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By Paul McCain

A few weeks ago ago, I got a chance to hang out for a day with Dan Zimmerman and Tim McNabb. They are both terrific guys and if you ever get a chance to meet them and shake their hands, you can, as I did, thank them for their work with The Truth About Guns. They are brothers of the gun and that’s enough for a good conversation but in both their cases, they are just fun guys to hang around with, too. While we were running some drills at Asymmetric Solutions, Tim decided to use his “bad breath” gun to run a drill from inside a car . . .

I had never heard that expression before and said, “Huh? What did you say?” I learned that a pocket-sized pistol may well be your best choice at “bad breath” distance. If you can smell an attacker’s bad breath, it can be a very effective choice for EDC.

That got me thinking, a dangerous prospect to be sure. Tim’s bad breath gun was a 9mm, a Diamondback DB9. He let me put a magazine full of the 9mm ammo I had with me through it and frankly, I did horribly. Somebody pointed out I was slapping the trigger and I’m sure I was. If you choose to use a pocket pistol, you need to practice a lot with it. They are very unforgiving due to their extremely short sight radius and the fact that a short-barreled pistol chambered in .380 or 9mm is going to be a handful when you shoot it.

My favorite “bad breath” gun is the good old Ruger LCP. I’ve shot it a lot and anyone with any experience with one knows that it’s not a comfortable firearm. Shoot it a lot and you go home with a sore hand and wake up with it even more so. It’s supposed to be comforting, n0t comfortable, which gets me back to my point.

I know that there are two schools of thought on bad breath guns; 1) they suck and you are an idiot for using that for EDC and 2) you’re a total moron to rely on a .380. And then there are those of us who absolutely are not able to carry anything larger and choose to make ourselves as proficient as possible with them.

Why? Some of us are required to wear clothing that doesn’t make it at all possible to tuck a GLOCK 17 into our pants, either with an IWB holster or a belly band or even an ankle holster. That means we have to use something small. In my case, I have to carry something very small. Maybe you’re in the same boat are considering carrying a Ruger LCP or something like it.

The old adage that a pocket full of .380 is better than a bunch of .45ACP or 9mm back home couldn’t be more true. I tuck my LCP into my Uncle George’s Wallet holster. It totally conceals my mouse gun and if anyone happens to see it printing, it simply looks like … wait for it … a wallet. It slips into my dress pants back pocket, or my suit coat or sport coat pocket and nobody’s the wiser. I can easily carry it in my front pocket, too. It works particularly well with dress pants.

So, how effective is a Ruger .380? Effective enough, in the right situation. And this is where you have to carefully think through this. The vast majority of situations where, God forbid, you would have to use a firearm will be within 15 feet, probably more like ten or even closer. The Ruger .380 is plenty effective at that distance. But you absolutely have to train with it. You need to buy a variety of .380 ammo and find out what works best in your handgun. Once you have that figured out, you can slip your Ruger 380 into your wallet holster, fully loaded with an extra mag and you’re way ahead of the game compared to walking around with nothing but an empty pocket and a prayer that nothing will happen.

I can only speak to the Ruger .380, but for me its winning features are: it’s very small, very concealable and easy to carry. I know you have other options and there are lots of very small 9mm handguns out there. I’d suggest you experiment with them to find out what you think you are going to be the most comfortable carrying all day long. For me, the Ruger .380 fits the bill. The Elsie Pea is more than adequate at “bad breath” distances, as my review video below demonstrates.

Now, I know there will be plenty of comments here informing me that I’ve made a bad choice, why the LCP sucks, why I should be carrying a 9mm (or a .45) pocket pisto and any number of other counter-points. To which I say, fine. Great! Use what you think will work best for you. But if you’re not training with it, if you haven’t satisfied yourself that you can deploy it if and when you need to – quickly – and get rounds on target accurately enough to stop a threat, then no matter what you are carrying, you’re going to have problems. Or, better put, you’ll have decreased the odds of using your pocket pistol EDC of choice effectively.

So let’s hear it for the bad breath EDC handgun!

What do you think? If you carry a pocket pistol what do you carry? And how? What’s been your experience with it?

You can see the rest of Paul’s work at his VDMA Videos YouTube channel.

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  1. I definitely need something for my “work clothes” (tie, button shirt and slacks) so this will make my list for things to try out down at the range. Since getting my CHL, I am often forced to have the proverbial pocket full of nothing and don’t like it one bit!

  2. After years of switching back and forth from a mid-size in cold weather and a mouse gun in the heat, I’ve decided to just forgo the process and carry my sig 290 year round. I have medical issues that make waistband carry in any position painful and difficult so, a little gun in the pocket with an extra mag only makes sense for me. I do, however, take it to the gun club at least once a week, sometimes 2-3 times a week. It’s comfy, 9mm is plenty powerful, and I practice with it a lot, what else do I need?

    • I just got a SIG P290 and it’s great! It looks like a brick, but that’s because it’s the same thickness as every other small 9mm (0.9″) but a LOT shorter in length and height. That makes it look a little stubby, but the 3″ (actually 2.9″) barrel is on par with the LC9, Nano, PX4sc, G26, etc. I have been toying with replacing it with something sexier (like the SR9c), but in reality, I can almost always carry the P290, it comes with very nice night sights, and the 8-round magazine brings the capacity up to just 2 shy of the SR9c.

      I’m pretty sure its lack of popularity is due to the fact it’s a weird-looking gun. But it’s crazy accurate and easy to carry. Folks who say length doesn’t matter in concealed carry obviously never sit down. I’ve carried a G19 and it makes itself known when sitting. Not so the P290. I think I will spend the money to send it to SIG for a RS upgrade.

      • I sold my Sig 290 to get a 290RS and feel cheated. The trigger goes from pretty nice to abysmal. Plus it seems to stack like Hell.

        Your experience may be better but check 290 prices. Sig doesn’t list a non restrike version anymore so the original seems to be out of production. Only restrike models seem NIB now and they have brought the sticker price down.

        • The trigger is worse? I have heard it was supposed to feel better. That’s too bad. SIG can make a smooth trigger when they put their mind to it.

        • The point at which the trigger breaks is further back, almost to the frame of the gun. That combined with the heavy weight gives my trigger finger a cramp after 30 or so rounds even with the 8 round mag. For bad breath only I can see carrying it but the trigger ruins the inherent accuracy of the gun in my opinion as it becomes much harder to stage and predict. That and it is hard to train around it when it strains my trigger finger to do so. My finger is long enough that curling back that far to release the hammer every shot is a deal breaker.

        • Bull Shit LC Judas
          This is a question for BB distance, EDC is for Shit hits the fan stuff. This not about punching 1 inch groups with match grade ammo from single action.
          Tell me your trigger is just to squishy or gritty, or resets to far, no audible or tactile reset, the pull too hard, or too long. I rarely get irritated but you sound like the guy who says the speakers sound shitty because of the 16g lamp cord rather than “Monster” 00 or bitch their cream custard was not served at 92 degrees or whatever it’s supposed to be. Groove to the music and eat your pudding.
          250Lb bad guy on you, adrenalin dump and you will find your mag empty and slide locked back with absolutely no complaints about your fricken trigger.
          I know this is a flame, but if this is your concern, link up a picture of your 1 inch range group at 21 feet with your trigger complaints. To soften this up a little bit, let’s try not to sound too snobbish, elitist or try to verbally outdo each other.
          (although I guess I just did all that)

        • You know…thanks for the amazing contribution there, friend. But while my complaint is of ruined precision and ergonomics my girl CANNOT PULL THE TRIGGER with one hand. Because of a serious lack of hand strength and short fingers she cannot even use the gun. In short, the trigger is a deal breaker. Not only because I prefer any gun I carry to at least be capable of precise shooting should the time come but because she literally needed to use both forefingers to pull the trigger and actuate it.

          My gun smith an OFWG and caters to a crowd of arthritic shooters who aren’t shy about carrying and using weapons with triggers less than 3lbs because they can’t squeeze as hard as they used to. If it doesn’t suit my needs there’s no need for you to flame me or anyone else for having very particular needs. Combined with the Sig not being a cheap offering and everyone not being able to afford to try everything it’s good info.

          Save the ire for an actual sin against man or guns.

  3. I’ve got an LCP that I carry 80% of the time and I have never felt under-armed. The other 20% of the time I carry my big EDC gun, a Beretta Nano.

    Look I own a bunch of pistols but I’ve found the biggest gun I’ll carry as a CCW are these two. Both the .380 and the 9mm are proven man killers and I’ve yet to meet someone that would stand down range and let me take a couple of shots at them with my “mouse guns.” Remember the first rule of a gunfight is to have a gun.

        • For sure. I have a couple pistols with euro-style heel mag releases but basically no real shooting experience with trigger guard levers like you see on some Walthers and H&Ks, so it’ll be new for me. The darn pistol is so tiny though that I can easily imagine it being noticeably easier -or- harder to reach than a normal mag release. At least I’ll have the TCP, which should be dang close in size, handy for comparison. And for dual wielding .380 style 😉

    • Justifying the carry of a subcaliber firearm based on the argument that nobody has volunteered to take a bullet from your mouse gun is just stupid

  4. The SIG P938 is my EDC (in a pocket) and like any pistol it’s not for everybody but it works well for me. A small pistol with a short sight radius can be a challenge if you’re used to larger frames but with enough practice it can do the job.

    • IMO, for the untrained on moderately trained man on the street a short sight-radius pistol should not be an issue. Since most defensive pistol uses are at relatively short (bad breath) ranges, for most of us taking a shot at more than the effective range of these mouse guns, in public, should be discouraged, unless it is an absolute tactical necessity. (And you are VERY cognizant of what is downrange of your target.) Adequate knowledge of the limitations of your EDC pistol, and your own ability to hit a target more than 5 or 6 yards away should give you reason to hold fire at greater ranges.

  5. Bodyguard 380 most of the time and occasionally the P290. I’m starting to warm back up to the Nano (aka the block Glock) after my FTE issues with it… I agree with RF on liking striker fired pistols more: DAO hammer gives restrike, but striker pistols have better triggers if you can get a reliable one.

      • There are an awful lot of strike-fired pistols out there being carried every day, including RF’s new Glock and my Ruger SR9c. On what do you base your opinion that these pistols are prone to produce self-inflicted leg wounds? True, my Ruger has an additional thumb safety, but the many thousands of Glocks out there do not. If it was a frequent issue I should think we’d hear about government and police agencies abandoning the platform.

  6. I carry a pocket knife as that is all I’m allowed at my job but i carry a 12 gauge in the truck and a .45 in the center console

    • Oh i forgot I’m security for a company that has had many bomb threats and a few employees robbed and murdered by other employees and truckers plus we deal with a lot of stuff comin in from mexico yet company policy is no fire arms of any type or bows even if in your vehicle and properly secured.

      • So you’re already defying company policy by keeping a gun in your truck. Maybe you should just find a small gun and carry in the building. My company has the same official policy (although state law protects my right to keep a gun in my car), but I’m carrying right now at my desk. The only people who know are other CCW guys.

  7. My wife and I both have Sig P238’s for daily carry. She is cursed with rather small hands, while she’s had larger guns, but they just weren’t easy for her to get her fingers around. Reason I carry the same, is that should she need to, she can pick up mine and use it with no problems. Only difference is hers is black and mine’s tan.

  8. I have had a Smith 642 for years and while it is bulky compared to miniature semis, I think it is the ideal choice for back up if you can conceal it.

    No jamming, no hot brass, no going out of battery and no snags because of the internal hammer. The DAO trigger smooths out very nicely and if you aren’t going for concealment you can slap a big rubber grip on there and your grandma can shoot it.

  9. Had a Kel-Tec P3AT and hated it. Besides being painful to shoot it was also very picky about what ammo it would feed, fire, extract and/or eject. I picked up a Taurus TCP 738, on TTAG’s recommendation no less, and couldn’t be happier. It has shot everything I’ve fed it, including Wolf steel case and every shape of round, wadcutter and hollow point. With more chunk in the grip it’s easier to hold onto but not really any bigger than the P3AT. It also locks the slide back on the last shot, something very few of the tiny 380s do.

    I wish I’d known about the TCP when I went shopping for a tiny 380 the first time. I could have saved myself both money and frustration; can’t beat that.

    • I found one video review that discussed the failure to fire if the trigger was not allowed to reset completely on the Taurus. In other words only released to the first click. After that the only way to fire would be to rest by pulling back on the slide. Has anyone had this problem?

  10. I use a S&W bodyguard for my ccw gun. It’s accurate enough to hit plinker targets from 15 yards and its completely comfortable with an IWB holster. Downsides are the hard trigger pull and the laser isn’t bright enough to be practical except in very low light situations. The trigger is not a huge drawback though as it allows me to carry with one chambered and the safety off without any concern.

  11. Because of my work uniform, I’m restricted to carrying my LCP in my front pocket or ankle. It is my “for the sake of having a gun” gun. Not my ideal set up, but then again if I have my way, I’d have an EBR at my workstation.

  12. If I’m going out or having company, I’ll be wearing a belt, and either a S&W Shield 9mm or a 640 revolver IWB. I’m retired, so I can dress as I please, and could probably carry something a bit larger if I wanted to.

    My LCP is primarily for home carry, since I like to hang around the house in sweats or gym shorts, when it’s just me and my wife and the dogs. An elastic waistband won’t really support anything heavier than the LCP. Since we don’t have kids, I can have something more substantial ready to hand in the house, but I can’t carry anything bigger than the .380 when I’m taking the trash out at night or going for the newspaper before dawn, or in the basement or garage or what-have-you.

  13. You’re right Paul. You have made a bad choice and the LCP does suck. Sillyness aside, I think the Ice King said it best when he said, “Oh well, a hole’s a hole”.

    It doesn’t really matter if you gift the bad guy with a big hole or a small hole. Also hydrostatic shock doesn’t really come into play if you aren’t carrying in the ‘hood or a similar environment. Sport coat and dress pants don’t exactly scream “gangbangin'”. If you will be in a dangerous area where half the people are hopped up on cocaine and PCP, unable to register pain, I imagine you would be wearing a comfy jacket that nicely conceals 7+1 of .45ACP in your 1911 to rectify his lead deficiency.
    A big bullet isn’t always needed, just avoid crackheads :P.

    • I read that Critical Duty used its power more effectively in a long barrel while Critical Defense was for the shorter barrel.
      Any one else?

  14. Paul is right, the DB9 is a handful, but I have put enough rounds through it to be effective at Bad Breath Distance out to about 10 yards.

    It is with me always, except where it is a crime to have it. Even in my home. I call it my “First Rule” gun, as in “The first rule of a gunfight is bring a gun”.

    That said, now that murdering crowds in a mall is now in the world’s bloodstream, I may rethink the way I dress and carry. 6+1 may not do the job.

    • Sub-compact pistols with a 6+1 or so capacity in any caliber are woefully inadequate for multiple attackers hitting a shopping mall — regardless of how many spare magazines you carry. Those sub-compacts are intended for self defense against one or maybe two attackers at bad breath distance as this article mentions.

      If you are considering combat against multiple terrorists in a shopping mall, even a full size handgun with 15+ round capacity and two extra magazines (45 total rounds of ammunition) is inadequate … although certainly better than nothing.

      • What is that saying, I can never remember it precisely: “A pistol is the tool you use to fight your way to where you left your rile.” I would say that in the extreme of a mass invasion of a mall or other soft target whatever pistol you have should be the tool you use to acquire one of the terrorist’s rifles at your earliest opportunity. Or just to keep their heads down while you get out of Dodge.

    • They don’t make extended magazines for the DB9? Extended mags for the Nano, P290 and Shield will get you up to 8+1.

      Really, though, we gun folk like to overthink things. A Nairobi or Mumbai-style attack is highly unlikely in the US. More likely would be something like Clackamas or Westroads. The CCW is there to get you out, not take into battle.

  15. S&W Bodyguard 380 most of the time, sometimes a Bersa Thunder 380CC. Both have been rock solid reliable at the range with a couple of thousand rounds through each of them and nary a hiccup. A Safariland Wallet Profile holster hides very nicely in a shorts cargo pocket and I’ve rigged up a run of the mill belt pack to hold it as well when I’m out biking or hiking. A DeSantis Sof Tuck IWB holster also works great with pants that have a little extra give and a patterned shirt, absolutely no printing. As for the great caliber debate, anyone who doubts a 380 can get the job done, feel free to stand downrange while I get in some practice and let me know how that works out for you.

  16. The only drawback to .380 ACP is lack of penetration: it fires a “light” bullet (about 90 grains) at about 880 fps out of a sub-compact pistol. While the diameter is just dandy, an expanding bullet (e.g. hollow point) usually will not penetrate much more than 6 or at best 8 inches in a human attacker. That means it will usually take several minutes and perhaps hours to incapacitate a determined or drugged-up attacker with one or possibly even two shots.

    Nevertheless, I believe the .380 ACP is not a bad choice — especially if that is all that you can carry — for two reasons. First, something like 90% or more of attackers will immediately break off their attack if they simply see that you are armed. They don’t know or care what caliber it is. And for the few morons who do not immediately retreat, they will retreat once you start pulling the trigger.

    As for that rare attacker that is not promptly incapacitated and continues their attack (such as an enraged ex-boyfriend/ex-husband or a stoned attacker), in the absolute worst case where you do not survive their attack, they eventually must either go to a hospital and be captured or die. Either way, they will not be free to harm anyone else.

    • Note: most hunters use hardcast lead bullets when hunting deer with handguns. Hardcast lead bullets do not deform when they hit mammalian targets and almost always penetrate through-and-through. And due to the physics involved, hardcast lead bullets make wound channels that are larger than the diameter of the bullet.

      Creating an entry and exit hole and a wound channel that is larger than the bullet incapacitates deer rather quickly — usually within a few seconds if you are a good marksman. Why do I bring this up? I know at least one vendor who makes .380 ACP ammunition with 100 grain hardcast lead bullets. I cannot see those being effective on deer. I imagine they might be very effective, however, on mammals that are quite a bit more frail than deer.

  17. I have an LCP in a wallet holster of a different brand. I’m not crazy about owning a ruger, I haven’t forgotten their treachery back in the Clinton administration, but I need something very small and it fills the bill. If i hadn’t gotten it cheap from a friend, I would have gotten something else.

        • I was afraid somebody would think that!!! No. Just want people to see the review. Shilling for that as much as the gun itself, really. But… The darn thing is $199 and is as good or better than any of the other similar guns I’ve shot, and I’ve shot nearly all of them (Bodyguard, LCP, Kel-Tec, Kahr, Diamondback, Micro D’Eagle… blanking now but I know there are a couple more). I’m going to pick up a Beretta Pico as soon as possible and it may replace my Taurus if I like it, just because I have a Nano (which I love and trust) and wouldn’t mind having a smaller brother Beretta to go with it. But again, even if it’s as good (which is hard to to!) I’m sure it’s going to cost almost twice as much. To be totally clear 1) I bought my TCP from a dealer at normal price and 2) submitted the review as a TTAG reader. If Taurus is aware that the review on here exists, they found it on their own…

  18. I carried my LCP for the first time yesterday. My Stealthgear Onyx finally came in after many weeks of waiting. It was worth the wait. It is very comfortable and is about 99% undetectable. My wife even smacked the side of me at the store and didn’t even know it was there. I would rather have a gun I know is mostly undetectable to one that is bigger but easier to see. I have an IWB for my M&P 9mm, but it is a full size gun and does not conceal well.

  19. I carry a similar holster for my LCP. Second one with the thumb push-off.

    Very easy to carry and no one is the wiser. I will have to replace the plate at some point. The leather is curving around the gun and making it a little harder to draw. Gonna replace it with a piece of Kydex.
    As to firepower, I carry a mix of ball and Buffalo Bore hollow point rounds with a spare mag on my belt. Out to 15 yard I can shoot to minute of bad guy.

  20. At “bad breath distance” a good knowledge of combatives will help out a lot more than a firearm, and helps immeasurably in being able to use one effectively.

    At that distance you’re going to have a few concerns 1) disrupting the attack (to include taking control of an attacker’s weapon) 2) being able to access your firearm, 3) being able to retain control of your firearm, 4) being able to get into a position to use your firearm effectively to stop the attack

    All of that requires you have some physical skill, unless; like Zimmerman, you get lucky and are able to incapacitate a superior attacker with one shot.

  21. KelTec P32 backs up a full size, Sig or Glock, 9mm. Stays in the truck and when I want it, in the pocket she goes. Always has gone bang, but it is a gut/temple/ forehead buster for me. At seven yards the sights shoot so far left I flat miss, so contact shots only.

  22. I already carry and keep several CZ-82s in 9×18, so I would feel perfectly fine about pocketing an LCP .380.

    Bought one of the 82s for my wife, but she doesn’t like it because of the heavy slide. I think the LCP is exactly what she wants.

  23. I’m fortunate enough that I can carry a Glock 17 most days without a hassle. On the days that’s not possible, though, my second stringer is usually a LCR in 357. If I’m having to carry a pocket-sized firearm, I prefer to offset the loss of rounds on tap with a heavier hit.

  24. My current bad breath guns are a Glock 27 and a Smith 340 PD. The LCP is immensely popular, but I’m liking the Smith Bodyguard .380. I’m may actually start carrying a .380 as a backup on – duty and off. I’ve been switching between my Glock 27 and 23 most days. I could pack a Glock on the strong side and the .380 in a pocket holster on the weak side.

    With Buffalo Bore or Underwood Ammo, a hot .380 round could potentially pack 200 plus foot pounds from a typical mouse gun 2 3/4″ barrel. That’s definitely something. If memory serves tnoutdoors tested a few rounds that would penetrate 8-11″ in ballistics gel covered by 4 layers of denim. The LAPD duty load was recently switched to the CCI 90 grain FMJ to increase penetration at the obvious expense of expansion. Alternating JHPs and FMJs may very well be a good strategy.

    I’m looking forward to trying out some mouse guns. Perhaps I can convince the wife to carry one.

    • Only 2 backup/off duty carry guns authorized for LAPD are the BG-380 and LCP, so that says something. I believe they use Hornady Critical Defense. I guess if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me.

    • As I recall, a review of the Bodyguard .380 was done here. It had some pretty major light primer strikes. I would consider that and make sure it’s well broken in and serviced if need be if that’s all you’re allowed or you prefer it that much to other .380 pistols. In either event should such prohibitive factors come into play of course.

      • After a couple of thousand rounds through my BG-380 I’ve only had 2 failures and in each case they went bang on the second strike.

  25. I carry a Kahr pm9 in one of 2 ways. The easiest, and my favorite, is to slide it into a deSantis Nemesis and put it in a cargo pocket. Or a Crossbreed micro-clip (just 1 belt clip) at 5 o’clock when I’m not wearing cargo shorts/pants. It’s certainly bigger than the .380 pocket guns but it is small enough that I don’t worry about printing at all, and can often ignore the gun entirely. In cargo pockets it can bang against the knee a bit if you run which is really the only negative.

  26. I’ve got a Masterpiece Arms MPA 380. Smaller than an LCP but with a little rounder grip and ports drilled in the top for a little better handling/shooting gun, IMO.

    I’m kinda upset they recently discontinued the model and may stock up on a few mags and recoil springs. With some more marketing help, this gun could have elbowed its way past some more well known brands.

  27. Lcp is my main carry gun. Usually Inna hybrid typenhokster. (Galco kingtuk) I have a remora that I love, a desantis nemasis for pocket carry, and a fobus owb i wear more and more because a T-shirt is long enough to cover it.

  28. I got my chl recently, and even in September, it’s too hot here in Texas to wear any kind of cover garment. I pocket carry an LCP (yes, in a holster), and the hardest part has been getting used to putting my keys in my left pocket. Works well even with my usual attire of shorts and a t-shirt. Got one for my wife, too.
    A couple of days ago I picked up some DRT frangible ammo for it- various testing videos on youtube show this to be effective stuff.

  29. Having shot the LCP, I’d have to agree completely with this article. It is a massive pain to shoot, you may as well be holding the barrel in your hand and smacking the primer with a nail for all the good the tiny plastic grip does. Hate it.

    But like most people say, better to have a gun you hate than no gun at all, and you’re limited by size than the LCP might work, though personally I’d shop around for something different, with better grips.

  30. I front pocket carry an LCP in a Desantis Nemesis holster on shorts/t-shirts days. Based on advice from a post on here about the time I bought the LCP last July I also bought a Hogue rubber slip on grip. I don’t know how much the grip helps comfort since I’ve not shot the LCP without one. It is not uncomfortable for me to shoot but I’ll only shoot 100 rounds or so a session. Not one malfunction with Aguila FMJ, Blazer brass, another FMJ range ammo, I forget the brand, and Speer Gold Dots. I’ve not used the sights (revised version of the LCP that has more sights than the original) much but they work fine for me. I’ve been focusing on bringing the gun up and quickly point shooting at fairly close range – 10 to 20 feet. Can’t practice draw and fire at the range I use.

    Of course my wife begs to differ – she shot 2 rounds and has no desire to shoot the LCP again. She enjoys shooting her Rhino 2″ and my SR9c so she isn’t abnormally recoil adverse. SR9c gets carried IWB on jeans/shirt over a t-shirt days or OWB on jacket/coat days.

  31. I carry a Springfield XDm9 compact in a King Tuk or Remora when I can, probably 40% of the time. When it’s shorts/t-shirt weather I carry a Walther PPS 9 in a Remora, probably another 40% of the time. Then when I absolutely CANNOT take the chance of printing (ie. in dress pants at work, which is a “guns not allowed” zone) I carry the Taurus TCP .380 in a SmartCarry.

  32. I pocket carry a Beretta bobcat, in 22lr. I’ve thought about getting a larger caliber, but haven’t found anything quite as accurate (nor comfortable) as my bobcat.
    Besides, I don’t have to stop raging animals. And nobody functions very well with extra holes in their body.

  33. Most of the year, it’s shorts and polo shirt weather here, and I have several pocket .380s that I’ve carried…a Colt Mustang, SIG P238, Kahr P380 and Ruger LCP. But I keep going back to my original pocket .380, a Seecamp LS380 in a Strong pocket holster. I know, the Seecamp has no sights, but if you’re at conversational range, it doesn’t much matter. As the late Louis Seecamp stated, “Ya stick it in their face and pull the trigger!”

  34. I carry a Glock 26 IWB most of the time, and a Kel-Tec PF9 in a Desantis Nemesis pocket holster when I don’t have the option or feel like carrying the G26. I’m not in love with the PF9, but it is fairly dependable, eats most ammo I feed it and I’ve only had to send it back once! It is definitely not a range toy as it kicks pretty hard and isn’t particularly accurate past about 5 yards.

    I really like how small it is though, and I trust the 9mm round more so than a .380. The PF9 is not my main choice for a CCW, but it works, and it is a gun I can carry while running, biking and walking my dogs without worrying about my workout clothes printing or falling down. I also have an almost brand new S&W 442 Airweight .38 that I was going to start carrying instead of the Kel-Tec, but I forgot to get my dad a birthday present and it ended up going to him. FWIW, he loves it. My wife also carries a 442, she’s a nurse, works crazy hours, and has to walk pretty far to her car at night. Since her scrubs have big pockets, she carries hers in a Double Tap pocket holster.

  35. Looking to get a Bersa Thunder myself for my CCW. Seems like it’s just barely small enough to fit the pocket, and knowing my own habits, I am far more likely to not carry if I have to dress around a larger gun. The +1 extra capacity compared to other pocket pistols helps too. Besides, it looks like James Bond’s gun, but at half the price!

    Alternately, was also thinking of a pocket revolver instead. Trading capacity for +reliability and I don’t have to worry about it not firing if the slide is pulled back either by baddie’s hand or by it being pressed to hard into them, should the fight turn into that.

    Any thoughts?

  36. My edc is a 2″ .357 J frame with Packmayr grips (a little shorter than the stock S&W ones). That gun goes everywhere with me. It usually occupies my back pack, but when on my person it in in an iwb or a pocket if the holster won’t cut it for whatever reason (typically when wearing dress clothes). I always default to a 4″ N frame for carry if I can but my job requires absolute discretion in this area, so the J frame is thus my edc and the N frame ends up being my weekend gun so to speak.

    My experience with it is great no malfunctions even with the internal lock but it does seem to shoot 125gr stuff the most accurately. It is a model 649-6 humpback, I carry it with .357s (125gr Hornady Critical Defense) for ammo commonalty and practice commonality between it and the N frame. The gun itself is SS and is hefty enough and has a nice enough grip angle/design that shooting .357s isn’t bad at all, even the defensive loads. Once you get into shooting hot 158gr stuff it gets uncomfortable. Compared to my friend’s SP101, the J frame is a dream to shoot with full house .357s though. The gun imo is the perfect size for concealment but also being comfortable to shoot and thus practice with all while still offering a full powered chambering. It points naturally and the grip is the right size for a good range of hand sizes to grip easily and well. I notice the trigger pull is difficult for many women and inexperienced revolver shooters to overcome though. I can easily shoot 5″ steel plates at 7 yards one handed because the trigger pull is nice and consistent and point of aim is pretty much dead on at that distance and closer. I don’t know what other praises to sing 🙂

  37. I’d offer that the choice of blaster is less critical than the training regimen behind it. We tend to go to the range and shoot our big primary, then pack up and scoot, with the mindset – I’m as guilty as the next guy – that the M1911 is coming along fine, and the backup is after all a backup, and shooting is shooting, and if the barrel is in his bellybutton, that helps steady the grip. Miller Time. To fix this, I set aside a whole range session just for Peewee every week. I think about it this way: if I ever need to use it, it’s because all the chips and the deed to the farm are in the pot on the table; I’ve either shot my primary dry or I’m in a situation where I was at bad breath range, which I’m probably not going to be in, if I’m carrying my primary. There may be a knife involved, or I may be leaking from several new holes I didn’t bring to the party. I guarantee if you go for a mouse gun, your stress level will be way higher than if you were going for a full-size, regardless of circumstances. Practice, practice, practice.

    The other thing is the evolving threat profile over the past couple of decades. When I started carrying, back in the early 90’s, my 642 with 5 +P hollowpoints was way more than adequate for even those Black Swan Events. Now the threat is more likely to be 2+ baddies who are more likely armed with high cap weapons themselves, and a prolonged shootout is a very real possibility, and 5 rounds won’t cut it for me; my adjustment has been carrying a speed loader in my off pocket and I’m thinking about going up to the .327 Federal or even a .357 snubbie as an adjustment. On the theory that one big hole equals two or more shallow holes. I own a Kel-Tec P3AT that functions like goose grease with everything I feed it, and I carry it if I’m at a function where I’m in, say, a tuxedo, but no more than totally necessary. I’ve shot a whole bunch of mouse guns and I haven’t found one I’d call decent to shoot, usually due to trigger. But that’s a whole different post.

    And P.S. – What Matt said just above. +10

  38. Love, love, love my Elsie. She’s what I carry around the house all day because:

    1. I know where the rest of my pistols are (and the evil black rifle).
    2. I know where all the exits are (home turf advantage).

    I have a pocket nine for when I leave the house, and when I feel it necessary, I have a subcompact double stack nine. I’m still trying to come up with a good reason for subcompact .40 (don’t tell my wife please).

  39. My wife’s carry gun is a Bersa Thunder in .380. After she had shoulder surgery, she couldn’t handle anything bigger. I don’t consider her “under-gunned,” although I do wish she could carry something bigger. If something like that is the best you can do, then do it and don’t denigrate it.

  40. I like my mouse gun Ruger though you’re right the standard 380 is tough on the hand but I have to admit it would be fun to fire in 308 if I could get that big old bullet in there 🙂

  41. Nice to see someone put in a good plug for the Uncle George’s Wallet Holster. I have carried my LCP in one for over two years and it doesn’t look very different from the day I got it. It mostly rides in the back pocket of my jeans but works well in the front pocket of dress pants as well. I have a G19 that I try to carry when I can but for a lot of occasions and locations I’m relegated to the LCP. I have practiced a lot with it and agree that it is definitely a “bad breath self defense” pistol. I do have to say that adding a Hogue Hybrid Grip Sleeve for it helped with comfort and control somewhat.

  42. My usual EDC was a Glock 26 but I was unable to conceal it effectively most of the time. I came across the Ruger LCP and problem solved. Simple, de-burred, tiny, many styles of holster available or just drop it in your pocket. For the BB situation, which is what you will most likely face, if anything at all, it will do the trick. At BB range you don’t have time to sight in, just point and shoot. Too many yahoo’s will mock you for it being too small, don’t take the bait, you don’t need the desert eagle for PP. You just need to have something with you. You should practice with it occasionally, it’s not a fun target pistol but be familiar with the fit and feel of it firing.

  43. Para Warthog. 3.5″ barrel, .45 ACP, 10-round double stack. also takes any Para USA mags, so P-13 13-round mag with grip extension sleeve.

  44. S&W Shield in 9mm is my carry gun for every situation. 8+1 and a spare mag should be plenty for me to get out of whatever situation I was unfortunate enough to get put in where I need a gun.

    Despite being a small gun, it still feels like a solid gun (vs a plastic toy). Recoil is manageable, audible report is a bit harsh, and its sub-inch width helps it disappear into my waistband easily.


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