Top New Concealed Carry Guns

Growing demand has brought more makers to the concealed carry market.

Top New Concealed Carry Guns

Concealed carry of firearms for defense has never been more popular in the United States. And with more than 25 states now having passed laws to deregulate carry — meaning the government no longer requires a permit to carry a firearm for self-defense in those states — the practice is booming like never before.

With the increase in concealed carry practitioners has come an equally large increase in the number of small handguns designed for carry. Nearly every handgun company has at least one such model, and recent advances have taken these diminutive guns from low-capacity weapons to those with the ability to hold more than a dozen rounds of 9mm, all in a compact, concealable package. 

To be sure, all of the major historical handgun companies — Ruger, Glock, Smith & Wesson, FN, Springfield and Sig — have handgun models designed specifically for concealed carry. Additionally, many not-so-well-known companies, even some that in the past produced mainly rifles and shotguns, have jumped on the carry train with some fine small handgun models. 

Let’s take a look at a handful of new carry guns introduced this year that might just be a good addition to your small-pistol inventory moving forward.

SCCY CPX-2 Gen 3

For those who haven’t heard of SCCY, this company is making some of the best-priced semi-auto pistols available now. And amazingly, their performance is very high when compared to some other budget-priced offerings. In fact, the company believes the combination of quality and value in its product line makes it the “King of Concealed Carry,” and I’m not prone to argue with that point. 

In a world of polymer striker-fired pistols, the CPX-2 stands out because of its somewhat different firing system. It is a hammer-fired, DAO subcompact pistol chambered in 9mm — the current most popular self-defense caliber. This third generation of the CPX series brings a number of enhancements including upgraded sights, improved grips and a lower Picatinny rail for mounting lights or other accessories. Sights are G-43 style.

The little auto pistol is just 6 inches long with a 3.1-inch barrel, a width of 1.1 inches, and weighs in at only 15 ounces empty. Despite its small size, it carries a 9mm payload of 10 in the magazine plus one in the chamber. The slide is made of stainless steel, and the DAO trigger pull is about 9 pounds — somewhat heavy but not excessive for a pistol designed specifically for concealed carry.

Interestingly, the little pistol is available in 10 different frame colors, all with a black slide. Buyers can choose black, crimson, FDE, orange, pink, purple, SCCY blue, sniper gray or white. Incredibly, it has an MSRP of $339, with an optics-ready version slightly higher. Street prices are likely to be somewhere around the $300 mark.

Taurus G3X

If you’re thinking Taurus is a revolver company, you’re partially right. The brand has a reputation for building some well-built, smooth-shooting wheelguns, but Taurus’ entry in the semi-automatic carry pistol category is certainly turning some heads. This year, Taurus has blended its full-size G3 semi-auto with its sub-compact G3C to deliver a carry-size gun with a grip big enough that most shooters can get their whole hand around it.

Taurus says the new G3X builds on the proven foundation that has made the compact G-series among the most popular personal defense/EDC handguns ever while advancing function, reliability and durability to the next level. The frame on the striker-fired pistol has an integrated Picatinny rail. The slide release lever is optimally positioned above the thumb for easy manipulation, and the G3X has no manual safety. A refined element of the G3 series is the 6-pound trigger, designed with smooth take-up and a crisp, clean break — not always easily found on small carry guns. Another interesting feature is this model’s restrike capability, meaning if the gun doesn’t fire when you pull the trigger you can pull it again and try to fire the same cartridge without clearing it. 

The stainless steel barrel on the G3X is 3.2 inches, and overall length is 6.3 inches. Width is 1.2 inches, and weight is 22.6 ounces empty. Height is 5.2 inches, somewhat more than most carry guns due to the longer grip. Aside from allowing for more recoil mitigation because of the extra real estate, another advantage of that bigger grip is that the G3X has a magazine capacity of 15 rounds of 9mm. And amazingly, the G3X carries an MSRP under $350.

Smith & Wesson CSX

Completely veering away from the typical sub-compact carry pistol formula, S&W’s new CSX is certainly a big departure from the norm. That’s because Smith has dropped the polymer frame and replaced it with an aluminum alloy frame with interchangeable polymer backstraps. At the same time, the storied gun company has tossed aside the striker-fired mechanism in favor of a single-action firing system complete with a hammer.

Chambered in 9mm, the CSX has an impressive 12+1 capacity and comes with an additional 10-round magazine for deeper concealment and capacity-limited jurisdictions. It is designed with flexibility in mind and, despite its micro-size frame, the CSX packs both ambidextrous slide releases and manual safeties. The slide is equipped with metal three-dot sights for ease of acquiring the target, and the slide also features an integrated “EZ tab” that makes slide-racking easier.  

Other interesting features include glare-reducing serrations on top of the slide, a textured front strap and a chamfered ejection port to help ensure no snags when drawing from a holster. It also features an 18-degree grip angle for a natural point of aim and a flat-faced trigger with integrated safety for consistent finger placement. The single-action trigger is light and crisp compared to many comparable striker-fired carry guns. And the slide carries Smith & Wesson’s proven Armornite finish to resist corrosion, as does the stainless steel barrel. 

Barrel length is 3.1 inches, overall length is 6.1 inches, and the gun weighs just 19.5 ounces empty. MSRP for the CSX comes in at $609.

Savage Stance

What, you thought Savage was a rifle and shotgun company that didn’t dabble in the pistol market — much less in the sub-compact field? Not too long ago you would have been correct, but the demand for carry guns has led Savage into the game. 

The Stance marks Savage’s return to pistol making after many years and is quickly becoming a hit among concealed carry practitioners. In fact, it is the first in what the company says will be a complete line of striker-fired handguns coming down the pike over the next few years. 

With the Stance, Savage refined the micro-nine into a thin, easily concealable pistol built to be as functional in the hand as it is easy to conceal. With its defined surface textures, advanced slide serrations and ergonomic grip, the Stance is designed for comfort when holstered and easy shooting when put into action. The matte black Melonite-covered slide is made from stainless steel, and the gun is available with standard sights or night sights. The polymer frame is available in three color options — black, FDE and gray. Regardless of color, the frame features a Picatinny rail for mounting a light or laser. The slide is not cut for optics, but a laser-equipped version of the pistol is among the options. 

The striker-fired Stance, chambered in 9mm, has a 3.2-inch stainless steel barrel and is 6.2 inches in overall length. Weight is 1.35 pounds empty, and capacity is 8+1 in the standard magazine and 10+1 in the extended mag. MSRP is $479.

Stoeger STR-9C Optic Ready

Stoeger, another company known for its long guns, has entered the carry gun market in a big way. The STR-9C is the latest in the company’s popular, fairly recent STR-9 line of polymer-framed, striker-fired handguns. It is a direct descendant of the STR-9c, Stoeger’s early sub-compact offering that didn’t offer a slide cut for the use of red-dot optics that are so popular among pistol shooters these days. 

The STR-9C Optics Ready comes outfitted with a three-dot sight system featuring snag-resistant edges to ensure smooth draws and holstering. Optional tritium night sights are also available. And, of course, as the name of the pistol suggests, the frame is cut for a red-dot optic of the shooter’s choice, and four mounting plates are included with the pistol to allow plenty of options. Additionally, the slide is machined with aggressive serrations on the sides at the front and rear. 

Among the pistol’s integrated safety features is a tactile loaded-chamber indicator on the top of the receiver that automatically raises when a round is chambered. This allows the user to confirm the presence of a round in the chamber by touch in low-light conditions. The polymer frame features an integrated, three-slot Picatinny rail for mounting a weapon light. 

The Stoeger comes in one color choice — black — and includes three interchangeable backstraps for custom fitting to the user’s hand. The gun ships with either 10- or 13-round magazines. Overall length is 6.9 inches, and weight is 24 ounces empty. MSRP for the STR-9C Optic Ready is $399.


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