6 DA/SA Subcompact Service Pistols for Concealed-Carry

6 da-sa subcompacts for concealed-carry subcompact

Double-action, single-action; DA/SA. It’s not for everyone. It’s not mainstream and it has its critics. But a lot of people won’t have it any other way.

It’s simple: in single-action these handguns have better triggers than just about any factory striker-fired service pistol. Trigger control is important in self-defense situations–no one will ever say that “shot placement is sort of unimportant”–and a good trigger goes a long way to ensuring good shot placement.

The trade-off is that DA/SA guns take more training to use well. Carrying hammer down in double-action means having to learn two trigger pulls and carrying cocked-and-locked means practicing disabling the safety on the draw.

It’s a trade that many shooters are willing to make for the benefits of single-action triggers.

See Also: 6 Polymer Double Action, Single Action Pistols for Every Day Carry

Sharing controls, features, and often parts including magazines with their larger counterparts, subcompacts are the perfect companion for anyone who owns compact or full-size service pistol for protection.

If you keep a DA/SA pistol at home for self-defense or put in a lot of trigger time with one at the range, it makes a lot of sense to get a DA/SA pistol for concealed carry, too.

We’ve put together a shortlist of double-stacks that should be on everyone’s radar if they’re considering a DA/SA subcompact service pistol for concealed carry. These aren’t in ranking order–these all bring different features to the table–and should each be given special consideration.


SIG is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most successful manufacturers of hammer-fired service pistols. Their user-friendly decocker system and simple takedown procedure have earned them business around the world with police and military users and private shooters alike.

But it was only a few years ago that SIG introduced the P224, the subcompact version of their “Classic” P-series, with a shortened slide, barrel and grip.

The P224 had a bit of a slow start, but today it’s produced in multiple configurations in 9mm Luger, .40 S&W and .357 SIG. In 9mm it has a solid 12+1 capacity with extended 15-round magazines available for a full four-finger grip.

Along with the new models, SIG offers the P224 with their updated E2 grips, which are smaller and make the P224 easier for a lot of shooters to handle.

The P224 is priced in-line with other P-series SIG pistols, in the $750 to $900 range.

Shop for P224 pistols at GunsAmerica.com: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=p224

CZ 2075 RAMI cz-usa-cz-2075-rami-bd1 rami subcompact

For years CZ has been a shining star in the DA/SA sky. A few years ago people may have called them underrated or too-often-overlooked, but that’s all history for the company now. Today CZ gets the respect they deserve and their products move.

That’s especially true for some of their more uncommon models like the RAMI. Designed from the ground up for concealed-carry the RAMI is dehorned and lightened, with low-profile controls including the safety and slide lever on the standard model.

It even has minimalist grips that make the already slender frame even smaller in the hand and on the waist–the RAMI is one of the smallest double-stack subcompacts out there; it even makes some polymer pistols look beefy by comparison.

The RAMI is currently offered in two models, the original 2075 RAMI with a thumb safety and the 2075 RAMI BD with a decocker. The safety model is offered in 9mm and .40 S&W where the decocker model is strictly 9mm.

In 9mm the RAMI holds 10+1 with flush magazines and 14+1 with the included extended spare magazine.

RAMI pistols are priced in the middle of the pack, around $550, give or take. Availability can be unpredictable, so if you want a RAMI, don’t wait too long; they sell out frequently.

Shop for RAMI pistols at GunsAmerica.com: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=rami

H&K P30SKP30SKS-V3-Left-WEB p30sk subcompact

The P30 is Heckler & Koch’s improved hammer-fired handgun, a successor to the USP and P2000. Like those pistols the P30 is offered with different size and trigger options, and the P30SK is the subcompact version for backup and concealed-carry.

It’s an ambidextrous pistol with mirrored controls on both sides including long slide stop levers and paddle magazine release levers. Depending on the trigger type the P30SK also has ambidextrous safety levers.

In addition to having easy-to-use controls the P30SK maintains the excellent ergonomics of the full-size models. These pistols come with 9 interchangeable grip panels and backstraps for a fully-customizable grip.

The P30’s grip texture is also very nice, providing a lot of traction without getting overly aggressive, making it comfortable to carry all day long.

A relatively new pistol the P30SK is only chambered for 9mm for now. With flush magazines it has a standard capacity of 10+1.

Depending on the package the P30SK starts around $600 and for a little more is sold with an LE package including three magazines and night sights. The LE package can be hard to find but it adds a lot of value.

Shop for pistols at GunsAmerica.com: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=p30sk

Beretta PX4 Storm SCpx4stormsubcompact_zoom003 beretta px4 storm subcompact

The PX4 Storm series is an updated, overhauled take on the ’90s-era Beretta 8000. The Storm uses a polymer frame to save weight and has a completely redesigned slide shape that makes it great for concealed-carry.

The rear of the slide is rounded off and it has a small combat-style hammer to minimize printing while carrying. The grip comes with three interchangeable backstraps for a semi-custom fit.

The PX4 series uses a decocker safety that can be converted to a miniminalist decocker-only configuration that’s more snag-resistant than the ambidextrous safety levers.

Beretta makes PX4 subcompacts in 9mm and .40 S&W which hold 13+1 and 10+1 respectively. Beretta also offers magazine adapters to use full-size PX4 magazines which hold 17 rounds and 14 rounds of each.

The PX4 series is approachably-priced starting at around $450 to $500. Being a bit older and more established than some of these subcompacts it has a large amount of aftermarket support, making it easy to find holsters and accessories.

Shop for PX4 pistols at GunsAmerica.com: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=px4

Bersa Thunder Ultra Compact Probersa thunder ultra compact pro subcompact .45 acp

Bersa does a lot more than just make .380s. Their Thunder Ultra Compact Pro series is packed with options in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP with a set of features not common to guns in that price range.

They’re lefty-friendly pistols with ambidextrous decocker safeties and slide release levers and have reversible magazine catches. The Ultra Compact Pro series are somewhat larger DA/SA subcompacts but they also have full four-finger grips. The pistols provide full four-finger support thanks to extended floorplates for improved control.

The Ultra Compact series has been around for some time and has a solid track record and has a solid amount of aftermarket support as well, thanks to the popularity of the Bersa brand in general. And they take SIG-type sights opening the door to a lot of sight options.

Bersa pistols in general have smooth, light triggers and the Thunder Ultra Compact Pro pistols are true to form. The 9mm model has a standard capacity of 13+1, the .40, 10+1 and the .45 7+1. Starting in the low $400 range they’re priced right–although you don’t have to be on a budget to appreciate these guns.

Shop for Thunder Pro pistols at GunsAmerica.com: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=thunder%20pro

Sphinx SDP Subcompact Alpha sphinx sdp subcompact alpha

Sphinx pistols have been creeping onto the American scene for a few years now. Developed for military, police and special forces these service pistols were until recently built by hand to demanding specifications, including high accuracy requirements.

The SDP series is the Sphinx Systems’ first mass-produced product, designed to make them more affordable to the general public. They are still built to high standards and have the fit and finish of semi-custom production guns with match components and tuned and polished triggers.

Mechanically they’re similar to the CZ pattern, but Sphinx takes things to new heights with their sleek, snag-free design and swept controls. The SDP Subcompact features a hybrid frame with an alloy subframe and a polymer grip module that has a medium grip texture and no accessory rail for a snag-free draw.

It’s a DA/SA decocker pistol with ambidextrous decocker levers and a bobbed hammer and beavertail for improved concealment. Like the decocker levers the sights are swept and maintain a low profile.

The cutting edge sports a price premium, though. The Sphinx SDP Subcompact starts at around $900 to $1,000 and parts and accessories are harder to come by. Fortunately magazines can be purchased directly from Kriss USA and holster support is getting stronger every day.

Shop for Sphinx SDP pistols at GunsAmerica.com: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=sdp

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 43 comments… add one }
  • Donald Kendrick December 31, 2019, 8:46 am

    Anyone who thinks it takes more time to master a single/double action trigger, than a dao trigger, is not worth listening to! Max you should consider becoming a politician!

    • Mike April 13, 2020, 3:32 pm

      Every professional shooting instructor will tell you that da/sa guns require more training. This is common sense knowledge in the gun world, no professional shooter would ever debate this. There is 2 different trigger pulls you have to train for with da/sa guns. In addition you also need to train how to disengage the saftey on your draw. None of these are factors with a striker fired gun. You need to really spend some time talking to professional shooter before you comment.

      • JGrandt April 17, 2020, 5:16 pm

        No Da/sa Guns I’ve owned or used came with a safety that you needed to disengage upon drawing. The Rami with a safety does, but there is a decocker version with no safety. Berettas have a decocker with a safety but you really decock and then turn off the safety while carrying it in DA. It’s true there are two different trigger pulls. I do agree that it takes more training. When you take that first heavy trigger pull, every subsequent pull is super light and the first SA pull after the initial reset can be a bit alarming for a beginner.

      • Franco April 21, 2020, 1:21 pm

        Not every professional, but even if true, are professionals never wrong?

        Most professionals with less of an ego, would also tell you to find a gun that fits you, both in ergonomics, price and your mindset. The gun you practice with is better than a superior gun you never practice with.
        Most professionals will tell you need extra training to ensure you are safe with a striker fired gun with no safety or the long DA pull or no visible means to see the gun is cocked, such as a Glock. Those types of guns have been proven to have non planned discharges from holstering or unholstering or when unwanted hands touch the gun so training of good safety techniques are even more critical in those guns. The glock trigger safety is not much at all, as long as the pull is consistent, such as from a shirt tail, zipper, a stick, or tiny little hands, the gun will go boom. The DA/SA has the long heavy pull as a means of extra safety, but some also have safeties and de-cockers. To me, the DA/SA takes DIFFERENT training than the striker fired SA gun. If your gun has no safety, takes different training than one that has a safety or de-cocker, a gun that is striker fired takes different training than a hammer fired .

      • Funkaholic March 25, 2021, 3:10 pm

        Every dopey instructor I have ever seen seems to carry a Glock, that doesn’t give me much confidence in their advice. No Glock fanboy should comment, you are all one stupid move away from living with 9 toes.

  • Diddy August 21, 2019, 12:48 pm

    The Springfield XDE is a really nice DA/SA carry pistol too. Ive put countless rounds down range and not a single hiccup.

  • D Dunaway December 12, 2017, 5:55 pm

    wondering why the Walther P99c doesn’t make the cut?

  • Greg July 30, 2017, 3:16 am

    Has Kris resolved the TERRIBLE reliability issues withe the subcompact Sphinx? I owned one for a month, bought it brand new. Few guns jam as much as mine did with 5-6 different types of quality ammo. The only thing it could cycle halfway decent was gold dots. Beautiful engineering, felt good in the hand, great CC size for double stack but a real jamamatic! I’ll stick with my Sig’s and HK’s. Thank you for a nice article.

  • Stan July 19, 2017, 9:16 pm

    This is a very well chosen list and all very high quality choices. Thank you. I’ve obsessed about adding each one of these manufacturers to my collection I dont yet have. Quick question. I own HK, CZ and Bersa (the CZ still my favorite) in larger format and can attest to their quality and inclusion but why no Walther option? Definitely would have chosen that over Bersa but probably you may be trying to cover wider price points. The tried and trusted PPK (older real ppk) remains my EDC.

  • Jess July 9, 2017, 2:26 am

    I’m a big fan of sa/da pistols. It’s crazy to me there is NO single stack sa/da 9mm pistol currently in production. You think someone would notice that huge gap in the market. For ccw width is often the most important, not length.

    • Stan July 19, 2017, 9:25 pm

      Couldn’t agree more! Thats why i just questioned a missing Walther PPK in this list.

    • Jim August 6, 2017, 10:32 pm

      Springfield has their new XD-E, SA/DA 9mm. Single stack.


    • Brent Kauser December 7, 2019, 1:57 pm

      Springfield XDE

    • William Burke Wills II April 15, 2020, 4:37 am

      Something along the lines of A sig p365XL s/d with decocker.would be nice.

    • Jim August 18, 2021, 5:17 pm

      I emailed the CEO of Ruger and asked him if Ruger could sell a DA/SA (with decocker) version of the EC9S. The EC9S is a delight to pocket carry — very simple, plain-vanilla, very light-weight and thin. You almost forget you are carrying it, it is so lightweight and thin.

  • John Motte April 4, 2017, 5:47 pm

    I love most compacts and subcompacts but my favorite pistols are the CZs. S&W has more than one but there is one I want to try. The S&W M&P PCWith ported barrel and slide. It feels so good but until I try it I want declare it good or just so so. I’m going to be honest I just love nearly all weapons. If I could find one I shot competitively I could go ahead and die. The pistol was a colt series 70, mark iv, GOLD CUP. It shot like it had its own brain. I miss it.

  • Steve December 10, 2016, 1:36 am

    PT111 and PT140 should be included in this group of firearms. What gives?

  • Vito Monopoli December 8, 2016, 4:31 am

    Sorry, but I don’t think that any pistol with an exposed hammer makes a good concealed-carry gun.

  • Dan December 7, 2016, 4:06 pm

    A Bersa? Service grade? Really?

    • Uncle Rob January 26, 2019, 1:27 pm

      Yes, because they’re excellent guns

  • Steph December 5, 2016, 1:49 pm

    How come you didn’t list my favorite handgun?

  • Larry December 5, 2016, 10:03 am

    My everyday CC is a Beretta Storm sub compact in 40 caliber. It’s been my gun of choice for the past 5 years. It is accurate & the recoil is not bad for a gun that I can & do carry in a sheath in my front pocket. It’s a fine weapon. You should all check it out before buying something else.

    • Jim August 18, 2021, 5:21 pm

      I emailed the CEO of Ruger and asked him if Ruger could sell a DA/SA (with decocker) version of the EC9S. The EC9S is a delight to pocket carry — very simple, plain-vanilla, very light-weight and thin. You almost forget you are carrying it, it is so lightweight and thin.

    • Jim August 18, 2021, 5:24 pm

      I have a Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact in 9mm. I really like this gun. But it is a bit heavy to pocket carry, in my opinion. Perhaps if I didn’t carry it fully loaded…

      I had to do three things to make it a great gun: (1) clean the barrel really well to remove the goo that Beretta coats the barrel with; (2) use a good grease (not oil) for the slide; (3) replace the recoil spring and plastic guide rod with a recoil spring that has a stainless steel guide rod.

  • Marla Selby December 5, 2016, 9:09 am

    I still prefer my Taurus hammerless 2&1/2 in. .38 special. Only carries a 5 round cylinder but if I can’t hit my target with 5 shots I got no business carrying it!

  • Cyrus December 5, 2016, 8:17 am

    You could have also added the HK45c. I have it and it is DA/SA, highly concealable, extremely accurate, and fires 45 cal knock down. That said – you will have to pay the premium for this outstanding gun!

    • Pseudo December 5, 2016, 9:04 am

      Cyrus, I agree with you, I use to carry the Kimber Ultra Carry II and I switched to the HK 45 Compact. As they say “each their own!” I like the decocker feature and the manual safety. I also went to the ten round magazine with not much difference in concealability.
      Even though I use Kydec holsters and the Kimber is SA and it has a thumb safety, it is just hard to get use to the hammer staying cocked back even with the spur for myself with conceal carry.
      So before anyone wants to lament back I have already stated “each their own,” so you do your thing and I will do mind

  • Sunnie Sysomkham December 1, 2016, 1:41 am

    I’ve viewed a few lists in my search for the ideal CCW. I have what is now to be my favorite carry firearm that I believe to be very fitting to my needs. The CZ 75 D PCR. Compact Czs are very underestimated when it comes to being considered cc worthy. Maybe now with the new compacts being introduced into circulation this may change.

    Nice list, didn’t go mainstream and is actually right around my alley for what I find as my kind of guns.

  • RICHARD S JOHNSON October 17, 2016, 6:28 pm

    no mention of how thick these pistols are. each of them is too fat to easily conceal in hot weather.

    • Larry December 5, 2016, 10:07 am

      My 40 caliber Beretta Storm sub compact goes in a sheath “holster” inside my jeans or shorts RF pocket! With a t shirt, shorts & sandals, you can’t tell that I am armed at all. Check it out.

    • Jess July 9, 2017, 2:29 am

      Sadlt, there are no thinner sa/da 9mm pistols in current production.

      • Jos October 1, 2017, 9:19 pm

        Jess, I thought the same until seeing a previous post on this article. Check out the XD-E 3.3″ SINGLE STACK 9MM!

    • Jim August 18, 2021, 5:28 pm

      Agreed. That’s why I prefer to carry a single stack gun. My choice is the Ruger EC9S. Once I figure out how to conceal carry a spare magazine, I’ll have 15 rounds total, which is a good amount.

  • Magic Rooster May 14, 2016, 7:45 pm

    The only semi auto I own that isn’t DA/SA is a S&W Bodyguard in .380. It is almost perfect for EDC. But past it, I don’t own anything else that isn’t DA/SA. I guess Sig got me spoiled with the Mk25 P226 (9mm) and my P227 (45).

  • Rick May 3, 2016, 11:05 am

    Where’s Taurus? I’ve been carrying my 24/7 and millennium pro for years and have never had a problem with either one.

    • Ken December 5, 2016, 7:48 am

      Rick, The article was about DA/SA Hammer fired pistols. All the new Taurus pistols are striker fired I believe.

  • Fireworx62 May 2, 2016, 4:31 pm

    I have a .380 Makarov too. I agree with everything you typed 100%. Far too much focus on pushing these over priced & over powered gadget guns these days, Especially these cheapo plastic framed, Strike Fired Widow Makers that some of these Companies are pushing. 9mm Parabellum or a .40 S&W in these small compacts is too much gun to shoot effectively for about 95% of the population out there. Makarovs’ are simple & safe to handle, accurate as I can be. I routinely center punch blue rocks out to 40 yards with mine… With 95 grain XTP ammo, inside of 20 yards, they have all the knock down you will ever need. They are easy to disassemble & reassemble for cleaning. With the Hammer Drop Safety, they are about as safe as you can make Automatic. Mine field strips in about 10 seconds down to 3 basic parts. Smoothest trigger pull I’ve ever seen in a DA Auto. Fully loaded, it weighs in at 38 oz. AND IT HAS A STEEL FRAME… To top it all off, I purchased mine about 15 years ago for $95.00 out of Shotgun News.. Barrel kit was another $50.00. Added a Pierce Grip & 3-dot glo-sight for a few more $$’s. My only knock on the Mak is magazine capacity. Would be nice to have a few more bullets in the box. I keep waiting for somebody to come up with an extended magazine for them…That being said, you Center Mass or knee cap someone with a 95 grain Hornady XTP or a Speer Gold Dot equivalent and they are going down….. Period

  • Larry May 2, 2016, 2:13 pm

    I have pocket carried my 40 caliber PX4 Storm sub compact from Beretta for 5 years. It is a wonderfully accurate gun that eats every type of ammo I feed it & I cannot imagine trading in for something else. I highly recommend that you give it a test run before buying something else.

    • Matt December 5, 2016, 7:21 am

      I also have the PM Storm in 40cal. It is a very nice carry gun that is extremely accurate. I put mine on a bench to sight in a laser and at 10 yards it cut one ragged whole with cheap Tula ammo.
      If you miss with this gun it’s your fault.
      If your looking for a quality gun at a good price I would suggest you check these Beretta Storms out and see if they fit your hand.

    • Cyrus December 5, 2016, 8:12 am

      I bought the PX4 Storm sub compact in 9mm for my wife after she completed the NRA course and got her CCP. Not a penny wasted and she loves this gun. I actually love firing it as well. Very accurate.

  • Keith Baker May 2, 2016, 1:18 pm

    Interesting choices on this list. It would be nice to see this same premise applied to after market or used platforms. Ya know the one’s average people can actually afford? My personal choice is a rebarreled Makarov. (9mm Mak to .380 acp). A more *bullet proof* S/A-DA compact has never been built. I did rebarrell myself in my shop in about an hour all those years ago. Accurate, fast & the best trigger pull I’ve ever seen on a D/A semiautomatic.

    • jimbob December 5, 2016, 9:01 am

      Agreed…my choice is 3rd Gen S&W, specifically 3913/3914, but that is just me.

      • David December 5, 2016, 2:52 pm

        Agree that the S&W 3913 is a great carry gun. Easy to conceal and tack-driver accurate.

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