Below is a side-by-side specification comparison of the .40 S&W compact pistols that
are commonly available on the market today. You’ll note that I’ve arranged these by slide width (left to right, thinnest to widest). I arranged these this way because I personally believe gun width is the largest contributing factor to comfortable concealed carry (especially using IWB carry). To further demonstrate this, let’s compare the Springfield EMP40 with the Sig Sauer P239 40. I own both of these handguns and have carried both regularly using identical Blade-Tech Inc UCH IWB kydex holsters. I can say without question that the Springfield EMP is significantly easier and more comfortable to carry all day long (even though the EMP is 3.5 ounces heavier according to manufacturer spec’s). Why is this? In large part because the EMP is .38″ slimmer than the P239. That may not seem like much, but when carrying concealed, it makes a big difference. You can clearly see it when you slide the EMP into the P239 holster (it’s very loose).
You might then ask – why don’t you go with one of the Kahr .40 models as they are about the same width as the EMP and are smaller in length and width? My answer is simple – 3 more rounds of .40 S&W capacity. The extra length of the EMP doesn’t further hinder IWB carry and using an aggressive cant in the holster mitigates the extra 1.0″ in height. Additionally, the extra grip height allows all my fingers to fit on the grip of the EMP which aids in more accurate and comfortable shooting.
The downside to the EMP is its price tag, but you get what you pay for. You would be hard pressed to find similar guns with this level of quality, craftsmanship, and included accessories at this price. It offers a nice balance of size, capacity, and caliber. So for me, the EMP is the hands down winner in the .40 S&W compact field.
.40S&W Compact Specification Comparison Chart
*CORRECTION: The length of the S&W M&P40c is 6.7″ not 5.75″ as listed in the chart.