When it comes to carrying a concealed firearm, there are a few really popular models that the vast majority of people either have as their personal carry gun or at least have heard of. The most common questions I get when it comes to carry guns are usually the same three questions: capacity, ergonomics, and ease of carrying. As a result, I decided to give you guys a quick rundown on some of the more popular carry choices by each category on a scale of 1-10. Let’s take a closer look at the popular carry gun breakdown.
When the Glock 43 came onto the market, it was the hottest thing since sliced bread. Everyone was trading in their Smith & Wesson Shields, Walther PPSs and whatever else they had for the new Glock 43. The 43 at the time was one of the thinnest and lightest options on the market. Having the Glock name attached to it also helped out big time for their reputation with bulletproof reliability.
The 6+1 capacity wasn’t anything earth-shattering for the Glock 43 at the time and compared to today’s standards is somewhat lacking in the capacity department. Glock did end up coming out with their popular Glock 43X variant which has a 10+1 capacity. With the Shield Arms 43X magazines, you can even carry up to 15+1 which is absolutely insane for the overall size and weight. The original Glock 43 is still a great choice if you want a really low-profile handgun that’s easy to conceal.
The overall size of the Glock 43 has its benefits for sure, but making it a comfortable gun to shoot is not one of them, unfortunately. If you have big hands your pinky will hang off the bottom of the handgun, but that’s not really anything new with small carry guns. The minimalist Glock slide with rear serrations and a smooth front slide section makes for a no-thrills gun that is incredibly easy to use. It may not conform to your hand like other firearms out there, but it’s definitely a fairly comfortable gun to hold in your hand and shoot.
Ease of Carry: 9/10
Having such a small packing that is capable of packing a punch is a definite plus with all things considered. The overall size of the Glock 43 makes it incredibly easy to tuck in a pocket holster and carry it in your front pocket with the smaller flush-fitting magazine. Deciding to put the Glock 43 inside something like an IWB holster also makes for an extremely comfortable and easy carry for day-to-day use.
SIG P365 XL
When the P365 came out, it was a huge splash much like the Glock 43 was during its time. Everyone was bewildered by the 10+1 capacity of the original but a few years later the slightly larger P365 XL came out with a slightly larger frame and slide making the gun feel like a completely different animal from the original model. The larger frame and slide just made it feel like a more manageable gun compared to the original P365 variant.
The upgraded 12+1 capacity, as well as the extended 15-round magazine, really gave the conceal carrier the capacity of a larger firearm in the smaller package of a subcompact firearm. The 12+1 magazines were flush fit and didn’t have a massive attachment at the end which made concealing the gun stupid easy even if you were just wearing something like a loose-fit T-Shirt. The XL essentially lets you carry almost double the rounds of the Glock 43 and really doesn’t add a ton of bulk when it comes to overall size dimensions.
When it comes to the overall fit and feel of the P365 XL in your hand compared to other models, this is really where the gun starts to shine. Having that full-size grip where your pinky doesn’t fall off the gun is a huge plus in my book. It lets me have a bit more control of the gun and ultimately I can shoot this gun faster than others of its size because of that extra bit of grip at the bottom. The slight palm swell also fits my hand incredibly well just adding more control compared to other options out there.
Ease Of Carry: 8/10
With the P365 XL being slightly bigger than the regular version, it’s still relatively easy to conceal. The overall thickness and length make pocket carrying the XL a real difficult sell, especially on a daily basis. I’m sure there’s someone out there that figured out how to make it work but for the majority of us, it’s simply not an option. For a comfortable daily carry, you’ll more than likely have to carry in some sort of inside the waistband holster and just get used to that style with the XL. Overall, it’s a fantastic choice for its overall size and I am a huge fan of this particular firearm.
What else is there to say about the Glock 19? It really has been the standard when it comes to the overall size and weight. The Glock 19 is one of the most popular carry guns and has been for the last couple of decades. The amount of aftermarket parts and upgrades you can buy for the 19 is mind-boggling as well. There are endless amounts of replacement parts and variations for the Glock system to make it whatever kind of pistol you want it to be. Out of everything on this list, the Glock 19 is hands down the most supported by the aftermarket community.
Out of everything on this list, the Glock 19 holds the most rounds with a standard 15-round magazine. With countless magazine extensions and the ability to use Glock 17 magazines or even the 33-round magazines, there are a ton of opportunities for concealed carriers to have a healthy amount of capacity in a fairly compact package. With companies like Magpul coming into the market space, you can find some very reasonably priced magazines for training and as a spare magazine for very little money. This helps shooters who are working with a restricted budget and just need dependable gear for the lowest price possible.
Throughout the years, Glock has changed up their frame styles with various generational changes. From the smooth frame of the 1st and 2nd generation to finger grooves on the 3rd and 4th generations. With the newest 5th generation, Glock has gone back to the smooth frames with no finger grooves which feels like an improvement for people with bigger hands like myself. The newest variations are much more comfortable in the hand to me than previous generations and the slightly flared magwell makes reloads much easier than other handguns of its size. The overall size being bigger than the other options on this list makes shooting and controlling the Glock 19 much easier but it does add a bit more bulk to the overall size which is not always a bad thing.
Ease Of Carry: 7/10
The Glock 19 is a fairly easy pistol to conceal and carry every day. Being a lightweight option for its size makes it relatively effortless to put in a holster and go along with your day. Even though it’s fairly easy to carry, it’s still the largest firearm out of everything on this list, so for me, it just can’t be a higher score than a 7 but it’s still a great option. There are a ton of variations when it comes to holsters so finding the exact holster type you prefer should be fairly easy.
Smith & Wesson Air Weight
The Smith & Wesson Air Weight is a truly iconic concealed carry handgun. Having 5 shots of .38 Special or .357 Magnum in some models may not be a ton in terms of capacity, but it gives the concealed carriers something to protect themselves with. This is by far the oldest option on the list but it’s not something to write off by any means.
Much like the Glock 43, the Air Weight has limited capacity being a 5-shot gun, but doesn’t have the benefit of being magazine fed. Reloading a snub nose revolver under stress can be tricky, to say the least, if you don’t have moon clips or speed reloaders.
A snub nose is crazy small by nature, but all the controls are easy to manipulate whether it’s the hammer or cylinder release. Depending on the model or configuration, the Air Weight may either have a small wood grip or a larger plastic or even rubber over-molded grip. There are plenty of aftermarket grips available but depending on the model, it can come with some very comfortable grips from the factory and if they don’t have them right off the bat, there are always aftermarket options. Overall it’s comfortable enough to shoot with a decent set of grips and isn’t a terrible option for close-range self-defense.
Ease Of Carry: 8/10
The Air Weight snub nose was one of the first true carry guns when all others were just infants. The snub nose revolver was putting in work before the majority of our readers were even close to being conceived. It can be thrown in a jacket pocket, pants pocket, or small holster either on your body or even on your ankle. It’s lightweight, and offers 5-6 rounds depending on your model. Being that small and oftentimes lightweight, I had to give it a relatively high score for ease of carrying.
Keep in mind, this was just the tip of a very very large iceberg with the number of carry guns out there. I think it would be interesting to grab a few other options and talk about their validity or explain why they are just terrible. If you guys enjoy this or have other models you’d like to see, let me know down in the comments. If you have questions about carry guns or firearms in general, don’t hesitate to reach out on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!