If you need a compact, small-caliber semi-automatic handgun, the pocket pistol is the way to go. Designed for concealed carry in either the front or back pocket of your pants, the pocket pistol is a suitable option for those who want to protect themselves and/or their family at any given time. Read on to see our top picks for the best pocket pistols.
Personally, I purchased a pair of pocket pistols before going on a hiking trip. When you’re lugging sleeping bags, supplies, and tent poles up a mountain, the last thing you want is the hassle of having to carry around long rifles.
So how do you settle on a decent pocket pistol? Today, we’ll talk about my top ten picks for modern, cutting-edge pocket pistols for self-defense. We’ll break down pocket pistol features, price points, and more.
In the end, I think you’ll agree that there are plenty of excellent pocket pistol options at your fingertips.
|Product||Rating||Price||Where to Buy|
|Bond Arms Backup||9.7||$$|
|Colt Mustang XSP||9.6||$$|
|Rock Island Armory Baby Glock||9.1||$$|
|Smith & Wesson Bodyguard||8.8||$$|
|Taurus Model 617||8.7||$$|
This snub-nosed revolver is tailor-made for conceal and carry. It features a patented rebounding hammer and is designed to fire heavy-duty .45 ACP rounds.
The textured frame and bead-blasted anti-glare barrel make for accuracy as well as discretion. By taking the traditional black derringer and perfecting it for the modern age, Bond Arms have created one of the best pocket pistols around of the 21st Century.
The black crinkle powdercoat finish gives it a classic artisan design that runs parallel to its contemporary inner workings. The Backup’s got a cross-bolt safety, retracting firing pins and a spring-loaded, cammed locking lever.
At $490.00, this lightweight piece is a midrange choice that will get the job done in a pinch. If you head on over to Cabela’s, they have Backups on sale for $449.99.
In 2000, Colt ceased production on the .380 Colt Mustang, but in recent years, they’ve gotten back into commercial production with a vengeance, releasing not one but two new models designed to accept the original Mustang’s parts.
This means that you can purchase the old parts for a song and use them in Colt’s new, cutting-edge pocket pistols.
My personal fave is the Colt Mustang Pocketlite, a polymer .380 redesign that offers clean shooting, a 6 + 1 capacity, a .757-inch wide slide, and an overall gun length of just 5.5 inches.
Indeed, the largest, clunkiest part of the Pocketlite is its plastic grips which come in at a mere 1.075 inches.
While the tiny safety on this piece is a bit on the stiff side, everything else measures up to other single-action pocket pistols on the market.
The Pocketlite boasts a handsome aluminum alloy frame with an electroless nickel finish and the slide has a high brushed gloss. It also has high-profile sights and a Commander-style hammer.
The MSRP on the .380 Mustang should be around $499, placing it in the same class as the Backup in terms of price point.
This .380 ACP automatic pistol is a bit large compared to most competitors’ pocket pistols, but it’s still a viable conceal and carry option. It’s got a 5.5 lb trigger pull and, at 5.94 inches in length, it’s the smallest pistol Glock has ever produced.
A lot of people have dismissed the .380 caliber as being inferior when it comes to taking out an opponent, but it has gained in popularity in recent years because it’s the most effective cartridge for a smaller-size firearm.
The .380 is also ideal for beginners as you can learn how to fire one in a fraction of the time it takes to train with a larger higher velocity/higher recoil weapon. In this avid shooter’s humble opinion, the Glock 42 is one of the absolute best .380 concealed carry pistols.
Gritsports has offers on the Glock 42 starting at $499.00. Sometimes it is on sale for $399.00
The Kimber Micro 9 with Crimson Trace Lasergrips is a 9mm 1911 model that is perfect for conceal and carry. It’s just 4.07 inches in length and 1.06 inches wide.
With a 6-bullet capacity, the Kimber Micro provides the shooter with a smooth trigger pull and moderate recoil. It features a flush-fitting mag with finger grip extension and comes with a soft padded case.
It’s got white dot sights and a 16 lb recoil spring. An excellent firearm for defensive purposes, the Kimber Micro 9 is hardly a piece for competitive shooting or most outdoorsman’s needs, but it will have your back in a self-defense scenario.
Most vendors sell the Kimber Micro 9 for around $600.00. Cabela’s has sales prices starting at $659.99.
If you’re in the market for the best pocket revolver, NAA’s mini-revolver may just be the concealed carry pocket pistol for you.
North American Arms’ .22 LR is, by far, the most popular miniature revolver ever mass-produced. It is specifically offered in a holster grip configuration for conceal and carry purposes.
With a 1 1/8-inch barrel and a 5-shot capacity, the .22 LR is a mean little machine. The grip folds up to ensure optimal concealment and folds into a locked position for control when shooting.
At $256.00, it’s one of the most affordable concealed carry pistols around.
Finding a way to make a 1911 run dependably can be a bit tough. It’s not an exact science. But, somehow, Rock Island Armory has achieved just that.
This shrunken .380 model cuts down on recoil and offers users an easy-to-handle experience thanks to the squared serrations on both the front and rear of the slide.
A bit clunky for proper pocket carry, the Baby Rock is nevertheless a worthy conceal and carry gun that can serve as an IWB (Inside the Waistband) carry.
Its soft rubber grip panels make it comfortable to hold and a short trigger pull. The Baby Rock sells for $420.00. It also fits great in one of our recommended range bags.
As a lifelong shooter, I was never as impressed with Ruger as I have been in the last couple of years. They really seem to have their finger on the pulse and their ear to the street because they keep coming out with the things that every gun consumer is looking for.
With the LC9, they have proven that they’re really paying attention to what gun owners are saying in online forums and consumer feedback.
Previous models suffered from subpar triggers and cumbersome safety measures. The new LC9s have none of that. We’re talkin’ superior trigger, a snag-free profile, and drift adjustable white 3-dot sights.
With a 7 + 1 ammo capacity and striker-fire action, the Ruger LC9 gives a lot of other concealed carry pistols a run for their money.
Each unit comes with a 7-round magazine and two mag base pads. At 1.08 lbs, it’s a lightweight pocket pistol with a 5.5 trigger pull, placing it firmly within the pantheon of perfect compact pocket pistols.
The MSRP on this one is $449.00, but Cabela’s has some on sale for $429.99.
I’m just gonna be real with you, the Bodyguard is simply the coolest-looking gun on this list. With this one on your hip, you feel like a character straight outta Blade Runner.
Smith & Wesson’s M & P Bodyguard is another worthy .380 model with a sleek design and a stainless steel slide and barrel.
Weighing in at 12.3 ounces, it’s a compact and easy-to-conceal pocket pistol with drift adjustable sights and an ergonomic grip. Each unit comes with two magazines with finger grooves and a flat butt plate.
The high-strength polymer frame makes for firearm longevity while the double action fire control provides 2nd strike compatibility.
This iron-sighted double-action semi-auto pocket revolver has a 6 + 1 capacity and a smooth, flat plastic trigger.
The only drawback to this one is the heavier trigger pull. Most of the guns on this list have a trigger pull within the range of 5.5 whereas the Bodyguard has a 9.5 lb trigger pull.
Cabela’s sells the Bodyguard for a starting price of $399.99.
This double-action seven-shot snub-nosed revolver is the only wheelgun on this list, but it’s every bit as functional and reliable as the non-wheelgun models listed above.
It’s an extremely powerful little beast that’s cut from corrosion-resistant steel. The DA/SA trigger provides top-of-the-line precision.
This .357 Magnum‘s only real drawback is the six-shot limit, but it’s still head and shoulders above much of the competition and the serrated front sight provides superior visibility when compared to many of its counterparts.
At an average price point of $479.99, it won’t break the bank, but you’ll know that you’re getting your money’s worth at the same time.
The CCP stands for Concealed Carry Pistol and this Walther model lives up to its namesake. A 9mm Luger, the CCP utilizes soft coil gas technology for gas-delayed blowback.
Directing gas pressure through a small port in the barrel, it slows down the rear motion of the slide.
This ensures that the empty cartridge casing will be properly ejected when fired.
With an 8-round capacity, the CCP is at the top of the heap when it comes to a concealed carry pistol that allows for rapid fire.
Its unique non-slip grip is a handy feature to have on rainy days or in other outdoor situations. It’s also got a reversible magazine release for left-handed or right-handed shooters. The front sight is interchangeable while the rear sight is adjustable.
Cabela’s stocks this one at a price point of $399.99, making it every bit as affordable as the other pocket pistols on our list.
So there you have it, these are my top ten picks for the best modern, cutting-edge pocket pistol. Each of them is a viable option for concealed and carry needs. I urge my readers to shop around and do their homework.
Although I’ve given you plenty to think about, it always helps to see what other reviewers and customers have to say about their personal experiences with any given firearm. Research is key when settling on the pistol that fits your preferences.
If you have any additional comments or suggestions please drop a comment below. Thanks and remember to protect yourself and your ears when shooting.
24 thoughts on “10 Best Pocket Pistols (in 2023 and Beyond)”
The Bond Arms Backup is a derringer, not a revolver. Moreover, the Taurus 617 is a 7 shot .357 magnum revolver, not 6. You need to fix this article.
Also, wouldn’t the Taurus 856 (6 shot ultralight .38) be a better recommendation for a pocket revolver. Taurus just re-introduced this gun in response to Colt’s re-introduction of the Cobra. The 856 is going to be more pocket friendly than the 617. You also don’t include the Ruger LCR. It comes in 5 shot calibers. However, there is a 6 shot .327 fed mag.
I thought a revolver was a weapon with a cylinder that revolves. I thought a Derringer was a barrel locking one or two shot that is stationary. Just wondering.
Right on, Rusty! What the….?
Just wondering what gun is pictured at the top of the article.
real derringers are different. its usually a single barrel, double side by side or over under barrel. the naa mini revolver is a correct term for the gun. that Taurus though, I would not have. I prefer my 5 shot ruger lcr. it is lighter, and smaller. true, I don’t have capacity, but only an idiot stands and fires in one spot. if you have multiple targets, with guns or just one shooter,you may have to fire and get back into cover fast and if that’s the case I would do just fine with my five shot lcrx with the hammer back each time before I fire to get a better shot. and have a speedloader that’s loaded for extra ammo. my next gun wouldn’t be any of the guns on this list. I would opt for a sig p938 or maybe a sig p365 if I can find one. because it will fit in the pocket. if I cant find those at a good price ill probably get a shield 9mm 2.0 and carry an extra clip.
Looks like a Rohrbaugh.
The gun pictured but not list is the Rohrbaugh 9mm. To my knowledge, the R9 is still the smallest 9mm. They’re great guys IMHO
Its the Rohrbaugh R380. Great little gun, I have one and love it.
Presumably, Sig wasn’t offering the writer an adequate commission.
Why do you show a picture of a Rohrbaugh 380, which is a gun that surpasses in quality all the other guns in your article, and then not mention it? Strange.
It’s a Rock Island Baby ROCK, not a Baby Glock. Good googly-moogly…anybody keeping track of the number of errors in this article?
The gun pictured but not list is the Rohrbaugh 9mm. To my knowledge, the R9 is still the smallest 9mm. They’re great guys IMHO
I would buy a Sig Sauer P238 over any of these models. This list is flawed. The Kimber would be on my short list too.
I would like a 22 mag with a 20 round double stack fat grip semi-auto with a flip up barrel like the Beretta Tomcat/Bobcat series, for summer time board shorts carry. Nearly equal in energy as a 380, but with less recoil and better penetration. 20 rounds of 22 mag flying at you is no joke. One to the head or face will drop you.
Do your research the body guard 380 with thumb safety or not laser or not is a good choice. 380 rounds have come a long way at 1000 ft in a second hollow point or Hornaday sst at 20 feet will stop any body. So at 12 oz and long trigger pull laser for low light conditions a gun that is right for every day carry. If you want more fire power try carrying the 460 Smith all day.
Where’s the Semmelring 45 ????????????
sig p238 over all these ………… kimber a runner up
What do you have against the Kahr Pm 9 and the PM 40?
I had cleaned out a storage garage a few years ago and found a Long Cold 45 cal. 5 shot evolver. No brand name or Serial numbers and it was blued with standard knurled plastic grips and a 1.5 inch STRAIGHT Riffled Bore. The only round I found was a weird plastic capped 45 LC with steel ball bearings as the shot and a pusher wad. No other rounds were found. It was very small for the caliber and could fit under my arm easily. It was not a western style cut down. It was in a very warn leather belt holster. Any ideas what this was besides a custom made firearm?
Pocket pistols? Someone is getting paid to put something on a list. All you guys who keep putting the bodyguard on these lists have obviously never shot it. The trigger is indescribably terrible. The Kimber is good and the Mustang too but not as good as a Sig P238. Ruger LCP2, Kahr P/CW380 and the P238 all are better than anything on this list.
I’m getting up in years and if I get into a tussle I don’t think I would be able to defend myself against a young thug What would your suggestion be for concealed carry this is not a first-time purchase but there are just so many different small firearms I’m totally confused I originally had my eye on a Beretta Pico but I was talked out of that in favor of the LCP by Ruger confused on that as well basically just looking for if I get into a tussle gun not for Target shooting something I could keep in my back pocket and dependable if the need arises and hopefully it never will
What a joke of a list. Bond Arms derringer? Really.
NAA Mini revolver has been great for my family. It is small and light so we can easily take it on long backpacking trips. It obviously will not take down a bear. It has the accuracy of a tiny barrel. BUT it is so damn loud that anything in range of the barrel hears KABOOM! That little barrel makes a lot of noise and attracts a lot of attention! We have our other “calibers” at home for their different purposes. I had a friend that scared off a trio trying to rob him, as he entered his car after work, with his NAA revolver.
IDK why the Ruger LCP max is not mentioned . I have one with a extended mag so 12 plus one capacity . The gun is super light and very concealable. Something that small with 13 rounds should be on the list in my opinion .