Over here on Gun Nuts, Shelley and I have been beating this drum relentlessly, imploring people to resist the temptation to run out and buy the latest trend in gun stuff, the pocket 9mm as exemplified by the Ruger LC9 and the Sig P290. It seems now that the word has been heard by others and they too are picking up their drums to implore people to not buy guns based on marketing. Over at the Truth about Guns, Eric from Gunmart makes the case for you don’t need a pocket 9mm, and he’s 100% correct.
We’ve said it here before – there is nothing you can do with a “pocket” 9mm that you can’t do better with a legit subcompact gun or a proper pocket pistol in a mousegun caliber. With proper ammo, mousegun .380s can actually reach 11-12 inches of penetration. The image below is of an 80 grain Barnes X-Tap bullet fired out of a Ruger LCP – this is a true pocket gun, and the Double-Tap .380 round was designed specifically to get max performance out of guns like this.
11 inches of penetration in gel with 100% weight retention
Does it penetrate like a .40? No. But it does make a .380 “just about enough gun”, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be standing downrange and catch 7 of those out of a Sig P238. If you want a pocket gun, get a pocket gun – there are plenty of good .380s and .32s on the market right now that make excellent last ditch defensive weapons and are honestly easier to shoot than a pocket 9mm.
If you want a 9mm, get a 9mm. We live in a world full of subcompact guns which are easy to carry and much, much easier to shoot than the current crop of “pocket” 9mms. A Ruger SR9c or a Sig P250 Subcompact would be a much better choice than an LC9 or a Sig P290. If you don’t believe me, try the trigger on either of them – the LC9 is fractionally smaller than the SR9c and has a trigger that is worse by an order of magnitude, making it that much more difficult to shoot.
Choosing a carry gun is always going to be a compromise between firepower and ease of carry. With a pocket 9mm, you’re not getting a lot of firepower, they’re not really easy to carry, and they quite honestly suck to shoot. There are better pocket guns, and there are certainly better 9mm pistols for concealed carry.