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Gun Review: Pocket Pistols For Self-Defense

pocket pistols review

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There have been a few events these last few weeks that brought a touchy subject to my mind about self-defense.

The first event is the release of the Glock 42, a single stack 380 Glock pistol.

The second event is a recent shooting my tiny hometown.

The shooting occurred by an employee at a car dealership. While the details are sketchy at the moment the facts are that he drove through a window and got out of his vehicle with a semi-automatic shotgun and began shooting.

Thank the Lord a good guy with a gun was there to stop him, but unfortunately he was wounded in the process, as were two other innocent people. The shooter was killed on site by the brave armed citizen. I won’t give his name to allow his family their privacy, but please keep this hero in your prayers.

The third event was my own confrontation with four men. It was not so much of a confrontation, but could have very easily become one. I’ve recently left active duty and joined the reserves and started a normal job in asset recovery. Essentially, I am a repo man. This job takes me to bad places, late at night, and often folks aren’t very keen to give up what they believe they own.

Late one Saturday night, I encountered this group of men while recovering some merchandise. They were drinking and being rowdy, and I got the feeling they were trying to corner me. I put the TV and my clip board down and gripped my small Taurus Polymer Protector 38 Special. I left it in the holster, but made it apparent I was armed without brandishing the weapon.

They made veiled threats and insults, openly wondering if I had a firearm. They even tried to call my bluff. My hand stayed on the weapon, and they got bored or decided I wasn’t worth the hassle and wandered off.

How to hide your guns, and other off grid caches…

That night I had no idea if my weapon would have been enough to handle multiple threats. Even with five 38 +P rounds, was it really enough? It sure wouldn’t be enough against a semi-automatic 12 gauge shotgun, as was used in the car dealership shooting.

There are two schools of thought for carrying a gun. The first is Guns aren’t supposed to be comfortable; they’re supposed to be comforting. The second is: A gun is only effective if you carry it, and a small comfortable gun is better than no gun. I was once a man of the latter school of I thought. I even wrote an article on the merits of a derringer. I mostly advocated its use for beach and working-out situations. I don’t know if I stand by that now, but I’m sure I mentioned that the gun you carry is better than the one you leave behind.

Stats say you’ll never need your gun to defend your life, but in the rare moment you have to, will you be facing a madman with a shotgun?  Is your life and the life of your family worth a little extra comfort?

This is where the Glock 42 comes in. The Glock 42 is a great pocket pistol; it’s small and comfortable. You also get a whopping 6 plus 1 rounds of .380. Is this the standard we use for carry? We trust 7 rounds of what’s generally considered the minimal self-defense round to save our lives? You can carry 6 rounds of .357 Magnum in a wheel gun and be relatively sure that someone on the receiving end is going to be put down.

So do I put my money where my mouth is? I think so. I now carry my Sig P250. I carry two mags of 15 rounds of Federal hydro shock hollow points. Am I over gunned and paranoid? My wife asked me the other day why I started carrying such a large weapon. I said her and my son were worth it. On occasion I’ve also carried my K frame 586 with two speed loaders, giving me 18 rounds of .357 Magnum.

Now, I’m not against sub-compacts. I believe they are the smallest a person should go. For example, the Glock 26 is an excellent carry weapon, and you’re equipped with a minimum of 10 rounds of 9mm; more than likely you purchased a few of the 12-round mags with the pinky extension, which makes shooting much more comfortable.

This is a small, concealable gun, chambered in a potent defensive caliber, with enough rounds to feel secure. I’m not personally a fan of the XDs; its capacity is too low for its size in my opinion. I don’t feel much of a difference in concealment when it comes to the 7 rounds of 9mm versus the 10 or 12 for the Glock 26.

If you can’t tell, I am now a subscriber to the mantra that “a gun isn’t supposed to be comfortable, but comforting.” I feel confident in my 15 + 1 in a compact- (but not really) sized pistol. Is it also comfortable? No, not even a little. My inside-the-waistband holster is especially uncomfortable in a vehicle. The outside-the-waistband holster isn’t much better in a vehicle. Sometimes I come home and my armpit is chafed and sore from carrying the weapon under my shoulder. Since my job requires a lot of driving, this has become a preferred method of carry.

You know how I feel when I step out for the day? I feel safe. I don’t feel like a group of thugs can overpower me, and while I don’t claim to be an expert in self-defense, I do feel like my odds have increased quite a bit against the shotgun wielding mad man. I feel much better than my eight rounds of .380 or my tiny Model 85.

Again, I ask for prayers for the hero who stopped this madman before he took any lives. And I ask all of you to ask yourselves: Do you feel comfortable with your carry weapon? Do you carry every day? I’m not trying to preach, but I am trying to open some eyes, and I only ask that you reevaluate your choice of weapon.

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  1. Completely agree — that’s why my Ruger P-90 .45 ACP & 22 rounds of jacketed gold amalgam go everywhere I go (minus legally excluded places).
    A P-90 is serious iron but I’m very comforted by his presence.
    Heck, if my KelTec PLR-16 & 90 rounds were concealable I’d carry that!
    There are few truly safe places in America now.
    How sad that the Left has deliberately made the racial/cultural divide into a jagged wound with raw edges on both sides.

  2. EgbertThrockmorton

    My personal choice for EDC has been the Glock 26 with Glock 19 magazines and grip adapters. Things work MUCH better than you would think, and the FrankenGlock 26 is very easily concealed. Just my own “fix”so thought I would share. I also carry two similarly “adapter modified” Glock 19 mags as backup on my belt.
    Never know when the entire Murphy Clan will show up.

  3. Agreed, I carry a “pocket pistol” for backup but my Glock .40 cal. is always by my side. I can actually hit my target with the Glock. The Ruger LCP is a waste of money in my humble opinion.

  4. Why carry concealed so you become a target? Just sling a shotgun over your shoulder and you will NEVER become a target to troublemakers.

    • The presence of the shotgun makes you the First one to be taken out because the bad guy ALWAYS has the first move. Concealed carry means you have a better chance to be alive to stop the thug before he kills many. The shotgun IS a sign shoot me first!

  5. not to be picky…but the S&W 586 is an L frame .357 NOT a K frame..

  6. There isn’t a way in hell i’d be caught carrying a .25 or a .380 for a CC. Not even if i lost a bet……lol All the rounds from those pistols will do is piss someone off…… I was gifted a .25 cal from my father in law that he won in a card game like, 15 years ago… We call it the fleafart gun, cuz that’s how it sounds when it goes off! At a mere 65 ft pds of torque, that round wouldn’t stop a Finch, much less a motivated, angry shooter. And the chances are good, per the story above, whomever would be nuts enough to draw in public and risk hurting innocent folks for WHATEVER reason, they’re gonna be toting something considerably more formidable than a winky .380… So had YOU.
    Food for thought, Amigos…. The dirtbag of tomorrow will most likely be sporting level III Kevlar. This will soon become a scumbag staple. And why NOT? A used vest can be had for as little as $50 on the net. If you were going to embark on a life of crime for whatever reason, go on a home invasion or carjacking spree, would you not make the cheap investment FIRST? Hell, I WOULD for that price….
    Here in this quiet little county in NW Georgia, 4 jackasses began shooting at a cop that was pulling in to where they were hanging out. A car chase ensued, crossed county lines, and our deputies got involved. The perps began shooting at their cruisers via open window with an SKS. Our boys finally cornered em, and 3 were rounded up in short order. The 4th, they had to ferret him out of the woods. What they all had in common? ALL were wearing level III kevlar. All were younger, early 20 somethings….. They GET it. Robbery and home invasion loses it’s luster if you DON’T survive it. I hate criminals with common sense……
    I bring this into the conversation purely for the author’s last sentence… to re-evaluate what you both carry, and what you bring to bear for home defense. Level III kevlar is DESIGNED to stop small caliber handguns. ALL the way up to, and including a .45 round. Even the formidable .357 will not penetrate it. A .45 round will leave one hell of a dent in a vest, and probably leave a busted rib or 3, but it WON’T take said ballbag off the chessboard.
    Do with this observation what you will….. Again i throw it out there for folks to consider, as the times are a-changin, along with the various elements that could potentially be brought to bear against innocent folks. Facing dirtbags wearing level III is now a real possibility, especially considering the state of the US dollar, and the ramifications of economic collapse. The ones that want an extended shelf life for societal dirtbaggery post-collapse will most likely be sporting same……

    • Baloney. A 22 killed Bobby Kennedy and almost killed Ronald Reagan. How about you stand there and let someone shoot you with a 22 to see what happens? If you shoot a 22 at someone, you know they are not going to stand around. They will run away every time.

  7. Another thought for those that carry…… God forbid, we ever find ourselves in the moment of truth. I would wish that on NO one, not even an anti-gun leftist, as the incident, no matter how formidable one’s character and psyche is, can shake you to your very core, even if you took someone down for the RIGHT reasons….

    That being said, IF you have the opportunity when forced to draw and you are COMPELLED to shoot to save innocent lives, aim for the teeth in a frontal shot. No kidding. What lies behind the teeth is the spinal cord. Sever that, and the perp is neutralized, even if he’s holding a gun on someone. His brain’s ability to direct his arm to bring a weapon to bear, or his finger to pull the trigger will be neutralized the INSTANT the cord is severed. Cut his brain’s ability to tell his appendages what to do……
    This may sound calculated and harsh, but if there are innocent lives at stake and a clear shot is indicated, this will end the party quickly AND most importantly, PREDICTABLY. Body mass shots, especially with small to mid-size calibers, will most likely wound them, but enable the motivated or drugged up to keep on firing.
    Fact; some of the most damaging shots perps have fired have been AFTER they were wounded….. They can fire indiscriminately or wildly, and that’s a factor nobody covets……
    Just my humble 10pm 2 cents worth…….. Be well all……

  8. Good article and a lot of food for thought….thanks.

  9. While I agree that it’s best to carry as large a caliber weapon(with the most capacity) as possible, it may not be feasible. Some folks are not physically capable of handling a 9, .40, or similar caliber. To me, the best weapon, is the one that you can operate accurately.

  10. It is illegal to carry a concealed firearm as a licensed recovery agent.

    • I beg to differ there. Indiana, among other states, allow us to be armed for self protection while doing our jobs. I work as a vehicle repo agent & i’ve come across many cases where i was glad i was armed. But each state is different to so it’s up to the person to check local, county, & state laws.

  11. Funny when people say they wouldn’t use a .25Auto for Selfdefense think in the situation of getting attacked in close combat grab your .25 and any shot to a main artery to the head,neck,stomach,arm,leg can Stop or kill them so yes if I have my .25 in a knife fight I rather have that than my hands or even a gun fight better to have something then nothing specially if the other shooter isn’t much of a shooter and you don’t have the bulk of even a compact gun my Bernardelli is the size of my wallet I can literally hold it in my hand….and anyone that says the other person will just get mad from a shot from a .25auto is an idiot and doesn’t know guns, only people who would stay up is if they on PCP or bath salts and a shot to the Heart or head stops them…watch ballistics tests on the .25auto vs the .22

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