Best Subcompact Single-Stack 9mm Guns for Concealed Carry

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Concealed carrying pistols continue to advance and are more compact than ever before. Handguns with dimensions once thought possible only in .32 or .380 are now available in 9mm, the world’s most widespread defensive handgun cartridge.

Best Subcompact Single-Stack Guns for CCW

1. SIG P365 SAS Micro Compact

sig P365 sas micro compact

By now, most gun owners have heard of the SIG P365. This pistol took the world of concealed carrying pistols by storm in 2018, offering a 10-round magazine in a subcompact pistol when competing guns at the time held, at most, 6 or 7 rounds. This pistol is America’s #1 best-selling pistol each year since 2018, becoming a staple of concealed carrying holsters nationwide.

The P365 SAS (short for SIG Anti Snag) is a variant of the original P365 that was first introduced in October 2019, offering several unique features intended for deep concealed carrying.

The SAS’ main feature is the lack of standard sights, leaving the top of the slide entirely smooth and snag-free. In their place are Meprolight FT Bullseye fiber-optic sights, an innovative sighting system integrated into the slide.

The aiming point sits inside a recess at a very low bore axis, allowing the shooter to aim the P365 SAS as accurately as a larger handgun with more traditional sights.

If you already own and carry a SIG P365, there is no need to buy a new holster for the SAS. It fits in standard P365 holsters, as the dimensions are virtually identical other than the overall height (0.2 inches shorter due to the lack of sights).

As with the original P365, the P365 SAS comes with two flush-fit, 1.5-stack 10-round magazines. It is compatible with factory extended 12-round magazines or the all-steel, flush-fit Shield Arms S-15 magazine, extending the P365’s capacity to 15+1 rounds without additional height.

  • Manufacturer: SIG Sauer
  • Model: P365 SAS Micro Compact
  • Chambering: 9x19mm Parabellum
  • Overall length: 5.8”
  • Barrel length: 3.1”
  • Height: 4.1”
  • Width: 1”
  • Weight: 17.8 oz.
  • Magazine capacity: 10 rounds (flush-fit), 12 rounds (factory extended)
  • Aftermarket magazines such as the Shield Arms S-15 (15-round flush-fit) are also available.

2. Glock 43

glock 43

When the .380 ACP Glock 42 was released in 2013, most reviews praised its size, concealability, and reliability. But the question on everybody’s minds was: “Where is the 9mm version?”

Two years of development later, Glock announced the G43, resulting in an explosion of positive reviews. It’s not difficult to see why because the Glock 43 has the high reliability expected of any Glock pistol in a platform that still is, to this day, one of the smallest and lightest semi-automatic 9mm pistols ever made.

Although the Glock 26 was the Austrian gunmaker’s flagship subcompact 9mm pistol since 1995, the G26 is often considered relatively thick, with an overall width of 1.30”. In contrast, the Glock 43 features a single-stack 6-round magazine, allowing it to use what Glock refers to as a Slimline frame, with a width of just 1.06”.

A difference in width of less than a quarter-of-an-inch may not seem like much, but when it comes to deep concealment, everything that can help combat printing and keep the overall weight down helps.

Some may consider the G43’s capacity to be on the low end, even for a pistol of its class. At just 6+1 rounds, you may want to consider carrying extra magazines or using extended baseplates.

  • Manufacturer: Glock
  • Model: 43
  • Chambering: 9x19mm Parabellum
  • Overall length: 6.26”
  • Barrel length: 3.41”
  • Height: 4.25”
  • Width: 1.06”
  • Weight: 16.23 ounces
  • Magazine capacity: 6 rounds
  • Aftermarket magazine extensions are also available.

3. Walther PPS M2

walther pps m2

The PPS M2 is the second generation of the Walther PPS, introduced to the US civilian market in 2016.

This handgun possesses many ergonomic features aimed at maximizing shooting comfort in a small form factor, including a textured grip, subdued finger grooves, front and slide serrations, and a 1” overall width, reducing the risk of printing.

The slide and barrel feature a Tenifer finish for extra durability, protecting them against corrosion and increasing their service life.

Despite only possessing a 3.2” barrel, the PPS M2 is more accurate than most pistols of its category. This is achieved thanks to its high-accuracy polygonal barrel rifling and its internal steel chassis, keeping the fit between the slide and the frame snug and tight.

All controls are easy to reach, and magazine ejection is positive and forceful, making reloading practice and drills easier. Field-stripping is quick and straightforward, requiring no tools.

The shortest, flush-fit magazine holds 6 rounds, but Walther also offers 2 magazines with extended baseplates: 7-round and 8-round, respectively. Both add enough real estate to allow for a full-handed grip, increasing the PPS M2’s height and making it more comfortable to shoot.

  • Manufacturer: Walther
  • Model: PPS M2
  • Chambering: 9x19mm Parabellum
  • Overall length: 6.3”
  • Barrel length: 3.2”
  • Height: 4.4” (with 6-round magazine)
  • Width: 1”
  • Weight: 19.4 ounces
  • Magazine capacity: 6 rounds (flush-fit), 7 or 8 rounds (extended baseplate)

4. Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield 2.0

smith & wesson m&p9 shield 2.0

According to Smith & Wesson, the M&P Shield series of pistols has sold over 3 million units since its introduction, making it one of the most popular handguns on the US civilian market.

The M&P9 Shield 2.0 is the latest generation, featuring many improvements first introduced in the M&P M2.0 line of full-size pistols.

Among these changes, the Shield 2.0 features the M2.0 trigger, which features a lighter, crisper pull with a positive trigger reset. The grip texture was also redesigned with a more aggressive and grippy feel, providing the shooter with a more controllable handgun, even for its size class.

New M&P9 Shield 2.0 pistols come with 2 magazines. These include a small, flush-fit 7-round magazine intended for concealed carrying and minimizing the gun’s height, and a taller, 8-round magazine with an extended baseplate, providing you space for all of your fingers and letting you get a full grip.

  • Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
  • Model: M&P9 Shield 2.0
  • Chambering: 9x19mm Parabellum
  • Overall length: 6.1”
  • Barrel length: 3.1”
  • Weight: 18.3 ounces
  • Magazine capacity: 7 rounds (flush-fit) or 8 rounds (extended baseplate)

5. Springfield XD-S Mod.2 OSP

springfield xd-s mod.2 osp

Springfield Armory’s XD-S Mod.2 OSP is a concealed carrying handgun with many features usually only seen on larger models. The most notable of these features is its optics-ready slide, designed to accept the smallest red-dot sights available on the market today.

If you own a CrimsonTrace CTS-1400, Vortex Viper, or Trijicon RMR micro red-dot sight, the XD-S Mod.2 OSP is an ideal platform for these optics.

The XD-S is built to last, using a hammer-forged steel slide and barrel. It is also intended to be as convenient and shootable as possible, featuring an ergonomic grip, full-sized serrated sights with a single front sight dot, an accessory rail for attaching small lights or laser modules, and a loaded chamber indicator.

The ambidextrous magazine release button makes this handgun accessible to both left-handed and right-handed shooters.

For added convenience, the XD-S ships with a 7-round magazine and a 9-round magazine. The former has a short baseplate with a pinky extension, while the latter serves as a full grip extension. Eight-round magazines with mid-length grip extensions are also available.

  • Manufacturer: Springfield Armory, Inc.
  • Model: XD-S Mod.2 OSP
  • Chambering: 9x19mm Parabellum
  • Overall length: 6.3”
  • Barrel length: 3.3”
  • Height: 4.4” (with 7-round mag) or 5” (with 9-round mag)
  • Width: 0.9”
  • Weight: 21.5 ounces (7-round mag) or 22.5 ounces (9-round mag)
  • Magazine capacity: 7 rounds (pinky extension baseplate), 8 rounds (medium grip extension), 9 rounds (tall grip extension)

What is a subcompact pistol?

To understand why these pistols are so popular on today’s concealed carrying handgun market, it is essential to understand what a subcompact is, why single-stack matters, and why 9mm in pistols of those dimensions is a huge deal.

The term subcompact originates from the automotive world, referring to a particular type of small passenger car with a limited interior cargo volume.

In the context of firearms, subcompact refers to a handgun (almost always a semi-automatic pistol) that is smaller than a compact, itself smaller than a duty or full-size pistol. Subcompact pistols are usually smaller than an equivalent model of the same line, although certain manufacturers produce standalone subcompact pistols with no larger models available.

A straightforward example illustrating the differences between full-size, compact, and subcompact is to compare the flagship Glock pistols: the Glock 17, Glock 29, and Glock 26:

  • The full-size Glock 17 is 7.95” long, 5.47” tall, 1.34” wide, possesses a 4.49” barrel, and comes with a 17-round magazine. It is a relatively large handgun intended mainly for personal defense and uniformed duty, such as law enforcement or military.
  • The compact Glock 19 is 7.28” long, 5.04” tall, 1.34” wide, features a 4.02” barrel, and comes with a 15-round magazine. It is noticeably smaller than the Glock 17 and is often selected for concealed carrying, but some gun owners may find it a little large and challenging to conceal.
  • The subcompact Glock 26 is 6.42” long, 4.17” tall, 1.30” wide, features a 3.43” barrel, and is fitted with a 10-round magazine. It is one of the smallest Glock pistols available and is an even more popular choice for concealed carrying.

While it is easier to conceal a handgun with a shorter length and height, you may have noticed that all these handguns have nearly identical width. This is because they are all designed around a double-stack 9mm magazine.

Why Do Single-stack Magazines Matter?

A magazine can hold a certain amount of ammunition depending on its height, width, and internal arrangement. In other words, it’s how the rounds stack on top of each other when loaded.

  • Single-stack magazines are the simplest. The magazine body is just wide enough to accommodate the cartridge’s width, and each round is stacked on top of each other in a single column.
  • Double-stack magazines are wider, allowing them to hold up to twice the amount of ammunition than a single-stack, depending on the magazine geometry. The capacity is achieved by stacking ammunition in two staggered columns.
  • Certain pistols employ magazines colloquially called one-and-a-half-stack (1.5-stack). These magazines’ design is a hybrid of the previous two: Double-stack on the bottom half, single-stack on the top half, joined together with a noticeable taper in the middle. These magazines, combined with the right internal geometry, allow for a higher capacity than traditional single-stacks without the double-stack’s increased width.

Single-stack magazines allow for thinner and more concealable pistol frames but have the lowest capacity. In contrast, double-stack magazines allow for more ammunition at the cost of extra width, and 1.5-stack magazines are a compromise between the two.

Although it is possible to conceal a double-stack pistol, it isn’t practical for every gun owner. Every person has a different height, build, and preferences; not everyone can carry a full-size double-stack concealed without issues, such as discomfort or printing.

Generally speaking, the thinner a pistol is, the less it will print, making it easier to conceal. Single-stack subcompacts are one of the best choices for concealed carrying because they offer a means of effective self-defense in one of the smallest practical frames possible.

Last Word

No matter what you choose to carry, all single-stack subcompacts have the same purpose: To be a lightweight, easy to conceal firearm designed to disappear in a holster under your clothes. These guns are an excellent choice if you cannot adapt your attire to a larger handgun.

Always carry your concealed firearm in a high-quality holster and respect all of your local laws and ordinances.

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