UPDATED: Best Pocket Pistols for concealed carry

UPDATED: Best Pocket Pistols for concealed carry *Updated June 2017: At the bottom of the page are 2 graphics comparing the relative sizes of many of these pocket pistols and a chart […]

Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Shield Review - display shotUPDATED: Best Pocket Pistols for concealed carry

*Updated June 2017: At the bottom of the page are 2 graphics comparing the relative sizes of many of these pocket pistols and a chart listing some key features of some of the more popular models. We also added links to many of the products so you can buy them from trusted sellers or get more product details.

*If you need help sorting out How to choose the right handgun for personal protection or concealed carry, then click this link to see our method for sorting through the various “features” to find the handgun that is right for you. Then you can come back here to explore the best Pocket Pistol options.


To legally order a concealed carry pistol online or see more product details we recommend the following trusted merchants, or click the links throughout the article:

Taurus 738 .380 pocket gun

Taurus 738 .380 pocket gun

The best pocket pistol?

Below are list of some of the more popular mini pistols, micro pistols, pocket revolvers and pocket pistols. Which one is “best” will depend on your needs. While many pistols are designed to be carried in a holster, many of these pistols were designed to be carried in a pocket. Barrel and grip length are key features of a pocket pistol, but thickness is more critical to most people, as a thinner pistol usually prints less through pants pockets. Other factors to consider when deciding which is the best pocket carry pistol for you include:

  • Weight: lighter pocket pistols may be easier to conceal and more comfortable to carry, but the lower mass passes more felt recoil to the shooter
  • Sights: True pocket guns usually have low profile sights so that they don’t get snagged when drawn from a pocket.
  • Exposed hammer: especially true in revolvers, most hammer fired pocket carry guns have bobbed (trimmed) hammers. An untrimmed hammer may snag when the gun is drawn from the pocket. Some semi-autos, like the new-ish Taurus 738 TCP (with free shipping via this link) keep the hammer hidden, so it can’t snag.
  • Thickness: As noted above, thicker is generally harder to conceal. In revolvers, this also applies to the diameter of the cylinder, which is usually wider than the frame or grips.
  • Shape: Most pocket guns have rounded or softened edges to lessen the appearance of the outline of the firearm through clothing, to make it more comfortable to carry, and eliminate sharp edges that may snag when the pistol is drawn.
  • Capacity: Important both for the number of rounds available and the weight of the rounds being carried
  • Caliber/cartridge: there are various calibers and cartridges listed below, each with pros and cons. Match the caliber to your intended use.
  • How loaded: via magazine fed, revolver (one at a time or speed loader), single shot, etc.

Often pocket pistols are carried in a pocket holster (see related article “Pocket Holster for Concealed Carry of Small Pistol“) like the Sticky Holsters IWB Ankle Holster and Pocket Holster (click for review)

Glock 43 single stack 9mm pocket pistol

Glock 43 single stack 9mm pocket pistol

Gear-Report.com Pocket Pistol tests and reviews

This overview is a good start, but we are working our way through the list below to provide full written and video reviews of the more popular or interesting options. In the mean time, here is a quick practical look at some popular pocket pistol options that we have in our test lab:

  • Diamondback DB380 review
  • Springfield XDs 45 Review
  • Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Shield (.45 ACP) (Click here for M&P 45 Shield Review): Another step up the caliber ladder. This surprisingly shootable concealed carry pistol packs a big punch in a small package.
  • Best Concealed Carry Pistol – 7 guns reviewed: Range accuracy results and subjective ranking of 7 popular concealed carry pistol options
  • Taurus 738 TCP (with free shipping via this link): I picked up the 738 TCP for a song a couple of years ago and have been impressed with it in nearly every respect. It is a bit small for big hands (not a little guy at 6’4″, 200 lb) and the light weight translates into rather snappy recoil (surprising for the diminutive .380 ACP round), but it is incredibly easy to carry concealed.
  • Ruger LC9: The original LC9 is small, light, and shaped smartly for concealed carry with rounded edges and a thin grip. The 9mm Luger round imparts a bit more energy vs the .380 ACP. The manual safety adds a bit of complexity to the manual of arms compared to the new single stack Glock 43. The Ruger LC9 boasts 7+1 capacity, while the Glock 43 only holds 6+1. On the other hand, the Ruger LC9 has a Double Action Only (DAO) trigger with a rather long, heavy pull and long reset. Many folks prefer the shorter, lighter pull and reset of a striker fired pistol like the Glock 42 and Glock 43.
  • SCCY CPX-1 or SCCY CPX-2: These USA made budget pocket pistols pack a tremendous value into a tiny package and might be a good alternative if you like DAO triggers. The size and weight compare nicely to the little Glocks, while the SCCY pistols hold 10 round of 9mm in a double stack magazine. SCCY Industries has sent a SCCY CPX for review, so look for more info and video soon.
  • LC9S (manual safety) and LC9S Pro (no manual safety): Ruger’s new striker fired versions of the LC9.  We recently acquired a LC9S Pro and will have written and video reviews up soon. In initial testing the LC9S Pro has proven to have a fantastic trigger and is a great mix of capacity (7+1) and concealability. We are anxious to try these striker fired Rugers to see how they compare to the Glocks.
  • Smith & Wesson M&P Shield (9mm): Many believe the S&W M&P Shield to be everything that Glock should have brought to market for the light, concealed carry crowd. The M&P Shield (9mm) comes with a standard 7 round magazine and an extended 8 round magazine, as well as offering a manual safety model and a model with no manual safety. Of the pocket pistols in our test lab, the M&P Shield‘s striker fire system gives it rather nice trigger, second only to the LC9S Pro. Check out this comparison of the M&P Shield vs the Glock 43 (review link).
  • Smith & Wesson M&P Shield (.40 S&W): The big brother of the Shield lineup holds one less round and has a bit more recoil, but packs the increased energy of the .40 S&W round for those that prefer it.
  • Springfield Armory XD-S (.45 ACP): Many people don’t consider a .45 to be a “pocket gun”, but dang it… have they held an XD-S in .45 ACP. Sure it requires big-ish pockets and more care to avoid printing. If you worship at the alter of .45ACP, then the XD-S may be the pocket carry option for you.

Best Pocket Blowback operation pistols for use with a pocket holster

  • Beretta 21 Bobcat (.22 LR)
  • Beretta 21 Bobcat (.25 ACP)
  • Beretta 3032 Tomcat (.32 ACP)
  • Beretta BU9 Nano (9x19mm)
  • Beretta Pico (announced January, 2014)  (.380 ACP)
  • Bersa Thunder 380 (.380 ACP)
  • Bryco Arms P-38 (.32 ACP and .380 ACP)
  • Raven Arms MP-25 (.25 ACP)
  • Walther PP (.380 ACP, .32 ACP, .22 LR, and .25 ACP)
  • Ortgies semi-automatic pistol (6.35 mm, 7.65 mm, and 9 mm)
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm .40 S&W

S&W M&P Shield in 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP

Best Pocket Locked-breech operation pistols for use with a pocket holster

Best Pocket Pistol Revolvers for use with a pocket holster

  • Velo-dog (.22 Velo-dog cartridge)
  • North American Arms Mini-Revolver (.22 Short, .22 LR, .22 WMR, .17 HM2, .17 HMR)
  • Ruger LCR
  • Smith & Wesson 442
  • Taurus Model 85 (.38 Special)

Buy your Pocket Pistol online at one of these trusted retailers:

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updated semi-auto pocket pistols size comparison part 1

updated semi-auto pocket pistols size comparison part 1

updated updated semi-auto pocket pistols size comparison part 2

updated updated semi-auto pocket pistols size comparison part 2

pocket handgun comparison chart

pocket handgun comparison chart

About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps http://MGECOM.com acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.