Hell Rider [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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Some people carry different concealed carry guns during different seasons. Once summer comes around, they tend to scale down to something smaller and lighter, then bulk up for winter.

You’ll find plenty of people packing a Shield or G43 when it’s hot, then gear up to something like a GLOCK 17 or 1911 pistol when the weather gets cold.

Summertime is also when some people change how they carry. Instead of a leather pancake OWB holster, they switch to an IWB rig or a pocket holster for their main carry gun. Sizing down in firearm makes concealment with fewer layers easier. After all, you aren’t going to wear a shoulder holster in July…probably.

Summer is a perfect time to switch to that Summer Special instead of that all-leather scabbard. Or to a hybrid holster with a comfortable backing…sort of like what we make over at Alien Gear Holsters.

Yes, that’s a shameless plug, but a lot of people like our products for precisely that reason. However, it’s all up to you; you get to carry the gun and holster you like to carry.

With that all said, what are some great CCW pistols that make concealed carry a bit easier in summer? Here are a few.

Bear in mind this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive; these are just a few pint-size pistols to get a person started. There are plenty more, both at the typical gun store and online.

SIG P365
Jeremy S for TTAG

One very popular concealed carry pistol for summer – and indeed, for all seasons – is the SIG SAUER P365. In fact, it’s one of the most popular concealed carry guns on the market at the moment.

The P365 is a slim, light striker-fired subcompact. While its dimensions are similar to that of other popular striker-fired subcompacts, the SIG P365 has a party piece. The P365 has a half-staggered magazine, which brings capacity to 10+1 of 9mm with the flush-fit magazine and 12+1 or 15+1 with extended magazines. That’s nearly full-size capacity in a not full-size gun.

Expect to shell out about $500 in most stores.

Smith and Wesson M&P9 Shield. Credit: Smith & Wesson

Speaking of subcompact striker-fired pistols, the Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield is also wickedly popular. The Shield has been around for some time, and has some distinct advantages as it’s small, slim, has a decent trigger and is quite comfortable to shoot.

In fact the latter attribute was somewhat revolutionary at the time of its release; small guns have long been known for being a little nasty. The Shield made it easy.

The Shield is also offered in multiple calibers, including 9mm, .40 S&W and a slightly larger model in .45 ACP. The 9mm model holds 7+1 with a flush-fit magazine and 8+1 with the extended magazine. HYVE and other magazine extensions can bring total capacity up to 10+1, which is appreciable in a pistol that measures around 5 inches tall, 6 inches long and 1 inch wide, and weighs less than 20 ounces unloaded.

The other great thing about the Shield is that it’s cheap. While MSRP from Smith & Wesson is $350 for the base model, you can easily find them online for around $250.

If you prefer Smith & Wesson’s older guns – and who doesn’t love a classic? – you can also get into a J-frame .38 Special for around $300 in-store. You get five shots of .38 Special, and most models are rated for +P ammunition…though you’ll want to shoot +P sparingly, as hot loads in a snubby get a bit lively.

Smith & Wesson Model 638. Credit: Smith and Wesson.

There are so many variations on the J-frame that one could pretty much write a novel about them. To my mind, the best of them is the Model 638 Airweight.

The frame is aluminum alloy, reducing carry weight to less than 1 lb unloaded, and the finish is stainless. Barrel length is the classic 1.875 inches. The party piece of the 638 is the shrouded hammer. The pistol is streamlined for a snag-free draw from concealment, but the hammer can be cocked for single-action fire if so desired. You get the best of all worlds.

Having shot a few snubbies in .357 Magnum, I don’t think there’s anything redeeming about them, so I’d stick to .38 Special if you were to ask about that. Yes, you get a few hundred feet per second more, but it hurts so much to shoot them that I doubt the extra “oomph” is worth it. That’s just my opinion, so feel free to disagree in the comments.

Obligatory tip of the hat to the GLOCK fanboys here. However, instead of the ordinary mention of the GLOCK 43 – a single-stack subcompact much along the lines of the Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield, except it’s a GLOCK – I’m going to tell you instead that you should get the GLOCK 43X.

glock 43x

Why the 43X instead? For a few reasons.

First, the 43X carries 10+1 of 9mm instead of 6+1. Second, it isn’t so much bigger that it becomes impractical. The G43X adds a little more height (5 inches tall) and a few ounces, but unloaded weight is a very manageable 18.7 ounces.

Third, the GLOCK 43X allows for a better firing grip for more shooters, as the grip is a little wider and a little taller, allowing for a high, tight grip that fills the hand a little more. What this means is that it’s more comfortable to shoot but still plenty packable.

When in doubt, carry a gun that’s easier to run.

Ruger LCP II. Credit: Ruger

If you prefer a small, simple and economical gun, the Ruger LCP series are all of those things. There are models in .380 ACP and 9mm, with both striker-fired and DAO (internal hammer) models being available.

If even a small 9mm pistol is too big, the LCP II is the one to acquire. The LCP II holds 6+1 of .380, and can easily be concealed in a pocket (with a pocket holster; NEVER carry a loaded pistol in a pocket without one) and measures 5.17 inches long, 3.71 inches tall and just 0.75 inches wide at the slide. Unloaded weight is a scant 10.6 ounces.

Sights are fixed and features are few, so it’s pretty basic. However, some people will notice the LCP II is more expensive than the LCP; MSRP is $359 for the former and $259 for the latter. What justifies the extra Benjamin?

The LCP II has a striker-style trigger that – while far from perfect – is WAY better than the DAO trigger of the LCP, which is awful. The grip also has better texturing and the magazine has a pinkie rest, which makes it a little more comfortable to hold.

Taurus G2C. Credit: Taurus USA

Another good budget option is the Taurus G2C. The G2C won’t win any beauty contests, and doesn’t have the best trigger. However, it does have several virtues worth mentioning.

It carries 12+1 of 9mm or 10+1 of .40 S&W, if you elect to buy the .40 S&W version. The trigger has double-strike capability, a rare feature among striker-fired pistols and the bang switch is very usable. It’s slim and compact, at about the same dimensions of the Shield or P365 (6 inches long, 5 inches tall, and just over 1 inch wide and around 20 ounces unloaded) so it’s very easy to conceal and carry on a daily basis.

The other great thing about the Taurus G2C? It’ll run you about $250 at most. It’s as accurate and reliable as the Shield is. While build quality isn’t quite the same, it runs as well as pistols costing more and with a more prestigious name on the slide. And they are EVERYWHERE.

Kimber Micro 2 Tone. Credit: Kimber

For those who don’t mind dropping a little cash, the Kimber Micro series gives you easy concealed carry with a touch of class. You can opt for the standard Micro – a micro 1911 in .380 ACP – or size up a little bit to the Kimber Micro 9, scaled up for 9mm.

There are a variety of finishes available and price point ranges accordingly.

However, you will have to adjust to a single-action operating system. These and other micro 1911s also lack the grip safety of the larger models, so that is something to be aware of. I would recommend carrying one in a waistband holster for that reason.

Again, this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive; this is just some examples of some very good smaller pistols that make summer concealed carry a little easier. Have a different gun you prefer? Want to just start an argument for no reason? Sound off in the comments!

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  1. Bersa BP9cc is a good gun that is small and easy to pack around, also the Springfield 911 or the Bersa Thunder.

    • CCWs are like unicorns here in L.A. County. You hear about them and wonder if they’re real, but you never see them and don’t know anybody who has one. So you end up considering them nothing more than myth.

      EDC doesn’t include firearms for the…ahem…”law abiding” citizen here. On the other hand, if one’s life is truly important to one’s self, then some sort of EDC is necessary, and always kept concealed. We live by the First Rule of Fight Club…

  2. I’m OK with my 709 Slim. It’s been perfect. BTW the G2C was selling for 180 + tax at my local Point Blank. They had a $25 rebate at the time. The Brazilians devalued the Real and run deep discounts on some guns. Again I gotta 111G2 and don’t need one. Choice is good😄

  3. Good article ! I love both my Glock 43X and Ruger LCPll that you mentioned…..but one that I think needs mentioning is the Glock 42 which is in .380. Great little gun. It’s between the size of the Glock 43X and the Ruger LCPll. The Glock 42 is my go to every day carry gun.

    • I love my 42. Practically disappears under a T-shirt and as reliable as my LCPs have been the 42 always inspires more confidence. The 43 and the Shield in 45 are my other hot weather carry guns.

  4. Ruger LCP 2, when in my yard Duty attire, which consists of a $2 Walmart tank and a pair of $5 Walmart shorts, conceals pretty good and does not weigh my shorts down. truck duty and when I go to town, Glock 43x, I’ve shot about 500 rounds in each and no hiccups. Both loaded with Underwood gold dot Bonded.

  5. “Summer is a perfect time to switch to that Summer Special instead of that all-leather scabbard. ”
    Is that a misprint? It makes no sense at all.
    “Summer Special” is an all-leather IWB holster designed orignally by Bruce Nelson and featured in the famous book Cooper on Handguns way back in the 70’s. It is a well known design that has been copied many times by many different companies. That model is very popular with Milt Sparks and El Paso Saddlery. I carried a 1911 year round in a Summer Special for a lot of years.

  6. 1911 of the Commander variety. Every. Single. Day. Scorching summer Sun or, colder than a witches boob in a brass bra! IWB and 2 spare mags.

  7. A carry gun is supposed to be comforting, not necessarily “comfortable”. I carry a full size 9mm regardless of the season or weather in a leather OWB holster from Diamond D. Don’t care what anyone else carries or how. Freedom of choice and all that – at least until I’m dead.

  8. I carry LCP2 or P365 in pocket everywhere I go, use Vedder “Pocket Locker” holster for comfort and quick access with thumb release. I am aware it’s there, but never really uncomfortable to carry either, with the LCP2 almost disappearing visually, and the P365 looks like a large key fob in pocket.

    • A large key fob?!? My 6 round spare mag for my TCP looks like a large key fob. I get that the 365 is small, but it’s not that small…

  9. Living in Florida I still used to carry a full sized 1911 year round. They’re not that hard to hide. Milt Sparks Summer Special. Of course, I always wore loose fitting jeans. Hot as hell and I hate the heat. Now it’s shorts year round and pocket carry. And it gets a little cold in NW Florida. 30s common. 20s not unusual. Occasional teens. Before you yankees scoff I’ve been up there hunting up there when it was 0 to single digits. Felt colder down here at 30 because of the humidity. Now, humpback J frames. I don’t know why so many people think that SA feature is so important. Makes the revolver bulkier and it won’t sit as low in the hand (Better recoil control.) as a hammerless. It’s really not hammerless. You just can’t see the hammer. Besides, what do you think you’re going to do; thumb cock it and take a head shot at 60 yards?

    • Just 60 yards? Sheeeet, they should’a trained y’all better.
      In Texas we expect you to hit an AK wielding nutjob at 100 yards.
      With a single shot.
      In the chest.
      One handed.
      While holding the reins of your horse with the other hand.
      No shit. That actually happened.
      Downtown Austin, nonetheless.

        • Serious bragging Rights!

          The cop should always start that story with “There I was, putting the horses up, minding my own business”

        • A similar case happen with an MP in the Air Force who stopped a mass shooter with a single I believe, 78 yard shot. Massad Ayoob has said every hand gunner should try hitting targets at least out to 50 yards. I’m lucky there’s a gun store in Nashville Tn with a 75 yard indoor range. It’s only less than an hour away. (smile)

      • jwt, when I hear of, or see, someone make a shot like that, or any other fantastic feat, I have only one question. Can you do it again? If so I’ll grant that it may not have been luck. Now I can keep rounds on the chest of a silhouette target at 100 yards with a handgun; but single handed, from horseback with with a 2″ J frame? Probably not.

        • It’s amazing what you can do when the adrenaline kicks in. Training takes over and fundamentals are applied without hesitation, or even realizing it most times. Doubt this maneuver could be replicated without serious effort, but I don’t doubt that the adrenaline created a level of focus you only experience in such situations.

    • Having lived in both climates, Cold humidity has nothing on -37, Thats 37 below zero, not freezing, with 30-50 mph ice winds. Gets so cold lung freezes comrade! But that was in the Soviet Union *cough* I mean near Lake Superior.

    • Mebbe…..if you need to make a longer shot…the SA is the hot ticket.

      Easy to say “just run away” but that may not be an option.

      Unfortunately, you wont be making the rules in an armed encounter.

      I too like the Centennial but you have more options with the Bodyguard.(the original, not the johnny-come-lately).

  10. Its hot here all year round. 80s to 90s March to December. Jan and Feb a tad cooler not much but cooler.
    So for me its IWB with a t-shirt tucked if I rode the motorcycle to work. Or untucked and jeans if I drive a car. 365 days of the year. I carry 20/24/7.
    My usual is a 1911 officers. When I don’t need a gun its my Sig P938. If I don’t want to carry a gun its my Sig P238. All IWB all with a t-shirt.

    • Haha, good sir. I laugh in your general direction .

      Summer has truly arrived here in SoCal. The forecast for this weekend in my neck of the woods is 110 degrees. Last July, we hit 115 three times and our daily highs were above 105 the entire month. It’s a dry heat, but still like an oven at that level. Horrible.

      Of course, we also just had one of the best winters ever, and got 25% above average rainfall during Spring.

      • Okay, weird. I wrote an entire sentence in brackets above to denote a sidebar thought, and apparently TTAG’s comment format can’t handle it. It totally deleted the sentence and omitted it from my post.

        So I guess no brackets allowed? What kind of forum is this? Walmart Great Value?

      • Haz, the army used to send me to the Mojave every year desert training. You’re right. It is a dry heat and I’ll take it any day over the humidity here. Meteorologists report on the heat index here. It usually well into triple digits and your sweat doesn’t evaporate.

        • Although the humidity is less comfortable, the “wet heat” is far less dangerous than a “dry heat”, for the exact reason you’ve mentioned. In a dry heat sweat has little time to form before it evaporates, robbing the body of additional moisure without the cooling benefit.

      • Yeah…here in North FL, the humidity usually runs in the 80% range.

        Like wearing a wet blanket when you walk out in the morning.

        Stainless steel is a gift from God.

      • Hot is hot. here we have for the most part upper to lower 90s and 60-70% humidity. This goes on for months March to October. Not a few days in any given week. November to February is the only comfortable time weatherwise here in southern Florida. This is a “Sub Tropical” area, heat and rain daily. You don’t get used to it.

  11. So long as you stay in the all steel range (sp101, 649, 605) a 357 snubbie is not bad at all.

    • Absolutely.. I love my Taurus 605. Dumped the stupid little rubber grip that it comes with and replaced it with an oversized exotic hardwood made by overworked and underpaid kids in malasia.. you can find all kinds of cool stuff on etsy …

  12. Ruger LCP crappy trigger and all. 365. Hot weather? Was 32 deg. at 0630 this morn.
    OWB only. Wyoming is a FREE state.

    • “FREE state” denoting what? I’m in WisconSIN now which I consider to be a free state, firearms-wise. Much moreso than central Commifornia where I spent 20+ yrs prior to the move here 11 yrs ago.
      My embarkation into the world of gun ownership didn’t really begin until the past 5 or 6 years for a variety of good reasons. I’m greatly enjoying it but I wish my body weren’t so fickle and betraying me at a moment’s notice, preventing me from participating in favored activities I enjoy which includes motorcycling, amongst others. For that reason I find myself looking at and gravitating toward smaller bore, lighter recoiling pieces for the time being. At least until I get my shoulder(s) replaced. That can’t come soon enough for me. First appointment at the University med center in a week.

  13. I change me not summer or winter, same holsterd same gunm. Is familiar to grab in hurry up

  14. Instead of a leather pancake OWB holster, they switch to an IWB rig or a pocket holster for their main carry gun.

    To me, IWB is the worst: very sweaty and uncomfortable. I stick to OWB or pocket carry.

  15. Carry the same thing all day every day year round. If its a pocket pistol then so be it. Be consistent with caliber, grip, sight picture and holster.

        • I concur with this statement as well. The nice thing about making a tiny pocket pistol your 24/7 gun is it’s really easy to add a second gun in higher threat level environments.

    • Wholeheartedly agree, carry the same way, same gun every day. Master one manual of arms and draw and be done with it. Don’t go stupid places with stupid people at stupid times. If you master what you will carry (no shit) then go with it. “Size and weight considerations” to quote the often long winded Nutnfancy.

      • Nutnfancy can be a bit of an orator at times but I find that, in the long run, he does bring a lot of good stuff “to the table”.
        I can’t say that every word he utters is a solid gold nugget but enough are to make his videos worth the time spent viewing, IMHO.

  16. Any IWB holster that has leather: will absorb sweat and moisture and transfer it to the gun. If there’s Kydex between you and the gun: your not coung to have “rub” issues. Rinse and dry good for another day. Something with leather take time to clean, treat and dry before you use it again, better buy a few if you go that route.

  17. The Ruger LCP II is so small and flat that it invisibly fits in a wallet holster in the back pocket.

    another choice for summer carry is the Kimber Micro 9 – it’s flat and very light weight.

  18. ☝️What he said (Phil LA.). What’s with all the teeny, weeny, pokadot bikini-type shorts? For me, I wear the shorts version of the long pants I wear, 5.11’s Taclite Pro shorts. Same pockets, same belt loops and same fit; keeps holster and other EDC in the same locations. If you can’t tell I’m a wee bit anal retentive about my EDC and what and where I wear it. The Alien Gear IWB, Cloak Tick 3.5, does carry cool and sweat-less. BTW I live in Central AZ. Daytime highs upper 90’s to lower 100’s and carry Dan Wesson Guardian in .45 ACP (Commander-size with bobtail).

  19. LCP 2nd Gen in a pocket – always.

    Been carrying a 43 IWB in a kydex BBF Make.

    LCR on occasion.

    It always warm in North FL.

    In the winter – January – I carry a full sized pistol for a lark.

    We often have 90 degree temps in Feb.

  20. The Glock 26 , you have the option of using 15,17 or 33rnd mags as a spare, and really Isn’t any harder to conceal than the G43.
    Just saying…single stack Isn’t everything.

    • I listed some single stacks in another comment above but I agree…I keep going back to my 26. A little thicker, yes, but it’s otherwise low profile and it’s nice having the flush 10rd mag in the gun and a 17rd mag for a spare.

      I’ve toyed with getting an M&P compact 9 but I think when the time comes I’ll get another 26 in the Gen 5 version.

  21. My ruger p89 is easily concealed in the front pocket my shorts. Or I can carry the Berreta 21a or Keltec p32 in a shirt pocket. There are very attractive concealed carry outer shirts on the market for this purpose.

  22. I like my Springfield XD 9 Mod. 2 with trigger job in winter and XDs 9 Mod. 2 in summer. Both have the same manual of arms. Though, the XD 9 Mod. is a lot easier to shoot well.

  23. As my concealed gun, my 4″ XDs is still my favorite.
    Carried in a Crossbreed minituck, I’m never actually reminded of it’s presence until I think I might need it.
    Of course, now that my Unit’s started issuing them, I’ve been carrying my M17 OWB when biking or doing some other outdoor activity.

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