The term “pocket pistol” is a bit subjective. Depending upon the user’s size and mode of dress, a pocket pistol might be nearly any standard-sized handgun. In the northeastern part of the United States, heavy winter coats worn by citizens have deep hand-warming pockets into which most duty-sized pistols will fit.
Conversely, my daughter owns fashionable jeans and shorts and the pockets are mostly for decoration. She can barely fit a mobile phone in them. For someone like this, even the classic Seecamp .32 ACP would be too big for pocket carry.

There really are no hard and fast rules for pocket pistols, but some of the characteristics that make a handgun desirable for pocket carry include small size, low weight, and snag-free construction featuring a minimum number of external controls.

Size: Here we are in subjective territory again. When it comes to size, the handgun should be compact enough to ride comfortably in the garment chosen without causing it to bulge unduly or “stick out” and print.

Weight: By using aluminum and high-impact polymer construction, handgun makers can reduce the overall weight of the gun considerably. One pound to 20 ounces seems to be the benchmark for pocket pistols. Many firearms makers have been able produce sub-1-pound compact handguns while maintaining .35-caliber bores.
Construction: Large external hammers, safety or decocking levers, and sharp angles sights are all potentially a “no-no” for pocket pistol. Any part of the handgun that pokes or rubs unduly on the garment material is cause for concern. A pocket holster or scabbard is always a prudent idea. However, items like a large hammer spur or squared rear target sight will invariable catch when you need to get the gun out in a hurry.

Some bad guys will fade away at the sight of a tiny .22 LR pistol. Unfortunately, many will not and need a bit stronger persuasion. If, due to physical limitations, all you can control is a .22 LR pistol, then it’s certainly better that harsh words. However, larger projectiles make larger holes in bad guys and tend to get their attention more quickly.

When it comes to manufacturing reasonably priced “pocket pistols” designed to the get the job done, few are as capable as Taurus. The following is a brief roundup of their centerfire pistols that would fit within this somewhat broad category.

Taurus 738

The Taurus Model 738 TCP .380 is definitely the little guy of the bunch. Tipping the scales at less than 11 ounces empty, it’s not going to pull down your shorts. Overall length for the 738 is a mere 5.25 inches with a 2.84-inch barrel. The trigger design is true double-action-only (DAO). Each press is a long DAO. There are no external safety levers or hammers. The striker mechanism is completely concealed by the slide. As for sights, they are merely a channel and a front bump built into the slide. It’s a trade-off.

A single-column magazine feeds the tiny pistol and holds six rounds, bringing the carry total to 6+1. TCP models are available with blue or stainless steel slides. The polymer frame can be had in black, or pink for the ladies.

Slim Series 709 & 740

Not small but also not large, the “Slim” series of pistols from Taurus fills a niche with a Model 709 in 9mm and a 740 in .40 S&W. Each of the “Slim” pistols is fed by a single-stack magazine. The 9mm version holds 7+1 rounds; the .40 S&W gun holds one less cartridge.

All the Slim pistols have black polymer frames and steel slides, and each is available in blue or stainless steel. Empty weight for each pistol is a mere 19 ounces. Both models have Taurus’ double-action/single-action (DA/SA) trigger with a small manual safety lever located on the left side of the frame. The barrels are 3 inches and 3.2 inches, respectively.

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