Question of the Day: What Gun for Deep Concealment?


TTAG reader Duane [not shown] writes:

I recently read and enjoyed Ralph’s reviews on both the Kimber Solo and the Sig P290. I am looking to buy a deep-concealment (probably in conjunction with Thunderwear) handgun when I move to a state without restrictions. I currently own Detonics Combatmaster VI’s but figured they would be just a little too heavy for that type of carry. Between the two firearms above (or perhaps others have come out since these reviews), could you recommend what you consider to be the best of 9mm and above carry options for this type of deep concealment carry? FYI . . .

I have many years of shooting experience. I used to use a S&W model 29 as my night gun. I switched to an H&K USP .40 S&W with an Insight Technologies tactical light (with a remote-activated pressure switch)and carried the Glock 19 with Trijicon night sights,I became less than enamored with 9mm and switched to my original WWI .45 ACP Colt Government with my Detonics Combatmaster VI as a backup.

Then, when I realized it would be scratched up carrying through the brush on remote property I owned, I bought an H&K USP in .45 ACP with Trijicon night sights. I switched the recoil spring to an 18lb one, and carried it cocked and locked.

When I want to go with less weight, I carry an original Charter Arms 44 Special Bulldog 5-shot revolver. I prefer bigger diameter calibers, but figure I am not going to find anything bigger than a 9mm in deep concealment carry options.

Your thoughts?


  1. avatar Jack Gault says:

    P238–so small it fits up a fat man’s ass. ;0)

    1. avatar Jeremy S says:

      Well he said 9mm and up. P938 ain’t so bad. (reviewed here

      Sure as heck wouldn’t recommend the Solo!

      Lots of small 9mms out there. Shield, XD-S, Nano (which is what I carry), G43, LC9s, etc etc etc…

      I had no problem concealing my Taurus TCP in my underwear hahaha

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        The Sig P-938 is a lot of gun, for it’s size. Would highly recommend it.

      2. avatar Joe Liberty says:

        +1 for the P938. That’s my EDC and worn iwb it is not even noticeable to me alot of the time. If you are well versed with your Gov’t model, you will love this one as the ergos are very similar.

        1. avatar Will says:

          regularly carry a cz-75 compact, but when its at the ‘smith, my typical BUG is the P938 and it disappears by comparison

      3. avatar HB says:

        I owned a P938 for a few years, and it was a great gun…shot well, concealed well, was nice and compact. They’re expensive though, and there’s that whole SAO thing that you need to be used to if you’re going to carry it. I shoot (for the most part) DA/SA guns, so I switched my EDC to fall in line with that training philosophy.

  2. avatar Steve says:

    What Gun for Deep Concealment?

    Depends on how much you can keister I would imagine.


  3. avatar Gregolas says:

    When I worked out-of-town, the minister of the church I attended carried his full size, bushed nickel Colt Series 70 .45 in Thunderwear. In jeans or khakis, as he stood and taught classes, I could never tell that he was packing. Maybe if you tried a couple different sizes, you might find you can carry a .45 that way.
    Otherwise, maybe a fancy pack. I hear they’re, coming back in style, and Matthew McConaghey and I both wear them, so you know they’re cool…..

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Paul Blart, mall cop, uses a fanny pack which looks like you could carry a pickup truck in it, and who on the planet is as cool as Paul Blart?

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        Just about anybody!

  4. avatar rammerjammer says:

    If you really want a deep conceal gun none of the “micro” nines really fit the bill. For a truly deep conceal gun that is reliable your options are the LCP, LCR or similar J frames.

    1. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

      A Kahr PM9 is smaller and thinner than a J-frame and holds 6+1 rounds.

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        Or the CM9–same mechanicals, less fancy, many fewer dollars. Or the CW9–a bit more barrel (3.5″) and one more round, full three finger grip for perople with average sized hands, pocketable with the right pockets. But then again, the XDS comes in .45 for about the same sized package. Or the CZ Rami–handled one for the first time the day before yesterday, and was impressed. A very solid piece. Two finger grip, but a double stack 10 round mag, and mags with a finger extension available. (Being in California, I do not know if the extended mag carries more rounds in most other states.) DA/SA trigger.

    2. avatar TheBear says:

      I like the NAA .22 revolver. It can go in the front pocket and I forget it’s there.

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        Exactly! I carry a NAA Magnum, 24/7, in my pocket, in a holster. I never think about it. When I go to town, then I wear something a bit more persuasive, but the little revolver is still in my pocket.

  5. avatar Chad says:

    Ruger LCP. Fits in most pockets and doesn’t weigh much.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Ditto the LCR…

      1. avatar Tile floor says:

        I carry an LCR .357 with the Speer short barrel 357 in it. I love it dearly and it is so comfortable, and comforting, I never leave home without it

    2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      Yep, me too. The LCP, especially with the new much improved trigger and Hogue grips is a well neigh perfect concealed carry handgun. It’ll never be a fun range gun (but then most hidden carry guns aren’t) but the Hogue grips soften the recoil enough to make extended practice possible. I particularly like the fact that a Levi’s watch pocket makes a perfect holster.

  6. avatar outwardhound says:

    I never liked the term “deep concealment.” What does that even mean? Concealed is concealed, and for the citizen carrying for self-defense the emphasis should be on ease of access and retention. “Deep concealment” evokes some dime store crime novel character or undercover cop wanting to foil a pat-down…or maybe it means something in the lexicon of the tacticool operator crowd.

    1. avatar john thomas says:

      Me too. Maybe someone can explain.

      1. avatar J. Zoss says:

        I don’t have an official definition but when I hear it used it usually describes carry that is harder to detect from sight or incidental contact. Probably has no chance or almost no chance of printing or being revealed/detected during some kinds of physical activity like you would get bending over with 4:00 IWB or perhaps hugging someone with appendix carry. It is generally slower to retrieve but not always and sometimes depending on the situation. In much the same way that at least having any gun is better, having a gun that is slower to draw is still considered better than none.

      2. avatar Swarf says:

        It means more difficult to unconceal…

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          That was my understanding, takes longer to draw. Not as insulting, just descriptive.

    2. avatar Gunr says:

      I would take “deep concealment” as meaning a gun that is hidden out where it would never be noticed, under most circumstances.

    3. avatar stykusfykus says:

      “Concealed” would be in or on the waist band with a cover garment or in the pocket. Deep concealed would be in a belly band or shoulder holster under your shirt or ankle, etc. Basically anywhere there is very little chance of printing or being exposed when bending. Why do this? Bad state laws, or refusing to be disarmed in no-gun, free crime zones.

  7. avatar AlleyF says:

    I wrote a review on LCR for this purpose, sent it to y’all, and haven’t seen it put up 🙁 Come on 🙂

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Send it again please.

  8. avatar KD says:

    Boberg XR9-S “Shorty” in a pocket holster that hides the print. For me its the best combination of firepower(9mm +P), accuracy, weight, & reliability. They are a pleasure to shoot.

  9. avatar IdahoPete says:

    Hammerless, whatever you choose. Airweight S&W .38, Ruger LCR – but definitely hammerless. don’t want that hammer snagging on your zipper – or other part of your clothing.

  10. avatar Mad Max says:

    I carry a P290 in a mini-scabbard OWB on my right hip and a S&W 638 airweigt in my left pocket.

    In the winter. I wear sweatshirts and in the summer I wear banded-bottom polos.

    Conceals well.

  11. avatar orm says:

    For an underwear gun. Chekhov 25. Acp…. Don’t make it weird.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Who wears underwear?
      Real men have enough hair down there, that they don’t need no stinking underwear!

      1. avatar orm says:

        Dude….I can’t be the only person who watches Archer.

    2. avatar RegicidalManiac says:

      Point is, you burst out of the john waving it around, and no one’s going to be bothering you for a tip.

      1. avatar orm says:

        Thank you

  12. avatar Rog Uinta says:

    +1 on the Airweight or other J-frame. Load with Lehigh XP .38 spl and you’re good to go.

    I’ve found a properly-stocked (typically smooth wood) J-frame to be the easiest “real” gun to conceal. It essentially disappears when carried AIWB.

  13. avatar Slopperator says:

    XD-S so he can keep his beloved .45? I’d prefer it in 9mm though, but that’s just me. And although I’m not a Glock fan, what about their .380 or single-stack 9mm (G42 and G43 if memory serves me)?

  14. avatar Stinkeye says:

    “I am looking to buy a deep-concealment handgun when I move to a state without restrictions.”

    If you’re moving to a state without restrictions, why do you need “deep” concealment? Concealed means concealed, right?

    If you truly need something that’s lightweight and small enough that you can stuff it invisibly into all kinds of nooks and crannies, get a S&W 442 or the equivalent.

  15. avatar Vhyrus says:

    SCCY cpx. Very light, 10 rounds of 9mm, and cheap to boot. Just make sure it’s reliable first.

  16. avatar Jeff Dege says:

    I like the Kahr PM9 for this – mainly because it’s skinny.

  17. avatar foo dog says:

    I know this is old news to the literati, but since RF wont go back to the Israeli Supermodels, I submit the following concealment options for your entertainment. Have a good weekend.

    (h/t – my vote for best gun photog on the innertubz – Alex Volk)

    1. avatar foo dog says:

      oops! Wrong cut and paste- here is the classic:

    2. avatar JWM says:

      Oleg Volk.

  18. avatar Accur81 says:

    If I sell my condo, a Smith Bodyguard .380 loaded with Precision One XTP or Lehigh Xtreme Penetrator for me. And a Shield 9mm. Current smallest / lightest gun in my fleet is a Smith 340 PD .357 with Buffalo Bore Tactical “short barrel” 125 grain JHPs.

    There are lots of good snubbies, .380s, and mini 9s available.

  19. avatar Sian says:

    I define deep concealment as adequate for non-permissive environments. the sort you can carry and work next to a dozen other people all day every day and there’s very little risk you’ll be made. Concealment for public situations is far easier, since nobody knows you, looks at you much, or cares.

    Sig 938, Glock G43, S&W Shield, Taurus PT740 (not 709), Kahr PM9

    Any of these is small enough to disappear if you dress around them. They’re not pocket guns, and they shouldn’t be. tuckable IWB and J-hooks (or thunderwear/bellyband) are the order of the day for this sort of carry.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Concealment for public situations is far easier, since nobody knows you, looks at you much, or cares.”

      Not if you’re female…

      Guys love to look and imagine…

      1. avatar Dustin says:

        After 25, you’ve been there, done that enough not to bother; you already know what’s there and probably had more than you want of lessons learned… Women get gawked a lot less than their egos imagine…

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Never underestimate a dirty old man in training…


  20. avatar Ralph says:

    What Gun for Deep Concealment? Based on the photo, I’d say a navel gun.

    1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

      I don’t know how you’d conceal a 16/50 Mark 7, but I guess you’d have plenty of firepower… oh wait, you said navel gun not naval gun…

  21. avatar AllAmerican says:

    Something with a long barrel.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Shotgun, with 32″ barrel?

  22. avatar TX Gungal says:

    Pocket carry Ruger LCR .38 SPL +P with Conceal Carry Micro Holster Trigger Stay by Garrison Grip (BLACK) so don’t need bulk of pocket holster.

  23. avatar Smith says:

    I did not like the trigger on the Sig 290 at all, it is very long and heavy and the reset is also very long. My first choice would be the M&P Shield as it fits my hands and I can shoot it all day. Beyond that I would look at the Glock 43. The Sig 938 is a nice gun but you need to train for the safety as it is carried “condition 1”.

  24. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can assure you that you don’t want to see me dressed in anything I couldn’t conceal this in;

  25. avatar Sgt. Adams says:

    I live in SE Texas, the climate is much like Louisiana. Hot and HUMID most of the year. Even in winter it can be too warm for a jacket indoors. My main carry weapon is a S&W 638 Bodyguard j-frame revolver. With one speed-loader it fits well in a modified trouser pocket.

    If that is too much I do have a NAA-Mini revolver, but .38 beats .22 every time.

    1. avatar JWM says:

      j frame for the win.

  26. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Try a DiamondBack DB9 with a pocket holster or a SmartCarry holster. I guarantee it is impossible to detect with a SmartCarry holster. It would actually be pretty comfortable as well.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      If you don’t need to tuck in your shirt, you could also use the VersaCarry “holster” to carry the DiamondBack DB9 pistol. Once again that will completely disappear.

  27. avatar Gs650g says:

    Keltec p3at is small enough

  28. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    I’ll take my .22 caliber Beretta 21a in my pocket over my big .410 judge on my nightstand. If I put eight holes in my target using the laser designator attached my problem will go away.

  29. avatar Silverscreamer says:

    1911 CCO…
    Just saying…

  30. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    There’s a gazillion little guns to hide. With the giant phones no one give you a second look….but I wouldn’t stuff a TCP down my pants! Sorry Jeremy no safety…

  31. avatar Dustin says:

    Picture: You gotta be stupid to point your gun at your Femoral… Deep concealment doesn’t have to be dumb… I usually carry my Pocket .380 for the week where most people keep their wallet.

    Oh, you want my money, just let me get my, woah, hey, that’s not a wallet… Sucks to be you, asshole…

    Whatever you carry, don’t point it at yourself so you can blow a hole in yourself as you draw in a panic… OMG, look, emergency, let me unzip my pants… Are you OK?

  32. avatar Grant S. says:

    When I hear “deep concealment” I think of Jack Black in Tropic Thunder.

  33. avatar Pat Yates says:

    Surprised nobody suggested a S&W 396 M&P 3″, a 5-shot mid-sized frame (K or L, don’t remember) airweight in .44 Special. Only a bit bigger and heavier than any of the airweight J frames, but with a bit more punch. Especially with some of the loads available now, or if you handload. Out of production now, but they show up on the auction sites periodically. I love mine.

    I’d also recommend the S&W 329PD (4″) or Night Guard (3″) if you can stand a bit more bulk.


    PS: Good to hear about someone carrying the Detonics!

  34. avatar scooter says:

    Summer… S&W 642 most days, appendix (Desantis Insider) or pocket (Galco). Just added a Shield 9mm, appendix (Desantis Insider). Colder weather… S&W 457 at about 4:30 (Bianchi 100 IWB) or CZ75 Compact Decocker, same position (same Bianchi). I know I run from 5 rounds of .38 to 8 or 9 9mm to 8 .45 to 15 9mm, but all four have one thing in common: draw and apply as needed. All three semi pistols are decockers. Also, all but one cost under $500… but I dig my CZ75s, own four so far!

  35. avatar Teejay says:

    I carry a P938 in that exact setup every day. With the extended magazine.

  36. avatar RamBam says:

    Google “Mouse Gun Chart”. There’s a cool chart of small 9’s and other calibers.

  37. avatar Aviationandrew says:

    Nothing like a .38 continuously pointed at your junk.

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