I would like to start off by saying that I do not regret all of the time and money I spent jumping headfirst into the single stack 9mm craze. I had a blast. It was a fun few years of buying, renting, carrying, testing, but ultimately trading or selling most of the pocket nines. I went through quite a few. The only one left standing out of all of them is my Beretta Nano. I only kept it because it has come to be so reliable for me and it is a great shooter. I didn’t even jump into the Glock 43. Luckily a close friend of mine did and I was able to extensively test and manipulate it before I did. It is a fine handgun, as fine as they come in regards to single stack nines. But the thing is that this long journey of trial and error brought me right back to where I started: the Glock 26.
Also as a note, due to a sports related finger injury that not only affects my strong hand, but the way I hold the firearm, I have gone to mostly 9mm due to recoil and control. I can one hand a firearm but my ring finger is permanently extended and I have to change my weak side hand grip angle on the firearm slightly to adjust for this as you can see from the above header photo.
It is hard to full palm it with my weak hand now because the finger gets in the way, it also affects my grip strength due to the surgery I had on my wrist to provide the bone graft for the other joint. Full sized firearms are easy but the smaller ones with a lot of recoil are not. Especially my 357 magnums and 44 specials. Hopefully I will be able to carry them down the road as my strength improves but the small 9mm are my friends these days. Shit happens and I needed to adapt.
Here are my conclusions as to why I feel the single stack 9mm’s are not as good of a concealed handgun as the Glock 26 is:
Out of all of the single stack nines, only the Rohrbaugh R9 fits the bill as a true pocket carry 9mm in all styles of pants. However, the things I did not like about the R9 were the magazine release location and the fact that it recoils immensely with +P ammo which the manufacturer recommends not using anyway and will probably not warranty it if you do use it. Some of the other slimline nines pocket carry great in pants with large pockets such as cargos, but that limits your dress style to pants with large pockets and pretty much eliminates the blue jean option.
So in my opinion, for pocket carry, nothing beats the micro 380’s. My Keltec p3at fits that role perfectly. Other options such as the Ruger LCP are perfect as well. I came to the conclusion after years of taking force on force classes that pocket carry is the worst position to be carrying if you are surprise attacked and have to move and draw or grapple and draw. It just doesn’t work. So I do it very little these days. Mostly in dress clothing where I need discretion and deep concealment and cannot appendix carry.
So none of the single stack 9mm’s that fit my requirements, which include the ability to fire +P ammo and a standardized magazine release high on the grip were 100% discrete pocket carry firearms. Neither is the Glock 26 for that matter. They all work in some pants and shorts, but not all pants. The micro 380 is the way to go if that’s what you are looking for.
As far as concealment, the single stacks nines are thinner, but not by much. The issue with concealment under light garments is and always will be the grip length. That is the deciding factor for me on what conceals and what doesn’t. From a comfort standpoint, the length is also a factor. But I can carry my full size Glock 17 all day with minimal comfort issues. It does stab into me a bit and can be discomforting when driving or sitting for long periods of time. The single stacks and the Glock 26 do not and are comfortable while sitting and or driving.
When in a t-shirt and shorts, the grip length is still what prints. I live in 8 month a year t-shirt weather so this is a huge factor for me. I am very experienced with carrying concealed in weather where a light t-shirt and shorts are the dress of the day. I know that I live in a state where carrying a firearm is normal and does not arouse any alarms as they would in areas full of more overly sensitive individuals, but I like discretion all the time.
Weight is also a big factor. I like to carry lightweight. So the single stack nines and the Glock 26 all work well for this requirement. If I carry it all day and I can feel it, it is too heavy. The Glock 26 is not too heavy.
Below are some differences based upon the weights and measures I recorded between the Glock 26, the Glock 43, and the Beretta Nano (taken without the aftermarket houge grip and guide rod assembly). As you will see the grip length actually favors the Glock 26. Where the single stack nines win are in length and width, but not by much. It was these differences that lead me to my conclusion that none of the single stack nines conceal any better than the Glock 26 for my applications. And brought me full circle.
Thickness difference G26g4 v G43 : -.16″ Glock 43
Thickness difference G26g4 v Nano: -.24″ Beretta Nano
Weight Difference G26g4 v G43 (Loaded 10+1 vs 6+1): -3.6oz Glock 43
Weight Difference G26g4 vs Nano (Loaded 10+1 vs 6+1): -2.8oz Beretta Nano
Length difference G26g4 v G43 -.15″ Glock 43
Length difference G26g4 vs Nano: -.78″ Beretta Nano
Height Difference G26g4 v G43: -.08″ Glock 26 Gen 4
Height Difference G26g4 v Nano: .00″ Although the G26 appears a negligible amount shorter because of the way the magazines seat
Below is the Beretta Nano and the Glock 26 both concealed on my person in different holsters, the Nano has a Talon IWB and the Glock 26 is in a Suarez NPE-2. As you will see that while the Glock 26 rides a little higher due to size, they grip lengths are both the same. The added width does not protrude out far enough to be an issue with concealment for me.
Below are some comparison photos. The Glock 43 comparison photos are not mine. They belong to user ST911 from pistol forum. You can read his excellent G43 – G26 comparison here: Review: Glock 43 w/ Shooting Results
Glock 26 vs Glock 43:
Glock 26 vs Beretta Nano
Capacity and Magazine Compatibility
So now that I had determined that the single stack nines do not hold any significant advantage over the Glock 26 in regards to concealment and pocket carry, I will get to the meat and potatoes as to why I feel the Glock 26 is better for conceal carry in regards to my requirements and standards.
Bottom line, the Glock 26 holds more ammo, and has the ability to use Glock 19, 17 and 33 round magazines if needed. All of these magazines are factory magazines.
Factory magazine capacity Glock 26 gen4 10/15/17/33
Factory magazine capacity Glock 43: 6
Factory magazine capacity Beretta Nano 6/8
Of course you can use the 8 round magazines on the Nano, but now you have further extended the grip affecting the way it conceals even more. The Glock 43 has aftermarket +1 and +2 adapters and I hear a factory magazine that holds more is in the works, but yet again the grip is further extended. The Glock 26 wins here again handily and only fattens itself by about 2 tenths of an inch to do so and adds around 3 ounces more of weight to give you four more rounds. Your holster choice is going to be more of a factor in carry width inside your belt than this.To me these weights and size differences have no affect on comfort and the way the firearm conceals.
The fact that I can carry with 10+1 and have a 15 or 17 round backup magazine or even go with a factory +2 on the 10 round magazine for a 12 round backup is a great benefit. The Glock 26 has that versatility and I haven’t even covered all of the aftermarket options available to the Glock magazines.
Due to the width of the single stack 9mm’s reloading them is just a slight bit more complex as you are putting a smaller magazine into a smaller hole. The Glock 26 has the same size magazine and magazine well as it’s full size brethren and as anyone who shoots competition knows can be reloaded pretty quickly. They go in easily. The Glock 26 has a slight edge here when it comes to fast, peripheral look reloading.
Recoil on the Glock 26 is a lot better than the single stack magazines due to weight and barrel length. Especially with +p self defense ammo. It is quicker to get on target, more accurate at range, and feels better in the hands. That coupled with the generation 4 back strap options, it fits a variety of different hand sizes better.
Aftermarket parts, holster availability and parts cross compatibility with the full sized Glocks is also where the Glock 26 wins out for me. I can use the same holsters I use for the Glock 17 with my Glock 26. I can also stock most of the same replacement parts, use the same sights, and have familiarity with control manipulation across the platforms.
So In conclusion, I have come full circle on the 9mm conceal carry train and have determined that for my applications, the Glock 26 is superior in every way to the single stack nines. Due to it’s weight and size , it is easy to conceal and it holds more ammunition. It is easy to work on, very reliable, and is cross compatible with other platforms. There is no reason for me to own or carry a single stack 9mm if not just to have it for the sake of having it. The Glock 26 just does it better for me.
If you are into the 9mm cartridge you cannot go wrong with a Glock 34, 17 or 19 and a Glock 26 I feel it is the best combination out there in the caliber. Of course, your mileage and opinion may vary from mine. Happy shooting!