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By Jed Henson

Of all the firearm purchases you may make in your lifetime, a pocket gun is probably the one you can least afford to screw up. We buy a pocket gun for last-ditch self defense, which literally makes it a do-or-die gun. It therefore must perform when called upon. We can’t dislike shooting it so much that we’ll never practice with it. And we have to like it enough to carry it. Given all that, wouldn’t it be nice to know which pocket guns you can rule out right off the bat? Well, you’re in luck, because your fellow Americans have voted, and for some pocket guns, the results aren’t pretty . . .

The Wisdom of Crowds

If you spend any amount of time online, you’ve seen product rating systems on Amazon, Netflix, Yelp, etc., usually in the form of star ratings. This crowdsourced data points aren’t perfect, but if a product gets a statistically significant number of votes, we get a pretty good idea of how it stacks up thanks to the wisdom-of-crowds phenomenon.

At my handgun review and rating site, gunsgunsguns.net, we offer star ratings on a scale of 1–10 for every gun featured on the site. So far we’ve collected roughly 34,000 votes with an average rating of 6.1 overall.

Using that, I’ve compiled a spreadsheet of the results by filtering down 200+ subcompact handguns, first by caliber (nothing weaker than .380 ACP), and then by size (nothing bigger than 5.77″ long x 4.4″ tall).That left 44 semi-autos, which I sorted by each gun’s average user rating.

According to our peers, here are the six worst pocketguns, from less awful to worstest. After each gun’s name, you’ll see its average user rating, that rating’s margin of error and the number of votes:

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1) Diamondback Firearms DB380 (4.3 stars ±1.0, 25 votes)

It pains me to include the DB380 on this list because I bought one a couple years ago. Unfortunately, my DB380 experience has mirrored that of many of our peers. I can’t count on my DB380 to run consistently, so I had to give it a low rating. The price is right, but the performance and ratings just aren’t.

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2) Cobra Firearms CA380 (4.3 stars ±0.9, 36 votes)

TTAG writer Jeremy S. apparently had a non-awful experience with a CA380. He rated it 2.5 stars out of 5 and wrote, “I don’t hate it.” Still, that’s pretty tepid, and our readers rate it well below average. Bottom line: you can do much better.

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3) SCCY Industries CPX-2 (4.3 stars ±0.4, 99 votes)

This gun is budget-friendly and chambered substantially (9mm). But with 99 votes in, the math is clear: the CPX-2 stinks.

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4) Beretta Pico (4.1 stars ±0.3, 134 votes)

Color me shocked to see the Pico down here with the bottom feeders because Beretta is a major manufacturer that produces lots of quality firearms. Plus, the Pico’s 9mm cousin, the Nano, rates well above average. But again, the people have spoken: the Pico sucks. [Edit: Jeremy S. had issues w/ the Pico as well]

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5) Kahr Arms CM40 (3.8 stars ±0.7, 36 votes)

I was also surprised to find the CM40 rated so poorly. Kahr makes a lot of pocket guns, and several of them rate really well. Heck, the CM40’s steel-framed brother, the MK40, is currently ranked in the top 5 (granted, with only 10 votes so far). I’m guessing a .40 S&W round is just too unpleasant to shoot in this uber lightweight polymer-framed pocket gun.

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6) IO Hellcat II (2.9 stars ±0.6, 32 votes)

This gun looks a whole lot like the Ruger LCP and Kel-Tec P-3AT. But unlike those highly rated guns, the Hellcat II’s rating is in the toilet. IO stopped making them and moved to Florida. The Hellcat II was cheap when purchased new, and you can find one used for around $100. It’s pretty clear why.

Final Thoughts

I limited this list to the bottom six guns to reduce room for disagreement and keep it simple. Is it possible to find a Hellcat II that runs well, shoots well and fits well? Yes, I’m sure they’re out there, but the odds you’ll score one of those unicorns remain low. And with 38 other semi-auto pocketguns to choose from, why risk it? Remember, these are life-or-death guns, not gopher guns or race guns.

Personally, I’d avoid far more than just the bottom six. I’d limit my search to guns rated north of 6.0 on my survey and I’d stay far away from the below-average offerings from Jimenez, Boberg, NAA, MasterPiece, etc.

But that’s just me Not everyone places as much weight on user ratings as I do. Regardless of your take on user ratings, I think you can safely ignore the bottom six guns and not worry about missing out on much.

Jed Henson runs the handgun review and rating site gunsgunsguns.net.

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162 Responses to Six Pocket Guns to Avoid Like the Plague

  1. All guns I would have avoided anyway, except the Pico. I wouldn’t go smaller than a Glock 27 in .40 – the recoil is too snappy. And I didn’t enjoy shooting my G27 until I got the extended base plates with additional capacity.

    • My dad bought a CPX-whichever has the safety about a month ago; I’ll have to ask him what he thinks of it next time we talk.

      • He may want to trade the SCCY with the safety in for one of the newer ones without a safety. From what I understand the early ones with the safety have issues compared to the later ones without a safety. Wonder if SCCY will give you a deal on a trade in for that one ? From what I have heard the folks at SCCY provide great customer service. I have not had to use them as my SCCY has functioned perfectly so far. Had it for about 6 months now and been to the range several times. Probably ran 150 round through it so far. Fed, fired and ejected all the ammo I put in it. No issue with it.

        • I owned a SCCY CPX-2 (notice the past tense). I really wanted to like the gun. I bought it because the idea of 10+1 rounds in 9mm was very appealing. It shot pretty well overall, but the trigger sucked. I just hated the trigger. Super long heavy pull, which is understandable on a DA only no safety gun. But the reset on the trigger was so ridiculously long I’d often miss follow up shots because I hand’t let it out far enough to reset. (not missed, as in missed the target, but missed as in I pulled the trigger for the follow up shot and nothing happened because it had not reset).

          And with gloves on, even the skin tight shooting gloves, it was impossible to get the trigger to reset without removing my finger from the trigger guard completely, or using my support hand to manually push it forward far enough to reset. I live in Utah, so in the wintertime it’s a very high probability that I’ll be wearing some type of glove.

          I liked the gun otherwise, but the awful trigger was a total deal breaker for me.

    • Funny the SCCY was rated on 2 other surveys as one of the top 5 affordable and reliable pocket guns. Personally have no experience with them but it is to each his own and have heard nothing but good about these pistols. The stats of the survey may need to be expanded on as well but for the most part would not own any of the others either, just my opinion.

      • I shot the cpx-1 and the cpx-2and never had a problem with either. They were remarkably accurate and soft-shooting, too. I would buy one if I needed another inexpensive backup carry gun.

      • I had issues with mine to start. I bought it after reading the review on TTAG. It had some issues ejecting, but a trip to the factory corrected the issues. Its been reliable since then for me.

        • I bought a used SCCY CPX-2. I love shooting it, and I get closer groups than with my Kel-Tec P-11. BUT! The CPX-2 fails to fully eject one shell per magazine. It’s almost like clockwork, at about the 5th round it’ll turn the shell sideways then the returning bolt will grab it. I called the factory and was accused of limp wristing. When I told him I never have a problem with my P-11 or my wife’s Ruger SR-9, he then said maybe it’s the ammo. I told him I’m shooting the same Remington ammo in all of them (I don’t use the reloads or Russian stuff).
          So I returned it to them, they replaced several worn parts and returned it. They claimed to have test fired it after repair. I still have the same problem. They still fall back to the limp wrist and ammo excuses. Bottom line, a lifetime warranty isn’t worth squat if they can’t fix the problem and their only answer is to blame the customer. And they didn’t offer to just replace the thing, which is what I would do rather than leaving a dissatisfied customer who’ll then post a comment like this on the internet.

        • lol Damon really? check the ammo?? Think he went through that with customer service 😉 Ill give ya the mag though. Really it sounds like some pretty crappy customer service. I certainly wouldnt be happy. What good is a lifetime warranty if they dont fix it???

      • Yea James, if you look the SCCY gets like 4.3 stars the best out of this bunch and has the one of the higest vote stats and whats the comment from the author oh this gun stinks based on what? the fact you just don’t like it?

    • A local guy shot a home invader with a SCCY. It was his first time shooting it (or any gun) ever. It jammed after the first shot, but he hit the intruder in the chest. Happy ending.

      • I’m glad it ended well, but if he hadn’t scored a first round hit he would have been screwed for real.

      • The spreadsheet seems flawed to me. The guns with the lower number of people voting are probably irrelevant no matter what their scores are. Also it would be great to know if the people voting own the guns they are rating and/or if they have ever shot them. Otherwise, their opinion may mean nothing.

      • That could happen with any gun someone didn’t ,maintain and hadn’t tested out at the range. A number of guns you have to shoot 400 rounds or so to exercise the gun so it will never jam as long as it is cleaned and oiled.

        Also you gotta test the ammo you intend to use.

        • I don’t see it. I just don’t see the silent ‘u’ in that. Succy–Suckey–Sucky—Sucy–Suky–Nope. Still can’t find that silent ‘u’ in it to make it ‘sky’. Maybe if there was an (‘) in there…maybe that might work like T’panga or G’nai or some such name.

    • I’ve seen tons of positive reviews of the CPX2. Mine also runs well, and they feel really well made. I’m thinking about getting a second one to keep in my truck or with my bow hunting gear. I recommend them to people all the time, but I do caution that, as is to be expected with a DAO, the trigger is long.

    • All I know is my 1st CPX-2 had to be sent in for service 30 minutes after I got it home. It came back still not fixed. They sent me a replacement gun that wouldn’t chamber the 1st round. They have gotten great reviews and by the serial numbers and manufacture dates on the 2 guns, their sales have gone up 4x but the QC has suffered greatly.

    • Definitely–the first Gen 1 models had problems…However, the second Gen 2 models are fine. I will say they like Ruger and a few other vendors copied Kel-Tec once again as this thing look like a P11.

    • SCCY CPX-2 is a very good gun. The trigger seem to be the trouble people have with it. But, in real life event, the trigger want matter

  2. How is the pot metal Cobra #2? Or the Kahr in there? Oh well the TCP I had isn’t top 5-it ran good for me. I have heard the PiCO may be TOO small. BTW except for the cobra all these little guns got good reviews at various times…FWIW

    • The CM9 is a great gun. The CW380 sucks. Recoil was worse on the 380 than the 9. I assume the reason the CM40 sucks is similar. Though my CW380 was also unreliable and pinched my finger after firing.

      • CM40 is my summe4 carry. It smacks you hand, mostly due to the 2 finger grip. Its manageable. It makes my SR40C feel like a 9mm.

      • I actually have the cm9 and cw380 both and never an issue with either one. I also feel the cw380 has very minimal recoil vs other small 380s in its same size. Pick up a Taurus 738 tcp and it is super snappy vs the cw380. I have 100s of rounds through both my kahrs with zero fails. they do have a 200 round break in that they tell you to expect possible fails also. After the 200 round break in if you have any, then yes you should be pissed.

        • I have a KAHR CM40 and a CW40 and for their intended purpose they are great. These are last resort concealment guns with a lot of punch in a small package. Both have been dependable and will function without a flaw on anything I have tried. For their size they are accurate but these are not range guns (especially the CM40). I fire a couple of magazines a month thru them so as not to get too rusty . Bounce is not horrible but that along with size will take some of the enjoyment out of the session.

  3. So, pocket guns being inherently hard to shoot and prone to limp wristing will experience failures. I’d have to disagree with the cpx2’s place on the list even though the company had growing pains.
    Personally, I’d like to see something a little more scientific than a survey since we have no idea if the respondents even handled the firearm

  4. I some what question these results mainly because I own one of the guns on this list. My Cpx 2 is not 100% reliable, but I did not expect it to be for $250. It is about 99% reliable, however, which is good enough to carry. It is also the only 10 shot 9mm you can find that is truly small enough to pocket carry. It’s definitely not perfect but it is far from the worst gun I’ve owned.

    • Um the SCCY is a near exact copy of the nearby(Cocoa,Fl) Keltec P-11. I think the SCCY might be marginally better and has 2 mags. And I don’t know why Keltec lets Ruger & SCCY(and the defunct hellcat) slavishly copy their designs…

  5. Slicked up and did a Golden Loki Fluff & Buff on my Kel-Tec P3AT after I bought it years ago. +1 Mag Extensions are the only change to it.
    It shoots all varieties of .380 ammo I’ve ever run through it. Nemesis pocket holster, and 1 spare mag, goes everyehere.

    Glad to see it was noted as rating “highly”, and not on the list. Suprised about the Kahr, Beretta, and Diamondback. .40 maybe too big for a “leetle” sub-compact pistol. I would think a pocket gun would be best kept in .380 or 9mm. Keep the .4 calibers to compact, mid, or full-size.

    • I agree, the P3AT is my go to light carry gun. 400 hundred rounds of various FMJ and hollow points without a single failure.

      • Jimenez was one former name for Cobra also Loren was also a former name . I think Jimenez and Lorcen companies went bankrupt. I don’t know the story behind why but we can only guess. The gun design has never worked well . I have a brand new Cobra that has never fired a shot ! To send it back would cost to much and the internet dealer would not stand behind it !! So now I have a paperweight in the shape of a gun !

        • Funny mine have always worked. Except for a derringer but that is because the prior owner dry fired it which you are to never do. Also cobra has a lifetime warranty on their guns if you do the warranty.

          Most often the issue is people dry firing, or using hollowpoints. You have to use the recommened ammo in the manual.

  6. I’d trust actual reviewers over internet voters.

    Presenting statistics like this isn’t representative of the actual quality of the product, but the opinion of those who voted. Note that I said “voted” and not “have ever even touched the gun at a pawn shop, let alone fired it.”

    You want an example of why internet polls are not representative? The movie Gigli had the worst, lowest rating ever on IMDB, voted on by tens of thousands of people. Three weeks before it was even released.

    • +1. You can hire chinese brokers to buy likes on Fakebook, and twitter followers by the thousands.
      Kim Kardashian and POTUS are best two examples of known abuse.

      Wouldn’t take much time for an employee or contractor of one of these manufacturers to buff up the ratings, or down rate a competitor. You can read about well known problems on reddit, Amazon, etc, for ranknings and customer ratings abuse.

      Sorry, with all due respect to Mr Henson, I wish you the best of luck, and while I see how this might help some buyers sort from the thousands of gun models, its only a start.

      Personally, I only go by in person reviews, in this internet age, from people proven trustworthy. That would be TTAG, and a handful of others.

      Then I go to the LGS and shoot the guns myself, having sorted down to a handful that might meet my needs. Its very much a personal decision then, based on fit, function, and how well it shoots.

      • Well, yes, Gigli did suck, but that wasn’t known until later.

        And buying likes is one definite way to abuse it. There is an author named John Lott, who became a best seller from an unknown very quickly by doing exactly that. He paid people to review his book on Amazon. He didn’t even require them to be positive. The number of ratings is what sold his other books. (Including the book he wrote about how to cheat Amazon buyers by faking reviews.)

        • Sean, I cannot find documentation of John Lott having bought reviews on Amazon. Certainly it should appear on the Wikipedia page. The “Mary Rosh” controversy (where Lott used that pseudonym to answer critics and to post one favorable review of More Guns Less Crime) is discussed. Unless you can document that, I think you are off base posting what is basically a rumor.

  7. Only ONE reply so far?!

    Nice little write up- and way to plug your site. I’ll definitely be checking it out. If it’s good I’ll spread the word. I like the concept at least. And I especially enjoy its clever name. :p

    • Yeah, apparently without the server capacity to handle the resulting load increase, too.

      I’d never heard of the site; wanted to check it out to see how much I want to buy the article at face value.

    • The guy did a service to the gun community by creating this website and writing a cautionary article, and some assholes gotta focus on the self-promotion. More power to him I say.

      • No, maybe we are focusing on the self promotion IN CONJUNCTION with the very questionable methods of research and conclusions drawn from them.

        In light of that, the valuable service you claim he’s doing may well be smoke and mirrors. That’s not exactly The TRUTH About Guns.

        But hey, thanks for calling regulars to this site a-holes. You find that to be an effective way to make friends and influence people?

  8. I must be the unicorn master then, because I own each of the firearms listed, except the Hellcat, (I have never heard of it before this article) and have never had an issue with any of them.

  9. I’m curious as to how you derived your +/- error bars and why you are calling 25-50 votes “statistically significant.” Those are awfully small sample sizes compared to the number of guns of each make/model in production.

    User ratings are dubious at best:

    (1) Astroturfing happens, both ways. Fan boys gotta fan boy, and critics gotta criticize.

    (2) You have no idea who the reviewers are and what their qualifications to rate a firearm are…even if they “tell” you.

    (3) Often in the comment sections of user reviews online, you see stuff being dinged a star or two from superfluous stuff. There really is NO WAY to know if the rating is based on a real, objective assessment of the firearm.

    Wanted to check to see if my comments really apply to your site, and it looks like your server is in melt-down.

  10. The ratings would be a lot more reliable if everyone had to write a review along with the rating.

    • How so? People can’t make crap up in their comments?

      Anonymous reviews should be taken VERY suspiciously…of all product, not just guns. In fact, reading them, even with comments, is quite nearly a waste of time.

  11. After this 1911 bill gets passed, I’ll be carrying a 1911. Then I’ll be unstoppable!!!!!

    • You can buy 1911s now. The only thing about that bill is that allows those in a gov’t approved marksmenship program to buy them first.

  12. The wisdom of the crowd phenomenon? You mean like the crowd of voters that put Obama in office twice. No thanks. I’ll take more objective reviews from knowledgeable shooters.

  13. I would have bet the farm that the Ruger LCP was the worst small pistol ever created. Who knew a firearm could actually be worse?

    • The LCP isn’t that bad. Painful to shoot, yes, but that’s what you get when the gun barely weighs more than the bullet it fires.

      • My shooting buddy has an LCP. Recently we exchanged and shot each others weapon, I have a Taurus LCP 380. We both agreed, the TCP trigger was superior to the LCP.

        • Every trigger I’ve ever pulled is better than the LCP. But still, I’m sure there are worse ones.
          🙂

        • They’ve reportedly improved it in newer model LCPs. Do you perhaps have a very early one? Those were the worst. TCP and P3AT triggers were clearly worlds better than it.

      • That’s what made my wife choose a Sig P238, which I carry occasionally. She shot both, along with a used Beretta .380, and chose the Sig despite the price being just about double at the time. I’m a Glock 27 guy, so I don’t mind recoil. My hands are simply too large for the tiny Ruger.

  14. I tried to get Gunsgunsguns.net to pop up-no dice in 5 or 6 tries. Whatever-everything else pops in…and their FB page is odd too.

  15. Even though its not made anymore, I’ve been interested in trying out a Taurus PT638 if I ever ran across one for a reasonable price, anyone have any experience with one?

  16. I think by nature all auto pocket pistols suck. Can’t say LCP is much better than any of these above, but it has been reliable. For this purpose, I actually switched to an NAA pug. Safe, small, and gives me some measure of security I wouldn’t have without it.

    • The small NAA revolvers make a good back up weapon, I own three of the little guns. AND, NAA has first class warranty service.

      • Those small NAA revolvers you have to learn how to safely load and unload. Do it outside with the gun pointing at the ground and mind your hand positions. Far too many people have shot themselves or objects in their house loading a NAA revolver because they didn’t pay attention to safety instructions.

        Getting the trigger on the safety notch is something you should never goof around with.

        Also people need to fire them at the range. The muzzle blast can be quite impressive and women should definitely fire their guns at the range. Too many women wind up dropping the gun which the thug grabs and then uses on the woman. Women need to be told about the woman in Birmingham who was being robbed and pulled out a gun. Her gun was unloaded while the thugs were not. Pointing a gun will not stop a thug. You fire as soon as you pull and have aimed. No warning shot, no shoot to wound. Shoot to make the thug dead.

  17. The Beretta Pico is probably one of Beretta’s biggest blunders. Its not Remington R51 bad, but its a pretty lousy firearm. To start with they sat on it for 2 whole years teasing a release and it just kept getting pushed back further and further. That right there should have indicated that something was up when they feature it at a SHOT SHOW and it takes 2 years to finally put it out for sale. The thing stinks. Horrible, awful trigger. A recoil spring system that not only sucks, but lends the thing to have constant and regular jams and FTF and FTE’s. An odd shaped frame that in my opinion they actually went “too small” on trying to outdo everyone to be the king of small in 380’s. And worst and I do mean worst of all is the Magazine release, which might be the most poorly placed, poorly designed and impossible mag release on any gun ive ever handled. It is almost a virtual impossibility to drop the mag without having to literally stop everything your doing and have to yank the thing down using 2 hands. Forget about dropping the mag with the shooting hand, cause it aint happening. No gun, none, should have a mag release that is that stiff and impossible to use fast and effectively, especially in a carry gun none the less. I have literally spoken to no one that has said anything positive about the Pico. Its is almost universally panned from young guys working behind the counter at Academy Sports to anyone who works in local gun shops. Its that bad. And what sucks is I held off buying a 380 cause I really thought the Pico would be great. Its not. Get a Kahr CW380 or P380 and just be done with it cause they really dont get much better for pocket 380 carry IMO

    • I totally agree. Kahr P380 is the definitive pocket gun. If one MUST have a 9mm pocket gun, then the Kahr PM9/CM9 is really the only choice. But if ultimate concealment is the need, then just accept that it will need to be .380. There’s room for disagreement, but probably only because some people’s pockets are bigger and can hold bigger guns. When I dress up, the P380 is the best answer to the pocket-carry problem.

      • Try the Sig P938… If you are truly carrying for protection you don’t mind the Sig Price if your life is on the line and the P938 shoots like a minature 1911… Love mine and have had several friends buy them after shooting my P938 SAS.

    • The Pico is a great gun. Zero malfunctions in 300 rounds including pocket lint coverings. As far as the magazine release, it’s perfect for my needs. I carry in the front pocket and have trouble with the stupid buttons that accidentally release the mag. Get real. How many times do you change magazines in a self defense situation? None. How many times does anyone complain about a bad trigger in a self defense situation? None. How many times are there accidental discharges from soft triggers? A bunch. These aren’t Rambo guns, they are self defense guns. Best 380 I’ve ever had.

    • As soon as I saw the title I knew the Pico would be on the list. I fell for the Pico hype. I broke the firing pin on the first day. Aside from the problems others have mentioned, the thing is slippery as hell. The slide has the most ineffective grooves I’ve ever felt. Combined with the teflon-like nickle finish and the world’s stiffest recoil spring, it’s almost impossible to rack. It’s not that the gun is too small, it’s that the trigger is much too close to the tiny grip. The Beretta Tomcat, though only .32, much fatter, and blowback, is a far, far superior gun. It’s a joy to shoot. Why Beretta didn’t copy the ergonomics on that is a mystery to me.

  18. When it comes to a “worst” list omitting anything made by Kel Tec is a mistake. Everything they make are just wrought with problems. They pretty much invented the theory of “if you get a good one its good, but when you get a bad one its bad”. Very very inconsistent across the board for everything they make to not be considered really bad. They are well known for their % of guns that have failure rates compared to the ones that dont. I would even venture to say its a 50/50 gamble when buying a Kel Tec.

    • Uh no. As a long, and I do mean long time P3AT owner, you must be one of those anti Keltec trolls that hated them from the start. Too small, too weak, too much plastic. Encountered types on the old KT forums that whines like a little girl.
      And probably never fired one. Or had a bad exp. and wrote the entire line off.

      To each his own . Mine works, has worked, continues to work, and has never not gone “bang”. Did it require a break in, a fluff & buff, a whole plethora of different ammo to get my approval? Yes it did. And than some. Expand your opinion to something legitimate and/or constructive with first hand knowledge. Just being a bashing b**** , gets you nowhere.

  19. Tiny little semi-automatics — sure, there are many good ones and many bad ones. But for a handgun of last resort, I prefer an Airweight. Five for sure and nobody can show otherwise.

    • I was thinking the same thing as I read this article. My Airweight has been “dehorned” and edges softened, carries so comfortably with a Hip Grip that I often forget about it. Years ago a mentor and I were at a range with an iron 30″ plate/gong at 270 yards. After we shot a bit we could ring that gong regularly. We even joked that we needed to start a “Pocket Gun Palma” match. Non shooters called me a liar that we could do it, but any bad guy within 30 yards is in great danger, even though it has been a long time. Note to self, “Get to the range!!” Silver tip p+ for carry, or whatever local law enforcement carries.

  20. You should consider using a Bayesian average for this situation. It would likely be more meaningful.

  21. Funny, I have the SCCY CPX-2 and I love it. My other gun is a Beretta PX4. I carry the SCCY more often and have cycled quite a few rounds through it. Never jammed on me or on my daughter who went to the range with me. She has had limp wrist cycling problems with other semi-auto pistols in the past. No problem with the SCCY at all. It is accurate, easy to shoot, recoil is manageable. Only drawback is the 2D trigger. But that is just learning curve and a trade off when they removed the problematic safety from the earlier models. I would bet my life on this smallish, nice looking pistol. Oh, it fits my hand great too.

  22. Votes on the best or worst of anything are all based on personal experience or having an ax to grind. Try posting a survey asking for votes on Glocks, for instance, and you will get a very polarized response . . either love or hate. Just like Fords.

    I was glad not to see Kel Tac on the bottom list. I like mine.

    And BTW, the “gunsgunsguns link doesn’t work. It just goes into endless redirects until your browser gives up on it.

  23. I own and have tested both the CPX1 (manual safety) and CPX2 (no manual safety). I don’t care for the finger grooves, the chunky feel, or the bullets rattling in the magazine when they aren’t stacked just right. I give them a failing grade because neither gun reliably goes bang each time you pull the trigger on factory ammo. I’ve been averaging one light hammer strike every magazine or two, that requires a second pull of the trigger to ignite, regardless of ammo brand. On the plus side, the SCCY has a lighter trigger than the Kel-Tec P11 (which may explain the problem), but the P11 always goes bang.

  24. I’m pretty surprised the P3AT isn’t on this list. The one I had was utter shit. Bought it brand new. Stovepiped and double fed left and right, and Kel-Tec didn’t want to lift a finger without me footing the bill for shipping. That’s when I could get them to respond to my emails, that is.

  25. I love my CPX-1. Got over 1000 rounds through it, and no problems. I have several friends who own Pico’s and swear by them. There are many more maligned “pocket guns” and sub-compacts on the market than these two.

  26. Hey, look…
    The Beretta APX has a 4.4 rating from 22 votes… It sucks so hard that it’s suckage transcends space and time.
    72 people have given the Arsenal Strike 1 a mediocre rating. Did you give them Cyrillic numbers to rate with? Or did all those voters fly to Russia to test them out? The double 1911 also has ratings.

    Sorry, until you have vetted ratings, the site is nothing more than adspam.

  27. Cobra lasted 10 minutes in my house. i can’t effectively describe the feel of the action; except to say it was similar to dragging a cinder block up a gravel hill. then hold slide to the rear for 1 second before you hear things fall into place? (dead serious) took it right back to the store. they gladly took it back and said the Cobra .380 was selling like hotcakes.

    • You hold the slide back to engage the cocking. Look at the back of the slide. If there is what looks like an empty hole its uncocked.

  28. My NAA .380 ACP with Novak 3 dot night sights has been 100% reliable with every ammo tried and as accurate as I am. It feels good in the hand and the materials and workmanship are fine. The DAO trigger is long but is consistent and smooth. I’ve no complaints.

  29. I’ve got a CPX-2 and a Hellcat. Got the Hellcat thrown in when I bought another gun. Worked fine til the last shot on the second reload. Broke the ejector. Got the CPX-2 for about half price new. Shoots fine, never a problem, kills my hand.

  30. I have several pocket pistols, Just had my XDS 45 fail on me (Light primer strikes) and have another XDS in 9MM, I have a S&W Sigma 380, that works but is less pleasing than my two Ruger LCP’s, Kahr, CW380, or my Colt Mustang XSP. I have pocket holsters for all but the S&W and had been carrying the XDS 45 regularly till yesterday. Now I feel like I have t fire the XDS 9MM again before I trust it, Really shook me up when I casually pressed the trigger and got a light clunk. I trust the Colt, Kahr, and Ruger’s, but I would like more power

  31. I know one person who had a nightmare of an experience with the Diamondback ..380. So, I would never consider one.
    I had huge issues with a Kahr, so they will never get my money again. And I will do my best to talk others out of Kahr products.
    Like others, I am a bit surprised by the poor showing of the Beretta.

  32. Surprised the Remington R51 didn’t make this list. Or the Springfield EMP (Though mine runs awesome, they are known for manufacturing problems)

  33. With pocket pistols you get so much more in terms of everything for every little uptick in size you go. It seems like the all metal euro pistols of yester-year beat the new models in spades. Com-block mack chambered pistols, walthers, and the like just have better reliability w/ less break in.

    Baby glocks seem like an attractive option as at least they have a somewhat normal trigger w/ a normal length of pull. Or has been suggested earlier you can just go snub nosed revolver.

  34. I am no statistician but most of the sample sizes were very small. Very small would suggest either real fanboys or real haters. Apparently their readership likes Sig’s with large sample sizes. Only time I tried one I did not like it. Everyone’s hand size and perception of recoil is different and therein lies the beauty of having choice.

  35. I alone will take up the Masterpiece banner, carry it aloft, plant it on the nearest peak and proclaim, “Get thee 6 extra recoil springs and thou shalt have a decent pistol for a year – or more, even.”

    Seriously, it works if you have a fresh pair of springs in it. I’m about to order some more. Great gun otherwise.

  36. Oh wow I finally got their awful website to work…P3at is #1! As in best gun LOL. Check out the 380 showdown in GunWorldin 2012…all 3 Keltecs broke and wouldn’t run right. Taurus TCP voted best value-best overall 380 was Kahr p380-MUCH more expensive. Also LCP. Bodyguard were well rated. I know I hated my PF9 and would NEVER EVER buy any Keltec pistol again. Unlike several rifles…Oh wait I might get a 22mag …but not for big money.

  37. I don’t expect any pocket gun to be pleasant to shoot, but I ditched my Hellcat after experiencing multiple failures to eject two types of ammo. Empties wouldn’t just fail to clear the slide; they’d never leave the chamber. Sold it and picked up an LCP off a friend for $150. Not any more fun to shoot, but at least I don’t need a damned pencil to take spent brass out of it.

  38. I have to disagree about the SCCY CPX-2. No I don’t own one … I own two. I have put about 2000 rounds through them … 100% reliable so far. IMHO it packs a great punch for a pistol that slips away in my pocket.

  39. Having visited that site, I don’t think their rating system really gives me enough information to choose between firearms. Sure, I can see how many people liked or didn’t like a firearm, but more important than that is the REASON they voted the way they did. Take the guns in this article, for example: did people downvote them because they were too uncomfortable to fire? Because they weren’t reliable? Because they unreasonably expected to consistently hit a bullseye at 50 yards with a pocket pistol? Because they just have a vendetta against these manufacturers? Even the author of this article merely speculates, at times, as to why the readers voted as they did.

    I’m not saying every single person who votes needs to leave a full, detailed review, but encouraging people to at least leave a couple pros/cons would be most helpful.

  40. I had a CPX-2, functionality and reliability i couldn’t complain about. The reason I hated it was they are DAO and the trigger pull was a mile long, i found my self pulling the trigger again before it reset. A 9mm shouldn’t be slower than a .45.

  41. Are you kidding me? what a waste of time. The only guns to get near a 100 votes are the Beretta and the SCCY. The Sccy gets a 4.3 rating and it stinks? based on what your stupid opinion? The SCCY has one of the best rating out of these guns on your post. I happen to own a SCCY and have never ever had a FTF or FTE its a very light and compact gun in a 9mm platform with 11 rounds
    capacity. Far better than any of the others gun you talk about on this rag of a story. Sure just
    like any gun it can have its issues so can the SCCY but if you really look at it, compact light and
    good amount of rounds it is a damn good carry gun. You can get these on line at times for
    around $219 plus S&H and ffl fees.
    I think you would be hard pressed to find any thing this good for that price. Sure you can spend $500 on a Glock or what ever else you want to list but the specs on this gun make it a easy choice and hell I can buy two for the price of most “good” guns. Oh not to mention Sccy has great
    customer service should you need it that transfers with the gun.

    • Given how clannish and brand-loyal a lot of gunners are, it wouldn’t shock me if about half the votes against the SCCY were cast because it wasn’t a Glock 43, or something equally biased and stupid.

  42. I love this site and usually stand behind the things written on it, but this is absolute trash and clickbait. Basically “I hate these guns because I hate these guns, and you should too because I do.” This is the closest I have ever been to accusing TTAG of pandering to the highest advertising contributors (i. e. not a SINGLE Taurus gun on here? Seriously?). I own a SCCY CPX-2 personally and it has been a flawless gun. The first generation CPX-1s had some problems and gave the company a bad rep starting out, but the company was so adamant that they fixed their second Gen guns that you can send any of the old ones back (they shipped in red boxes) and they will replace them with brand new Gen 2s (which ship in blackish gray boxes). I sell guns and have ZERO hesitation about selling someone a CPX-2 for everyday carry. All of this list (for the most part) are price point guns and no, you will not get HK quality for $200, but this list is about as fanboy as anything I have ever seen on here.

    • Well, Taurus only makes one gun that really meets the “pocket pistol” criteria set forth in the article. That gun, the TCP, gets pretty good marks everywhere I’ve seen it reviewed, so I wouldn’t expect it to show up on a “pocket guns to avoid” list.

      The list is pretty laughable, though, because drawing conclusions from such a tiny sample of unvetted ratings is deeply, deeply flawed.

      • Actually if the SCCY is on here then the Mill Pro G2 should be also, and that gun is a trainwreck compared to the SCCY.

  43. My old PPK/s doesn’t like Blazer alum.
    My PT 22 is surprisingly reliable.

    My M640 eats anything without hiccup.

  44. How is the P3AT above the middle of the list? How is it possibly at the top of the list? I’ve never seen one that ran well or was anything but unpleasant to shoot, provided you can get more than one round off without a misfeed. (Though they have better triggers than the early LCPs, that’s not enough)

  45. PS: visited the site again, feeling slightly guilty for harping on the polling validity-

    its a good resource with a lot of basic info on a LOT of handguns, a good start for anyone looking at a first gun, for example, or a second, for that matter.

    Keep up the good work Jed, and thanks for the article.

  46. Glad I didn’t see mine. I chose. Ruger LCR in 38 spcl +P. I think the wheel guns are less likely to have a problem. In +P it hurt my hand, so I went to regular 38 spcl.

  47. Could not disagree more with the article’s 3rd selection, namely, the SCCY Industries CPX-2 (not to be confused with its predecessor which had “issues” of which were acknowledged by the company and subsequently corrected). That thing is a freaking beast of a gun in terms of durability (yes, I have seen torture tests of it). That said, I have never tried to “pocket-carry” one so I’m not voting on it in terms of that specific criteria.

    Still, if you’re looking for a “all purpose value” like pistol then look no further (hesk I’ve seen them for $200 NIB out the door…And yes, Kel-Tec got copied yet again!

  48. Arguably one of the best and most popular pocket pistols, the pf9, was not on the spreadsheet. I don’t know if I should believe anything guns3x has to say, he is clearly insane.

    • I just went through your site and clicked a one star on every gun over $500 and a 10 star on every gun under $500 with my only basis being I don’t currently have an expendable $500 in my pocket and I don’t like them because they are out of my budget… Just kidding, I didn’t, but anyone out there could do it, which is why I think your system is incredibly flawed by not at least holding reviewers to having to list a reason. I use the site SlickGuns a lot to shop for deals and they ran into the same problem with upvotes and downvotes… people vote something down just because they wouldn’t personally buy it… makes no difference if it is a good deal, good product, etc. So they added in where if you downvote something you must list at least one reason why. If you are going to run a “wisdom of crowds” review site I think you really ought to take a note from them, because we ALL know the “crowd” can also be incredibly stupid, especially when hiding behind the anonymity of a keyboard. Otherwise you will just get a ton of, “Wait, that gun is not a GLOCK! ONE STAR FOR YOU!” kind of reviews. Just my two.

  49. Wrong about sccy. Voted by handgun magazine as a top pistol and great manufacturer. The warranty can’t be beat. I have 2 of them.

  50. Did anybody take the poor performing guns to a reputable gunsmith and have them tuned up? I’m in the habit of buying “less costly” weapons and fully expect to tinker a bit with them to produce a smooth running hot brass pile maker.

  51. i used to own a keltec p11. Trigger sucked. The sccy is very similar.
    I got a Glock26, and have been happy ever since!

  52. I own expensive pistols and revolvers, as well as a SCCY CPX-2. Considering the price point of the SCCY, its fit, finish and functionality is excellent. It is not some junker throwaway, but a solid, well machined piece with a heavy but smooth DAO trigger which emulates a DA revolver, by design and makes the piece perhaps a bit more safely carried and handled for many that may feel uncomfortable with a light, short pull SA. I’ve heard more than a handful of DEALERS who rate it a much better overall weapon than the KelTec which it resembles, and the machining does appear superior in my estimation. I had an occasional ejection glitch in mine when I first got it, but the company paid to have it shipped back to them for adjustment, and the piece hasn’t hiccupped a single time, since. I carry it about as often as I carry a Glock 19 – mainly based upon clothing/belt shortcomings in dress scenarios. (I call the SCCY, “my Sunday go-to-meeting piece”. Literally, it is.) YES, of course I’d rate the G19 – at least from a practical, hardcore perspective – an obviously more robust, serious combat-capable CC piece, but when you think about it, here I am comparing a Glock 19 to a SCCY CPX-2 for certain situations… and that HAS to be a compliment to the SCCY, in an offhand way… (and don’t accuse me of being a “Glock fanboy”… I own diverse alternatives, and was actually very slow by choice getting into the Glock game.) Also, I don’t consider the CPX-2 to be a “pocket pistol”, nor should it be compared to some of the little single stack fluff-pieces the article’s author referenced. The SCCY is even rated for +P ammo, in modest doses, according to the company.
    This article was amateurishly conceived and executed, even if only judging by the hit-piece commentary on the SCCY.

  53. The sccy is a great budget pistol. Their customer service is great and my pistol has run 100% since I bought it with multiples of hundreds of rounds through it. The trigger reset does suck but it’s still a great gun. Small, accurate and reliable. Makes me question the authors intentions in this article.

    • AMEN . I love mine(CPX 2,no safety) Best carry gun for your dollar bar none. I put the new glock style slide release on mine and it is a little slimmer now. I own some pretty toys and more expensive carry guns but for everyday carry i choose between my CPX 2 and S&W 442 and feel just as confident with either.

  54. The problem with the ‘group wisdom’ line of thinking is that you cannot separate the people with actual hands on experience with the firearm in question from actual users, which is always a problem with new guns.
    Yea, guns like Diamondback, Jiminez, Lorcen, High Point and so forth have always had poor reputations, but guns like SCCY and the now Springfield Armory XD were initially poo pooed but turn out to be good guns…
    So I’ll pass on the herd mentality when buying guns thanks..

  55. The Kahr is an excellent unit and I have years of experience with them over Tens of Thousands of rounds fired.

  56. I laughed when I got to the CM40. That’s what’s currently on my hip and I love it. Was definitely surprised that certain “other” brands didn’t make the list.

    I’m generally a fan of .40, though it does have a bit of a signature snap. The CM40 being smaller and lighter might exhibit a little more, but it’s not unmanageable. What really won me over was the quality and operation, even on the bargain CM. The trigger is fantastic, and reassuring in handling and holstering (leather IWB) in ways that Glock is not. (I like Glocks, but between the trigger and the slimness of the Kahr, I’m a convert) My least favorite aspect of the CM40, aside from the revolver-like capacity, is the stiffness of the slide spring. It’s tight, even well after break-in. But with the right technique and practice, it’s fine. Will eventually add a CW380 as a BUG and for times when the CM40 is just too big ha ha.

    On that note, you KNOW we’re kind of spoiled with all the great pocket guns available today. Tiny, safety features, serious calibers, etc. Anyway, all just my opinion here.

  57. I am surprised high point 380 & 9mm weren’t included in your list. I own a hp380. No problems when used within its limits. Accurate for cheap junk. I like it’s feel in my hand. My son made sure I carried a SW9VE for daily use.
    I have received grief for it as well. Every gun has it’s limitations and knowledge goes a long way to ensure a positive outcome when ‘it’ happens.

    • The thing is about Cobras, hi points that people that call them junk have never actually researched the gun. A lot of those people who diss these guns are those that run hollowpoints or high pressure rounds. Both types are not recommened by the maker for the guns. Hence why Hipoints explode when high pressure rounds are put in them or don’t feed reliably when hollowpoints are used.

      Hi points work if you use FMJ and clean and oil the gun. You do that and you will find hipoints and cobras to work as they are intended.

  58. Not sure why the Sccy is on this list, I own a cpx2 and it’s great! No problems with it at all. The trigger is long and has some over travel but it’s very smooth. I understand it’s not for everyone but it’s a good quality firearm with excellent customer service.

  59. In regards to the Cobra a lot of people dissing the gun are those who fire hollowpoints through it. The gun works incredibly well if you use the recommend FMJ ammo as listed in the manual.

  60. the problem with your rating site is that it is seriously flawed.
    anyone can vote on any gun whether they own or have even seen the gun in person.
    until you find a way to weed out braindead haters who vote based on their idiotic and unedumacated feelings all of your results will be skewed by gun store rednecks who dont know what the word “ballistic” even means.

  61. I’ve owned a CPX 2 for about a year and we shoot every weekend. Probably have about 2500 rounds through it. No problems what so ever. Worst complaint is the trigger, but a lot of dry fires with snap caps and you condition yourself to the long reset.

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