Choosing an everyday carry weapon can be daunting.
With so many options across multiple makes, models and, price level, how do you narrow it down?
Instead of just rattling off recommendations, we thought we’d let our customers vote with their hard-earned dollars.
After all, the customer is always right in matters of preference. So here are our top 5 selling subcompact handguns in total unit sales over the past year, presented in no particular order.
Available calibers: 9mm
Introduced just 4 short years ago, the Glock 43 has already established itself as one of the finest CCW pistols in the world. Customers had been begging Glock for a single-stack 9mm for years, and when Glock finally delivered, the result proved to be well worth the wait. The G43 is among smallest pistols you can actually shoot comfortably. While most carry guns are a chore to practice with, the G43 is easier to control and softer-shooting. Practice makes perfect, and with the G43, practice is practically painless. And…it’s a Glock. So you can count on reliability beyond measure.
G43 specs at a glance:
- Capacity: 6+1
- Barrel length: 3.39″
- Overall length: 6.26″
- Overall height: 4.25″
- Width: 1.02″
- Weight: 16.23 oz.
- Safety: Integrated trigger
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield/Shield 2.0
Available calibers: 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP
Introduced in 2012, the original Shield quickly established itself as a force in the marketplace. It isn’t the shortest pistol on this list in terms of length or height, but its scant 0.95″ width makes it among the easiest to conceal. Available with a 7-round magazine for those with smaller hands and an 8-round magazine for those with bigger mitts, it’s a versatile little gun that just feels right in your hands. It also features nested recoil springs, which help take the sting out of felt recoil. If you’re recoil-averse, this might be the one for you. Available in 3 calibers and with or without a safety, the Shield provides more options up-front than any other entry on this list—which is why well over a million have been sold (and that’s not including the 2nd-gen M2.0). The M2.0 version features a lighter trigger with a tactile and audible reset, as well as more aggressive texturing…but really, both versions are terrific. Great value, too.
M2.0 9mm specs at a glance:
- Capacity: 7+1
- Barrel length: 3.1″
- Overall length: 6.1″
- Overall height: 4.6″
- Width: 0.95″
- Weight: 18.8 oz. (9mm)
- Safety: Integrated trigger, optional manual thumb
Available calibers: 9mm, .40 S&W
Introduced in early 2018 as the successor to the Millennium and Millennium G2, the G2C is one of the best values in shooting. It’s the most affordable pistol on this list by a wide margin, and offers all the amenities a good carry gun should have: integrated trigger safety, tactile loaded chamber indicator you can check in the dark, and—most notably—true double action re-strike capability. If a stubborn primer fails to ignite on the first pull, you don’t need to re-rack the slide. Just pull the trigger again. All in all, it’s a great little double-stack CCW at an unbeatable value.
G2C 9mm specs at a glance:
- Capacity: 12+1
- Barrel length: 3.2″
- Overall length: 6.2″
- Overall height: 5.1″
- Width: 1.2″
- Weight: 22 oz.
- Safety: Manual thumb, integrated trigger
Springfield XD-S/XD-S Mod.2
Available calibers: 9mm and .45 ACP
The XD-S is Springfield’s slim, single-stack version of the venerable XD 3″(which almost made the list as well). You may notice that the grip is shorter compared to slide length than any pistol on this list. That’s because Springfield figured out that the hardest part of a CCW to conceal isn’t the slide—it’s the grip. The grip frame is FAR more likely to print than any other part of the pistol…so Springfield shortened it up, while retaining the 3.3″ barrel. Of course, both the 9mm and .45 version of the gun come with finger grip extension mags if you need more meat to grab onto.
The XD-S is also notable because of its beavertail grip safety. The combination of grip safety and trigger safety makes negligent or nervous discharges far less likely to happen. It also has the best sights of any gun on this list—by a long shot. The original XD-S comes standard with a fiber optic front sight and white dot rear, while the XD-S Mod.2 comes with an adjustable tactical rack rear sight (meaning you can use it to rack the pistol on a hard surface if one of your hands is incapacitated) and an Ameriglo tritium/luminescent front sight. Other Mod.2 improvements include a redesigned grip safety that allows for higher grip and a new drop safety.
XD-S Mod.2 9mm specs at a glance:
- Capacity: 7+1
- Barrel length: 3.3”
- Overall length: 6.3”
- Overall height: 4.7”
- Width: 0.975”
- Weight: 21.5 oz.
- Safety: Beavertail grip, integrated trigger
SIG SAUER P365
Available calibers: 9mm
By now, you’ve probably heard the buzz. The P365 is a true game-changer, offering unprecedented 10+1 capacity in a pistol that measures just 1″ wide. That makes it about as slim as any single-stack CCW pistol out there—but here, you get a few more rounds to play with. So how did SIG work this voodoo? It starts with the magazine, which is a hybrid design (double stack at the bottom, single stack at the top) made to be as thin as mechanically possible. SIG engineers then designed an ultra-slim pistol around the already-slim magazine, and voila: you’re looking at one of the most innovative CCW guns in decades.
For the coup de grâce, the P365 also has one of the best triggers in the subcompact world. Oh, and it also comes with night sights. It’s been just over a year since the P365 was introduced, but the results are conclusive: it’s a smash-hit whose arrival heralds a new benchmark for carry pistols.
P365 specs at a glance:
- Capacity: 10+1
- Barrel length: 3.1”
- Overall length: 5.8”
- Overall height: 4.3”
- Width: 1”
- Weight: 17.8 oz.
- Safety: Internal only (although SIG is coming out with a manual safety version soon)
So there you have it—our 5 top-selling subcompact carry models. Our customers love these pistols, and there’s a very good chance you will too.
But don’t forget—it’s important to try out as many pistols as you can. See how it feels in your hand. Feel the recoil. Make sure you can keep it under control. Make sure you can stay on the paper. See how it feels concealed on your hip.
The guns on this list offer a good blend of concealability, capacity, and controllability—but there is no one-size-fits-all solution for CCW. And there’s no substitute for range time.
If you have any questions or comments—or if you want to grouse that your favorite micro didn’t make the list, leave ’em in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!