This is how you shop on a budget.
Choosing among 9mm concealed carry handguns just makes sense if you're planning to put a lot of rounds through your carry weapon (which you should).
However, there are several other reasons to choose 9mm pistols including reliability, quality, and price. Gone are the days when finding a good carry gun meant taking out a home loan.
With just a little research, it is relatively simple to find a lightweight 9mm handgun for under $400 pretty much anywhere a law-abiding American can buy a gun. Try Brownells, Cabela's, or any reputable gun shop.
Here are our picks for the best 9mm handguns at a decent price. They aren't all subcompact carry pistols, but none have an aluminum frame and all provide the stopping power you desire.
Taurus 709 Series Slim 9mm handguns are double or single action semi-automatic small frame handguns. The thin design of Taurus' 709 series is built specifically for concealed carry with no extra lumps or angled pieces to snag clothing or a holster when being pulled. A stainless steel slide and textured grips help with maintaining a good hold while firing.
In addition, both trigger and manual safeties offer shooters a couple of options to prevent unwanted discharge. With only a 3" barrel length and 19 oz. overall weight, this little gun is extremely easy to conceal. For shooters who want quality without excessive size, weight, or price tag, the Taurus 709 Slim series is an excellent choice for under $375.
The Ruger LC9 is a double action semi-automatic designed for easy concealment and comfortable carry. With an alloy-steel barrel and glass-filled nylon frame, this 6" handgun weighs only 17.1 ounces. The LC9 comes in a variety of colors, including pink. An ergonomic design and 7+1 magazine give this small frame 9mm just enough of an attitude to look like the little monster it is.
A bare bones LC9 is priced to sell at less than $400, but one of the best add-ons available for the LC9 is an under-barrel, integrated laser sight system which might bring the price up a bit. However, for those shooters who like the idea of added accuracy and night fire aiming capabilities, purchasing a model with a laser sight might be money well spent.
Smith & Wesson SDVE
The Smith & Wesson SDVE 9mm has a slightly larger frame than the two models previously mentioned. An overall length of 7.2" and weight of 22.5 ounces means anyone carrying this gun will know it's there; it's closer to a full-size gun. With a 4" barrel and self-defense trigger, the Smith & Wesson SDVE series handguns are meant to provide shooters with a smooth, consistent trigger pull every time.
Shooters who are less concerned with concealment or small frame size will love the price tag associated with this great gun. Coming in at less than $350, the SDVE series are great for range shooting and as home defense weapons.
Kahr CW9 Semi-Automatic
Kahr CW9 semi-automatic 9mm handguns are double action weapons with internal strikers and a locked breech designed to aide in more continuous firing with less hang fires. A polymer frame and stainless steel slide make up most of the overall length of 6", with a 3 ½" barrel. With a price tag of under $400, Kahr's CW9 is not only a good carry gun but also a great choice for home defense and range firing.
A unique feature of the Kahr CW9 is the patented offset barrel which is designed to move a shooter's hand closer to the centerline of the bore. This design element is meant to change the way a shooter grips the handgun. By holding the weapon in a different way, the hope is to eliminate recoil, reduce muzzle flip, and increase accuracy while firing.
The low profile and smooth lines of the single stack 9mm Beretta Nano make it an easy choice for carrying. It has a light, durable fiberglass-reinforced technopolymer frame. The Nano has been created to utilize a snag-free design without sacrificing performance. It's one of the best guns in terms of concealability, and the optional 8+1 extended magazine gives you the round capacity you need in a subcompact 9mm.
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This post was originally published on February 15, 2019.