Pocket Carry recommendations

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by Sportdog7, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. Sportdog7

    Sportdog7 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    Messages:
    76
    Been looking at getting a pocket carry and really narrowed my search 2 either the 32 or 380 as the only real size other than a 22 Beretta Bobcat.
    that would work as my summertime carry. Any recommendations on what you have tried as far as gun maker in either of these calibers? I would like to keep the price below 300.00...Thanks
  2. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,097
    The short simple (in my opinion) answer is get a Ruger LCP with a Crimson Trace Laser sight (not some other brand laser). Sometimes this can be purchased as a factory package at a significant economic savings. Sometimes you have to by the laser and install it yourself. A very close second choice is a late model Kel-Tec P-3AT which is a little lighter and smaller, but not as expensively made as the LCP. The LCP is a very close copy of the Kel-Tec P-3AT. Many users preceive that the LCP is better quality and worth the increased street price.

    A Crimson Trace "automatic on" laser changes small hard to shoot pocket guns from "belly guns" to effective implements of self defense out to any reasonable self defense distance. They can sometimes be found discounted on the Internet.

    Today, most .22 RF, .25 ACP and .32 ACP pocket handguns are not seriously considered for concealed carry because you can carry a Kel-Tec P-3AT or Ruger LCP, in .380 ACP, for the same or less loaded weight and size as most of the less powerful caliber pocket guns.

    A year or two ago the NRA journal "The American Rifleman" ran an article on about ten small .380 ACP pocket pistols. If I remember correctly, they found the Ruger LCP to be the most reliable and next to smallest.

    One word of caution about all very small, very light semi-auto pocket pistols: They are recoil operated and tend to require a very tight grip and stiff wrist and arm to cycle reliably. A tight two hand grip is preferred.
  3. Woodrow

    Woodrow New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    A Hillbilly from So.East MO
    Mine is the Kel Tec P3AT 380. The gun is very compact and packs a pretty nice little punch. Always Always Always use a good Pocket Holster never carry a loose gun in your pocket.
  4. Sportdog7

    Sportdog7 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    Messages:
    76
    Thanks for the advice I'll check out the two mentioned.
  5. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,097
    An "Uncle Mikes" #3 pocket holster is about $12 an works well.
  6. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Messages:
    10,520
    Location:
    NW Florida
    I gotta disagree on that. I have an Uncle Mike's holster.

    It is nylon with a very thin foam lining. Over time (and I carried it for about three years before I noticed this) sweat from your leg, leeching through your pocket, will start to degrade the holster.

    First, it started to stink. "Dirty gym socks" stink. Hard to be concealed when, because of your gun, you reek of BO.

    Then the foam starts to fall apart. I noticed that, on my nice "white" aluminum and stainless revolver, there were little flecks of black appearing. Like pocket link, only more so.

    I suppose, when it starts to stink or to fall apart, you can just toss it and buy another 12 buck holster. If you only get two years out of it before you have to replace it, 50 cents a month ain't too bad.

    But I like something I buy to last. If it does not last, then I don't consider it to "work well".

    My Mika pocket holster, according to my records, arrived May 20, 2009. I've carried it every day since then. It's holding up very nicely. It cost 22 bucks, including shipping.

    [​IMG]
  7. carver

    carver Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    15,030
    Location:
    DAV, Deep in the Pineywoods of East Texas, just we
    I would recommend, as Hammerslagger did, that you forget the .22, and the .32. Neither of these two calibers have the ability to get reliable penetration. Go with nothing less than a .380. As a rule most of the SD ammo (hollow points) for the .380 will get you an average of 10" of penetration, and ball ammo for the .380 will get around 14". I use the Hornady Critical Denfence in my LCP, and every other bullet in the magazine is Winchester Whity Box ball, I like the wadcutter design on the Winchester. So I get anywhere form 10" - 14" of penetration with each shot. Jack404 was the member that told us to alternate the ammo in the magazine, and it is a great idea! I also use the Uncle Mike's holster, and I just wash it every now, and then. If you get two years worth of use out of it, well, they don't cost much to start with. However, I will never sell a good quality holster short. They may cost more, but usually last much longer.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  8. Gun Geezer

    Gun Geezer Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Messages:
    1,856
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Not a lot of choices in the $300.00 or less category unless you are looking used vs. new. The Kel-Tec P3AT is the best bang for the buck being that it's the smallest and lightest .380 made. There are some mini 9mm's suitable for pocket carry, one being the Kel-Tec PF-9. My EDC however, is a S&W 342, Ti. 38+P hammerless snubbie. In a Galco Pocket Pro I forget it's there. Although my P3AT has fired nearly 500 rnds. without a burp, I have more faith in a wheel gun when my life is at stake. It is not even close to your budget amount, but my life's worth the extra bucks!
  9. Brisk44

    Brisk44 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,747
    Location:
    Iowa
    I carry the Ruger LCP in my back pocket and you can't even tell it's there.
  10. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,306
    Location:
    Indiana
    I have both the Keltec P3AT and the Ruger LCP. They both work the same: very reliable when gripped appropriately.

    I like the laser sights on the pocket guns, but I dislike the Crimson Trace for polymer-gripped pistols. Having a "nub" on the front of the grip is just uncomfortable and makes it difficult for me to properly grip the pistol. I have found Armalaser to be solidly built and 100% reliable in the more than two years I've had it on my EDC P3AT.

    Smith & Wesson also makes a similarly sized .380 with a built-in laser (Bodyguard, maybe?), but I don't really know enough about it to make a recommendation one way or the other.
  11. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,306
    Location:
    Indiana
    I have both the Keltec P3AT and the Ruger LCP. They both work the same: very reliable when gripped appropriately.

    I like the laser sights on the pocket guns, but I dislike the Crimson Trace for polymer-gripped pistols. Having a "nub" on the front of the grip is just uncomfortable and makes it difficult for me to properly grip the pistol. I have found Armalaser to be solidly built and 100% reliable in the more than two years I've had it on my EDC P3AT.

    Smith & Wesson also makes a similarly sized .380 with a built-in laser (Bodyguard, maybe?), but I don't really know enough about it to make a recommendation one way or the other.
  12. mjp28

    mjp28 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Messages:
    4,141
    Location:
    anytown, OHIO
    Good info. ....I've scrapped the idea of getting a new .22, .25 or .32 as a CCW weapon.

    I have a .22LR snubbie in my drawer, a .25 semi and big .38 Special as home guns only. (plus shotguns, rifles)

    I'm now looking at TWO revolvers (me & wife).38 S&W 442 (or similar) or the Ruger or CA as CCW, getting pocket holsters, maybe two speedloaders...just in case. If you've fired one or two shots that's serious, if it's already four or five it's a BIG deal!

    Charter Arms is the best price of the three so far, just FYI.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  13. RunningOnMT

    RunningOnMT New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Messages:
    4,720
    Location:
    Akron, Ohio
    Sounds like the Ruger LCP is your ticket. Buds has them on sale now for $299.00 including shipping. Of course you'd have to pay the transfer fee.

    https://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/54585

    54585LCP.jpg

    Ruger 6 + 1 Round 380 ACP w/2.75" Barrel/Blue Finish/Soft Case/ Ultra-light, compact carry pistols weigh only 9.4 ounces in Ruger's


    smallest pistol frame with a height of 3.6 inches and a width of just .82
    inches. The LCP is comfortable and affordable, making it a natural choice
    for a dependable back-up or personal defense carry pistol. High
    performance, glass-filled nylon frame is topped by a through-hardened steel
    slide in a blued finish. Soft case included.

    This gun is not legal for sale in California, It is not on the CA DOJ approved list.

    SPECIFICATIONS:
    Mfg Item Num: 3701
    Category: FIREARMS - HANDGUNS
    Type :pistol
    Action :Double Action Only
    Caliber :380 ACP
    Barrel Length :2 3/4"
    Capacity :6 + 1
    Safety :No Manual Safety
    Grips :Checkered Polymer
    Sights :Fixed
    Weight :9.40 oz
    Finish :Blue
  14. mjp28

    mjp28 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Messages:
    4,141
    Location:
    anytown, OHIO
    I'm still looking at these types also:

    [​IMG]

    Charter Arms 38 +P DAO

    Finish: Stainless
    Frame: Stainless steel
    Grip: Compact
    Barrel length: 2"
    Capacity: 5-shot
    Caliber: .38 Special +P
    Hammer: DAO
    Weight: 16 oz.
    Sugg Retail: $379.00

    At 16 oz., this five-shot .38 Special +P revolver is compact and
    lightweight. It features a one-piece, 2" barrel, concealed double action
    hammer, fixed sights, and a shrouded ejector rod.

    COMP #03060130 Reg: $459.00 Sale: $307.00
  15. graehaven

    graehaven Active Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    2,943
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    I'll take my Kel-tec PF9 (7+1) all day long over the Charter 5 shooter. Less expensive too.
  16. Woodrow

    Woodrow New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    A Hillbilly from So.East MO
    In my opinion would make a nice little IWB conceal carry but much to large and bulky for a pocket pistol
  17. mjp28

    mjp28 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Messages:
    4,141
    Location:
    anytown, OHIO
    I actually started looking at Kel-tec and others, I haven't decided yet, I have to get my wife to try and see what she can handle.

    I'll shoot anything but have always like the wheel vs magazine on a gun I hope I'll never have to fire.....we'll see.
  18. Woodrow

    Woodrow New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    A Hillbilly from So.East MO
    Actually my wifes smaller hand fits the P3AT better than mine but be sure to warn her to grip it tight till she has fired it a few times they do pack a little punch. I dont know how locked in you are on the pocket gun. But if you are looking for a purse gun for your wife or just somthing easy to conceal there are alot of sub compact 9mm and 40 cal. For expense I would bet a good sub compact 9mm is cheaper to shoot than the .380
  19. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,659
    I have carried a Keltec P32 since they came out. My wife and daughter carry them, too.
    Much easier to shoot than the .380s. A little smaller, thinner, and lighter, too. Practice, rather than gimmicks like laser sights will make the gun a viable defense gun at longer distances.
  20. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,097
    For approximately the first 25 years after their commercial introduction, I was a very vocal critic of laser sights on handguns. I called them "gimmicks" that were likely to get you killed in a gunfight. I CAME TO DISCOVER THAT I WAS WRONG! {I have been teaching the practical defensive use of the handgun for 49 years, now.}

    Someone once gave me a used firearm laser sight with a grip activated pressure switch. I threw in my junk box. One day I got an idea, and lashed it to the barrel of a Ruger MK II 22/45 with hockey stick type tape (where it still is, today), and colimated it for 25 yards. This Ruger is my usual pistol for the initial training new handgun shooters.

    I quickly discovered that I could teach and progress a new shooter to competency significantly faster and better, by starting them off using the laser to learn and master the essential of trigger control. Once the student becomes reasonably competent with the aid of the laser, it is taken away and iron sight(s) use is taught and usually quickly learned.

    {If learning trigger control with a laser sighting device has a relative difficulty factor of 3, learning it with Iron Sights has a relative difficulty of 3 squared, which is 9. If one does not Master trigger control one will never become an Expert much less as Master level shooter. That is just the way it is.}

    Violent attacks often happen suddenly, without any prior warning, and in bad light conditions, where sights (even night sights) cannot be easily seen and used. It takes more time (by actual experiments) to pick up a front sight in poor light conditions than it does to see the laser dot on your attacker. It takes about 1/10 of a second longer to see the laser dot than it does to just point the gun by instinct (so called "muscle memory") and shoot; often making an ineffective shot.

    The "Bottom Line", for most persons, is that an automatic "on" (when the gun is gripped) laser fitted to a self defense type pistol WILL MAKE YOU FASTER AND MORE ACCURATE AT DISTANCES BETWEEN OF ABOUT 7 to 33 FEET. About half of shootings happen at zero to ten feet; 30% at 11 to 21 feet. Currently, in the USA, trained police average whole body hits about 25% of the time for shots fired. Civilian numbers are lower.

    I have a "Crimson Trace" laser unit on all of my carry guns. In addition I have Tritium night sights on most of them. I would not have them if I still thought they were gimmicks that were likely to get me killed in a gunfight.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
    Richardbrentm likes this.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers Pocket Carry AND Only Firearm Jun 20, 2007
Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers Pocket Carry a Kahr PM9? Nov 30, 2005
Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers Glock Pocket Carry Sep 30, 2005
Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers .32 Belguim pocket pistol Dec 21, 2013
Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers New Colt Mustang Pocketlite in .380 Oct 27, 2013