Guns & Patriots

Too Hot to Carry? No! Here are 10 Lightweight Carry Guns

It’s hot. It’s 100 degrees over a large portion of the country and that means you probably wont’ be wearing a lot of clothes. Since concealed carry means your gun will be out of sight you won’t have much clothing to cover up your great equalizer. 

For many years I’ve been asking people about their concealed carry guns. Many folks switch up their arms depending on what they wear. Here are ten lightweight carry guns that are easy to conceal.

The criteria for this list are guns less than 15 ounces and 5.5” in length – easy enough to fit inside the waist band and cover with a t-shirt. The caliber had to be a minimum of .32 auto so you won’t see your favorite gun here if it’s a .22 or .25.

1. Kel-Tec P-32, 6.6 Ounce .32

This is one of the lightest handguns made and one of the early synthetic framed non-Glock guns. I got mine when they first were offered for sale and attached the clip to the receiver so it fits easily in any pocket and doesn’t require a holster. Mine is reliable but when I shoot it I empty the magazine and it (knock on wood) never jams. Why do I always empty the magazine? Because it’s a .32 auto, and while I have confidence in the gun I don’t have a lot of faith in the stopping power of a .32 – so I assume I will need follow up shots.
Manufacturer:  Kel-Tec, weight 6.6 ounces, length 5.1 inches, width .75 inch and has a 7+1 capacity. This is a double action only semi-automatic and the suggested retail price starts at $318 and works its way up to $377 depending on the finish.


2. Kel-Tec P-3AT, 8.3 Ounce .380

This gun was developed because of the success of the P-32 and the caliber increases to .380 without much increase in size.  One note to shooters is that this gun has some kick to it.
Manufacturer: Kel-Tec, weight 8.3 ounces, length 5.2 inches, width .77 inch and has a 6+1 capcity. This gun is a double action only semi-automatic and the suggested retail price starts at $318 and like its little brother, the P-32 tops out at $377.


3. Ruger LCP, 9.4 Ounce .380

Ruger firearms need no introduction and when the LCP came out it was an instant success. Gun writers were flooded with requests for reviews and gun shops were backordered for months. The LCP weighs in about an ounce heavier than the Kel-Tec P-3AT and the other measurements are so close it is hard to find a difference in practical terms.

Manufacturer: Sturm, Ruger & Company, weight 9.4 ounces, length 5.16 inches, width .82 inch and has a 6+1 capacity. This is a double action only semi-automatic and the suggested retail price is $373. The LCP-CT wears the Crimson Trace Laserguard, a laser sighting system, built into the grips for $548 while only adding .6 ounce to the weight.


4. Kahr P-380, 9.97 Ounce .380

Kahr Arms are designed for concealed carry, drop dead dependable and ergonomically well engineered. Like the Kel-Tec P-3AT and the Ruger LCP the Kahr P-380 is a locked breech, double action only pistol chambered for .380.

Manufacturer: Kahr Arms, weight 9.97 ounces, length 4.9 inches, width .75 inches and has a 6+1 capacity. This is a double action only semi-automatic and the suggested retail price is $649.


5 & 6. Seecamp LWS .32 & LWS .380, 11.5 Ounce .32 or .380

These are the first all steel guns on the list compared to the previous firearms that offer synthetic/nylon/polymer frames. The size of the LWS .32 and the LWS .380 are nearly identical varying in only hundredths of an inch in size or hundredths of an ounce in weight.

Seecamp came out with the LWS .32 in 1985 revolutionizing the pocket pistol market. When they beginning selling the LWS .380 in 2003 the only problem Seecamp had was keeping up with demand.

Manufacturer:  L. W. Seecamp Co. Inc. caliber .32/380, weight  11.5/11.45 ounces, length 4.25/4.25 inches, width .86/.91 (grip width at widest point) and both pistols have a 6+1 capacity. Each gun is a double action only model using a blowback design. Suggested price LWS .32 is $446 and the LWS .380 is $795. California compliant LWS .32’s are $525 and the CA compliant .380 is not yet available.


7 & 8. MasterPiece Arms MPA32 & MPA 380 11.8 Ounce .32 or .380

These little gems are machined out of solid blocks of steel and produced and assembled in the USA. You may not be familiar with MasterPiece Arms, a Georgia company, but you should be because of their state-of-the-art manufacturing.  At 4.37 inches long they are one of the shortest pocket pistols on the market.
Manufacturer:  MasterPiece Arms Inc. caliber .32 or .380, measurements are for both calibers – weight 11.8 ounces, length 4.37 inches and have a capacity of 6+1 in .32 and 5+1 in .380. Both guns are double action only semi-automatics and have a suggested price of $322.


9. Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 11.85 Ounce .380

Smith & Wesson is another brand that needs no introduction, but you may not be familiar with the Bodyguard. It’s an odd looking handgun, it has a lot of levers, but they are recessed to prevent snagging when drawn and the front end looks heavy. That’s because there is a built in laser sighting system standard with this gun.
Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson, caliber .380, weight 11.85 ounces, length 5.25 inches, polymer frame, it is double action only and has a 6+1 capacity. It has a suggested retail price of $399.


10. NAA Guardian 13.5 Ounce .32

If you have ever held an NAA Guardian you will remember it for its solid feel. These are all steel and have enough grip to accommodate a larger hand. If you are a person that is recoil shy, then you will like this gun because with it’s weight, and shooting the .32, there is virtually no felt recoil. There is a .380 available and you add 5 ounces of weight to the gun in this caliber.

Manufacturer: North American Arms, caliber .32, weight 13.5 ounces, length 4.4 inches, width .85 inches. This is an all steel double action only gun with a 6+1 capacity. Suggested retail price is $402.



Don’t let the heat keep you from carrying your guns. Stay loaded my friends! If you have any experience with the above guns or would like to add your lightweight carry gun please leave a comment.


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  • Thor

    How about the Kel-Tec P11 in 9mm.  Small, light and an actual service round with 10+1 capacity, it will also accept a S&W 59 15 round clip.  I like it with the same frame clip that allows you to wear it sansa-holster.  It does bust your length criteria though at 5.6″…

  • kingfisher1234

    My ruger lcp works flawlessly. Heavy trigger, however it is what it is.  I have fired approx. 100 rounds (cci blazer gold) thru the 3 mags i have. ive also fired 20 rounds of federal hydro shok. My friend has a taurus, I shot it and it jammed every other shot. Tryed the second mag. same.  I told him to send it into taurus.  The trigger is sweet on the taurus, too bad it jams.

  • wsp1

    Whiskey TF…if i was the attacker…it would not matter what you were carrying…yo would not have time to activate it …period. bad guys do not play fair…get over the macho hype…98% of close in fighting happens quickly without any indication…all this bull from the arm chair tough guys is just that…bull. Avoid the situation and be aware and leave any potential threat zone…if you are already in it and need your have screwed up…you do what you want…but this advice is from a “pro” that did this for a living with an “alphabet” group that most would never know existed with uncle Sam…these kinds of Ops happened regularly…the intended “tango” never had an opportunity to defend etc…neither will you.

  • wsp1

    Most people do not shoot the small firearms…period…they buy them ..soot a few rounds and call it a day. No firearm is reliable until it has 500 or more rounds through it…can’t tell you how many high end 1911′s I have seen jam….you need to run the piece and run it hard to break it in….then determine wether it has sufficient relaiblity or not…even the best pieces fail…

  • Gunowner

    “As far as a laser… really think you’re going to have time to activate it when an attacker is coming at you?”

    If it’s a CTC Laserguard on your firearm, yes you will be able to activate it. The Laserguard activates as soon as you grip your firearm. They are really a necessity on guns with minimal sights like the LCP/P3AT/P32 where using your sights in a stressful or low light situation would be diffacult as best. I have one on my LCP & SR-9c, and I’ll have one on every one of my carry guns as soon as I can afford it! 

  • Grout_Guy

    although I’m quite used to the heat this year and I’ll have a hard time leaving my Kimber at home… Maybe I’ll take the Bodyguard as a back up :} 

  • Mike Piccione

    How does it shoot Jeff – it was slated to be on the list.

  • Mike Piccione

    Sorry – it’s Craig! Not Jeff.

  • Carl Humphreys

    Re:300 to 500 rounds fired through a handgun.
        The pistol I’m referring to is a bit larger than this under six inch class,but what
    caught my eye in some responses is the fact that people have fired a few hundred rounds with their new pistols and feel like they know their gun now.
         I have owned my Bersa Thunder .380-3 and 1/2 inch bbl for a little more than a year
    and have fired over one thousand rounds through it so far. I still haven’t tried as many brands and types of ammo as I would like to,but I have learned quite a bit about this particular gun and what it likes to eat. It has only choked four times,and that was using Russian ammo ( Tula ).  I have never had a weak round from Remington or Federal,…yet.
         I also alternate between fmj and hp.  Enjoy your rights,and keep on shooting!

  • Serr8d

    Smartest man on the board, wsp1. Listen to him, take his advice.

    And keep your nose clean.

  • ryewhiskeyjoe

    I’ve carried both small Kel-tecs & and a Diamondback.  Just too many malfunctions to trust my life to.  Bit the $$$ bullet & got a Sig 238.  1500 rounds later & one failure to feed–on the 2nd mag through the gun (I destroyed the mag).  This is a gun I can count on.

  • 5point

    Years ago,I was a juror on a murder case where a store owner fired one shot from a Walther PPK-S between the eyes of a gang member who was challenging him to a fight. I loved the weight and balance of that man’s Walther,the single and double action feel of it was about perfect…. I was suitably impresed with how neatly it dropped a highly agitated person like a brick at 25′… I got to listen to testimony from a gentleman from the Washington State Patrol’s crime lab regarding this firearm and what a quality piece it really is. He even told us the history of the PPK and how the PPK-S came to being. It is too bad that as a juror i was forbidden to speak to witnesses,as this man was one i would have loved to speak to at length,and as a firearms expert for the state he had a really COOL! Job:) My wife wants to get her concealed carry liscense soon,and for Her I believe it will be a .38 double action revolver. The revolvers need no particular thinking to put them into quick operation and will work flawlessly until they are empty. I wouldn’t want someone who has lesser experience or training to bet their life on a semi-auto. I love them but they aren’t for your wife and kids to use in a save yourself situation.

  • james-prince

    NAA 32 Guardian…”there is virtually no felt recoil”

    You obviously have never shot the NAA!  I have one and my nick name for it is “Angry Crickett”!  It has its place and fits nicely into a back pocket (jeans) but it is not fun to shoot.   I usually don’t exceed 25 rounds at a range trip because my finger hurts!  While I don’t shoot it much I keep it around since I consider the NAA my deep-conceal gun.

    Why do you need a lightweight gun to CC?  A good belt solves most problems.  I usually CC a Sig P220 Compact and I am usually in Cargo Shorts and a Tshirt.   The Sig fits in my front pocket (in a holster).

  • Mr. EMT

    That for me would depend on the firearm and how you intend to carry/use it.
    My grandfather had a smith snubnose .38 special.
    At ten feet we were barely able to get 3 shots to stay within center mass on a target. I think each shot landed about a foot from the last, but that was about two decades ago, the only thing i really remember about snubnose 38′s is how horrible they are on accuracy.
    Lesson everyone should take away from that experience, don’t think just because you got a wheel gun that you got something that is idiot proof and simple to deploy.

  • Mr. EMT

    Ok, either my memory is playing games or the internet somehow swallowed a post i swear I made here a few days ago.
    I’ll try to repeat as much as I can of it, even though some of the content has been mentioned already.

    One gun I do not see mentioned above is the taurus TCP, which is almost a copy of the ruger LCP but cheaper priced and reported to have a much easier trigger pull. The action is reported to pull smooth and clean and have a crisp break where the ruger is stiff and heavier and may throw your aim off.

    I took my wife to a gun show to “window shop” all the guns to see which one she would like the best. Out of all the glocks smiths rugers taurus etc etc, auto Vs revolvers, she fell in love with the sig P238.

    Little news about the P238, for people who may or may not know it is basically an improved clone of the colt mustang. Most of you probably know that.
    For those of you who do know that, what you probably do not know is that colt is giving new life to the mustang again.
    It is supposed to be available now, and has a lower retail price than the sig.

    Here is more info on the re-introduction of the Mustang

  • bsiperly

    I have owned the Kel Tec 32, 380, and 9mm.  The Ruger 380 and some small 22′s.  They worked fine EXCEPT for the muzzle flip! (22′s and 32′s0 don’t count)  Now I have a Diamondback 380 and it shoots better than any of them.  Sold the rest off.  I’ve been thinkin bout the Sig and the Kahr, but for the money the DB is it.

  • K.

    I like my Kel Tec PF-9. It’s a little bigger than the 380′s listed in your article; but still fits in a pocket.

  • OIFVet06

    I live in one of the hottest and most humid regions in the U.S., coastal South Carolina north of Savannah, Georgia.  The winter time is at best leather jacket weather.  I have a leather A-2 flight jacket that conceals either a .45 Springfield Armory 1911A1 or a .45 Colt Officer’s ACP.  However, when things are at their hottest — like the 108 degree heat index /100% humidity that we have now, I usually just drop one of my .38 special Taurus Model 85 snubbies with 2″ barrel in my khaki pants pocket.  I will still put one of the .45s in the glove box of my Jeep when I am on the road, but the .38 snubby will stay on me. 

  • irishbaratone

    Have you seen the 1911 Ruger?…its SWEEEEET.

  • Linda White Eade

    Pictures of the guns would be nice.

  • otasan56

    Well here in the 14th state I CCW my 31-ounce Glock 17. Any non-felon, age 16 and up, can CCW here in VT – no permit required.


    @wsp1 It’s very rare to read input from someone who has actual working knowledge of the defensive use of firearms. Thank you.
    Even the author diminishes himself when he refers to a magazine as a “clip”.


    Golly. Does this mean that you call “Time out” while you use two hands to chamber a round so that you can defend yourself from an attacker?


    Think about it: It was the bullet that dropped the offender; not the pistol.

  • Sig_Sauer

    For cooler weather I carry a Sig Sauer 1911 with a strong belt it sits high and tight. For hot weather it’s my
    Sig Sauer P239 9MM. If my wife and I are going out she will carry the P239
    and I’ll carry the 1911. I know they both will work – 5,000 rounds
    through the P239 and two thousand through the 1911.

  • dave1305

    What about when you aren’t the initial target and have time to respond?

  • DougCheri Bledsoe

    A 9mm P11 weighs 14 ounces and has more fire power than the 13.5 ounce guardian .32. I know which one I would prefer.

  • DougCheri Bledsoe

    You are right. Look at Trayvon, he got the first punches in and was winning right until that 9mm from a trusty KelTech PF9 ruptured his aorta. Fights over little punk.

  • DougCheri Bledsoe

    But you cannot carry in Florida without a permit. No reciprocation.

  • FellowAmerican

    With the right ammo today’s small .380′s actually have superior muzzle energy than the (albeit inadequate) primary carry .38′s of the 1980′s NYPD Detectives.

    The clip system ‘holster’ makes these small guns ultra concealable, unseen and hardly detectible even with shorts and T-shirt


    Folks usually don’t pay attention input that is all uppercase.