Female concealed carry is the largest growing demographic in the concealed carry world. There are multiple challenges a woman must face day-to-day in carrying, with everything from clothing material to holster selection.
What makes these pistols most suited to female carry?
With this list, we’ve factored in clothing material and how it affects concealability, pistol size including width, hand size, and recoil sensitivity. To make it on this list of the best guns for women, the firearm had to have the following qualities:
- Shorter than, or right at 3.5” barrel length
- Single-Stack Magazine
- Wide selection of holsters available
- Low recoil
- Firearm controls configured for small- or medium-sized hands
Ultimately, there is no one gun that will work for every carrier regardless of gender. The best recommendation I would be able to give you is to take this list to a reliable range, preferably specializing in female concealed carry, that lets you rent firearms and test each one. The best choice is the gun that feels right, that you are most comfortable and accurate with. The worst decision one could make is picking the firearm that you prefer the look of, but can’t use. The only shots that count are the ones that connect, the one that hits the most devastating area will be infinitely more valuable than the one that either grazes or hits a spot that’s more of an annoyance to your attacker than truly damaging.
A helpful tip from Lindsey at Alien Gear Holsters, the grip angle changes from firearm to firearm. If you try out a couple Glocks and they just feel wrong, try out a Smith & Wesson!
Without further ado, let’s get to our female concealed carry list!
1) Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm
Barrel length: 3.1”
Overall length: 6.1”
Caliber: 9mm, .40, and .45 ACP
From the iconic Smith & Wesson, the M&P Shield recommended in 9mm is a concealed carry favorite across the board. Compact, reliable, and one of the most prevalently available holsters on the market, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield would be an awesome choice for a woman’s concealed carry.
Note: the .45 ACP version is larger & longer than the 9mm and .40 caliber versions, though it still meets the criteria for this list
2) Glock 43
Barrel Length: 3.39”
Overall Length: 6.26”
Glocks see use all over the country with police departments, and all over the world through military use. It stands to good reason that they’d have a compact version suitable for a woman’s CCW needs! Any Glock selection is likely to be an extremely lightweight carry as well.
3) Ruger LCP & Ruger LCP II
Barrel length: 2.75”
Overall Length: 5.16
Caliber: .380 Auto
One of the most compact handguns on this list, the Ruger LCP and its second iteration the Ruger LCP II (the LCP II is minimally larger, .01” overall length and .11” height larger to be exact) is perfect for locations all for female carry at many locations during all seasons.
Note: The Ruger LCP is pictured, the LCP II features different geometric designs.
4) Springfield XDs 3.3
Barrel Length: 3.3”
Overall Length: 6.3”
Calibers: 9mm, .40, .45 Auto
Springfield has an extensive lineup of firearms; the XDs is particularly competent in the realms of comfort and control for being such a compact pistol designed exceedingly well for concealed carry.
Note: Bear in mind this firearm has the grip safety, so keeping that depressed when firing multiple shots may pose an issue if you have smaller hands.
5) Ruger LC9s
Barrel Length: 3.1”
Overall Length: 6”
Ruger has an awesome selection of concealed carry firearms that work for women to conceal and carry with. Compact in design, reliable, and a plethora of holsters available for concealed carry in all sorts of configurations. This firearm features a trigger safety, so you’ll have to fully depress it before pulling the trigger. The pull weight of this particular firearm is roughly 5.5lbs, and it can be sent to an aftermarket company to lower it to 3.5lbs.
Note: If you pursue the option of reducing trigger pull pressure, get documentation from the company for your legal protection in the event you have to use the firearm.
6) Glock 42
Barrel Length: 3.25”
Overall Length: 5.94”
Calibers: .380 Auto
In a similar vein as the Glock 43, the Glock 42 is extremely compact though chambered in .380 Auto rather than 9mm. Both are great options for female concealed carry!
7) Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380
Barrel Length: 2.75”
Overall Length: 5.25”
Calibers: .380 Auto
The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 is an excellent choice for female concealed carry as well, the model shown uses the red integrated laser option. It is available without the laser, as well as with green Crimson Trace laser.
The newer S&W M&P Bodyguard .380, which is the version featuring the green laser option, features a locked-breech which significantly lowers recoil.
8) Sig Sauer P290rs
Barrel Length: 2.9”
Overall Length: 5.5”
Calibers: .380 Auto, 9mm
The Sig P290rs (“rs” standing for “restrike”) is one of a few of Sig’s compact line that chambers both .380 Auto and 9mm, with low recoil this firearm is excellent for concealed carry with a lot of holster options available. The speckled pattern on this particular firearm is helpful for gripping it when your hands are wet, or in a worst case scenario if you have to use it, blood.
9) Smith and Wesson J-Frame 2”
Barrel Length: 1.875”
Overall Length: 6.31”
Width (at cylinder): 1.31”
Caliber: .38 Spl
Smith and Wesson’s third entry into this category, their J-Frame revolvers. A concealed carry favorite that just barely cuts it in the width category. The awesome thing about revolvers is when properly cared for, they can last a lifetime. With fewer parts that can break, they’re far easier to fix. There’s a ton of revolvers out there that use the same frame type and work with 2” J-Frame holsters too!
10) Sig Sauer P938
Barrel Length: 3”
Overall Length: 5.9”
The final firearm on our top ten, the Sig P938. Compact, sleek with no harsh edges, perfect for a woman’s daily carry. This firearm is notably ambidextrous as well. The P938 looks remarkably similar to the P238, though Sig didn’t just modify it to chamber 9mm. The spring assembly was fully revamped since the P238’s guide rod would’ve self-destructed if used with 9mm.
Comment with your thoughts!
And there you have it, Defend and Carry’s Top 10 Concealed Carry weapons for females. We hope you’ve found these female concealed carry options to be helpful in deciding on your CCW. Each of these selections was made with clothing and holster designs in mind. Women tend to deal with pants that stretch more than men’s with IWB or OWB carry, and synthetic materials for shirts or other similar clothing options that tend to move around and expose a firearm carried in the IWB or OWB location, so max concealability with those two factors is a must.
Alien Gear Holsters has IWB and OWB holsters available for all of these firearms as well, check them out!
Keep calm and carry on!