mousegun=pocket pistol for CCW? how small do you want it?
First off, let me say thank you to the folks hosting this site. It has only one flaw, and that is "I can't get enough of it." Great source of info. Now to the point. I have been watching the gun market and listening to the ideas on smaller, lighter handguns for CCW. The puzzling thing to me, is that there is such a huge market for what used to be called "mouseguns". And folks are willing to reluctantly compromise on caliber/controllability to carry them. It seems like "carry convenience" has taken over as a primary factor in pistol selection. Now we all know at least a few guys who carry concealed with full size duty pieces daily, so it can be done. And "small" powerful handguns are plentiful. Using the Glock 26 9mm as an example, I can't see WHY WOULD I GIVE UP a proven, reliable relatively lightweight design in an effective caliber that can deliver quickly and accurately, has good capacity stock and will take the high capacity clips from the full size models if need be, and has a 3.46 bbl. that might actually make a ballistic difference in the 9mm. And give all this up to save weight and size for a .380 or .32. A Glock 26 will indeed fit in a front pocket (I am a 36X34 size), though you need a way to avoid printing. Coat pocket, no sweat. Having said this, I am wondering if what is really desired is a true 9mm "pocket pistol". One that will disappear with room to spare. Is that the deal, or am I missing something. Maybe a better question would be, How many of you carry your .380s in a pocket, with or without a holster to secure it? Or are we looking for "deep concealment"? Just curious as to the method being used to carry these smaller pistols. By the way, I own two pocket pistols. My first choice is a S@W 442 in a pocket holster. For around the house, a Beretta 21 in the much maligned .22 cal. disappears into a front pant or even heavy flannel shirt pocket. (Looks like a pack of smokes). Hope to get some feedback and thanks again!
How small? Lessee...
My EDC is the AMT .45 Backup. It's just under six inches long, and four inches high. At its widest, it's an inch thick. I get six full-power .45 ACP shots, and then I reload with five more.
I'm getting old, and my arthritis bothers me, so I feel competent with it to only about 20 yards, but if I do my part I can make head shots at that distance.
It sits in my front pocket, in a Robert Mika holster, or it sits atop my bedside table within easy reach.
OK, so tell me: What am I sacrificing, carrying this tiny, powerful piece?
But for "serious social interaction," when we go to the dangerous little city on the nearby mainland to shop at Costco, I also carry either a custom-made, all-steel, Officer's-size 1911, or an aluminum-frame Star PD. Both are in .45 ACP, and both offer seven shots and a six-shot reload.
Both guns fit the same holster, and ride on the same belt, all by Bob Mernickle.
So what am I sacrificing when I use one of these?
Of course, if things get really serious, I have the option of either one—or both—of two full-size M1911A1s, both competition tuned but otherwise as-issued.
No sacrifice here.
Oh, and by-the-way, I sincerely hope that nobody on this forum is foolish enough to carry a pocket pistol "naked," and not in a pocket holster.
The pocket holster keeps excessive crud from building up inside the gun, keeps foreign objects from accidentally accessing the gun's trigger, and keeps the gun itself properly oriented in the pocket for easy access and quick presentation.
Furthermore, it is extremely unsafe, and also foolish, to carry anything else in the same pocket as the gun and its holster.
I have always wondered about the AMT. My guess is the pound and a half weight will be considered too heavy for the .380 boys and quality complaints may keep some folks away. But it seems that you have had a good experience with yours, so I would have to say you are sacrificing nothing at all! Great reminder that these are still out there. Thanks.
Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1
I have gone 'full-circle' from the time I started carrying to the present.
I started with a full size, double-stack .45, then went downward in size, in stages, in an effort to find something comfortable. The only thing that has ever been remotely comfortable is the Ruger LCP, in .380, but by that time, I had accepted the fact that carrying a weapon and reloads is going to cause some discomfort, and resigned myself to it.
So, having come to that conclusion, I am not really content to carry an underpowered pocket pistol that is hard to shoot accurately, beyond 7-10 yards. I have adjusted my mode of dress, and either bought or made myself several good IWB holsters that I can use to conceal a reasonably sized .45 or 9mm.
I will carry the LCP, or a snub-nosed .38, when it is just not possible to carry something better, but with a little creativity, those occasions are few and far between.
Pocket gun to me means deep concealment when other larger options are not possible or practical. I agree with Steve about condition of pocket carry in a holster and nothing else in the pocket. Good rule even with a stiff DA trigger such as on the J-frames. I'd like the biggest I can carry that still fully meets the deep concealment criteria successfully in a reliable and shootable platform. If you can pocket carry your G26 then that is an excellent choice. Most would agree that common pocket pistols are generally a compromise over service sized choices. How much of a compromise is acceptable is certainly an individual decision.
Currently do not have a true pocket gun (traded my LCP for a P2000SK) but I'll list some of the best that I have had that worked well for me in a front pants pocket with holster role:
380's: Ruger LCP, Sig P232 alloy frame
9mm's: Kahr PM9, Walther PPS
38's: S&W 642
357 mag: Ruger SP101 (in baggy cargo shorts not slacks)
The one I like the best overall is the P232. It might seem large but given it's shape, sleek lines, reasonable weight and thin slide and frame profile it worked for me amazingly well in front pants and shorts pockets. Not any bigger than a j-frame and a whole lot thinner. Pocket carry is also a good justification for the heel mounted mag release to avoid unintended mag dumps (ala PM9). Only hit I can give the 232 is the caliber. If they could defy the laws of physics and sqeeze parabelum instead of kurtz in there I'd own and carry one (maybe two) daily. They can't so I don't.
Common sense choice from my small list given the most attributes and fewest draw backs would be the PM9 or the tried and true 642 j-frame. Power to size differential compared to the others is just hard to ignore.
Plus one on the S&W 642 and the Khar. Both great for front pocket.
Pocket carry for me is a Kel Tec P3AT in a leather holster (easy to make on your own, basically a sleeve). I find myself seldom carrying that though and usually opt for my G23 in a leather OWB which I made to sit higher than most because I'm short and it fits me better that way.
It pretty much comes down to what you're comfortable with. Some can carry a full size 1911- some not. I'd rather be on the slightly uncomfortable side with a bigger gun (caliber) than a smaller gun.
Big and slow or small and fast
I have a technical question that may be related to the question of whether momentum
or energy is the goal. In pocket-sized pistols, with barrels in the 2.5 - 3 in range, are you
better off with a supersonic light bullet (like some Corbons) or a heaver subsonic bullet? Specifically, does the shortness of the barrel dictate or influence the choice? I'm thinking of the
Kahr PM9, which I own, and the Kahr 380, which I'm considering. The 380 fits front pocket
Cartridges firing light, fast bullets will not reach full potential in a very short barrel unless they are specifically designed for that application. Your bullets won't go as fast as you think they should.
Originally Posted by amygdala
Slower, heavier bullets will do a better job of meeting your ballistic expectations, fired out of ultra-short barrels.
However, comparing the 9mm with the .380 ACP is the same as comparing apples and oranges. There's no relationship.
Regardless of bullet weight, the 9mm will deliver more momentum (or energy, if you prefer to state it that way) to the target than will any .380 ACP. The 9mm uses heavier bullets that travel faster, so the total energy (or momentum) a 9mm delivers to the target will always be greater. Barrel length is not an important issue in the comparison.
However, a tiny 9mm pistol will be more difficult to shoot effectively than a similar size .380 ACP. There will be sharper, more uncomfortable recoil to deal with.
Of course, a tiny .380 is not very easy to shoot well, either. It's just a little easier than a 9mm.
Your question makes me think that you may have relatively little pistol experience.
Tiny pistols of any caliber are not beginners' guns. They are very, very hard to shoot well. They are discouraging because of their built-in difficulties, so they are not good learning tools.
Once you have learned to shoot a full-size pistol well, you can think about "graduating" to the use of mini-pistols of any caliber.
I am going to throw a question out on this thread.
for those that go (back) to a FS or such carry... how bad are "exposed Ggun" issues, or is any form of OC allowed in your state of residence?
I ask this as a NY state "zitizen". Here, Concealed means concealed is a mantra one had BEST remember. At least if you wish to keep your Pistol Permit (carry or restricted) and therefore even continue to own pistols. WHile i often carry my FS M&P (used to carry my officers .45 like Steve, but... liking the M&P lately), the smalller ones, p3at, j frame revolvers, even p-11, are what i KNOW i dont have to worry about having be seen. Especially as my work takes me into MANY peoples homes through out the work day/week.
Now when i am in GA visitnig, I carry the M&P, unless i really need "deep" concealment. Then it is a Makarov or bigger. Why? OC is allowed, and therefore less concern over being made from a "printing" pistol.
So for me, the size also equals WHERE i am and what i need to think about besides JUST caliber/stopping power/ chargin elephant one shot kill thoughts.
Lately, that means my Taurus 605. Summer, it MAY mean the p3at on really hot days. AT least those 2 for small carry.
Just my $.05 (inflation you know)
Washington is not an "open carry" state.
A handgun may be carried openly while one is hunting or engaging in a sporting activity, but not generally. A handgun may also be carried, unloaded, in a closed container.
In the general case, handguns must be concealed and the carrier must have a carry permit.
Permits are easy to obtain, and Washington is a "shall issue" state.
With the new loads for .380's self defense loads....
I think Ruger hit a home run with the LCP.
I carry mine in my front pocket in a DeSantis Nemesis holster.
When I'm not carrying my Sig in a holster on my hip.
To each his own. I've carried a pistol for 36 years as a federal law enforcement agent, now retired. That said, I will not bet my life or my family's lives on anything less than a 9mm. I'll grant that the smaller mouseguns are easy to carry and conceal, but I carry because I want my pistol to protect my life, not for comfort. My carry pistol for most of the time is an HK45CT, and when it's a little hotter outside I carry my HK P2000SK. I carry OWB all the time. I'm used to the weight of the pistol, and don't even notice it. In fact, it feels odd when it's not there! Please understand that I'm not putting anyone down for what they carry. I have friends who are a little older that cannot carry a larger firearm, so they carry the mouseguns. I have female friends who carry smaller calibers because they cannot stand harder recoil. For them, the smaller pistols are perfect. God bless 'em. Some folks work in industries where they also cannot carry larger firearms either. I'm blessed that in my 2 jobs now (retirement?) I can carry what I want. As I said, to each is own. Thank God we're Americans and can carry what we want!
I see the thread has been resurrected yesterday. I have a "new idea for me" since Eli started the thread last November.
Originally Posted by EliWolfe
Old: I've described my S&W 642 Centennial snubby before. A "reasonable" .38 Special CCW gun for me.
Crimson Trace lasergrips, De Santis "Superfly" pocket holster, or El Paso Saddlery Model J2 OWB leather belt slide.
Old: I've always liked 9mm with premium self-defense loads as a decent "minumum" caliber.
My Beretta 92 is a house gun. 16 + 15 mag reload of +P should be enough. But, not a carry gun for me.
Old: For no good reason, I've never been attracted to the Kahr or Kel-Tec. The Rohr is attractive, but WAY too expensive.
I've spent that money on "more gun for less $$$". $900 for my .454 Casull Ruger Alaskan trail gun.
New: I'm pretty certain I'll get a Ruger LC9.
I'm just waiting for the LC9 to be out for six months or so.
And I'll pay close attention if any problems surface, as in the LCP "debut".
Last edited by DanP_from_AZ; 02-22-2011 at 10:41 AM.
Originally Posted by DanP_from_AZ
It will be too small for my hand, just as the three Kahrs I own(ed) were. But, I made the adjustment with the LCP, and the addition of the CT Laser made it a semi-credible self defense option for me, for those times when I can't carry a .45 or 9mm. So, whereas I considered the LCP just enough better than a Keltec P3AT to win me over, I'm betting that I will like the LC-9 just enough better than the Keltec PF-9 to win me over, again.
At least, that's the plan.
I just bought my Ruger LC9 last week.
I shot it this past weekend and after putting 100 rounds through it w/o a malfunction -
I'm now carrying it daily.
Nice little gun and they fixed everything I didn't care for on the LCP.
I agree with the Op on this. Right now I'm not comfortable with sub-compact or smaller, and I'm not willing to compromise control and accuracy for weight and convenience.
Maybe if I get more proficient as a shooter, I can get used to something small. But for now, I'll have to live with a little discomfort.
Thanks Don, exactly the feedback I was hoping to hear.
Originally Posted by dondavis3
Add a few more data points from folks, and my "estimated time before purchase" will be going way down.
I'm curious. Care to elaborate on "they fixed everything I didn't care for on the LCP" ?
Sure: The LC9 vs. LCP
It fits my hand better - (approximately 20 to 25% larger than LCP)
It has much better sights.
Still fits in a larger DeSantis Nemesis holster in my front jeans pocket (tighter fit, pocket feels full - but still not noticeable)
Carried it there all night at a party last Sat. night - it wasn't uncomfortable - no one noticed it.
Loaded cartridge indicator.
Safety ( I don't use it)
Longer sight plane
Probably a bigger recoil than LCP - but it sure doesn't feel like it.
Same long trigger pull as the LCP.
I was more accurate with the LC9 than my LCP..
I also carry it in a o.w.b. belt slider holster and it is really easy to conceal because of it's small size (smaller than any of my other guns (except the LCP).
I think that's about it.
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