Micro-compact carry pistols have become probably one of the most oversaturated parts of the firearms market right next to AR-15’s. While I used the term oversaturated, I don’t necessarily think that is such a bad thing, it just means we have lots of options and almost everyone (almost) can be satisfied with at least one of the options that are out there. No longer are sub-compact or micro-compact 9mm carry pistols relegated to being low-capacity pieces with triggers that require a dedicated personal trainer for your trigger finger. Most modern micro-compact carry pistols can be had with lots of great extra features, simple and pleasant ergonomics, and rivaling capacities only found in full-sized handguns. Today as part of TFB’s 12 Days of Christmas, we’ll take a look at some of the current lineup of micro-compact carry pistols available to you if you’re looking to pick up a new carry piece.
The 8th Day of TFB’s 12 Days of Christmas: Micro-Compact Carry Pistols
The Glock 43X technically isn’t a micro-compact but I consider it small enough and high capacity enough (especially with the Shield Arms S15 magazines) to be on this list. The Glock 43X MOS features all the standard boringly reliable features that every other Glock comes with including a blade trigger safety, single-slot accessory rail, Glock sights, and a standard capacity of 10+1 rounds. It’s a simple no-nonsense carry pistol for those who want reliability for themselves or for a friend or loved one in need of a little extra spice in their Christmas gift basket.
- 10+1 Capacity with 15+1 capacity available with flush-fit Shield Arms S15 Magazines
- 3.4″ Glock Marksman Barrel
- 1.4 lbs Unloaded
- Optics-Ready with the Glock Modular Optic System (Shield RMSc)
- $589.99 from Guns.com
Released about midway through 2021, the Ruger MAX-9 promised to be one of the most affordable micro-compact carry pistols ever. Featuring a standard 12+1 magazine capacity and out-of-the-box optics compatibility, the MAX-9 was supposed to be a budget-friendly option for those that loved the concept of the micro-compact but didn’t like any of the current options on the market. In short, the MAX-9 has rugged Ruger reliability, one of the highest stock magazine capacities, and is insanely affordable for a pistol in its class.
- Comes with (1) 12-round and (1) 10-round Magazine
- Alloy Steel 3.2″ 1:10 RH Barrel
- Reversible magazine release for left-handed shooters
- 1.15 lbs Unloaded
- Available with or without manual safety
- Optics Ready for JPoint and Shield-attern micro red dot sights
- On sale for $479.99 from Palmetto State Armory
SIG Sauer followed up the release of their industry-breaking P365 with the introduction of the slightly longer and optics-ready P365 XL pistol. Now offering factory-ready optics compatibility and a ballistically advantaged 3.7″ barrel, the P365XL gave shooters a more capable carry pistol that concealed just as easily as its predecessor while adding even more features to the package with new 15-round magazines making it a near-direct competitor with the Glock 43X equipped with Shield Arms magazines. Lastly, the P365XL also featured a flat-faced trigger that has a 90-degree break, further adding to its list of improvements over the previous model.
- Comes with (1) 12-round and (2) 15-round Magazine
- 3.7″ Barrel
- 365 XSeries Grip module (not compatible with standard P365 magazines)
- XRay3 Day/Night Sights
- 1.1 lbs Unloaded
- Optics Compatible with SIG SAUER RomeoZero or RMSc optics
- Special TACPAC package comes with SIG holster and 3 Magazines
- $599.99 from Palmetto State Armory
Taurus came out of the left field with the introduction of their own offering to the micro-compact carry pistol category with the GX4 sometime back in the first quarter of 2021. Featuring an 11+1 magazine capacity, a 3″ barrel, and the best trigger I’ve ever felt from a semi-auto Taurus pistol, the GX4 is still in my inventory of carry pistols that I bring out every so often just to remind myself that just because a pistol is inexpensive, it doesn’t need to suck. Recently Taurus released a slightly upgraded optics-ready version of the GX4 and they only added about $60 to the price of it which still makes it one of the more affordable micro-compact 9mm optics-ready pistols on the market. If you want to see what the GX4 T.O.R.O is all about go ahead and hop on over toHop’s review of the recently released pistol here.
- Great Trigger with a carry-safe light pull and clean break
- Single Action Only in stark comparison to the G2 and G3 models
- 1.3 lbs Unloaded
- Comes with (1) 11-round, and (1) 13-round magazine
- Compatible optics include Sightmark Mini Shot A-Spec M3, Hex Wasp, Trijicon RMRcc, Holosun HS507K, and Shield RMSc (adapter plates included for most optics)
- $474.99 from Guns.com
Another optics-ready pistol born from the heated competition in the micro-compact carry department, the Hellcat OSP (Optical Sight Pistol) features a billet machined rear slide deck for its optics mounting, as well as a 3″ hammer-forged and Melonite coated 1:10 twist barrel. The Hellcat is one of fellow TFB writer Adam Scepaniak’s favorite carry pistols and I’m certain if I didn’t put it on this list, he’d personally come down from his frozen northern wasteland to slap me silly. This package comes complete with two magazines and a pre-mounted Hex Wasp red dot sight.
- Agressive grip texture
- Billet Machined, Melonite Finished slide
- Dual Captive recoil spring with full-length guide rod
- 1.14 lbs with extended magazine unloaded
- Comes with (1) 11-round, and (1) 13-round extended magazine
- Comes standard with Tritium/Luminecesnt front, Tactical Rack U-Note rear sight
- Pre-Mounted HEX Wasp Red dot sight
- $749.99 at Palmetto State Armory
Another new-ish offering to the micro-compact carry pistol lineup is the refreshed MC lineup from Mossberg. The MC2 was already pretty popular with some folks looking for an outside-the-box option and Mossberg updated their lineup with the MC2sc which now features a standard 14+1 magazine capacity along with optics-ready capabilities. Hop once again reviewed one of these budget carry pistols and has had pretty favorable things to say about it in terms of ergonimics and handling and for its current price, I’d say it’s well worth the money you’re looking for a micro-compact 9mm and don’t like any of the other major brands on this list.
- Comes with one 11-round flush fit magazine and one 14-round extended (two 10-round options are available for ban states)
- Features Mossberg’s STS (Safe Takedown System) which doesn’t require pulling the trigger to disassemble)
- Flat profile cross-bolt safety
- Co-witness capable sights with the lowest optics mounting system of all micro-compact 9mms
- Black DLC slide finish
- $481.99 from Guns.com
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