Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: Rethinking Pocket Pistols

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By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

If anyone cared to ask me about pocket pistols/mouse guns/micro pistols a few months ago, I would have said something like “if it’s all you can carry, okay, but carrying a compact is really not that hard and they’re easier to shoot accurately.” For the most part, I think that’s still true in an on-paper, in-theory sort of way.

What’s true in the on-paper sense isn’t always, of course, 100 percent true in the real world.

Real-world results from defensive shootings indicate that placement matters more than caliber and .380 actually works just fine with a good hollow point. Additionally, most bad guys who get shot by good guys are convinced to stop doing what they’re doing mostly by the shock of being shot rather than by the actual trauma.

Yes, yes, I know. Air in, blood out, they don’t make a .46. Again, in theory. In real life? It doesn’t really work out that way.

Micro guns have come a long way in the past couple decades. In previous eras, micro pistols were known for being unreliable, inaccurate, and unpleasant to shoot. Today’s current crop is vastly different.

Micro 1911s such as the Sig P238, Kimber Micro, Springfield 911 and so on are comfortable to hold, accurate at typical fighting distances (10 yards) and reasonably pleasant to shoot. Some other excellent pint-size .380 pistols that merit mention include the Glock 42, Ruger’s LCPII family (the striker-fired variants of the LCP) and a number of others have far better features, build quality and shooting characteristics than tiny guns of the past.

Not only that, but even 9mm pistols are getting smaller and smaller. The Sig P365 is impossibly small for a gun that holds 10+1. The S&W Shield is diminutive and is more than accurate enough for government work (or failing that, for civilian concealed carry) and can be practically gotten for a song.

So, you can get a decent tiny gun that works, that doesn’t suck to shoot and that you can not only hit the broadside of a barn with, but shoot accurately at combat distances. Really, that’s all that matters for a carry gun.

Spend some time going over civilian-involved shootings, you’ll find that precious few (barely any at all) take place at long range or involve more than five shots being fired before the threat fled the area or was down. Rarely ever is a reload of any kind being involved.

After going over dozens and dozens of news reports and studies by various people, I’ve only found two instances where a reload was required, one of which involved a machine gun being fired across almost a football field’s distance and the other was of a man who had to reload his .32 caliber revolver several times to shoot a lion to death before it escaped from its zoo enclosure.

Granted, none of this is to say you shouldn’t practice reloading or shooting at distance. A certain number of defensive shootings (civilian and officer-involved) have been conducted at 50+ yards. Both are good skills to have, and the more competent you are with your firearm, the better prepared you’ll be for the moment of truth.

None of this is to say you should only carry a micro because it’s “all you need;” you need to carry what you’re best with. If that’s a snubbie .38, great. If that’s a Glock 19, awesome. If that’s a Government frame 1911, then you have taste in guns.

The point more is that if you want to carry a micro gun, they’re actually more than adequate, if you carry good ammunition and practice with it.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit