2022 Trend: Micro 9 Compact Pistols

Micro-9 pistols may be diminutive, but they pack a punch. Whether customers want them for primary or backup carry, they’ll be asking about these new models.

2022 Trend: Micro 9 Compact Pistols

Mossberg's MC2sc

Small pistols are nothing new for concealed carry and self-defense. Flintlock pistols were in use in the 1600s by pirates, soldiers and gentlemen in duels. Smaller ones were more easily concealed, including by women in the 1700s and 1800s, who carried them in their fur-covered hand-warmers. These single-shot flintlocks were employed into the mid-1800s, when Henry Deringer of Philadelphia created his iconic pocket pistol. It was such a hit that it was knocked off by many other manufacturers and still is in use today.

Consumers often want a backup pistol or, as some might say, a “Get off me!” pistol. In either situation, a microcompact pistol might be the last best option in a squirrely situation. They fit into vest, jacket or pants pockets, day planners, backpacks and purses. Until the last few years, the derringer or a .38 revolver was one of the few viable possibilities for a small pistol. The shape and design of both are not great for printless concealment. The size, of course, makes hiding one fairly simple in a pocket or ankle holster.

I once owned a SW380 Sigma, which was black and pocket-sized, and I can feel you grimacing. I mentioned it once to the guy who forgot that he sold it to me and his response was, “You should use that thing as a catfish trotline sinker.” Introduced in 1995, it was chambered in .380 and had a flush five-shot magazine, with no sights. Point, look (maybe) through the guttersnipe sights, pull the curved (and terrible) trigger and hope for the best. I tried different ammo, back when ammo was cheaper and more available, and typically had a jam on the third round. If it got to four rounds I considered it a success. I never carried it; the only reason to do so would’ve been to give it to any would-be assailant as a lovely parting gift. It was Smith & Wesson’s first leap into polymer pistols. Early adopters were not happy. The gun lasted a year and S&W, of course, got much better at making polymer handguns.

Today’s micro pistols are superior for concealment and power than the two-shot derringer and early small-frame pistols. Most of today’s models are about an inch wide, 3 to 5 inches long and lightweight at about 20 ounces. They’re sleek and they shoot well. The Sig Sauer P365, for example, has gained quite a following in the last four years. It got its name because, Sig says, you can carry it every day of the year. It quickly gained a following with retailers and customers.

Some shooters, especially those with big hands, may have issues with these downsized pistols. But many who want a small pistol will shop until they find what they like. What once may have been considered only a backup pistol now might be the primary. Concealment options exist for inside-waistband, pocket or ankle, along with packs and purses. The 9mm still rules the roost. Buyers may seek extra magazines, holster, ammo carriers and red-dot optics. Be prepared with these options or ways to order them.

Here are some of the top options for this year:

Smith & Wesson CSX

This hammer-fired single-action 9mm pistol sports an aluminum alloy frame and stainless slide, which should offer more durability and reduce felt recoil. It weighs less than 20 ounces and has interchangeable textured polymer inserts for the front grip and backstrap. The CSX has an ambidextrous manual thumb safety, flat-face trigger, metal three-dot sights and slide serrations. It comes with a flush-fit 10-round magazine and has an extended 12-round magazine. This new offering from S&W doesn’t allow for accessories or optics; likely those options will come in the future. www.smith-wesson.com


Savage Stance

Savage returns to the pistol scene for the first time since 1920 with its Savage, a polymer-frame striker-fired 9mm. It’s less than an inch thick and sports a 3.2-inch barrel, highly textured stipple finish and interchangeable backstraps. Beveled edges and sights will help avoid snagging. The slide stop and magazine button are ambidextrous, and it comes with two 7- and 8-round magazines. That’s not a ton of capacity, but for a “get off me!” pistol, your customers aren’t looking for more. Options are available for manual safety, sight style (it has front orange dot and white-dot U rear sights), three colors and other accessories. www.savagearms.com


Ruger Max-9

Chambered in 9mm Luger, the Ruger Max-9 fits up to 12+1 rounds into the same pocket-sized footprint as the LCP II. It is compact at just .095-inch wide and weighs 18.4 ounces, with a 3.2-inch barrel. Magazines come in 10- and 12-round options. Features include a tritium front sight and drift-adjustable rear sight, medium-texture grip frame and the ability to accept co-witness JPoint and Shield-Pattern micro red-dot optics. It’s designed with a through-hardened alloy steel slide and glass-filled nylon grip frame. www.ruger.com


Kimber R7 Mako

Kimber leaps into the micro market with the R7 Mako, which was introduced last autumn and turned heads with its polymer frame and upsized carrying capacity. The R7 Mako sports flush 11- and extended 13-round magazine options, along with co-witness-height tritium sights, aggressive stippling on the glass-filled nylon grip and an optics-ready design for red-dot sights. You also can get it with a Crimson Tract CTS-1500 red-dot installed. Slide stop and magazine catch buttons are ambidextrous. Spent shells eject to the side, meaning optics stay cleaner. The overall design is done well, and the Mako could be a hot seller. www.r7mako.com


Mossberg MC2sc

A double-stack micro pistol? Yes, that’s the Mossberg MC2sc, with a capability of 14+1 with the extended magazine. Buyers wanting more firepower will find it with this comfortable pistol that is easy to shoot. Mossberg also ships an 11-round magazine with the MC2sc, which has a strong glass-reinforced polymer frame that is resistant to chemicals, stainless slide and barrel, and optic-ready slide with a Shield RSMC footprint. Even with the double-stack mag, the MC2sc is just 1.10 inch wide. It has an 18-degree grip with palm swell and a flat trigger, and some models are available with a reversible crossbolt safety. It also has low-profile sights that co-witness with micro red-dot optics. www.mossberg.com


Taurus G3X

Taurus has capitalized on the popularity of its G-series polymer-frame pistols with the new G3X in 9x19mm joining the family. It blends the G3 full-size 9mm and G3C compact 9mm, retaining a slim frame but with higher capacity and more grip length for shooters with larger hands. Grip width is 1.1 inches, with the G3X measuring 5.2 inches overall with the included 15-round magazine. Aggressive stippling along with ergonomic design make the pistol a delight to shoot. It’s more than three-quarters of an inch shorter than the G3, lending a lower profile for concealment. It is compatible with the G3 and G3C T.O.R.O slide kits, the latter being optimal for red-dot optics. A dovetail cut allows shooters to install aftermarket tritium night sights.



Keltec P15

More firepower? The new Keltec P15 joins the game with its 15+1 capacity in a striker-fired polymer pistol. It weighs just 14 ounces and comes with the extended magazine, along with a flush-mount 12-round magazine. It’s fitted with tritium fiber optic front sight and adjustable, tritium two-dot rear sight. It stands 5 inches tall and is 6.6 inches long and just 7/8th of an inch wide, but it boasts a 4-inch barrel. An aggressive stippled checkered pattern ensures a good grip. Trigger pull is listed at 5 pounds. www.keltecweapons.com


Sig Sauer P365XL Spectre Comp

The P365XL Spectre Comp is a souped-up micro from Sig Sauer that features the company’s Custom Works slide and integrated compensator it says reduces muzzle flip and felt recoil by up to 30 percent. While the pistol’s sleek, stylish looks definitely are eye-appealing, what matters is the guts. It has a Custom Works slide and integrated compensator exclusive to the Spectre Comp model. Sig Sauer says the compensator cannot come loose or cause function issues thanks to the integration design. Other highlights include laser-stippled grip modules, a titanium-nitride gold barrel and trigger, XRay3 day/night sights, flat XSeries trigger, two magazines, exclusive coin and security box. www.sigsauer.com


Stoeger STR-9SC

Stoeger has expanded its STR-9 series with its new STR-9SC Sub-Compact and STR-9SC Sub-Compact Optic-Ready pistols. They’re based on the company’s STR-9 model introduced in 2019, but scaled down for what Stoeger calls “deep-concealment.” Both have an ergonomic, glass-reinforced polymer frame with steel inserts, striker-fire action, Nitride finish to resist rust and corrosion and aggressive front-rear slide serrations. Tritium sights are available, and on the Optic-Ready model, the slide is cut for mounting plates and red-dot optics. All come with a medium backstrap, left- or right-side position magazine release lever, trigger safety, integrated accessory rail, front post/square notch rear sight configuration, and a 10-round magazine for 10+1 carry. www.stoegerindustries.com

While you're selling microcompact 9mms, try to upsell each customer with a concealed carry holster for their new gun. Check out these four options that will be hot sellers. 


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