At first glance, “pocket pistol” is a straightforward term that leaves little to the imagination. But its important to remember that pockets come in all sizes and in more than one place—hip pocket, back pocket, cargo pants thigh pocket. And don’t forget jacket pockets—that’s where the majority of small handguns were carried for the better part of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, the only limitation is determining what caliber you are most comfortable with, from .380 ACP semi-autos to heavy-hitting 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP models. Of course, carrying a pocket pistol for self defense isn’t limited to pocket holsters; the same gun will easily fit in a belt holster, inside the waistband (IWB) or an ankle holster. The underlying consideration is finding the handgun and caliber that will work best for you, regardless of carry method. Read on for four tips to finding the right subcompact autopistol to fit your personal defense needs.

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