Utah Concealed Weapons Permit (Utah CCW)

What is Your Optimal Concealed Carry Handgun?


This is the opinion of Mike Munnerlyn, a Utah Concealed Weapons Permit Instructor.

Well, as with most of the Utah CCW questions we hear, the correct answer is probably, “It depends.” Before you can decide on which concealed carry pistol you are willing to trust your life to, I would suggest that you first consider these important questions:

  • How experienced with handguns are you?
  • Is this your first or only pistol?
  • What is your personal preference… semi-autos, or revolvers?
  • How much time to you spend training every month/week?
  • What is your usual method(s) for concealment?
  • How often do you intend to carry?
  • How many hours-per-day will you be carrying?
  • Do you intend to carry more than 1 gun at a time?
  • Do you carry daily as part of your employment?
  • What do you believe is the minimum self-defense caliber?
  • Can you afford to have several CCW options available?

If this is your first pistol, you should seriously consider the reliability and simplicity of a good revolver. Most concealed carry weapons involve compromise between stopping-power (caliber), physical size & weight, how it feels in your hand, ammo capacity, cost of ammo, firearm’s multi-use capabilities, features, & price. Remember, “ease of concealment” = “likely to carry”. You should pick a gun that you are actually willing to regularly use as a concealed carry weapon.

You may want to seek help in making this decision. Go to some local gun ranges that are willing to rent you guns to try out at their range. Shoot several guns in the caliber and type of pistol you are interested in to see which one feels best in your hand. It is vital that you pick a gun that you will enjoy shooting at the range, and will be comfortable with as you gain the experience, training, and expertise needed to be able to confidently carry it concealed for personal and family protection. However, you need to realize that the need for ease of concealment (small size) also typically involves increased felt recoil. These smaller, easier to conceal pistols are frankly not always as enjoyable to shoot a bunch at a gun range. If you choose a smaller pistol, learn to effectively manage the recoil and safety requirements of that pistol to ensure you can safely employ it as a concealed carry weapon.

Some of my personal favorites (some for primary, some for backup) that I consider using with my Utah Concealed Weapons Permit are:

  • Kahr PM9 (9mm) – click here for review
  • Kimber Ultra Carry .45 click here for review
  • Ruger LCP (.380)
  • The Springfield XD Compact in .45 ACP – click here for review
  • NAA .22 Mini Revolver – click here for review
  • There are lots of other good alternatives, so try a bunch…

If we can help you in considering which gun may work best in your personal circumstances, please contact us at Utah Concealed Carry Permit


I am currently retired from teaching. My son-in-law Rob Wilkinson, who used to teach with me, is now teaching on his own. Please call him at 801-671-6773.

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⬇Articles⬇ Are great source for building up your concealed carry permit knowledge base........... Please Scan These Titles!

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23. 2011 Non-Utah Resident Permit Changes

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28. ** Review of Springfield XD .45 ACP

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30. ** Review of Heckler & Koch 45 Compact

31. ** Review of Kimber Ultra Carry II .45 ACP

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42. 2012 Utah Gun Law Changes

43. Go to UCCP Blog