping power, and the availability of compact handguns in this caliber.

  1. Ergonomics and Fit:

Comfort and ease of use are critical when selecting a concealed carry handgun. The firearm should fit comfortably in your hand, allowing for a secure grip and easy control. Consider factors such as grip size, trigger reach, and grip angle. Many handguns offer interchangeable backstraps and grips to accommodate different hand sizes. It’s essential to visit a local gun store and handle various firearms to find one that fits you perfectly.

  1. Size Matters:

Concealed carry handguns come in various sizes, ranging from full-sized to subcompact. The size of your handgun should be influenced by your intended method of carry and your body type. Larger handguns typically offer better accuracy and more comfortable shooting, but they can be challenging to conceal. Smaller, compact, or subcompact handguns like the Walther PPS are easier to conceal but may sacrifice some accuracy and have more felt recoil. Your choice should reflect your ability to conceal the firearm effectively.

  1. Capacity and Reloadability:

The number of rounds your concealed carry handgun can hold is crucial for self-defense situations. A larger magazine capacity allows you to engage multiple threats without frequent reloads. However, it’s essential to strike a balance between capacity and concealability. Single-stack magazines typically offer fewer rounds but are slimmer, making them easier to conceal. Double-stack magazines provide higher capacity but may result in a thicker grip. Choose a capacity that suits your comfort level and intended use.

  1. Safety Features:

Safety should be a top priority when selecting a concealed carry handgun. Look for firearms with modern safety features such as a trigger safety, firing pin safety, and drop safety. Some handguns also feature manual safeties, which can be engaged or disengaged by the shooter. Decide whether you prefer a handgun with or without manual safeties and ensure you are comfortable with the safety mechanisms it offers.

  1. Reliability and Durability:

Your concealed carry handgun must be reliable and durable. This is not the place to cut corners. You need a firearm that functions flawlessly when you need it most. Research and read reviews to identify handguns known for their reliability. Consider reputable manufacturers and models with a track record of consistent performance. Remember that your life may depend on this firearm, so quality is paramount.

  1. Concealment Options:

Choosing the right concealed carry handgun also involves considering how you plan to carry it. There are various methods of concealed carry, including inside-the-waistband (IWB), outside-the-waistband (OWB), pocket carry, and ankle carry, among others. Your choice of carry method will influence the size and weight of the handgun you can comfortably conceal. It’s essential to invest in a high-quality holster that suits your preferred method of carry and provides adequate retention and security.

  1. Practice and Training:

Owning a concealed carry handgun is not enough; you must also undergo proper training and practice regularly. Familiarity with your firearm is crucial for safety and effectiveness. Seek out professional firearms training courses to learn how to use your concealed carry handgun safely and effectively. Practice regularly at the range to improve your marksmanship skills and become proficient in handling your firearm under stress.

  1. Legal Considerations:

Understanding the laws and regulations surrounding concealed carry in your jurisdiction is vital. Every state and even some cities have different laws regarding the carrying of concealed firearms. Be sure to research and comply with all local, state, and federal regulations. Obtaining the necessary permits and understanding when and where you can legally carry your handgun is essential to avoid legal troubles.

  1. Cost and Budget:

Lastly, consider your budget when choosing a concealed carry handgun. Firearms can range from very affordable to quite expensive, and there are options for every budget. However, it’s crucial not to compromise on quality and reliability. A firearm is an investment in your safety, and you should be willing to spend an amount that reflects the importance of this decision. Remember that the initial cost includes not only the firearm but also holsters, ammunition, and training.


Choosing a concealed carry handgun is a significant decision that requires careful consideration of your needs, preferences, and circumstances. It’s not a one-size-fits-all process, and what works for one person may not work for another. By understanding your purpose, considering factors like caliber, size, ergonomics, and safety features, and seeking proper training, you can make an informed choice that ensures your safety and peace of mind. Always remember that responsible gun ownership involves not only selecting the right firearm but also adhering to legal regulations and investing time in training and practice to become a proficient and responsible concealed carry permit holder.

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