The Best Small Handguns on the Market Today

Sep 5, 2020 | Glock



When it comes to a concealed carry gun, you never know when you’re going to need it. That’s why you need something that offers reliable performance. Here are five of the best small handguns on the market today. 

Glock 43X

Even people that aren’t gun enthusiasts recognize the name Glock 43X. The model has become a modern blockbuster and one of the best-selling handguns of all-time. Since it’s highly versatile, both civilians and professionals can use it safely and accurately.

The slim design is the Glock 43X’s defining feature. It combines breathtaking lightness and thinness, making it a serviceable model regardless of the owner’s size or capabilities. The high functionality and reliability are why more than six million people already own a Glock.

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Weight: 16 ounces
  • Barrel Length: 3.41 inches

Glock 26

If you like the Glock 43X but aren’t a fan of that thin body, the Glock 26 is the perfect alternative. It has the same capacity and overall feel in a shorter, stockier build. In fact, the Glock 26 is among the shortest 9mm handguns on the market, earning it a playful nickname—the “Baby Glock.”

It’s a favorite of those who like to use an ankle holster and offers the same longevity and performance of its larger cousins. The newest iteration, Gen 5, brings a host of new features to the Glock 26, including an nDLC finish for better corrosion and scratch resistance, a Glock Marksman Barrel (GMB) for improved accuracy, a new trigger, and a redesigned grip which nixes the finger grooves and adds an ambidextrous slide stop.

With its dual-recoil spring, this handgun is the perfect choice for women, teens, and those with a smaller frame. Plus, you get the confidence that comes with the trusted Glock brand—there’s a reason Glocks took the top two spots on our list of the best small handguns for concealed carry. 

The other advantage of going with a big brand like Glock is the plethora of accessories and modification kits. There’s no shortage of options to personalize your handgun to your preferences and needs.

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Weight: 21.69 ounces
  • Barrel Length: 3.43 inches

Sig Sauer P365

The Sig Sauer P365 has set the bar for concealed carry pistols. It provides full-size shooting abilities within a highly compact design. Even with the XL model’s new grip module and extended slide barrel, the handgun maintains a flawless trigger action.

While the Sig Sauer P365 classifies as a micro-compact gun, boasting a barrel length of 3.7 inches, it holds a remarkable amount of ammo. Comparable firearms, like the Glock 26, hold 10+1 and only handle one stack magazine. The Sig P365 also has a rail, so you can easily attach a light or another add-on. 

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 15+1
  • Weight:  18 ounces
  • Barrel Length: 3.7 inches

Taurus G2C

The Taurus G2C has a durable and compact frame, which makes it optimal for concealed carry use. It has a striker-fired mechanism, multiple safety options, fixed-front sight, and an aggressively textured grip for better control. It even comes with a rail so that you can adjust lights and sights.

Those looking for a budget-friendly handgun don’t have to sacrifice performance when they purchase the Taurus G2C. The gun stacks up well with the Sig P365 in size and reliability. For a firearm that costs approximately $200, the price tag of the Taurus G2C is too enticing to ignore.  

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 12+1
  • Weight: 21.15 ounces

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield M2.0

Smith & Wesson outdid themselves with the original M&P Shield. The 2.0 version builds on that legacy of excellence with another top-of-the-line concealed carry handgun. It improves the trigger action and grip, allowing you to maintain control during rapid fire.

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 2.0 holds 8+1 rounds and contains a patented take-down lever and sear deactivation systems. These features allow you to disassemble the small handgun without squeezing the trigger. While the M&P Shield 2.0 excels with professional-grade features, the easy-to-conceal-and-use components have made it a staple in the collections of more than a million gun owners. 

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 7-8+1
  • Weight: 18.3 ounces
  • Barrel Length: 3.1 inches

What to Look for in the Best Small Handguns

Choosing the right small handgun boils down to personal preference. However, there are some features that are must-haves, such as enough power and precision without being a challenge to conceal. Nuanced features, such as ergonomic design, can also make repeated usage more user-friendly.

Make sure to consult with a gun expert before purchasing a small handgun. They can walk you through each model’s pros and cons and let you test each one. We highly recommend that last part, as when it comes down to it, no review can compare to actually shooting a gun before you buy it. A day at the range can help you get a feel for which gun you like and whether that option fits comfortably in your grip.

Some other features to consider before buying include:

  • Accuracy
  • Capacity
  • Durability
  • Ease of operation
  • Manageability of recoil
  • Reliability
  • Safety features 
  • The manufacturer
  • The size and weight
  • Trigger feel

Remember to explore the level of upkeep and the cost of ammo for the gun as well. All the options on our list take 9mm caliber bullets and are relatively easy to clean. You can find care instructions in the gun’s manual, or many guides are readily available online. Proper gun care is essential to safe and reliable function.

The Bottom Line

The best small handgun should fit your needs and budget and feel comfortable to shoot. While we’ve included a range of options, we can’t crown a “winner” of sorts—that’s up to you! As long as the handgun you select fits your hands and lifestyle, you should be comfortable with its performance and accuracy.

Check out our other reviews to learn more about the best guns on the market today.