When choosing an everyday carry pistol most shooters choose a 9mm handgun. Their reason for this selection is often due to the sheer number of sidearms available in 9×19 (9mm Luger) and its reputation for being an affordable yet effective round. With the hundreds of varied 9mm handguns out there, how do you choose the best 9mm EDC?
There are a few criteria I use for selecting an EDC handgun. The pistol must be comfortable to carry (much of this has to do with the holster), have a reputation for reliability, and be compact enough not to print underneath the clothing I’ll be wearing. These criteria usually steer me towards a midsized to compact pistol. I have yet to find a 9mm subcompact that feels good in my hands, but your mileage may vary.
Below are the handguns I would choose from if I went looking for another carry gun, and they are the same ones that I would recommend to someone if asked.
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The Taurus G2C tops my list for economic reasons. I, and most people I know, are on a budget, and the G2C fits most with its $280 sticker price at Academy. I know two people who carry this pistol as their EDC, and both love it. The G2C is controllable, accurate, and well put together. The sights are adjustable, mags hold 12 rounds, and the slide features two milled cuts on the front to reduce weight. One feature I really like is the addition of a manual safety. There is a trigger safety, like a Glock, but manual safeties provide an additional margin of error if you need to carry the pistol some other way than in a holster, like a jacket pocket if you are going to check the mailbox.
In my opinion, the venerable Glock 19 is the near-perfect 9mm handgun. It is large enough to shoot accurately, yet small enough to carry concealed by most individuals. The pistol is an inch and a quarter thick and holds 15 rounds. I believe the Gen 5 Glock 19 to be the best yet because it doesn’t have those stupid finger grooves. There was never enough room for my middle finger in the first groove under the trigger guard on the Gen 3 or 4 model 19s, and I couldn’t bring myself to take a belt sander to a handgun frame. Now that the grips are smooth, I can put Glocks on my wish list.
Introduced in 2017, the Sig Sauer P365 has become a mainstay of concealed carriers nationwide. It is a compact pistol, and has a short 3-inch barrel similar to the Glock 43x. Magazines are available in 10, 12, or 15 rounds, but the 10-round mag with its pinky extension is the most comfortable to carry.
Sig offers the P365 in several variants, including optics-ready models, some with manual safeties and other state complaint features, and the XL model. The P365 XL boasts three-quarters of an inch more barrel and another half inch of height, making it slightly smaller than the Glock 48.
Some people prefer a revolver as their carry gun, and Ruger has them covered with LCR (lightweight compact revolver). While only holding five rounds, the 9mm LCR weighs 5 ounces less than the G2C (17 oz vs. 22 oz.), making the LCR five 12-gauge slugs lighter. That reduction in weight can make a huge difference when you carry the gun for long hours. The LCR would be my choice for a hiking pistol, or to throw in a jacket pocket while walking the dog. For an added bonus, the 9mm LCR uses moon clips, so reloads are fast and easy.
The Glock Slimline series of pistols are some of the best 9mm EDC carry guns to appear on the market. Over an eighth-inch, slimmer (at 1.1 inches) than a Glock 19, these trim weapons are even easier to conceal. My favorite of the Slimline series is the model 48. Essentially a slimmed-down model 19, the 48 is an even better carry gun. The 43x is another excellent variant, featuring the shorter barrel of the subcompact model 43 but the longer grip of the model 48.
Both pistols come with 10-round magazines, but Shield Arms offers metal-bodied 15-round mags and a replacement steel magazine catch to ensure reliable retention with the metal magazine body. Shield Arms also sells a +5 magazine extension, so you can up your game to 20 rounds if you wish.
Making Use of It
Having a nice EDC carry pistol doesn’t do much good if you don’t really know how to use it. Going to the range is fine, but only so many fundamentals can be built through slow fire at a static target on the line. If your shooting range allows it, do holster drills and other training routines. Dry fire and presentation drills can and should be done frequently at home.
Concealed carry pistols courses taught by an instructor are solid ways to gain knowledge, as are the competition venues for the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) and the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) / United States Practical Shooting Association (USPCA). There is a good chance one of these events takes place at a club near you. IDPA is especially good at showing skill deficiencies since you must draw your pistol from its concealed position.
Having a 9mm for your EDC pistol is a good choice, and the round is a proven performer. Any of the pistols discussed here are great choices for the task. My personal pick for the best 9mm EDC would be the Glock 48, but that is because I like a slim handgun.
The biggest key is to be intimately familiar with your weapon and have its manipulation, operation, and draw committed to muscle memory. You need to have things down to the point where you don’t need to think through every action of using the gun. Instead, your brain power can be used for analyzing the situation and tracking the threats.
Your EDC is not something to take lightly, so train, train, and train again, because skills perish quickly.