I get a lot of questions during training about what is the best compact handgun for CCW. The truth is there are a lot of quality firearms in this category now but what is best depends on, well, you. That’s not a dodge; it’s an inconvenient fact. Sure as I say Brand X in a certain caliber or millimeter is best someone will try it and find it lacking in some regard based on their hand size, their concealment method, or ability to shoot well.

I’ve compiled some basic measurements on a sampling of popular models, not necessarily recommending any of them but to help compare apples to apples and so on.

I also did the math for you using the Reed Ergo-Power Ratio tool figuring the Section A and B for each of them. Don’t know what that means? Hey, go read the article on this site called Reed Ergo-Power Ratio Tool. Okay, for now I’ll bail you out a little. Section A is caliber, scoring your handgun 1-5 favoring major calibers. A 45 is 5, a 40 is 4, etc. Section B is capacity favoring higher capacity and thus balancing A out by favoring smaller bores. C and D are shooting sections to assess your Recoil Management and Practical Accuracy. Score your weapon in these four sections for up to 20 points.

Here are some compact handgun stats including the REPR tool A and B scores.

** 9/40 Subcompacts**

Model | BBL” | Cal | Mag Cap | Width / Height / Length | Empty Weight Oz | REPR A/B |

M&P Shield | 3.1 | 9/40 | 8/7 | 0.95x 4.6x 6.1 | 19.0 | 3/ 4(9) & 4/3(40) |

Glock G26/27 | 3.46 | 9/40 | 10/9 | 1.18x 4.17x 6.29 | 21.7 | 3/ 4(9) & 4/4(40) |

Beretta Nano | 3.07 | 9 | 6 | 0.90x 4.17x 5.63 | 17.7 | 3/ 3 |

Kahr PM 9/40 | 3.1 | 9/40 | 7/6 | 0.94x 4.0x 5.47 | 14/15.8 | 3/ 3(9) & 4/3(40) |

Ruger LC9 | 3.12 | 9 | 7 | 0.90x 4.5x 6.0 | 17.1 | 3/ 3 |

Keltec PF-9 | 3.1 | 9 | 7 | 0.88x 4.3x 5.85 | 12.7 | 3/ 3 |

Springfield XDS | 3.3 | 9/45 | 7/5 | 1.0x 4.4x 6.3 | 23/21 | 3/3(9) & 5/2(45) |

**380 Subcompacts**

Model | BBL” | Cal | Mag Cap | Width / Height / Length | Empty Weight Oz | REPR A/B |

Kahr CW380 | 2.58 | 380 | 6 | 0.75x 3.9x 4.96 | 10.2 | 2/3 |

Glock G42 | 3.25 | 380 | 6 | 0.94x 4.13x 5.94 | 13.76 | 2/3 |

Walther PPK | 3.3 | 380 | 6 | 1.2x 4.3x 6.1 | 23.5 | 2/3 |

Ruger LCP | 2.75 | 380 | 6 | 0.82x 3.6x 5.16 | 9.4 | 2/3 |

Keltec P-3AT | 2.7 | 380 | 6 | 0.77x 3.5x 5.2 | 8.3 | 2/3 |

**38 Special Compact Revolvers**

Model | BBL” | Cal | Mag Cap | Width / Height / Length | Empty Weight Oz | REPR A/B |

S&W 6/442 Centennial | 1.8 | 38+P | 5 | 1.3x 4.2x 6.31 | 15.0 | 3/ 2 |

S&W 638 Bodyguard | 1.8 | 38+P | 5 | 1.3x 4.2x 6.31 | 15.2 | 3/ 2 |

Ruger LCR | 1.87 | 38+P | 5 | 1.28x 4.5x 6.38 | 13.5 | 3/ 2 |

Ruger SP101 | 2.25 | 38+P | 5 | 1.35x 4.5x 7.2 | 26.0 | 3/ 2 |

Now, before anyone sounds off that a 38+P S&W Snubbie scores the same as a Kel Tec 380, remember this is just half the formula and actually shooting the gun and ammo to be used comes next. In Section C you measure Recoil Management by firing a quick pair into a 3×5” index card at 7 yards. Not so simple with a micro, bump-sighted, no handled, featherweight wallet gun, eh? Fired in two seconds or less from the ready with good solid hits grants you a ‘5’ in this section, within 3 seconds a ‘4’ and so on.

Section D is Practical Accuracy measured by firing 5 slow, aimed shots into another 3×5” index card from the seven with a maximum time limit of 15 seconds or only 3 seconds per shot. No pausing five seconds during the string. Firing faster is okay but no slower than 3 seconds per, or over 15 seconds total. All shots have to be fully in. Score a ‘5’ for 5 shots, a ‘4’ for 4, and so on.

This ratio tool evens the playing field but it of course is up to you to fairly score yourself. Also, there is no defined minimum score. You have to do the risk analysis and decide for yourself (and your family) how low do you go before not trusting a specific weapon and ammo to be accurate enough, powerful enough, or fast enough for personal defense. Obviously training can mean a difference upward but age and injury can also move the scores downward. Repeat often.

It’s a toy, but hopefully useful. Let me hear back from you.