There are a host of manufacturers offering effective pocket pistols in a number of different chamberings to suit your everyday concealed carry needs. But when there are this many options, where does one start? To help with this process, we’ve put together a list of the top 15 pocket pistols from companies such as Glock, Sig Sauer, Ruger, Springfield, Smith & Wesson and many more. When it comes to self defense, go with the best and forget the rest.
Beretta Nano & Pico
The Nano 9mm and Pico .380 micro-compacts incorporate a separate and removable fire control subchassis that allows changing out the frame for different features. With interchangable dovetailed white-dot sights, the striker-fired pistols have 3- and 2.7-inch barrels, respectively, and offer 6+1 capacities.
RELATED STORY: 3 Undercover Berettas – Pico, Nano and PX4 Storm
Colt Mustang Pocketlite & Mustang XSP
The original .380 subcompact, the Mustang Pocketlite, now comes with an aluminum receiver, stainless steel slide and barrel CNC-machined from solid bar stock for precise tolerances. The 6+1 capacity pistol weighs less than a pound, while the XSP model uses a new polymer frame with a dustcover accessory rail, a tactical-style triggerguard and weighs just 11.8 ounces.
RELATED STORY: Colt Mustang XSP – A Next-Gen Take on the .380 Pocketlite
The P380 features a 2.53-inch Lothar Walther match grade, polygonal-rifled barrel, an overall length of 4.9 inches, a width of 0.75 inches, and a height of only 3.9 inches. Weighing in at just 9.97 ounces, the 6+1 capacity P380 features six of Kahr’s patented design features, including the “safe cam” action trigger found in all Kahr pistols.
One of the smallest 9mms available, this lightweight, 6+1 capacity micro-compact weighs a modest 17 ounces and features a smooth, pre-tensioned trigger, ambidextrous thumb safeties and magazine releases. With the same grip angle as a Model 1911, it sits low in the hand and comes with low-profile, dovetailed white-dot sights for quick target acquisition.
RELATED STORY: 5 Colorful Personal Defense Pistols
Today’s Remington R51, an updated version of the 1913 John Pedersen design, includes an ambidextrous magazine release and a grip safety to eliminate the need for a manually operated or blade-type trigger safety. With drift-adjustable front and rear sights, the R51 measures just 6.63 inches in length with a 3.4-inch barrel and has a 7+1 capacity.
SCCY delivers an affordable, American-made 9mm subcompact that delivers on both quality and accuracy. With a double-stack 10-round magazine, and at just under a pound (empty) with its wider, ventilated polymer backstrap, the SCCY absorbs recoil quite well. The long-stroke DAO trigger has about a 9-pound pull and is backed up by a manual safety.
RELATED STORY: Reach for the SCCY with the Compact CPX-1 and CPX-2
SIG Sauer P938
With an overall length that is barely 0.25 inches greater than the .380 P238, Sig Sauer’s P938 offers the ballistic advantage of the 9mm cartridge in a pocket pistol. The P938 uses a 1911-style, single-action-only trigger and features full-size SIGLITE night sights, a 6+1 capacity and an all-metal frame.
The smallest pocket model in the Austrian arms-maker’s history, the new 6+1 capacity Glock 42 uses a dual recoil spring unique to the model and a cold-hammer-forged, 3.25-inch barrel. The G42 fires with the barrel and slide locked, instead of the usual unlocked blowback design used by most .380s, and measures just 5.94 inches in overall length and a very pocket-friendly 0.94 inches in width.
RELATED STORY: 12 New Holsters and Accessories for the GLOCK 43
The very first .380, composite-frame pocket pistol was Kel-Tec’s P-3AT. It set the standard with a lightweight polymer frame and steel slide combination, a short 2.76-inch barrel and a 6+1 capacity.
The North American Arms Guardian features a 2.49 inch barrel, an overall length of 4.75 inches, height of only 3.53 inches and a mere 0.93 inches of width. Weighing only 18.72 ounces, it is reliable and very effective with today’s personal defense .380 ACP loads. Capacity of the double-action-only design is 6+1 rounds.
RELATED STORY: 5 Mini Revolvers & Pocket Pistols From North American Arms
The Ruger LC9 is the slightly larger companion to the famous .380 Ruger LCP, the handgun that reignited the small-caliber concealed carry trend in 2008, including a loaded-chamber indicator; easily acquired, adjustable, three-dot sights; a DAO trigger; and a 7+1 capacity.
S&W M&P Bodyguard 380
The new M&P Bodyguard offers 6+1 capacity and a dependable DAO trigger with second-strike capability. Using a high-strength polymer frame, stainless steel barrel and slide, dovetailed, adjustable front and rear sights, and a manual safety, overall length is just 5.25 inches and width is 0.75 inches.
This truly pocket-sized .45 has a 5+1 capacity and measures only 6.3 inches in length, 4.4 inches in height and 1 inch in overall width. Recoil is surprisingly manageable, and accuracy with the 3.3-inch barrel, low-profile rear sight and red fiber-optic front sight is exceptional.