Single Stack Pocket Pistols


I like pocket pistols for the contextual niche they fill.

Pocket pistols are small, lightweight, (and cute LOL)!

When I worked at NOVA Firearms in Falls Church Virginia, their “cuteness” was often remarked by customers when they asked about the pocket pistols in the shop.

Pocket pistols are great to have when your attire is not conducive to carrying a belt holster with a double magazine pouch.

Observations

  • Short barrel of a pocket pistol hinders accuracy and overall effective range
  • The small frame of the pocket pistol makes the gun harder to control while firing
  • Capacity is very limited in a pocket pistol
  • The common pocket pistol caliber of .380 ACP can have terminal balistic performance issues.
  • Practicing reloads under stress can be very difficult due to the small frame of the pocket pistol.
  • Despite their name, it takes a proper holster and practice to be able to safely carry and draw a pocket pistol from a pocket.
    • Do not just carry a semi-auto pocket pistol in your pocket without a holster!
    • The pocket pistol runs a high risk of malfunctioning if you are firing it from inside your jacket pocket.
  • Some bellyband holsters are just not stable enough for movement and carrying a pocket pistol.
  • The CrossBreed bellyband is one of the better deep concealment holsters out there for pocket pistols.
  • Fanny packs are oftentimes too obvious and simply just too slow to draw a pocket pistol from.
  • You may want to consider a neck knife or other backup weapon if you are going to be carrying just a pocket pistol.

Models

  • Beretta Nano
    • The 9mm single stack gun that Glock has yet to make!
    • The Beretta Nano is a striker-fired gun, so the trigger is very much like a Glock.
  • Smith and Wesson Bodyguard .380
    • The trigger of the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard .380 is a little heavier than I would like.
      • A student had an issue with pulling it during a course of fire.
    • I like the integrated laser idea even though turning the laser on is a fine motor skill due to where the button is positioned, it would have been better if the on switch was over the grip like a CrimsonTrace lasergrip
  • Sig Sauer 238
    English: A P238 pistol chambered for .380 ACP ...

    English: A P238 pistol chambered for .380 ACP by Sig Sauer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    • It is basically a miniaturized 1911 in .380 ACP.
    • Very well made and relatively light for being all metal construction.
    • You really have to practice turning off the external safety as part of your drawstroke.
  • Sig Sauer 938
    • Same as the 238, except in 9mm.
  • Ruger LCP
    • It is a more polished version of the Kel-Tec pistols.
    • The trigger of the Ruger LCP is not conducive to accurate shooting.
  • Kahr Arms CM Series
    • Decent pistols overall but the trigger is not really conducive to good quality practice.

What about Kel-Tec?

I am really not a fan of Kel-Tec’s pocket pistols. The triggers are just awful. They do have a good warranty policy though. Take that for what it is worth.

George Zimmerman carried a Kel-Tec P11. Need I say more?

What about the Walther PPK?

  • The Walther PPK is a very well made gun that is permanently embedded in the cultural consciousness due to the James Bond movies, but the PPK is a bit heavy for the application we are looking to use a pocket pistol for and is notorious for “hammer bite” when firing. I have never found Walther PPKs comfortable to shoot and I think there are better guns out there than the PPK. 

What about pocket pistols in chambered for cartridges smaller than .380?

I really don’t recommend pocket pistols in calibers smaller than .380 due to concerns about terminal ballistic performance and issues with these guns cycling the action properly.

.380 Auto vs. 9mm Luger

.380 Auto vs. 9mm Luger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Firearms Instructor in the DC Metro Area

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Posted in Handguns
5 comments on “Single Stack Pocket Pistols
  1. Bulletmen says:

    Have been using Kel Tec’s P32 for over 10 years. We have 4 of them,2 for me,2 for the wife.They work great.Light weight,easy to hide.We had trouble with one during the “break in ” period.Dropped it off at Kel Tec factory when in Florida. They fixed it pronto,even slicked up the action a bit. Now it works fine.We always run the carry mag through our’s when ever we go to range.Then load fresh ammo.
    Ammo of choice is GECO FMJ.Tough to find,S&B is second choice.Informal tests years ago showed GECO FMJ penetrated wet phone books better than any other 32ACP and even better than .380. With a “mouse gun” penetration is the important thing.
    380 vs 32ACP ? Marginal better ballistics with .380. One more round with 32ACP.
    Toss a coin. Either is better than a sharp stick.
    Before Kel Tec,my hide out was a Colt 1908 .25ACP.
    First rule of gun fight,have a gun.
    Second rule,caliber should start with a 4,or .357.

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  2. […] Single Stack Pocket Pistols (homeguntraining.com) […]

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  3. CrankyBuddha says:

    I have an LCP and although many have had issues I have had almost none. I have one magazine that seems to have an issue feeding on occasion so I only use it for practice. The recoil, especially when shooting with the weak hand, is pretty snappy. My daughter and mother who both have weak grips have almost had it jump out of their hands. This is concerning since so many people recommend them to ladies due to the small size.
    I love mine but you have to understand and accept the limitations. If the fight is much longer range than a few yards it will be a real challenge but still better than a sharp stick or harsh language.
    I would be interested in your thoughts on the Kahr. I am thinking about the CM/CW9 and in dry firing I like the trigger. It is very smooth. It lacks the short and tactile reset of the Glock but until they offer a single stack 9…
    Cheers
    -Cranky

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    • The LCP is basically a knock off of the Kel-Tec so take that for what it is worth. Some people have mechanical issues with them, some luck out.

      I really do not want to rely on chance to determine if I have a good gun or not.

      I had a student bring in a Kahr CM9 and we did not have any issues with it. Granted this was just a 50 round course of fire so the testing is not really scientific.

      The slide is a PITA to lock back and it is NOT a comfortable gun to shoot (pocket pistols are generally not comfortable to shoot to start with).

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      • CrankyBuddha says:

        I put at least 500 rounds through a gun before I consider carrying it or relying on it for self defense. At least 1 box has to be the self defense ammo I plan to carry.
        Any issues and the gun goes for repairs, is shelved or sold.
        Cheers
        -Cranky

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