My Little Pocket Pistol

A pocket pistol is not for everyone but in my opinion there is a place for one.  In this article I will talk about the pros and cons of pocket pistols and which one I like to carry and some mistakes I made along the way. Some people move right to these pistols for their one and only concealed carry handgun and that may not be the best choice, lets look at this in more detail.

Pocket Pistols Available

There are many pocket pistols on the market these days to choose from and many things to think about. Lets look at what I did – 

About 10 years ago I decided I wanted a pocket pistol to add to my gun collection, so I went down to Sportsman’s Warehouse and looked at what they had.  I did not have a lot of cash at that time  to invest in a new pistol so the driving force behind my decision was price! I found a “cute little gun” and bought it. It was a Taurus TCP, .380 ACP, two-tone beauti and I thought I found a great deal (see the photo at the right). I made an impulse buy!  Not a good idea when you are talking about a handgun!  I was an experienced shooter, I had already purchased quite a few firearms and I never thought I would buy on emotion. I did not look into the facts, the reviews, etc. I just bought a cute little gun.  So to make a long story short it was not the best gun for me.  In the rest of this article we will talk about many things about pocket pistols and then wrap things up with my final choice on the pocket pistol that I finally went with.

Cost Of The Firearm

The cost of a firearm is definitely something you need to consider these days.  Ever since COVID, the prices of firearms have gone through the roof.  There are lots of handguns and rifles that I would really like to purchase but the price that they sell for do not make them worth it to me.  So the price of a specific firearm is something to consider.  We all need to set our own parameters as to what we are going to pay for a firearm. But if you buy a firearm strictly on price, it is not always the best one for you. 

Taurus firearms are good but some models are better than others so you need to do your research and listen to reviews on the specific models so you  know if they are worth buying.  That little Taurus TCP had a few ammo feeding issues and if I would have found out about that at the beginning I may not have purchased it and it would have saved me some headaches later on.

Calibers Available

When we think of pocket pistols, they are usually in the following calibers: .22 LR, .22 mag, .25 ACP, .32 ACP, .380 ACP and 9 mm. Using a handgun with these smaller calibers is better then having no handgun at all, but you need to look at each caliber from a self defense perspective before you place your life on the lines with one of these smaller calibers. 

When I am considering which caliber to carry for self defense, the smallest caliber I would use is the .380 ACP, those other calibers would not stop a threat adequately in my opinion.  Are there situations where they have stopped the threat, Absolutely! But I need a handgun that will do the job if necessary. The .380 ACP is also called the 9 mm short as it is the same diameter of bullet, just shorter in length.  If you look at the picture to the right you will see what I mean. With a shorter case, you have less powder in the bullet and therefore less power in that cartridge. While the 9mm has much more power behind it, these pistols are also larger and may be less concealable. 

So one big advantage of a .380 ACP pocket pistol is that they are smaller and easier to conceal. You need to weigh out the advantages and disadvantages of each pocket pistol and make your own decision.

Ease Of Shooting

Many people think that a small gun is easier to shoot and that is not true.  Pocket pistols are small and have less fingers around the grip and that makes the recoil harder to control.  When shooting most pocket pistols you can only get two fingers on the grip so your pinky is tucked underneath the magazine.  So that is not always a comfortable way to shoot.  

In other words a pocket pistols may not really be fun to shoot, since you do not have a full grip on the gun, the recoil is much snappier in your hand and so you may not enjoy shooting 50 rounds of bullets to practice control of that little gun.

As we continue to analyze the ease of shooting we need to add the 9 mm  to the list of pocket pistols.  If a .380 ACP can be snappy to shoot as a pocket pistol then what do you think the 9mm pocket pistols would feel like?  It could be brutal!  So to wrap this up, the smaller the gun and the larger the caliber usually means they are harder to control and will usually have much more recoil felt in the hand. These are things to consider before you buy a pocket pistol. That is why many people use a .380 ACP instead of a 9mm in a pocket pistol and I am in that group of people.

When shooting the Taurus TCP is was not bad, the .380 ACP recoil was pretty mild and therefore easy to control, but there was one bigger issue.  I could shoot a few rounds and then it would jam! There seemed to be an issue with feeding the bullets consistently, and that’s a problem for a self-defense handgun.  After a lot of research and talking to people, I found out that this particular handgun had bullets hung up on a little tab inside the gun and it would make the bullets stop feeding.  A video on YouTube showed how to fix that problem and with a little light filing on that tab, the problem was solved.

Shooting Distance

Because these guns are smaller the distance between sights is closer together and that usually makes it more difficult to shoot long shots with these pocket pistols.  Many of the pocket pistols have fixed sights that cannot be adjusted so longer shots become more difficult.  These guns are usually used very quickly; they draw, point and shoot and may not use the sights very much. So 7 – 10 yards is usually the maximum distance.  Can you shoot farther?  That depends on the gun and how you handle it.  

The Taurus TCP is one of those pocket pistols that has fixed sights only and therefore cannot be changed.  So I had to make sure I was not shooting much past 7 feet and also realize that the Taurus shot low and to the right, even though I had the sights on the target.

Holsters Of Choice

So lets talk about how these pocket pistols can be carried. There are many different types of holsters that these little guns can be carried in. Inside the waist band (IWB), outside the waist band (OWB), shoulder holster, small of the back (SOB), appendix carry and pocket holster. My first choice for a pocket pistol is in your pocket.  But to do that safely, you need a pocket holster that covers most of the gun, including your trigger guard. When you carry a pistol in your pocket you need to make sure nothing else is in your pocket so to get in your way of the gun. This holster covers the shape of the gun so it will not “print”.  This means other people cannot see that you have a gun in your pocket because they cannot see the shape of your gun. When you carry this way you need to make sure your pants are not too tight and that your pocket has enough room for your gun and holster. If you look at the holster it has a point on the top end and a hook on the bottom end of the holster.  This aids in stripping the holster from your pocket as the weapon is drawn from your pocket.

My second favorite holster for this pocket pistol is an IWB holster.  It needs to fit your handgun and securely clip on to your belt. The holster must cover your trigger guard and keep the handgun in the holster until you are ready to draw it. There is a retention screw on the back end of the holster where you can tighten the holster so the weapon will not fall out. This is a holster that I found on Amazon but it is a pretty good holster for the money.

Final Comments

With all that said, I am in favor of carrying pocket pistols as a concealed carry firearms, as long as you get the right one for you.  So lets get to the meat of the article, after much research on the Internet and talking to people at gun stores, I decided to go with the Ruger LCP Max.  This little handgun has great reviews and many people feel this is the best pocket pistol on the market. This is a .380 ACP caliber and it holds 10 rounds in the magazine.  They also have a 12 round magazine but I do not like the base plate on that magazine. I added a Pearce grip extension and it gives me a better grip on the pistol. it fits my fingers better and gives me better control of the pistol.  The Taurus TCP only held 6 bullets in the magazine so the Ruger almost doubles the capacity and that’s a good thing. More capacity in a similar size package. This pistol is about the same size and weight as the Taurus but it fits me better. It just feels better in my hand, meaning it is more comfortable and feels better to shoot.

One of the other things I like about this pistol is it has adjustable sights on the front and rear and a Hi-Vis Tritium night sight on the front instead of the fixed sights like the Taurus. As I mentioned earlier, sights may not always used with these little guns with fixed sights because they cannot be adjusted but since this pistol has adjustable sights, it makes it much more accurate to shoot.

The picture to the right shows the Ruger in the pocket holster, what a nice little holster that can be slipped in your front pocket. As I said before, it almost disappears in your pocket. It is an excellent combination for this pocket pistol to be concealed. Once this  is in your pocket you can have your hand on the grip and it cannot be observed until you pull the pistol out of your pocket and put it into action.  Very slick and concealed.  These pocket holster by Aholster work great and they will hook on the front of the holster when pulling it out of your pocket or catch on the bottom hook as pressure is applied on the bottom of the holster.

The other way I like to carry this pocket pistol now and then is in  an IWB holster. It is such a small package that it melts into your waistband and you hardly know that it is there. But keep in mind that even though it is small you still need to use a cover garment when carrying this pistol in a IWB holster.  That’s why I like the pocket holster better for such a small gun. As a rule If I am going to carry a gun in my waste band I would rather have a larger caliber, with a longer barrel that I shoot better.  That being said there are times in the hot summer time where this small Ruger works best in my waist band.

So as you can see I like the Ruger LCP Max better than the Taurus TCP.  Are they both reliable – Yes, now that I fixed the feeding issues on the Taurus. They are both .380 ACP and about the same size, the Ruger holds more ammo, has adjustable sights and just plain feels better in my hand. So as I consider those guns the Ruger gets my vote all the way. This little gun just works better for me and I feel more confident with it. So what am I going to do with the Taurus?  I have a friend that needs one and I will give it to him. I hope you can learn from my mistakes and think about your gun purchases and do the research necessary to make the right decision.

If you have any questions about this post or anything related to Everyday Carry (EDC)/Concealed Carry, feel free to leave a comment below and I will be happy to get back to you.

All the best,


Founder of Everyday Carry Essentials


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