Colleene (a.k.a., KeepingPiece2010) reckons her Kel-Tec P32 puts undue pressure on her knuckle when she shoots it at the range (after 50 shots). Sure, it’s “natural” to put too much trigger finger on a sub-compact, but that’s a small drawback for a firearm that offers ultimate concealment. As she points out, the problem can be remedied with practice. And these guns are not meant to be “range toys.” So, do you carry a so-called mouse gun? Are you worried about compromising comfort and accuracy for concealment?

86 Responses to Question of the Day: Got “Mouse Gun”?

    • Not a fan of SOB carry.

      Two reasons: 1) You have to put your hands behind your back, which is not the best idea during any kind of fight. 2) If end up on your back, with someone on top of you, you are going to jack-up your back.

      I recommend having a friend grapple with you while you carry SOB (unloaded, of course) – you’ll see what I mean.

      • I don’t like SOB carry either but for a BUG, it’s perfectly acceptable. Same for ankle carry.
        My thought is, if you have time to go for the BUG, then you have time to get at it no matter where it is. Also, I would want it as far away from my primary as possible. Off hand side is a good place but that’s where my spare mags go.

    • Yep. When I go to the range, I usually take both my LCP and my P238. 50 rounds from the LCP (Hogue grips) for practice since it’s my first choice as a carry gun. The rest of the afternoon is spent with the P238 which is a great gun for shooting many, many rounds at the range.

      • I have an LCP with the Hogue Handall grips too. They totally transformed the gun for me into something I can draw, point and shoot confidently. I could not get a consistent grip before adding them, even with Talon grips on the LCP. I actually left the Talon grips on and put the Handall grip over it for better thumb traction and the best overall result.

        The Handalls make the grip width about as wide as the Desantis Superfly holster the LCP rides in (no flap) so it actually flattens the total profile of the holstered gun in my pocket and makes the printing less…holstery. The Handall also partly corrected the problem of the trigger being too close for my hands.

  1. Pocket carry a P3AT when that’s all that’s convenient. With good Lehigh/underwood ammo, it’ll do the job well enough to make it worthwhile, and I have fired it and several other P3ATs enough that I’m confident it will run. Accuracy is pretty good all things considered, though it’s harder to shoot than a G42 or LC380. I’d rather have a .45 or G19, but I have no qualms about my little Kel Tec.

    • I pocket carry a P3AT occasionally as well, in those rare circumstances where my 642 is too big. Maybe the 642 is a “mouse gun” as well. I like pocket carry, and feel more confident with the .38 than the micro .380. Both actually shoot pretty well.

    • PMR 30 , 13 ounces , full size frame , 28 rounds , 40 grainer defensive ammo , appendix carry . Do not limp wrist your shots and aim for the head , good to go .

      • Totally different category of gun. It is underpowered like a proper mousegun, but the frame size, shoot-ability, and ammo capacity clearly put this in a different category.

        • My point exactly , except for the underpowered point . We’re not talking about shooting a moose here .
          22 WMR , plenty powerful enough .

  2. She needs to try a different mouse gun. They all feel different. I agree re the sig
    P238. Its a dream to shoot. Mine had no break in period. Never jams. Eats everything I feed it. Also, I don’t put steel case ammo in any of my guns, based on reviews I’ve read.

  3. Ruger LCP. My customer-facing job makes high concealability a primary concern. I found the Hogue Handall Hybrid to be highly transformative – with the much improved grip came taming sharp recoil, increasing accuracy, improving followup shots, and greatly lowering fatigue while practicing at the range. 7 rounds of .380 is not ideal, but would hopefully be enough to get out of the most plausible of bad situations.

    • Just got an LCP the other day, took it out with 100rds yesterday, with a couple mags of carry ammo. The only complaint was the backstrap just digging and smacking the webbing between my thumb and index finger. Gloves seemed to lessen that a bit, but not enough to be a remedy. Looks like I’ll be grabbing the Hogue as a $12 fix. Thanks.

      • The Hogue grips dramatically change the LCP’s ergonomics, turning the LCP into an entirely different feeling and shooting gun.

  4. NAA Guardian .380 with Novak night sights in a pocket in a Desantis Nemesis. Everyday, no days off.

    It hurts a little to shoot after 25-30 rounds.

    I’m not acurate past 12 yards.

    Hornady custom.

  5. S&W Bodyguard .380 pocket carried.

    I can put 100 rounds through it before any kind of ache manifests.
    Accurate to about 50 yards.

    My friend can stovepipe it every shot, I have yet to do so. the finger positioning feels natural to me, but may be uncomfortable for someone with bigger hands.

    • Yup, me too. I was told somewhere that shooting with the back of the knuckle will pull the gun to the side.

        • Maybe so. I still want to shoot with the pad on the trigger, not the bend in the knuckle.

        • It’s about isolating the muscles in your finger, hand, and arm from each other. When you use the pad of your finger, only your finger moves. When you wrap your finger farther in, muscles in your hand, wrist, and forearm become connected to that movement and it changes the angle of it (no longer perfectly straight back), all of which causes the gun to move. This really isn’t related to how strongly you’re gripping the gun, but isolating trigger finger movement from other muscles. At least, that’s the general consensus and it’s the reason instructors — especially those concerned w/ accuracy like for target shooting and such — suggest shooting with pad of index finger on the trigger and not looping any more finger than that beyond the trigger face.

        • I prefer the the pad as well but “too much finger” is overblown. It’s just a way to sell those stupid diagnostic targets.
          Like you said, the key is to isolate the trigger finger. Most beginners use the trigger finger as another gripping surface. That’s why they all pick up guns with the finger on the trigger.
          The end of the finger can’t move enough to press a trigger. You still have to move at the second knuckle. This can be done while still isolating the muscles and someone can shoot accurately contacting the trigger anywhere between the second knuckle and end of the finger.

  6. P3AT in a DeSantis Nemesis for runs and the rare times I have to pocket carry. It’s also easy to carry at home. I agree, everyone should have a mouse gun for when you need it.

  7. had a p64 but sold it. not worth trying to shoot something that’s a pain to shoot. Rule number 1 with guns is training and if it sucks to train with it ain’t worth carrying.

  8. Had a Taurus TCP. Great trigger and EZ to shoot. Ran great. Sold it and would buy another one. Way better than a rock…

  9. Wish I loved my p238 as much as you guys. Mine got gummed up to easily. I loved it, great size, nice look, shoots awesome, but unreliable in a pinch.

    I switched to the SW shield, no more problems.

    of course…revolver for the win!

    • My Colt Mustang (the parent design for the P238) seems to be very reliable when clean, but at about 100 rounds I start having trouble. This doesn’t bother me for its use as a carry gun, since I never have more than 13 rounds available when I’m actually carrying it.

      • I have a new Colt Mustang pocketlight and it has been smooth sailing. A really nice little gun. People on TTAG hate Colt and would never probably even give it a chance. Honestly there is no difference between the Colt and the Sig except for the Sig has better sights. When I test fired them the Sig was the one that jammed, not the Colt. Not worth the money IMO.

      • Hmmm, it would appear that you are correct… 6 months ago no store had them, online shops were all backordered and the best i could find on ebay was $95/pair.

  10. Subcompact (a.k.a. mouse guns) are a good fit for some applications. Shooting lots of rounds at the range is not one of them.

    Sub-compact handguns are effective self-defense tools when your attacker is at arms length and looking for an easy score.– which just happens to constitute the overwhelming majority of attacks. In those scenarios any ballistic resistance, including ballistic resistance from sub-compact handguns, causes your attacker to flee. (A thug looking for an easy score isn’t going to dismiss the anemic stopping power of a sub-compact handgun.)

    If your attacker is higher than a kite on drugs or determined to injure/kill you … or if you want to engage an attacker at ranges well beyond 15 feet (e.g. a terrorist or spree killer at a factory, office building, shopping mall, or school), a subcompact handgun is inadequate.

    • Reminder:

      The only way that handguns incapacitate attackers is if a bullet hits an attacker’s central nervous system or causes significant blood loss. In order to maximize either of those effects, a handgun must maximize bullet diameter (caliber), weight (grains), and velocity. Sub-compact handguns minimize all of those attributes in order to minimize size and thus maximize comfort/concealability. The natural consequence of that design means that a sub-compact handgun has the minimum ability to stop determined attackers. That is why a sub-compact handgun is even more inadequate than a full-size handgun for stopping an attacker who is sky high or determined to kill.

      There are no free lunches in the world.

      • Since a .380 is the exact same diameter as a 9mm, and comes in HP rounds, just with less power and penetration, the hole is the same size, but maybe less deep. Still, it has still put down plenty of BGs at bad breath range.

        • Correct.

          The .380 ACP cartridge’s longer cousin, 9mm Luger, simply shoots a slightly heavier bullet at a slightly higher velocity which means more penetration than .380 ACP. And more penetration means more blood loss (from a longer wound channel) and a greater probability of striking the attacker’s central nervous system.

      • So we are all faced with the question, does the upgrade in caliber make that big of a difference compared to the upgrade in portability.
        I submit that there is no wrong answer in regards to the handgun.

        • I agree that there is no wrong answer. Each class and caliber of firearm has its own strengths and weaknesses compared to others … and it is up to each person to decide which best suits their lifestyle.

      • Reminder:

        A large portion of shooting stops are psychological. Whether or not they are physically incapacitated or not is irrelevant if they stop the attack.
        I also imagine that a shot to the eye with a BB would stop most attackers.

        • Agreed … and that was the basis behind my comment that sub-compact handguns will stop thugs looking for an easy score.

  11. Lotta folks would consider my EDC, a P-64, a “mouse gun” I guess. But it’s good to go pretty much everywhere I go, accurate enough at SD range, and loaded with FMJ so it will get adequate penetration. Yeah, it hurts to shoot after a while, but like the lady said, it really wasn’t intended as a range toy.

  12. S&W Bodyguard .380 when it’s too hot for my Walther P99c iwb. Reliable and relatively easy to shoot, even for long periods.

  13. I love mouse guns! I wear a tool belt at work, so I’ve pocket carried mouse guns for years. Originally, a NAA mini mag until I got a P238. The NAA makes a great “robe gun”. Away from work, I tend to size up to my P228 or my 1911.

  14. Shortest barrel handguns I own are LCR 9mm, 38 special P+ and 22lr., at less than 2″ barrel
    With a Pachmayr LCR Diamond Pro Ruger grip each has very reduced felt recoil. That and smooth trigger pull allows for more practice rounds. The 9 & 22lr get at least 50 to75 rounds a month for practice. The 38 special P+ has been pasted on to husband. Ruger LCR 9mm is now EDC. All my LCRs fit hand, very well. The right snub nose “mouse” gun can be effective as primary SD weapon with grip change out. YMMV

  15. So far, no one has mentioned the Kahr P380. It will fit very nicely into a pocket holder in your strong side front pocket. I know a guy who does this with a Kahr PM9.

    • PM9ct in a Recluse in the front or rear pocket. Works well most of the time. Too heavy in lightweight shorts in Florida. Thinking hard about a CW380.

  16. I’ve got my LC9 for shorts weather some days. But mostly it’s my running gun. Took an old chest strap for a heart rate monitor and stitched it to a neoprene full coverage holster. Doesn’t weigh down my pockets, doesn’t bounce, easily accessible and the neoprene keeps it from getting soaked.

  17. A NAA Guardian in 32acp has been my left hand gun for a few years.
    If I can not use my right hand and my High Power I still have a chance.

  18. Yup. Ruger LCP with a side clip. Not the ideal choice for carry, but it completely vanishes into my waistband so I can pack it in the few situations where my XD-s would be too obvious.

    I also just picked up an Iver Johnson TP22 for shiggles, but I’m not crazy enough to tote that little bugger.

  19. I do not own a .380. I was looking to buy one a number of years ago, but the small pocket .380s were not on he California roster, all those that remained too large for pocket carry (e.g., Bersa). I eventually ended up with a Kahr CW9, with has a 3.5 inch barrel, but is slim and light (less than an inch wide and only a pound empty) that fits in most of my pants pockets. There is enough real estate for a full brick for my medium sized hands, and I shot the 200 round break in in a single session. I did add a Hogue HandAll Jr, to lessen the bite of the grip serrations, which had the added benefit of adding slight palm swells that nicely fill out the grip.

  20. I intend to get a mouse gun for those infrequent times a larger gun is overly (in my estimation) inconvenient.

  21. The only purpose for a mouse gun is a BUG. I used to have a Nano but upsized to an XD mod 2 Subcompact. Much better trigger for better accuracy. Unless you live in a concealed carry only state there is no reason not to carry a compact at a minimum. If you want to carry a 380 I would recommend you look at the Browning 1911-380. At a size of 85% of a Commander with a 4.25″ barrel it gives you a light weight (17 oz) highly concealable pistol that will give you better performance from JHP ammo than a mouse gun.

  22. The P32 looks like a piece of junk, but mine has been totally reliable. I find it very comfortable to shoot. Accuracy is not spectacular but reasonable. Yes, the grip is thin and short, so finding the right hand placement takes practice. But the gun serves its purpose well.

  23. I carry a NAA 22mag in my pocket always. A Beretta tomcat in an ankle holster if I’m going to be out and about. But my main carry pistol is a Sig 239 in a waist ban holster or clipped under the steering wheel if driving. The mini revolver is only good for center mass hits at 5 yards. The Beretta 20 yards and the Sig 40 yards.

  24. My Kahr P380 is my mouse gun of choice, but it hasn’t gone out much since I acquired a Glock 43.

  25. P3AT Nemesis or M85 Taurus Ultra-Lite .38 Snub. Great for me since I can wear shorts all year. Did the Golden Loki Fluff & Buff on the P3AT, Speer Gold Dot Ammo.
    Taurus has a bobbed hammer, slicked up the trigger and Hogue Grips. Remington Golden Sabres provide best accuracy. With spare mag or stripper clip.
    It’s the in your face distance pocket guns. And I agree, everyone that has one, should practice/break in, test different Ammo, and keep clean. Lint and fuzz balls tend to accumulate if left unchecked.

  26. Daily carry PF9 or BodyGuard depending on pants in Desantis pocket holster. PF9 has an aftermarket aluminum trigger and is not bad to shoot. BodyGuard is a little snappier but not bad either. Both are 99.9% reliable, can’t remember when the last time either failed to fire full mag. Both are shot at least once a week while at the range test firing new builds. Carry Winchester Ranger T’s in both guns and all shots from either will be inside a pie plate at 7 yards. Ive never felt under gunned. Go with the philosophy that most bad guys will stop any attack once they start leaking.

  27. Yes – same gun in fact, Kel-Tec P32.

    And no, I don’t worry about accuracy. I can hit a man-sized target center mass out to 10 yards without any effort, and that’s plenty good for any realistic self-defense scenario.

    These guns aren’t going to be pleasant at the range in any case. Too small, too uncomfortable, and even with such a weak chambering, because the gun is so light, the recoil is still substantial (and multiplied by the awkward grip).

    But, it goes into the pocket of any pants that I have, and in a proper holster, is indistinguishable from a wallet. It’s also light enough that it’s pretty much unnoticeable. And that’s the point.

  28. I recently got an rm .380 which I really like. Though a little bigger then your average pocket gun, I can shoot it more efficivly. The best gun is a gun you can shoot with. My plan is the 380 for warmer weather and my lcr 9mm for the colder months.

  29. I’ve got the Kel-Tec P3AT because it’s the only pistol I can conceal without changing my wardrobe, (and it’s much less expensive than the Ruger P3AT copy.) Yeah, it stings the side of my trigger finger where the trigger guard snaps up against it, but in a real-life DGU, I won’t feel that at all. I only fire 14-21 rds at a practice session, so no big deal.

  30. P3AT in a Remora pocket holster. I’m also working on breaking in an RM380. So far, so good (no problems), but it won’t be “carry qualified” until I’ve run several hundred rounds of assorted ammo through it for confidence-building purposes.

  31. My small, light guns are a Smith Bodyguard .380 and a Smith 340 PD .357. The BG is far more accurate.

  32. Bought a gen one LCP a while back for $300. HATED it. Trigger blew. Pull was longer than my ‘leg’ and finally broke somewhere in the middle of the mag well I think. No sights to speak of. Wanted to jump out of my hand with every shot. Never carried it. Only shot it once. Total bomb. Despised the mere mention of LCP

    Just bought an LCP Custom for $239…. They fixed the trigger on the new gen (pre cocked the hammer back half way) and the (albeit gaudy red) aluminum trigger is nice and wide and comfortable. Absolutely beautiful smooth trigger now, breaks predictably at a good spot. Sights on the custom are very good and as others said, the hogue hybrid changes the gun dramatically for the better. Put it in a Recluse holster and now it is an awe-some little pocket gun. Reliable, controllable, practical, shootable and very effin concealable. LOVE IT!

    Having said that, it is just a pocket pistol. But a damn fine instance of one now.

  33. Got my Beretta Pico with Trijicon night sights, loaded with 6+1 Underwood Xtreme Penetrators and a spare mag. not really worried about anything. Im a fan of .380 and am loving my Bersa Thunder

  34. Taurus TCP amended with Galloway trigger and recoil spring and Nitesiter dots on the otherwise useless sights, in a pocket holster. Fiocchi/XTP rounds. Pearce grip sleeve. In my hands, very accurate at 7 yards, OK at 10 yards. Now that I am used to it, not painful even after 50 rounds. I have small hands for a guy and yet it still is difficult to only have the pad of the finger on the trigger without holding trigger finger out in a funny way. Way more accurate when I force myself to do that. I simply cannot believe that the manufacturers cannot figure out a way to move the trigger a little bit forward from the grip without materially increasing the size of these mouse guns (Taurus, Ruger, KelTec, S&W all about the same size). I cannot imagine a person with long fingers being able to use one of these effectively, and that is too bad. I love being able to carry it safely and invisibly in a pocket holster. Maybe I will try the Hogue Handall Jr. as suggested by others for the LCP. I have Hogue grip on an SR9C and love it. I am concerned that larger than a grip sleeve will affect the concealability.

  35. My primary carry is my Full Frame 1911A1 from Rock Island in a shoulder rig.

    When I’m feeling lazy I will pocket carry my antique Iver Johnson top break in .32 S&W wrapped in a hand made leather holster. I have an antique US Revolver in .32 S&W (made by IJ, has same frame, simpler mechanics) for if I feel like dual weilding matching guns.

  36. I Second the Bersa Thunder
    I have the Thunder cc model with the smaller sight height
    I have the Crimson trace laser grips on it
    Fits in my jeans pocket, yet has a full 3 finger grip, I can shoot it comfortable and accurately all day
    I like it much better than my wife’s Walther PPK/s with laser grip
    The Bersa is lighter, has a slide release and shoots all types of ammo.
    And it is exactly half the price!

    • Go easy on that Bersa. The guys at my LGS/range say that gun only has so many rounds in it before it falls apart. They have them in the rental case and have to rotate that gun out more frequently than anything else they rent.

  37. Boberg XR-9S. It might be more of a “rat gun” cause it pushes 9mm+p through a 3.75″ barrel, and a tad fat. It’s just a hair big for the way I like to wear it. But I like it. Bummer they had to sell to Bond Arms, but I hope Bond takes care of the idea.

    I shot a Heizer at the range, 45 ACP. It sucked to shoot but seemed nice to carry.

  38. In early 90s I used to carry CZ 83 in 7.65 Browning (.32 auto). So, not exactly mouse gun, CZ 82 (same thing in 9 Makarov) is Czech army service gun actually, only mouse caliber. For long time was 7.65 Br. considered great for self defense and even for police use in Europe. Also, it was all I could afford at the time.

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