May 3, 2019

Carrying a full-sized concealed carry firearm can be a real pain in the butt. Think about it. In order to carry a full-sized CCW you need to buy pants a size larger than normal, get a gun and a holster that does not chafe or poke you in the gut or some other body part, and be sure your shirt or jacket will conceal that weapon. That means that most of the time, you are wearing informal clothing that covers a good portion of your body. What do you do when you have to wear less clothing?


Some people will recommend that you consider off-body carry in a purse or a briefcase but that means that you will risk losing control of your firearm and you won’t be able to draw very quickly or efficiently.  


You could consider carrying a sub-compact handgun. There are a lot of times you need a small handgun than you normally would carry for concealed carry. For instance, you may be going to a formal function that requires a tux or formal dress that just does not have a lot of room for a larger handgun. Another instance is when you are on vacation and visiting public areas in your bathing suit or shorts or other attire that does not make it practical to carry a full sized handgun.


Many people do not like to carry sub-compact handguns because they believe they:

  1. Are harder to get a good grip on.
  2. Can have a higher recoil effect so they are not as easy to control.
  3. Smaller guns are not as powerful and may require several shots to stop an attacker.
  4. Are not as accurate.


All of the above are true to some degree, but remember, the first rule of self-defense is to have a gun. If you are not able to carry a full sized gun, there are actually some very good sub-compact handguns on the market. We based are evaluations on 4 criteria

Reliability- it has to be able to shoot with minimal mechanical difficulties

Accuracy-it has to hit the target

Minimized Recoil- it has to have low recoil

Comfort of the Grip- have to be able to hold it and control it comfortable.


Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P 9mmShield

The S&W M&P 9mm Shield has a capacity of 7 rounds, with a width of .95”. length of 6.10”, height of 4.60”  weighs in at 20 ounces and has a ported barrel length of 3.10”.


(1)Accuracy and Reliability– Performs well, has excellent trigger sights and an acceptable trigger, accurate dead-on target hits;

(2) Minimizes recoil. The V-angled ports on the front of the slide and barrel seemed to reduce some of the recoil and muzzle flip;

(3) Hand Comfort and Grip Fit, controls are easy to work and easily accessible; rounded, low-profile;


Overall the Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P 9 Shield impressed me as a quality, very accurate, and very reliable carry gun, with a nice comfortable grip and very nice fiber optic sights.

There are plenty of downsides to carrying a compact or sub-compact gun, but small guns offer more carry options.


Sig Sauer P938

The small metal Sig Sauer P938 has a capacity of 7 rounds, with a width of 1.10”  the shortest total length at 5.90”, lowest height at 3.90” of the subcompacts reviewed and weighs in at only 20 ounces with a 3” barrel.

(1)Accuracy and Reliability- Performs well without reoccurring malfunctions and stoppages and results in consistent, accurate target hits;

(2) Minimizes recoil. The V-angled ports on the front of the slide and barrel seemed to reduce some of the recoil and muzzle flip;

(3) Hand Comfort and Grip Fit, controls are easy to work and easily accessible; short, less elongated but manageable pistol grip.


Overall the Sig Sauer P938 is one of the very best sub-compact pistols and is truly worth owning.


Ruger LC9S Pistol

The Ruger LC9S is a striker-fired pistol and has a capacity of 7 rounds, width of .90”, length of 6.00”, height of 4.50” and is lightweight at 19.3 ounces with a 3.12” barrel.

(1)Accuracy and Reliability– The LC9s features a newly designed trigger mechanism with a short, light, crisp trigger pull that improves accuracy and performance. It features a blued, through-hardened alloy steel slide; a one-piece high-performance, glass-filled nylon grip frame; and a rapid acquisition, adjustable, 3-dot sight system. Performs well and results in consistent, accurate target hits;

(2) Minimized recoil- Lesser recoil than many other models;

(3) Hand Comfort and Grip Fit, The LC9S’s compact frame and short trigger reach is designed to accommodate a wide range of hand sizes. The Checkered grip frame provides a secure and comfortable grip. Includes finger grip extension floorplate that can be added to the magazine for comfort and grip.


Overall, the LC9s is a slim, lightweight, personal protection pistol that that sets a high standard for reliability, is easy to operate and is extremely comfortable.


Kel-Tec P-11

The Kel-Tec P-11 is a 9mm semi-automatic, locked-breed, double action pistol. It has a capacity of 10 rounds, width of 1.0”, short length of 5.6”, height of just 3.3” and weighs in at 14 ounces with a short  3.1” barrel.

(1)Accuracy and Reliability– The P-11 is one very reliable gun. The P-11 has a 3 dot front sight and it’s accuracy is acceptable up to 10 yards. It has a heavy and long trigger pull- about 10 lbs. but it snaps back fine. Simple design- fewer failures.

(2) Minimized recoil- Recoil is manageable.

(3) Hand Comfort and Grip Fit: It has  an ultra high impact polymer grip, made of Dupont ST-8018. The grip also forms the magazine well and the trigger guard. Easy to use and comfortable to hold.


Overall, the Kel-Tec P-11 is very reliable, lightweight pocket gun with the practical accuracy of much larger guns.  


Beretta BU9 Nano 9mm

The Beretta Nano is a striker-fired sub-compact 9mm pistol with a 6 round capacity, width of .90”, length of 5.63”, height of 5.63” that weighs 19.97 ounces and has a 3.07” barrel.

(1)Accuracy and Reliability– Rather long trigger pull-about 7-8 lbs. but trigger broke quickly, so it was clean and smooth. The Beretta is a little finicky about ammo, preferring heavier ammo but the Nano has 3 white dot front sights, which made hitting the target quick and easy.

(2) Minimized recoil- The Nano is top heavy, which helps tame the recoil and muzzle rise.

(3) Hand Comfort and Grip Fit: Stainless steel insert frame with a technopolymer grip. The backstrap has a hard plastic dot texture. R

Rests nicely and naturally high into the web of the hand. The trigger is perfectly reachable without issue.


Overall, the Beretta Nano has a nice snag-free design, less than minimal recoil, is easy to work with and would be a great concealed carry gun.