One of the oldest forms of walking around with a concealed handgun, the practice of pocket carry has been around for centuries and is still alive and well today but needs a few tricks to pull off properly.
While owning a gun isn’t for everyone, the prospect of carrying a gun when outside of the home is for an even smaller subset of the population. Keeping with that mantra, toting around a gun in your pocket is really not for everyone. Some will advocate against it, full stop, while others have successfully used the method for years and it is their primary method of carrying.
I weigh the good with the bad, in my column at Guns.com.
Originally billed as a “vest pocket .45” built for maximum concealment in mind, the 4+1 Semmerling LM-4 pistol was only 5.2-inches long, 3.7-inches high, and a svelte 1-inch wide. For reference, this puts it in the same neighborhood as common .32ACP and .25ACP pocket pistols, but in a much larger caliber. Today it still holds the title as perhaps the smallest .45ACP that isn’t a derringer and, for comparison, it is about the same size as a Ruger LCP.
It is also the only manually-worked slide action .45ACP carry gun I can think of…
And I have been fooling around with serial number #31 lately
More in my column at Guns.com.
The original pocket Browning (FN) was a slim, six-shot .25ACP blowback-operated handgun that weighed about 13-ounces and used a rear grip safety much like the one later seen on his M1911. This early Browning grew into the Colt 1908 Vest Pocket and a slightly modified variant was sold by FN in Belgium as the Model 1905 for decades.
That’s where Belgian small arms guru Dieudonné Saive (who later finished the Browning Hi-Power and designed the FN-49 and FAL) came in.
Working with the original Model 1905 as a baseline, Saive dropped the grip safety in favor of a manual thumb-operated safety lock that doubled as a hold-open. Lighter, weighing just over 9-ounces while still being an all-steel pistol, the gun was sold from 1931 onward as the Baby Browning.
The Browning Baby was a half-inch shorter than the FN M1905 or Colt Vest Pocket and 4-ounces lighter, while still being a 6+1 shot .25ACP. (Photo: Richard Taylor/Guns.com)
Out of production since 1983, FN has since moved on to polymer-framed double-stack 9mm pistols that were a good bit larger. However, their new FN 503, the company’s smallest and slimmest gun since the Baby line ended, came out in March and I have been burning one up as of late.
The new FN 503 pistol is a 6+1 9mm that has a 3.1-inch barrel with recessed target crown which contributes to a 5.9-inch overall length. Some 4.6-inches high, the gun is slim– with a width of 1.1-inches overall.
A big baby, but a more mighty one for sure.
More in my column at Guns.com.
Lots of CZ fans wanted a Glock G19-sized polymer-framed 9mm, then came the CZ P10 C, which was almost the exact same specs and Czeched a lot of boxes for their personal preference.
Fast forward to March 2015 and Glock released the G43, a single-stack micro-compact 9mm that was just above pocket-sized. The G43 proved extremely popular with the concealed carry/backup gun crowd and more than a million were sold in the U.S. (they are only made in the U.S.) by May 2018.
Now, CZ has finally responded to the G43 with their new P-10 M (M=Micro) which is a doppelganger (dvojníka?) for the Austrian gun when it comes to specs while carrying an extra round of capacity.
Using a 3.35-inch barrel, the new polymer-framed 9mm runs 6.34-inches overall with a 20-ounce weight. Unlike the 6+1 capacity G43, the new CZ Micro has a 7+1.
More details in my column at Guns.com.
For the past few months, I have been carrying Diamondback’s new Gen 4 DB9 pistol.
The $225 micro-framed 9mm, with an unloaded weight of just 13.4-ounces, while maintaining a 3.1-inch stainless steel barrel that gives an overall length of 5.73-inches, is described by Diamondback as the “smallest and lightest” 9mm on the market. With a flush-fit magazine shoe installed, its height is 4-inches flat. The maximum width is 0.89-inches. This puts it a hair larger than “mouse gun” semi-autos in .22LR, .32ACP and .380 Auto, but more than, say a J-frame .38.
While I prefer to carry a double stack (G19, S&W M&P M2.0 Compact, et. al) on most occasions, I did find the DB9 great for going to the gym as I find it weird to wear a belt with track pants. Likewise, while kayaking in shorts or doing yard/housework, the Diamondback in pocket carry was a good fit.
In all, I put about 1,000 rounds through the palm-sized parabellum in the past few months and found out a few things about it.
Anyway, more in my column at Guns.com, should you be curious.
Recently introduced by the Cocoa, Florida-based gunmaker, the DB9 Gen 4, with a weight of just 13.4-ounces while maintaining a 3.1-inch stainless steel barrel that gives an overall length of 5.73-inches, Diamondback describes their gun as the “smallest and lightest” 9mm on the market. With a flush-fit magazine shoe installed, its height is 4-inches flat. The maximum width is 0.89-inches.
For the past couple of months, I’ve been carrying a DB9 G4 off and on as a backup gun and in situations where it is harder to carry a full-to-medium-sized pistol. In essence, it has been taking the place of my trusty old S&W J-frame, and with good reasons.
Here is a stack of the DB9 against the iconic pocket roscoe: The S&W J-Frame. As witnessed by this S&W M642, the DB9 is smaller and a tad lighter. Plus, it can carry seven rounds of 9mm as opposed to five of .38.
Further, the DB9 is downright skinny when the width is brought up and the Smith falls in alongside. Also, the DB9s barrel length and sight picture in both cases is an improvement, along with the faster reload.
Anyway, more on those size stack-ups in my column at Guns.com
Airlines and the TSA are pretty humorless when it comes to flying with guns, no matter how funny you are, but that shouldn’t keep you from flying with one in your checked bag.
As part of my job, I spent a lot of time living out of suitcases. While I prefer to drive, on trips longer than a 500nm radius of Biloxi I wind up having to catch a plane– which I abhor.
As I generally like to carry wherever I am going, something that I have done virtually every day since about 1992, this gave me lots of sour experiences with airlines and, post-9/11, TSA.
My lessons learned in this lengthy article at Guns.com.
Other than the 1911s, Colt was perhaps best known for their “snake” line of wheel guns– the Cobra, Python, Anaconda, et. al. However, the company, unwisely, got out of the revolver biz for about 20 years, only getting back with a rebooted Cobra .38 snub in 2017. Then came the Night Cobra (a blacked out Cobra) in 2018 and, earlier this year, the King Cobra, a 3-inch .357.
Now, they have released a new entry in the series, the King Cobra Carry, a DAO snubby:
Colt’s new magnum-caliber snub weighs 26-ounces and features a stainless steel barrel and frame mated to Hogue over-molded grips.
The cylinder accepts the old Colt Detective Special pattern speedloaders. MSRP is $899.
By comparison, Smith & Wesson’s Model 60 stainless 2-inch in the same caliber has a retail of $729 but only has a five-shot capacity. Ruger’s real estate in the same neighborhood is the 2.5-inch version of the seven-shot GP100, which has the same price point as the Colt but tips the scales at 36-ounces.
More in my column at Guns.com
Public Service Announcement: This unidentifiable semi-auto handgun came into a shop in Michigan recently, unable to fire.
I wonder why?
After an overnight soak and full disassembly, it was returned to service. The baggie of debris is what had to be scraped away.
A little regular maintenance can work wonders. Also, be sure not to get too crazy with the lube, as it drags lint, dandruff, cat hair, et. al down from the surface into the inner regions of a gun’s action, and can leave you after a while with an unsat condition.
Greetings from Las Vegas!
Colt’s rebooted King Cobra, in .357 Magnum with a 3-inch full lug barrel, is a shiny mid-size stainless wheel gun that could become a great revolver if it keeps on track.
I shot one at the range on Monday and, talking to Colt reps, they one of the demo guns that day cleared 2K rounds with nary an issue.
Stainless guns are pretty, but they do show that carbon once you start socking the rounds to them
More on the gun in my column over at Guns.com
In other news, I also found out that I can fit five NAA Mini-Revolvers on my hand. Of course, your mileage may vary with mitt size.