The popularity of concealed carry has exploded in the United States in the past few decades. Citizens are becoming more interested in their own personal protection. Firearms manufacturers are responding with models to meet every concealed carry niche and need. Due to their reputation for extreme reliability, along with their popularity with law enforcement and military, it is no wonder that Glock pistols are some of the most popular concealed carry handguns on the market.
A concealed carry firearm is a handgun that you carry on a daily (or almost daily) basis. It is carried on the body and concealed from view. Choosing the right carry gun can make or break your experience. If you choose a gun that is too big it can be uncomfortable and cumbersome to carry. If you choose one that is too small it can be seriously difficult to shoot well due to small grip, short sight radius, and snappy recoil.
This article will explain some desirable attributes in a concealed carry handgun. Then we will get into some specific models of Glock pistols for concealed carry. Finally, we will cover some of the best accessories you can add to your concealed carry Glock to take it from a good pistol to a great one. Let’s being.
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Concealed Carry Glock
Size and weight: Both the size and weight are major factors when choosing a concealed carry pistol. If the gun is too bulky in size it will be difficult to conceal. It will “print” in clothing, making your clothes look lumpy at best and revealing your pistol at worst. A gun that is too large can be bothersome when accessing pockets, buckling your seatbelt and other day-to-day tasks. It is important to choose something that is sized appropriately for the task at hand.
Weight is probably just as important. A gun that is too heavy will drag your pants down all day. You will constantly be readjusting your pants, and pulling your gun back up. It can cause chafing and is guaranteed to cause annoyance. One the other hand, if you choose some 12-ounce wonder-gun, it is likely to have stiff recoil. Weight is bad on the belt but good in the hand, so a balance must be sought.
Capacity and caliber: Sometimes less is more, but not when it comes to ammunition capacity. You want as many rounds on board as possible. Sure, most fights are at 3 yards in 3 seconds and finished in 3 rounds…but some aren’t. And what if there are multiple bad guys? Suddenly 6 or 7 rounds doesn’t sound like quite so much. Again, capacity is a balance. If you want 17+1 capacity, you’re necessarily going to be toting a large, heavy gun...or at least one with a long magazine. Capacity largely comes down to personal preference.
Your concealed carry handgun should, ideally, be a in a caliber offering a good amount energy. All of our recommendations save one are for the 9x19mm. The 9mm has proven itself time and time again as an effective fight-stopper. It’s also some of the most common ammunition in the U.S., everyone makes top-tier defensive ammo for it, and it’s the cheapest practice ammo going. There is nothing wrong with the larger caliber Glock handguns but they are generally larger, generate more recoil, and ammo for this is more expensive.
Trigger and safety features: Accuracy isn’t everything, but it is terribly important. If you miss a shot in a self-defense situation, not only have you failed to stop your adversary, your round will impact something…possibly another human being. A good trigger with a clean break, short pull distance, and good reset can help you get the best accuracy from your carry gun.
You also want to make sure your firearm is safe, and good trigger also contributes to safety. A trigger shouldn’t sacrifice safety to become too light or to excessively reduce trigger travel. If you’re purchasing an aftermarket trigger, ensure you are purchasing one that doesn’t shortcut safety.
Ergonomics and grip: Ergonomics is important less for how the gun “feels” and more for how effective you can be with it. The grip should enable you to manage recoil, which will help with accuracy. It should also allow you to have a rock-solid grip on the gun in case an encounter goes “hands-on” and you must fight to retain control of your firearm. Ergonomics also means that you can reach and operate all the controls efficiently, including the trigger, magazine release, and slide-lock lever.
Accuracy and reliability: As we have already discussed, accuracy is incredibly important. Just as important is reliability. The gun must go “bang” when you need it to, because your life literally depends on it. Any modern, reputable firearm should be able to get through at least a thousand rounds with no malfunctions. Many Glocks can go many times that long without having an issue.
Top Glock Models for Concealed Carry
Some of the characteristics of a good concealed carry pistol are going to be present in any Glock. All Glocks are reliable (though that doesn’t excuse you from shooting yours and proving it reliable), and all Glocks are plenty accurate for self-defense. You must match the gun to the shooter, however. In extremely small hands, a Glock 19 may not be gripped tightly enough, causing shooter-induced malfunctions. A poorly-sized grip can also cause accuracy issues so, again, it is important to make sure gun and shooter work well together. Here are some of the best Glock handguns for concealed carry, and there should be something here for any shooter, from seasoned concealed carrier to someone whose permit just came off the printer.
Glock 19: The Glock 19 is the workhorse of the concealed carry world and many consider it the best Glock. It is used extensively by law enforcement and the military. It is one of the most popular concealed carry handguns in America and for good reason. It has an extremely well-earned reputation for blending accuracy, reliability, and ergonomics in a compact package. The Glock 19 has a magazine capacity of 15+1 rounds of 9mm and can use magazines from the full-size Glock 17. Nearly everyone makes holsters and other accessories for the Glock 19. The downsides of the Glock 19 are that despite being labeled a “compact” pistol, its dimensions are considered bulky by some. Its thickness makes it hard for a slender guy to carry in an IWB holster. Those with small hands may find the double-stack grip too large to shoot effectively, and with a full magazine it can also be somewhat hefty.
Glock 26: The G19’s little brother, the Glock 26, is Glock’s earliest subcompact offering. With a shorter slide and a shortened grip frame and magazine, this is a stubby version of the Glock 19. It is still just as thick though, both in the hand and on the belt. The G26 has a magazine capacity 10+1, but it can also use 15-round G19 magazines, 17-round G17 magazines, and even the 27-round “fun sticks.” These larger mags can be carried as spares, maintaining the short grip of the gun.
Glock 43: The Glock 43 is Glock’s first single-stack 9mm pistol, and it is incredibly popular. If you desire a smaller gun than the G19 and G26, start here. While having a similar profile as the Glock 26, the G43 is much, much thinner, similar to a S&W M&P Shield. This makes it lighter and smaller in a really meaningful way. This is a gun almost anyone can carry all day without major alterations in wardrobe or lifestyle, or major discomfort. The smaller grip circumference makes it much more ergonomic for those with smaller hands, too. The downside is that it only has a magazine capacity of 6+1, which is pretty miserly by modern standards, but this Glock pistol is an ideal carry gun if compact size is the overriding factor.
Glock 48 and Glock 43X: Next up is the Glock 48, a pistol roughly sharing a Glock 19 footprint (with a bit of extra barrel length), but being much, much thinner. It combines a number of great factors: reliability, thin grip, easy concealment, light weight, and a really good sight radius. The Glock 48’s standard magazine capacity is 10+1, but aftermarket magazines increase this capacity to 15+1 without making the gun any larger. This is still a great pistol for those with smaller hands, but the extra length makes it very shootable. The compact size make it ideal in a IWB holster and an all-around excellent choice.
The Glock 43X is a hybrid between the G43 and G48. It has the Glock 43’s shorter slide and barrel, but the longer grip frame of the Glock 48 (and can use the same aftermarket mags). This is a great option for those love the Glock 48’s grip but desire a shorter overall length. The Glock 48 and 43X are available in models compatible with a red dot, too. This makes them very accurate for their small size.
Glock 42: Our only non-9x19mm pick is the Glock 42. It is the same size as the ultra-compact Glock 43, but is chambered in .380 ACP. This means it recoils less, making it a great option for recoil-sensitive shooters, including brand-new shooters, the small statured, those with arthritis, or compromised hand strength. It is also a great carry gun for shooters with smaller hands.
Best Accessories for Concealed Carry Glock
Glock handguns are outstanding pistols, right out of the box. They are reliable and accurate and available at an affordable price. They aren’t perfect, however. Every Glock could use some minor tweaks and upgrades.
One of the most important upgrades you can make to your Glock pistols is sights. The "iron sights" on Glock handguns are actually plastic sights (jokingly called “dovetail protectors”) that can and do break.
As we have discussed, accuracy is incredibly important and it’s hard to achieve world-class accuracy with substandard sights. Overwatch Precision’s HAVE BLUE Sights for Glock Pistols offer a vastly superior sighting system. The steel rear sight is bombproof, and its ledge allows it to be used for racking the slide one-handed. The fiber-optic front sight is precise and fast-acquiring. These sights are simple and rugged – exactly what you need on a fighting pistol.
An upgraded trigger can improve your accuracy. This makes your safer, makes your shots surer, and increases your confidence in your carry gun. Unlike some aftermarket parts, safety is a high priority in our trigger systems. The Overwatch Precision TAC Drop-In Trigger kit will shorten your trigger pull, reduce its weight by up to a pound, give you an improved trigger reset, and give you the cleanest possible trigger break.
Upgrading your Glock's magwell can provide several benefits, including improved control, decreased reloading times, and increased accuracy. The HAVE BLUE MAGWELL is an exceptional addition to any Glock owner's setup. Made from a single piece of high-quality aluminum, this magwell is specifically designed for concealed carry, providing superior control and decreased reloading times. The design of this magwell incorporates an aggressively machined funnel at the heel to allow for faster and more efficient reloads, giving it a competitive edge in the market.
One of the most notable features of the HAVE BLUE MAGWELL is its unique front lip, which locks your firing hand into the firearm's undercut to add support and control. This front lip ensures that your grip is secure, making it easier to control your Glock during rapid-fire situations. Additionally, this magwell has a low profile heel design, making it perfect for those looking for a functional magwell with minimal printing.
Choosing the right concealed carry pistol is an important process and largely boils down to personal preference. Matching the right gun to the right shooter to the right situation gives you the optimal carry pistol, improving your personal safety and security. Your concealed carry Glock handgun can be improved by Overwatch Precision sights, trigger kits, and more.