Fox News is the only major news network to give the 2017 SHOT Show consumer-type coverage. Only I’m not so sure about the quality of that coverage. We report, you decide.

Allison Barrie, who “consults at the highest levels of defense, has travelled to more than 70 countries [and] is a lawyer with four postgraduate degrees” wrote an article entitled 6 great concealed carry guns at SHOT Show 2017. Here are her choices:

Taurus Spectrum .380 ACP Pistol (previewed by TTAG here)

The Kimber Micro 9 Bel Air (TTAG review to follow shortly)

The Colt Cobra .38 Special +P (previewed by TTAG here)

The Walther Arms Creed (reviewed by TTAG here)

FNS-9 Compact in FDE (reviewed in standard form here)

Smith & Wesson M2.0 (previewed by TTAG here)

Of these six, I can confidently report that one is awesome (FNS-9) and at least two are not so great (the Bel Air and Colt Cobra).

Anyway, Ms. Barrie was focusing on “new” concealed carry guns (if a FDE version FNS-9C counts as new). Let’s widen that — because all the really great concealed carry guns were at SHOT as well. What are your picks for six great concealed carry handguns?

102 Responses to Question of the Day: 6 Great Concealed Carry Firearms?

  1. Maybe her specialty isn’t small arms. Maybe she could help you pick a flippin’ sweet wide area ground based air defense system though.

  2. The S333 Volleyfire didn’t make the list? 😉
    I still say that pepperbox weirdo is not totally without merit.

    • Something about that thing really interests me too. If the ATF verifies that because of its volley fire it isn’t a machine gun(which I don’t know how much faith I put in that argument) I’ll look a little closer.

      • I know all that has been said about the NFA nature of the pistol, but if having two chambers that can fire simultaneously is an NFA violation, then so is almost every 12 and 20 gauge double barrel on the market(and there are a LOT of them!).

        • Actually, most modern double barrels can’t shoot both barrels at the same time, and those that can have avoided nfa trouble because they have 2 separate triggers, one for each barrel. This is the same way that the Arsenal double barrel 1911 works. Having 1 trigger discharge 2 barrels is questionable, since it is firing more then 1 round per pull of the trigger.

  3. On a related note, I see all kinds of CCW holsters for 1911’s. How many people actually carry a 1911 concealed on a regular basis?

      • I don’t know anyone that carries a 1911. I would like to know how many people ACTUALLY carry a 1911 on a REGULAR basis, not people that buy a holster for it and never carry it. And, am I new to what?

        • Dan Wesson Guardian (commander, alloy frame, slim grips) is my EDC. I’m 6″ and weigh 165. It is actually a pretty slim gun.

          The weight bothers me so little that I am going to switch to a steel frame 1911 sometime soon.

        • TTAG’s Nick Leghorn carries a compact Wilson Combat and Jon Wayne Taylor carries an STI single stack of some flavor. As their regular EDCs, yes.

        • My EDC handgun, though lighter, is larger than most 1911s – longer, wider, and taller and I have cc’d it every day for two years now. It is not difficult. I am now considering switching to something larger and heavier.

        • I carry a Para Elite Commander daily. With two spare magazines. IWB Galco V-Hawk holster. The only time people might know I’m carrying is if they come in close proximity and touch it through my garments. Then again, the only people that get that close are family.

        • Para Tac-Four in custom Dave Workman holster, on a regular basis. Sometimes a Para LDA. Non-1911s also get carried frequently.

        • In the winter, I often carry a full sized 1911, either in a shoulder rig or in a left-side OWB rig.

        • I do. Full 5″ 1911 with beavertail and extended beveled mag well. Loaded it tips the scales at 1/2 oz under 3 lbs. I use a pancake leather OWB holster. Three o’clock carry, with two additional 8 round mags at 9 o’clock, for a total loadout of 25 rounds.

    • Prior to the proliferation of wonder plastic 9s, of which I have and carry several, I carried the 1911 every single day for a couple of decades.

      • I was referring to full size 1911’s. Okay, so there are people that carry them. Most of the people I can think of that carry, are using small frame revolvers, and small and medium frame poly pistols. I was not being in any way judgemental, one way or the other. Just curious. I would really like to see a breakdown regionally of EDC CCW types.

        • I had a coworker who carried his full size 1911 regularly. I carry a TCP. I know a lot of guys who carry and most pack some flavor of single stack 9

        • A regional breakdown would be interesting. I CC a Dan Wesson V-Bob (Commander-length) 1911 in a High Noon horsehide OWB strong-side holster sixteen hours a day here in western South Dakota where there’s absolutely no penalty (legal or cultural) if it’s seen. It’s also my IDPA competition gun, but there are a couple others that sometimes replace it on my hip when I’m hiking the Black Hills or the Wyoming ranges.

    • I carry a Wilson-ized Commander 1911 in .45 all the time. I’m carrying it now. And I carry it everywhere. I alternate between OWB (like right now) and a shoulder holster. Depends on the weather and what I’m wearing, i will swap it out for my 938. Or my Sig 239.

      I also have a Wilson Commamder in 9mm, which I love to shoot- but don’t carry as much.

    • 1911’s are very popular as a ccw, but mainly in states where the stigma for printing and/or getting the improptu felony face plant in a sidewalk by a LEO is unlikely.

      Her list is fine. They’re mostly small, compact, and get the job done with a minimal level of ‘exposure risk’.

      I prefer the S&W shield or a 340pd myself, but neither is new and this article was focused on NEW for this year I believe.

    • My son’s first pistol purchase was a Spingfield Milspec 1911. He tried to carry it for a little bit, but found it a little too large for comfort. He’s since gone to a compact polymer stiker-fired 9mm (I can’t remember for the life of me which it is — some variety of M&P Shield, I think). I have a Ruger SR1911, but never carry it.

    • I gave myself a Smith & Wesson 1911 E Series for X-Mas and I’ve been carrying that full-size pistol in a DeSantis Speed Scabbard (OWB) for the last few weeks. With the colder weather here in MA, concealing it under heavy outer garments is no problem at all.

      When the weather turns warm, I’ll be back to carrying a compact or a J-Frame, depending on where I’m carrying.

      It’s good to have options.

    • (giggling to myself) Now aren’t you sorry you asked?:-)
      It’s quite understandable why the weight of a 1911 might intimidate someone who began their armed education with just about any polymer-framed “modern” handgun. I think what these OFWGs here are trying to say is, get a good rigid gun belt to distribute the weight, find a holster that will: 1. Hold your gun at a consistent angle. 2. Hold your gun firmly against you without flopping around. 3. Will hold the gun securely without worrying about it falling out and embarrassing you. 4. Is actually comfortable for your body type.
      Meet all of those criteria and you too can carry a 1911 with little difficulty… but that’s the catch: it will take research, shopping around, trial and error to get that perfect mix that works for you.
      Or you can say “screw it” and just strap another plastic fantastic to your hip and call it done.

      • You can also buy a good belt, an excellent holster and combine it with a firearm that was designed more recently than a century ago 😉 In all seriousness I carry a polymer wonder nine because I’d rather have the weight be usable (extra rounds) than mostly useless (heavier club when you run out) also my body type means I can only fit three spare magazines on my person and I’d rather they add up to 51 than 24 (this and the lack of decent wml is also why I almost never carry my shield and would never carry a single stack unless physically forced to do so by an injury or disability)

    • Since i live were its actually winter, my EDC when its cold is a 11.25mm Model 1927 on my weak side and a 4.62″ Ruger Blackhawk (using its optional .45acp cylinder) on my strong side. Both fit in my Berne CC jacket when i dont want them on the belt.

      I agree when its hot its not the best carry option to try to conceal…lol

    • The 1911 is one of the best combat size CCWs for my body type. Not by my choosing but genetics. That said the Sig Sauer C3 disappears on me. Pretty light with the aluminum frame.

  4. In no particular order, and just to pick something from six different gun makers, I would happily carry any of these:
    Ruger LCR
    Taurus 738
    S&W Bodyguard .380
    Glock 43
    Springfield XDS
    Kahr PM9
    Sig Sauer P320

    • Nice list, but personally I’d replace the PM9 with a CW9. The CW9 has a half inch longer barrel (3.5″) and 7+1, compared to the PM9, which only gets there with a mag extension. And it costs half as much. Otherwise it is the same gun except that the PM9 has polygonal rifling, which is nice but of questionable value for a self-defense gun typically employed at very short range..

      • I recently picked up a lightly used CW9 for a great price, and so far I’ve been pretty impressed. It’s accurate and feels good in the hand. Big enough to shoot well, but small enough to easily conceal. Since someone else spent the money to do the “Kahr break-in”, it’s been totally reliable so far. The “dot and bar” sights are quick to acquire, and the trigger pull is smooth, if a bit long. My only complaint would be that the magazine doesn’t want to hold onto its contents, and will spit out the top round with the slightest provocation. I’m not sure how one would carry a spare magazine in a pocket without ending up with a pocket full of loose rounds at the end of the day.

        • Maybe you need a new mag or two. The feed lips may be a bit bent. The 9-7 mag is readily available. I also added a Hogue HandAll Jr. which not only takes the sting out of the texture of the grip, it adds a very mild swell on both sides of the grip that make it fit the hand even better without adding much girth. Yes, the pull is long, and goes almost all the way back before the gun fires, but you get used to it pretty quickly, you just won’t win any speed contests with it.

    • What I do carry, depending on circumstances:
      Ruger SR9C
      Ruger LC9S
      Ruger LCP Custom
      Ruger LCR .357
      Ruger SP101 SN .357
      Ruger 9E

    • The S&W Bodyguard .380 stays in my right pocket. Bought it for my wife, she didn’t love the ‘snappiness” of it, doesn’t bother me so I kept it and got her the Ruger .38.
      I really like it.

  5. Glock 34/17/19
    Cz P09/P07
    Sig P226/P229
    M&P 2.0 9
    FNS 9
    Sig P320

    All of them in the largest frame size you can get away with and wearing a x300U or tlr1-hl of course

  6. Odd list for someone that considers them self and expert but kind of what I have experienced with too many so called “experts”.

    My biased non expert list would be:

    Walther PPS or S&W Shield
    Walther PPQ/P99 AS
    Glock 19/26
    HK P30/P30SK/P2000
    SIG P320 Compact/Sub compact
    SIG P229/P228
    S&W M&P 9C

  7. You have to give them props. At least one MSM outlet is trying. All the others are still hiding in their safe places after Trump’s use of God in his speech yesterday.

  8. Why would ANYONE pick a brand new Taurus no one has ever carried? Not ragging on Taurus but their QC has been spotty at best. Enough that I decided to get a Ruger instead of the much cheaper Taurus. And I’m not flush with cash(right now!). I also know if anything goes wrong with a Ruger I can get timely service…this from someone who has owned 4 Taurus’ that ran fine.

    • Smart choice on the Ruger. I have a good bit of real world experiences with many different brands. Between friendly shooting ranges, backyard ranges, seeing what gives people fits, seeing what malfunctions, working on guns for other people, working on stuff I got for free because it was broken & so forth, I now only own Rugers. 100% American Made too..

  9. The absolute best concealed carry gun is the one that you are willing and able to carry every single day, without exception. You don’t leave it in thecar or at home because “it’s a bit too bulky for these clothes”, or any other excuse. It is the one you carry all the time, and it is absolutely reliable. I won’t try to tell you which gun that is – it is your life you are defending, so make the choice yourself.

    For me, that results in a Ruger LCR in .327 Fed, with a CT laser grip. Your results will vary.

    • Barring disability or financial issues, the lower your personal level of laziness the better your carry gun will be. Research/ trial and error will provide the right combination of holster, belt, and firearm to enabled you to physically carry and conceal the best possible defensive tool. That will vary for everyone but I’m so sick of people (not directed at you as I don’t know your situation) saying they can only manage a mouse gun. Unless severely disabled, that is incorrect. Those people are mostly too lazy to carry the best gun they possibly can and are settling for something inferior. I have no problem with settling, so long as an honest and sober assessment of the reasons and potential consequences is conducted. The I’m not settling and my 380 and I are gonna stop Isis and bears bs has to stop.

  10. Six great cc guns:

    M&P shield
    M&P shield
    M&P shield
    M&P shield
    M&P shield
    And the M&P shield

    Honorable mention goes to the P320

    • This has been echoed several times but I’ll say it again . It’s what you will train and carry everyday without excuse . I went through this phase of owning multiple carry guns but would eventually settle with my MP Shield. I did carry my G42 quite a bit this summer. As for as a full size 1911, not sure how people do it. Commander size 1911s sure, my boss has a sweet Kimber ultra carry. I own a loaded operator and no way I could carry that

  11. In my actual experience:
    G19
    G43
    Colt 1991A1 Officer’s .45
    S&W Mod.10, 64:3-in, heavy bbl, round butt
    None have ever jammed, misfired,or been detected, even when worn during jury trials.

  12. Just selecting from my stable, which are all in my safe/house/on my hip for a reason:

    In order of my preference:

    USP .45
    Jericho 941 in .40 S&W
    Glock 21

    If you’re determined to go smaller than full sized, again in order of my preference:
    Baby Desert Eagle (all steel 9mm but .40 works here too)
    Glock 19
    Star BM
    Glock 30

    Yeah, that’s seven total but, like shopping for pants you now have sizing options.

  13. My carry in order of preference (every damn day too)

    Glock 21
    S&W 66, 2 inch barrel
    Springfield armory 1911 TRP
    The Glock is carried 90% of the time.

    It’s all what you get used to. I no longer have to carry the other crap that weighed twice as much as the gun….

    • I don’t wear one on a daily basis but I wear one regularly.

      When I have to wear a suit or otherwise dress up with a sport coat, which is a few times a week, I rock a shoulder holster.

    • I did dabble with the idea of a shoulder holster when I took up leatherworking. While it does enable me to wear a full sized handgun quite comfortably all day long by distributing the weight across my shoulders, I don’t wear it frequently for a few reasons:
      1. It needs an outer garment to conceal it. In Houston, a single layer of fabric is sometimes still too much, never mind a coat, jacket, windbreaker, hoodie, etc.
      2. It takes too long to put on.
      3. It takes too long to take off.
      4. It takes too long to get my piece out. It’s true: pull or sweep open the outer garment with off-hand. Reach across the body with shooting hand. Un-snap, un-buckle, or otherwise disengage retention device or strap, and finally pull the gun clear of the holster and sweep the muzzle around and towards the target.
      Granted, some folks can do all that with practiced ease in a single fluid move… but for me, a high-ride paddle type holster just behind the pelvic bone requires less coordination or effort.
      And as for getting it out when driving? Easy, I did that as I sat down and tuck the unholstered gun between my leg and the seat cushion until I get out of the car.

    • Daily basis? No. I pinched a nerve in my hip a while ago, though, and carrying at 8 o’clock was aggravating it, so I switched to a shoulder holster for my Glock 26 for about a week (or pocket carried my P32).

      My impression was that it was fine for winter weather when you don’t expect to have to remove your coat.

    • I prefer a shoulder rig in winter/ fall weather. You have a coat, jacket, or vest on. Even indoors at a cubicle, a button sweater or sports jacket is fine cover. You can shovel snow without printing or falling on your gun hip. You can also pack a larger gun than in Summer wear.

    • I wear shoulder holsters on a frequent basis. When I’m going afield of my area to more populated areas, I prefer the shoulder holster rigs I have.

    • Also a good question. I was issued a “tanker” holster for the service 1911A1 a long time back, wore it and liked it because it meant being able to exit a burning vehicle, not that I ever actually had to. For a little over a year, I carried a Marine Corps issue .38 Special airweight chief (yes, I’m that old) in a Berns-Martin shoulder holster in Asia. Excellent holster, but it sometimes gave me headaches. It did conceal nicely under the Class A uniform. More recently, I’ve tried a couple, including the excellent plastic Null, but really can’t stand even a little weight on the neck muscles. So the simple answer is: no, I don’t use shoulder holsters.

  14. This woman’s expertise and talents are wasted on these kind of articles. Odds are she is at the Shot Show to keep abreast emerging trends in technology and was just fulfilling an assignment from her boss. I don’t think there is any danger of her wanting the pointless job of comparing handguns. Your job is safe Robert.

  15. Where to even begin?????

    Smith and Wesson model 642 revolver, .38 Special +P
    — 16 ounces, concealed hammer, 5 round cylinder

    Ruger LC9s Pro, 9 mm Parabellum
    — 17 ounces, 7 round magazine

    Bersa Thunder .380 Plus, .380 ACP
    — 21 ounces, 15 round magazine, DA/SA trigger

    Charter Arms Bulldog revolver, .44 Special
    — 21 ounces, 5 round cylinder

  16. Colt Comander have carried it for 25yrs almost daily. I think if went out the door without it wouldnt know what to do.

      • The best you can do is name calling? Must be brainless trump supporter. If you beg trump maybe he’ll ask putin to piss on you.

        • …no the best we could do was actually put Trump in the White House. The best you can do is what you’re doing right now.

    • Don’t despair Hansen12 you can still wear pussy hats, burn property, call normal people words that end in “ism” and “phobe” and just be an all around obnoxious ass hole. You’ll probably get on TV.

  17. “consults at the highest levels of defense…”

    Yet picks a Taurus, the one revolver that failed almost immediately on range day and the Walther creed over the PPS M2. Who Is she consulting, and why are they still listening???

  18. Interesting to see a Bersa Thunder on the list. I’m no fan of Argentine craftsmanship, but all accounts I’ve heard have been positive.

    • The Berea has a shelf life. If you are lucky to get through 200 rounds before it falls apart, sell it to an enemy. If you love the Bersa, get a new one and repeat the process.

    • Their Mini 9 Firestorm has caused me no issues in 3000+ rounds. It’s a solid DA/SA pistol. Decent sights, reasonably accurate, 13+1 capacity in a small package. Easy take down and reassembly.

      Only Bersa I own and the only Bersa I’ve shot. So take my anecdote with a grain of salt.

  19. Only stating what I’ve carried with no reliability issues or malfunctions.

    Diamondback DB9 (current carry with PF9 night sights)
    Keltec P32
    Ruger LCP Custom
    Sig P938 SAS
    S&W J Frame 38 Special

  20. I think these done-too-often “best concealed carry handguns” articles are just click-bait. They have no basis in reality. The “perfect CC handgun” is different for everyone. Factors to my mind to determine the best CC handgun FOR YOU are:
    1. The gun you will buy and will carry. The “best” gun is no good if you don’t have it when you need it because you are still saving up for it or you have it, but won’t carry it.
    2. YOUR ability to quickly deploy the gun and put the first round on target. That’s different for everyone and it includes considerations of holsters, sights, triggers, ergonomics, etc.
    3. Safety. You have to decide what kind of gun you can handle safely without an ND. That is different for everyone and everyone should be painfully honest with themselves on that issue.
    4. Reliability. Notice this is the first factor I list that only has to do with the gun itself.
    5. So-called stopping power and capacity. This is what seems most people list first. I think it is very important, but not as important as the factors above.

    • I disagree. Top 5 lists are a great asset to someone shopping for a gun.
      You might as well say gun reviews are useless click bait.
      I would rather spend more time shooting and training with the gun I settle on than spend months or years trying to accumulate personal data on multiple guns when the most important information can be learned in one afternoon watching gunnies on YouTube.

      Reliability
      Durability
      Simplicity
      Concealable
      Caliber
      Capacity
      Aftermarket accessories

      These are things you can learn from experienced shooters online in a couple hours.
      Ergonomics are overrated. The human hand is the most complex and adaptable appendage on the human body. If a gun grip is not comfortable or “natural”, it’s because you aren’t used to it.
      But if that’s still a deal breaker, surely one of the guns on a reputable top five list will suit your fickle nature.
      These guns should be so common that one trip to a lgs will provide the hands on requirement. Then you can determine which one to buy based on nothing to do with self defense.

      Ergonomics
      Aesthetics
      Price

      So there are my 10 reasons for choosing a carry gun and it always starts with a “best of” list.

  21. In no particular order:

    Kahr P9/CW9
    Kahr P380/CW380
    Springfield XD-S
    Smith and Wesson J frame
    Glock 26
    SIG P239

  22. Depends on seasonal changes and sometimes destinations/ activities;
    MP Shield 9mm (great in pocket) simplicity. Typically in my daily work leather bag side pocket
    Sccy CPX-2 9mm – capacity is huge, double’s as a trunk gun since lifetime replacement due to theft.
    Kimber Compact SS II 45mm, slim, comfortable carry.
    Bersa Thunder 380, slim comfortable carry. Sometimes a backup piece
    Sig Sauer P250 9mm, capacity, simplicity. My travel piece, in small unassuming carry travel bag with 4 mags.
    For revolvers: Charter Arms Bulldog SS 44spc. or Colt Cobra 38 (both with pachmayr grips). Mainly pre 2000 era.

    More to do with comfort, proficiency with firearm, and personal needs/ preferences for days/ travel activities

  23. .45s (I doubt I heard the term 1911 used a dozen times outside of nomenclature recitations in my dozen years of green suit time) were fine, as was open carrying and shooting them at Uncle Sam’s expense. More power to those who choose them for civilian carry. My choices for carry at my own ammunition budget, purposes, destinations, esthetic preferences and local weather conditions, in descending order of bulk:
    Ruger SR9C, when nothing <9mm would be wise for the intended outing.
    Beretta M84, when a double stack .380 will do, and because I really like it.
    Walther PP .380, when a double stack is too bulky and because I really like it, too (first handgun I bought, while at my basic branch course, too many decades ago.)
    Beretta 950, when it's really hot and the cat wants me to take her for a walk.

    • Food for thought,
      How are you able to tell what will be sufficient for any given outing? If the 950 is enough for a hot day walking the cat, why is it not enough for a cold day walking the dog?
      Bottom line is that we should all find the best defensive tools we can physically carry and do so every day, the time and place chooses us.

  24. If you are going to carry these tiny little 380’s and 9mm’s with these short barrels and minimal magazine capacities because of weight concerns or concealment concerns , then consider the PMR 30 , with a decent sized barrel and full frame , with a thin profile and magazine capacity of 30 and weight under a pound , and the high velocity 22 WMR delivering over 300 foot pounds of energy at 40 grains each and being such a low recoil shooter , this pistol can deliver a potential total of 1200 grains , ON TARGET , very efficiently , by anyone , and did I mention , under a pound .

  25. Well, the list in the OP is a major fail for me. My rules are: I will not carry a new design until it has a track record. I might buy one and create a track record for it, but I won’t carry one until the design has some miles on it. The same goes for anything from Taurus or Kimber. Yes, both make some good guns, but they have also made some bad ones. They are not in my “trusted brand” category. Also, I won’t buy, or carry .380s of any kind or strikers of any kind. Hey, the OP asked for MY LIST. You do what you want.

    My list is:
    Colt or other major brand 1911
    Sig SP2022, or really anything by Sig
    S&W J frame, or really any S&W revolver
    Ruger LCR, or really any Ruger revolver

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