Best Small Handgun for Women – The Top 6

When was the last time you heard the expression “it’s a man’s world”? I’d wager it’s been a while, and though it seems like I’m reaching, I’d argue that, in a small way, we have guns to thank for that!

Don’t get me wrong; the firearm industry is still pretty much male-dominated. However, thanks to the glut of concealed carry guns and pocket pistols in the market, an armed woman isn’t anything to gawk at these days.

In this article, I talk about the best concealed carry handgun for women, the Sig Sauer P365, a gun that hits the bullseye in every way. Also, I run down a list of other best-in-class concealed carry handguns female shooters can easily carry on their person. If that sounds like fun, let’s jump in!

The Makings of Concealed Carry Guns

How do you know a concealed carry handgun when you see one? The most distinguishing feature of these diminutive pistols is their size. They’re meant to be concealed, so they aren’t very big. Some pistol models are so small that they can it in the palm of your hand, while other models like the Trailblazer LifeCard don’t even look like a pistol until unfolded.

The gun’s weight is another feature that puts it in the concealed carry category. You have to be able to carry the gun around all day without feeling like you’re weight training. Also, if you’re a gal who likes to dress light during Summer (think jeans short, tank top, and cowboy boots), the gun shouldn’t weigh you down when worn on a waist or ankle holster.

Finally, it should have a minimalist aesthetic. The main reason manufacturers choose to make no-frills guns is to make them easy to draw when needed. For example, if faced with an assailant, the last thing you want is your gun’s hammer to get caught on your dress as you reach for it.

Why Get a Concealed Carry Gun?

There are many benefits associated with concealed carry gun ownership. Let’s briefly explore what those are in this next section.

Security Assured

Concealed carry handguns are a great way to give you the confidence needed to traverse a big bad world. Having a firearm on your person that no one else is aware of provides a sense of security a vile of pepper spray can’t. Additionally, should you find yourself in a dangerous situation, you’ll have a weapon that levels the playing field.


Small handguns are made for everyday carry and can be conveniently kept on your person at all times of the day. You can slip them in your purse or jeans pocket, store them on your bedside table, etc. Moreover, due to their size, they provide ease of access whenever they’re needed, and some are designed to be snagless for speedy retrieval.

Easy to Operate

Concealed carry handguns aren’t complicated to operate. Manufacturers leave off inessential components so that the gun can accommodate only the most necessary parts needed for its tiny frame. As such, with a little practice, you can go from knowing next to nothing about guns to shooting at a competent level.


Most concealed carry handguns are easy to take apart due to not having as many components on them. This quality makes them very low-maintenance, as cleaning some of them can take less than fifteen minutes to do.

The 6 Best Small Handguns for Women in 2022

Below, I run down a list of the best concealed carry handguns for women available right now. Let’s check each one out to learn why they make a great self-defense accessory.

1. Sig Sauer P365 – Best Overall

Since their debut, Sig Sauer products have been a mainstay in the concealed carry world, so it’s no surprise that the Sig Sauer P365 tops my best handguns for women list. This award-winning pistol gets high marks for its reliability, magazine capacity, accuracy, mild recoil, and trigger, among many other features.

The Sig P365 features a polymer and stainless-steel frame that makes it lightweight (it weighs 17.8 oz) and an ergonomic design to provide a good grip on the firearm. You’ll find the standard controls (magazine release, slide release, etc.) on various parts of the pistol’s body, all of which make operating it a breeze.

Small guns don’t usually provide enough capacity for rounds. Not so with the P365, which comes with a 10-round (single-stack) magazine capacity out-the-box and options for 12 and 15-round magazine extensions. Here’s a fun fact: because the magazine extensions increase the gun’s height, it’s a favorite concealed carry weapon among men with large hands too.

Additionally, this gun scores points in the accuracy department, thanks to its 3.1-inch barrel and effective night sights. The two components work together to provide a clear sight picture (day or night) and give the gun much-needed stability when fired. Women will also appreciate the P365’s manageable recoil.

The semi-automatic P365 has a nice trigger with a 5.5-pound trigger pull and a quick reset for successive shots. It’s also very easy to take down and maintain, and we have the fire control system and easy-to-use takedown lever to thank for that. With regular maintenance, this pistol should serve you well for years.

This pistol is renowned for its reliability, though you should know it can be prone to issues with the hardware. However, that’s nothing a trip to the manufacturer can’t fix, but I just thought to throw that out there.

2. Ruger LCP II – Runner-Up

After the P365, the Ruger LCP II is the concealed carry gun I’d recommend for women. It’s based on another Ruger firearm, the Ruger LCP, which had a trigger closer to what you’d find on a revolver.

This single-action pistol is incredibly lightweight (weighing 10.6 oz unloaded), snagless despite being hammer-fired, and tiny (5.17 inches in overall length, 3.71 inches in height). In other words, as the lightest and smallest gun on this list, it’s everything you’d want from a concealed carry handgun.

The LCP II is aggressively textured to provide a comfortable grip on the gun. Unfortunately, the effect is somewhat dulled by the LCP II’s excessive recoil, which makes it buck a lot more than other striker-fired pistols.

If you’re concerned about safety features, the LCP II has them in spades. This gun has a long trigger pull with a short reset and internal safeties that lessen the likelihood of a misfire. The two make up for the gun’s lack of an external thumb safety and make carrying it safer.

Admittedly, the Ruger LCP II’s magazine capacity is modest. At 6+1 rounds, it doesn’t hold as many rounds as the P365 above. But it’s easy to operate and maintain. Women won’t face any issues racking the slide or taking the gun down.

3. Smith & Wesson M & P Shield EZ – Easiest to Operate

The Smith and Wesson M & P Shield EZ is renowned for being a concealed carry handgun suitable for arthritic hands. As such, it makes my list for being the easiest (or should that be “EZ-est”?) to operate.

This semi-automatic pistol features one of the easiest slides to rack, in addition to an easily operable grip and magazine safeties. Moreover, the magazine safety is reversible, meaning left-handed female shooters can manipulate it as easily as their right-handed peers.

Moreover, the Smith Wesson M & P Shield is fairly accurate, with a 3.6-inch barrel length that picks up some of the slack of the gun’s so-so sights. Though not as high as the Sig P365’s 10-round capacity, this gun has a higher-than-average magazine capacity of 8-rounds, and you get two magazines with the gun.

The M&P Shield also comes with safety features not present on other subcompact pistols, like a loaded-chamber indicator, which makes it easy to check whether the gun is loaded, and a manual safety. Also, this pistol doesn’t have too much recoil, thanks to an aggressive grip texture that provides a secure hold on the weapon.

You can take some pretty accurate shots with this gun, thanks to its three-dot sights. While the sights won’t work in low-light conditions, they’re excellent during the daytime, and you can replace them for aftermarket options that work at night. Also, you can adjust them for windage, providing improved accuracy.

Admittedly, the hinged trigger on the M&P Shield may be an acquired taste for some, but you’re not stuck with it and can swap it out for an aftermarket option. Other than that gripe, the M&P is a solid concealed carry handgun.

4. Glock G43X- Most Reliable Handgun

No gun roundup will be complete without mentioning a Glock firearm, and the Glock G43X makes my list for being the most reliable small handgun for women. Many Glock products are known to face minimal issues with feeding and misfires, and the G43X is an excellent example of the quality you can expect from the Austrian firearm manufacturer.

The 6.50-inch (overall) G43X features a 10-round mag capacity and comes with a polymer-coated magazine. You can upgrade the capacity to 15 rounds, and Shield Arms offers a nice all-metal magazine with such capacity as an aftermarket purchase. Also, loading and ejecting magazines from the firearm’s mag well is pretty smooth, and at 1.17lbs, it’s lightweight.

Ergonomically, the G43X feels great in hand, and a textured grip provides a secure handle on the gun when it’s fired. However, the texturing doesn’t help to keep the gun from getting slick from moisture. Also, Glock’s G43X isn’t the most modular concealed carry handgun available, as it doesn’t feature interchangeable backstraps or a beavertail to help with grip.

This handgun comes with some serviceable sights. You can choose between plastic sights (which are cheaper) and Ameriglo sights that come with tritium vials. The sights provide a decent-enough sight picture that helps to keep your shots on target, and they’re aided by the handgun’s 3.41-inch barrel length.

Regarding the G43X’s safety features, you get a trigger safety that prevents the gun from firing when engaged and a slide stop that prevents the gun from firing once it’s out of ammo. Speaking of the slide, this component features serrations that make racking it easy to do for even the weakest hands.

Thanks to two accessible takedown levers, it’s pretty easy to field strip the G43X, and it’s a very low-maintenance handgun. One thing to note, however, is this handgun comes in two colors: standard black and silver. The silver version gets dirty easily, so expect to clean it frequently if you go for that option.

5. Sig Sauer P238 – Best Sights

Look no further than the Sig Sauer P238 if you want a small handgun that provides accuracy at close or long range. This tiny gun (3.9-inch height5.5-inch overall length) has the best sights on this list.

The P238 is a well-put-together firearm that features an aluminum frame and stainless steel magazine. Moreover, its slide has a corrosion-resistant Nitron coat finish. Sure, all that metal means this isn’t the lightest gun on my list (at 15.2 ounces, unloaded), but it’s still lightweight compared to larger pistols.

As mentioned above, this gun’s best feature is its sights. Sig Sauer’ includes its Siglite night sights on the gun’s frame, full-sized three-dot sights that provide an accurate sight picture no matter the time of day. Although the P238 excels at hitting close-range targets, the sights provide an accurate shot at farther distances too.

Women shouldn’t have any issues pulling the P238’s seven-pound single-action trigger. Despite the weight of its pull, it breaks cleanly, and its reset is nice and short. And even though it’s a small gun, it has light recoil and handles follow-up shots with ease.

Regarding magazine capacity, the Sig P238 comes with a single-stack six-round magazine, with the option for an extended one that takes seven rounds. Admittedly, not the most generous capacity on this list, but manageable nonetheless.

Unfortunately, one area where the P238 falls short is with its safety mechanism. Engaging and disengaging the thumb safety is so challenging that I feel the gun would be better off without it.

6. Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 – Best Build Quality

The fact that I’ve included a second Smith & Wesson firearm on this list is a testament to the quality of the company’s products. Therefore, if you want a concealed carry weapon that’s put together with high-quality materials yet is affordable, then the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 is your best bet.

This pistol features a polymer frame and textured grip that keeps moisture and sweat off. Additionally, its stainless steel slide is corrosion-resistant stainless steel slide, meaning its less susceptible to weathering due to environmental factors like heat or cold. Altogether, the Bodyguard weighs 12 ounces, making it suitable for concealed carry use.

Additionally, it has excellent aesthetics. The Bodyguard features a snag-free design, which prevents it from getting caught on clothing when drawn from a pocket holster (for example). It’s also plenty accurate, thanks to its reasonably-sized sights.

If you need further encouragement, the M&P Bodyguard is popular with law enforcement agencies in America, whose personnel use it as a backup to their main full-sized pistol. I think it’s because the Bodyguard’s double-action trigger makes it shoot well, and the gun feeds on different types of ammo with little issue.

However, you don’t need to be a law enforcement professional to get good use out of this weapon. First-time firearm owners can carry this gun confidently without worrying about accidental discharges, as it comes with a thumb safety.

Unfortunately, due to its size, the Bodyguard comes with produces plenty of recoil when shot. That’s unsurprising given the gun’s dimensions include 5.2 inches in length and 4.3 inches in height.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Small Handgun for Women

When making a choice between small handguns for women, there are several factors you should consider to get the best bang for your buck. I go over each one below, and they include:


It’s impossible to talk about concealed-carry handgun considerations without mentioning size, which is why I’ve decided to get this one out of the way first. While small guns aren’t rated highly for their stopping power, they’re still better than being unarmed in a dangerous situation.

The concealed-carry handgun market is rife with pistols you can fit in a purse or wear in a holster under loose clothing, which is ideal if you don’t want to draw attention to the fact that you’re carrying. As such, I recommend aiming for a weapon small enough for daily concealed carry.


I mentioned earlier that compact handguns aren’t known for their stopping power, but that doesn’t apply to every pocket pistol. You’ll commonly come across tiny guns chambered in .380 and 9mm, and, with careful aim, each bullet type can sufficiently slow down or even immobilize an attacker.

The main difference between a 9mm caliber pocket gun and its .380 ACP counterpart is the former gun has a wider set of uses, including competitive shooting and personal protection. Put differently, of the two compact pistols, 9mm chambered guns are more flexible.


Even though one well-aimed bullet may be all you need to stop an assailant in their tracks, it wouldn’t hurt to have more bullets “just in case”. As the saying goes, “the more, the merrier”. For that reason, some of the best handguns for women feature a generous magazine capacity that makes them a perfect concealed carry weapon for self-defense.

Typically, guns offered in the concealed carry market have a 6+1 round capacity. However, some small handguns feature magazines that can hold as much as 15 rounds; they’re the ones I’d advise you to choose when shopping for a concealed carry weapon.


Whether you decide on a hammer or striker-fired pistol, ensure it’s got a reputation for reliability in the concealed carry world. A reliable pistol will make all the difference in a life-threatening situation, and the best concealed carry handguns for women won’t jam repeatedly or refuse to feed on good quality rounds.

Safety Features

Many conceal carry handguns lack manual safety, as their size means they have to exclude the feature to make space for other essential components. However, because the likelihood of accidental misfires increases when a gun lacks a safety, a gun manufacturer has to find other ways to make their concealed carry weapon safe for use.

As such, some of the best handguns for women come with a grip safety, trigger guard, and a heavier trigger pull, with all of the above features helping to minimize the risk of a misfire.


Aside from the ease of concealment they provide, the main draw of concealed carry guns is their portability. These guns are so small it’s easy to forget you have them on you, with some small enough to fit in a clutch purse. You can attribute their portability to their weight, which makes them more conceal-carry-friendly than a heavier gun.


Guns with too much recoil aren’t fun for anyone, and, unfortunately, concealed carry weapons tend to have plenty due to their size and smaller barrel length.

When a pistol produces a smaller amount of recoil, it makes it easier to control during firing. Additionally, you can follow up on shots more precisely and avoid injuries from slide bite. As such, it’s a good idea to choose a gun that has excellent recoil management or less recoil.


Although aesthetics aren’t a major priority, they still matter to some degree. As has already been mentioned, most small weapons leave off any inessential components that might snag on clothing. However, other components like textured grips serve the purpose of making the gun comfortable to carry and hold.

Moreover, some firearms come in different colors, which add to their appeal, while others are highly customizable with aftermarket accessories.


Self-defense shouldn’t cost the Earth, so you should consider the concealed carry firearm’s price when making a purchasing decision. Most of the weapons mentioned in my list are pretty affordable. If you come across a pricey weapon, ensure that the quality of materials used to manufacture it makes up for its price tag.

Finally, as with any product, more expensive doesn’t necessarily entail higher quality. Paying attention to other factors like the firearm’s reliability, magazine capacity, etc., should help to determine whether it’s worth the asking price.


The firearms mentioned above are among the best concealed-carry handguns for women, and, in my opinion, the Sig Sauer P365 takes the cake. Not only is the P365 the right size for female shooters (being easily concealable in a purse or ankle holster), but it’s also a reliable handgun that won’t disappoint when used as a self-defense weapon.

Additionally, its lightweight, generous magazine capacity, smooth trigger pull, and excellent sights make this a compact handgun you wouldn’t want to pass up on.