If you’ve ever wanted to protect yourself while on the go without advertising to the world that you’re carrying, you’ve probably realized a full-sized firearm isn’t going to cut it. No, what you need is a gun small enough for pocket carry, i.e., a pocket pistol. The question is: what are the best pocket pistols on the market?
In this article, I reveal the specs, pros, and cons of the best pocket pistol available right now: the Sig Sauer P365 SAS. It’s a gun that offers the very best concealed-carry-pistols have to offer. However, if you’re looking for something different, keep reading for a rundown of the best pocket pistols and mouse guns you can buy today.
Features of a Pocket Pistol
Before we jump into a list of pocket pistols, I think we need to be on the same page as to what a pocket pistol is. Given that concealed carry pistols (which are larger and carried in holsters other than a pocket holster) and pocket pistols share the same purpose, I think the clarification is warranted.
Unsurprisingly, the most identifiable feature of pocket pistols is their size: these guns are so tiny you can drop them in your pocket and forget they’re there. Usually, they have an overall length of between four and six inches and are between three and five inches high. Since these guns need to be suitable for pocket carry, they’re typically lightweight and slim.
Moreover, a pocket pistol is generally semi-automatic and offers concealment so deep it’s sometimes affectionately called a mouse gun.
Benefits of Carrying a Pocket Pistol
Why own a pocket pistol? There are many reasons you should consider a gun made for pocket carry. They include:
Easy to Carry
The main benefit of getting a pocket pistol is how easy it is to carry on your person. You can keep them in your jacket, purse, and, of course, your pocket, and no one would have a clue. In addition, unlike larger firearms, you won’t experience any discomfort from holsters against your skin, nor do you have to worry about printing.
Provides Quick Access
You can store pocket pistols in easy-to-reach locations like the compartment under your car’s coffee holder (instead of the glove compartment) or your bedside table (instead of the bedside drawer) for quick access. Thus, you can defend yourself quicker in a home intrusion or robbery at a gas station (for example).
Ideal for Female Shooters
Not every woman wants to carry a gun using a holster. Also, some female dress styles don’t feature pockets where you can store these guns, while some clothing is too thin to offer any significant concealment. On the other hand, pocket pistols are small enough to fit in a woman’s purse, making them ideal for concealed carry.
Great Backup Gun
Pocket pistols make fantastic backup guns to your main firearm. If for any reason, you’re separated from your primary gun, you can rely on the pocket pistol to defend yourself. Moreover, their small size and deep concealment give you the element of surprise against attackers who assume they’ve disarmed you or you’ve run out of ammunition.
I believe inexperienced shooters or people new to the world of firearms can ease into this wonderful hobby by starting off firing pocket pistols. A full-sized gun can feel intimidating, have a higher learning curve for effective operation, and be difficult to take down and maintain. Not so with a pocket pistol.
The 7 Best Pocket Pistols in 2022
If you’re looking for a pocket pistol, you can’t go wrong with one of the ones on the list below. So let’s examine each of these pocket guns to learn why they’re excellent for concealed carry.
1. Sig Sauer P365 SAS – Best Overall
The Sig Sauer P365 SAS tops my list as the best pocket pistol available currently. This micro-compact pistol is a smaller version of Sig Sauer’s insanely popular P365, translating what makes the original P365 such an excellent pistol onto its smaller frame.
Of course, the Sig Sauer doesn’t just ape the features of the first P365: the company gives the P365 SAS design flourishes unique to it. For example, SAS stands for Sig Anti-snag, which aptly describes the gun’s rounded corners and smoother aesthetics. You can easily draw this firearm from its pocket holster, free from the worry that it’ll snag on the way out.
Sig Sauer’s P365 SAS features a 10+1 round magazine capacity and feeds on 9mm bullets. Its overall length is 5.8 inches and stands 4.1 inches tall. Unloaded, the gun weighs 17.8 oz, making it lightweight.
Unlike its older brother, which featured iron sights, Sig’s SAS has trimmed FT Bullseye sights that don’t stick out from the slide. I want to give this innovation a perfect score, but it’s too huge a departure from what I’m used to. You’ll know what I mean if you’re used to shooting guns with iron sights or red dots. So, fair warning—there’s a learning curve.
Another feature that makes this pistol such an excellent pocket gun is its trimmed slide release for easy operation and diverse options for magazines, which shooters with larger hands will appreciate for giving it a better grip. Interestingly, you’ll need a flat head tool to operate the P365 SAS’s takedown lever.
To make the P365 SAS easier to handle, Sig ported the gun’s slide and barrel. I think the adjustment helps to keep it on target, and it definitely minimizes muzzle rise. All told, this pistol is my top pick among small guns suitable for pocket carry. I highly recommend it.
2. Ruger LCP II – Runner-Up
The Ruger LCP II comes second on my list of best pocket pistols. Like the Sig above, it’s based on a hot-selling preceding firearm, the Ruger LCP, which Ruger improved upon.
This gun features a variety of model types, from subcompact pistols to mouse guns. With a 6+1-round capacity, the .380 ACP LCP II is incredibly tiny, so if you wear clothing with ultra-small pockets, it’ll fit right in. It measures 5.17 inches in overall length, standing 3.71 inches tall and weighing 10.6 ounces.
Ergonomically, the LCP II sports an aggressive texture that makes holding this small gun really comfortable. However, due to its strong recoil, you’ll likely need the comfortable grip, as the LCP II is a bucking bronco of a pocket gun.
The Ruger LCP II’s trigger pull is pretty long but smooth and light, with a short reset. I think the plastic trigger functions as expected, and have no complaints, though I’ll concede weaker, older hands might struggle with its weight.
Although it lacks an external thumb safety, the LCP II features excellent trigger and internal safeties that minimize accidental discharge risks. Some models of this pocket pistol come with a laser sight, while others exclude it. I wouldn’t say it’s an integral feature, but I guess it’ll help with sight acquisition in low light conditions.
3. Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 – Best Alternative .380 ACP
If you’re a die-hard Smith Wesson gun owner who wants a pocket pistol like Ruger’s LCP II, the Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 is an excellent alternative. Like the LCP II, Smith & Wesson’s pistol features a 6-round capacity, and is equally small. This gun weighs 12 ounces, is 5.2 inches long, and stands 4.3 inches high.
There are many reasons why the M&P Bodyguard is a darling among law enforcement and used as a backup firearm. First, it’s put together well, featuring a polymer frame, corrosion-resistant stainless steel slide, and textured, moisture-proof grip, among other high-quality materials.
Second, it’s got a snag-free design, which makes drawing it a breeze. You won’t be snagging this bad body on your clothing when you draw it from its holster. Third, and finally, it’s pretty affordable.
This gun features draftable sights that really improve its accuracy. Also, they’re reasonably sized compared to what you’d find on other mouse guns, which sometimes have nothing more than nubs on the slide. And the Bodyguard has a thumb safety, which is great for first-time firearm owners.
Unfortunately, like most pocket guns, the Bodyguard 380 is a jumper with a ton of recoil. I think its thin grip exacerbates the issue, but I’m sure shooters with small hands might disagree.
Luckily, the gun shoots well (thanks to a functional double-action trigger), and it’s pretty reliable too. Plus, the Bodyguard isn’t a picky eater, so it feeds well on varying ammo types.
4. Glock 42 – Most Minimalist
In my opinion, no gun roundup is complete without a mention of at least one Glock firearm. The company’s brand name is synonymous with handguns, and its products are so ubiquitous they permeated popular culture in the ’90s. So appropriately, the Glock 42 makes this list, being the smallest gun the company has produced to date and the most minimalist firearm here.
This is a little gun with a subdued personality (looks-wise) and Glock’s first attempt at targeting the concealed carry market. As such, you can think of it as a shrunken Glock that measures 5.94 inches in length, is 4.13 inches tall, and weighs 13.76 oz (15.87 oz loaded).
Like most pocket guns, the single stack Glock 42 has a modest 6-round capacity. In addition, Glock integrated its safe action system into the 42’s design, so while it doesn’t have a manual safety, there are multiple ones inside it (and a thumb safety).
Regarding the gun’s aesthetics, it’s pretty low-key design-wise. It has a polymer frame, a lightweight firearm textured grip, and proper sights (you can adjust the rear sight). The gun’s trigger pull weighs in at 5.5 pounds, and it resets quickly.
Glock’s firearms are renowned for their reliability, which is a tradition the 42 continues. You won’t encounter any jamming issues on the world’s smallest Glock product, and while this handgun isn’t my first choice for personal defense, it’s better than nothing.
5. Beretta 3032 Tomcat – Most Innovative Design
The Beretta 3032 Tomcat makes my list for having the most innovative design. No other gun on this list features a tip-up barrel, which is the Tomcat’s most distinguishing feature. Beretta’s miniature firearm comes from a line of cat-themed guns (along with the Bobcat and Minx) with tip-up barrels, so it’s no surprise the Tomcat continues this trend.
This gun holds seven rounds in its magazine, and its bullet caliber is .32 ACP. It comes with a two-position safety, simultaneously preventing the gun from firing and locks the slide. The magazine release located on the gun’s left side drops empty magazines from the mag well smoothly, and you can operate it one-handed.
I’ve spoken about how innovative the tip-up barrel is, but not how it functions: unlike other handguns, you don’t need to rack the slide before putting a round in the chamber. I think that’s a cool feature that compliments the gun’s single and double-action trigger.
Moreover, this is a durable gun. Its all metal frame bodes well for how long it’ll keep in all weather conditions. And with dimensions like 4.92 inches in length, 1.1 inches height (like a cellphone), and 14.5 oz weight (unloaded), it’s definitely made for pocket carry.
6. Seecamp LWS 380 – Tiniest Pocket Pistol
Want a pistol so tiny that it can fit in the palm of your hand? The Seecamp LWS 380 would like a word! This little gun earns a spot on my list for being the tiniest pistol I’m aware of. On that note, let’s start with its dimensions: the LWS is 4.25 inches long, 3.25 inches high, and weighs 13.65 oz (loaded).
This gun sports an all-metal frame that surprisingly doesn’t make it heavier than it could be (see its weight above). It’s a .380 ACP gun with the standard 6-round capacity you get with guns this small, and its cartridge has a capacity for 6+1 bullets.
Unsurprisingly, the LWS’s sights are tiny so I wouldn’t use this for anything other than close-quarters shooting. The sights just don’t provide the accuracy necessary for longer distance shooting. Also, as with most small guns, expect some snappy recoil from this pistol (large-handed shooters beware).
Seecamp’s pistol has a DAO trigger. The debate rages on about whether a heavier trigger pull is good or bad for small guns, especially if they don’t come with safeties. I tend to favor heavier triggers so that I won’t fault the LWS’s 11-pound trigger pull.
The LWS isn’t the easiest mouse gun to shoot, but it makes up for that deficiency by being extremely easy to conceal (once again, it’s small enough to fit in your palm). And a hidden gun can make all the difference when you’re faced with an unsuspecting assailant.
7. Trailblazer LifeCard .22WMR – Deepest Concealment
I don’t think any best pocket pistol list would be complete without mentioning the Trailblazer LifeCard .22WMR.
In terms of concealed-carry capabilities, this pocket pistol is unrivaled, making it a pocket carry pistol with the deepest concealment available. How so? Well, the LifeCard doesn’t even look like a pistol when carried in a pocket holster. Instead, as is suggestive of its name, this gun looks like a card, meaning the uninitiated won’t even know they’re staring at a firearm!
When you’re ready to fire the LifeCard, it folds out into a traditional gun shape with the dimensions of a credit card (albeit thicker). In other words, this gun is tiny in its expanded state and tinier when folded!
Aside from the gun’s size, what else does it have to offer? The LifeCard is a single-action firearm with a striker-fired design and a .22 caliber. You’ll need to manually cock it before firing, which isn’t always easy considering the gun’s size.
Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend this gun for self-defense. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll impress gun owners just getting into pocket pistols, but its caliber doesn’t offer a lot of stopping power, giving it a limited self-defense capability. Still, if deep concealment is your thing, you might not want to pass this gun up.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Pocket Pistol
What should you consider when picking a concealed carry pistol? It’s a good idea to keep the factors below in mind when choosing a pocket-carry gun.
Pocket pistols aren’t known to be the most accurate firearms due to their diminutive size. Usually, manufacturers have to shrink down or exclude the controls and components on a pocket gun, and that applies to one of the most important components for accuracy: the gun’s sights.
As a result, mouse guns have a shorter sight radius, which affects their accuracy. Therefore, when choosing a pocket pistol, ensure your chosen weapon has a reputation for being accurate once you’ve practiced with it enough.
As mentioned above, manufacturers may exclude some controls on a pocket gun to compensate for its size. For example, some pocket guns don’t have safety features like a trigger guard or safety, which can make them dangerous when carried by an inexperienced shooter.
If you’re new to firearms, you’ll want a lightweight pocket pistol with a long trigger pull. A heavier trigger lowers the risk of an accidental discharge, compensating for the gun’s lack of safety features.
The best pocket pistols can feed on different ammunition types without issue. As such, I highly recommend you choose a pistol known to feed well.
Of course, that isn’t to say you won’t need to test the gun. On the contrary, it’s a good idea to put your chosen pocket pistol through its paces by testing out all kinds of brands, if only to learn which ones it rejects. After all, the worst time to learn this information would be in a life and death situation!
By aesthetics, I mean how the gun draws, not what it looks like. Given a choice between a pocket gun that has odds and ends that could snag on your clothing and one that doesn’t, I’d say go for the latter pistol every time. You’ll save yourself precious time in a self-defense scenario, potentially saving your life too.
If your main motivation for carrying a pocket pistol (after deep concealment) is self-defense, you’ll want to aim for one with a higher caliber. Micro-compact handguns have a reputation for not providing enough stopping power, even at close range, due to their lower calibers. Their barrels are too short and so propel the bullets at a lower than lethal velocity.
Grip and Extended Magazine
Shooters with medium and small hands will handle mouse guns just fine. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for shooters with large hands. Since these guns have smaller grips, larger hands don’t have a lot to hold, which can be problematic when the gun’s strong recoil comes into play.
As such, if you have larger hands, you might need to consider a pocket pistol that comes with an extended magazine. These magazines increase the gun’s overall height by a couple of inches, giving larger hands more real estate to grab onto.
Finally, it goes without saying that you’d want to pick a small gun suitable for pocket carry. You should be able to fit a pocket gun in your pocket (duh!), preferably in a pocket holster, as that’s the main quality that makes it suitable for concealed carry. Therefore, being pocket-friendly is a non-negotiable characteristic your chosen pocket pistol should have.
And that’s a wrap! The above rundown should provide you with the best choices available if you’re looking for a pocket handgun.
As already mentioned, the Sig P365 Max, to my mind, is the best pocket pistol a shooter can get for concealed carry. It’s got so much going for it, providing everything you’d need from a pocket pistol (concealment, accuracy, etc.). I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a concealed carry weapon.