8 New CCW Guns Under $500

posted on September 11, 2018

The market for defensive carry handguns has grown over the last two years, and firearms manufacturers have responded by offering semiautomatic pistols and revolvers that are lighter, smaller and packed with user-friendly features at affordable price points. If you’re thinking about purchasing a new carry gun, here are eight of the best new options from the last two years. 

1. Ruger EC9s
Ruger’s EC9s weighs just 17.2 ounces and it is chambered, as the name suggests, in 9mm. This striker-fired pistol comes with an easy-to-rack slide that is through-hardened for durability, a comfortable glass-filled nylon grip and a single 7-round magazine with a finger grip extension floorplate. The sights are machined directly to the slide and each of these pistols comes with an integrated trigger safety, manual safety, magazine disconnect (so the gun can’t be fired without the magazine in place), and an inspection port that allows you to visually inspect whether or not there’s a round in the chamber. It’s a purpose-built concealed carry gun at a very reasonable price point. $299. Ruger.com

2. Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ

The Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ packs a number of user-friendly features into a compact .380 ACP carry pistol package. The slide is easy to operate, the trigger is surprisingly crisp, and the two included 8-round magazines are easy to load (which means no more sore thumbs). The white dot rear sight is windage adjustable; takedown is simple and does not require the trigger to be pulled. There’s an optional manual safety, grip safety (so that the pistol must be gripped before firing), and a reversible magazine release for right- or left-handed shooters. The Tactile Loaded Chamber Indicator (TLCI) offers a visual and tactile indicator that there is a load in the chamber, and the durable Armornite finish withstands the abuses of daily carry. At 18.5 ounces it’s also very light. $399. Smith-wesson.com

3. Taurus UL 856

Many CCW permit holders prefer the simplicity and reliability of a revolver, and if you’re a fan of defensive wheelguns then the Taurus UL 856 is a great option. Chambered in .38 Special, the UL 856 weighs 22 ounces and with its 2-inch barrel it measures just over 6.5 inches in total length, making it an easy gun to conceal. The SA/DA sign has an exposed hammer so that the pistol can be fired in either single action or double action mode, and the soft rubber grip is contoured and textured to take the sting out of recoil. The 856’s cylinder holds six rounds—one more than many competing compact revolvers—and sights are basic but durable and functional. $329. Taurususa.com 

4. Kahr CT380 Tungsten

Part of Kahr’s Value Series, the CT380 Tungsten is chambered in .380 ACP and features Kahr’s trigger-cocking double-action-only (DAO) design. Racking the slide partially cocks the gun, and pulling the trigger completes cocking and fires the pistol...a very safe and reliable setup. The Tungsten version combines a lightweight black polymer frame and a stainless steel slide with a stylish Tungsten Cerakote finish, so the gun will hold up well to the abuses of daily carry. The slide is easy to manipulate, the sights are easy to see and can be adjusted for windage (left and right), and the pistol weighs just 11.4 ounces unloaded. With a .75-inch-wide slide and an overall length of just 5.52 inches, this is one of the easiest .380 carry pistols to conceal. $419. Shopkahrfirearmsgroup.com 


Every SCCY CPX-3 features the Roebuck Quad Lock design that locks the barrel to the slide in four places for improved accuracy from the compact .380 carry gun. In addition, the SCCY CPX-3 is equipped with a smooth DAO trigger pull and integral hammer, Zytel polymer grips in a variety of colors (including, but not limited to, orange, purple, Flat Dark Earth (FDE) and “SCCY Blue”), and a machined aircraft-grade aluminum alloy slide with either a natural stainless or black nitride finish. Unlike most competing pocket .380s, the SCCY comes with two 10-round magazines with finger extensions and replaceable flat base pads for maximum concealability. Despite its impressive capacity this is a very compact .380, weighing just 15 ounces and measuring 5.7 inches long. $349.99. sccy.com  

6. Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2

I cheated a little on this one. With fiber optic sights the XD-S 9mm has a suggested retail price of $524, but odds are you’ll find these guns for sale under $500. Plus, the XD-S Mod.2 is loaded with great features like a grip safety, steel slide and barrel, and a Melonite finish that’s ultra-durable. Springfield ships these pistols with a 7-round magazine with a finger extension and a 9-round extended magazine and optional flat base plates. At just 21.5 ounces and 6.3 inches long, you’ll have no problem concealing this single-stack 9mm even under light clothing. $524. Springfield-armory.com

7. CZ-USA P-10 C

The CZ P-10 C slides just under the $500 threshold, but this is another great carry gun option. It’s a double-stack 9mm and holds 15 rounds in the magazine, but it isn’t oversized for concealed carry. Unloaded, this pistol weighs 26 ounces and measures 7.3 inches long. Part of the weight savings comes thanks to a fiber-reinforced polymer grip that offers a comfortable grip with plenty of control. This pistol offers one of the best triggers of any striker-fired pistol on the market, and takedown is fast and simple. It offers high a magazine capacity and good accuracy so long as you don’t mind a bit of extra size compared to the other guns on the list. $499. Cz-usa.com

8. Charter Arms Undercover Hi-Polish stainless

Most five-shot .38 carry revolvers are very austere, but the Undercover Hi-Polish comes with a high-gloss finish and stylish and comfortable wood grips. This DA/SA revolver comes with an exposed hammer with a generous spur for easy single action firing, and the short 2-inch barrel makes this an easy pistol to conceal. Loading, cleaning and routine maintenance are simple and, like Charter’s other revolvers, the Undercover Hi-Polish is 100 percent American made and manufactured. Unloaded weight is 16 ounces. $396. Charterfirearms.com 


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