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The Best Concealed Carry Guns for Women

The Best Concealed Carry Guns for Women

The Best Concealed Carry Guns for Women
24 June, 2024
Logan Metesh

What are the best concealed carry guns for women? It’s a simple question with a simple answer. The best concealed carry guns for women are the ones that they can shoot well, are confident in using, and can carry comfortably.

See? It’s a simple answer, but it’s also very nuanced. Before we list the best ccw guns for women, let's cover the shooter basics.

Shoot Well

The kind of gun that a woman can shoot well will vary from one woman to the next. For some, it may be an Officers Model-sized 1911 in .45 ACP. For others, it could be a snub nose revolver in .38 Special. Or maybe even a Glock 19 in 9mm. Or possibly … Well, you get the idea. The exact make, model, and caliber of the gun is far less important than the ability to shoot the chosen gun well.

In a self-defense situation, the ability to put rounds on target and into the attacker is of the utmost importance. I don’t know of anyone ever pointing a gun at someone and having them ask the make, model, and caliber before considering whether or not to continue doing something nefarious. 

Regardless of caliber, incoming rounds have the right-of-way. I don’t know of anyone who would prefer to go up against someone who can shoot and is armed with .22 LR versus someone who isn’t properly trained and is packing  10mm rounds.

Carry Confidently

Putting rounds where you want is one thing, but being able to manipulate the gun in any way necessary in a stressful situation can be another thing altogether. Anyone - man or woman - can pull the trigger of an already loaded gun. Being able to rack the slide or work the cylinder; drop a spent mag and reload with a fresh one or eject spent casings and insert new ones either individually or from a  speedloader or speed strip. These are things that will vary from person to person, and not everyone's the same.

If one woman can confidently perform all of the necessary actions needed to properly use a semi-automatic handgun, then that’s probably what she should carry. Conversely, if another woman is more confident in her operation of a revolver, then that’s probably what she should carry.

Carry Comfortably

It has been proven time and again that people, regardless of gender, don’t carry uncomfortable guns. It makes no difference how well you shoot and can manipulate the gun, if you can’t carry it concealed in a way that is comfortable for you, then you won’t carry it. Therefore, it’s very important to find the right  belt and holster combination that works best for you on a personal level. 

Remember, though, that this can change depending on the season, the location, and what you’re wearing. So, in reality, there may be more than one gun and carry setup that works for you. It doesn’t matter what it is; it just matters that you’re carrying the gun and you’re confident and proficient with it.

Concealed Carry Options for Women

With those points now covered and out of the way, let’s take a look at some popular concealed carry gun options for women that are on the market today. When talking about the best ccw for women, all of the guns covered here are readily available. The ammo they shoot is easy to find and can be had in a variety of different self defense loads, and the number of aftermarket support in terms of holsters and accessories is very high.


The SIG SAUER P365 made quite a splash when it was introduced in 2018 and the hype has yet to subside. It holds the Number One spot on’s list of best-selling micro-compact pistols. Coming standard from the factory with an optics cut, night sights, and a magazine capacity of 10+1 rounds of  9mm Luger, the P365 set a new standard for concealed carry pistols that is wildly popular with women and men. This gun is just an inch wide and weighs just shy of 18 ounces, or a bit more than a pound.

SIG SAUER P365 Tactical Pack with holster

Utilizing a modular polymer grip module, shooters can easily swap the fire control group of their P365 into an aftermarket grip of different size, material, or contour. This makes it incredibly easy to customize the fit of the P365 to the hand of any sized shooter. It is available with or without a manual safety depending on your personal preferences.

Some people may find the flush-fit 10-round magazine too short, so it also comes with one that has an extended grip. You can also purchase other magazines that hold 12 rounds, bringing the capacity up to 12+1 rounds of 9mm Luger. There is also a .380 ACP version available that also holds 10 rounds of ammo.

Current production guns also come with the slide cut for an optic right from the factory. It utilizes the Shield RMS-c footprint for the optics.

Smith & Wesson Shield EZ Pistol in Bronze

Smith & Wesson Shield EZ

One thing that some women (and men) with smaller or weaker hands complain about with semi-automatic pistols is that they have a hard time racking the slide. Smith & Wesson’s Shield EZ line of pistols in 9mm Luger, .380 ACP, and  .30 Super Carry all solve that problem by utilizing an internal hammer instead of being striker fired. The hammer-fired operation reduces the felt slide tension by about half, making it much easier to manipulate the slide under all conditions.

The magazines are also easy to load, as they feature a special load assist tab to help with the tension of the spring in the magazine that can make it hard to load. In 9mm Luger and  .380 ACP, the magazines hold eight rounds, for a total of 8+1 capacity. In .30 Super Carry, magazine capacity is 10 rounds for a total of 10+1.

Smith & Wesson Shield EZ .380 Auto Pistol with Box

The guns are each just over an inch wide and weigh 18.3 ounces, making them easy to conceal just about anywhere. Available with or without a manual safety, the Shield EZ pistols also incorporate a grip safety as one extra precaution against negligent discharge.

Walther PDP F-Series 9mm Pistol

Walther PDP F-Series

The Walther PDP F-Series pistol took the company’s wildly popular PDP model and then tailored it specifically to female shooters. This involved reducing the grip circumference and the trigger reach, as well as incorporating a new patented operating system that results in a 20% reduction in slide rack force.

All of these things combined to make the PDP F-Series pistols fit better in smaller hands and easier to manipulate by those who may be less strong. As an added benefit, the slide serrations do not delve into the slide like on other guns. Instead, these stand proud of the rest of the slide, making it even easier to get a solid grip on either the front or rear serrations.

With a magazine capacity of 15+1 rounds of 9mm Luger, you can carry this gun confidently and know that, when paired with some spare magazines, you’ll have plenty of  ammunition available to you.

Walther PDP 9mm Handgun with Gun Case

Fitted with a 3.5” barrel, the overall length of the PDP F-Series pistol is 6.5” with a height of 5.4” and a width of just 1.34”. Plus, it comes from the factory with a slide that is cut for an optic of your choice.

Springfield Armory Hellcat Micro Compact Pistol

Springfield Armory Hellcat

If you’re looking for best in class magazine capacity above all else, then the Springfield Armory Hellcat is what you want. Featuring a patented magazine design that holds 11+1 or 13+1 rounds of 9mm Luger, it holds one more round than the SIG P365, all in a similarly-sized package.

Considered a micro-compact pistol, the Hellcat has a 3” barrel, is 6” long, 1” wide, 4” tall, and weighs just 18.3 ounces empty.

Springfield Armory Hellcat 9mm Handgun

To ensure a solid grip, the Hellcat has a custom pressure activated grip texture that features a pattern of staggered pyramid shapes. The taller pyramids have a flat top to ensure comfort when carrying inside the waistband and to minimize the potential for wear on  clothing. The shorter pyramids in between come to a point, locking into your hand for a secure (but not uncomfortably) hold when the pistol is firmly gripped.

Ruger LCR Revolver

Ruger LCR

The Ruger LCR, which stands for Lightweight Compact Revolver, is a double-action only revolver that is available in a variety of different calibers to fit the needs and comfort levels of all kinds of shooters. You can choose from  .38 Special (5 rounds), .357 Magnum (5 rounds), .327 Federal Magnum (6 rounds), 9mm Luger (5 rounds), or .22 LR (8 rounds).

Regardless of the caliber you choose, each one weighs right around a pound, with the lightest being 13.5 ounces and the heaviest being 17.2 ounces. Each one comes equipped with a Hogue Tamer Monogrip to ensure a comfortable grip with less felt recoil.

Even though the LCR is double-action only, which usually translates into a heavier trigger, Ruger uses a patented, friction-reducing cam to ensure a smooth, non-stacking trigger pull that is more comfortable and easier to put shots on target.

Ruger LCR Revolver Gun Box

For customization to a shooter’s preferences, you can easily swap out to different aftermarket grips and you can also easily change the pinned front sight for something that suits your eye better - perhaps fiber optic or even a night sight.

Glock G19 9mm Pistol

Glock 19

Holding 15+1 rounds of 9mm Luger, the Glock 19 may well be the most widely carried handgun for concealed carriers across the board. Built on a compact frame, it is slightly smaller than the full-size  Glock 17, but not nearly as small as the Glock 42, which we cover later on this list. The Glock 19 has a 4.02-inch barrel and weighs 30.16 ounces with a fully loaded magazine.

G19 Handgun with gun case

Even with a double-stack magazine, the gun is thin: just 1.26” overall. That’s a big part of what makes it such a popular gun for concealed carry. It’s a larger gun but it isn’t overly bulky. Plus, the 5” overall height allows shooters of all sizes to get a good, full grip on the gun for optimum control and accuracy.

Kimber Micro 9 Handgun

Kimber Micro 9

For female shooters who prefer the 1911 platform but want something smaller than the full-size Government Model in .45 ACP, the Kimber Micro 9 is a good option.

For starters, the Micro 9 has a single action trigger that provides the kind of short, smooth pull that ensures accuracy and builds confidence each and every time you shoot it. The thumb safety, slide release, and magazine release are all taken right from the full-size 1911 as well.

Built from aluminum, the Kimber Micro 9 weighs 15.6 ounces empty. It utilizes an extended, 7-round magazine that provides 7+1 capacity of 9mm Luger ammo in a package that provides a little extra grip below the magwell. At just 1.08” wide, 4.07” high, and 6.1” long, it’s easy to conceal this gun just about anywhere.

Kimber Micro 9 1911 Handgun with gun bag

The Micro 9 is a solid choice for women who are looking for a gun that retains the style and function of a 1911 in a smaller footprint that doesn’t sacrifice power but does minimize recoil.

Smith & Wesson 642 .38 Special Revolver

Smith & Wesson 642

The Smith & Wesson 642 is a hammerless snub nose revolver that holds five rounds of .38 Special. While the design is called “hammerless,” it’s actually got an entirely internal hammer. This means that the gun operates in double action only. While this results in a heavier trigger pull, it is a welcome trade-off for some since revolvers lack manual safeties and the heavier trigger pull can help prevent negligent discharges. On the other hand, the heavier trigger pull can make it more difficult for some women to operate well and fire confidently.

Smith & Wesson 642 Revolver with gun box

The biggest trade-off that comes with the small size of a snub nose  revolver is the equally small number of rounds that it holds. At just five rounds, you’d have to reload three times to equal just one magazine in a Glock 19. However, it’s much easier to conceal a Smith & Wesson 642.

Glock G42 .380 Pistol

Glock 42

For shooters who desire the functionality of a Glock but in the smallest footprint possible, they offer the Glock 42 in .380 ACP. Considered to be a subcompact pistol, this gun offers ultra-compact dimensions and easy-to-shoot characteristics that people have come to know and love with all Glocks.

For shooters with smaller hands, the Glock 42 could prove to be a good fit, and since the .380 ACP is less powerful than 9mm Luger, some women may find it easier to shoot well compared to a similarly-sized gun in 9mm.

Glock G42 .380 ACP with gun case

At just 0.98” in overall width, the Glock 42 holds 6+1 rounds of ammo in a single-stack  magazine. With a fully-loaded magazine, the Glock 42 weighs a mere 15.87 ounces. That’s less than one pound! It’s got a 3.25-inch barrel, is less than six inches in length, and is just over four inches in height with a magazine in it.

Mossberg MC2sc 9mm Handgun

Mossberg MC2sc

The Mossberg MC2sc is built tough, with a DLC-coated stainless steel slide and a reinforced polymer frame that has a palm swell and aggressive texturing for a solid fit into the shooter’s hand.

Chambered in 9mm, the MC2sc can be had with either 11+1 or 14+1 magazines, giving you an impressive round count in a compact gun. It’s less than 5" tall, just over 6" long, and is barely more than one inch wide. It weighs 19.5 ounces empty. That makes this gun easy to conceal no matter how you choose to carry.

All of the configurations have slides that are cut for an  optic with the Shield RMS footprint, and they all have front and rear slide serrations for easy manipulation. You can get models with or without a manual safety, and they all feature a flat trigger with a crisp, clean break, minimal overtravel, and a short reset. All of this allows you to shoot accurately and get back on target quickly.

Mossberg MC2sc 9mm Handgun with gun box

Plenty of Options

All of these guns are solid choices, but the list is by no means exhaustive. These are just ten of the myriad options available when it comes to concealed carry guns for women. It is highly recommended that you go to a range where you can rent multiple models before committing to buy. Or, ask your friends and family what they carry and see if they’ll let you shoot theirs.

Picking a gun isn’t a decision to be made lightly - or quickly. Take some time to do your research so that you can shoot well, carry confidently, and carry comfortably.

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