By Paul McCain
A few weeks ago ago, I got a chance to hang out for a day with Dan Zimmerman and Tim McNabb. They are both terrific guys and if you ever get a chance to meet them and shake their hands, you can, as I did, thank them for their work with The Truth About Guns. They are brothers of the gun and that’s enough for a good conversation but in both their cases, they are just fun guys to hang around with, too. While we were running some drills at Asymmetric Solutions, Tim decided to use his “bad breath” gun to run a drill from inside a car . . .
I had never heard that expression before and said, “Huh? What did you say?” I learned that a pocket-sized pistol may well be your best choice at “bad breath” distance. If you can smell an attacker’s bad breath, it can be a very effective choice for EDC.
That got me thinking, a dangerous prospect to be sure. Tim’s bad breath gun was a 9mm, a Diamondback DB9. He let me put a magazine full of the 9mm ammo I had with me through it and frankly, I did horribly. Somebody pointed out I was slapping the trigger and I’m sure I was. If you choose to use a pocket pistol, you need to practice a lot with it. They are very unforgiving due to their extremely short sight radius and the fact that a short-barreled pistol chambered in .380 or 9mm is going to be a handful when you shoot it.
My favorite “bad breath” gun is the good old Ruger LCP. I’ve shot it a lot and anyone with any experience with one knows that it’s not a comfortable firearm. Shoot it a lot and you go home with a sore hand and wake up with it even more so. It’s supposed to be comforting, n0t comfortable, which gets me back to my point.
I know that there are two schools of thought on bad breath guns; 1) they suck and you are an idiot for using that for EDC and 2) you’re a total moron to rely on a .380. And then there are those of us who absolutely are not able to carry anything larger and choose to make ourselves as proficient as possible with them.
Why? Some of us are required to wear clothing that doesn’t make it at all possible to tuck a GLOCK 17 into our pants, either with an IWB holster or a belly band or even an ankle holster. That means we have to use something small. In my case, I have to carry something very small. Maybe you’re in the same boat are considering carrying a Ruger LCP or something like it.
The old adage that a pocket full of .380 is better than a bunch of .45ACP or 9mm back home couldn’t be more true. I tuck my LCP into my Uncle George’s Wallet holster. It totally conceals my mouse gun and if anyone happens to see it printing, it simply looks like … wait for it … a wallet. It slips into my dress pants back pocket, or my suit coat or sport coat pocket and nobody’s the wiser. I can easily carry it in my front pocket, too. It works particularly well with dress pants.
So, how effective is a Ruger .380? Effective enough, in the right situation. And this is where you have to carefully think through this. The vast majority of situations where, God forbid, you would have to use a firearm will be within 15 feet, probably more like ten or even closer. The Ruger .380 is plenty effective at that distance. But you absolutely have to train with it. You need to buy a variety of .380 ammo and find out what works best in your handgun. Once you have that figured out, you can slip your Ruger 380 into your wallet holster, fully loaded with an extra mag and you’re way ahead of the game compared to walking around with nothing but an empty pocket and a prayer that nothing will happen.
I can only speak to the Ruger .380, but for me its winning features are: it’s very small, very concealable and easy to carry. I know you have other options and there are lots of very small 9mm handguns out there. I’d suggest you experiment with them to find out what you think you are going to be the most comfortable carrying all day long. For me, the Ruger .380 fits the bill. The Elsie Pea is more than adequate at “bad breath” distances, as my review video below demonstrates.
Now, I know there will be plenty of comments here informing me that I’ve made a bad choice, why the LCP sucks, why I should be carrying a 9mm (or a .45) pocket pisto and any number of other counter-points. To which I say, fine. Great! Use what you think will work best for you. But if you’re not training with it, if you haven’t satisfied yourself that you can deploy it if and when you need to – quickly – and get rounds on target accurately enough to stop a threat, then no matter what you are carrying, you’re going to have problems. Or, better put, you’ll have decreased the odds of using your pocket pistol EDC of choice effectively.
So let’s hear it for the bad breath EDC handgun!
What do you think? If you carry a pocket pistol what do you carry? And how? What’s been your experience with it?
You can see the rest of Paul’s work at his VDMA Videos YouTube channel.