Weight or size more important in a pocket gun?


October 21, 2003, 04:40 PM
OK, I am assuming here that in both cases you are looking at a gun that is at least minimally acceptable (for you). Which is more important for pocket carry, weight or size?

It seems to be generally accepted that a J-frame (or equivelent) snub is the largest and heaviest gun that can be carried in a pocket. For many they can go as large in an auto as a PPK/S, Bersa or Kahr MK/PM series. All these guns are about 20-24 oz in standard varients and as low as 13-17 in lightweight versions.

So assuming you are under 21oz, is a smaller gun better?

I've noticed that the aluminum alloy Taurus snubs are 17oz. The S&W .38spl aluminum snubs are 15oz. The Taurus titaniums are around 14oz, the S&W titaniums and scandiums are 12-13oz. The SIG 232 in alloy is 16oz, the Kahr PM series are about 16 or 17oz, and the Kel-tec P11 is about 14. The smaller (mousegun caliber) Beretta Tomcat is ~16oz, the NAAs are similar in weight to the lightweight snubs as well, but both are (again) smaller and trimmer. You don't really get lighter than some of these snubs or lightweight .380s and 9mms until you get down to .25acp and .22lr (not counting the one or two exceptions like the Kel-tec P32 and P3AT).

For pocket carry is weight more important? Would the lightweight snubs and larger but lightweight autos hide nearly as well as the smaller but similar weight and sometimes heavier guns like the NAA or Tomcat? Despite weighing about the same (and more than some of the snubs) would the smaller Tomcat or NAA hide better? Also, is this even worth asking. What I mean is, are the lightweight snubs (and autos like the PM9) light and small enough to carry and hide in a pocket easily enough that one doesn't need to look smaller (or lighter) even if they do disappear a little better?

If you enjoyed reading about "Weight or size more important in a pocket gun?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
October 21, 2003, 04:45 PM
I've made the trade-off for size over weight in the belief that the added weight is easier to shoot that the really light guns. I prefer the steel j-frames and small auto's.

October 21, 2003, 05:32 PM
Not to be flippant -- but both are important! I think that weight is always very important. A small but heavy Guardian .380 can really droop your pocket and make it uncomfortable, depending upon your clothes. Size, of course, is also important in that the gun must fit well in the pocket and not be too tight so as to print excessively, again depending in large part on your clothes.

I think that your gun must be small enough in size to fit well in your pocket as the first rule of thumb. Once you are at that size or smaller, the lighter the carry the better.

No matter which way you go, a quality pocket holster will help distribute the weight and bulk and reduce printing.

I carry an airweight J-frame with no problem. My Kel-Tec P-3AT is a joy. I carry the 3AT when I am wearing dress slacks or a suit (pockets are smaller and the thinner material prints more) and my 442 at all other times.


October 21, 2003, 05:56 PM
For concealment size is much more important then weight. A heavy but small gun can be carried and concealed better with a good holster then a large but light one.

I used to carry a Kahr MK40 which is heavier then the Makarov I carry now, but the Kahr was much easier to conceal and carry.

October 21, 2003, 08:00 PM
For pocket carry, it depends on what kind of clothes you wear and which pocket you carry in. There is a very good reason why we all don't buy one gun.

You could put a small heavy gun in a lightweight windbreaker and it's going to sag on that side. You could carry it in the big front pockets of Dockers and it's going to pull down and maybe print. A lighter gun would be better here.

On the other hand, if you have smaller, stiffer pockets like in jeans or a leather jacket, you could get away with a heavier gun, but it may need to be smaller to keep from printing.

Also keep in mind that small/light and shootability are usually mutually exclusive.

October 21, 2003, 09:06 PM
Size and weight matter as discussed above -- but shape also matters. A Kahr MK9 is smaller than a J-frame in just about every respect, but doesn't do pocket carry as well (for me, anyway) because there are more sharp corners on the Kahr that a visible under the fabric.

October 21, 2003, 11:19 PM
For most concealed carry, weight is more important. It's easier to hide a full size alloy frame Government Model than a steel Commander.

On another note, a J frame Smith is about as small a gun as I can shoot well. I used to have a Beretta JetFire (little bity .25 ACP). Accurate distance was very close. I shoot a short barrelled K frame much better than a three inch J frame.

For pocket carry, and for the weapon to be usable, a two inch J frame or a short K frame are optimal.

Avery Goodschott
October 25, 2003, 01:23 PM
I don't do J-Frames

I carry a K-Frame Model 64 in my right front pocket

DAO mechanism, with bobbed hammer

And, no, I would never shoot from inside my pocket

October 25, 2003, 02:43 PM
It depends on your pants.

With jeans the tightness through the thigh and the heavier material make size more important than weight.

With a dress pant, looser fit, thinner material, fairly large gun can be concealed but if its heavy it really shows its weight when you're walking and its momentum puts it out of sync with your leg.

October 25, 2003, 11:11 PM
For me, weight is the bottom line. These pocket guns are getting so small--and the manufacturers are listening to the general public's demands for CCW. My Kahr PM9 is small and compact, but it is a BRICK in the front pocket of my shorts, or even in the inside pocket of my suit coat. So, I carry a Kel-Tec P-3AT or P-32. If I want the equivalent of a penknife in my pocket, I carry a NAA .22 LR revolver (1-1/8").

I ALWAYS grab the lightest gun to carry comfortably in what I'm wearing. When the weather gets colder, and I have on a coat or medium weight jacket--it's the Kahr PM9 or my S&W AirWeight .38.

My favorite gun is my Glock 27, and it is between the front seats of my van, 100% of the time. I never carry it, because for me, it's too heavy.:p

October 26, 2003, 01:07 AM

What’s most important in CC is how quick you can get to your concealed weapon. If your sitting in your car and you have any firearm in your pants pockets (front or back) it’s going to be an effort to draw it if for example you were faced with a carjacking. Now if you have your weapon in your coat pocket it really doesn’t matter how big or heavy it is you should have no problem drawing it. Now I usually carry my SP101 in a smartcarry for deep concealment and the only problem I’ve ever had with this type of “middle pocket carry” is drawing the weapon when seated in my truck. Now if I was seated in most any other chair it’s not a problem to lean back and grab my weapon the same if you had a regular pocket holster for your weapon. If I’m heading for the city I usually switch to a shoulder rig for concealment. It’s much easier for me to draw my weapon esp. when seated in a vehicle.

October 26, 2003, 03:12 AM
V-fib, I specifically asked about pocket guns because that is the catagory that I am intested in right now. I have other options right now (.380 Bersa Thunder, Taurus 85, S&W 65LS, 4" S&W 19, Colt PPS, and a couple full-sized autos that might work) for other uses. Maybe I'm being unrealistic since I'm not in a situation where I can typically carry (only around the house), but enough people on THR report carrying a back up that I think I can reasonably expect to carry a pocket gun and a primary most of the time. Very occasionally a pocket gun only might be necessary as well and it would be nice to have one.

I love J-frames and the Taurus small frame and I am interested in a few of the heavier pocket autos (NAA, Beretta Tomcat) so that is what I asked about.

Also, for the situation where you are sitting in your car that you mentioned I don't see how an IWB (how I'd likely carry most of the time) or OWB would help much either. When I holster a gun then sit down I find it can take some work to get to it and I'm sure the seat belt doesn't help much with accessability. For the car I'd probably want to either put the pocket gun or IWB gun (if a J-frame) into an ankle holster or just have it loose or in a holster mounted somewhere in the car.

Anyway, the combo that has been playing in my head recently is my Taurus 85CH IWB and something like the alloy S&W 642 or similar Taurus in my pocket. Two guns of roughly the same type and size and that could share speed loaders would be nice. I also just love revolvers, and 10 rounds (without resorting to the speedloaders) of .38+P Gold Dots or 158gr LSWC-HP+P should do just fine in 99.9999% of self defense situations.

October 26, 2003, 07:08 AM
Chaim, after carrying daily for nearly 7 years my philosophy is to have a good pocket gun (for summer or when not wearing a coat) and a good OWB gun (for when wearing a covering garmet).

After carrying a Seecamp LWS 32, a Walther PPK/S, and a S&W 640, I settled a long time ago on a S&W 642 Airweight. It weighs about the same as the Seecamp, but is a bit larger, so it doesn't sag the pocket as much. Plus, it shoots a better cartridge and is easier to shoot. The 640 (all stainless) was just too heavy. When I sat down, the 640 in its holster would slide off my thigh and come to rest on the outside of my pants pocket, causing a noticeable bulge (yes, the holster fit the pocket, but the pocket material moves on the skin!). The 642 doesn't do that.

Personally, I wouldn't choose a snubnosed .38 for IWB if you've already got one in your pocket; I think a 9mm, .357 Magnum, or a .45ACP belt gun would be better. Then again, you could buy two Airweights, one for each pocket...

October 26, 2003, 07:28 AM
For me, it is size. Obviously there is only so much room in the pocket. The gun has to FIT in the pocket. The weight isn't an issue. The difference in weights is very small. Some people may say that it is significant, but in reality no gun that will fit in your pocket is going to be heavy in terms of a grown man carrying something and calling it heavy.
Carrying a gun is seldom if ever comfortable. I know of no way to carry a gun on your person that doesn't inconvienience you to at least some extent. Nothing is free, and that is the price you pay for carrying. Once you accept that, you are ready to buy a gun that is practial in terms of performance rather than "comfort".

October 26, 2003, 08:16 AM
I carry a PPK/S. For me, the thinness wins out.

October 26, 2003, 08:55 AM
I carry in my strong side front pants pocket in a pocket holster. I currently use an older Charter Arms Undercover .38 with a 2" barrel, and it's empty weight is 16 ozs. Before that I used a semi-auto that had a 3" barrel, was just a tad smaller than a Kel Tec P-11, and had an empty weight of 14 ozs.
Before that it was a S&W Model 49 (J frame) with a 2" barrel and an empty weight of about 20 ozs. I thought it was a little too heavy. So, I think both size and weight are important. That's why my choice is something the size and weight of a J frame airweight.

October 26, 2003, 09:16 AM
Weight is most important to me but certainly size has to be taken into consideration -- yet having owned a light weight snubbie -- never again. I like my guns compact with enough weight to lessen the recoil. If I have to be creative with how I carry, so be it. A gun that's not comfortable to handle is a waste of money.

If you enjoyed reading about "Weight or size more important in a pocket gun?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!