Pocket pistols — those little handguns with a barrel of 3.5 inches or less, a round capacity of 7+1 or less, that can fit in a pocket and often make perfect concealed carry guns. While these guns may require extra practice to manipulate and achieve acceptable accuracy, their light weight and portability keep them at the top of many shopping lists as a first, or next, firearm.
Here are seven choices of pocket pistol — the “Seven Dwarves” — that have stood the test of time and dependability either as my own carry guns, or as the choice of respected friends in the gun industry.
1. Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380
This little semi-auto has some available factory options including color, Crimson Trace laser and thumb safety. The 2.75 inch barrel contributes little to an overall length of 5 inches. It only weighs 12.5 ounces unloaded. Capacity is 6+1. A good deal with a great name behind it, starting around $250.
This Bodyguard features an external safety.
2. Ruger LCR
The Lightweight Compact Revolver is made with a no-snag but chunky shape, perfect for jacket pocket carry. Features like the white tape on the front sight and an optional Lasermax laser are cheap and disposable, but this is a dependable little double action-only wheelgun. It’s also chambered in virtually whatever you want it to be: 22LR, 22WMR, .327, 9mm Luger, .38 with +P rating, and .357. The tiny barrel is less than 2 inches. Weights vary from 13.5 to 17 ounces depending on caliber. Pick one up for under $400.
The LCR comes in several chamberings.
3. Glock 42
This smallest of all Glocks, chambered in .380, is one I’ve spent the most time wearing and firing of the guns on this list. It’s not the easiest to shoot well and the six-round mag could be bigger. But, ease of carry, reliability, and availability of great add-ons like tritium sights and the Streamlight TLR-6 laser/light make it a go-to choice. It’s 13.6 ounces unloaded and 5.94 inches overall, with a 3.25-inch barrel. Current prices hover around $400.
Glock 42 holsters and accessories abound, but owners still bemoan the measly six-round mag. (Photo: Eve Flanigan)
4. Beretta Nano
This designed-for-concealment 9mm makes this the most modern design on the list. With a total length of 5 inches, standard six-round mag, and unloaded weight of just 20 ounces, it’s a very compact choice. It lacks some expected features like a slide stop, but it does also come with an eight-round mag. A local friend’s fondness for this double action trigger pull pistol has helped earn it a place on this list. Prices vary widely; considering its record I’d look for a sub-$300 model and plan on spending time on warranty work and ammo experimentation.
My friend “FiveseveN Guy” has come to like his Beretta Nano since resolving a firing pin issue. (Photo: FiveseveN Guy)