There is no denying that the popularity of handguns for concealed carry and personal defense has exploded in recent years! Please excuse the pun, but the reality is there.
More men and women than ever are looking for a self-protection weapon. One that can be comfortably carried and concealed about their person on a very regular basis.
EDC is a common acronym in the handgun world. This stands for ‘Every Day Carry.’ And when it comes to EDC, things don’t get much better than the best single stack sub-compact 9mms that you can buy.
We will look at why this is the case and then proceed in reviewing 8 top quality handguns in this category.
- 1 So, what’s the Difference?
- 2 Eight of the Best Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms out there!
- 2.1 1 Walther PPS M2 9mm LE Edition Pistol – Best Single Stack SubCompact 9mms for Night Shooting
- 2.2 2 Springfield Armory XDS MOD 2 OSP 9mm Pistol – Best Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms with Red Dot
- 2.3 3 Kimber Micro 9 Semi-Auto Pistols – Best IWB Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms
- 2.4 4 Glock 43 Subcompact Semi-Auto Pistol – Best Glock Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms
- 2.5 5 S&W M&P Shield 2.0 9mm Pistol – Most Popular Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms
- 2.6 6 Ruger LC9S 9mm Striker Fired Pistol – Best Ruger Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms
- 2.7 7 Mossberg MC1SC 9m Pistol – Safest Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms
- 2.8 8 Kahr CM9 9mm – Best Single Stack Ultra-Compact 9mms
- 2.9 A great Handgun will need a superb Holster…
- 3 So, what is the Best Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms?
So, what’s the Difference?
Let’s start by breaking things down into two categories: Single Stack vs. Double Stack Magazines and Subcompact vs. Compact Handguns. The first is far easier to define than the second!
Single Stack vs. Double Stack Magazines
Using a single stack magazine means the ammunition is stacked in a single file. Alternatively, a double-stack magazine staggers your ammo into two ‘offset’ stacks.
The pros and cons of each…
As the design would suggest, single-stack magazines have a slimmer profile than doubles. This means they fit well with shooters who have smaller hand sizes. The opposite could be said of double stack handguns. Shooters with larger than average hands may well appreciate the feel and additional width doubles give.
In general, single stack handguns are more easily concealed, especially during warm weather months when less clothing is worn.
Handguns with single stack magazines are also usually lighter in weight than doubles. Shooters should consider that the lighter a handgun is (single stack), the easier, more comfortable it should be for long periods of concealed carry. However, the heavier the handgun (double stack), the less felt recoil will be noticed.
Potential binding issues…
There will be little chance of binding issues when using a single stack magazine. Unlike bullet placement in a double stack magazine, single stack magazines have no bullets touching each other on all sides. The way your bullets are placed in a single stack magazine means you have no worries about possible bullet ‘binding.’
By their very nature, double stack magazines will hold more ammo than single stack magazines. However, as you will see from the best single stack subcompacts in 9mm that we’ve reviewed, handguns with single stack magazines can and do offer ample capacity for the majority of shooters.
Subcompact vs. Compact Handguns
In reality, the definition of a manufacturer naming a handgun as subcompact or compact has no established definition. It is up to the company themselves to decide which models offered are classed as compact or subcompact.
However, one thing is for sure, both compact and subcompact handguns are smaller than full-size pistols. This makes them more comfortable to carry and generally easier to conceal.
As the name suggests, subcompacts are usually shorter in length and height and also weigh less than compacts. As we have also noted, handguns with subcompact magazines hold less ammo and have a snappier recoil.
What about accuracy issues?
The belief stands that full-size handguns offer greater accuracy over longer ranges. However, quality made compact, and subcompact handguns are designed to be very accurate at distances that count.
When it comes to practical self-defense situations, the reality is that you will be shooting at close distance targets. Hitting your target at close distance with a quality compact/subcompact handgun should be seen as very achievable.
However, as mentioned…
Subcompact handguns usually weigh less than compacts. In general, this will result in an increased felt recoil and additional muzzle rise when using a subcompact. These factors can mean your follow up shots are more difficult to achieve and can take more time.
Having said this, it should not detract you from purchasing a subcompact. This is because, with practice, your chosen subcompact handgun will find the sweet spot. This will be in terms of good, consistent accuracy and increased speed of follow up shots.
Eight of the Best Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms out there!
Single stack subcompact 9mm handguns are all the rage. This can be seen through ease of concealed carry, accuracy, and sufficient firepower to protect yourself. Therefore, we will now review 8 of the very best models currently on the market, starting with the…
1 Walther PPS M2 9mm LE Edition Pistol – Best Single Stack SubCompact 9mms for Night Shooting
Walther Arms are up there with the most prestigious weapon manufacturers. When it comes to subcompact handguns, their PPS M2 9MM LE edition pistol certainly fits the bill.
Quality build with a stylish look…
The PPS M2 9MM LE edition model we are looking at comes with night sights. However, standard fixed sight models are also available. This top-quality pistol has a frame constructed of tough polymer and features a textured, non-slip grip surface. The steel slide has a trademark Tenifer matte black coating to ensure corrosion resistance.
Cocking serrations are placed both front and rear. These work effectively to facilitate racking of the slide and to ensure ease of loading and weapon clearing.
Conceal with ease…
This pistol is 6.3-inches in overall length, which includes the 3.18-inch barrel. It is 5.3-inches in height, 1-inch width, and with an empty magazine, weighs 21.1 ounces. Capacity choice is yours as purchase includes three magazines: one 6, one 7, and one 8-rounds. Those shooters wanting a smooth and even trigger pull should be satisfied. The PPS M2 offers this at 6.1 lbs.
The push button magazine release is easily accessed via the shooter’s thumb. As for rapid target acquirement, the front and rear phosphoric sights help to acquire your target in any light conditions, including when used during total darkness. An additional sight advantage comes with the fact that the rear sight is windage adjustable.
Any shooter looking for a stylish, easy to use, reliable 9mm subcompact handgun will appreciate this quality pistol.
- Signature Walther design.
- Attractive looks.
- Durable and reliable.
- Includes night sights.
- Three different capacity magazines included.
- Larger and heavier than other subcompacts on offer.
- The magazine release can be unintentionally activated too easily.
2 Springfield Armory XDS MOD 2 OSP 9mm Pistol – Best Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms with Red Dot
Springfield Armory is another quality weapons manufacturer, and their XD-S MOD 2 OSP (Optical Sight Pistol) model is a solid 9mm choice.
Slim, trim, and attractive…
The XD-S Mod 2 OSP comes with a slim single-stack frame. The milled slide affords shooters a low-profile. We are focusing on the model, which comes with an included Crimson Trace front red dot sight. However, there is a version without the sight to allow shooters to directly mount their micro red dot of choice. Both versions come with a fixed Tactical-Rack rear sight.
The stock of this striker fired pistol is made from robust polymer. As for the slide and barrel, these are quality steel and come with a Melonite finish. Both materials ensure long, durable use.
Dimension-wise, you are buying into a 3.3-inch barrel included in the overall length of 6.3-inches. It is less than 1-inch wide, and in terms of weight, you will be carrying 1.34 lbs.
Easily concealed, comfortable to carry…
The single-stack magazine design works to enhance concealment and greatly decreases the grip frame width. The dimensions and weight mentioned above make it ideal for ease of personal concealment and comfortable EDC (Every Day Carry).
In terms of capacity, you also have a choice. Two removable magazines: one flush, 7-round, and one extended, 9-rounds designed for 9mm Luger cartridges come included with purchase. This gives shooters a good capacity of either 7+1-rounds or 9+1-rounds.
Pointability and shooting control are yours…
The XD-S Mod 2 OSP features the trademarked Springfield GripZone frame. This has been designed to optimize pointability and shooting control when handling the pistol. It allows shooters to rapidly acquire their target(s) and remain on target during rapid-fire sessions.
Safe, steady weapon hold is achieved through three different textures that have been molded into specific parts of the grip. These are placed where slip-resistance is most critical.
To further enhance weapon control, the pistol incorporates Springfields trademarked High-Hand grip relief and High-Hand beavertail. This positions the hand towards the bore as high as possible to reduce felt recoil.
Additionally, the Posi-wedge slide serrations give shooters a solid slide hold. This allows for ease of loading and/or clearing the weapon. Other features include a loaded chamber and a striker status indicator. These are highly useful in any lighting conditions because they give a visual as well as tactile indication of whether the gun is loaded or not.
Another benefit of this quality pistol relates to compatibility; it takes original XD magazines and holsters.
- Designed on the proven Springfield XDS platform.
- Easy to carry, easy to conceal.
- Three separate safety systems.
- This model comes with a quality red dot sight.
- Model available without a red dot. You can add your own.
- Larger capacity than many other subcompacts.
- Solid weapon handling features.
- Trigger reset is longer than some would like.
3 Kimber Micro 9 Semi-Auto Pistols – Best IWB Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms
Shooters looking for ‘small’ should take a long look at Kimber’s Micro 9 semi-auto pistol range.
As small as you will get in 9mm…
Kimber classifies this pistol as micro-size, and that description can be considered as accurate. This is because, for a semi-automatic pistol chambered in 9mm, the weapon is as lightweight as they come. The Kimber Micro 9 pistol range is offered in a variety of stock colors and finishes. The model we are reviewing has a rosewood stock and two-tone finish.
The pistol has an overall length of 6.10-inches that includes the 3.15-inch barrel, a height of 4.07-inches, and it weighs just 15.5 ounces. Capacity-wise, you get 6+1-rounds, and 1 x 6-round flush-fit magazine comes with purchase.
Built to last…
It has been built to be acceptably robust with an aluminum frame and a stainless steel slide and barrel. The trigger is single-action, match grade, and is made from solid aluminum. In terms of trigger pull, shooters will receive the pistol with a factory setting of 7.0 lbs. As for the recoil spring, this is rated at 11.5 lbs.
Users will also find enhanced aiming accuracy. This is thanks to the included, fixed low-profile 3-dot tritium front night sights and tactical rack serrated rear sights. Shooters used to 1911-style weapons will appreciate several features. This pistol has an intuitive 1911-style thumb safety, and both the slide and magazine releases also operate in the same way as a 1911.
A highly functional concealed carry pistol…
Considering its dimensions, quality of build, and the use of proven 9mm ammo power, this pistol is highly functional. The design allows shooters to deliver well-placed shots quickly. It will certainly perform well in the majority of self-defense situations.
The Kimber Micro 9 offers ease of comfortable concealed carry in any form you choose. However, those who choose to wear it IWB (Inside the Waist Band) will find it hard to beat.
- As subcompact as they come.
- Ease of comfortable concealed carry.
- Tritium night sights included.
- Acceptably durable.
- 1911-style features.
- Ambidextrous safety.
- Good choice for shooters with small hands.
- Limited capacity. Comes with only one magazine.
- Not the best choice for shooters with large hands.
4 Glock 43 Subcompact Semi-Auto Pistol – Best Glock Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms
You either love them or hate them, but there is no denying the popularity of Glock handguns. The majority of Glocks are not classed as subcompact. The Glock 43 is!
Designed with subcompact in mind…
This model has certainly been designed with subcompact in mind. The barrel is 3.39-inches in length, and this Glock semi-automatic slimline handgun has an overall length of 6.26-inches. Height and width-wise, it is 4.25- and 1.02-inches, respectively.
In terms of weight, with an empty magazine, the G43 is 17.95 ounces. Capacity is 6+1-rounds. Two ultra-reliable 6-round magazines are included in purchase.
Conceal and use with confidence…
It is well-known that Glock does not make the most aesthetically pleasing handguns. However, what all of their models offer is a robust, quality build, ease of handling, and consistent accuracy. For many, these factors are quite rightly the most important when choosing a handgun.
The Glock 43 may be smaller in dimensions than other pistols in the Glock range, but one thing is assured: It goes through the exact same torture tests as its larger family members before being released for shipment.
The very well received G43 is designed for concealment, accuracy and will fit shooters regardless of their hand size. Internally it uses the same striker fired, shorter recoil operation, and locked-breech barrel as its big brothers.
A trigger system to be admired…
Regular practice with any handgun is an absolute must. However, having to use your weapon in a stressful situation is another thing. This is where the G43 will not let you down. The Safe-Action trigger system ensures that having to shoot in emergency self-defense situations works rapidly and reliably.
It comes with a rough textured polymer grip to provide a consistent, solid hold. As for the included sights, these afford enhanced accuracy. You get a white-bracket rear sight and white-dot front sight to provide rapid target acquisition even in poor lighting conditions.
- A single-stack Glock.
- Same quality controls as all Glock handguns.
- Will function reliably for a long time to come.
- Conceals acceptably.
- Striker fired, Safe-Action trigger system.
- Ideal for those already familiar with Glocks.
- Not the most aesthetically pleasing pistol out there.
- Trigger-guard may take some getting used to.
- Low capacity when compared to other Glocks.
5 S&W M&P Shield 2.0 9mm Pistol – Most Popular Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms
Our best single stack sub-compact 9mms review would not be complete with a model from Smith & Wesson. In this respect, their M&P Shield 2.0 model takes some beating. It belongs to the most popular handgun family out there.
It is claimed that the S&W M&P Shield series are currently the best selling handguns on the market. When looking at their popularity and features, we are certainly not going to argue! The subcompact model we are looking at has really taken the market by storm.
Civilian take-up of the M&P Shield 2.0 9mm pistol has been tremendous. This is seen through the fact that it offers shooters everything they are looking for in a reliable, easy to use and conceal subcompact handgun.
A solid build in a compact package…
This striker-fired pistol offers a quality, long-lasting build. The grip and frame are made from durable polymer, the barrel and slide are stainless steel with an armornite finish.
It has a 3.1-inch barrel included in an overall length of 6.1-inches and weighs in at 22 ounces. These dimensions should tell you it is an ideal everyday concealed carry handgun.
Accuracy, control, and capacity choice…
The M&P Shield 2.0 model we are reviewing does not come with a safety feature. However, there is also a model with a manual thumb safety available. What both versions do have is a new-design grip and trigger assembly to give shooters even better weapon control. There is also a white front sight and two white dot rear sights to enhance target acquisition.
In terms of capacity, you have a choice. The pistol comes included with two magazines: one 7-round slim and one 8-round extended grip. This means capacity is either 7+1 or 8+1-rounds.
Ease of rapid response…
We touched on the new-design grip and trigger. Both features are worthy of additional attention:
A naturally-pointing pistol stance is yours thanks to the 18-degree grip angle. Even with damp or sweaty hands, the aggressive stippling used during construction makes the pistol very easy to handle. Due to its thoughtful and effective design, the grip gives shooters greater weapon handling control and confidence. It will certainly assist any shooter who finds themselves in a quick response scenario.
Precise trigger control is achieved thanks to a light, refined trigger that offers a crisp break. It also gives a distinct reset, which is both tactile and audible.
- Part of the most popular handgun family out there.
- S&W renowned quality and reliability.
- Striker-fired, no snagging on clothes.
- Well-balanced, easy to handle.
- Effective grip.
- Choice of capacity (comes with two different magazines).
- Laser sight can be integrated.
6 Ruger LC9S 9mm Striker Fired Pistol – Best Ruger Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms
Ruger are also regarded in the top echelon of handgun manufacturers. When it comes to the best single stack sub-compact 9mms available, the LC9S is up there with the very best.
Built to last…
The LC9S has a through-hardened alloy steel slide and alloy steel barrel. Both come with a blued finish. The glass-filled nylon grip frame is robust yet stylish. It comes in black and is high performance.
Everyday concealed carry is yours. The pistol has a height of 4.5-inches, width of 0.9-inches, and a barrel length of 3.12-inches included in its overall 6-inch length. Weight-wise it comes in at just 17.2-ounces.
The barrel has a 1:10-inch RH twist, and quality 3-Dot drift adjustable sights are included. Capacity is 7+1-rounds, and one 7-round magazine is included with purchase.
This is another top quality designed striker-fired pistol. Therefore, there will be no snagging on clothes in the event you need to draw and acquire your target rapidly.
Features worthy of note…
The LC9S is slim, lightweight, and designed as the striker-fired version of Ruger’s award-winning LC9 model. Features worthy of note include:
It comes with a short, light, and crisp trigger pull, which allows for fast, accurate shooting.
The checkered grip frame affords a comfortable, secure grip. The pistol also includes an optional finger grip extension floorplate. This can be added to the magazine and, when used, will enhance comfort and firmness of grip.
- High-viz sight system
The dovetailed, high-visibility 3-dot sight system comes with a fixed front sight and windage adjustable rear sight.
- Safety features galore
Shooters should certainly feel safe using the LC9S. It offers an integrated trigger safety, a manual safety, magazine disconnect, and an inert magazine feature to ensure safe disassembly. On top of these safety features, there is also a visual inspection port. This allows for ‘seen’ confirmation as to whether the chamber is empty or loaded.
- Utilization of existing LC9 accessories
Any owner (or soon to be owner!) of the larger Ruger LC9 handgun will be pleased to know that they can basically use anything the Ruger LC9 can. The LC9S uses all existing LC9 accessories, such as Holsters, laser sights, and the extended 9-round magazines.
All-in-all, anyone purchasing the LC9S can be assured of a very concealable, robust, reliable, and stylish handgun. One that will function consistently whether at the range or in emergency self-defense situations.
- A subcompact based around an award-winning design.
- Ruger quality and reliability.
- Compact handgun that acts like a full-size.
- Softer recoil than other pistols in the subcompact category.
- Stylish looks, consistent performance.
- Excellent safety features.
- Concealed carry to your heart’s content.
- Extended magazine capacity available.
- Only one magazine with purchase (this should not be seen as a stopper!)
7 Mossberg MC1SC 9m Pistol – Safest Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms
Mossberg may be better known for their prestigious shotgun production, but this MC1SC pistol offers excellent value.
A century-plus of USA family-owned weapons production…
O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc. are the world’s largest pump-action shotgun manufacturers. They also happen to be the oldest family-owned and operated firearms manufacturer in the USA. Established in March 1919, the company has maintained an old-style family operation while keeping pace with 21st century, state-of-the-art weapons manufacturing processes.
Military and law enforcement units rely on Mossberg’s rugged and reliable weapons, but civilians are certainly not forgotten. Rock solid designs and excellent features are offered through weapons made for sporting, home security, and self-defense use. Their philosophy of “More gun for the money” stays true with the quality MC1SC 9mm pistol.
Ergonomic and shootable…
This subcompact pistol combines superior ergonomics with optimal shootability. It has an optimized grip angle, grip palm swell, and grip panels that come with aggressive texturing. These grip features ensure ease of weapon control and accurate targeting.
Shooters will find that the 5-6 lb pull of the flat-profile trigger functions very smoothly. On top of this, the company’s trademarked Safe Takedown System is worthy of attention. This design feature means that users are not required to pull the trigger during the disassembly process. It is a safety feature all should appreciate.
Built for long, consistent, and reliable use…
The MC1SC has a highly durable polymer frame. As for the slide and barrel, these are both made from 416 stainless steel and come with a DLC finish. Other barrel features are the rifling, which is classed as button-rifled six groove, and it comes with a 1:16 RH twist. Included sights are 3-dot white, and they offer a sight radius of 5.4-inches.
The model we are reviewing incorporates an integrated trigger blade safety. However, there is a model that comes without safety.
The MC1SC has a height of 4.3-inches and a width of 1.03-inches. There is a 3.4-inch barrel included in its overall length of 6.25-inches. In terms of weight, the pistol is 19 ounces unloaded and 22 ounces fully loaded.
Capacity-wise, you get two magazines with purchase. One 6-round flush fit and one 7-round extended. This slim pistol has a dehorned profile that makes it ideal for concealed carry.
- Look no further if ‘Made in the USA’ is what you are after.
- Quality, robust build.
- Trademark safe takedown system.
- Trademark clear-count magazine.
- Acceptably concealable.
- Well-priced for what is on offer.
- Not the prettiest subcompact out there.
8 Kahr CM9 9mm – Best Single Stack Ultra-Compact 9mms
Our final review of the best single stack subcompact 9mms has to be one for those needing an ultra-compact handgun.
Small in size, large in performance…
The Kahr CM9 handgun comes from the company’s popular CW series. It incorporates similar features but comes in a smaller 3-inch barrel package. This quality handgun is 5.42-inches in length, 4.0-inches in height, and has a slide width of just 0.90-inches. The barrel has conventional rifling and comes in a 1:10-inch right-hand twist.
In terms of weight, shooters may forget they are carrying this gun. It weighs just 14 ounces plus an additional 1.9 ounces for the included 6-round flush floorplate stainless steel magazine. Anyone looking for a perfectly concealable pistol will find this model right up their street.
Acceptably robust build…
Designed with a black polymer frame, matte stainless steel slide, and textured polymer grips, the CM9 is robust and durable. Owners will find ease and comfort in everyday concealed carry. They can also be assured of consistent, reliable use when it matters.
It has a DAO (Double Action Only) trigger cocking mechanism, a lock breech, “Browning-style” recoil lug, and passive striker block. There is no magazine disconnect feature. While the slightly longer trigger pull may need getting used to, many users find the action is acceptably smooth. As for the included sights, these are drift adjustable, white bar-dot combat style.
- Based on a proven platform.
- Ultra-compact package.
- Ample firepower for its petite size.
- Conceal with ultimate ease.
- May be too small for some.
- Noticeably snappy muzzle rise
- Only one 6-round magazine included.
A great Handgun will need a superb Holster…
So take a loot at our reviews of the Best Cross Draw Holster, the Best Ruger Security 9 Holster, the Best 1911 Holsters, the Best Springfield XDS 45 Holster, the Best Ankle Holsters, or the Best Sig P238 Holsters currently on the market.
You might also enjoy our reviews of the Best Shoulder Holsters, the Best Fanny Pack Holsters, as well as the Best Small of Back Holsters you can buy in 2023.
So, what is the Best Single Stack Sub-Compact 9mms?
There is no doubt that the number of subcompact single stack handguns on the market can cause buyer confusion. And we hope that our reviews of the 8 best single stack subcompact 9mms has helped narrow things down.
While all will meet the different needs of individual concealed carry shooters, we feel a duty to recommend one from our list. Therefore, we would go for the…
Ruger LC9S 9mm Striker Fired Pistol – 3235
This top quality subcompact pistol is based on an award-winning design. It comes with the quality, durability, and robustness that Ruger are renowned for. Shooters will be buying into a stylish, very easily concealable pistol, and one that will function consistently time and again.
It offers softer recoil than other pistols in its category, which makes for an accurate and comfortable shooting experience. To finish things off, the LC9S also comes with an optional, extended magazine capacity. This must be seen as a plus for those who need more than the standard 7+1-rounds.
Happy and safe shooting.