THE POCKET PISTOL CONCEPT began with a single shot—literally one barrel and one round. Among American armsmakers who made pocket carry possible was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, gunmaker Henry Deringer. His famous single-shot pistols (many small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand) first appeared around 1825, and by 1841 the Deringer, now with a caplock action, had become one of the most popular small handguns in America. Not long after, other gunmakers (some even in Philadelphia) began copying the design.

RELATED STORY: Top 13 Compact 1911 Handguns for Concealed Carry

Some competitors even went so far as to call their guns Deringer pistols, or, as became common, “derringer” with a double “R,” the spelling ironically used in Webster’s Dictionary! Both the single- and double-barrel derringer-style pistol, the latter perfected by E. Remington and Sons in the late 1860s, remain among the easiest handguns for concealed carry use today. Modern versions offer plenty of defensive capability with calibers up to .45 ACP. The derringer is one of three distinct categories that make up the top-12 list for 2014, along with revolvers and semi-autos.

Read on to see all of the Top 12 Pocket Pistols for 2014!

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Show Comments
  • Puckett

    No S&W Shield in 9mm or 40sw? No Springfield XDs in 9mm or 45acp? Both are deserving of this list!

  • john

    No north American arms pug?

  • Rey Leron

    Top ten unreliable if you ask me.

    • Rodentman

      No one did ask you.

      • Rey Leron

        It’s online so it’s open to comments and no need to ask anyone. It’s practically asking for comments and maybe suggestions. And since you are sociable and wanting to put people out of their misery with your 22lr. maybe you shouldn’t have any kind of gun.

        • Rodentman

          I’ll remember that in the highly unlikely event that your msiguided opinion ever matters to me.

          • Rey Leron

            I guess your opinion is the only one that matters. That you can remember.

          • Rodentman

            We have a winner! My opinion is the only one that matters.

          • Stephen Reese M Ferguson

            That’s really funny…. Thanks for making me laugh today.

          • tomthebomb024

            keep telling yourself that prick

          • Tired of stupid people

            You’ve shown yourself to be nothing more than a troll and a fool

          • Rodentman

            As I said, your miserable opinion matters not.

      • Yigit

        I asked him, fuck off!

  • USMCfrontline

    Well, thankfully no one is asking you, “Rey”
    You asshat.

    • Poop on this useless article

      Wow chill bro Rey is right that’s an awful top ten unless you are well unintelligent

      • warrenhunting

        Rossi was bought out by Taurus. I own a contemporary “Rossi” 357 mag SS snubby. It shoots remarkably well. I have put well over a thousand rounds of 357 through it, and an additional 800+ rounds of .38. I have never had a single issue with the weapon. Anyone looking for a budget conscious .357 should take a second look at them. I am an avid backpacker in black bear country, and needed something with a little more presence than my carry nine or .380. However, since it only makes up about ten percent of my carry time, I didn’t want to spend a large amount of money. The legendary Taurus warranty follows the new Rossi handguns. I could not be happier with my purchase. I owned an old model Rossi .38. It was hit or miss at best. I gave them a second chance after Taurus bought them out, and could not be more proud of being open minded.

      • Rey Leron

        It was also mentioned that great minds think alike. Aren’t they great, and this comes from people who use “asshat” as an adjective.

    • Shooter McGavin

      Hahahaha, haven’t seen asshat used by anyone but myself. Great minds think alike.

      • Stephen Reese M Ferguson

        I use assclown all the time. I like the asshat myself!

        • Gus Mueller

          Reminds me of Ross Perot getting out of the Navy because he couldn’t stand the profanity. That’s right, calling you guys sissies.

          • zenmonger

            I’m tired of all the fuckin profanity too.

    • Rey Leron

      Of course name calling is best when given an opinion. And only Rodentman and USMCfrontline can comment. Thankfully.

      • Stephen Reese M Ferguson

        You have to admit, some of the posts here are really funny. By the way, looking at the Beretta Sub-Compact 9mm for my wife. Thoughts?

        • M. Cameron O’Dell

          I love my Nano! great customer service too.

  • amk

    Most of your choices weren’t bad. How ever unless Rossi has has made Major improvements in quality . I wouldn’t attempt to fire one in 357 mag. I admit it’s been over 20 years since I even looked at one. The 38 Rossi I did examine an fire . Was one of the worst made fire arm’s I have ever seen.

  • Bret McNeal

    It’s the top 12. Not the top ten. There’s only three of them on that list that deserve to be there. The rest, junk, unreliable and no resale value. Hell ya might as well threw in a highpoint. Besides, if you can’t train reliably with it. What good is it.

  • River Walleyegeye

    As for this list I’ve been very pleased with the TCP I carry at times, but the SIG Sauer P938 is as often on my holster as it should be on any top 12, top 10, or top 3 list. (Almost always.) P938, best carry gun out there. (for me, try one out if you haven’t yet)

  • Brian Aish

    I don’t read anything from Dennis Adler anymore. I only saw a couple of the guns in this 12 best pocket pistols and the Beretta Storm and the EMP are too big for pocket carry. Every time I read an article from Mr. Adler, he seems to really talk well of the Kahrs (though they are one of the most mis-leading on their specs that I have seen of a firearm manufacturer and several of the persons providing reviews do not correct the mis-leading issues. Several of the articles that I have read, seem to leave out the mis-firings when it is convenient. The top pocket pistol out there for reliability is the LC9 and I get the feeling that Mr. Adler is not a keen fan of the LC9. In at least 3 reviews for the top 5 or 6 or 12, the LC9 has been towards the bottom or not even on it (ironic that it is the only gun its’ size that has not had any issues right out of the gate and the only complaints are generally on features!) I will take a gun with features I don’t like over a gun with failures any time. And, if Mr. Adler wants to get more accurate (and honest!), the LC9 (or LC9s) will be at the top of EVERY pocket pistol list.

  • PBinLosAngeles

    “Pocket Pistols”? When the poo-poo is going down, as well as my pants, I’ll take my Seecamp .32 without fail – Lets not forget, the “whimpy” .32 ACP maintains the same percentage of one-shot stops – within 8′ of a perp – as that of our beloved .38 Special and or .380 Backup….

    • Rick in MI

      I have a CPL and among others I own a Colt LW Commander in .45ACP, a Sig 2022 in 9mm, and a Seecamp in .32. For ALL sorts of reasons, the Seecamp is the one I choose to carry. The #1 rule in a SHTF situation is to have a gun, and the Seecamp can go EVERYWHERE with me no matter what I’m wearing… in a front-pocket holster, a back-pocket holster, or in my jacket/coat pocket. Since every self-defense situation is going to be within 20 feet, I am also quite comfortable putting two rounds into a crazed bad guy if necessary.

      • PBinLosAngeles

        Cool comments, thanks. The reality is that – according to FBI stats – most shootings occur when people are within EIGHT feet of one another, and within that 8′ scenario research showed that .32 caliber produced the same number of “one-shot-stops” as did/does .38 Special…..That’s also why I prefer single aught buck – 12 pellets at .32 caliber….Splat!

  • James Garva

    if you choose a derringer or a mini-revolver, it’s cause you’re very ignorant of the facts. I went with the sig P938, because I have so much time and money invested in cocked and locked SA practice. Sig now offers a .22lr variant, as well as a .22lr conversion unit for the P938.

    • M. Cameron O’Dell

      I think your opinion is off base. The mini revolver in 22WMR loaded with self defense ammo like Gold Dot or Hornady Critical Defense is just as effective as self defense ammo in .380. It does make some sacrifice in speed, being single action, in favor of concealability, but it can be concealed in absolutely any outfit and I think it is a valid choice for those that dress in a manner that prohibits the carry of a larger weapon.

  • James Garva

    sig P938 here, because I’ve got 1000’s of hours of draws and dryfires,and almost 1/4 mill rds fired from SA auto. I rechambered my sig to 356 TSW, and use handloads featuring a bullet of my own make. It’s 45 grs, 2200 fps, 500 ft lbs. Barely more recoil than 380, but better stopping power than 357 jhp’s (due to bullet design). It’s an AP load, too. Which is not illegal, due to the material out of which the bullet is made. (ie, aluminum rod).

    • Rodentman

      1,000’s of hours? I doubt it, unless you’re talking about waxing your carrot.

      • Stephen Reese M Ferguson

        Oh my that is funny… Two good laughs in one day, thanks guys!!!

    • Terrible website full of idiot

      Why are you telling anyone this? Your special unique snowflake loads have zero relevance to anyone other than yourself, and the ballistics you claim are dubious. It sounds like those ultra light Liberty defense rounds that were supposed to be amazing but get terrible penetration because the bullet is too light to stay together upon impact. Please, shut the fuck up.

  • James Garva

    the P938 is 1/4″ shorter in the slide than the PPK and 1/2″ shorter top to bottom. With my load, it hits several times as hard as is possible with any blowback 380 load, yet is just as controlable in rapidfire. It weighs several ozs less than a PPK, too. The PPK and .38 snubs are very marginal for ccw in pants pocket rigs. Too big and heavy.

  • will_ford

    XDs is the BEST small 45 PERIOD!! Accurate little rascal too!

  • will_ford

    I’m not really fond of Taurus fit an finish. The last couple I had where BAD. Traded them.

  • M. Cameron O’Dell

    Rediculous! From absurd 2 shot pistols to way oversized 7″ pistols this list is horrid and the cost of some of these are beyond laughable. I have a hard time justifying a .380 with so many pocket 9mm out there even though it is a capable cartridge and anything smaler should be left to children and the handicapped.

    here is a better list if you are really looking for a pocket gun…

    1. Affordable(<$350 street price)

    2. Low recoil(<9 Ft-Lbs)

    3. Pocket size(<6.0"x4.5"x1.0")

    Much better options listed from lowest to highest recoil

    Beretta Nano – $350

    Ruger LC9s – $330

    Kahr CM9 – $330

    SCCY CPX2 – $230

    Kel-Tec PF-9 – $240

    • Rodentman

      As a handicapped person, why don’t you come see me and I’ll put you out of your misery with my .22lr.

      • jackobean

        i guess you made his point

      • Jyd

        I was thinking the same thing, too bad some people engage their mouth before their brain!

      • M. Cameron O’Dell

        I wasn’t being mean, I was totally serious, 22wmr and .380 are great self defense choices for people that can’t handle the recoil of larger calibers, I’m not so sure about a 22LR stopping a threat before they are able to hurt you but with a few well placed shots of CCI Velocitor I’m sure you could, just not an ideal choice IMO especially since 22WMR has the same recoil and a lot more punch.

    • Tired of stupid people

      Could you be more stupid? I guess it’s a real problem being a Know-it-all snob

    • MPPatterson

      Thanks for your informed and helpful comments and list.

  • paidtoplay

    Taurus…Seriously? In a life or death situation, one of the last CCW I would trust is a Taurus. They used to make great products but their QC has fallen significantly. You never know if you are getting a good one. Their lifetime warranty should be a multi-million dollar life insurance policy.

    • irrefutabletruth

      EXACTLY!! TCP I bought new was absolute junk. I no longer have any Taurus guns and honestly do not intend to ever purchase another one.

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    Sig P938 is nice, Kahr MK 9 or MK 40, though the Kahr’s are wee bit heavy for pocket carry, they are certainly small enough for ankle or IWB with ease. Personally, everything but an LCP size and weight (or smaller) is too big for pocket carry comfortably.

  • John

    No Beretta 950?

    • Jon

      awesome gun. very dependable with the new ammo coming out it is also a stopper! you do mean the 25acp?

  • ObiWanWotan

    Have you seen The Hobbit movies. That Elf babe will whack any of you with her bow. In other words, pick something … and practice. Nuff said.

  • Brian Aish

    This is why I quit buying the gun magazines. Their information is so inaccurate & repetitive! Several of those were not even pocket pistols. On top of that, two of the best pocket pistols were not even mentioned, including the best all-around pocket pistol available the LC9 (the other is the LCP, both by Ruger.

    • irrefutabletruth

      Gun magazines NEVER EVER give an honest assessment of bad guns!! How on earth are they going to say disparaging things about the product of a company feeding them advertising dollars?? The Taurus TCP is the worst gun I ever purchased and nowhere did I find an honest assessment of that piece of junk!

    • M. Cameron O’Dell

      I think you are dead on about the LCP but I think the Nano is better than the LC9 after trying out both. I also agree the Mag editors that make these lists are morons.

  • Brian Aish

    And I wouldn’t buy a Kahr if it were the last manufacturer out there. With the many, MANY complaints for malfunctions, the many rounds recommended for break-in (at least 200-500-even with target rounds, that is easily at least $60-180 cost on top of the already over-priced guns!) just to find out if it will be a good one or not, the mis-leading advertising (that the authors of the badly written articles still allow like Dennis Adler), they utilize cheap advertising ploys like dressing women up like strippers to make sales (which is usually what the cheaper manufacturers do). I even contacted them at one time and complained and they were proud of the fact that it sold guns, even when it was determined that the type of buyers it was attracting should be a concern. I also have a friend that works at a gun shop and they have had most of their Kahrs returned for malfunctions and he cannot get ANY service support to address the issues and, after repeated attempts of trying and leaving messages, gave up and just quit selling the guns. If you go talk to sales reps that sell guns, they will tell you that the Kahrs have a high problem rate even today and if you go on the internet, you will find many, many buyers that have had problems. To me, Kahr is in a quality level of Kel-tec (though I do not see mis-leading advertising from Kel-tec or sleazy advertising).

    • zenmonger

      Interesting. I’m pretty sure after reading your comment that you don’t like Kahrs. But what are you saying about using sexy models to sell guns? Do you mean gun makers should aim their pitch to men that, you know, DON’T like girls? Wink wink?
      Are you saying they should have sexy male models instead?

    • M. Cameron O’Dell

      I can attast that Kahr customer service is awful, I sold my CM9 and bought a Nano just because of the 3 customer service experiences I had with Kahr.

  • LastClick

    The waxed carrot line was a good one!! Made me laugh….anyway….I agree with M. Cameron O’Dell, nice list with good value guns that perform well.

  • irrefutabletruth

    A absolutely LOVE anything Beretta makes and the company has absolutely the best customer service of any manufacturer I’ve dealt with. I recently purchased a Beretta Picco for summer carry (shorts and t-shirt wearing times) and there was a minor issue with the front sight. I emailed Beretta and they treated me like royalty! In two or three days time I received a replacement front sight, a wrench to install it with and the assurance if I had ANY additional problems to contact them immediately! I love love love the Picco for its intended application and Beretta has my loyalty forever!

  • John

    No Sig P238? It’ so much better than shitty Springfield armory mink 1911’s that it’s laughable that it’s nowhere on this list while KIMBER and Springfield garbage is on here.

    It’s $700, so what? Sorry, my life and the lives of people around me are worth a little more than $350, lol. You can keep your cheap sub-$400 gun and have your life depend on it, and I’ll have the proven Sig Sauer P238 depend on mine. Hope you don’t get a Jam! I know I won’t.

    • NoSigForMe

      Anyone interested in buying a P238 with a Crimson trace? All you need is the tolerance to put up with three FTFs or FTEs every 10-15 rounds no matter what ammunition you choose.

  • irrefutabletruth

    AVOID the Taurus 738 at all costs. Even if someone tries to give you one for free, don’t accept it!!! Worst gun I have ever spent money on in my life! Trigger will malfunction ad get you killed. I sold mine for $120 and it was essentially brand new. Yes I told the person who bought it that it sucked!

  • Cindy Roark Patterson

    Im telling ya guys YALL ARE FUNNY !!!!!!!!! IF I was the one having the gun or ANY gun pointed at my face or chest ANY of these would defer me.. YES some are better than others but some people cant afford a high dollar gun OR handle the recoil so whatever you carry AIM WELL and SHOOT to stop Not kill if at all possible…… JUST SAYING !!!!!