Carry guns need to be small and light so that they stay hidden from sight. Compact designs are ideal, and the best compact handgun will have just as much power as a larger gun. It will also have mechanisms to compensate for recoil since they lack the weight to do so naturally. As with all defensive weapons, reliability is also of utmost importance. There are a lot of compact handguns that can do the job, so we picked out ten great choices to make it a little bit easier to pick the best one for your situation.
10. CZ RAMI BD
The RAMI BD from CZ is relatively heavy compared to most other small 9mm pistols, which helps to reduce the felt recoil when it is paired with powerful ammunition. This model has a decocking lever, so it can be used as a double action pistol when it is first fired and a single action for the rest of the shots. The gun’s relatively large dimensions mean that it can be a challenge to conceal, but a good holster will keep it hidden with the right clothes. Choose this if concealment is a secondary concern, but get something smaller if it is your top priority.
9. Ruger RAP Compact
The RAP Compact from Ruger is a compact version of Ruger’s popular American Pistol. It offers a modular grip system that makes it easy to get a good fit, along with a recoil-reducing barrel that makes it more comfortable to fire. The gun is rated for +P ammunition, which gives it a good power level for most purposes. It also has a Picatinny rail for mounting accessories, although it is important to make sure they won’t get in the way of a rapid draw. It’s a great choice for people that need a low recoil gun but doesn’t have as much to offer to other users.
8. S&W Model Governor
|Manufacturer||Smith & Wesson|
|Caliber||.410 2 1/2″, .45 ACP, .45 Colt|
The Governor is an unusual revolver that can accept .410 shotgun shells in addition to traditional cartridges. That versatility makes it easy to stock up on ammunition at a low price and customize the gun to suit the job at hand. The gun is made of steel, which makes it durable, but also makes it fairly heavy in spite of its small size. Use it if you need the versatility it offers, but pick something lighter if you do not.
7. Remington Enhanced Commander
The Enhanced Commander is a version of the classic 1911 pistol that fits within the larger end of the compact range of sizes. It uses a powerful cartridge, the gun is heavy enough to keep the recoil under control. It comes with fairly good factory sights, with a fiber optic system in the front and adjustable rear sights. The trigger is also good, with a smooth pull and relatively easy adjustments. The gun’s weight can be a problem when carrying it for long periods, but this is a good choice for people who carry their gun for brief periods.
6. S&W M2.0
|Manufacturer||Smith & Wesson|
The M2.0 is the second generation of the M&P series. It retains the excellent grip angle and general ergonomics of the earlier models, and it comes with a set of grip inserts to adjust the fit. This model has a low bore axis, which reduces muzzle rise to make it easier to aim the second shot. The trigger has been improved over past models, which gives it a very light pull. This is a great choice for general use as both a defensive gun and a sporting pistol, but those who only need a carry weapon can get something a little cheaper.
5. Kimber K6 Stainless
The K6 from Kimber is the best compact handgun for shooters that want the simplicity and reliability of a revolver. It stands out primarily for its size, which makes it one of the smallest revolvers in production, but it also has an excellent match-grade trigger that offers a light and smooth pull. The grip’s ergonomics are also excellent, and the textured rubber makes it hard to drop the gun by accident. The combination of a short barrel and a powerful cartridge can make it tricky to aim, but this gun remains an excellent choice for intermediate and experienced shooters.
4. Springfield XD-E .45
The XD-E from Springfield Armory is the best compact handgun for people who can deal with heavy recoil. It has a huge amount of power, and it is reasonably accurate for people who can control the recoil. It features the unique Low Effort Slide that makes it quick and easy to chamber a round, along with ambidextrous controls to make it easier to operate. A loaded chamber indicator helps with safety. Try this model if you want a powerful weapon, but opt for something else if you have concerns about size or recoil.
3. Ruger Security-9
The Security-9 is a budget handgun from Ruger, and the best compact handgun available for a low price. It is bigger than most compact guns, but still small enough to conceal, and its size can make it easier to handle. It has a high-visibility sight system that makes it easy to aim quickly, and the gun is accurate enough to put those sights to good use. The gun also has several safety features that make it more secure to store and carry. Choose it if you’re on a tight budget and comfortable with a bigger weapon. You can also check out this other list with some of the best carry guns.
2. SIG P365 Nitron Micro-Compact
Sig Sauer produces the P365 as a compromise between size and power. It offers more ammunition than most compact pistols, and it also has an unusually long barrel that helps with accuracy. The rest of the gun is still small and light, so this one is just as easy to carry as the other options. The gun can accept some of Sig’s accessories, but they do make it harder to conceal, so that isn’t always necessary. This is the best compact handgun for people who need plenty of power and ammo, but it can be excessive for others.
1. Springfield 911
The 911 from Springfield Armory is the best compact handgun for shooters that want to keep recoil under control. While the .380 ACP cartridge has less power than the other common choices, it also has much less recoil, and it will perform adequately at close range. This gun’s safety is ambidextrous to ensure easy access when it is drawn quickly, and the grip uses unique texturing to keep the gun secure when held. Shooters who can comfortably use a more powerful gun should consider one, but this is an ideal choice for people who prefer control to power.
Making The Right Choice
A compact firearm is one of the most valuable defensive tools available in the modern world. A mixture of reliability, recoil compensation, and simple ruggedness distinguish the best compact handgun choices from the competition, and it is worth hunting for the best. You can also look at our best handguns for home defense recommendations. If you come across one that we didn’t mention, bring it up in the comments below!