Easily one of the most popular categories of handguns for concealed carry — if not the most popular — is the 9mm single stack.
It makes a lot of sense: It’s light, slim, easy to control, is quicker to reload than a .38 snub nose, and offers more punch than a comparatively sized .380 pocket pistol.
But with all the different options out there, it can be hard to choose the right one for you.
Here are our top five single-stack 9mm pistols for concealed carry:
1. Glock 43
The Glock 43 was perhaps the most anticipated gun to be released in the last few years. While people had been waiting for a single-stack 9mm from Glock for a long time, the anticipation really grew when Glock released the 42 in .380 ACP. Many felt that the 42 should have been a 9mm, and Glock listened and released the 43 in 9mm soon thereafter.
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The G43 has already proven itself to be a popular concealed carry and defensive handgun on the market, and it comes with the same level of reliability and simplicity of Glocks. The biggest downside to the weapon is that it only holds six rounds in the standard magazine, whereas its competitors hold seven or eight. However, magazine extensions can be purchased that increase the round count, but that still adds to the gun’s overall dimensions.
2. Ruger LC9s Pro
No, not the Ruger LC9 or the LC9s. The LC9s Pro. There’s a critical difference here.
When the original LC9 was released, it was a hammer-fired model, and many shooters complained about the extremely long and gritty trigger pull. Ruger responded with the LC9s, a striker-fired version with a much improved trigger. However, the LC9s maintained the external frame safety and magazine disconnect (where the gun can’t fire without a magazine being inserted) of the LC9, which didn’t sit very well with some shooters.
Thus, Ruger released the LC9s Pro, which is the LC9s without a safety or magazine disconnect. It holds seven rounds in the standard magazine, with a magazine extension increasing capacity to nine.
3. Smith & Wesson Shield
It wouldn’t at all be surprising if more people owned the Smith & Wesson Shield over any of the other single stacks in this list (or ever). The Shield represents Smith & Wesson’s popular M&P line that has been slimmed down to less than an inch thick, making it an absolutely perfect option for concealed carry.
More importantly, the Shield has proven itself to be dead reliable. It can be available with or without a manual safety, and in addition to 9mm, also comes in .40 S&W or .45 ACP. Standard capacity of the Shield is seven or eight rounds, depending on the magazine.
4. Taurus PT709 Slim
Those looking for a 9mm for concealed carry would be hard pressed to ignore the Taurus PT709 Slim, which can be had for just around the $200 range. But the fact that it’s cheap isn’t what earns the PT709 a spot on this list.
The main feature that sets the PT709 apart from other guns in its class is the fact that it has re-strike capability. This means that should you fire the trigger on a live round only for there to be a “click,” you can pull the trigger one more time for another strike rather than having to chamber a new round.
The PT709 also comes installed with a manual frame mounted safety and Taurus’s trademark Security System where the entire gun can be locked up with the simply turn of a key. Some people hate this feature, while others like it knowing they can store their gun away and it won’t be functional should a child or a burglar find it.
5. Walther PPS M2
Last but certainly not least, we come to the Walther PPS M2. The PPS M2 is an improved version over the original PPS that was released in 2007. (However, the original PPS is still available as the “Classic” model). The main differences are that the PPS M2 has enhanced ergonomics similar to the PPQ, a button magazine release rather than a paddle, no rails under the frame, and no back grip panels.
The PPS M2 comes with three magazines: a six, seven, and an eight round, with each larger magazine making the grip slightly longer. Both variants of the PPS have proven to be extremely capable firearms and certainly rival the Shield and G43 when it comes to reliability and ergonomics.