Never has there been such a wide field of affordable, accurate, and dependable choices in handguns—and that’s especially true of the new compact 9mms with ample capacity. The ability to deliver several accurate shots against an attacker can be critical, whether your interest in such a gun is concealed carry or home defense.
The 9mm is one of the most popular calibers for shooters when it comes to handguns. And in the handgun arena, the 9mm compact, in particular, tends to be a regular choice for those looking to carry concealed.
These guns nicely bridge the gap between full-sized and sub-compact, offering a good middle area— not too big and not too small. But with a plethora of models to choose from, it can seem a bit overwhelming narrowing down which one you should buy.
What to Look for in a 9mm Compact
The best compact handguns for concealed carry are approximately 4.01 inches in barrel length and weigh anywhere between 25 to 35 oz. Compact handguns will typically have double-stacked magazines, but a few newer magazines are designed for single stack mags to reduce a gun’s width and bulkiness.
Since no two 9mm compacts are exactly the same, how do you narrow down the best for you? There are a few factors to consider when shopping for a new handgun.
First consider the features, including:
- Functional reliability — If you depend on equipment to save your life, it has to work every time.
- Accuracy — You will want to practice with it to ensure you can reliably hit the bad guys at reasonable distances.
- Magazine capacity — A single stack magazine is the slimmer option. Height is a significant factor affecting concealability. It causes the firearm to print more noticeably through clothing, producing an identifying outline through a jacket or T-shirt.
- Recoil — The more recoil, the longer the time interval between firing a shot and reacquiring your sight picture, which may delay vital follow-up shots.
- Concealability — A handgun must be relatively compact to conceal; however, as size and weight diminish, so does recoil control. The lighter the firearm, the more it recoils.
- Trigger — A good trigger is relatively light and has a crisp break with a short reset and limited overtravel.
Now we’ll review some of the best compact 9mm handguns on the market today. The goal is to give you a place to start if you’re looking for a compact 9mm.
Glock G19 Gen 5
The Glock 19 Gen 5 9mm sets the bar high and is easily considered one of the best handguns for beginners. Compared to previous generations, the Gen 5 eliminates the finger groove style grips, enabling your fingers to rest naturally, making the grip more comfortable.
The G19 Gen 5 has a configurable magazine release and an ambidextrous slide stop, making it left-handed friendly. It also has a flared mag well for faster and more efficient reloads. A unique feature of Gen 5’s magazines is the addition of an orange follower to see how many rounds you have left quickly.
Like any Glock, they have decent triggers, excellent accuracy, and 100% reliability in even the most difficult circumstances. The G19 makes a superb handgun for beginner and seasoned shooters. You cannot go wrong with a G19.
Sig Sauer P320 Compact
The Sig P320 Compact has many interesting features and supports the Sig Sauer reputation for reliable and quality firearms.
This gun is very accurate. There is minimal recoil, and the photoluminescent sights provide an accurate sight picture and enable precise shooting in low-light situations. And the Sig P320 is also amazingly reliable. It is lightweight, which makes it easy to maneuver between targets.
Sig Sauer includes two 15-round mags for the compact model and 17-round mags for the carry that are easy to load and smoothly drop free when released. It is only 7.2-inches in length, 5.3 inches tall, and 28 oz when loaded. It’s small, compact, and has a sleek design. This gun won’t weigh you down, regardless of your application.
If you’re looking for a unique and dependable handgun, you can’t go wrong with the P320.
Heckler & Koch VP9SK
The HK VP9SK Compact is a scaled-down model of the iconic VP9 pistol, specifically designed for concealed carry use. It is similar in size to competitive compact pistols, with an overall length of 6.61 inches and a height of 4.57 inches. Completely ambidextrous controls offer maximum versatility for left- and right-handed shooters. It includes one 13 round magazine and two 10 round magazines.
Its build quality sets the HK VP9SK apart from other compact 9mms. TThe HK is well-constructed using the best components—from magazine to muzzle. The tolerances are tight: Every piece neatly and precisely fits the next piece. Perhaps the VP9SK’s most remarkable feature compared to its many compact rivals is the quality of its trigger — it surpasses those found on competitors. The trigger face is wide, and take-up is smooth and even.
Although not cheaply priced, the HK’s high quality, well-engineered design and attention to detail make it a standout, and the extra investment will not be money wasted.
Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Compact
The M&P M2.0 Compact 9mm is full of innovative features and is an alternative to the popular Glock series—one of its primary competitors. Many shooters find that both Glock and S&W handguns are durable, reliable, customizable, and suitable for concealed carry.
This model features a new grip that can be altered for different hand sizes. The grip makes it easier to hold, especially for beginners, and helps you recover more quickly. It comes with an 18-degree grip angle that makes the pistol feel natural in your hands.
The grip has an aggressive texture and has four interchangeable palmswell grip inserts for a custom fit that enhances control, comfort, and accuracy. The M&P M2.0 Compact’s fairly narrow frame conceals easily while providing enough sight radius and hand purchase for fast, accurate fire.
The M&P M2.0 Compact 9mm by Smith and Wesson offers superior capacity and features at an affordable price.
Clipdraw Gun Clips for Comfortable Concealed Carry
The Clipdraw is an alternative to traditional concealed carry holsters because it attaches directly to the pistol itself. It can be installed on Glocks, M&P, Smith & Wesson, and other traditional handguns and revolvers.
Our patented, Universal Clipdraw fits all pistols, regardless of make or manufacturer. The Clipdraw gun clip includes all parts and easily installs in minutes on either side — perfect for ambidextrous use.
Adjust your depth of carry! You choose deep concealment or maximum access. The comfortable, slim, and secure design replaces bulky and uncomfortable holsters, making it the most discrete way to carry.