As the popularity of concealed-carry handguns increases, the importance of tactics to safely and effectively use compact pistols for self-defense has also grown. For the 2014 POCKET PISTOLS, self-defense expert Michael Janich examined several techniques to remain calm and on-target during a high-stress encounter.

Beginning with basic handling techniques, Janich quickly points out why different methods must be employed when transitioning between full-size and compact handguns.
“Unfortunately, the diminutive size of
 many pocket pistols makes many standard
 gun-handling procedures exceedingly 
difficult to perform,” says Janich. “The short grip frame of most small autos literally disappears 
into average-sized hands. If you open your hand to expose the magazine base plate, your grip on the pistol becomes tenuous and ‘tapping’ can easily become ‘dropping.’”
Moving on to reloading procedures, Janich again emphasizes the need for altered techniques when handling compact and subcompact firearms in a self-defense situation.

“If you’re like most dedicated handgun shooters, you’ve worked hard to develop a smooth, fast reload for your full-sized pistol. While this is definitely a worthwhile skill, it does not transfer directly to the operation of pocket pistols,” says Janich. “Life-threatening stress causes fine and complex motor skills to degrade and makes the mechanical manipulation of a weapon difficult. When you complicate that with the fact that the magazine and the magazine well you’re trying to insert it into are significantly smaller than those of standard-sized guns, the idea of speed reloading a pocket pistol becomes pretty iffy.”

For more information, check out the 2014 POCKET PISTOLS, available on newsstands February 25, 2014. To subscribe, go to

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