14 Best SubCompact 9mm Pistols – May 2023

Sig P365 handgun

The Best 9mm SubCompact Pistols for EDC

This is the hottest sector in the firearms industry. Firearms manufacturers sweat real blood and tears over the course of the year to secure these honors.

This is the first gun that most of us own and, in many cases it’s the last. This is the personal defense volume seller, the high-street name and the halo brand, all in one.

What is the definition of a sub-compact?

We are going with a maximum of a 3.5 inch barrel and 6.75 inches long so you can actually conceal it. That gives us room to include a couple of options you might not have considered, without just rehashing our list of the best compact carry pistol for EDC in 9mm Luger.

Now the technicalities are out the way, what are the best subcompact 9mm pistols in 2023?

Glock 43x for sale. The best 5th Generation Glock and one of the best 9mm subcompact carry guns for sale in 2023.

1. Glock 43x

  • Price: $448.00
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Barrel Length: 3.39 inches
  • Total: 6.5
  • Weight: 1lb
  • Magazine capacity: 10+1

Glock was slowly turning into Apple, relying on the name and marketing, rather than true innovation, to keep pushing its products on the American public. With Gen 5, that has changed. The Glock G43x is pretty much the perfect carry pistol.

Glocks outsell everything because they’re reliable, accurate, simple and basically the white goods of the firearms world. But while all Glocks before did nothing really wrong, this one does every little thing absolutely right.

Why Don’t Gun Guys Like Glock?

In terms of personality, soul and pleasure, that’s bad. In terms of keeping you alive in an emergency, it’s good.

Now it still lacks character, but the Glock is accurate, crazy reliable, recoil is contained and conceals like a dream. That’s the best gun, almost by definition, and law enforcement officers regularly buy thir own through the Glock Blue Label program.

It also plays nice with a Glock 17 at home if you like to mix and match your Glock parts & accessories. Or you simply want your CCW and home defense gun to feel and act basically ythe same.

Could This Be The Ultimate Glock For Carrying Concealed?

The Glock 43x Gen 5 is near perfect engineering and arguably the best 9mm handgun.

Gone are the days when buying a Glock was the start of a DIY Glock build project. The trigger is much better in the Gen 5, the stippling is solid without getting in the way of concealment and the whole design is snag free.

Even the stainless steel slide comes with front cocking serrations.

It’s also drama free and basically designed to fade into the background, until you need it.

G43x vs Glock 26

A Glock 26 or Glock 19 are also high quality options. But the 43x is just better, everywhere.

It’s that good. Read the user reviews on the gunbroker sites, take a deep breath and order your new EDC. It really might be the best glock for generations.

And the best subcompact 9mm handgun right now.

Sig P365x. A fantastic defensive handgun and one of the top subcompacts.

2. Sig P365x

  • Price: $624.99
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Barrel: 3.1 inches
  • Overall: 5.8
  • Weight: 1.1lb
  • Capacity: 12+1

The Sig P365 Nitron changed the game and is pretty much everyone’s favorite if they don’t like Glock 9mm handguns.

Now the Sig P365x brings some of the best features of the X Series line to the 9mm micro-compact pistols champion, including more rounds, the better grip texture and extended beavertail.

Is this the comeback the little fella needed in the face of the new Glock? It’s close, and will come down to your personal preference.

If you want to deep conceal your high capacity micro-compact pistol, then you might want to save some money and get the small carry handgun. This slightly larger gun, though, packs in a lot more bullets and features.

The best 9mm compact pistols for CCW. Get yours here.
Larger P365 For Big Hands

The Sig P365 X-Macro might be the finest on the market, if you can stomach the price bump. It is red dot ready and is racing out of every gun store in America right now. It has been hailed as the best sub-compact pistol on the planet and we might have to adjust the order if the price comes down just a touch.

You get a compensator, an RMR plate, 17+1 rounds of ammunition and a near perfect pistol for slightly larger hands. All for just $799.99. Which is kind of expensive, we know. But what a gun…

Springfield Armory Hellcat 9mm pistol for sale. A new 9mm Micro compact and a Sig P365 rival

3. Springfield Armory Hellcat

  • Price: $529.99
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Barrel: 3 inch
  • Total Length: 6 inch
  • Weight: 1.15lb
  • Capacity: 11+1/13+1 with extended mag.

Springfield has fired metaphorical shots at the Sig and Glock with the new Hellcat 9mm high capacity micro-compact 9mm pistol.

Yes technically it’s a micro-compact, but it’s right on the cusp and sort of belongs here too, especially in Pro form that is the bigger frame answer to the P365x and better for larger hands .

The Springfield Hellcat has taken the fight to the P365 and you can get an optics ready Springfield Armory Hellcat or a larger frame Hellcat Pro that meets the P365x head-on.

The Hellcat OSP is a complete handgun in the palm of your hand. Just a few years ago, it would have sounded like madness…

The Springfield Hellcat is coming on strong and the optics ready version, with a slide prepped for the mini reflex site, is really finding a home. The magazines are proprietary, and quality too, and the whole thing is an inch wide.

The Springfield Hellcat 9mm pistol is turning out to be a proper contender. Watch this space, on their day they are the best subcompact 9mm pistol.

Springfield Armory Hellcat RDP. A great concealed carry pistol with some aftermarket parts that are a bit John Wick.
Hellcat RDP is Badass Tactical Pistol

You can go full John Wick with a compensator and red dot up top, and accessory rail underneath for a weapon light. I mean it’s a more complex shape, and a 3.8 inch cold hammer forged barrel. But you know, wow….

Get your Hellcat RDP here.

Taurus G2C. A great CCW and cheap concealed carry subcompact 9mm. Is it the best cheap carry pistol in 2022? Yes, basically....

4. Taurus G2C

  • Price: $236.99
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Barrel: 3.2 inch
  • Total Length: 6.2 inch
  • Weight: 1.37lb
  • Capacity: 12+1

Taurus threw a real spanner in the works for the Sig Sauer P365. This was meant to be the year of the P365 Nitron and the Taurus G2C turned up and did exactly the same job for much less money.

Saving money on your EDC carry pistol really isn’t smart, but the Taurus isn’t just cheap. It is one of the best concealed carry guns on this list.

The stock black finish on the Taurus isn’t as pretty as the German marque, but of course it isn’t. The black and white polymer contrasting finish isn’t quite as slick. The simple grip zone isn’t quite as good looking. The trigger press, trigger pull and reset is pretty quirky if we’re honest.

Cheap Basics, Nutin’ Fancy

But these are all things you can get used to and Taurus got all the really important stuff right. 

This is reliable, accurate, repeatable and trustworthy. Also it’s less than half the amount of the Sig. What else can we tell you? This is one of the firearms bargains of the decade and could become an icon. 

Taurus has made some crappy semi auto handguns in the past, but all is forgiven with this sensational semi auto bargain. The gun reviews love it and they are right.

The single stack 9mm Taurus G2S is even slimmer and very easy to conceal, which is a big plus, but we prefer the G2C. It just packs more bullets than the single stack magazine fed Taurus G2S 9mm handguns, and that matters.

Spend a little more money, though, and the Taurus GX4 is a better 9mm pistol.

S&W M&P Shield Plus. Arguably the best 9mm conceal carry handgun.

5. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus

  • Price: $399.99+
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Barrel: 3.1 inch
  • Total Length: 6.1 inch
  • Weight: 1.44lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

The Smith and Wesson M&P Shield Plus is something of a legend in full size and compact forms.

Law enforcement officers love the full size duty pistols and as a small carry handgun. A lot of people swear the S&W M&P are the best sub compact 9mm pistols and a step up from a Glock in more or less every department that matters.

Simply Fits the Hand Better

Truthfully the palm swell of the Smith and Wesson M&P9 Shield simply fits some people better. One brand seems to get you, while another makes you look like a clown every time.

We can also point to the stylish scallops cut into the optics ready slide on the S&W M&P to help with racking the slide and the slim profile and cleverly thought out pistol grip that turns this into a dream to conceal.

There are plenty of solid reasons to call the S&W M&P the best gun here.

Now you can get a fatter handled double stack magazine S&W M&P Shield Plus with 10+1 rounds of 9mm ammo, or more in an extended high capacity mag.

Some people think this puts the S&W M&P Shield sub compact pistols right back up in there with the best options on this list. They are right.

Heckler & Koch VP9SK, one of the best subcompacts in 2022. Buy yours.

6. Heckler & Koch VP9SK

  • Price: $750.99
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Barrel Length: 3.39 inch barrel
  • Total: 6.6 inch
  • Weight: 1.45lb
  • Capacity: 13+1

If you don’t care about the cost, then you’re one of the elite few that can justify the additional bucks that goes into the Heckler & Koch VP9SK semi auto pistol.

Now the optics ready HK is right on our self-imposed size limit. It’s a little cumbersome next to the Sig that has the same number of rounds in a much smaller package. Does that make the Sig a better pistol? Arguably not.

Some people like the feel of the double stack magazine HK and there is no doubt that this is one of those carry pistols you never really need to tune with a new guide rod upgrade or anything really.

The fit and finish are near perfect, enhanced night sights are already in place and you just know it’s going to look good for years.

The double stack HK VP9SK is undoubtedly one of the greats as a subcompact pistol. But if value is a thing in your life, there are cheaper options that are arguably just as good.

An extended mag can give you more bullets, but the flush fitting mag is easier to conceal.

Kimber R7 Mako is the company's first polymer frame subcompact 9mm striker fired handgun. Get yours here.

7. Kimber R7 Mako

  • Price: $479.99
  • Barrel: 3.37 inch
  • Total: 7 inch
  • Weight: 1.2lb
  • Capacity: 11+1

The optics ready Kimber R7 Mako is the company’s first attempt at a striker fired polymer frame 9mm. And it’s a good one…

This diminutive handgun is easy to carry and packs either 11+1 or 13+1 rounds in to the large capacity mags for more follow up shots. It also comes with a slightly longer barrel, like the Glock 43.

This semi auto 9mm handgun is a welcome addition to the polymer frame plastic pistol ranks and we think Kimber are going to do well here now. With the 191 market shrinking by the month, this could be a shrewd move too.

With a few tweaks this could be one of the best sub compact 9mm concealed carry guns.

Smith & Wesson CSX. A hybrid 1911, buy yours today

8. Smith & Wesson CSX

  • Price: $1,308.99
  • Barrel: 3 inch
  • Total: 7 inch
  • Weight: 1.2lb
  • Capacity: 7

The Smith & Wesson CSX is an intriguing idea to create the best 9mm pistol from a 1911 and a modern CCW.

It is wilfully different, looks great and comes with an external safety, a hammer and a squared off stainless slide. So if you like those things, this borderline microcompact could work…

The only real problem the Smith & Wesson CSX has is the modern Shield Plus 9mm handgun is so damned good that you have to be deliberately quirky to look past it and go this route.

The icon, the Sig P938 Legion for sale. There is a P938 to suit every budget and taste, so buy your mico compact handgun online now.

9. Sig Sauer P938

  • Price: $819.99
  • Barrel: 3 inch
  • Overall : 5.9
  • Weight: 1.06lb
  • Capacity: 7+1

This classic micro compact 9mm pistol from Sig walks the line between a functional firearm and jewelry, but it does fill a niche even here.

The single action Sig P938 is surrounded on all sides by massively competent polymer framed striker fired pistol options, and yet the hammre fired Sig P938 refuses to fade away. Some people just want the best concealed carry guns with a thumb safety and hammer. That’s OK, too.

The single action Sig Sauer P938 with a flat-profile trigger now comes in a bewildering range of materials and finishes.

We can talk about the Sig Sauer P938 We The People, Emperor Scorpion, Legion or the $850 rose gold engraved special edition. But it’s best just to see the single action, hammer-fired goodness for yourself.

Custom Guns Without the Custom Payments

You can find one or two examples of this designer 9mm limited edition machine at most online gunbrokers in the United States. But finding the whole Sig P938 line-up is a chore.

So if you want this for a back-up, pocket pistol, purse pistol or even your main CCW, then buy a gun online now! It’s easy to conceal, fun and looks the part.

It’s all metal, from the stainless steel frame to the stainless steel slide.

This online firearms retailer has the biggest selection of Sig P938 microcompact handguns. Check the full line-up here.

Mossberg MS2SC. A new compact handgun that is optic ready and easy to conceal.

10. Mossberg MC2SC

  • Price: $459.99
  • Barrel: 3.4
  • Total: 6.25 inch
  • Weight: 1.19lb
  • Capacity: 6+1

Mossberg is better known for its shotguns and long rifles, but the Mossberg MC1SC is a credible first effort.

There are elements of Glock, Taurus, Smith & Wesson and more to this polymer framed special. So it does beg the question: do we need it at all?

Probably not, is the cold hard truth. But the user reviews and the gun reviews online have been massively complimentary about this new entry.

Custom Handgun Parts & Accessories Off the Peg

The M2SC features some nice touches and it’s been well received by the buying public.

The Mossberg MC2SC is comfortable to hold and it’s easy to carry concealed. The flat-profile trigger and integral blade safety is neat, the stippling is exceptional and it has so far proved reliable and accurate.

The simple 3 dot sights kind of sum up the gun. It’s good, it just isn’t a groundbreaking in the best sub compact 9mm pistol class.

Walther PPS is a single stack CCW with a sweet trigger. Buy your carry gun online right now.

11. Walther Arms PPS M2

  • Price: $394.99
  • Barrel: 3.18 inch
  • Total: 6.18 inch
  • Weight: 1.32lb
  • Capacity: 7+1

This 9mm has a small, but devoted following that loves the trigger. Seriously, the OEM Walther PPS trigger set is that good.

The smaller single stack 9mm subcompact pistols never quite grabbed the same market share as the bigger PPQ. But then the Walther PPS is an ageing gun going against the true industry giants.

Simple white dot front sight optics are an easy upgrade, but you won’t be mounting any reflex sights on this gun without machining the slide.

Walther PPS is a Niche Choice Pistol Now

So the polymer frame Walther PPS might simply be up against a crowd that has decided on the Sig and the Glock in advance. But if you dig single stack magazines then this is an option.

The single stack Walther shoots great. And the single stack subcompact pistols are easy to conceal as a pocket carry. And that matters, as well.

Kimber Micro 9, a stylish 9mm 1911

12. Kimber Micro 9

  • Price: $650.00-$1000+
  • Barrel: 3.15 inch
  • Total: 6.1 inch
  • Weight: 1.19lb
  • Capacity: 7+1

The Kimber Micro 9 is controversial. Not everybody loves them, but they are finding a place in the best concealed carry pistol market and turning into a fashion label that’s hard to ignore.

Now these are simplified almost 1911 pistols with a lot of premium features. There’s no grip safety, which could be a good thing for a lot of you, but there is a thumb safety and night sights.

They also come in just about any finish you can imagine. The price point varies massively, but then some of these are custom carry pistols that just look the part.

We love the Kimber Micro 9 ESV and this new Rapide Black Ice is stunning to look at.

These are not the same as the full size Kimber 1911 pistols that are some of our best home defense handguns. But they are different.

14 Best SubCompact 9mm Pistols – May 2023

13. Beretta APX A1

  • Price: $399.99
  • Barrel: 3.3 inch
  • Length: 5.63 inch
  • Weight:
  • Capacity: 6+1

The Italian firm really doesn’t feature much when it comes to full size polymer pistols. Normally, there are better options.

But the Beretta APX A1 is an evolution and it’s actually not bad, if you’re looking for a small single stack subcompact with a simple white dot sighting system, for some reason.

This is a much cleaner design than the first version. And it’s a lot better for it. You get a gun that belongs on the list of the best in 2023.

Get an IWB Holster For Your Conceal Carry

If you intend to use a conceal carry pistol, you should have an IWB holster as well. Make sure you get one that is comfortable, holds your gun in the right place and doesn’t get in your way when it really matters. It’s just easier to conceal this way.

For the best IWB holster options for conceal carry, check here.

A pocket holster might also suit your carry needs and can be great for inside a purse too. Again, Palmetto State Armory has a healthy selection of pocket holster solutions for pistols, revolvers and more. The best handguns too, and other concealed carry holsters you might not have thought of.

S&W Model 986 Performance Center 9mm revolver.

14. S&W 986 Performance Center

  • Price: $1,286.99
  • Barrel: 2.5 inch
  • Weight: 2lb
  • Capacity: 7

A 9mm revolver is kind of ridiculous, but well we like a little variety.

Some people don’t trust modern guns, too, and prefer a simple point and squirt wheelgun in your concealed carry holsters. Revolvers also do make for easy pocket pistols.

Where to Buy Ammo

Ammunition prices are going up and it is increasingly smart business to shop around and buy plenty of ammo when you see the right big deal.

Our favorite suppliers are Palmetto State Armory, Sportsman’s Guide and Lucky Gunner at the moment.

Get a micro red dot for your concealed carry pistol and get faster target acquisition. Low profile and low budget red dot options here.

What About Red Dot Sights?

Call it the John Wick effect, or whatever you like really, but there is a resurgence on the best concealed carry gun options.

The Springfield Hellcat comes with an OSP plate and other manufacturers have followed suit. Glock was already there with its larger pistols and the MOS system. Night sights are no longer enough.

Now the micro red dot sights are a fixture and fitting in this concealed carry gun class and we need to get round to a proper list of the best.

With enhanced night vision and a relatively massive sight picture for fast target acquisition, there’s a lot to be said for them. If you can deal with the slight additional bulk, which specialist carry holsters can cope with, then a red dot could change your life. Or at least save it.

You can buy them from Palmetto State Armory, Brownells, Primary Arms and more.

The Best Gun Gift Card Programs

Gift cards are a great way to show folks you love them, so what are the best gift cards program for gun stores, range gear & accessories?

We like the PSA program, but the Sportsman’s Guide Member’s club offers constant discounts and it’s a nice gift card program. But that’s about all we have to say on gift cards.

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