A quick look at our website and you will see all types of guns that people are choosing to use for CCW. There are the Glocks, 1911’s, Springfield XD’s, M&P’s that immediately come to mind. Most people who have a CCW permit have several of these guns in the safe at home. The only problem is that they are at home!
It has been said too many times that the first rule for CCW is to have a gun. The bulkier/larger the gun, the harder it is to conceal. Lifestyle changes have to be made. You may need to choose an Inside the Waist Band holster leading to discomfort during the day. Your wardrobe may have to change to include a cover garment. The bottom line is a Glock 17 or a Government model 1911 is a great choice for CCW, if you carry it. Leaving it at home because it was a hassle has done you no good.
This leads us to the ever increasing role of the pocket gun. This year it seems like all the manufacturers are racing to have the latest, greatest pocket gun. It’s not a new trend, Seecamps and NAA have been around, and before that Colt and Browning had small caliber pocket guns. Certainly the pocket guns are desirable because they the easiest to conceal. In terms of altering your lifestyle, they really don’t.
My original pocket gun is the gun that I still use for pocket carry. It started out as a backup gun while on duty. My Smith & Wesson 642 carries the scars of abuse from an ankle holster worn every time I was working. We were not prohibited from carrying backups, and I felt like the 642 was as good as anything out there. As a civilian it is still with me anytime I choose to leave the belt holstered big boys at home. Its lightweight frame and five shots of .38 special are a perfect combination. A lightweight revolver in a holster is comfortable all day long no matter the season. I love the simplicity of the revolver; no safeties, no magazines, no jams. But there may be a better option.
Kel-Tec and Ruger have introduced some of the best lightweight pocket guns available. Many cops have already purchased the Kel-Tec P-3AT and the Ruger LCP. Both of these guns are .380 caliber. They beat the J-frames by two (6+1) in the capacity category, and they are have a slimmer profile than the J-Frame that makes you forget they are even there.
Both types of pocket guns will suite your needs, but there are some things to consider before you buy. Are you going to clean your gun regularly? When you carry in the pocket, the most amazing things find their way to your gun. I am baffled by the things that end up in my cylinder. It would be interesting to have CSI determine there origin. Truthfully the only thing in my pocket is the holster and gun. Notice I said holster. Never ever carry anything else in the pocket with your gun and always have a pocket holster. If you don’t get around to cleaning very often an auto may not be for you. All the lint floating around has to go somewhere. Make sure you get it out or be ready for freaky things to happen. Jams that come out of no where are in your future.
Do you feel the need for sights? The .380 pocket guns have sights, but you may not notice them if you are the bifocal stage of life. The J-Fames have ramp sights and the newer models can be modified with XS Big Dots or Meprolight night sights.
How particular are you on trigger feel? The .380s generally have pretty poor triggers compared to what can be achieved by your pistolsmith on the revolvers. For many of you it won’t matter. For those of you with discriminating tastes, the revolver is the way to go.
Does caliber matter? Maybe. Too much is made of caliber. We should stop looking for a wonder round that dispatches aliens from outer space with one shot to the hand. Spend some time at the range with these guns. You actually carry it more than the 1911, so shoot it more. If you are really concerned, get the scandium J-Frame in .357 magnum. Far be it from me to stop you from self inflicted torture.
Is price a big deal? The revolvers are more expensive than the .380s. Revolvers will run you around $400 while the .380s will keep you at $300 or less.
We are fortunate to have so many companies working hard at the present time to make pocket carry options that are suitable for all types of shooters and scenarios. There is no reason why you can’t carry without feeling like it’s a burden.