The Tao Of Pocket Pistols

Man Pulling Gun Out Of Pocket
A man draws a small concealed handgun out of his pocket

Pocket Pistol

While there are plenty of guns out there that are good for concealed carry (and are carried all the time) some of the most popular are what could be considered pocket pistols. Micro, subcompact, mouse guns, whatever you want to call them, it’s a firearm small enough to fit in a pocket if one decided to carry them that way.

There are some good reasons not to, of course.

Some people insist that there’s no other real way to carry a gun every day but with a pocket pistol. Of course, some people would take issue with that but if you must…here are a few things to know.

Shooting Practice With Pocket Pistols Should Focus On Combat Accuracy


When you engage in shooting practice – which you should do regularly with your carry gun – it’s a good idea to focus on combat accuracy with a pocket pistol rather than target accuracy. Why is that?

Largely because you aren’t likely to get much of the latter.

Bear in mind that it isn’t that you can’t shoot accurately with a pocket gun. Far from it; plenty of them are just as inherently accurate as larger pistols and there are some shooters which can be exceptionally accurate with them. Instead, it’s more that for the average person, who doesn’t shoot boxes and boxes every day, is not probably going to be punching cloverleaves in the bullseye with one.

But, with regular practice, you can hit the 10 ring with regularity and that is generally held to be functionally accurate enough to save your own life if need be. As a result, you should focus on achieving that before anything else.

If you can get it down to the point where you hit a 3×5″ card at least 8 times out of 10…you’re doing just fine.

Ammunition Selection Is Crucial


When it comes to any gun, be it one of the many pocket pistols or service guns, ammunition matters as much – arguably a lot more – than caliber. The .380 ACP round is a serviceable self-defense round, but a quality JHP round makes it much more viable than a poor quality one, or for that matter FMJ. The same is true of 9x19mm and certainly true of .38 Special, as one of the most popular “pocket” guns for many, many years has been the snub .38.

While it certainly helps to select a +P round in a pocket gun, as every bit of ballistic edge is good, the attributes to look for are reliable and sufficient penetration along with the reliable expansion. Around that reliably expands but barely penetrates is not optimal. Neither is a round that penetrates but barely expands.

Granted, with smaller loadings (and also given that shorter barrels tend to not get the most out of ammunition) this can become a taller order than it otherwise might be. Rest assured, though, that there are a number of sufficient carry loads out there. Just choose wisely. If interested in learning more about ammo, I wrote the alien gear holsters guide to ammunition.

If You Must Pocket, Use A Pocket Holster

Handgun Holster
It may not be a “must” in the strictest sense, but the best practice for any gun is to have some sort of holster – including a pocket holster for a pocket pistol. The thing about pocket pistols going in pockets without one is that the trigger is exposed, and something could snag it.

If you have a gun with a light trigger pull, that’s a recipe for a negligent discharge. (We’re looking at you, poly striker guns!) Granted, a stiffer double-action trigger (say on a J-frame) can guard against it but isn’t 100 percent foolproof.

There are plenty of concealed carry holsters out there for tiny guns, and in an IWB holster, they absolutely disappear. That said if you must pocket carry, use a pocket carry holster. You’ll also save your gun from getting gummed up with lint.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for Alien Gear Holsters, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. He also contributes a bi-weekly column for Daily Caller. In his free time, Sam enjoys camping, hunting and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.
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The article says: “hit the 10 ring” from what distance . . 3, 5, 7, 10 yards?

Roy Payne

Same question regarding “hit a 3X5 card 8 out of 10 times”??


Obviously the longest distance you can. ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t stop at 10 yards, keep training until you can do it at 30 yards. But given most gun fights are within 30 feet, 10 yards is probably the minimum. Same for the 3×5 card drill.


I really wanted to know what the author of the article was thinking. However, the average shootout supposedly occurs at a distance less than 21 feet (7 yards). Some places state the average is 7 to 10 feet. Combat shooting which he spoke of, is often considered to be 15 yards or less. Personally, most of my shooting is done between 5 and 7.5 yards and I usually shoot a mag or two between 10 and 15. I don’t think I’ve done any shooting closer than 4 yards.

Tom Tom

That LCP really is fantastic isn’t it? When I qualified with my Custom I did head shots back to 15 yd shooting as fast as I would in an actual gun fight. Every shot in the head rapid fire. Even better it was the second time I had shot it and had less than hundred rounds through the gun. What a shooter for a pipsqueek . The only thing missing is the lock back slide feature.

Fred Miller

I shoot at 5 to 25 yards. With my LCP I can hit center mass at 25, headshots at 15 and testicles at anything less ( I just like to add injury to insult, I guess). Of all the pocket rocketd I’ve had, my new LCP2 has been the best all around, especially since the new upgrade from the original LCP. Still, to stay proficient, these little guns take consistent practice because they are so light and so sensitive to everything you do…your grip, finger pad position, etc. In my .380 and 9mm I strictly stick to using Glasier Pow’rballs and Hornady Critical Defense polymer tipped rounds because they are fast and closed-mouthed until after penetration so fibers don’t don’t pack in and interfere with the expansion of these smaller rounds. Remember, bullet technology today has enabled these smaller caliber guns (which I USED to laugh at) to become very effective self defense weapons.


I prefer a stub nose 38 sp for my pocket, carried one like that for years. Works great for CC even in shorts and T shirt ( untucked). Comfort is key and I feel more comfortable Knowing I have knock down power in my pocket.

James May

Given the right pants I pocket carry my Kimber ultra CDP II .45, certainly not a mouse gun. It’s actually quite handy and one of the most comfortable ways to carry I have. It is as comfortable as carrying my Glock 26 in a small belt phone carry bag (the one advertised for free with $11 shipping from China, that has an outside phone pocket along with two compartments which carry a lot including the G26, extra mag, flashlights, bandaids, neosporin, tweezers with a light, alcohol wipes, a multi-tool, hand sanitizer, a lighter, and a tourniquet).