American Rifleman: 7 Reasons Why Pocket Pistols Are, Uh, Less Than Ideal

Pocket guns (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

When the NRA’s Shooting Illustrated made the ill-conceived, poorly constructed and downright dangerous Remington R51 their cover girl, the buff book’s street cred took an enormous self-inflicted hit. Shooting Illustrated’s loss was the consumer’s gain. I reckon R51-gate triggered a new spirit of truthiness. Another NRA pub American Rifleman, in particular, seems to be feeling its editorial oats. To wit: 7 Reasons Why Pocket Pistol Suck May Not Be For YouI’m picking up what B. Gil Horman’s putting down. I mean, I’m not picking up the pistols that B. Gil Horman’s putting down. I mean, SPOILER ALERT! . . .

According to American Rifleman’s pejorative pocket pistol person, small guns suck are less than ideal because their tiny grips are ridiculous challenging, their ammo capacity is dangerously pathetic relatively low, they fire inadequate bullets underpowered rounds, their sights are useless difficult to see, their triggers blow are too heavy, they’re bloody painful to fire there’s too much recoil and you can’t hit the broadside of a barn with one they’re less accurate than larger guns.

So, Mr. Horman asks in his summation, are pocket pistols “bad” guns? Yes! Wait! No!

No, they’re not, when they are used for their intended purpose of close-range personal defense when larger guns have to be left at home. But they are a class of firearm that requires more time and energy to learn to fire effectively.

So . . .

If you are considering a pocket pistol for concealed carry, try it before you buy it by borrowing one from a friend or renting it from a shooting range. Then be prepared to practice with it until you get the hang of it.

I think Mr. Horman’s trying to say “don’t expect pocket pistols to be accurate beyond bad breath distance” and “see if you can stand shooting a pocket pistol enough to practice with it on a regular basis before you buy one.” Not to mention “carry the biggest gun you can comfortably conceal (or carry openly where permitted) ’cause carrying a really small gun may be worse than not carrying a gun at all.”

That said, he can’t say that! The NRA house mag writer can’t openly diss a class of firearm sold by the companies that send six-figure checks to America’s oldest civil rights org. But  . . . I get the distinct impression that AR’s pushing the envelope with this article. Which they wouldn’t have done if Shooting Illustrated hadn’t shot itself in the foot in such a spectacular fashion. Twice.

Anyway, if you want the unvarnished truth about guns, you know where to come. But make no mistake: TTAG celebrates any and all gun pubs that tell it like it is. The truth may not set you free, but it sure can help you stay alive. Now man-up and figure out how to carry a proper gun. Unless you can’t.

comments

  1. avatar DrVino says:

    I was surprised to find my LC9 to be far more accurate at 30(ish) to 40(ish) yards than my 9mm Shield.
    And I have considerably large hands.
    What was that about trigger stiffness and operation being a major determinant of accuracy?…

    1. avatar Zach says:

      That’s similar to my experience with my Beretta Tomcat and my XD40 sub. I shoot the Beretta better for some reason. Might be that the trigger is better.

      Honestly, the only issues on their list that I have with the Tomcat are 3 and 4. It’s definitely got less stopping power (though .32 isn’t the worst you can have in a mouse gun), and it’s definitely a challenge to get a sight picture. For the rest, I don’t find the grip, the number of rounds (7+1), the trigger, the recoil, or the accuracy to be major issues, at least compared to my XD.

    2. avatar Dan A says:

      I recently shot the new LC9s and I was blown away by how accurate I was with it. Even though I felt it was downright painful to fire I still shot tighter groups with it than with my SIG P228. Wtf.

  2. avatar Scrubula says:

    Don’t buy a pocket pistol without trying it at the range.
    Some can use them, some can’t.
    by pocket pistol, I mean the 2 finger+thumb grip ones.

    1. avatar B says:

      I found a Kahr CM9 tolerable. CW380 intolerable. NAA revolver better than a sharp stick < 3ft long. S&W 637 classy and fun, but challenging. XDS9 brilliant. Its the smallest gun I can get all my fingers on without a mag extension. I don't try to pocket carry it so its fairly comfortable IWB, though the 637 sits nicer IWB with its curves. Does S&W make a 9mm j frame? Cause they should.

      1. avatar Zed says:

        Totally agree with you. The XDs9 is a very manageable small pistol.

  3. avatar Michelle says:

    Nothing less than a .50beo AR pistol will do.

    1. avatar Todd Moriarty says:

      Technically, if you have large enough pockets…

      1. avatar Elliotte says:

        Get some kind of a custom leg holster and tear-away pants, like basketball warmups.

  4. avatar El Mac says:

    @RF, thank God you came along and set the world straight oh ye of infinite gun wisdom and knowledge. Brady Bunch much?

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      Are you always cranky?

      1. avatar El Mac says:

        @Accur81, no. But I get tired of reading anit-cop crap and anti-NRA crap.

        1. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

          So cops and the NRA should stop doing stupid things. Then nobody could pick on them.

        2. avatar El Mac says:

          @mark_anthony_78: Broadbrush stereotype much?

        3. avatar El Mac says:

          @Jake, cool, I love that line even though it was spoken by a douchebag character.

        4. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

          El Mac, I didn’t I say that ALL cops and the NRA only do stupid things, but when they do it’s only correct to call them out on it.

          There have been pro-cop and pro-NRA articles on here as well. Wouldn’t posting nothing but those also be broad brushing from the opposite side?

        5. avatar El Mac says:

          @mark_anthony_78: I’m glad there have been pro-Cop and pro-NRA articles on here…I’ll have to take your word for it since I’ve not seen ’em.

    2. avatar Another Robert says:

      I had the impression RF was tipping his hat to NRA/AR here. Not that I necessarily agree on this one. Does the P-64 qualify as a “pocket pistol”? That’s where I mostly carry it…

      1. avatar Eric on a boat says:

        @Another Robert
        How long have you carried the P64? I picked one up not too long ago, have not shot it yet. I am waiting on some Wolf springs to ease the double action trigger pull (feels like 20+ lbs.). Also waiting on my IWB holster from Brigade Gun Leather. I’m looking forward o using it for summer carry.

        1. avatar Another Robert says:

          Sorry to be so late–hope you are still around to see this. Have had the P-64 for , I dunno, about 9 years I guess. Carried it off and on for all that time. Never changed the springs myself, the trigger is really stout in DA but I actually like it, not gonna shoot that first shot unless I really intend to. My son made me some really nice wood grips for it, shame no one sees them…

  5. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    If I were to man up and carry a proper gun, the other opinions on this thread would line up a hate train from Michigan to California. You know a proper gun has a barrel at least 16 inches in length.

    1. avatar Brum says:

      and only accepts .50 cal 🙂

      1. avatar AndrewPVD says:

        You DO have the .50 cal bullets that shoot bee’s when they come out of the barrel, right?

  6. A pocket full of .380 is better than a handful of .45ACP back at home.

    1. avatar Rabbi says:

      Don’t leave your .45 at home! 🙂

      1. avatar Chas says:

        It’s so simple, even a caveman can do it!

        1. avatar A Caveman says:

          NOT COOL!

  7. avatar Spaceman Brown says:

    I cannot fathom why anyone would carry anything but a Glock 19.

    1. avatar Rob Aught says:

      James Yeager reads TTAG!

    2. avatar Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Because a Glock 26 w/33rd mag is funnier?

    3. avatar Lucas D. says:

      I’m guessing there are a lot of things beyond your grasp apart from that, boyo.

    4. avatar Yep says:

      Because I’ll bet I carry my J frame more often than you carry your G19. If I’m awake, my pants are on, and I’m in a place I can legally carry (99.99% of the time) then my gun is with me.

      Also, some people would rather not carry a thick, large gun that is prone to malfunctioning just because you happened to hold it “wrong” or not firm enough.

      1. avatar Brum says:

        BINGO!

      2. avatar Sian says:

        My 19 is a lot less of a pain to carry than I thought it could be (steathgear holster) and I can’t make it malfunction with a one-finger hold and the loosest, floppiest wrist I can manage. YMMV.

        But I still have a Taurus 740 for when the bigger gun is entirely impractical. I can’t make it malfunction either.

      3. avatar Renegade Dave says:

        Eh, I think you’re overstating the 19’s woes. It has them, like any gun, but still.

        That said, any gun that’s not in the LCP class is pretty much in the same boat with respect to carry: you have to have a belt mounted holster. G19 is stupid easy to carry, but I could see how smaller folks would rather have the G26 if they are thin or AIWB devotee.

      4. avatar KCK says:

        Went to the emergency room this afternoon to help out a friend from a car accident and while I’m helping with some language barrier stuff with the nurse, I realised oh oh, I was at 100% carry for the day. My visit to the hospital should have brought it down to 97%.

      5. avatar LC says:

        “Also, some people would rather not carry a thick, large gun that is prone to malfunctioning just because you happened to hold it “wrong” or not firm enough.”

        LOL, in place of a delicate, six shot only, revolver that is slower than two old people fvcking when it comes to reloads?

        let me guess, because jerry miculek is fast at reloading revolvers, you think you are too. haha… sure…

      6. avatar Spaceman Brown says:

        You would lose that bet my friend. Any gun is better than no gun, and the fact that you claim to be armed with something 99.99% of the time shows me that your mindset is at least halfway in the right place. What if you need to shoot more than 6 times? You’re dreaming if you think you can reload in time. As to your malfunction paranoia, the solution is training. If holding the weapon “wrong” can possibly cause a malfunction, don’t hold the weapon “wrong”. It’s not complicated.

    5. avatar Accur81 says:

      I carry my Glock 27 about 50% of the time, Glock 23 about 25%, Smith 340 PD about 20%, and Glock 35 about 5%. I admire your sarcasm, if indeed that’s what you were going for.

      Also at least one knife 99% of the time (unless in an airport, but I may get a wimpy TSA approved knife just for that).

      1. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

        Glock 23 for me.

        I did not know there was a such thing as a TSA-approved knife.

        1. avatar B says:

          There isn’t. The flight attendants whined about it and got it delayed just in time for those people to get trapped in that airliner that tail crashed in San Francisco.

      2. avatar Michael B. says:

        I carry my .357 Ruger LCR 95% of the time

    6. avatar janklow says:

      i could see someone preferring a USP Compact to a Glock 19. but to each their own.

  8. avatar John says:

    Nothing wrong with that article, I think it’ll be good info for many people. It wasn’t saying small guns suck, and shouldn’t as that’s not true. Every handgun is a compromise. In fact, by carrying a handgun instead of a rifle you’ve already made a major compromise in power in favor of portability.

    There’s no one “right” answer on gun size, caliber, etc. For many people, larger guns are a good choice. For others, a smaller gun may be the right choice.

  9. avatar Rob Aught says:

    Hardly a bold stance to take.

    Most reasonable people with a basic understanding of firearms know that pocket pistols have all sorts of compromises. You accept those compromises because you may not be able to carry a larger pistol. Or maybe you could carry a larger pistol but not easily.

    So this is essentially a fluff piece and they can’t even be honest about it because it might make their advertisers nervous. I also don’t know anyone, not even casual non-informed gun owners, who have bought a pocket pistol for anything it wasn’t intended for. No one I know is defending ye olde homestead with only a Ruger LCP.

  10. avatar Gray05 says:

    Pocket pistols aren’t great. But I’d rather go hand to hand with somebody I’ve shot (regardless of how many of whatever caliber) than somebody non-perforated.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Perforation degrades hand to hand skills.

    2. avatar Another Robert says:

      I like it!

  11. avatar Cogitans says:

    The article is….how do I say it…stupid in it’s own right with some of the criticisms. For example the criticism on sight picture, in the most statistically likely scenario your going to encounter outside your home the perpetrator is going to be so close that you aren’t going to aim the gun so much as point it and shoot.

    I mean there are valid criticism about the pistol, it’s not fun to shoot, the recoil is a bitch and a 380 isn’t a very powerful round (the most experienced operators I have talked think it’s a moot point since all pistol caliber rounds anemic.) but that isn’t the point of a pocket pistol is it? The pocket pistol exists because even a subcompact is difficult to conceal without dressing around the gun. I don’t want to wear a baggy t -shirt, untucked button up, overlarge pants or a fanny pack just so I can carry a gun on my person at all times. Now when I am old, fat and have kids, then yes I will most likely shelf the pocket pistol in favor of something with more beef.

    1. avatar Baldy says:

      “Stupid” is saying “it’s” when you mean “its,” and “your” when you mean “you’re.”

      If you’re going to be a critic with intellectual panache, at least use grammar equivalent to that taught in the 9th grade.

      1. avatar Robert Farago says:

        Huh? Unless Dan tidied-up the text. And wait ’til yore my age you whippersnapper! Then yule know what kinda games yoar brain plays on ya.

        1. avatar Hal says:

          He didn’t mean you. He meant Cogitans. You’re (just kidding) grammar is GTG.

  12. avatar Hal says:

    My Glock 42 is the bees knees and my Ameriglo sights are excellent. Plus with the help of shootingthebull410 I have discovered Precision One’s excellent self defense loads. That having been said, I carry a Glock 19 99 days out of 100. The Glock 42 is for those few situations where wardrobe simply prohibits the 19 in an OWB kydex. As soon as my backorder is filled, I intend to carry 3 additional mags whenever I pocket carry the 42. I just don’t understand why a magazine that long only holds 6 rounds. Should be 8. Glock needs to figure that sh*t out.

    1. avatar Hal says:

      I forgot to add: I also go appendix carry when my OWB is a no-go. So the pocket pistol is option 3.

    2. avatar Nathanael says:

      G42 is a good gun. Went out for my wife’s birthday last night, all dressed up, no room for a big gun. Slipped the 42 and a spare mag into a pocket and was good to go.

      1. avatar B says:

        If Glock made the G36 in 9mm I’d consider buying it. Friend has one, actually feels pretty nice in hand, alot like the XDS.

    3. avatar WV Cycling says:

      Glock 42 IS nice!

      I carry a Bersa Thunder 380, because I (strangely) like the weight of it. The 3.56″ barrel is 1/3rd of an inch longer than the Glock 42’s, so I probably get 10fps better muzzle velocity AND 7rd! 😛 {Phallic Reference?} [/humor]

  13. avatar Gregolas says:

    Seven reasons why these guns are better than a sharp stick:
    1. It’s reliably reported that 93-96% of the time a criminal faces a citizen or cop with ANY kind of gun, they run away or consent to held for the police without harm to either party.
    2. After market sights or better, a laser can cure the tiny sight problem.
    3. Most women, or guys with raccoon-sized hands like me CAN get all three fingers in the grip of a P3AT and its ilk.
    4. Yeah, they hurt to fire more than larger guns. So shoot only 50 rounds each time and visit the range more frequently.
    5. Some folks have jobs and uniform requirements (nurses) that render concealment of larger guns impractical, but they still must walk in dark, lonely parking lots at night.
    6. They make great back-ups.
    7. When stepping out briefly, or mowing the lawn, just drop one in a pocket. No need for the belt/holster/cover garment folderol.

  14. avatar Jim Barrett says:

    The big thing for me is where you draw the line on pocket pistol. Does the Springfield Armory XDS qualify? It fits in a pocket carry holster and depending on the pants I’m wearing, can reasonably be carried in a pocket. It shoots the exact same round as the Glock 17, Glock 19, Beretta 92, etc.so the comment about under powered ammo is not relevant. Granted, the muzzle velocity is lower with the shorter barrel, but choose the right ammo (thanks Shooting the Bull 410!) and you are good to go.

    It carries 7 rounds, which puts it right on par, ammo wise with the 1911’s. Easy enough to carry a couple of extra magazines as well.

    As with any generalization, the article makes a lot of assumptions that may or may not apply in your particular case. A far wiser approach would be to identify your requirements and then screen out guns as they fail to meet the criteria you defined. You might be left with, hell, a .22 derringer, but in many cases, this might be all you need and as stated before, a mouse gun is better than no gun at all.

    1. avatar Lucas D. says:

      I suppose I’d class it as a subcompact rather than a pocket pistol.

    2. avatar B says:

      Its smaller than the G26 and P229, and not much bigger than a CM9. Pretty heavy, I think it weighs nearly as much as an alloy frame CCO 1911. Helps with recoil. Largest pocket pistol? Smallest subcompact?

  15. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    The read-between-the-lines crossed out words cracked me up!

  16. avatar Ralph says:

    After reading this post, I’m going out to buy myself a Smith & Wesson Model 29. In fact, I’m gonna buy two of ’em and carry them both. And I’m buying some pants in a size 400 waist so I can carry my two 29s IWB.

    Now, if I can only find an ankle holster for a Desert Eagle . . . . I tried crotch-carrying it in my Thunderwear, but it drew too much unwanted attention.

    1. avatar Tom of Toms says:

      While a LEO, my father-in-law carried a 4″ Model 29 on his strongside. His backup? Another 4″ Model 29 in the small of the back.

    2. avatar danthemann5 says:

      Is that a Deagle in your pants or are you just happy to see me?

      1. avatar WV Cycling says:

        Said Shannon to Dirk?

    3. avatar Rob Aught says:

      I’d say you were compensating but I actually have no idea if you put a compensator on any of those.

    4. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      “Now, if I can only find an ankle holster for a Desert Eagle . . . . I tried crotch-carrying it in my Thunderwear, but it drew too much unwanted attention.”

      Switch the gun around to the backside. No one will both you, trust me.

      1. avatar CLShifter says:

        It took one second to process, then….ROTFLMAO…

  17. avatar Wheelsucker says:

    Parsing someone else’s words with the most juvenile option is not journalism. Yes the NRA will always take a mild tone in reviews, this is news? Like any large organization, the NRA is a stack of conflicted motivations guaranteed to dissapoint from time to time. I’d rather have them than not.

    RF, slow news day?

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Well, you just had to comment so it must be important.

      1. avatar Wielsucker (@Wielsucker) says:

        Just selfishly trying to improve the quality of my RSS feeds..

  18. avatar Mad Max says:

    I’ve been practicing with my P290RS weekly for over a year at 10 and 25 yards and I’m now pretty good with it.

    It makes shooting my P226 fun and very accurate. Due to the difficulty of accurately shooting a small pistol, practice with it helps make it easier to hold a rifle steadier when shooting something like Appleseeds.

  19. avatar mdc says:

    In the Fall and Winter and especially in urban area’s, a pocket gun is a must. By the time you maneuver garments to get to pistol underneath its to late.

    1. avatar Calvin says:

      That is a good point. When I’m pocket carrying my TCP I can have it in hand and nobody knows. That’s going to be an even faster reaction than open carry. You really shouldn’t walk around with your hand on your gun if you’re open carrying but you can with pocket carry.

    2. avatar CLShifter says:

      That’s a good point. Most people tend to carry lighter in the summertime, and heavier in winter, when concealment is easier and more penetration may be necessary. In my case, I usually IWB my CM9, because it’s impossible to pocket carry it in jeans, but in summer, a nice pair of cargo shorts with big front pockets (NOT the cargo pockets), will easily hold it. If the situation calls for pocket carry in jeans, the P3-AT is it. Either way, there’s an extra mag in a weak-side belt pouch unless I can’t get away with an untucked shirt.

      1. avatar CLShifter says:

        I should mention that I have relatively narrow hands and long, thin fingers, so I can get everything but the pinky around the P3-AT with no extension. With a small extension on the CM9, I can get a full grip.

  20. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    just got a Glock 42 for the spousal unit. . . . . better that than nothing

    1. avatar Hal says:

      My tiny spousal unit hasn’t shot mine yet, but other females who have shot my 42 found it to be limpwristacular. Then again, you being who you are, I’m betting your particular spouse has a sturdy wrist and an iron forearm.

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        “Spousal unit”
        That’s funny, but it wouldn’t be nearly as funny if I called my wife that, she has a machete!

  21. avatar Vendetta says:

    I was also thinking about my edc XDS. Pocket carry of 11 rds of 45 acp is nothing to snuff at and it consistently holds fist sized groups at 15-20 yds. Its more comfortable to shoot than my old pf9 and fits in the same holster with some light modifying. I feel this article may be null and void.

    1. avatar El Mac says:

      @Vendetta: How did you stuff 11 rounds of .45 goodness into an XDs?

      1. avatar S.CROCK says:

        Im assuming 5+1 in the gun and an extra 5 round spare mag.

  22. avatar Charles Kiser says:

    A lot depends on whose definition of “pocket gun” you are using anyway. An LC-9 is as accurate as many larger weapons and has good sights but it’s larger than some people’s idea of a “pocket carry” Me, I carry one every day. A 2 shot derringer or a mini .380 or one or the NA arms super small .22s is not going to be effective at much past card table distance. ( distance across a standard poker table for you youngsters) That said in an emergency I’d rather have 5 rounds of 22lr or 6 of .380 at 5-10 feet than my bare hands or a can of mace in a deadly attack. Sometimes you have to pick the best of bad choices.

    1. avatar danthemann5 says:

      Coincidentally, I’m carrying an LC9 IWB and a NAA Black Widow .22 WMR in my pocket at this very moment. If that isn’t enough to get me out of trouble, nothing is. During winter, when heavier clothing is standard, the LC9 gets swapped out for a P226.

      The LC9 is more than accurate enough at 10 yards. I was surprised at the accuracy of the Black Widow with its 2″ barrel, and those .22 magnum rounds are nothing to sneeze at. The P226, of course, is a tack driver, and 15 rounds of 9mm +P is great to have.

    2. avatar Gunr says:

      I’ve carried an NAA mini magnum for years, Keep it in my pocket 24/7.
      Just recently bought S&W Shield, but the slide is hard to rack. Then last Friday in my favorite LGS, I spotted a little Sig 938. After fondling it, and making sure the slide was operable, by my feeble left hand, I just had to have it!
      The few people that have seen it, thought it was a 380, they were really surprised when I told them that it was a 9. I believe this is the ultimate CC gun. It’s extremely small, but still packs a punch!
      It is not meant to give you pleasurable soothing vibrations in your hand when you let a couple off. Who cares if you can’t bounce a tin can repeatedly at 25 yards.
      It will save your life in an emergency situation, that’s what is for, nothing else!
      I also still carry the “mouse” gun in my pocket 24/7.

      1. avatar Full Cleveland says:

        Had the same experience the same day. Carries well and shoots well. It’s not a P239 or P226 but I can slip it in my front pocket and carry when doing yard work, running errands and when traveling by ground it will always be on me. A larger gun or two stays in the truck.

  23. avatar Gun_Chris says:

    “’cause carrying a really small gun may be worse than not carrying a gun at all.”

    Well isn’t that just a bit hyperbolic, and by a bit I mean absolutely and completely.

    Care to support that statement?

    Or should we all just, “Now man-up and figure out how to carry a proper gun.” by open carrying ARs everywhere?

    1. avatar B says:

      Probably referring to a gun that you are incapable of firing safely. Or it would have to be, cause I can’t think of any self defense scenarios where I’d kick myself for using my mildly uncomfortable to shoot pistol instead of going for some ridiculous MMA fist fight with a criminal. I don’t fight fair.

  24. avatar John B says:

    There is only one correct view of any firearms or firearms in general:

    The only viable firearm is the one you are carrying and the only firearm worth carrying is the one you are proficient with – regardless of caliber.

    Everything else is conjecture and personal prejudice.

    1. avatar Brum says:

      Agreed. How come there are no “like” buttons on here?

    2. avatar Sammy says:

      I carry .22 short because “caliber doesn’t matter.”

  25. avatar Rambeast says:

    I’ll challenge anyone that thinks the .380 fired from a <3" barrel is anemic, to take one center mass and hold their opinion. The caliber wars are over, and none won. Shot placement and training trump any caliber argument, every time.

    1. avatar Sammy says:

      That is one of the stupidest arguments possible. No one wants to get shot with anything, including a pellet gun, but that does not mean that I would use a pellet gun to defend my life.

      And, yes, a .380 out of a 3″ barrel IS anemic. No point in getting good shot placement if the bullet can’t reach deep enough or get through barriers such as jackets.

      1. avatar Rambeast says:

        A 4 layer denim shot test is as close to a realistic penetration scenario you will ever need. That has been tried and passed by many brands of ammunition, and notably none of them were +p loads. Not only are you wrong, if you are the assailant, you would likely be dead wrong. Overpenetration is the enemy, and the secondary concern among those involved in a DGU (second only to stopping the threat). A 5″ barrel firing any round (except a cap and ball pistol) will likely pass through your target, and runs the risk of injuring or killing a bystander. That is another lawsuit in the making behind the criminal/civil charges by the assailant or their family. Keep believing that pocket pistols are underpowered, but you are just fooling yourself.

        1. avatar Sammy says:

          Sorry, get a clue.

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          Who are we to argue with someone who can out shoot Jerry Miculek?

    2. avatar Accur81 says:

      Heck I wouldn’t want to get hit with a snotty sneeze center mass. That’s doesn’t mean a sneeze will stop a fight. The idea here is pretty simple: carry the biggest, baddest firearm in the most effective caliber and the best available ammo. For me that’s a G27 or G23 making my way to a Mossberg 930. YMMV.

      1. avatar rlc2 says:

        G23+870=KISS

      2. avatar B says:

        I hate getting shot with airsoft pellets and paintballs, I would never stand still for either, and those are nowhere near even a blackpowder 22lr.

      3. avatar Full Cleveland says:

        Yep. Check out this link that clearly shows the most deadly handgun caliper based on years of compiling information from shootings.
        http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/node/7866

        1. avatar rlc2 says:

          thats a good one.
          two takeaways: two kinds of “stops”
          psychological – people who dont like to be shot, stop at one of anything
          physical – people who keep coming are stopped better by bigger bullets

          But most important, is placement.

          So if .40 is too much for you, then more practice can make up for it, in something smaller.
          You could make a case that the flinch that is hard to train out, due recoil in something compact, like the G23, leads to lower accuracy, and maybe one reason FBI considering going back to 9mm…?

          With better ammo in last few years, it makes sense,
          especially for single stack 9s being just small enough for pocket carry…

  26. avatar tdiinva says:

    This article is mostly correct. The oft quoted 3 shots, 3 yards, 3 seconds data comes from FBI statistic on agent involved shootings. This data is colored by the fact that the agent or officer involved already had his gun drawn at longer range and was manuevering to close with the suspect. Try a Tueller-like drill with a blind draw agaisnt a pop up close range threat and see where it gets you. (Hint: unless you are as fast as Doc Holliday the answer is dead). This being the case having a pocket pistol as your EDC unless you have no other choice is a less than optium choice.

    1. avatar Sammy says:

      Please enlighten us all, oh exalted one. How does having a pocket pistol relate to the Tueller Drill?

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        Look keyboard commando I have been pretty tolerant in responding to you in the past but I will no longer be so tolerant. Let me explain it to you in simple words.

        If you the first indication that you have of threat is when it is 10′ feet in front of you then you will never be able to respond unless you have lightning fast reflexes. Now, the reason that people carry pocket pistols as their primary defense weapon is because they believe that the engagement will take place at point blank range so barrel length is unimportant for the required accuracy. The data that they base this point blank range engagement is from law enforcement officers who are usually approaching the threat with guns drawn. As I have pointed out to you on many occasions that an armed citizen does not move to engage a threat. He moves towards you and you better be aware of it long before he gets within pocket pistol range or you are dead or the next George Zimmerman. So why limit your accuracy and bullet performance by using a pissant little gun unless that it what circumstance require you to carry. I have a pissant little Nano and I carry when I must but my preference is for a minimum of the 3.8 barrel on my XD/m compact.

        I am sure you are much better at gunfighting than I am, at least in your imagination. I am probably not very good at all. I don’t plan on getting into a gunfight. If it comes down to it I will have a defense gun use with more emphasis on the defensive than the gun use. A DGU is an end-to-end process is based on situational awareness and threat avoidance, not on actually using the weapon. As one trainer actually said, “Don’t get noticed, run away if you do and only as a last resort use your weapon.” However, I haven’t had your super operator training so I will rely on SA and maneuver to avoid getting into a gun fight or at least have DGU on my terms instead of his.

        So here is what I am suggest you do. Get one of your buddies and have him stand 10′ away from you, have him blow a whistle and see how fast you draw and aim your gun. Then tell me how often you even get the gun on target before he “shoots” you. My guess is that you will be dead every time.

  27. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    It’s all pretty much b.s., anyway. Vast majority of already rare DGUs involve no discharging of the firearm. So making decisions exclusively on caliber or frame size is just silly. Same with accuracy. You’re going to be purely at the point and shoot level, anyway, and at point blank range. So all the intrinsic accuracy and sight alignment is entirely academic. A lawful SD shoot is almost never going to take place at 10+ yards. Maybe in another L.A. riots situation, perhaps, but there’s buildup for that and you can take to the roof of your shoppe with an AK, when needed.

    All the rest of this nonsense about meager pocket pistols is just so much keyboard bravado. When you’ve looked down the barrel of one or taken a .380 shot to the chest, come back and tell me how lame the sensation was.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      I have talked to the local prosecutor and she said that you can get away 10 yards before they start to question you. They know how fast a threat with a weapon can close on you too. It does depend on whether the threat displays a weapon or not. but if they a present a weapon at 10 yards it will be judged a good shoot at least in jurisdictions that are self-defense friendly. Just remember the closer someone gets before presenting as a threat the more likely it is that you are going to lose.

      1. avatar Sammy says:

        tdinnva,

        Wow, you are just FULL of bad advice. The determination of good shoot vs bad, has nothing to do with distance, it only has to do with threat. If someone is shooting you at 100 yards, you are being threatened with lethal force and may use letal force to defend yourself. And, yes, i can easily hit a 100 yard target with my carry gun, let alone my rifle.

        Either you are pulling lies out of your butt, or that prosecutor should be fired.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Sammy, i have little respect for keyboard commandos like you. And you prove every time you respond to me why I have no respect for keyboard commandos like you. The actual Tueller drill you know is a knife at 7 yards. A Prosecutor is well aware that if someone defends themselves against a weapons wielding attacker inside 10 yards their defense attorney is going go through the Tueller drill for the jury and demonstrate that you were facing a deadly threat. So no prosecutor is going bring charges against a citizen for defending themselves inside of 10 yards when faced with armed attacker unless there is some indication that you are responsible for starting the fight. Note, that I also said in self defense friendly jurisdiction. If this happens in a jurisdiction that is anti-self defense they will prosecute you if you were facing Jack the Ripper. Not only are you keyboard commando, you are an illiterate one at that.

          Only I, Mike Vickers, Jim Clapper and Steve Cambone know if I am a liar or not.

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          And Sammy, I just noticed your 100 yard statement.
          I didn’t know that you are the real Leroy Jethro Gibbs and can nail someone 100 yards with an LCR. About the only time you are going to be able justify shooting someone 100 yards a way is if you are caught in mall shooting or the University of Texas quadrangle. Granted in that case the Prosecutor will let you off the hook. However, that is probably not going to happen to you except when you play Call of Duty 98. If any of us are unfortunate enough to have to use a gun it will be at ranges well inside 100 yards. If I even see a potential threat at 250 yards I am moving to avoid.

        3. avatar Sammy says:

          tdviina,

          Bad advice from unknowledgable, know-it-alls like you can get people killed. Please stop posting.

        4. avatar tdiinva says:

          Sammy, I go on the assumption that anybody, regardless of how stupid they might sound on a particular post, can be real. However, You gave yourself away with your “I can hit a target at 100yards with my EDC.” BS. Unless your EDC is a long barreled Smith Model 29 you gave yourself up as an idiot keyboard commando. Nobody would take anything other than a desperation shot at a 100 yards with a typical EDC gun and never if there was anyone remotely close to the intended target.. I don’t even think Jerry Miculek would risk it if there was anybody around except the shooter. So it’s time to stop embarrassing yourself.

        5. avatar Sammy says:

          tdiinva,

          Just because you are incompetent with a handgun, does not mean everyone else is.

          FYI: My EDC is a full-size .45.

          And, I can hit a an ISPC target at 50 yards with my backup snubby as well.

        6. avatar tdiinva says:

          You know, when I was a Division Chief I was known as a first class A-hole because when confronted with a SFB cypher I could be very cruel. You bring back some fond memories.

          I just keep wondering which of my words of wisdom could get someone killed. Was it my advice to keep aware of your surroundings and don’t get noticed? I can only assume that you believe that you walk around oblivious to the world. Was it my suggestion that if you observe potential trouble move to avoid it? Does that mean you think it is best to charge forward gun in hand ready to go toe-to-toe with bad guys? Was it my comment that movement is overrated because if you have been walking around in a fog and the threat shows up in your face you aren’t going out run the bullet or that Juwon the gangbanger is just going to point the gun in your general direction and letting loose a random pattern of shots? I guess that means you are superman and faster than a speeding bullet. Oh maybe it was suggesting that you are going to have a difficult time explaining the police and the DA why you shot at the suspected bad guy, who might not even have been a bad guy,at 50 yards with your snubbie and killed some innocent bystander because nobody in his right mind is going take 50 yard shot with a 2 3/4″ barrel. It seems to me that you confuse a staged pistol competition with the real world that the rest of of live in. But then again what do I know since I was only an IC REMF for 30 years.

        7. avatar rlc2 says:

          hey, Sammy, not to take sides of anything, but you keep alleging “bad advice” but only justified based on your capability in ISPA, which I respect, but thats the race gun target shooting that really doesnt apply much, real world, especially for most of us less experienced, everyday types, looking for HD or out and about ccw to protect family.

          In contrast I read tdiinva detailing out the more realistic considerations based on what facts we do have, for typical real world HD or CCW scenarios.

          Anyone else reading it that way?

          ps: read a greatbook by sam shepard, who quoted Col Grossman, in On Killing…that gave more context on this…real world fights, including knives. very interesting and to the bottom line, rather than chest thumping.

        8. avatar tdiinva says:

          RL:

          Sammy is the kind of guy who hasn’t figured yet that if you find yourself in a situation where you have to draw your gun you have failed and if you have to pull the trigger it’s an epic fail.

      2. avatar Sammy says:

        rlc2,

        Bone up on your reading comprehension. I said “IPSC” target and “snubby.”
        Never mentioned competitions, nor race guns.
        Get some training from a professional and you will see right through Tdviina’s rants.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Look sport, I am getting bored with this. The only one ranting is you. If you got some specific criticsim about what I say then lay it down which you have so far failed to do. So until you do STFU.

        2. avatar Sammy says:

          I have clearly stated several objections to your bad advice on numerous occasions, but your lack of reading comprehension prevents you from understanding. Instead of learning from it you take off on tangent rants on this that I never mentioned. It would take more of my time to correct your further than its worth considering your lack of ability to learn.

          Your credibility on all fronts is in the toilet. Nothing you say is meaningful, sport.

          And yes, please STFU before your advice gets someone killed.

        3. avatar Accur81 says:

          I don’t get your deal. Even if you can hit human sized targets at 100 yards with your snub-nosed revolver, which I doubt, there is no reason to give the other commenters such a hard time. I haven’t heard any advice from Tdniiva or rlc2 which would cause an “operator” to get killed. Most handgun DGU’s are inside 30 feet, although they could conceivably be much further if you are being shot at.

          Certainly a quality 1911 or another accurate handgun can make hits under optimal conditions at 100+ yards. My 460 XVR is a pretty accurate handgun. If you have those long range skills, and the time to practice, more power to you. There’s also plenty of old grannies out there who have won gunfights at close range without loads of tactical training.

  28. avatar Sammy says:

    I agree, because some DGUs don’t involve actually firing a gun, I don’t care about caliber, gun size-which effects shootabilty-nor accuracy. And yes, I will carry a .380 because larger caliber handguns have been proven to have little stopping power– so carrying something even smaller makes sense.

  29. avatar Renegade Dave says:

    I don’t understand the single stack 9mm phenomenon. They’re not particularly easier to carry than a compact like a 19.

    I mean, I bought hook line and sinker, and have the shield sitting in the safe to prove it, but it conceals marginally better than a 19, is more difficult to draw and more difficult to shoot accurately, especially under pressure.

    I’m thinking about swapping the shield out for a 26, and then keeping the LCP for when a belt mounted firearm won’t do.

  30. avatar Ben Parsons says:

    My M&P Shield .40 is almost a pocket pistol – and is occasionally used that way. My favorite pocket carry (when I absolutely must) though is a Beretta Model 70. .32 ACP makes it almost a contact weapon though.

  31. avatar Jack says:

    I wish that gun-rights activists would stop with the snobbery and put aside their caliber/brand/capacity/bullet-type/training biases when they’re addressing fellow gun owners. For some people, exercising the civil right to keep and bear arms is a leap into an intimidating world. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with advice or debate, it’s counterproductive to make anyone feel guilty for their gun choices. We’re all on the same team.

    I appreciated the neutral stance of the American Rifleman article.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      Well said, sir.

  32. avatar Lolinski says:

    Is the CZ 83 a pocket pistol? Pretty much the only .380 I would use (though I prefer the .32 acp version).

    On topic: meh, pocket pistols aren’t meant to be shot without a healthy adrenaline boost.

  33. avatar Mediocrates says:

    I needed a pistol to match my penis size….

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      But what good is a 22 short?

      1. avatar Eric says:

        A 22 short has a diameter of 5.6mm. This is a 2.7mm cartridge, which would be more like a .11 short.

        1. avatar Lucas D. says:

          I think he was just making another “teeny-weenie” joke on the original comment. It does seem seem to be tailor-made for them, come to think of it.

  34. avatar Eric says:

    Not all pocket pistols are the same. I find ultra-lightweight 380’s (ie. Kel-Tec & Ruger LCP) to be too snappy for me to shoot accurately. I routinely carry a Kahr MK9, which is 9mm weighs as much as a Glock 19, and the extra weight really helps cut down on the recoil and allows me to be a more proficient shooter with it. More importantly, it means that I am more willing to practice with it as well. It’s still not as accurate as a Glock 19 and likely not as reliable either. But when it’s hot out your options for what you can conceal can be limited. I can fit a Kahr MK9 in my pocket and at close range I know I can hit my target if need be. It may be low capacity, but so is a 1911 or a revolver (which takes longer to reload if you don’t have speedloaders), and plenty of people carry those for self defense.

  35. avatar SigGuy says:

    I can hit a 12″ steel plate at 100 yards with my kahr CM9. If you practice enough with a pocket pistol, it can be more effective than a larger gun that you’re not as used to. Learn the trigger and the sights, carry an extra mag or two and you’ll be fine.

  36. avatar Ken says:

    The main advantage of pocket carry is based on situational awareness. If you are surprised and have to draw quickly then OC is the best option, with a practiced IWB draw being second and pocket carry low on the list. However; if you ever find yourself with the little hairs on the back of your neck standing up, or you see a credible threat that makes you feel the need, you can have your hand on a pocket pistol in a “draw ready” grip and probably have it out faster than an IWB. You can also take your hand back out of your pocket with no one being the wiser once you feel the threat is gone. If you have an IWB, the action required to prepare to draw (clearing outer clothing) might actually provoke the “threat” into action in their own self defense.
    I can also put rounds center mass consistently at 5 yds with my LCP. For anything further I have time to draw my 9mm.

  37. avatar 5Spot says:

    So why hasn’t Ruger or Smith ported one of their micro 2″ or less snubbies in 357/38 +ps. They discontinued my 6″ 686 PP (ported), but I swear it takes ~35% of bark off full powered .357 rounds. Might be a good experiment for a CC snubby.

  38. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    Carry what you want.

    Run what you brung.

  39. avatar KD says:

    My response to this article is Boberg! The XR9-S has now been on the market 3 years and the XR9-L for close to 2. The XR45-S started shipping out just 3 weeks ago. The 9’s are proven reliable, accurate, low recoil, and are exceptionally well built and engineered. Down side is they are pricey and too expensive for many folks.

    I encourage everyone to read up, then shoot one before passing judgement. Sometimes you pay more and receive more! Hickok45 has a Boberg video, watch him smile!

  40. avatar former water walker says:

    I had no problem shooting a tiny .380 TCP. Wish I still had it. I was able to shoot quickly and accurately with 1 or 2 hands. Nope I wouldn’t want to be shot by it either. And didn’t WW1 get going with a lowly .380( I’ve also heard it was .32). Of course a tiny handgun ain’t ideal. But I can’t carry a rifle or shotgun in Illinois. BTW I just saw Garry “streetlight” McCarthy say on the news a gunshot victim( one of 4 at a club) had legal carry and he STILL got shot. “So more guns are NOT the answer”. Duh…I believe the perp SHOT him in the BACK.

  41. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Probably a small concealable pistol is not ideal, but it might be better than nothing.

  42. avatar CarlosT says:

    .32 ACP worked for the doctor in Philadelphia. It’s not my choice for personal defense, but it put the psycho on his knees and allowed the staff to subdue him. All in all it’s a win.

    1. avatar Tom says:

      Do we know what model 32 ACP the Doctor carried?

  43. avatar rlc2 says:

    The NRA can handle a few gentle jibes from TTAG, and I am sure they are paying attention, to honest feedback, as they’ve proven to be proactive with new spokes persons, Noir, Cheng, various Women, reaching new audiences.

    Now if they would stop with the junk mail, they’d be 100% for me….

    1. avatar Tom says:

      If you ask the NRA to cut off the junk mail, they will. I filled out some sort of comment form on their website, referenced my member number, and politely asked them to stop all mail other than American Rifleman. They never responded directly, but the mail stopped.

  44. avatar Rich Grise says:

    I had a Lorcin .25 that was more a ladies’ model than a pocket pistol – I had bought it plus 1000 rounds for $50.00, then sold it bare about a year later for $75, so it was good.

  45. avatar Werechicken says:

    I carry seven 3D Liberators about my person at all times.

  46. avatar Don from CT says:

    The two guns pictured at the opening of this article couldn’t be more different. I’ve shot both. The heizer defense gun is perhaps the stupidest creation to come from the US gun industry since the Colt Pocket Nine. Its inacurate, kicks like a mule and only holds two rounds.

    In contrast, the PM9 is amazingly accurate, reliable, seems to defy the laws of physics with its gentle recoil and is actually fun to shoot. The PM9 is the non pocket pocket gun.

    With that said, I used to own a PM9 and no longer do. I found it to be too heavy for pocket carry. Since I was always carrying on a belt holster I sold it and bought a marginally larger P9.

    The P9 is a better gun, but the PM9 gets all the press. Too bad. Most people would be better served by the very slightly larger gun.

    Don

    1. avatar rlc2 says:

      Don, thanks. Thats the direction I’d be going if Sheriff Gore ever gives it up on Peruta, to a pocket 9. I read good things on Kahr, and this is a good review vs the G26.
      http://www.a-human-right.com/p9vsg26.html

      However, it says the P9 is slightly too large for pocket carry, vs PM9.

      Checking my #1 resource for handgun reviews, I see that TTAG needs to get involved here!

  47. avatar Floyd says:

    Of course pocket pistols are less than ideal. Pocket pistols, for the most part, represent a step up from the Derringer of 130 years ago rather than the next generation of modern hand guns…same purpose, but better firearm. True, not ideal. But beats the heck out of having nothing at all.

  48. avatar Chris Brooks says:

    So called pocket guns carry the same liability as a real gun, with none of the benefits
    But I stopped reading at the boneheaded R51 comment.
    The gun written about and fawned over was not the same gun customers got.
    Making the R51 issue in to more than it is doesn’t help the rampant ignorance and rumors whoring that plagues the gun culture.

  49. avatar zoul says:

    Pocket pistols are better today than every before in history, they are reliable, accurate and “relatively” inexpensive. What’s the number one reason to have one? IF YOU LEAVE YOUR 9MM AT HOME ALL THE TIME CAUSE IT’S TOO BIG! A .380 can sit in dress pants all day and not leave a bruise on your leg. Training is an important part of ANY gun ownership. Train until you’re good at it not matter what “it” is.

  50. avatar Dogman says:

    When I got my first CC permit years ago I jumped right in whole hog. I figured my Glock 26 was a good concealed choice. In short order, I went through several IWB and OWB holsters, trying to find something I could live with all day long. Instead, everything was uncomfortable to the point I refused to even consider carrying a gun unless I could carry it in my pocket and carry it reasonably comfortably as well as decently concealed. I also had no intention of downsizing to a .32 or .380 pea shooter. The answer was simple–buy new and looser pants with deeper, wider pockets that are made of a strong material that doesn’t stretch and bulge. Leave the tight ass jeans to the kids and embrace pleats and cargo pants. If jeans were really necessary, the “relaxed” fit models were in order and maybe get them a bit larger than normal fit. Since that epiphany, I’ve pocket carried either that G26, a S&W J-frame or a SIG P290RS daily. I’ve even dropped a SIG P229 in my pocket on a couple of occasions for short periods without being uncomfortable or uncomforted. Whatever I’m carrying, the gun is comfortable, well concealed, easy to access and, with practice, reasonably accurate for me to shoot well past “bad breath” range.

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