Good things come in small packages. That’s especially true if you need to carry a concealed gun since it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient to keep a big pistol hidden. A subcompact 9mm gun offers enough power to keep you safe, but it’s small enough that you can carry it conveniently.
If you’re going to trust a gun with your life, you need to pick it with care. We have put together a list of ten of the best options for a 9mm subcompact to make sure you get a gun that meets your needs. Since these are for defense in stressful situations, we’re prioritizing reliability, accuracy, and ease of use when we made our decisions.
10. Ruger LC9 Compact
The LC9 Compact should be one of the first guns a new shooter should consider. Ruger gave it a checkered grip frame, multiple safeties, and an inspection port to prevent dangerous accidents. The concealed handgun is also extremely rugged. So, it can handle rough treatment from a novice. The compact 9mm does have a light trigger pull that can help more experienced shooters fire off quick and accurate rounds. However, most of them would be better off with a 9mm compact designed to take advantage of their skills.
9. Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P 9 Shield
|Manufacturer||Smith and Wesson|
The M&P9 Shield is for people who want a simple and reliable weapon. It doesn’t have many special features, but that helps to keep the gun light and prevent mechanical failures. However, this compact pistol does have a special lever and sear system to make disassembly safer and easier, which makes maintenance convenient. However, novice shooters might want to avoid this 9mm handgun in favor of one that has more safety and support features. That’s despite that they can benefit from its easy maintenance. This is a much better choice for experienced shooters who want the best CCW gun that doesn’t need much attention. However, it will still shoot accurately in an emergency.
8. Springfield EMP
The Springfield Enhanced Micro Pistol is a little bit heavier than most other subcompact 9mm pistols. However, it’s still light enough for normal use. This is a compact version of the famous 1911 pistol from Browning. It has all the reliability that shooters expect from that model. Anyone who has experience with 1911 should feel right at home with this pistol, and that immediate familiarity makes this the best option for them. Other shooters can benefit from the reliability that comes from precision construction and high-quality steel parts. However, you need to compare those benefits against this subcompact pistol’s unusually high price.
7. Sig Sauer P938 BRG Micro-Compact
The P938 is one of the relatively few subcompact pistols designed with ambidextrous controls in mind. Therefore, it’s among the top picks for left-handed shooters. This Sig Sauer 9mm subcompact comes with large sights and a single-action trigger, so it handles like a much larger gun. That system, along with the small handgun’s general simplicity, help make it a reliable weapon. The downside to that trigger is that the pull is heavier than some shooters prefer. There are also some reports of inexperienced shooters having trouble with the slide without direct supervision. That means that while a concealed gun is a fine choice for experienced shooters, novices should look for something a little more forgiving.
6. Walther PPS M2
The best subcompact 9mm for people who need to shoot fast is the Walther PPS M2. Some of that speed comes from the light pull and short trigger distance. In addition, the 3-dot metal sights also help to keep fast shots on target. Their low profile makes it easy to draw the gun quickly without snagging, and the textured grip makes sure that your hand won’t slip while you do it. If you have the experience to shoot quickly without sacrificing accuracy, this 9mm handgun is a great choice. If you’re a novice, you should take your time when shooting and pick a different weapon. Therefore, it’s possibly one of the smallest 9mm pistols an experienced user can find.
5. Glock 43
The G43 is an adaptation of the classic Glock pistol to the subcompact size. It stays true to that legacy, and experienced shooters can get a good idea of what to expect by imagining a miniature Glock. This Glock concealed carry gun stands out from the options for its excellent ergonomics. The grip follows a beavertail design and uses good texturing to make it comfortable to hold and hard to drop. It’s also a tiny weapon. So, it’s exceptionally easy to conceal. This is a solid workhorse weapon for shooters of all skill levels. In addition, this small handgun has a minimal learning curve for people who already use Glocks.
4. Kimber Micro 9
The Kimber 9 is another tiny variation on the 1911. It is one of the smallest options out there, and that’s both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it’s the best subcompact pistol if you’re looking for an extremely comfortable grip for small shooters. On the other hand, bigger shooters often find that they don’t have enough space to hold the handgun properly. Those who can get a good grip on it can trust it to fire quickly due to a short and light trigger pull. Since the controls follow the same pattern as the 1911, most people can learn to operate the Kimber subcompact gun quickly without any errors. That makes this a good choice for novices. In addition, smaller shooters of any skill level will appreciate the weapon’s dimensions being one of the smallest handguns for concealed carry.
3. BU9 Nano
Beretta designed the Nano with concealed carry in mind. Thus, every aspect of the design serves that goal. The Beretta 9mm has an automated striker block and drop safety. However, it lacks a magazine disconnect or external safety. That helps with quickdraws and concealed carry, but it can take some time to get used to it. The gun is a little bit top-heavy, making the recoil feel very weak. The model also has a customizable chassis, so it’s trivial to tweak this gun to get better ergonomics. That ease of customization makes this a great choice for experienced tinkerers. However, novices should opt for a gun with more traditional safety features. In addition, it’s like the best compact 9mm under 500 dollars you’re going to find.
2. Heckler and Koch P30SK
|Manufacturer||Heckler and Koch|
Subcompact handguns have many advantages, but their big flaw is that they don’t have space for much ammo. The P30SK dodges that problem with its capacity of 10+1. Therefore, it’s easily the best subcompact 9mm for people who want plenty of ammo. Like the rest of the P30 series, this subcompact pistol has an adjustable grip that allows it to fit most hands. In addition, the small handgun offers several different firing modes. That’s another trait that it has in common with the other P30 offerings. People who want more options can fit it out with accessories on an abbreviated Picatinny rail. All of those options are great for experienced shooters. They can teach new skills to intermediate shooters, but they’re likely to confuse novices.
1. Kahr PM9
The PM9 wins the top slot because it has a little bit of everything. It’s a very thin gun, which makes it easy to conceal. That often comes with control issues due to recoil, but the comfortable grip and smooth action compensate for that. In addition, the sights are a little bit bigger than those on most other guns, which provides a nice boost to accuracy. However, the gun’s biggest downside is the break-in period. The gun’s handling suffers until a couple of hundred rounds have gone through it. However, that isn’t a problem for people who practice with it before they start to carry the gun. This weapon isn’t tailored for novices, but they can usually handle it. Experienced shooters can make the most of the balanced mix of strengths, which is why it’s the best subcompact 9mm for concealed carry.
Making The Right Choice About the Best Subcompact 9mm
You can’t go too far wrong with a subcompact 9mm pistol for daily carry. The best one offers a blend of performance and reliability, and there are plenty of guns out there that fit the bill. If you have experience with these guns, or if you know of one that we overlooked, be sure to talk about it in the comment section. It’s always good to have as much information as possible when you pick out a gun, so you can help your peers make good choices. In addition, you can check out these pocket pistols for concealed carry.