Single Stack vs Double Stack Pistols: Which is Best?

If you’re looking for a concealed carry pistol, you probably heard of terms such as single stack and double stack. What do these terms mean? And how do you really know which one suits you? We’ll discuss the differences between single stack vs double stack pistols in this article. 

Let’s get right to it!

Single stack and double stack are terms used to define how cartridges are arranged in the magazine. 

Single Stack

Single-Stack guns‘ magazines have cartridges lined in a single vertically-aligned stack. 


  • Smaller 

Single stack magazines are slim so they are great for concealment.

  • Minimal Jams

Since the cartridges are lined in a straight and single stack, there is minimal possibility of getting jams when feeding the chamber.


  • Fewer Rounds

Since they’re smaller, single stack mags can only accommodate 6 to 10 rounds, giving you limited ammo during emergencies. And carrying extra magazines and loading them is a pain.

  • Stronger Recoil

Single-stack pistols tend to have more pronounced recoil due to less mass in the gun, and we don’t want that if we want to increase our accuracy. One workaround you can apply is using bullets with lower caliber. 

Double Stack

A double-stack pistol’s magazine has twice the size of a single-stack mag. The cartridges in a double-stack magazine are arranged in two layers in a staggered manner.


  • More Rounds – Double-stack pistols have the capacity of 15 to 17 rounds. 
  • Lighter Recoil – These pistols are more prominent and can absorb recoil better.


  • Bigger – Double-stack pistols are harder to conceal and tend to be heavier. They’re also a bit uncomfortable to carry in holsters all day, but of course experiences vary with guns and people. If you decide to go with a double stack for your concealed carry, you can decrease printing chances by wearing loose clothing or using a holster claw.
  • Wider Grip – These pistols have wider grips so they’re a bit uncomfortable to hold especially if you have small hands.
  • More Prone to Jamming – Although it doesn’t happen often, another downside of double-stack pistols is you’re more likely to encounter a jam while firing.

Which is Better for Concealed Carry?

Concealed Carry Concealment

Single-stack guns are more compact and therefore are easier to access, conceal, and carry daily. They have less chance of printing even when you’re wearing light clothes. However, double stack guns really shine in capacity, a limited tolerance for less ammo may lead you to one of those. 


Are Glocks single or double stack?

Glock manufactures both single-stack and double-stack pistols. One of their most popular single stacks is the G43, a “9 mm Luger caliber pistol. It is ultra-concealable, accurate and a fantastic tool for all shooters regardless of one’s hand size.”

Is Glock 19 single or double stack?

The Glock 19 is a double-stack pistol. It has a standard capacity of 15 rounds.


At the end of the day, we all have different needs and preferences when it comes to concealed carry. So after learning about their pros and cons, it’s still up to you to decide which is better. If your priority is capacity, then go with a double stack. If you want a smaller pistol, then you’d want to get a single stack.

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