Best Concealed Carry Firearms At Any Budget

— Travis PikeCADRE Dispatch

One of the best things about the current firearms market is that there is something for everyone at every price point. If you are shopping around for a concealed carry firearm, then you have options, and an almost overwhelming number of companies are competing for your hard-earned dollars.

Which lemons are worth the squeeze? I guess it really depends on how much juice you want.

Whatever your budget point is, remember to factor in a quality holster.

Today, we are doing something different. Instead of just throwing out a list of concealed carry firearms, we will break them down by price. We have picks for the on-a-budget crowd, the medium-tier dudes and dudettes, the high-tier picks for the high rollers, and finally, the Gucci options for those willing to make night vision their personality.

Budget Concealed Carry Firearms

How do you define a budget handgun? A budget handgun differentiates itself from a cheap handgun by working. These guns might not always be fancy, but they are reliable, accurate, and effective. Our budget concealed carry firearm price will top out at around $400.

Taurus G3C

The Taurus G3C series is an evolution of the G2C and Millenium Pro series of yesteryear. The G3 line has evolved into a full family of firearms, but the G3C is the compact version. It’s not quite your standard Glock 19-sized compact, and it’s not a subcompact — it’s right in the middle.

The gun holds 12 rounds and is just big enough to fill your entire hand. It conceals easily, provides an ergonomic grip, and runs itself ragged without complaint.

taurus g3c pistol
The Taurus G3C is a mid-size semi-auto pistol that punches above its price point.

Taurus made several intelligent choices with the G3C series. This includes utilizing Glock sights. This opens up a massive market for users. It also uses SIG P226 pattern magazines, which also opens up your market.

The G3C series uses a striker-fired design that provides a rather interesting trigger. It’s a pre-cocked striker, like most, but if the trigger is pulled and doesn’t fire, it’s now a double-action trigger.

For less than $300, the G3C offers a lot of features and an excellent overall design.

Ruger Max-9

Ruger dived headfirst into the micro-compact realm with the Max-9. Micro-compact guns are basically the size of a single stack but have the capacity of a double stack. The pint-sized Max-9 packs a 10-round magazine into a tiny, easily carried platform, with an optional 12-round magazine.

The Max-9 series are striker-fired handguns with a short and sweet trigger pull and a very positive reset.

Ruger Max-9
The Ruger Max-9 gives you an affordable micro-compact option.

Variants of the Max-9 design even allow for an optics-ready platform. Tossing on a micro red dot will greatly increase your capabilities.

The Max-9 features surprisingly nice ergonomics with a grip design that encourages an excellent high grip on the gun for better control. Things like a hammer-forged barrel and high-visibility tritium sights set the budget-worthy Max-9 at a higher level. As far as budget-level concealed carry firearms go, it’s tough to beat.

Medium Tier Picks

Most guns are in the mid-tier, where we get into professional-grade designs. These mid-tier guns cost between $500 and $650, but different models and features can raise or lower the price.

Any Glock Pistol

Yep, any Glock pistol can be tossed into this category. For concealed carry, the smaller Glock 19 compact sized and smaller works best. This opens you up to everything from pocket pistol-sized Glock 42s to the thin but capable Glock 48.

There are certainly plenty of concealed-carry firearms in the Glock realm. Glock occupies the holsters of more police officers than any other gun for a reason. These guns take reliability to the next level.

Glock 43x on concrete
The Glock 43X represents Glock’s entry into the micro-compact world.

Alongside a high level of reliability, we get good solid triggers, good ergonomics, and a high level of performance. Glocks shoot outside their budget level consistently and score high in accuracy, ergonomics, control, and more. The biggest complaint most of us have is those darn crappy plastic sights they come with.

SIG P365

The granddaddy of the micro compact is still one of the best-selling guns on the market. The P365 hands shooters a tiny pistol that can somehow fit ten rounds in the magazine. It’s impressively small for the relatively high capacity. The P365 series has expanded into 12, 15, and 17-round magazines as well. The striker-fired P365 provides a very impressive trigger, a high level of reliability, and some premium-tier features.

Sig Sauer P365-380 Pistol
The P365 offers a soft shooting caliber in a lighter package. (

With the P365, we get high-visibility iron sights and night sights. SIG offers tons of modularity, with the ability to remove the fire control unit and swap grip modules, slides, and more. There are plenty of aftermarket options available.

The SIG P365 is arguably the biggest innovation in concealed carry firearms in the last 20 years, and it’s still priced affordably.

Higher-Budget Handguns

When we reach the high-tier level, we see a number of features that are not present in most concealed-carry firearms. These features raise the price to anywhere from $750 to $1,200 or so. There may be some exceptions, but that’s the typical high roller price point for concealed carry firearms.

P365XL Spectre Comp

Another P365? Yep, a high-end model.

The XL series expands the barrel and grip to take the P365 in a slightly larger direction but in a remarkably efficient one. The XL series has been popular enough to warrant a Spectre model. Spectre variations take the SIG series to the next level. It retains the best parts of the P365 family while increasing capability extensively.

P365 Spectre Comp
The Spectre Comp is a high-end P365 variant.

The Comp stands for compensator, and an integral compensator is built into the slide. This ports gas upward and helps counteract muzzle rise. The gun is optics-ready and warrants a red dot. The stock sights are night sights. We get an aggressively textured grip and a wonderful flat-face trigger. It’s everything about the SIG P365 that we like, with some fancy features that we love.

S&W 432 UC

A revolver makes the list, but not just any revolver. The S&W 432 UC is a new breed of revolver that fires an old cartridge. This particular model chambers the 32 H&R Magnum and can also safely fire the .32 S&W Long and the .32 S&W. These various .32 caliber chamberings provide very little recoil while still throwing a very capable cartridge.

S&W 432 UC
The S&W 432 is an awesome option for pocket carry.

This little revolver is a J-frame and is perfect for pocket carry. The UC stands for Ultimate Carry, and S&W and Lipseys went ham on the guns. They feature a real rear sight that pairs with a large night sight front sight. The grips are nicely made from G10 and fit the hand perfectly. The triggers are fantastic.

Ultimately, this is easily one of the best carry revolvers on the market.

Gucci Handguns

If money isn’t a problem, then your appetite for concealed-carry firearms may be refined. If you like refinement, advancement, and innovation and don’t mind paying a fortune just for magazines, then I have you covered. Price isn’t a factor here, but you still need something you can reasonably carry.

Lionheart Vulcan 9

Paging Dr. Spock… The Lionheart Vulcan 9 series brings us hammer-fired, DA/SA goodness that I adore. The trigger on these guns is fantastic, and the double action puts some striker-fired guns to shame.

One of the more unique features of the gun is the ability to press the hammer down to create a trigger pull that gives you double action length but single action weight. The grips have a built-in gas pedal-type wing for increased control.

The Lionheart Vulcan 9 is a unique pistol that is quite expensive.

The Vulcan 9 design is compact in size but does have some full-size features. The slide is optics cut and designed so the optic sits low enough to use your normal iron sights to co-witness. Things like a rail, an ultra-aggressive grip texture, and a metal frame are nice touches on this premium-grade pistol.

Staccato CS

Staccato started the whole 2011 craziness and arguably perfected it. The Staccato CS takes the 2011 design and shrinks it into a compact package.

Anything with 2011 in the title is going to command a ton of money but also deliver an extreme degree of performance. The CS gives that premium grade single action trigger and the ability to exercise extreme accuracy from a compact gun.

Staccato CS Pistol
The Staccato CS Pistol is a gunfighter’s pocket pistol.

To get the most out of the CS, you need to toss an optic on the gun. With an optic, you’re unstoppable and can take shots at 50 yards with regularity.

Everything about the CS is a premium experience, from the aggressive grips to the 16-round magazines. The gun comes together to form a high-performance, high-reliability concealed carry option for those who don’t mind throwing down a little dinero.

Budgeting for Your Concealed Carry Firearm

Before we split, let me offer just a bit of advice. When you start budgeting for a concealed carry firearm, don’t just include the gun in the budget. Make room in the budget for a quality holster and proper defensive ammunition, as well as a little defensive firearms training. Don’t spend $800 on a gun and 10 bucks on a holster. You’re better than that!

The 2nd Amendment is for everyone, and thankfully, we have budget-worthy options for everyone. It’s important that you carry the gun that works for you. Find the gun you shoot well, are comfortable carrying, and what you can afford.

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