Finally! High Cap Pocket Pistols!

Finally! High Cap Pocket Pistols!

This is a brief video of my tests with the Beretta Px4 Storm Subcompact above and below is the Springfield Armory XD-9 Subcompact. If you don’t see these videos in IE8/Windows 7, view the Px4 here and the XD-9 here on YouTube in a new window.

I try to think about “the gunfight” when it comes to concealed carry pistols and revolvers. At the end of day, we all may feel like we carry guns for peace of mind, or generic “self defense,” but we really just want to be prepared in case the need to start, or finish, a gunfight comes up.

That means that when we pick a concealed carry gun, we need to make sure we will a) actually carry the gun we choose, b) be able to accurately fire the gun we choose, and c) be able to depend on the gun we choose. d) Oh, and you really need to have enough firepower to be able to finish the fight, whether you started it or not.

Feeling safer in a hostile world isn’t enough. In order to actually be safer, and to be able to protect those around us, we need to achieve these four goals.

The first point, actually carrying the gun, leads me to suggest more often than not the option of the “pocket pistol” which is more commonly a pocket revolver, the Smith & Wesson J-Frame being the most popular, in .38 Special or .357 Magnum. I usually suggest a model with a bobbed or internal hammer, and that the best way to carry it is in a pocket holster, usually available at the local gun dealer.

There are arguments for carrying a gun in a holster on the waist, either in the pants or out, and many people do. So I will assume for arguments sake (and arguments do spring up when you mention pocket pistol) that if a pistol or revolver is pocketable, it is most likely also concealable on the belt more easily than a larger gun, and how you choose to carry should be a product of your willingness to carry it in that manner every day, in every situation.

If you don’t like to wear your shirt untucked, you don’t like sweaters, and you don’t want to wear a jacket or vest every day, or carry a purse for that matter, a pocket pistol is your only option if you want to be able to draw the gun quickly and fire. A pocket pistol is very convenient to carry and is easily drawn and fired. For me a pocket pistol is the only viable alternative.

The Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolver is the standard by which all others are measured. Whether you carry .38 Special or .357 Magnum is a product of how much recoil and muzzle flash you can tolerate, as well as the composition of the gun. They come in solid steel weighing in a pound and a half or so, aluminum alloy at around a pound, down to titanium at a fraction of that. In a light revolver the .357 Magnum is extremely sharp with recoil. I have seen ex-marines shoot two rounds of five and say “that’s enough for now.” If you expect shot to shot recovery and accuracy, either a steel gun in .357 magnum or a light alloy gun in .38 Special are realistic.

As for b) and c), being able to shoot the gun and have it work reliably, the Smith & Wesson comes in as the best choice as well. I would add the new Ruger LCR to that list, which is a polymer “J-Frame” style revolver in .357 Magnum. They are easy to shoot, with no safety you have to remember to drop, and reliability is unquestionable. For these reasons I have always suggested these guns for concealed carry, until now.

The issue is point d) on our list, firepower. I used to feel like my Smith & Wesson Airweight was fine. Most gunfights are 3 rounds or less, so statistically, five rounds of .38 Special +P should be enough.

There is no comparison between the guns here and a 5 shot revolver. 

But then I lived through the Y2K scare, Katrina, Wilma (the lesser known but devastating hurricane in South Florida right after Katrina), and of course, 9/11. Combined these events made me realize that for one, catastrophic events happen, even in rich fat America, and that when they do, there is no pause button to run home and get your full gear battle rifle or combat shotgun. My concealed carry gun is all I have out there alone in the world, and I want more bullets (!!), and the more bad ass those bullets, the better! …as long as i can manage the recoil for shot to shot accuracy.

For years I dreamed about a pistol that had all four of my points, the hardest one being the first, that the gun would be practical to carry every day, in every situation. Small autos have come and come into the market but they were for the most part either .380 ACP, which I do not consider a caliber that gets the job done, or 9mm with few if any more rounds than my little revolvers. The Kel-Tek, LCP, Kahr and other reliable guns may be viable choices for some people, and they aren’t carried by hundreds of thousands of Americans, they aren’t for me. For years I have carried the .45ACP stainless steel AMT Backup which is no longer made, but even it is only 5 rounds in the mag.

The one pistol that could have been an exception is the Glock 26 in 9mm. It is tiny, smaller than the two pistols I am covering here, but it has what I consider a deal killer for a pocket pistol as part of its design. There is neither an external drop safety nor a mechanical safety as a backup to the trigger safety. If you are someone who never drops the keys into your gun pocket by mistake, and never has kids climbing on you when you walk in the door, it isn’t a deal killer. In a pocket holster to protect the trigger the Glock 26 is a great high capacity pocket pistol. But if you do worry about the occasional absent-minded keys, or you have kids climbing on you with hands and feet everywhere, I can’t recommend it, and I personally would never carry it in such a way. I have both of those issues.

Enter what I consider the new breed of pocket pistol, though I am not sure a lot of people are calling them that.

The Beretta Px4 Subcompact and the Springfield Armory XD9 Subcompact both come in just under two pounds fully loaded with (count em) 14 rounds of 9mm. They represent what I feel is the next generation of pocket pistol. Both are manageable weight for front pocket carry if you wear a belt, and with a pocket holster they both draw smoothly, with no snags.

The Beretta Px4 Storm Subcompact

I’ll start with the little Beretta. It comes out of my pocket as fast as any J-Frame I have every carried, and points as well as any pistol I have ever owned. It made me finally retire my AMT Backup, and plan to carry it exclusively. This subcompact is the baby brother of the full size line of Beretta Px4 pistols. It utilizes a tilt barrel system instead of a rotating barrel like the full size Px4s, but all the other features in the full size guns are also standard in the subcompact. The gun comes with three interchangeable back straps for different size hands and an extra 13 round magazine, as well as a magazine loader. My gun didn’t come with the patented “SnapGrip(tm)” magazine extender, which extends down from the front of the magazine to fit a third finger. It could be they ran out because of the run on high capacity pistols we have been dealing with since November (so make sure you get one).

The Beretta Px4 Storm Subcompact 

Right now the Px4 Subcompact is available in 9mm, with a 10 round .40 cal version coming sometime early this year. The gun is fully ambidextrous and the magazine release is reversible. The finish on the gun is a non glare that is exclusive to Beretta, called Bruniton. It is meant to be carried close to the body and the barrel is stainless steel. The sights are a three dot Superluminova (R) system coated with a photosensitive luminous material. They charge up in light and can last 30 minutes in darkness. It is 6.2 inches long, 4.8 inches high, and 1.2 inches thick, not counting the de-cocker ears that stick out another .2 inches.

The action of my test pistol is a “double/single,” which means that the way you would carry the gun, your first shot would be double action, with a heavy trigger pull that both cocks and fires the hammer. The recoil from the first round then will re-cock the hammer, and bring the next round into battery, and the subsequent trigger pulls are short, single action, just dropping the hammer to fire the gun.

Not much larger if at all than a J-Frame

If you don’t want to fire subsequent rounds, the Px4 has a de-cocker, which lets you bring the hammer to rest and bring the trigger back to a double action pull without having to manually let down the hammer with your thumb while squeezing the trigger. The Px4’s de-cocker also has a safety, so you can load you first round from the magazine by pulling the slide back and letting it go without the gun every being in firing condition. Once you load the round, you can then take the de-cocker off of safe to carry the gun in the same safe condition as you would a revolver, with no external safety and a heavy double action pull as your first shot.

What I like about the de-cocker with the safety, to bring it back to the discussion of the Glock 26, is if you feel you are about to enter a situation where the trigger of your pistol could be pulled accidentally, you can reach into your pocket and flip the de-cocker to safe, rendering the trigger completely inactive. Even a double action revolver doesn’t have that, and I find it to be a useful feature.

It is also an extra safety step for someone who hasn’t carried a gun before who may need that step to feel more comfortable. I don’t feel that the de-cocker on the Px4 Subcompact can be taken off safe easily enough for a quick draw and fire, but if you aren’t ready to carry a gun that can be pulled and fired, it is better than leaving the pipe empty. During that initial period that I carried a gun (it was a Bersa .380 when I turned 21), I had daydream nightmares about the gun spontaneously firing. The additional safety is a welcome addition for those who would prefer it. Beretta offers other action types on the full size Px4s, but I haven’t seen them in the subcompact yet. There is an addition safety feature in the top of the slide. It is a visible firing pin block. Unless the trigger is pulled all the way back there is a post blocking the firing pin, in case the gun is dropped.

My test gun has one of the smoothest double action pulls I have felt in a true double action pistol. No matter where I put my finger on the trigger, it doesn’t “stack up,” which is a difficult thing to explain, but you know when you feel it. It’s like the gun is working against you when you try to pull the trigger, and it is especially difficult for those with small, weaker hands. I have trained women with my stainless Smith & Wesson J-Frame and had them claim that they can’t pull the trigger, no matter how hard they pull. I tell them to just move their finger around a little to find the leverage spot, and then they can snap snap snap it easily.

The Px4 Subcompact has replaceable backstraps for different sized hands.

I could not replicate this “stacking” behavior with even my pinky on the Px4 Subcompact, at every angle I could think of on the trigger. There are gunsmiths that specialize in making a Smith & Wesson revolver shoot as smoothly in double action as one that has fired 10,000 rounds. I feel that the Px4 Subcompact shoots as easily as most “slicked up” revolvers I have felt, right out of the box.

Muzzle flip is considerable on the Px4 Subcompact, but that is to be expected on a light polymer framed gun. I found it manageable, and not unlike the flip on my full sized polymer pistols. It is rated for +P ammunition, but I didn’t try it. Expect the muzzle flip and blast to be considerably larger. Beretta advertises the Px4 Subcompact as the most accurate subcompact on the market, and the evidence of my shooting supported that conclusion. I am not a competitive shooter, and except for one flyer that I knew I pulled off, my first magazine on the gun printed into about 4 inches at 25 feet. This is similar to what I would do with my full size Para P-14. I would say it is a very accurate gun.

Field stripping the Px4 Subcompact is extremely easy and performed with the slide locked back. You don’t have to wrangle the slide to the right position while you remove the pin like with many auto pistols. With the slide locked back the pin simply spins and is easily pulled to field strip position. It stays in the gun. Then you just take the slide forward and remove the barrel. Reassembly is equally as simple.

The other features on the gun are a Picatinny rail, for small lights and lasers, and a finger hold depression above the trigger guard to remind you to keep that finger off the trigger when you don’t intend to fire. I love the overall feel of the gun, and I also feel it is the sexiest piece of steel I’ve seen for a long, long time. If the WOW factor at all matters to you, check out the Beretta Px4 Storm Subcompact. It is a solid pistol that may be unmatched in its class.

The Springfield Armory XD-9 Subcompact

At this point there is almost no introduction required for any Springfield Armory XD pistol. The original XD-9 is the pistol that revolutionized the ergonomics of polymer pistols, period. Their original concept of a pistol that was an extension of the hand made me a believer the first time I picked one up, and I have purchased several XDs in three calibers since.

The Springfield Armory XD-9 Subcompact

This XD-9 is what is called a “striker fired” pistol. There is no hammer. Instead the XD has a spring loaded firing pin. The Glocks also work like this, and also like the Glock, all XDs have a lever safety built into the trigger, so that you finger must be on the trigger to fire the gun. The trigger pull is long and steady, and fairly light, and there is no drop safety on the gun at all, though Springfield Armory does make some of their .45ACP models in full frame with one.

What made me almost an instant convert to the original XD pistol when I first encountered it was its implementation of a grip safety, similar to that found on the 1911 series of pistols. On a 1911, the grip safety is there to make sure your hand is on the gun when the trigger is pulled, in case the safety is dropped inadvertently and something wanders onto the trigger. For a full size service pistol in a law enforcement situation this could be the finger of an assailant that an officer is wrestling with, and it would be much the same in a concealed carry situation using a belt rig. In the pocket, you never know what can land in your pocket with the gun in it and I feel it is a genuine, decision altering concern for pocket pistols. I find the grip safety comforting, and I feel that it makes the XD subcompact practical for the pocket, whereas the Glock 26 to me is not.

For size, the XD-9 Subcompact is 6.25″ long and 4.75″ high with the regular 13 round magazine. It also comes with an extended three finger magazine that holds 16 rounds. It weighs 26 ounces empty and is just over an inch thick. The barrel is a 3″ Melonite, for superior corrosion resistance, and the frame is of course black polymer.

The original XD was one of the first auto pistols to come with an integrated Picatinny rail, and the subcompact is no different. The smaller variety of lights and lasers will fit the front, though I wouldn’t recommend it for the pocket.

Accuracy on the gun was what I expect now from all XDs, exceptional for an out of the box gun. I shot about the same with this gun as with the Px4 on the first magazine. I am eager to try the XDm version when it comes out, if just to see if I can shoot better than I do now. Even 4″ at 25 feet is respectable, and I am sure the pistol is more accurate than I am.

Thickness is comparable and less than many revolvers.

Take Your Pick?

Many people tire of gun reviews that are glowing, but it is difficult to say anything negative about either of these pistols. In the photos you will see the size difference between them, almost imperceptible, and also their size as compared to a standard 5 shot Smith & Wesson in two different styles. I feel that both of these autos are great carry pistols regardless, and particularly good for pocket carry. The choice is up to you. If you prefer a long double action pull for your first shot, like a revolver, it’s the Px4 Subcompact. If you prefer the feel of a full frame XD with its trigger pull that is the same every shot, the XD subcompact will not disappoint. The next generation of pocket pistols is still in its infancy. Ruger just released a subcompact of their popular SR9, and several other companies have offerings in the works or on the drawing board. Understanding the differences is what helps me make my choices, and I hope this overview has helped you make yours.

Paul Helinski
Where America Buys and Sells Guns

{ 41 comments… add one }
  • Paul May 25, 2016, 9:53 pm

    Somebody instaled suppressed on storm sub compact?

  • Shaun April 29, 2014, 2:56 pm

    Paul (and other readers),
    I just got around to reading this and love the article. Hopefully you’ll see this after the article being four years old.

    I’ve had the XD9 sub for several years now (since it’s arrival) and have one problem that keeps me going back to my S+W Jframe .38 – my small hands. When gripping the XD, the pad of my index finger can center on the trigger, but nothing more.

    I know Springfield has a manufacturing process to slim the grip, but would that do enough to get the joint on the trigger? I’m not comfortable shipping my firearm off, either.

    Do you recommend anything similar to the XD to benefit smaller [male] hands? I’ve been told the HK P228[?] and maybe the Baretta’s grip changability may help, but i don’t know if it’s worth replacing the XD for those.

    I’ve also been told to use the middle finger instead (as it is longer and reaches the correct point). Not sure if this is wise either.

    Please help!

    • Administrator April 29, 2014, 11:07 pm

      If it is too thick just get an XDS 4″ it comes with the extended mag and it is single stack.

  • Benjamin February 25, 2012, 9:14 pm

    Certainly the Storm is a bit “chunky” for proper pocket carry, isn’t it?
    Here are few others that are good. Anybody have other recommendations or comments on this list?

    • Robert January 16, 2014, 10:09 pm

      For a pocket pistol, (small,light weight,and still deadly),why has no one mentioned the derringer types or the 22 mini pug type revolvers? Those double barrel 45 long colt/.410 shot shells(including slugs and buckshot). A taurus judge with five shots is all it takes. And I personally would not carry a 25 cal or a 32 cal in ANY case. You are more likely to just make someone mad. Now a .22 mag will teach them a lesson, but unless you just HAVE to carry in the pocket, you should carry the biggest bore you can. Just like driving a Vega. If you want to survive on the street, you got to pack some heat(No substitution for cubic inches).38 +P cal is the least I would even consider. .357,40, .45 and 10mm. That is power.

      • Jason Kurna November 17, 2016, 5:43 pm

        Accuracy and follow-up trumps power every. single. time. If you can handle a bigger bore accurately and quickly, good for you. Most people can’t. I used to carry a .45, and could shoot it accurately, but not quickly. I achieved an average ratio of 3/8 with .45 firing quickly. Then I went to 9mm, and found I could ring steel with an average of 12/14. For kicks, I then went to 9×18 Makarov and found that I rang the steel 10 times out of 12. This convinced me to step down to 9mm, and I feel much more confident in my abilities. What good is power if you can’t hit with it?

  • D January 30, 2012, 9:11 am

    Ok, wheelguns are one thing but the XD? Come on man! The XD compared to a Glock is cr@p at best. Then there is the pocket pistol part that you started with, but got way off track. I like wheelguns, but if I were going to be carrying a “Pocket Pistol” it really only needs the 3 safeties found on a Glock or less. A holster is what you seem to be missing. A proper holster will keep the trigger safe from actuation (be it keys or children). I keep an LCP in .380 when I am in clothes where a full frame Glock is not concealable. This 6 +1 with a back-up 6 rnd mag should give me enough time to get to the bigger gun that is never far away. I personally think that external safeties are for either flawed designs or guns meant for training children. I love my 92FS, Browning HP, ect. but would never carry a personal defense firearm that has so many gadgets to fail. I feel this author is a bit of a pansy and should remember ALL MECHANICAL SAFETIES WILL FAIL EVENTUALLY, that you can bet your life (or kids life) on every time.

    • Jimbob December 13, 2018, 6:12 am

      You’re either a dumbass or a Glock shill but I’m not sure which.

  • Eric S. January 19, 2012, 12:44 pm

    My main problem with your ‘pocket pistol’ draws from your pocket is, you don’t show you actually drawing it out of your pocket. The video shows from your lower chest and above, not your pocket. I have a Glock 26 and am looking for advice among others as the most “user friendly” way to carry it. I have purchased both inside and outside of pants holsters, and of course can just put it in the pocket of my jeans or a jacket. Just looking around to see how others carry theirs. Thanks, Eric

  • Paul S December 3, 2011, 10:43 am

    One quick question, administrator. I watched the videos, and enjoyed them thoroughly. Nice shooting, btw. especially on the target that was still moving. Anyway, in your printed blog you stated that there is no drop safety on the XD, but on the video, you talked about the internal safeties in place that prevent a round from being fired if it is inadvertantly dropped. “The trigger pull is long and steady, and fairly light, and there is no drop safety on the gun at all, though Springfield Armory does make some of their .45ACP models in full frame with one.” Can you clarify this for me?

    Also I noticed you had a better grouping, and shot quicker with the XD. And your target was still moving on you when you shot the XD. It just looked like you did better with that one. BTW. I am a springfield fan. I have the XD-9 Subcompact, and an XDM-40 compact.

    • Administrator December 4, 2011, 1:23 am

      There are some XDs with drop safeties but I haven’t seen on in years.

    • Joe man November 24, 2012, 4:11 pm

      Paul, your confusion is caused by administrator’s use/misuse of the term “drop safety”. Manufacturers, gun designers and writers will tell you that a “drop safety” is one that is intended to prevent a discharge if a weapon is dropped onto the ground. It is an internal automatic safety requiring no manipulation by the user. But administrator, in this and other articles, insists on using the term “drop safety” when he refers to a manual safety which is operated by the shooter’s thumb. Administrator likes to imagine the external manual safety is properly called a “drop safety” because in his mind, the safety is “dropped” when he swipes it downward with his thumb to make the gun ready to fire. I suppose, in those pistols which have a manual safety that is disengaged instead by an upward flick of the thumb, administrator would coin a new term, “lift safety” or some such.
      For example, consider factory info, FNS™-9 features Four Major Safeties (none of which is thumb operated):
      1. Trigger Safety
      2. Firing Pin Safety
      3. Drop Safety
      4. Out-of-Battery Safety

  • Paul S December 3, 2011, 10:23 am

    I am not an NRA fanatic or anything like that. Don’t get me wrong, I am a member, and I do support them.
    I just wanted to say, that we are so fortunate to have them and be living in the U.S. I mean look at all the posts. We are all entitled to our own opinions, and it is not against the law!! If it wasn’t for the NRA and groups like them, to help us keep our freedoms, we would be in a much worse position. So Thank you 2nd ammendment, and thank you NRA!

  • G. A. Smith December 2, 2011, 9:04 am

    I have owned amd used Beretta pistols for more than 25 years and they are well made, reliable, and acurate. I will say the same for the Px4 Sub-Compact that I used to own. I say “used” to own because I traded it in on something that was “more” concealable, and pointed better for me. (Glock 36) Yeah I went from a High Capacity 9mm to a 6+1 .45, however, what sent me off the Px4 was pointability. When I catch the front sight of the Glock, I hit what I point to, the sight picture on the Beretta was not as easily aquired. Plus the fact that the Beretta was a hand full, much wider than the Glock, and much wider than the pictures let on in this article, thus the comment on concealed carry as an issue. We are not going to “war” here. Personal Protection with deadly results should be the last option. I stand 6’5″ and go 285, but if push comes to shove, somebody is goin’ down. Two rounds of.45 ACP puts ’em down for the count, and gives you time to step off. Go light and hit hard. Go 45 caliber.

  • me to December 1, 2011, 3:47 pm

    There are a lot of people talking about what they could do with a certain gun or another. I had the misfourtune to have had to hold someone at gunpoint, in my yard, untill the police arrived and it would have made no difference what kind of gun it was. (walther PP).
    I had another unfortunate expearience with an armed burglar in my home and I had to fire 1 shot and I took his sawed off 12 guage away from him.( glock 26) and I had a third time when I used a ruger single six with a 9 1/2 inch barrel to disarm an illegal alien gang banger who broke into my home trying to steal my TV.
    Personally, I don’t like the idea of carrying a loaded gun on me, and I try not to, as much as possible.
    I also use a Ruger GP 100 in .357 magnum for deer hunting in brushy areas and it works good.
    Carrying a gun is a serious topic and it is not a joke or a debate when you need to use a gun, and use it fast.
    I made my own holster for one of my pistols that I could not find a ccw holster for.
    I leave it home whenever possible.

    • Paul S December 3, 2011, 10:53 am

      Sounds to me that with your luck, you should always carry a loaded pistol with you.

    • doghouse95 December 28, 2013, 12:09 am

      Problems come to you when you are not in your home as well. The day I leave my XD40 Sub at home is the day I may need it to protect my family. Where I go it goes.

  • Craig Ramsey November 30, 2011, 11:38 pm

    Ugg. The blind leading the blind. So why do you need 14 shots in a pocket pistol again after saying 3 rounds or less? I couldn’t get past that part of the review. How many people were you going to shoot during 9/11 or Y2K? Oh yeah, cuz its a 9 and the guy is still talking to you after shooting him twice? Can’t agree the Px4 Sub is no larger than the J frame. Just look at your picture… looks double the size! I’d give up 10 bullets for the lighter weight. Why don’t you show the loaded weight, length, width and height of the pistols you are reviewing? How do these look in a speedo?

    • mstrong1 December 1, 2011, 10:43 am

      Craig, ALL reasoning re: J frame is dead on in my opinion. In my earlier post I detail my 340PD set up. The author says “Px4 subcompact comes in at just under 2 lbs, fully loaded”. My 340PD is 14.19Lbs fully loaded. That is a good bit less than HALF the weight.

      My life is a slacks and tucked in shirt, business casual dress 99% of the time. IF I could use a belt holster and conceal it, trust me I’d have my Gen 4 Glock 26 there with a 33 round fun stick or two in reserve, but that isn’t how I dress and I don’t need to hold off a whole street gang, I only need the ability to preserve my own life and get away, or possibly to stop one or two nuts that are threatening others. I practice at least 100 rounds every two weeks on a combat course, with expert instruction and am highly confident that I can competently do anything that I might ever need to do with less than 5 rounds of short barrel gold dot.

      For those times that I feel like I should be carrying additional ammo and back ups, that’s the clue that I should reconsider going there in the first place ! My #1 rule of self defense is stay out of places where you are likely to have a problem and if that’s not possible, go in the morning before the bad guys wake up and go with others and stay as close to busy roads as possible and do your business and get going while the druggies are still sleeping it off.

      • mstrong1 December 1, 2011, 10:46 am

        Oh, and in the unfortunate event that you need to defend yourself with gunshots, after leaving the area, you have more options to consider if all the empty brass is still in your revolver, rather than all over the sidewalk.

    • Paul S December 3, 2011, 10:50 am

      Ugh, Ugh. Look at the picture again. For all the dimensions that matter, they are the same. The length, and the height. I’d be willing to bet that they are thinner than the revolver also. The wheel, ads quite a bit to that dimension. I will admit, his pockets are a bit bigger than mine, so for me pocket carry is usually not an option.

    • Rick K. January 22, 2012, 7:08 pm

      Where in the hell are you going that you need to carry a gun with a speedo? And why are you even wearing a speedo…Get real. If you prefer something else then carry it but there’s no need to knock what someone else does. Not everything you do is the most perfect thing in the world.

  • ed November 30, 2011, 10:49 pm

    i carry my xdm 3.8 great gun 40cal shoot great

  • Mike Smith November 30, 2011, 1:57 pm

    The Taurus Millennium and Millennium Pro in 45 would be my choice for a pocket pistol if I ever had a brain infarction to cause me to stop carrying a 1911 style, Colt Officers Model.

  • John Hoffman November 30, 2011, 12:49 pm

    My Ruger 101 has been great for ever. Small holster in a cross draw position. Can’t see why you don’t mention it?. Do you work for Kahr? also a small reloader can be carried in any pocket. As to big time a Sig P226 15+1 comes in a 9mm-357 or 40. The jacked up load on all makes of amo are enough, espicaly the last one in the head. The .357 in my Ruger 101, 3 in., Even the new Hornady 38s will do the job. Staff/Sgt US Marines. 1948-1952. Korean vet 90-91. John

    PS–The one thing you failed to mention. Don”t get a bullitt that will go through someone and kill an inocent guy behind him.

  • MotoJB November 30, 2011, 12:39 pm

    Oh and I’d agree with another poster here…these are still not “pocket pistols” IMO. Still too big and heavy (and I’m a big guy). Should be classfied more as a “back up gun” IMO. For that matter, I woldn’t call a 5 shot S&W J Frame a pocket pistol either.

    The point of a pocket pistol IMO is being so small, light and concealable,that you almost forget you’re carrying it. A 14 round compact storm – you’ll know you’re carrying it. I don’t see anything with a 14 round capacity being classified as pocket pistol IMO. I’ll take an S&W Bodyguard or LCP for my pocket pistol.

  • Jim Romeo November 30, 2011, 12:06 pm

    I have carried my Keltec P-11 for years, even in Africa. It has a 10rd mag, weighs 14 oz empty and has a beltclip for waist carry.
    It is reliable, even with the PowerMax I have in it. This stuff is a 115gr Gold Dot bullet the comes out at near 1400 fps. Muzzle blast is bright but recoil is no more than than any other defense ammo. I’ll put my P-11 up against any new piece that appears. And it cost me only $239.

    • Paul S December 3, 2011, 10:16 am

      I’m glad the P-11 works for you. I had one and neither my wife nor I could shoot on target with it, on a consistant basis. I tried all different methods of gripping and still couldn’t get it to work for me. The other problem was the recoil. It beat my hands so bad, I had to force myself to shoot more than one magazine worth. I found my self flinching because of the anticipation of the “bite” from the recoil. And lastly, I started getting mis-feeds. So, I traded that in for a XD-9 subcompact, and all that went away. We can both shot it on target, right out of the box. The Xd is considerably larger than the P-11, something to consider. The size, and price are what attracted me in the first place. I ended up having to shell out another 350 in addition to my trade, for XD, but for me it was well worth it. I now look forward to shooting it.
      P.S. I also have the XDM-40 compact, and love it just as much!

  • Joel Rybacki November 30, 2011, 12:04 pm

    I have to agree with the others regarding pocket carry of the above guns. I personally own a Kahr CW9 that is my every-day carry handgun. Previous to this, I had owned a Kahr K40 Covert which was about the same width and had the short three-finger grip that these guns sport. Neither could be carried in pants pockets without serious printing and/or access issues. One thing to consider when choosing to carry in a pocket: How do you get to your gun if in any position other than standing straight up? Can you obtain a solid master grip and draw it quickly while running, sitting or crouching down? Same considerations should be used for extra magazines. Neither are any good to you if you can’t get to them. Current Kahr sits in a custom tuckable IWB horsehide holster just behind the hip. I can carry, fully concealed, in jeans and a t-shirt, business casual, or formal attire with a tucked-in shirt. Gun is always in exactly the same position every time I reach for it. Gun can be obtained from crouching/sitting/lying-down positions easily even with a tucked-in shirt. No worries of an AD from some random combination of events and no worries of a pocket holster following the gun out.

    • Robert January 16, 2014, 9:36 pm

      Same here for me. My first concealed carry weapon was purchased more than 5 years ago, and I still carry it today and will tomorrow. It is a piece of my outfit. No exceptions(except for flying or courts or post offices!) Took my time to think of the pros and the cons and make a educated purchase. Heard it many times that “most people have 5 or more holsters for each pistol that is owned”. It can be costly.IWB behind hip Galco leather.Nothing better. I bought a Glock 32. A little heavy but in a powerful caliber, the weight helps with the recoil.13+1 Mag.After a couple shots, you want to shoot it more.I purchased as a holster the Galco, expensive,but will last foreven and is comfortable even in the car. which is what was recommended at the Armory that I was certified to carry at. I ran about 100 rounds threw it to get the feel, which is a little “thick” in the grip, but I am used to it now. I also placed all 48 rounds within the bullseye to the second ring after working a twelve hour shift(7pm to 7 am) to go to class at 11am that morning.Caffiene! Most all of the auto-loaders today are good guns. Most people either love em or hate em. But buy and carry what you are comfortable with and can shoot it and hit what you shoot at. Great article and I will enjoy reading more through this site.

  • Mark November 30, 2011, 10:22 am

    I own and carried the XD9 Sub and will say first hand that it is NOT a pocket gun. I’m not saying it isn’t an excellent pistol because it truly is. But it’s too big to fit in standard jeans pocket and will beat your leg to death in a cargo pants pocket. I opted for a Kahr PM9 and accept that I have less rounds. I figure I’m better off with a 7 round 9MM in my pocket than a 10+ round 9MM left at home.

  • Jeff Johnston November 30, 2011, 9:23 am

    I don’t see how you can legitimately classify these guns as pocket carry guns. I have a Kahr CM9 that is much smaller than the ones you are comparing here, and I don’t carry it in a pocket, but rather on a belt holster. You can not consistently draw a pistol from a pocket with any predictable speed or grip that can be relied upon to save you life. As a backup firearm, yeah maybe. But these guns mentioned in the article are too big for pocket carry by far.

    • Administrator November 30, 2011, 9:52 am

      Did you watch the video?

      • Jeff Johnston November 30, 2011, 10:17 am

        Nice videos. You seem to do well with pocket carry. It does not work well for me. I wear jeans 6 days a week for work, and unless I want to change over to the baggy saggy’s that the young and dumb prefer, regular jeans are not practical for pocket carry for me, as they are too tight to draw from. If I could wear slacks everyday it might work but then you have the printing problem, even in a pocket holster. If I have to wear my shirt out to cover that I might as well wear a belt holster, which is faster and safer to draw from. It is a really good gun review that you did, and if pocket carry works for you, then carry on brother!

  • MIKE GARCIA November 30, 2011, 9:17 am

    Glock 26 all the way! You don’t want to be fumbling with safeties if you need to use your gun in an emergency.

  • Matthew Quiroz November 30, 2011, 8:49 am

    I currently carry a Colt Defender, but I think I will be looking into one of the XD’s in .40 Seems like a great pistol for what I need. While I love my Defender, the hammer occasionally nails me in the funny bone which is anything but funny and I would feel better with the additional capacity the XD would provide. Nice article. “Q”

  • ChazzMatt November 30, 2011, 8:39 am

    Glock 26 vs the XD-9 Subcompact

    XD-9 Subcompact:

    “For size, the XD-9 Subcompact is 6.25″ long and 4.75″ high with the regular 13 round magazine.
    It also comes with an extended three finger magazine that holds 16 rounds. It weighs 26 ounces empty, and is just over an inch thick. The barrel is a 3″ Melonite, for superior corrosion resistance, and the frame is of course black polymer.”

    Glock 26:
    · Length: 6.29 inch
    · Height: 4.17 inch
    · Width: 1.18 inch
    · Barrel Length: 3.46 inch
    · Gun Weight: 19.75 oz, empty without magazine.
    · Magazine Capacity: 10

    The XD-9 Subcompact seems like a worthy competitor for the Glock 26. Since I use Pearce grips anyway to make the Glock 26 have space for all my fingers, might as well add some more bullets at the same time!

  • mstrong1 November 30, 2011, 8:28 am

    My reasoning was identical to yours and a S&W 340PD, “slicked up” by Teddy Jacobson (the BEST IMO), loaded with Gold Dot .38+P in the short barrel version, with a Crimson Trace LG-405 P20 laser grip, in my pocket DiSantis Superfly holster and a few speed strips or an HKS speed loader.. this was my choice.

    I also own an S&W Airweight and an S&W 640, Glock 26, a bunch of Seecamps and other stuff. The 640 was the beginning of my search for my ideal rig. As you say and for similar reasons, pocket is my only practical carry. The 640 pulled my pants down. The Airweight, a bit less so, the 340PD is ideal as it is so light I really am unaware of carrying it. Shooting it is a different matter, .38+P stings my palm and I don’t like to do more than 2-3 cylinder’s worth at the range. The Airweight with only a few more ounces to it, is comfortable to shoot all day. No doubt I shoot the Airweight better, but at self defense range I shoot the 340PD well enough and the lighter weight tips the balance for me.

    Reloading in self defense mode takes too long. As you point out 3 shots and 98% of incidents are over.

    Since your reasoning and conclusions were identical to mine, I shall reluctantly check out the pistols you mention.

  • Richard Neva August 29, 2011, 9:18 pm

    I just bought the Beretta PX Storm Type F subcompact in 40SW caliber for one reason. Personal carry gun is my reason and the Bersa 40SW I had kept jabbing me in the ribs and side when ever I sat down, like when I was driving. I just sold that one today and am waiting for delivery on the Beretta. I am going to carry it in my pocket just like the article said, it will be lower on my body, I have a long shank of a frame and just seemed to double up around that Bersa and cause me pain all the time so I did not carry it all the time thus defeating my CCW. I got a little leather slipper to put it in, off of ebay yesterday so I should be good to go. Good article here! Thanks!

    • Administrator August 30, 2011, 9:15 am

      Just make sure you clean it of pocket debris and make sure it is well lubricated. They don’t like pocket lint. I still feel it is one of the best pocket pistols on the market.

  • JB October 15, 2010, 2:46 pm

    I liked your article and agree with 99% of it . Whatever you have 380 or 45, if you can not carry it with you at all times it will
    not do you any good back in your car.

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