Best Concealed Carry Guns for New Shooters: Top Picks for First-Time Owners

Selecting the right concealed carry gun as a new shooter can be a daunting task. It is vital to find a firearm that is not only reliable for self-defense but is also comfortable to handle and operate. Among a myriad of options, certain firearms stand out for their ease of use, safety features, and effectiveness. These guns cater to those who might find the intricacies of different makes and models overwhelming.

Deciding on the best concealed carry weapon involves understanding one's personal comfort and skill level. A new shooter should prioritize firearms that have ergonomic designs, intuitive controls, and manageable recoil to build confidence in their concealed carry journey. Additionally, balancing cost with quality is crucial as it ensures the selection of a firearm that provides good value without compromising on essential features.

Key Takeaways

  • Ergonomic design and ease of use are critical for new shooters selecting a concealed carry gun.
  • Key safety features and manageable recoil are necessary for effective and confident concealed carry.
  • Value for money should be considered alongside essential gun features to make a well-rounded choice.

Choosing the Right Concealed Carry Gun

When selecting a concealed carry gun, new shooters should prioritize finding a balance between size, fit, and comfort, as well as the gun's caliber and capacity.

Understanding the Basics

New shooters must first comprehend what defines a good concealed carry gun. Ergonomics play a crucial role, impacting how the gun feels in the hand and how easily one can reach the controls. Fit is equally important, as the gun should feel like a natural extension of the body when aiming and firing. Prior knowledge of concealed carry calibers and how they affect stopping power versus recoil is also vital in making an informed decision.

Evaluating Gun Size and Concealability

Gun size and concealability are directly correlated. A smaller gun may be more comfortable and easier to conceal but could be more challenging to grip and operate, especially for individuals with larger hands. On the contrary, a larger gun might offer a better grip and more user-friendly controls but at the cost of being harder to conceal. It is imperative to find a compromise that ensures the firearm can be snugly hidden while still providing a secure and comfortable grip.

  • Sub-compact firearms: Easier to conceal, may have less capacity.
  • Compact firearms: A balance of concealability and control.
  • Full-sized firearms: Best ergonomics, but hardest to conceal.

Considering Caliber and Capacity

The caliber of a concealed carry gun affects both its stopping power and the shooter's ability to handle it. Common concealed carry calibers include:

  • 9mm: Widely recommended for its balance of recoil management and stopping power.
  • .45 ACP: Offers more stopping power but with increased recoil.
  • .380 ACP: Generally easier to handle with less recoil, suitable for smaller pistols.

Capacity is how many rounds the gun can hold, which can influence the size and weight of the gun. New shooters should consider how comfortable they are with the trade-offs between a higher-capacity magazine and the overall size and weight of the firearm. Here's a brief comparison:


Capacity Range





Good stopping power, manageable recoil

Sizeable gun may be needed for more rounds

.45 ACP


High stopping power

Heavier recoil, typically lower capacity

.380 ACP


Lighter recoil, highly concealable

Less stopping power than 9mm or .45 ACP

Selecting the right concealed carry gun requires a balance between comfort, concealability, caliber, and capacity. New shooters should handle and test different models to find the optimal fit for their needs.

The Best Concealed Carry Pistols for Beginners

When it comes to selecting a concealed carry pistol, beginners should look for reliable, easy-to-use firearms that suit their carry style and comfort level. With the plethora of options available, it's important to weigh the benefits of compact and micro-compact pistols, and understand the differences between revolvers and semi-automatic pistols.

Compact and Micro-Compact Options

Compact and micro-compact pistols provide a balance between concealability and firepower, making them ideal for everyday carry. Sig Sauer P365 is a standout option, recognized for its high capacity relative to its size and ease of handling. Equipped with a 3.1-inch barrel, the P365 allows for a 10 to 15 round capacity in 9mm, striking a perfect balance for beginners seeking a dependable, yet manageable weapon.

Another notable micro-compact is the Springfield Armory Hellcat, offering a 3-inch barrel and a capacity of up to 13 rounds of 9mm in a frame that's built for discreet carry. These pistols are optimal for those who prioritize a firearm that's simple to conceal without compromising on the standard caliber for self-defense.

Revolvers Versus Semi-Automatic Pistols

When considering the best concealed carry guns, one must understand the fundamental distinctions between revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. Revolvers, such as the Ruger LCR in .22, are esteemed for their simplicity and reliability. With fewer moving parts, revolvers are less likely to jam and often preferred by individuals appreciative of their mechanical straightforwardness.

In contrast, semi-automatic pistols like the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield are favored for their larger ammunition capacity and quicker reload times with detachable magazines. The Shield line provides beginners with a slim and ergonomic design, combined with the trusted 9mm caliber. Its intuitive operation and mild recoil make it an excellent choice for those new to concealed carry.

When selecting a best concealed carry gun, beginners should prioritize ease of use, comfort, reliability, and suitability to their own self-defense needs. Whether they choose a semi-automatic or a revolver, the right weapon is the one that they can carry consistently and operate with confidence.

Ergonomics and Handling

For new shooters, selecting a concealed carry gun with the proper ergonomics and handling is vital. It ensures comfort, control, and accuracy when shooting. The design of the gun's grip and the trigger mechanism play a crucial role in the overall shooting experience.

Grip Design and Textures

The grip design of a firearm is a key factor in its ergonomics. A well-designed grip allows the shooter to comfortably hold the gun, which is essential for maintaining control and stability. Interchangeable backstraps are a feature that enhances the grip design, providing the flexibility to adjust the grip size to match the shooter's hand size.

Textured grips also contribute to the firearm's overall handling. A textured grip provides a non-slip surface that aids in maintaining a firm grip, even in adverse conditions. It's important that the texture is aggressive enough to secure grip, yet not so harsh as to be uncomfortable during extended use.

Trigger Mechanism and Pull

The trigger mechanism influences the gun's performance and the shooter's ability to fire accurately. A smooth trigger pull with consistent pressure can greatly improve a shooter's confidence and accuracy. Trigger pull weight also matters; a lighter trigger pull can reduce the effort required to fire, but should not be so light as to result in accidental discharge.

The quality of the trigger can vary between firearms, and shooters should look for one that has minimal creep and a clean break. This will aid in a more reliable and predictable shot. Some guns offer adjustable triggers, allowing the shooter to set the trigger pull to their preference, further personalizing the shooting experience and improving the ergonomics of the firearm.

Essential Features and Safety

When selecting a concealed carry gun for new shooters, it's imperative to consider the firearm's safety features and mechanisms, as well as the customization of aiming aids like sights and lasers. Recognizing and understanding these aspects will reinforce the new shooter's ability to operate the firearm safely while ensuring accuracy.

Safety Mechanisms and Controls

Safety Features:

  • Manual Safety: An external safety catch that the shooter must disengage before firing.
  • Trigger Safety: Part of the trigger assembly, acting as a passive safety to prevent accidental discharges.
  • Grip Safety: Found on some models, it requires a firm grip before the gun can be fired.

Control Elements:

  • Slide Lock: Enables the user to lock the slide in the open position for safety checks.
  • Magazine Release: Should be easily accessible to expedite reloads while maintaining a secure grip.

Sights and Laser Attachments


  • Iron Sights: The basic sighting system, which should offer a clear sight picture.
  • Adjustable Rear Sights: Allows for precision shooting, enabling corrections for windage and elevation.

Laser Systems:




Aids in quick target acquisition; can be attached below the barrel.

Red Dot Sight

Offers a simplified point of aim with minimal coverage of the target.


Attachment Rails:

  • Picatinny Rail: Standard mounting rail for attaching lasers, red dot sights, and other accessories.

Each mechanism and accessory should complement the shooter’s comfort and confidence while aligning with their defensive and shooting needs.

Budget and Value Considerations

When selecting a concealed carry gun, new shooters often weigh the importance of affordability against the assurance of reliable performance. It is crucial to invest in a firearm that offers both dependable functionality and economic value.

Balancing Cost and Performance

Choosing the right concealed carry handgun is not merely about finding the lowest price point; it’s about discovering the best value for money. The goal for new shooters should be to find a firearm that is both cost-effective and reliable. Handguns like the Ruger LCP Max and Ruger LCR are notable for their balance between affordability and dependable performance. These models offer smooth operation and solid construction without breaking the bank.

  • Ruger LCP Max: Typically priced below $400, this compact pistol is a cost-effective option with a reputation for reliability.
  • Ruger LCR: A lightweight revolver available around $500, providing consistent performance with user-friendly features.

Affordable Models for New Shooters

The market is populated with handguns that cater to shooters on a budget, yet quality should never be compromised for cost alone. The Glock 43 and Glock 43X stand out as prime examples of budget-friendly handguns that do not sacrifice performance. Though slightly more expensive than some budget models, these options present a higher standard of quality and reliability, which are paramount for concealed carry purposes.

  • Glock 43: A subcompact 9mm firearm that offers Glock’s renowned performance, usually found in the $450-$550 price range.
  • Glock 43X: An extension of the Glock 43 with a larger grip and magazine capacity, expected to be in the market for under $600.

Through thoughtful research and consideration of the mentioned models, shooters can find a concealed carry weapon that won’t leave them second-guessing their safety or their wallet.

Training and Preparation for Concealed Carry

The journey to becoming a competent concealed carrier involves careful selection of gear and dedicated practice. New shooters must prioritize both to integrate the concealed carry lifestyle smoothly and safely.

Selecting Concealed Carry Holsters

Choosing the right holster is just as important as selecting the firearm itself. A concealed carry holster should:

  • Securely retain the firearm, preventing accidental discharges
  • Conceal the weapon without printing (showing an outline of the firearm through clothing)
  • Allow for quick, unhindered access in case of an emergency

Options include inside-the-waistband (IWB), outside-the-waistband (OWB), shoulder, and ankle holsters. Each style serves different needs and body types, and a new shooter should consult with a knowledgeable firearms instructor to determine the best fit for their circumstances and clothing choices.

Practical Shooting Training Tips

Practical training tips for new shooters focus on developing accuracy and safe firearm handling skills.

  1. Fundamentals First: Before live-fire practice, one should become familiar with:

    • Grip
    • Stance
    • Sight alignment
    • Trigger control
  2. Dry Fire Practice: Engage in dry fire exercises to improve trigger control and overall comfort with the firearm without the expense of ammunition.

  3. Live Fire Practice: When ready, move to live fire exercises under the guidance of a firearms instructor to apply dry fire skills with real recoil.

  4. Stress Training: Simulate stress in a controlled environment to prepare for the physiological responses one might encounter in a real defensive situation.

  5. Regular Practice: Integrate training into a routine to maintain and improve skill level; the objective is not only to become proficient but to remain competent.

Through methodical holster selection and ongoing, structured training, one establishes a strong foundation for carrying firearms with confidence and responsibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

Selecting the right concealed carry handgun is crucial for new shooters. This section addresses common concerns and provides recommendations to ensure an informed decision.

What factors should new shooters consider when choosing a concealed carry handgun?

New shooters should prioritize ease of use, comfortable handling, and suitable size for their body type and hand size. They must also consider the handgun's reliability, safety features, and compatibility with their lifestyle.

What is an ideal caliber for beginners interested in concealed carry?

A 9mm caliber is often recommended for beginners due to its balance between recoil management and stopping power. The .380 ACP is also a popular choice for its lower recoil, which can facilitate easier handling and accuracy for new shooters.

How do size and weight affect the comfort and concealability of a carry gun for new shooters?

A lighter and more compact gun typically offers better concealability and comfort, particularly when carried for long periods. However, shooters must also weigh this against the firearm's recoil and their ability to maintain control and accuracy.

What are some highly recommended concealed carry handguns for individuals with a larger build?

Individuals with larger builds may find full-sized handguns like the Glock 17 or the Sig Sauer P320 comfortable to handle and carry, as these models offer larger grip surfaces facilitating better control and recoil management.

Which concealed carry handguns are known for reliability and ease of use for novices?

The Glock 19 and Sig P365 are renowned for their reliability and user-friendly features. These handguns are designed for easy maintenance, which makes them an excellent choice for novices in the concealed carry community.

What holster styles are preferred for new shooters looking for effective concealed carry?

Inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters are a favored style for new shooters since they offer significant concealment while still allowing for a quick and unobtrusive draw. Appendix or hip placement can vary according to personal comfort and clothing choices.

Back to blog