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For the Spring 2014 issue of PERSONAL & HOME DEFENSE, Dennis Adler attempted to simplify the process of choosing a new pocket pistol. By examining weight, capacity, and stopping power, Adler was able to isolate key features important to any self-defense shooter and what options are available to them on the market today.

“Your concealed-carry handgun must meet certain common-sense requirements. First and foremost, the gun has to be one you can handle,” says Adler. “It has to be right for your hand size and physical strength, and you have to be able to manage the recoil and get it back on target quickly. All of these requirements relate to the gun’s dimensions, weight, caliber and means of operation.”

Moving on to which size of pocket pistol is right for you, Adler provided an easy test for new shooters to determine their hand size in relation to various pocket pistol models. “Here’s a simple test to determine ease of carry. Lay the gun down on a table and see if you can cover it entirely with your open hand. Hand sizes vary, and that’s what makes this so important,” says Adler. “If you can cover the gun, you can easily hold it, and if your hand fits into your pocket, so will the gun. This isn’t to say a slightly larger pistol won’t work (as some clothing has larger pockets), but every compromise adds to the complexity of concealment.”

Caliber choice was another consideration Adler took into account. From .380 to hard-hitting .45 ACP, he describes the advantages of each and how they figure into daily concealed carry. “The most popular concealed-carry guns are .380 ACPs because they are small and easy to carry. Capacity is usually six rounds in the magazine, plus one chambered,” says Adler. “If you’re interested in stepping up to the venerable .45 ACP, the available options have improved beyond subcompact 1911s. In the past few years, new technology has allowed for lightweight, polymer-framed .45 ACP semi-autos that are smaller than any 1911 and just slightly larger than a 9mm pocket pistol. They will easily disappear into a trouser pocket, but their capacity is usually limited to 5+1. If one is proficient with larger calibers a .45 ACP still has no equal.”

To read the full article on Pocket Pistol Protection, check out the Spring 2014 issue of PERSONAL & HOME DEFENSE, available on newsstands April 15, 2014. To subscribe, go to personaldefenseworld.com/subscribe/personal-home-defense

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