Best Pocket Pistols [2022]

by Travis Pike

January 3, 2022

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Size matters, and it goes in both directions. Sometimes you need a big gun. Sometimes you need a small gun. Small guns come in various sizes, and we have subcompacts, pocket pistols, and mouse guns. Today we are going to be talking all about pocket pistols. We’ve gathered the very best pocket pistols, and we are going to break down what a pocket pistol is and leave you with a little advice on how to best use your pocket pistol. 

What is a Pocket Pistol?

The name explains it, right? A pocket pistol is small enough to fit in your pocket! As such it has to be very small, relatively lightweight, and thin. If it’s hard to draw from your pocket, it’s going to be tough to call it a pocket pistol. Pocket pistols can be found in calibers like 25 ACP, 22LR, 32 ACP, 380 ACP, and 9mm. 

What’s a Pocket Pistol Good For ?

Why would you ever want such a small gun? If you’ve handled firearms before, you know that small guns are often more challenging than large guns. However, there is a time and a place for everything, and small guns fill a certain niche. 

Deep Concealment

When hiding the gun is the most important consideration, then a small gun is the best option possible. Pocket pistols print less and are easier to conceal in tuckable holsters, belly bands, on the ankle, and of course, in the pocket. 

A Backup

Some people carry more than one gun. Carrying one decent-sized firearm can be tough to do. Carrying two is a major hassle. Choosing a pocket pistol as your backup gun ensures you have a spare rod, but you don’t need to be weighed down by a second Glock 19. 

Convenience Carry

Let’s admit, sometimes you have to run a quick errand, and you don’t want to strap on a proper-sized holster and gun. A pocket pistol allows for the convenient carry of a small gun for those quick errands. 

Best Pocket Pistols

Best Pocket Pistols

Glock 42
  • Glock Brand Glock Reliability
  • Full-Size Sights
  • Easy to Find
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Ruger LCP 2 380
  • Great Improved LCP
  • Affordable
  • Teeny-Tiny
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S&W Bodyguard 380
  • Optional Integrated Laser
  • Manual Safety
  • DAO Trigger
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SIG P938 SAS
  • Snag Free
  • SAO Trigger
  • 1911-like Design
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Kahr PM9
  • Super Small 9mm
  • Big Sights
  • Smooth DAO Trigger
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Ruger LCR 327 Magnum
  • Powerful Cartridge
  • Smooth Trigger
  • Modern Revolver Option
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NAA Guardian 380 ACP
  • All Metal Frame
  • Smooth Design
  • DAO Trigger
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Best Pocket Pistol Specs

Pocket PistolCapacityWeightLengthHeight
Glock 42613.76 ounces5.94 inches4.13 inches
Ruger LCP 2 380610.6 ounces5.17 inches3.71 inches
S&W Bodyguard 380612 ounces5.25 inches4.3 inches
SIG P938 SAS616 ounces5.9 inches3.9 inches
Kahr PM96 or 714 ounces5.42 inches4 inches
Ruger LCR 327 Magnum617 ounces6.5 inches4.5 inches
NAA Guardian 380 ACP620.4 ounces4.81 inches3.69 inches

Best Pocket Pistol Reviews

In the following section I will be reviewing each individual product listed above and discussing the pros, cons and pricing of each pocket pistol.

1. Glock 42

Glock 42

Glock 42

This little fella is the smallest Glock available and brings you the Glock reliability you know and love in pocket pistol form. It’s super small, a mere 5.94 inches long, and only .98 inches wide.

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  • Shootability B
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Accuracy B
  • Value A

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

C+

Based on 3 Reviews

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Glock 42 Review

Glock 42 Specs

  • Capacity 6
  • Weight 13.76oz
  • Length 5.94″
  • Height 4.13″

Glock made a lot of 380s before the 42, but the Glock 42 is the first we saw wide release stateside. It was also the first single stack 380 ACP they designed. They targeted the growing concealed carry market and wisely made the Glock 42 super small and an easy option for pocket carry. 

The little Glock 42 took everything people love about the Glock series of pistols and shrunk it into a manageable pocket pistol. This little fella is the smallest Glock available and brings you the Glock reliability you know and love in pocket pistol form. It’s super small, a mere 5.94 inches long, and only .98 inches wide. It’s super small, and when loaded, it weighs only 15.87 ounces. 

Glock’s little 380 ACP is terrifically simple and employs Glock’s safe action system that shuns a manual safety in favor of multiple internal safeties. This makes it quite simple to pull from your pocket and engage without any extra steps. Besides its small size, the simple design lends itself well to pocket carry. 

Glock might have taken their time to produce a single stack, pocketable, 380 ACP, but they did it right. It’s one of the few guns that’s pocketable but doesn’t sting, ping, or hurt your hand when firing. It’s quite comfortable, except for fellas with big hands. Admittedly I get some slide bite from this little gun, but I’m also a gorilla.

Pros and Cons

  • Glock Reliability
  • Simple to use
  • Small but easy to shoot
  • Slide bite for big hands

2. Ruger LCP2 380

Ruger LCP 2 380

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  • Shootability C
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Accuracy B
  • Value A+

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

C

Based on 5 Reviews

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Ruger LCP2 380 Review

Ruger LCP2 380 Specs

  • Capacity 6
  • Weight 10.6oz
  • Length 5.17″
  • Height 3.71″

Ruger’s original LCP was sold by the millions when it arrived. Ruger was proactive in producing a pocket pistol, and the LCP flew off the shelves. The LCP was great but could be better, so Ruger refined the design with the LCP 2. 

At its core, the LCP 2 is a micro-sized pocket pistol chambered in either 380 or 22 LR. My suggestion would be the 380 ACP variant as the round is more reliable and penetrates deeper with wider expansion. The LCP 2 features a much better trigger than the original LCP. It’s light and crisp with a short reset. Also, the bigger sights provide an easier aiming option and make getting on target much easier. 

An LCP 2 utilizes a more aggressive grip texture to help keep the gun from fighting out of your hand. Along with better slide serrations, we also get an easy rack slide that’s friendly to those with bad hand strength. At only 10.6 ounces, this gun will never weigh you down, but be prepared to feel the full recoil from a 380 ACP cartridge. It provides a nice little hand slap with every shot. 

The LCP 2 is ultra-reliable, lightweight, and super small. It comes in numerous configurations with lasers, Hogue grips, and a multitude of color options. When you want the lightest little gun out there, then you gotta go with the LCP 2.

Pros and Cons

  • Super Lightweight
  • Great Trigger
  • Affordable
  • Rough recoil

3. S&W Bodyguard 380

S&W Bodyguard 380

S&W Bodyguard 380

The Bodyguard’s snag-free design and integrated red laser made it a capable, quick-on-target firearm.

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  • Shootability C
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Accuracy C
  • Value B

Our Grade

B

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

D+

Based on 2 Reviews

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S&W Bodyguard 380 Review

S&W Bodyguard 380 Specs

  • Capacity 6
  • Weight 12oz
  • Length 5.25″
  • Height 4.3″

The Bodyguard 380 ACP was my first experience with pocket pistols, and admittedly, I wasn’t a fan initially. I wasn’t used to the rough recoil, small sights, or long trigger pull. However, over time the little guy grew on me. It’s super small, and S&W trimmed a ton of corners and edges off to make it ultra-smooth. Smooth guns are easy to draw, and pocket guns can be tough to draw when they snag. 

The Bodyguard’s snag-free design and integrated red laser made it a capable, quick-on-target firearm. The Bodyguard uses a set of proper sights that make the gun easy to aim. Lots of pocket pistols use nothing more than nubs, and it’s nice to have real sights. The Bodyguard packs six rounds of 380 ACP and weighs 12.3 ounces. 

For those looking for a manual safety on their pocket pistol, the Bodyguard has you covered. The little safety is frame-mounted and similar to the 1911, just much, much, smaller. The little Bodyguard packs a punch on both ends, and be warned its thin grip punches back into your hand and isn’t super comfortable. 

However, the S&W Bodyguard is super reliable. Ammo picky it is not, and the restrike capability of the DAO trigger is a comforting feature. 

S&W Bodyguard 380 Pros and Cons

  • Smooth for an easy draw
  • Integrated laser & full sized sights
  • Reliable
  • Harsh recoil

4. SIG P938 SAS

SIG P938 SAS

SIG P938 SAS

The 938 uses a 1911 like layout that delivers a single action only trigger, a 1911 style safety, and a single stack design. A good single-action trigger combined with the bullseye sights makes the gun quite accurate.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Accuracy A
  • Value B

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 2 Reviews

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SIG P938 SAS Review

SIG P938 SAS Specs

  • Capacity 6
  • Weight 16oz
  • Length 5.9″
  • Height 3.9″

SIG makes some of the best little guns on the market, and the 938 is already micro-sized. The downside is the micro 1911 had a lot of snag points that might make it challenging to carry in your pocket. Well, the new SAS variant takes care of that. SAS stands for SIG Anti Snag, and it’s a process SIG uses to trim the snag points off their concealed carry guns. 

SIG trimmed, melted, and configured the 938 SAS to be much smaller. The SIG 938 features the FT Bullseye sights that sit flush to slide and trim a major snag point from the 938. These sights take lots of practice to use, but once mastered, they are an effective sighting system for close-range, fast-moving firefights. 

The 938 uses a 1911 like layout that delivers a single action only trigger, a 1911 style safety, and a single stack design. A good single-action trigger combined with the bullseye sights makes the gun quite accurate. 

It’s incredibly ergonomic and very comfortable when you start pulling the trigger. Unlike most pocket pistols, the SIG 938 is actually very comfortable to shoot. The recoil is minimal, and there is no snap and pop into the palm of your hand. Quite impressive when you consider the fact it’s a 9mm pocket pistol. 

SIG P938 SAS Pros and Cons

  • Excellent Trigger
  • Comfortable to shoot
  • Snag-free
  • Sights require training

SIG P938 SAS Gun Deals

5. Kahr PM9

Kahr PM9

Kahr PM9

The Kahr PM9 is a great little gun that packs 9mm performance into a pocket pistol.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Accuracy A
  • Value B

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B-

Based on 3 Reviews

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Kahr PM9 Review

Kahr PM9 Specs

  • Capacity 6 or 7
  • Weight 14oz
  • Length 5.42″
  • Height 4″

Sadly the Kahr PM9 is criminally underrated. It’s a great little gun that packs 9mm performance into a pocket pistol-sized platform. It’s a simple polymer frame pistol that holds 6 or 7 rounds of 9mm, depending on the magazine size. Admittedly, the shorter 6 round magazine is much more pocket-friendly at only 5.42 inches long, which makes it shorter than the 380 caliber Glock 42. 

The Kahr PM9 uses a very smooth double action only trigger. The trigger pull is long, but to be fair, it’s very smooth. It’s almost like a really well-done revolver trigger. Admittedly, it’s not for everyone, especially if you’ve come to appreciate the light and crisp striker-fired triggers most of us are accustomed to. 

One big factor why I included this gun is that it’s very easy to handle. It has some snap to it and some muzzle rise to look out for, but it’s not painful. It doesn’t slam into your hand and cause any pain. At 14 ounces, it’s not the lightest gun on the market, but that little extra weight does provide some real and noticeable recoil reduction. 

It’s a smooth shooting gun with great sights, a good trigger, and soft recoil for its size. Kahr needs to get more love in the modern marketplace because they are producing high-quality firearms. 

Kahr PM9 Pros and Cons

  • Soft recoil
  • Great Sights
  • Light DAO Trigger
  • Expensive

Kahr PM9 Gun Deals

6. Ruger LCR 327 Magnum

Ruger LCR 327 Magnum

Ruger LCR 327 Magnum

The Ruger LCR in 327 Magnum provides you the most modern revolver combination for pocket pistol applications.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Accuracy B
  • Value B

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 3 Reviews

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Ruger LCR 327 Magnum Review

Ruger LCR 327 Specs

  • Capacity 6
  • Weight 17oz
  • Length 6.5″
  • Height 4.5″

Revolvers aren’t technically pistols, I know, but pocket handguns are nowhere near as fun of a title as pocket pistols. Leave me and my alliterations alone! J frame, or snub nose revolvers, are the old school pocket pistol and have learned to serve in that role. The LCR might be old school as a revolver, but it’s the most modern revolver on the market. The polymer frame trims weight down to about 17 ounces. 

It’s a little heavy as a pocket pistol but too bad. I chose the 327 Federal Magnum cartridge because it’s superbly efficient in size and power. It hits hard and penetrates deeply. It expands well and delivers excellent terminal ballistics. The 327 Federal Magnum also allows you to fit six shots into a five-shot revolver. An extra round is always nice to have. 

The Ruger LCR in 327 Magnum provides you the most modern revolver combination for pocket pistol applications. It sports the best stock double-action trigger on the market and pairs with it a good front sight for rapid target acquisition. Ruger’s little six-shot revolver packs a lot of power in a pocket-sized platform. The 327 Federal Magnum outperforms 9mm with little issue and doesn’t provide harsh recoil. 

That being said, the 9mm variant of the LCR might give you a more common and affordable round, and I wouldn’t shy away from it as a pocket pistol either. 

Ruger LCR 327 Magnum Pros and Cons

  • Outstanding Trigger
  • 6 shots in a 5 shot frame
  • It keeps the famed six-gun simplicity
  • 327 Federal Magnum is expensive ammo

Ruger LCR 327 Magnum Gun Deals

7. NAA Guardian 380 ACP

NAA Guardian 380 ACP

NAA Guardian 380 ACP

The Guardian 380 ACP packs six rounds of 380 ACP, making it competitive with every other pocket pistol on the market.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Accuracy C
  • Value A

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

C+

Based on 2 Reviews

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NAA Guardian 380 ACP Review

NAA Guardian 380 ACP Specs

  • Capacity 6
  • Weight 20.4oz
  • Length 4.81″
  • Height 3.69″

You want it small, snag-free, and all-metal? Well, the NAA Guardian 380 ACP is the pocket pistol for you. The Guardian 380 ACP measures 4.81 inches long, is 3.69 inches tall, and .94 inches wide. You best count your blessings that the little Guardian weighs 20.4 ounces. That extra weight of the all-metal frame eats up recoil and makes it manageable to handle without your palm getting a slap with every shot. 

The Guardian 380 ACP packs six rounds of 380 ACP, making it competitive with every other pocket pistol on the market. The NAA Guardian does have a long double-action trigger which will detract from the gun’s accuracy with most shooters. The tiny nubs for sights won’t help much either. Like most pocket pistols, it’s best inside ten yards or so. 

When it comes to reliability, the NAA Guardian seems to eat whatever you throw at it. The little gun doesn’t suffer issues from limp writing, likely due to the weight, and this makes it easy to handle if your grip is compromised. As a pocket pistol, it’s snag-free and super smooth for a quick and efficient one-handed draw. 

NAA Guardian 380 ACP Pros and Cons

  • Low recoil
  • Snag-free
  • Very compact
  • Heavy

NAA Guardian 380 ACP Gun Deals

Pocket Pistol Buyers Guide

Below I want to unpack some thoughts on what to consider when you’re looking for a pocket pistol, the benefits, and what else you might want to pick up.

The Truth About Pocket Pistols

Pocket pistols suck—kind of. You see, pocket pistols are designed for a very specific niche, and that forces them to be very small, and small guns suck compared to bigger guns. Even when compared to subcompact pistols, pocket pistols kind of suck. 

If you want a gun that often slaps your hand, bucks, and tries to escape, then a pocket pistol is for you. In calibers like 380 ACP and 9mm, the small, thin grips and lightweight design forces you to endure lots of recoil and muzzle rise. Smaller guns often compromise on sights. Small nubs are tough to aim with and tough to shoot at ranges beyond ten yards. 

Pocket carry doesn’t provide the quickest or most efficient means to draw a handgun either. It’s often slower and hard to do when sitting. It eliminates a pocket for your pants, and safe pocket carry means the gun is the only thing in your pocket. 

So does this mean you should eliminate pocket carry? No, it means if you choose to pocket carry, even occasionally, you need to train for pocket carry. Train your draw, your carry means, and even train drawing in a vehicle or seated at a table. You need to train with your teeny tiny pistol too. In fact, you should be training more with a pocket pistol. Mastering the little gun takes time, and lots of dry fire and live fire practice and training is the only way. 

Chic Gaylord, an old-school firearm writer, once said snub nose shooters should put at least 100 rounds downrange a week. That applies to the modern pocket pistol as well. It’s a tough gun to shoot, so be ready for it. 

Benefits of Pocket Pistols

It can’t be all bad, right? If it was, no one would buy a pocket pistol and pocket carry, right? We know that’s not true because micro pocket pistols still fly off the shelves. After bad talking pocket carry so much above, allow me to talk about the benefits of pocket pistols. 

First and foremost, they are super small and very easy to conceal. These teeny tiny little fellas can be carried in the pocket but also in a standard holster and be incredibly comfortable. You can strap it on and forget all about it. It’s great, and the gun you carry comfortably is admittedly better than the big gun you leave in the safe. A pocket pistol is never limited to just pocket carry. 

Pocket pistols also allow for deep concealment. Sometimes you find yourself in situations where a big gun is impossible to conceal due to your choice of clothing. Carrying a gun with a tucked-in shirt or a suit can be challenging. A pocket pistol makes it much easier. For ladies, dresses offer an even greater challenge, one that can be solved with a pocket pistol. 

Smaller guns are just easier to carry but disappear with ease. Printing is a real issue, and big guns print more than small guns. A little gun can be concealed in your pocket with no one the wiser, even when someones trained to look for guns. 

When you pack a pistol in your pocket, you can also put your hand in your pocket and grip your gun with no one the wiser. You might find yourself in a situation where you are in danger, but you can’t justify drawing your handgun. Having your hand resting on it ensures you can draw quickly and be ready should the worst-case scenario occur. 

You Still Need a Holster

Oh yeah, your pocket isn’t a holster. Do not trust your pocket to safely carry a firearm. You need a holster for pocket carry to ensure the pistol is safe. A holster envelopes your weapon, including the trigger. A covered trigger is a must-have. An exposed trigger could lead to a negligent discharge when your pants, or any object, gets caught against the trigger. 

Also, if you want to ensure your handgun functions when you draw it, you need a holster. Pockets are natural points of collection for all sorts of stuff. It can be lint, dirt, and lord knows what else. If you toss a gun in that same pocket, it’s now exposed to all that gunk and grime. It’s a quick way to make sure your gun doesn’t go bang more than once. 

Finally, a holster makes drawing a handgun much easier. A dedicated pocket holster will allow you to grab the grip consistently each and every time. It allows you to draw your firearm with ease and to do so quickly and smoothly. 

A good pocket holster ensures your gun is protected, you are safe, and you can draw it with ease. Which holsters, you may ask? 

Well, I’m partial to the Blue Force Gear Pocket holsters, as well the DeSantis options. Both work well in my experience, and I’ve used both for quite some time. 

Pocket it!

Pocket pistols provide you with an ultra-small and lightweight firearm. It’s amazing how small guns have gotten and how they remain a reliable option for concealed carry. They aren’t perfect, but when your option is to pack a small gun or no gun at all, then they make a lot of sense. Just keep in mind the increased training they require. If you can do that, then you’re golden. 

What’s your favorite pocket pistol? 

Let me know below. 

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About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

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1 COMMENTS

  1. My favorite pistol is my 938 Nightmare. It needs a belt holster. My most accurate 9, against Shield, Star m43, & Sar. b6c. A gem. But want LCP II LR.

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