Tactical Weapons Firearms

What to consider when selecting the ideal concealed carry pistol

Finding the ideal pistol for concealed carry can be more complicated than picking up a gun and tucking it in your waistband.
Brady Kirkpatrick Avatar
concealed carry pistol
U.S. Marine Corps graphic by Ashley Calingo.

Finding the ideal pistol for concealed carry can be more complicated than picking up a gun and tucking it in your waistband. You can easily tote a full-size Glock 17 all day long, but will it be comfortable? Will the grip print and let everyone know you have a gun? Do you want the business end of the firearm pressing up on your no-no square? 

See what I mean? 

There are a lot of things you have to take into consideration when finding the best concealed carry pistol. And that’s what you and I will discuss in this article. We’ll talk about how you can find the ideal concealed carry pistol and other small details that make a big difference. Without further ado, let’s dive in. 

Why size matters (and not in the ways you think)

Depending on the climate of the area you live in, the clothes you wear daily may differ. 

And if you live where you walk out the door and start sweating in the summertime, the best concealed carry pistol for you will be different from someone in Fairbanks. 

You know what I mean? 

When dealing with warm climates, you have less clothing to cover up the pistol in your waistband. So you want to make that pistol as small as you can so you can be comfortable. 

But you knew all of that already, didn’t you? 

Here’s where it gets tricky. 

concealed carry pistol IWB
Photo by Eric Pilgrim. (DVIDS)

How big are your hands? 

Concealed carry is one of the areas where people with smaller hands can get away with more than those of us with more oversized mitts. 

I see a lot of people carrying pistols that don’t fit in their hands for the sake of comfort and concealability. 

And when they hold it in their hands, their pinky hangs off. Or they don’t have enough room to get their support hand on the pistol for a better grip. 

And that unnerves me to no end. Sure, training can make you more effective with the firearm you choose, but you can do even better with a firearm that actually fits into your hands. 

That’s why I recommend pistols with longer grips and shorter barrels. Pistols like the Glock 43X or the Sig Sauer P365 X Macro are two of my most recommended concealed carry options on the market today. 

Having the longer grip and shorter slide combination helps you with keeping the pistol concealed while also being comfortable at the same time. Plus, you have a larger magazine capacity. 

I always recommend going to the range and testing the pistol out for yourself before you buy it so you don’t spend money on the wrong pistol. 

Dressing around the gun

For those of you who like to wear fitted clothing, you may have to change up your wardrobe a bit if you want to conceal carry comfortably. Your favorite pair of pants might not be suitable for carrying. 

This is another area where size matters in your shirts and pants. If your pants are tight around the waist, fitting a gun in there will be extremely uncomfortable and make you wonder why you decided to do this in the first place. 

And you don’t want that. 

So, let’s say you normally wear a 34 on the waist. Since you now have to account for a firearm in your waist, I would suggest going for a 36 instead. And make sure they aren’t too tight in the areas that need breathing room. 

Don’t worry; a good belt for carry will keep your pants up. 

Your shirts should also be larger. When I started carrying, I was wearing a medium (and I probably shouldn’t have been wearing a medium).

I was printing like crazy and living in Washington, and people were looking at me like they had a phobia of me. So my lady friend at the time suggested that I size up so it wouldn’t print as much. 

Patterns also help break up the shape of the gun—the smaller and more consistent the pattern, the better. 

concealed carry pistol in waistband
Concealed firearm drawn from waistband.

Leaving room for attachments 

Let’s face the truth, red-dots are undoubtedly faster than picking up iron sights. Finding a red dot, putting it over a target, and squeezing the trigger can save you plenty of precious time. 

You should find a pistol with an optics cut and Picatinny rail. Flashlights are especially important when trying to positively I.D a threat. And oftentimes, the light alone can deter the bad guy. 

There are plenty of options to choose from. Go for it. 

Finding the best concealed carry pistol can easily be done by hitting the range and testing out what fits you best. Also, make sure your clothing can accommodate the pistol you plan on carrying so you can be comfortable throughout the day. 

But in the end, training is most important. So make sure you get plenty of it so you can be effective.