HELP PLEASE What gun for pocket carry?


Will Learn
October 9, 2007, 07:57 PM
I'm in the market for a pocket carry gun and am considering the following, please help me choose. If you have other suggestions please elaborate-

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Highland Ranger
October 9, 2007, 08:00 PM
Bobo's pocket auto comparison chart ( - very useful size comparisons.

Will Learn
October 9, 2007, 08:41 PM
I've seen the chart before and it is helpful but there are some give and takes as far as size.

I'm leaning to the P11 because of the capacity and caliber but I'm wondering if it will be too big. I hear the triggers are pretty heavy(8.5lbs), but are they unbearable?

I like the S&W but cost is higher but reliability is better and there are great +p loads available and great triggers. Lower capacity though.

P3AT would make a great bug but it has a lower capacity and smaller caliber.

The Charter would make a cheaper alternative to the smith which is a factor for me (in college). I've heard the triggers aren't even comparable to smiths though and their finishes are rough.

I'm carrying a Sig 229(40S&W) at the moment but its a little bulky in this warm october weather and I'm looking for something I can take anywhere.

Now I'm leaning back toward the P3AT after that last sentence, I'm torn. :banghead:

October 9, 2007, 09:20 PM
hard to beat a 5 shot smith in the pocket.they do clear out a little room in the pocket though.just got a M&P 340 now I don't need my wallet(its empty) LOL

October 9, 2007, 09:22 PM
you've got the p3at and 642. any of the above would work fine.

October 9, 2007, 09:33 PM
Once you start pocket carry, one won't be enough.

I started with a S&W 642 in a Mika pocket holster. It works pretty good in my jeans, but some of my slacks have the vertical cut pockets, and if someone is looking, they could see the grip. Still, it does disappear really well.

Then I got a Kahr PM9, and another Mika pocket holster. It is shorter than the 642, so I don't worry about the grip showing, but it doesn't seem to disappear as well as the 642. I end up carrying it in a Crossbreed Supertuck most of the time.

Next is a P3AT, and one more Mika pocket holster. This is a pocket gun. I had a problem with the recoil spring hanging out the end of the slide, but KelTec took care of that with no problem. Since then it has been perfect. It conceals very, very well. You can literally forget about it.

I think my last pocket pistol is going to be my Seecamp .32. I'm still waiting on Mr. Mika for the holster. This thing is a jewel. If you appreciate well made guns, this is it. Size wise, you can almost put it on your key chain. It is no target pistol, but neither is the KelTec. In my opinion, they are made for that last desperate effort, or BUGs.

Can you tell I'm happy with Robert Mika's product?

Good Luck.

chris in va
October 9, 2007, 11:19 PM
hear the triggers are pretty heavy(8.5lbs),

There's a simple trick to lightening the trigger pull by a pound or so. Doesn't reduce the length however.

October 10, 2007, 02:44 AM
I carry a S&W 642 & 442, Glock 26 & Kimber Ultra Raptor.

October 10, 2007, 03:30 AM
keltec is my always pocket gun...the 380 is so compact, you hardley feel it.. p11 is a OWB jacket gun..p3 is still in the pocket for back has a lot of info...gpr

October 10, 2007, 09:35 AM
The P11, which for me, is too large. The newer PF-9 is a better alternative and incorporates the best features of the P-11 and P-3AT. Capacity is not is much as the P11.

I've carried the Smith model 638 and 340, both excellent recommendations. You must find a pocket holster that secures the gun and masks the familiar profile of the revolver. I used an Uncle Mike's size 3 pocket holster.

Sizewise and pricewise, the P-3AT is probably the best choice.

A budget alternative to the more expensive Smiths would be either Charter's Undercover or Off-duty. Both weigh in at about one pound or less.

Whatever you do, ALWAYS carry your weapon in a good pocket holster to keep the gun secured, keep debris out of the action, inhibit any perspiration, and to mask the gun's profile.

You've made some good choices!

October 10, 2007, 11:49 AM
642...use the P3AT as last result only

October 10, 2007, 12:51 PM
The J frames are just to thick for pocket carry, at least for me. I prefer to choose between between one of the TWINS!!
Can't have enough Guardians.

Will Learn
October 10, 2007, 02:30 PM
Well I put my vote in on the 638 as I just picked one up today. Fits great in my pocket and is very light, I think it will work out great. This will be my primary carry and the reliability issues of the Kel-Tecs just made me a little leery, I feel confident that the smith will go bang when I pull the trigger. Now i need tips for pocket carry. Does the Wolf spring improve the trigger a lot. Maybe I'll start another tread for this. Thanks for the help everyone.

October 10, 2007, 04:00 PM
For pocket carry, my preference is w/ a alloy framed j-frame like the 642 in a relatively soft holster

October 10, 2007, 04:17 PM
A few weeks ago my cousin/ex-bounty hunter partner stopped an attempted robbery with his Kel-Tec P3At .380.

He was on a bad side of Indianapolis and two gentlemen tried to jack his van and he popped one in the gut with his Kel-Tec. It didn't kill him, but he dropped his weapon and the other guy took off. IMPD found the guy after he showed up in the hospital a few hours later with a .380 hole in his belly.

On the upside, one shot stopped an armed assailant. On the downside, he stopped out of shock of being hit with a bullet. The round itself did not drop him. Proof it's all shot placement and the stomach isn't the most effective place to put your round, although surely painful as hell.

Back back to your debate, the Kel-Tec is obviously an effective choice and easy to carry in your pocket (thats where he had his) but a J-frame would stand a better chance of defending you. As my cousin's experience teaches us all, sometimes you just get lucky. Shot placement is key and a J-frame will be easier to place your rounds. Unless you're at war or defending yourself from a mugger in, say, Somalia, then you'll never need more than the 5 rounds the S&W will provide.

I carried a Kel-Tec .380 as back-up for a year. I never needed it (fortunately), but it proved reliable every time I pulled the trigger. I met a guy who swears he stopped a pit bull attack with one shot from his Kel-Tec .32 at point blank range (base of the terrier's skull/neck). His weapon malfunctioned after the first shot, though, so luckily one shot was all he needed.

A dear friend of mine used to carry a Charter Arms Bulldog off-duty (he's a cop) but it blew up in his hand at the range (faulty manufacturing) and Charter Arms was in no hurry to replace it, never apologized, and took over a year just to send him another firearm identical to the one that almost took his hand. So not only did it nearly cripple him, but he was without a firearm that he paid for for 18 months just to wait on the replacement. I hope Charter Arms have improved their customer service.

Any way you choose, good luck and hopefully you'll never need it!

Will Learn
October 10, 2007, 09:53 PM
Well now for the damage... I took it to the range to test out and wasn't very pleased with the results. I fired 5 Gold Dot +p 135 gr no prob. I then switched to the Blazer 158gr, 5 shots no prob. On the 2nd cylinder 3 out of the 5 fired. This problem repeated a few times before I gave up. I don't think the firing pin is striking hard enough... damn it to hell!

S&W will be getting a call from me tomorrow. Its ironic that I chose the S&W over the Kel-Tec due to reliability issues and the S&W failed me. who woulda thunk?

October 10, 2007, 10:19 PM
The S&W.

October 10, 2007, 10:43 PM
Will Learn:

Before you send the 638 in, try shooting it again, this time concentrating on your trigger pull.

I had a few light strikes when I was learning to shoot my M&P 340, and I think I traced it to short-stroking the trigger. At any rate, it doesn't happen any more, now that I have put a lot more shots through my j-frames. No service was done--and I had had an action job done by my gunsmith prior to the 'light strikes,' but did not take it back.

Jim H.

October 10, 2007, 11:02 PM
I use a S&W model 38 loaded with REMINGTON 125 +p in a De SANTIS pocket holster.
It is hard to detect and I have carried it all day on some occasions. One word of advice, if you walk long distances, choose your holster carefully. My leather holster tends to "SANDPAPER" the lining of my pocket when I take a brisk walk for exercise.

I stick with the REMINGTON ammo because you can buy it cheaply in WALMART and the 125 +p recoils a lot less than the 158 grain +p loads. It is significant enough that I won't use 158 grain +p ammo even in my .357 magnums. They get 110 grain .357 loads.

Also, the semi-jacketed bullet that REMINGTON pioneered has a good reputation for expanding.


October 10, 2007, 11:29 PM
If your pockets can handle it I would take the 638, if that gun is too big then the P3AT, based on your choices.

October 11, 2007, 12:12 AM
Kahr PM9 :D

October 11, 2007, 03:01 AM
I voted for the S&W but I would recommend the 642/442 over the Model you are looking at.

My BUG is a 442.


October 11, 2007, 03:10 AM
There is nothing better than a M638 for pocket carry IMO.

October 11, 2007, 04:54 AM
I own a 638, a P3AT and a Bersa Thunder .380.

All get carried, but the 638 gets carried most.

October 13, 2007, 09:36 AM
A Kimber Ultra Carry II, .45 ACP, in a Sam Andrews pocket holster.

October 14, 2007, 06:22 PM
I sure do like my P11, it's definitely bigger than the P3AT, but it's not big, the P3AT is tiny.
Plan to add a PF-9 for my G/F as soon as $$ permit.
Kel Tec is a very good value, as long as you don't mind the fluff and buff! (

October 14, 2007, 07:06 PM
I voted P3AT. It is what I normally carry and I love it. Also carry the Kahr PM9... and would have voted for that, but not on the list.


October 14, 2007, 08:31 PM
S&W j frame is the definition of "effective pocket gun."

October 14, 2007, 08:40 PM
Kahr PM9.

I owned five different j-frames in steel, aluminum alloy and Scandium. None shot as well (accuracy, recoil) as the Kahr. All have moved on :)

The Kahr also holds 2 additional rounds, and reloads far more quickly. The Kahr is in my pocket right now.

October 14, 2007, 08:43 PM
I'll second the Guardian suggestion. I've had one in .32NAA (an oddball caliber for sure) for about 4 years. Loved it so much that I picked up a .380 yesterday for a darn good price at the Lexington NC gunshow. These things are currently out of production because Kahr was making them for NAA, and their business deal came to an end. NAA is supposed to ramp up production in house at some point (if they haven't already, I've lost track of the status of that on the NAA forum). The original guns have Kahr Arms stamped on the frames and since they were made for a relatively short period of time they should be worth some $ some day. Even if they're not though they are darn fine pocket guns and are accurate as all heck too. Check the target I shot in the "Long walk, Short Pier" challenge thread if you want to see typical accuracy I get from mine (and I'm by no means a crack shot).

I like these guns so much that I almost bought a .32ACP version yesterday too. Too bad the Keltec PLR16 took the rest of my gunshow cash :). Though I was tempted to plunk down the plastic for it :eek:

October 16, 2007, 12:32 PM
Although I am not much of a fan of pocket carry I do, on occasion, carry that way and, oddly enough, have carried each of the first three gun in your poll in "pocket mode". I have come to a conclusion that using some kind of holster in your pocket results in a safer, more stable, and more effective carry situation. When I carry my P3AT I do so as per the following picture.
The gun is in a 2n'1 holster by K&D and, while it can be carried in either front or side pocket, I opt to carry it in my right, rear pocket. Note the large piece of leather "backing". It faces outward and not only provides stability but visually looks like a wallet in your pocktet. The holster allows the gun to be drawn and reholstered easily and that it also provides for an extra mag is just a pure bonus.

My "bottom line" is that a more effective pocket carry is achieved when a good holster is used.

October 16, 2007, 12:58 PM
I usually carry an XD-40 Service, but for pocket carry, its a Bersa Thunder .380 CC. It might not be the most effective round, but the gun is reliable, easy to shoot fast and extremely accurate. I have no trouble blowing a 2" hole out of the center of a target at 7 yards shooting fast. I figure 1 round may not stop someone, but 9 sure as heck will.

October 16, 2007, 10:35 PM
Keltec pf9 for under $300. You get 7+1 and for $28 you can get a second magazine direct from Kel Tec. I like this one better than my p3at. Maybe it is the confidence of a 9mm vs. a .380.

Rex B
October 17, 2007, 03:03 PM
My new P3AT (Hard chrome over Navy grip) goes bang every time I ask it to, just like the previous one. it's an Always thing.
Same with my P11, but the P11 is just a little too chunky for me except when I'm wearing a bulky winter coat.

October 17, 2007, 03:21 PM
I had a few light strikes when I was learning to shoot my M&P 340, and I think I traced it to short-stroking the trigger.I's impossible to short-stroke a DA revolver.

It either goes bang, or it doesn't do anything.
There isn't any in-between.

If you are getting mis-fires with light primer dents, it's either bad ammo, or bad gunsmithing.

October 19, 2007, 02:27 PM
Keltec triggers are rough. But not unmanageable. You'll be only using these for up-close social work anyway, so just make sure it's bearable enough to get some range time in. .38+p is a great load. The keltec does have better capacity, but my pick is still the .38 snub nose. I've only fired one keltec, and it was almost reliable enough to use as a backup, but not quite. And I carry two speed strips with my revolver, so 15 rounds is not a bad count, just a little slower to load.

Ghost Tracker
October 19, 2007, 02:36 PM
Kel-Tec PF9 is the economical pick of the pocket-carry litter. The S&W DAO j-frames are nice alternatives as well.

Alan Fud
October 19, 2007, 04:41 PM
Let's not forget the Walther PPK (6+1 rounds of .380) [lower left] ...

... and the Colt Pocket Nine (6+1 rounds of 9mm) [upper right left]

October 19, 2007, 06:43 PM
If you have to work in an office with shirt tucked in, I found the Kel Tec 3AT very easy to carry in my pocket. Doesn'e wheigh much and hardly noticeable. Not the ideal stopping power to be sure but then again, better than a .22 or nothing at all.

Dallas Jack
October 20, 2007, 03:09 PM
I have both the P3AT and the P11. The P3AT gets my vote for a pocket gun. I mostly carry the P11 in an IWB holster.
Dallas Jack

October 20, 2007, 05:17 PM
I've pretty much decided on this as my daily carry.

Carried in a cheap Uncle Mikes #2 pocket holster.

I've settled on pocket carry as being the most convenient (read I've grown lazy and don't like strapping on holsters any more) for the type of pants (cargo) and the places I go to.

I dislike the P3AT because it lacks a slide stop.

I'll sometimes carry my Kahr MK9 in a DeSantis Nemisis pocket holster, but the Walther is much more ergonomically pleasing!!

October 20, 2007, 05:27 PM
I voted S&W 638 it has one big advantage over any of the others you list it can fire all 5 rounds 100% reliably from within the coat or jacket pocket.
Allot of .38 loads to choose from anything from 158 LSWC HP to Corbon +P the pistol will eat them all.
Add a Crimson Trace laser grip and a couple good HKS speedloaders a good holster if carrying out of the pocket and practice practice practice.

As for anything made by Charter Arms no thanks I do not like firearms that remind me of a Bic lighter.:barf:

Buy top quality that way you only spend your money once.;)

October 20, 2007, 07:25 PM
P3AT for me for all the time carry. Wearing a T shirt and shorts now, I have a P3AT in a front pocket holster. I alternate the P3AT between front pocket and wallet carry.

I am a gun collector. I have and carry a LOT of guns, from the PF9 on up in size to a PT1911. When it's all said and done, the one I have on me ALWAYS is the P3AT loaded with COR-BON DPX.


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