Not My Kind Of Gun

My first-ever carry gun back in the 1970s was actually an inherited Baby Browning (.25 ACP, about the same as a .22 Mag in effectiveness), and I have to tell you, I never carried it with any confidence.

That youthful feeling of skepticism has carried over into my later years, with a vengeance.

This article here gives all the reason why I don’t carry a “pocket gun”.  Here’s my summary of reasons:

Mostly, the caliber choices are inadequate (.380 ACP is marginally effective, but only with super-premium cartridges like Hornady or the like), and if you do carry a beefier chambering, the gun is well-nigh uncontrollable.  Newton’s law will not be denied.

I have fairly big hands, and shooting a Ruger LCP / Kel-Tec P3AT-type is frankly a real hassle for me.


I find it easier, in fact, to shoot a micro-handgun like the NAA Mini-revolver (which I do carry, loaded with .22 Mag snake shot cartridges but only when I’m in, um, snake country).

(And I have the oversized rubber grips on mine [see below], to make it more controllable.)

Here’s my take on this whole issue.  The common rationale for carrying one of these peashooters is that it’s better than carrying no gun at all.  Maybe that’s true, but I think it’s more likely not true — accuracy (in almost any chambering) is problematic, which leads to the counter-argument that these are really “under the chin” guns (or as I call it, “halitosis range”).  Quite frankly, though, I’m not comfortable with getting that close to a goblin — hell, if you’re going to be in kissing distance, a decent fucking knife is the equal of any of these peashooters, and I’m too old to be getting into knife fights or, for that matter, grappling with some asshole who’s forty years younger than I am while I struggle to put a bullet into his eye, throat or belly.

No, thank you.  My sole concession to carrying a smaller gun is my S&W 637 Airweight, and to be frank, I feel undergunned when I head out on a pizza run (the most common reason to take “any” gun when leaving the house).

Here are my primary carry choices:

Not pictured:  Browning High Power.  Still to come (from):  a Colt Python, S&W 66 / 627 / 686, Ruger GP100, Kimber K6 and maybe a couple others.

I have no plans — none — to buy a pocket anything except a watch.  But that’s a story for another time…


  1. Kim, was that a pearl or ivory handle on your first carry gun? Asking retroactively for General Patton.

  2. I’ve thought about the LCP just because of the low (pre-pandemic) cost and the ease of carrying a small gun. My wife packs a .380 so figured might get a second in that caliber. My thought process is that the carry gun should be something that works and can be easily replaced – thus my choice of S&W Shield in 9 mm. Shoots good and (again, pre-pandemic) can be easily replaced if lost, damaged, of confiscated post-shooting.

    But yeah, smaller guns are easier to carry and harder to shoot. The LCP is probably as small as I would go. South Texas carry in shorts, flip-flops and a T-shirt kinda argues for a small gun anyway.

  3. You might want to read,

    This is a study of a few thousand handgun shootings at calibers ranging from .22 LR to .44 mag.

    If all you want to do is drive someone away, all calibers are equally effective. The pain from almost any gunshot would is deterrent enough. However, a .22 is not going to kill or incapacitate anyone, unless you get a very lucky shot. A .44 mag will kill someone.

  4. Never forget Colonel Cooper writing about defensive handguns. Working his way down from 1911 in 45ACP he got to the Browning in 25ACP. His advice ? …best used as a watch fob…LMAO

    1. I recall reading (perhaps in Gunsite Gossip) about someone who shot HIMSELF with .25 ACP, in the abdomen, and he did not discover he had shot himself until he SAW the blood.
      Somehow the .25ACP has a reputation just above bb’s.

  5. I have a KelTec P32 that was my first pocket/carry pistol. I’ll go along with the ‘better than nothing’, but with premium defensive ammo, even the little .32ACP can be effective with decent shot placement, and more with multiple shots. I put a laser on it which helped with the accuracy limitations (small gun, large hand, crappy sights). It was, believe it or not, 100% reliable after the first break in box of hardball was run through it.

    Currently using a micro-9 for carry with Federal HST ammo. I have better guns but despite numerous holsters and trials, none of them carry comfortably and conceal reliably; if the current weight loss and exercise regimen help then I’ll probably upgrade. Otherwise even europellets are not too shabby when they are HSTs, Gold Dots, Winchester Bonded,or the like.

    1. My carry gun is a KelTec P32. I frequently testify as an expert in court. One afternoon, I was in the witness room waiting to testify and was carrying on light coversation with a couple of local cops. I mentioned, a little sheepishly, that I carried the P32, and acknowledged that I knew I really couldn’t hit much with it outside of very few yards. Both cops nodded and said they actually recommended the P32 to people. I was amazed. They said the great thing about the P32 is that everybody who carries one knows that they can’t hit anything with it, so they are never tempted to get into a firefight. Instead, it is used exactly for what it was designed for — a “get off me” gun.

      To them, that was the perfect thing for most folk who wanted to carry but didn’t want to spend hours and hours at the range. It was a gun good enough to get someone off of you at point blank range, but would not tempt anybody to try to play commando and have a shootout somewhere.

  6. Please forgive me a bit of Captain Obvious. Life and age force compromise, in many cases leading to “…better than carrying no gun at all”.

    My wife is small in stature, but not will. She is in the process of getting her LTC. We went to our local indoor range late last year and rented a Ruger LCR in 38 sp. It had been decades since she had fired a gun. She shot one round and put it down. “NO”. I did this deliberately and the result was expected. OK then, now we have a benchmark to work down from. For the record, I fired the remaining four rounds in the LCR. No surprise, and no thanks.

    I actually managed to snag her an M&P 380 Shield EZ from Bud’s Guns. We will pick it up this week. Also snagged their last two boxes of Winchester 380 ball ammo.

    What Don said about shorts and T-shirt (I don’t do flip-flops). I am seriously considering a fanny pack. Not the super tactical black ones made for carry, but modifying a sport logo pack. Several videos on YouTube with good ideas on how to do this.

    I have held but not yet shot a Glock G43 9mm sub-compact. Really liked the way it felt. Range ammo for rental guns is just about non-existent currently, however if you bring in a retail box of ammo with the receipt, our local range will let you shoot it in their rental guns.

  7. > I have no plans — none — to buy a pocket anything except a watch.

    Yes! Come to the dark side. We have tea & biscuits.

  8. Here in Louisiana, my standard summer attire is shorts(often cargo shorts) and a polo shirt, or T-shirt.
    I have a P32 that is my summer piece. It can literally be carried in my back pocket, just like my wallet, in a $12 pocket holster.

    I’m looking at a Glock 43, because it can be carried in a cargo pocket in a DeSantis Super Fly holster.

    Remember: the first rule is “Have a gun”. The second rule is: “Shoot more than once”. The third rule is: “Hit your target”.
    Lately I’ve been practicing multiple head-shots with the P32, at 10 ft or less

  9. You should look at a Sig P365 – 11 rounds of 9mm +P is not too shabby, still fits in a pocket (although at the limit of acceptable pocket size) and somehow shoots more comfortably and accurately than many larger guns

  10. The only legit pocket gun I have is the Bond Arms Snake Slayer in .45/.410. Bought mine for snakes, & it’s a massive spread outta that short barrel. Probably won’t take out a goblin but I’m betting it might persuade him to leave.

    1st pistol I ever bought was a Makarov 9×18. When the wall came down the Ruskies were hard up for cash & you could get ‘em for a song ($125) in the early 90s. Carried it for a long time, and it remains one of my favorite shooters.

    Over the years I became an avid wheel gunner, and wound up carrying a 3rd-gen Colt Detective Special for ccw, loaded with Speer short-barrel 135 grain +P.

    Both can be (and have been) pressed into service as pocket guns, but I’ve generally used inside the waistband holsters for them.

    More recently I’ve become enamored (much to Kim’s tradition-centric chagrin, I’m sure) of Chiappa’s 30DS .357 loaded with 158 grain Federal. An easy carry & it’ll reach out & touch a goblin at right around 1200 fps. With less recoil & muzzle flip than the Colt it replaced. Not much of a pocket gun, but they make a 2 in-barrel version that would work if you don’t mind sacrficing a couple 100 fps. And not being able to hear anything for the next day or two.

  11. Kim,
    a couple years ago, someone in a barbershop dropped two robbers with headshots using a double barrel .22mag derringer. The one standing next to him survived, the one a few paces away was DRT. IIRC, he carried it in a back pocket covered up with a handkerchief. I’d be inclined to carry multiples of that for the NY reload potential. Have you compared your mini-rev to these?

  12. Own a G43 and like it a lot. It’s my Florida Man (shorts, sneaks and Boogaloo shirt) daily carry. However, there’s an intriguing combination out in the wild that could be a real winner: the Glock 48 and the new 15 round steel magazines from Shield Industries. The combo is a thin pistol with 15+1 rounds without an mag extension. In essence, it’s a single stack G19 with the G19’s full round capacity.

    Take that, Gaston!

  13. Waaaay back in the 80’s, Guns & Ammo (IIRC) had an article written by some guys who did a series of live goat shooting to test various calibers. Dunno where they were from, but I remember the bit about the .380 w/ SJHP type ammo, and at 20 feet, the goats bled out pretty quick, like 10 secs or so. Nothing like the .45 or .357, but acceptable. Now what a t-shirt & jacket might do to that I don’t know. For the smaller among our ranks, the .380 could be the best choice. Think how boring it would be if we were all alike!

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