The Best Micro Compacts On the Market

Concealed carry guns follow an interesting timeline, especially in the modern era. We’ve gone from subcompacts like the Glock 26 to the pocket pistols like the S&W Bodyguard to the single stack nine craze. These days the gun genre of choice for concealed carry is the micro compact. Micro compacts are defined as semi-automatic pistols that use a magazine combining elements of a single-stack design with a double-stack design.

This creates a short but very efficient magazine. This gives shooters a weapon that holds at least ten rounds but is essentially the size of a single-stack firearm. These micro-compact pistols dominate the market, and today, we are going to look at the top five currently on the market.

SIG P365X

The SIG P365 started the Micro Compact genre and remained the top dog in the micro compact family. It’s a huge seller to this day and has expanded into a family of firearms. From the less micro compact XL and Macro to the ultra pocketable SAS. Somewhere in the middle sits the best model, which is the P365X. SIG found the perfect compromise with the P365X.

Sig Sauer P365X side-view

The P365X features a P365 length slide and barrel on an XL frame. It’s a bit bigger in the frame but is super comfortable in your hand. The slightly longer frame makes reloads faster and adds greater control over the gun. The P365X features an optic cut, and it’s the first P365 standard slide to feature an optic cut.

The P365X uses 12-round magazine stock and can function with the extended 15-round magazines and even the mighty 17-round Macro magazines. This model of the P365X delivers the right combination of size, capacity, and features to make it one of the best carry pistols on the market.

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Springfield Hellcat

The Hellcat does a lot right, and it’s what I wish the Xd line would transform into. The Hellcat provides a micro compact with impressive 11, 13, and 15-round magazine options. This little gun comes from the factory with an 11 and 13-round magazine that makes it easier to pick which capacity you prefer. The Hellcat also comes in an OSP model with a red dot cut which was a smart move for the little gun. No one likes a short sight radius, and a red dot eliminates any kind of sight radius.

Springfield concealed carry firearm the  Hellcat

The Hellcat series comes with outstanding ergonomics that greet your hand happily. The texture is perfect for a good grip without the texture rubbing your side as you try to exist in the world. The magazine release is nice and tall and perfectly easy to engage. The trigger is nice, smooth, and crisp, and the sights are some of my favorites.

At the range, the little gun works extremely well. It’s super easy to shoot. It’s accurate, small, and packs a punch. The Hellcat was the first competitor for the P365, and it provided strong competition and still does. Much like the SIG, the Hellcat is now a family of firearms.

Ruger LCP Max

The Ruger LCP Max does for pocket pistols what the P365 did for single stack 9mms. It made them irrelevant. Well, it made the .380 ACP pocket pistol irrelevant. The LCP Max found a way to fit ten rounds into a gun that’s only a hair bigger than the standard LCP. This gun slides easily into your pocket and gives you a lot of firepower for a pocket pistol. If you are taking the pocket pistol route, then more ammo is better than less ammo.

Ruger LCP Max side-view

I also dig the fact that Ruger made a big change to the LCP sights. They put good sights on the gun for a change. Easily swappable sights to give you an edge when you are already shooting a small gun with a short sight radius. The LCP MAX packs a little punch in the small gun world.

The downside is the punch to your hand. Like most pocket-sized .380s, it can be rougher on the recoil side, and this makes training unpleasant to a degree. If you can get through the recoil, and train yourself to shoot the little gun well, then you have a mighty nice option for a pocket .380. The LCP Max that more can feel like less.

S&W CSX

Striker-fired polymer frames rule, but that doesn’t mean I can’t lament them. I like a metal-framed, hammer-fired gun. I prefer DA/SA, but I’ll take an SAO design. S&W delivered that with their surprise CSX. The<a href=”http://CSX“> CSX or Chief Special X came out alongside the Shield Plus and was a bit of a surprise. The CSX offers shooters a tiny gun with ten round capacity and a 1911-inspired design.

Smith & Wesson Chief Special X side-view

The inspiration is mostly the operating system, the SAO design, and manual safety. Other than that, the CSX is a bit different. It’s a one-piece frame with polymer grip inserts. It’s a lightweight little gun that S&W is using to harken back to their famed Chief Special revolver. The little gun makes a great M1911 impression while packing more ammo than a full-sized Government model.

My biggest complaint would be the trigger. It’s far from bad, but not as nice as you expect from a 1911-style SAO design. It’s a bit stiff and spongy, but maybe that’s just an M&P tradition at this point. I do like how easy the little gun carries and enjoy the fact it’s very easy to shoot well for such a little gun. It’s a classic style with some modern flair that amounts to a handy, easy-shooting, and accurate little pistol.

Wilson Combat SFX9 3.25 Inch

The SFX9 series is a bit of a dark horse, and Wilson Combat doesn’t do the best job of splitting the various models up. To be specific, the SFX9 with the 3.25-inch barrel and 10-round capacity is the only one of their guns I’d put in the micro compact genre. The 3.25 15-round and 4-inch are a bit too big to qualify. The SFX9 doesn’t get much attention, but those who know it love it. Wilson Combat made its name with custom M1911 handguns.

Wilson Combat SFX9 3.25 Inch-barrel

The SFX9 isn’t quite an M1911, but it retains some 1911ish design. We have a single-action-only, hammer-fired design with a manual safety in the 1911 position. There is no grip safety, and this ultra-tiny gun packs a 10-round, flush-fitting magazine into its 4.5-inch tall design. The gun is a little thicker than most Micro compacts, but just barely at 1.15 inches wide. The grips and frame are a one-piece design, and say bye to the grip safety.

Wilson even includes a light rail. The SFX9 is a refined micro-compact. It’s incredibly accurate, with a 1.5-inch group guarantee at 25 yards. The trigger is to die for, and the gun runs like a racehorse. Like most Wilson Combat products, you are getting custom shop performance, and it’s perfectly suited for the most discerning of concealed carriers. That also leads to a price point of $2,955 dollars.

So Micro So Compact

Micro Compact pistols are the new hotness, and everyone is making them. Kimber makes one, Taurus makes a few, and S&W makes three! There are tons out there, and I feel I found the top five on the market. However, I am willing to be wrong. Let us know below if I’m missing one from my list!

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  • lou December 14, 2023, 8:20 am

    Don’t overlook the SCCY offerings. Reliable and cost effective.

  • Viet Vet 69-70 December 11, 2023, 8:58 pm

    I own a Ruger LCP 380 and I shoot it regularly and I do not have an issue with the recoil.
    I guess it’s all in the strength in the wrist of the shooter. Maybe in my later years it may become a problem
    but for now I enjoy the kick from this little gem and you can’t beat the fact that it will fit in your pocket
    with little or no printing.

  • Scott December 11, 2023, 8:18 pm

    Glock 43 is a 9+1 with Shield mags and it is pretty small….

  • walter December 11, 2023, 8:44 am

    How come no one speaks about Shadow System CR 920
    Excellent pistol and carry gun?????

  • JD November 13, 2023, 8:23 pm

    I agree with Vincent on the Kahrs. I carry a cm9 for several years now. Just part of getting dressed. Many times I have to tap my pants pocket to assure myself I remembered to pack it along. slim and light weight. I forget about it. I don’t think the recoil is excessive for a nine. with a Desantis pocket holster there is no printing and a fairly quick draw with practice.

  • Vincent November 13, 2023, 10:32 am

    I never understand why the great Kahr pistols are always left out! They were, after all, the first micro compacts. They are still excellent single stack pistols

    • Peet G November 14, 2023, 3:48 am

      I agree!! I have several and love them. After u break them in they run like a sewing machine with minimal recoil and flat shooting and accurate. Another great gun they leave out is the Diamond Back DB9 Gen 4, it’s an awesome gun and the smallest 9mm on the market. I have all the micro guns on the market including the new FN Reflex but for some reason I keep carrying the Kahr CM9 cus it’s so thin and small on my 3’oclock and the DB9 in my pocket, they pair up nice together. The rest I use for home protection and in between my car seat in a seat holster. Probably because they are true micros and very thin and light. The rest are almost a subcompact.

  • thenarrowpath November 13, 2023, 9:24 am

    The Springfield Hellcat Pro as of 11/13/2023 offers OEM 17 round magazines.

  • thenarrowpath November 13, 2023, 9:22 am

    Why was the Glock 43X MOS excluded? Shouldn’t they be included in the line up for consideration?

    • Will December 11, 2023, 8:36 am

      Biased reviewers is the only explanation because there’s no way I’ll take a Ruger over at 43X😂

    • David Vernasco February 1, 2024, 3:30 pm

      I just purchased one and like how it fits my hand Just the right size !

  • Kenneth Phelps November 13, 2023, 8:49 am

    i just bought a Ruger Security 380. I am 69 and a have needed an easy to rack and carry weapon when in my wheelchair! This gun is perfect for me – please consider this model.

    • James Bird December 11, 2023, 12:33 pm

      You left out an accurate easy to carry, Glock 48 MOS. Mine shots well at 25 yards and the 15 round Shield Arms magazine never fail!

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