Concealed carry guns are an entire world of their own within the realm of firearms, and it can be challenging to find the perfect option. Glocks are frequently recommended for concealed carry because they are durable and reliable. They are also reasonably priced and customizable.
Glock’s catalog of 9mm firearms is the largest by caliber. With over 25 different models across 3 different generations, new gun owners have many choices and variations to find the perfect firearm for their everyday concealed carry needs.
Best 9mm Glocks for Concealed Carry
1. Glock 19 Gen 5
The Glock 19 is the standard by which all concealed carrying handguns are judged. Many gun manufacturers have produced pistols with the specific intent of competing against the Glock 19.
Despite being the original compact Glock pistol, the G19 is in a unique position. It straddles the line between the capacity of a full-size and the concealability of a mid-size or compact pistol.
With a magazine capacity of 15 rounds, compatibility with larger Glock 17 magazines, and a barrel length of just over 4”, the Glock 19 can serve as a duty or home defense handgun.
The G19 weighs just over 23.6 oz. with an empty magazine inserted. It is a relatively large handgun by compact standards, but it is concealable. Paired with a good holster, the G19 is part of the everyday carry (EDC) of millions of gun owners in the United States.
The latest iteration of the Glock 19, known as Generation 5 or Gen 5, introduced many improvements to the pistol’s features and design. Most notably, the trademark Gen 3/Gen 4 finger grooves were eliminated, returning to the roots of the original Gen 1/Gen 2 looks and making the handgun more comfortable overall.
Other changes exclusive to Gen 5 pistols include:
- New and improved nDLC finish
- Slightly flared magazine well which allows for reloading faster and with more confidence
- The Glock Marksman Barrel, which improves accuracy at extended distances
- An ambidextrous slide release lever, allowing left-handed users to manipulate the slide with their dominant hand
Glock also produces inexpensive OEM upgrade parts allowing users to reverse the magazine release button, ideal for fully converting the G19 to a left-handed configuration.
If you are looking for your first concealed carrying firearm, the Glock 19 Gen 5 is an excellent first choice.
Specifications for the Glock 19 Gen 5:
- Overall length: 7.28”
- Overall height: 5.04” (with 15-round magazine inserted)
- Overall width: 1.34”
- Barrel length: 4.02”
- Weight: 23.62 oz. (with empty 15-round magazine inserted)
- Magazine capacity: 15 rounds (standard)
- Also compatible with Glock 17 magazines (17 rounds) and extended double-stack Glock 9mm magazines (24, 31, 33 rounds)
2. Glock 26 Gen 5
The Glock 26 is the flagship subcompact Glock pistol, offering even smaller dimensions than the G19. It was initially designed for the civilian and law enforcement markets, intended for concealed carrying and use as backup guns.
If you prefer deep concealment, you may find the Glock 26 is a better choice because it may allow you to wear a broader range of clothes with less risk of printing. It provides you with a shorter grip, barrel and slide length, and a shorter sight radius as a subcompact firearm. While the Glock 19 is considered a general purpose self-defense firearm, the Glock 26 is specialized for concealed carrying.
The standard magazine capacity on a G26 is 10 rounds, which is relatively high for a subcompact handgun. If you need more, it is compatible with all double-stack Glock 9mm magazines, including those of the Glock 19 (15 rounds), the Glock 17 (17 rounds), and extended magazines (24+).
These taller magazines stick out far past the bottom of the grip, rendering the G19 difficult to carry concealed. Several Glock 26 owners recommend carrying one spare 15-round or 17-round magazine if the original 10-rounder runs dry or sustains a malfunction.
An alternative way to increase the capacity of your Glock 26 is to install one of the most popular upgrades: An extended baseplate. The item enlarges the magazine body’s depth, typically increasing capacity by anywhere between 1 and 4 rounds.
The most popular choice is the +2 baseplate, which turns a 10-round magazine into a 12-rounder and adds extra grip space, allowing you to get a full grip on your handgun with no dangling fingers. A typical +2 baseplate adds about 1” of extra overall height, which does not compromise the G26’s concealability as much as a 15-round magazine.
The Gen 5 version of the Glock 26 offers most of the same new features and improvements as the Glock 19 Gen 5, with 1 exception. There is no flared magazine well, keeping the frame width low and concealable.
Specifications for the Glock 26 Gen 5:
- Overall length: 6.42”
- Overall height: 4.17” (with 10-round magazine inserted)
- Overall width: 1.30”
- Barrel length: 3.43”
- Weight: 21.69 oz. (with empty 10-round magazine inserted)
- Magazine capacity: 10 rounds (standard)
- Also compatible with G19 mags (15 rounds), G17 mags (17 rounds) and extended double-stack Glock 9mm magazines (24, 31, 33 rounds)
3. Glock 43
The Glock 43 is one of the smallest and lightest Glock pistols ever made, weighing just under 18 oz. with an empty magazine inserted.
The G43 was first introduced at SHOT Show 2015, receiving a lot of attention for essentially being a 9mm version of the Glock 42, a .380 ACP pistol of similar size. It received many glowing reviews, praising its small dimensions and slim frame.
Much like the Glock 26, this handgun is intended for civilians and law enforcement. The G43 is suitable as a deep-concealment firearm or a backup gun. It employs a single-stack magazine, significantly reducing the frame’s width and allowing a broader range of clothes to be worn as concealing garments.
The overall dimensions of the G43 make it ideal for pocket carrying. As long as you use a proper pocket carry holster, this Glock pistol is a more modern alternative to traditional pocket carry pieces, such as snub-nosed .38 revolvers or pocket .32 ACP and .380 ACP semi-automatics.
With a fully loaded magazine and a round in the chamber, the Glock 43’s capacity is 6 + 1. Although it may be more than enough for some, others may want an increased ammo capacity. Fortunately, several manufacturers produce extended baseplates for G43 magazines, extending the capacity by anywhere between +1 and +4 rounds.
Specifications for the Glock 43:
- Overall length: 6.26”
- Overall height: 4.25”
- Overall width: 1.06”
- Barrel length: 3.41”
- Weight: 17.99 oz. (with an empty magazine inserted)
- Magazine capacity: 6 rounds
- Many aftermarket magazine extensions available
4. Glock 43X
Don’t confuse this model with the standard Glock 43. Despite similarities in name and individual aspects, the 43X is a very different handgun.
The Glock 43X elongates the Glock 43’s frame to approximately the same height as a Glock 19 while retaining the single-stack magazines. It is a taller, higher-capacity version of the G43, allowing shooters to grip better and shoot it more comfortably.
The taller frame provides a higher magazine capacity of 10 rounds instead of 6. This higher round count may feel more comforting to concealed carry owners interested in the G43 who were skeptical about its relatively low capacity. If you were used to the original Glock 43 with a +4 magazine extension installed, you might find the G43X feels familiar because they are about the same height.
As a pistol introduced in 2019, it is technically part of the Gen 5 lineup with many of the same features. These include front and rear slide serrations, the Glock Marksman Barrel, a reversible magazine catch, and no finger grooves.
Like with all other Glock models, several manufacturers make aftermarket magazines and magazine extensions. By far, the most interesting of them is the Shield Arms S15 magazine. Using a steel body instead of polymer, this magazine has a capacity of 15 rounds but is the same length and approximately the same weight as a stock Glock 10-round magazine.
When fully inserted, the S15 magazine sits flush, giving extra capacity without compromising your pistol’s overall height or weight. A G43X equipped with the S15 magazine can carry as many rounds as a G19 without the width of a double-stack frame. You simply can’t go wrong with this combination of pistol and magazines.
Specifications for the Glock 43X:
- Overall length: 6.50”
- Overall height: 5.04”
- Overall width: 1.10”
- Barrel length: 3.41”
- Weight: 18.70 oz. (with an empty magazine inserted)
- Magazine capacity: 10 rounds
- Aftermarket 15-round flush-fit magazines available
Criteria for Consideration
Choosing the right 9mm concealed carry Glock can feel overwhelming at first. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Overall dimensions: A larger gun is harder to conceal than a smaller gun. Larger guns print more through clothing, making it more challenging to conceal them. However, going as small as possible comes with disadvantages, such as a smaller grip, lower capacity, shorter sight radius, and greater recoil. Finding the right balance is essential.
- Method of carrying: There are many ways to carry a firearm concealed. The most popular are Inside the Waistband (IWB) and Outside the Waistband (OWB), but there are many more. These include belly band holsters, shoulder holsters, or off-body carry in a purse or a bag. The method you choose may affect how comfortably you can carry a particular model. A larger handgun that sits comfortably in an OWB holster may hide under your clothes well in an IWB holster.
- Ergonomics: There is no replacement for feeling an actual handgun in your hands to determine how comfortable it is. If you visit a local gun store, gun range, or other retailer selling handguns, examine and hold a firearm you’re interested in to get a feel for it and see whether it fits your hand.
The 9mm is one of the best calibers for a concealed carrying firearm, as it offers decades of proven effectiveness, both on the battlefield and the streets, without excessive amounts of recoil. Also, 9mm handguns provide higher magazine capacity than .40 or .45-caliber equivalents. If you don’t already have a specific caliber in mind for your concealed carrying gun, 9mm is a reliable first choice.
Although many handguns may seem like they are the ideal concealed carry pieces on paper, every shooter has different ergonomics, trigger control, and recoil management preferences.
If you are interested in a particular handgun model and you have an opportunity to hold it or even test it at a range before buying one, don’t hesitate to do so. A firearm you don’t feel comfortable with is a firearm you are less likely to practice shooting. Without adequate practice, you may not have the accuracy or the confidence to use it in a self-defense situation.