Despite their massive LE market share, Glock was a bit slow in entering the pocket gun market. But the company certainly made a big entrance with the G42 in .380 ACP (pictured) and the G43 in 9mm (next photo), which are similar in size while remaining chock full of features. Each gun sports a six-round magazine along with that same consistent 5.4-pound trigger common to all of Glock pistols. This means the guns are markedly more accurate and smoother in action than most pocket pistols. Both guns are also delightfully thin and subsequently easy to tote.
While the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is a superb full-bore defensive weapon, the company’s Bodyguard is notably smaller. S&W’s Bodyguard line includes a .380 ACP autoloader as well as a .38 Special revolver. The .380 ACP semi-auto is available both with and without an integral laser sight. This Bodyguard is also super slim and a bit unusual in that it includes all of the same controls as a larger combat handgun, including a thumb safety, magazine release and slide release. The edges are all nicely “melted,” and the gun will indeed ride comfortably inside the front pocket of a pair of jeans. The Bodyguard 380 has a polymer frame, a steel slide and a long double-action-only (DAO) trigger.
The Model 1911 that Browning designed is the most adaptable and long-lived handgun in human history. So, when Colt wanted to create a .380 ACP pocket pistol, the company just miniaturized the venerable 1911. The newest Colt Mustang XSP sports a polymer frame and a nice crisp single-action (SA) trigger. The Mustang XSP is adequately thin for pocket carry. The external thumb safety is in the same spot as that of a full-sized 1911 and facilitates “Condition One” carry in a proper holster with a round in the chamber, the hammer back and the safety on. The trigger pivots rather than slides, but this aspect of the design is almost undetectable to the end-user. Unlike most pocket pistols and thanks to its SA trigger, the XSP is actually accurate and fun to shoot. The grip feels great, and the gun is positively tiny.
RIA offers several guns unique to the market. The company’s new Baby Rock is a scaled-down version of the full-sized 1911 in .380 ACP. While the gun is small enough to hide in a pocket, all of the cool 1911 features remain. The frame is steel, so the pistol is a bit heavier than its plastic competitors, but this makes the gun a much more stable firing platform. The magazine release and thumb safety are in the expected spots. The SA trigger is crisp like a 1911’s ought to be. The whole gun is indeed smaller than its larger brothers, but I have big hands and it still fits me fine. The Baby Rock represents a nice balance between modest weight, concealability, accuracy and effectiveness.
Bond Arms makes its guns in Texas, and they represent the pinnacle of the American gun maker’s art. Based upon the timeless two-shot derringer pocket pistols that armed many riverboat gamblers back in the day, Bond Arms’ guns are cut from stainless steel and offer unprecedented flexibility. By turning a single Allen screw you can swap barrel assemblies and launch everything from .22 LR ammunition up to .410-gauge shotshells and most everything in between. As with most Bond Arms derringers, the triggerguard on the Snake Slayer IV is removable and, unlike the originals, there is also an external push-button safety and rebounding hammer. This means that the hammer cannot contact the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled. A manual ejector alongside the side of the barrel assembly makes it easy to get rid of empties, and the SA trigger trips a large, easily accessed hammer. While there are only two rounds on board, the trigger makes for decent close-range accuracy, and the interchangeable barrels allow the gun to be customized for whatever the tactical situation demands.
The Walther CCP is a wonderful little handgun. The beating heart of the CCP is its truly novel action. The CCP has a sort of reverse gas piston system wherein a gas piston is pinned to the slide but faces backwards from what you would expect in a conventional gas-operated weapon. In this case, the gun fires from the unlocked blowback position, yet the gas piston retards the slide’s movement rather than enhances it. As a result, the entire gun is refreshingly clever. The CCP runs off of a single-stack magazine, and the magazine release is easily accessible with the right thumb. The manual external safety is low profile and mounted on the left side. The trigger is a bit crunchy, but the remarkable operating system allows the gun to remain pleasantly compact while launching serious full-sized 9mm rounds. If you like to be just a little bit different than the other guys packing heat, the Walther CCP is quirky, compact, effective and cool
For those wheelgun aficionados among us, Taurus’ Model 617 offers a remarkably powerful, snub-nose revolver that incorporates the best wheelgun attributes in a thoroughly modern package. Chambered for the .357 Magnum, this is the most powerful pocket gun in this selection. Packing seven rounds rather than the traditional six and accepting .38 Special rounds for light-recoiling training, the Taurus Model 617 is indeed a powerful pocket howitzer. The Taurus Model 617 is cut from corrosion-resistant stainless steel and incorporates the classic S&W-style push-button cylinder release. The DA/SA trigger is standard for a combat revolver and allows superb accuracy if the tactical situation allows you to cock the pistol and take your time. The modern revolver is the most reliable repeating firearm extant, and the Model 617 typifies the state of the art. With seven rounds of .357 Magnum power onboard, the 617 kicks serious butt while remaining easy to tote.
North American Arms (NAA) makes adorable little stainless steel revolvers that are found in some corner of every gun shop in the country. Ranging in size from truly tiny all the way up to seriously effective, NAA revolvers all orbit around a common theme. In the right hands and in the right configuration, NAA mini-revolvers are serious defensive guns you never need be without. Accessories such as sundry holster options and built-in laser sights take these cute little SA wheelguns into the 21st century. The larger of my two sports both .22 LR and .22 Magnum cylinders. The .22 LR is for practice and the .22 Magnum, stoked with Winchester PDX1 Defender rounds, is for serious applications. The .22 Magnum version will reliably detonate a water-filled aluminum can like a hand grenade. Small enough to be hidden in all but the most compact of spaces and essentially weightless, NAA’s revolver are serious defensive guns you can carry without knowing you are packing a gun.
The Heckler & Koch P30SK (Sub Kompact) is an interesting German take on the classic pocket pistol. Where most gun manufacturers squish their guns down to make them packable with tactical efficiency remaining a secondary consideration, Heckler & Koch keeps the focus of its pocket gun on downrange effectiveness. As a result, the HK P30SK is the fattest of the pistols profiled here. However, it is also the most shootable. The HK P30 is available with three different trigger systems, but I feel that the lightweight LEM (Law Enforcement Modification) trigger is the most effective concealed-carry solution. This trigger incorporates a long, light take-up as well as a crisp break at its terminus. The stubby grip packs 10 rounds of 9mm, and the controls are identically reproduced on both sides of the piece. Exquisitely well executed by people who clearly do a lot of shooting, the HK P30SK is a superb defensive tool.
Back when I was a kid, pocket pistols were novelties. But fast-forward a few decades and the most extraordinary transformation has occurred in the shooting world.
- RELATED STORY: 4 Common Locations For Your Pocket Pistol
Concealed carry of firearms for personal protection has finally caught up with the founders’ clear original intent as depicted in the United States Constitution. Now this deep into the Information Age, law-abiding folks are taking responsibility for their own security from coast to coast. Some states restrict the practice so severely as to leave their citizens defenseless, but most do not. As a result, concealed-carry guns and gear have become a huge industry.
When it comes time to pick out pocket pistols with which to defend yourself or your family, there are tons of options. Here are some of the best pocket pistols currently available.
For more information about the pocket pistols featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.
Smith & Wesson
Rock Island Armory
North American Arms
Heckler & Koch
Surveillance footage shows gun store owner Jimmy Groover shooting and killing an armed robbery suspect...
by Personal Defense World / Jan 12, 2017