Guncrafter Industries Model 5
Guncrafter Industries (GI) has made its name in the firearm industry largely because of founder Alex Zimmerman’s unique .50 GI, a bonafide .50-caliber cartridge designed for use with the venerable 1911 platform. New for 2015 is the company’s Model 5, a pistol built around a 1911 officer-size frame, chambered in the .50 GI and intended for concealed carry. We were initially skeptical about the practicality of a .50-caliber cartridge in a pistol built for carry, but the Model 5 proved our concerns false. Recoil with the Model 5 is mostly comparable to shooting any other .45 ACP 1911, and the pistol’s officer-size frame is surprisingly concealable. Accuracy is also more than adequate given the Model 5’s 4.25-inch heavy match grade barrel. In addition to its performance, the pistol itself is finely crafted and remarkable in appearance, a true winner for anyone looking for a high-class 1911 for carry that packs more punch.
($ 3,825; GuncrafterIndustries.com)
Fans of Glock pistols have long been clamoring for a single-stack 9mm tailored for concealed carry, and this past spring the company finally delivered with the G43. At 6.26 inches in length, 4.25 inches in height and 1.02 inches in width, the G43 isn’t the smallest of the micro-nines out there, but during testing we found this helped in terms of its shootability. We didn’t constantly have to readjust our grip, as is the case with many small, single-stack pistols designed for concealed carry. And the pistol shot well, with groups right around 1 inches at self-defense distances. Additionally, because it is a Glock, it retains the same great reliability and the controls of its many older siblings. Overall, the G43 is an excellent concealed carry choice, being both eminently concealable and utterly reliable. ($ 529; US.Glock.com)
Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB Holster
Alien Gear Holsters has rapidly made a name for itself due to its extremely durable, comfortable and useable holsters. The new Cloak Tuck 3.0, which is an upgraded version of the Cloak Tuck 2.0, is a prime example of the company’s dedication to this goal. It rides comfortably inside the waistband and requires zero break-in time. The holster features a thermo-elastomer, stainless spring-steel and Alien Gear’s “Alien Skin” outer texture. Retention and flexibility are improved over the previous 2.0 model, as is comfort. Conveniently, the Cloak Tuck 3.0 is also waterproof, which makes it even more durable over time. The Cloak Tuck 3.0 is without question an improvement upon the prior design, and it represents one of the best inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters out there. ($ 44; AlienGearHolsters.com)
For 2015, Heckler & Koch introduced a scaled-down version of its classic P30 pistol. However, in typical HK fashion, the company didn’t just cut down the size of its P30; instead, it took the time to engineer and produce a dedicated concealed carry gun that is built to perform and last. Like its bigger brother, the P30SK utilizes a double-action/single-action (DA/SA) design with an initial 12-pound DA trigger pull and a subsequent 5.5-pound SA trigger pull afterward. While 12 pounds is stout, we found the pull to be smooth and the break clean. The P30SK features luminescent three-dot sights, which are easy to use in various lighting conditions, and a textured, ergonomic grip that is incredibly comfortable and offers secure purchase. Accuracy is excellent, with around 1-inch groups possible at self-defense distances, and the pistol is very reliable—both important in a concealed carry gun. ($ 719; HK-USA.com)
The FNS striker-fired pistol line from FNH USA has been well received among shooters, so it only made sense the company would develop a more compact version suitable for concealed carry. The FNS-9 Compact utilizes a shorter 3.6-inch barrel for a total length of 6.7 inches. It also features a shorter grip frame that accommodates a 12-round magazine in 9mm or a 10-round magazine in .40 S&W. All of these come together in a pistol that weighs just 23.4 ounces. The pistol comes with completely ambidextrous controls and has a textured polymer grip affording the user a firm grasp. The FNS-9 Compact incorporates three-dot adjustable sights with a bold white front sight that we really favored. The trigger is similar to other compact striker-fired pistols, breaking at between 5.5 and 7.7 pounds, and it has a short and positive reset. FNH kept what was great about the FNS series—namely, its reliability and accuracy—and placed it in a compact pistol perfect for carry. ($ 599; FNHUSA.com)
Crossbreed Appendix Carry Holster
The Appendix Carry holster from Crossbreed is an innovative and supremely functional holster. One of the company’s top sellers in the IWB category, the Appendix Carry holster utilizes a hand-molded pocket in order to ensure a precise, tight fit. The holster effectively conceals small- to medium-frame firearms for comfortable and unobtrusive all-day carry. In addition, the holster can be adjusted for ride height and can also be worn in the cross-draw position. The Appendix Carry holster is an excellent choice for those who prefer a forward carry position. Exceedingly comfortable and durable, the Appendix Carry holster can be had in Hand Dyed Black Cowhide, Premium Tan Cowhide or, when available, Natural Tan Horsehide. ($ 63; CrossBreedHolsters.com)
DeSantis Speed Scabbard
DeSantis produces some fine holsters for both inside-the-waistband (IWB) carry and outside-the-waistband (OWB) carry. The new No. 2 Speed Scabbard is a great OWB option that features a classic two-piece pancake design and is made from high quality leather. Each holster is precisely manufactured to fit a specific firearm to ensure a firm, tight hold. The Speed Scabbard also utilizes duty tough stitching for durable and lasting use. Models come with two belt slots that are 1 ¾ inches wide for an adjustable cant, or a tension screw for adjustable retention. The Speed Scabbard is available in either black or tan unlined leather.
($ 76; DeSantisHolster.com)
Blackhawk A.R.C. Holster
Introduced during the 2015 NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits, the new Blackhawk A.R.C. (Appendix Reversible Carry) is a perfect option for those who prefer the appendix carry position. Blackhawk has made some tremendous innovations out of its Montana-based factory using injection-molded polymer, and the A.R.C. is one such product. The holster’s injection-molded body is soft and somewhat flexible but extremely rugged. The soft polymer is comfortable inside the waistband, allowing the user to wear the holster for extended periods of time. This appendix carry holster is completely reversible and ambidextrous to accommodate both left- and right-handed shooters. The A.R.C. comes with two cant and ride height adjustment belt clips that fit 1.5- and 1.75-inch belts as well as a passive retention detent with adjustment screw for even more customization.
($ 23; Blackhawk.com)
Galco KingTuk Holster
Galco has been in the holster business for many years—first starting as a small family business in 1969—and the company has stayed competitive by consistently innovating its holster lineup. The company’s KingTuk holster is an excellent example of this. An IWB holster combining a comfortable backing plate constructed from lined saddle leather and a solid Kydex holster pocket, the KingTuk offers precise, secure retention and fast, easy holstering for the given firearm. Carry height and angle are easily adjustable courtesy of two metal belt clips that can be moved up or down. For those who prefer a lower profile on the belt, the KingTuk also comes with optional C-hooks. The holster is available in black, and Galco recommends users wear it between the 3 and 5 o’clock position for right-handed shooters and between 7 and 9 o’clock for lefties.
($ 74; GalcoGunLeather.com)
Our editors and expert contributing writers pick the best concealed carry guns and gear looking back in 2015.
With more and more states enacting laws to allow concealed carry, the number of people applying for and receiving concealed carry permits is higher than ever. Of course, this also means that a larger number of concealed carry guns and accessories are being sold. Manufacturers took notice in 2015 and produced a host of excellent concealed carry products designed to be both comfortable for everyday use and reliable in the event of a deadly encounter.
Our expert writers and editorial staff tested and reviewed these purpose-built products over the course of the year. During our time with these firearms and accessories, we thoroughly researched, tested and reviewed each one, gradually developing opinions regarding their performance and utility. Here are our picks for the best carry guns and gear of 2015.
These staff picks appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine. Click here to download the full issue.
Gun Digest Guide To Concealed Carry Handguns
Are you interested in carrying a handgun for self defense, but don’t know where to start? Perhaps you’re already an armed citizen and are looking for a new carry choice? Let the Gun Digest Guide to Concealed Carry Firearms be your complete guide to the fast-growing world of concealed carry handguns. Click here