Let’s talk about pocket guns here for a second. Shelley’s post yesterday about the Ruger LCP (and indirectly the Kel-Tec P3AT) inspired quite a bit of commentary both here on Gun Nuts and on my Facebook page. First off, let’s get a couple of things all cleared up – we don’t hate the concept of pocket .380s. Shelley isn’t a big fan of the Ruger LCP, mostly because she’s seen multiple examples of the gun crack right on the slide after heavy use. That would turn me off on a platform as well. My objection is more training oriented than anything – I am a firm believer that any gun you’re going to carry is a gun you need to practice with for it to be useful. Here is my logic train on pocket guns in general:
- A gun is better than no gun, so that .25/.32/.380 in your pocket beats a knife or a cup of coffee
- You need to practice with a carry gun for it to be any good
- Many of the pocket guns are not robust enough to hold up to the kind of practice necessary to master their use
That’s the issue I have with them. Even my beloved Jetfire wasn’t going to stand up to serious and repeated practice, and I found that with a little care in wardrobe selection I could just as easily conceal a much larger pistol in business casual. That being said, there are some pocket guns that will stand up to the kind of repeated practice that’s necessary to master their use.
The S&W J-frame in its various lightweight configurations will in fact hold up to repeated practice. This is good, because a J-frame is most definitely an “expert” gun, requiring the most amount of trigger time to truly master. However, the lightweight guns offer stout recoil. However, because it’s a DA revolver, you can get a lot of quality practice in dry fire.
I know I’m going to catch hell for this, but the fact of the matter is that this is the only “true” pocket gun that I’ve seen and personally run hard and still function. I’ve run them in the pouring rain stripped of lubrication, and the one in Shelley’s rental case has taken an obscene round count and continues to run. Both of us at Team Gun Nuts absolutely adore this gun, and unabashedly recommend it for people looking for a pocket gun as a backup. Yes, it costs more money than an LCP or Kel-Tec. But it also works better than an LCP or a Kel-Tec.
I am certain that there are other pocket guns out there that can hold up to serious round counts. If you’ve got a pocket gun that’s seen north of 1000 rounds and is still ticking, I’d love to hear about it. Email your pocket gun stories to me at [email protected] and we’ll try to collate them into a post.
The bottom line here at Gun Nuts though is that your carry gun is useless if you don’t practice with it. While most defensive gun uses don’t involve a shot being fired, that’s a hell of a thing to bet your life on. Rule number 1 is always going to be “carry your guns”, but rule number 1A is “practice with your carry gun so that if you need it you’ll be ready”.