Best Pocket Pistols of 2020 – Complete Buyer’s Guide

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Finding the best pocket pistol can be a challenge, but if you have a good idea of how they work, then you may find the search to be a little less difficult. A pocket pistol will certainly play a huge role in any application.

Yes, they may be small, but they can deliver surprisingly good accuracy and reliability (some can even outperform much larger pistols). Since they are small in size, they will excel in concealability, thus making them a popular choice among concealed carry users. 

While many pocket pistols flood the market, we’ve managed to track down the very best and compiled them into this list so you can choose one for your own personal use. Before we get to our reviews, we’ll talk about how accurate a pocket pistol is and what you need to look for if you are interested in finding one of these for yourself.

Comparison Chart of the Best Pocket Pistols

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Smith & Wesson Bodyguard

  • Laser sight included
  • Best overall pocket pistol
  • Includes 6 rounds in a magazine
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Ruger LCP 2.75" 380 Auto

  • Barrel measured at 2.75 inches
  • Runner-up for best pocket pistol
  • Chambered to fire 380 caliber shots
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Springfield Armory 911 .380 ACP

  • Capacity of 6 rounds
  • Chambered to fire 380 shots
  • Best pocket pistol for the money
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Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Performance Center 9MM

  • Best 9mm pocket pistol
  • Chambered to fire 9mm rounds
  • Includes two magazines at 7 and 8 rounds respectively
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Kimber Mfg. 1911 Micro SS

  • Barrel length of 2.75 inches
  • Most reliable 380 pocket pistol
  • Includes a magazine with a 6 + 1 capacity
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Beretta 21 Bobcat

  • Capacity of 7 rounds
  • Best .22 pocket pistol
  • Double and Single action
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Colt Mustang Lite

  • Ambidextrous safety
  • Best colt pocket pistol
  • Barrel is measured at 2.7 inches
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Glock 42 .380 ACP

  • Best Glock Pocket Pistol
  • Trigger pull of 5.5 pounds
  • Chambered to fire 380 shots
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Sig Sauer P238 Spartanii 380 ACP

  • Can shoot 380 shots
  • Best SIG Pocket Pistol
  • Barrel length of 2.7 inches
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Taurus PT-22 2.75In

  • Capacity of 8 rounds
  • Best Taurus Pocket Pistol
  • Barrel measured at 2.75 inches
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How Accurate is a Pocket Pistol?

This will depend on the caliber of the pistol and even some of the measurables as well. Some pocket pistols will have slightly different lengths in a barrel, which will affect the accuracy of a pistol. It will in all likelihood be accurate in a close-quarters distance (10 to 15 yards). Some may go as far as 30 yards. Again, it will depend on the pistol in terms of caliber and firing power. 

What Should I Look For When Buying a Pocket Pistol?

It’s a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for certain aspects in a pocket pistol. This way, you’ll be able to distinguish a great model from one that is poor in terms of quality and performance. Eventually, you’ll find one that you’ll like. Until then, here are some of the things to look for:

Price

If you are on a budget, you can certainly find a pocket pistol that will be excellent in quality and price. Of course, it will need to be something that fits your budget as well. You should not under any circumstances go for cheap when it comes to finding a pistol. Cheap will not only mean poor quality, but also poor performance (and the higher chance of malfunctioning). 

Concealability

One of the best attributes to look for in a pocket pistol is concealability. This will be a huge plus if you are looking for a concealed carry pistol for the sake of self-defense. It will also come in handy if you want a pistol that will be well-hidden and out of plain sight. Sometimes, people are uncomfortable with the sight of someone carrying a gun in public. That’s one of the considerations that comes with being the “good guy with a gun”. Find a pistol that won’t cause any bulging, discomfort, or undue attention.

Reliability

Reliability is one of the major things to look for in a pistol and for good reason. Reliability is what makes a pistol stand out among the rest. How many shots will it be able to fire without a single jam or malfunction? The more reliable the pistol, the better the chance you will be able to get yourself out of a tight spot when your life is on the line.

Quick Take - The Best Pocket Pistols

These are our recommendations for the best pocket pistols:

  1. Smith & Wesson Bodyguard
  2. Ruger LCP 2.75" 380 Auto
  3. Springfield Armory 911 .380 ACP

Review of the Best Pocket Pistols

The following is a list of the very best pocket pistols that you can choose from. While reading through our reviews, try to get a good idea of what you want to look for in a pistol. Remember, a good enough handgun is a lot better than nothing at all. Now, let’s take a look at the first pistol on our list -- the “best overall” choice:

Pros

  • Superior reliability
  • Stealthy concealability
  • Easy to pull the trigger
  • Perfect for concealed carry and home defense
  • Laser allows for excellent accuracy and precision

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers were quite happy with this firearm and for several good reasons. For one, they were able to conceal it in most holsters without any bulging or discomfort. They said that it was so compact in size it didn’t feel like they were carrying anything at all. The laser sight allowed for excellent accuracy at close range distances between 10 to 15 yards. One user said that he was able to hit his targets near or close to the bullseye at the range at these distances (and slightly farther). He added that even after firing 100 rounds, not a single malfunction had occurred.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol lives up to the name of “Bodyguard”. It’s small in size, able to stop an assailant cold in their tracks if need be, and will definitely keep to your side until you need it. Simply put, it’s one of the best pocket pistols that you can have on hand (even if you do put it in a hip holster). Since it’s made by Smith and Wesson, it definitely stands out in one major category: reliability. Indeed, the name is associated with this attribute and this pistol is no exception. If you truly want a pistol that is at extremely low risk of malfunctioning, the Smith and Wesson brand should be the first place you look.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be the perfect pistol for those who conceal carry on a regular basis. It is the perfect size and will fit in most pocket holsters. Just because it’s small in size doesn’t mean it’s weak in firing power. It can pack a pretty good punch and cause a good amount of damage. If you want a pistol that will exceed expectations, this might be the right choice for you.

Bottom Line

The Smith and Wesson Bodyguard is the real deal when it comes to pocket pistols. And it’s well-deserving of the best overall nod. Its reliability, accuracy, and concealability (among so many things) are what make it the best in the business. If you truly want a bodyguard that isn’t someone who towers over you, this is the pocket pistol that you may want to consider.

Pros

  • Easy to load
  • Excellent concealability
  • Accurate and precise
  • Shooting power is pretty potent
  • Fits in most compact or pocket holsters

Cons

  • Trigger quality could be better
  • Pull weight could be a bit lighter
  • May be difficult to disassemble for cleaning and maintenance

What Recent Buyers Report

According to new users, this pistol was well-deserving of the praise it got. It’s got the size, the shooting power, and accuracy to win the hearts of many. Most buyers have said that it was easy to fit in most pockets (and it didn’t even bulge once). As far as performance goes, it was sharpshooting from 10 to 25 yards out. One user even said he expected less, but was surprised nonetheless. He added that the shooting groups were pretty tight no matter how many different types of 380 rounds he fired. And that alone was enough for him to say that he made the right decision.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Ruger LCP is undoubtedly one of the most concealable pistols on the market. Unsurprisingly, that turns out to be a huge plus for concealed carry users looking to keep it discreet when they are out and about. The 380 caliber itself is known for having pistols that are small in size. So if you are looking for a pistol that will allow for under the radar carry, a 380 would be a good starting point. The shooting power is really impressive with less recoil to work with. That alone will allow you better control over your handgun, which leads to more accurate and precise shooting. Simply put, it’s doing what a pistol is supposed to do.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are in search of a pocket pistol that will be a force to be reckoned with in a self-defense situation, this could be your go-to option. If concealability is a priority, you may want to start off with the 380 caliber; however, if that caliber isn’t a good fit, you should try something similar like a 9mm. If you also want superior accuracy across various distances, then you’ll want to give this an even closer look.

Bottom Line

The Ruger LCP 2.75 380 Auto is a pretty solid pocket pistol as far as performance and quality go. It will last you a long time and deliver on the promise each and every time you use it. It will certainly be the pistol you can go with in a real life or death situation. If you want to be more prepared than ever, this handgun could be the solution for you.

Best for the Money: 
Springfield Armory 911 .380 ACP

Pros

  • Superior quality and durability
  • Trigger pull is pretty smooth and light
  • Allows for excellent gripping, even in bad weather conditions
  • Can be used as a secondary pistol if you are already carrying something else

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers were able to purchase a pistol that was affordable but also delivered well above and beyond expectations. It was not only easy and quick to shoot, but it was also super accurate and precise from distances between 10 to 20 yards. Some users tested it out at a run and gun range and maintained control, hitting their targets accurately. One of them said that he was able to practice ducking, hiding, and shooting while in motion. After this exciting experience, he said that he was confident in his ability to use the Springfield Armory 911 .380 ACP in a self-defense setting.

Why it Stands Out to Us

ACP pistols are by far one of the most popular choices because of their easy ability to fire quick shots. When time is not on your side in a dangerous situation, being able to get a shot off with one pull of a trigger is going to be key. This pistol will allow for easy and quick shooting that will knock down an assailant and get you out of harm’s way. Furthermore, since it’s highly concealable, you’ll be able to carry it with you on the go.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want a pistol that is simple to use and will potentially save your life (if such a situation were to arise), then you’ll want to consider putting this firearm to the test. Yes, it’s a 380, so it’s got supreme concealability. It’s also got the excellent quality that you are looking for, so it will last you quite a while. Overall, it’s a pretty good pistol that you can snag at a price that you can afford.

Bottom Line

The Springfield Armory 911 .380 ACP is the go-to option that you may want to consider if you need something that won’t cost you an arm or a leg. You can bet that you will get a lot more with what you pay for with a pistol like this. It’s high in quality, superior in performance, and will in all likelihood stand out better than even some higher-end pocket pistols.

Pros

  • Comfortable, all-day carry
  • Provides excellent gripping ability
  • Inclusion of two magazines is convenient
  • Super lightweight, even when fully loaded
  • Great for concealed carry and target shooting

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers reported a handful of positive results with this pistol. The shooting was mostly accurate from ranges between 15 to 25 yards. The overall quality was superb because of the polymer material that was able to protect the pistol from any scuffing and even allowed for excellent gripping ability in bad weather conditions. They also concluded that the size was just right for pocket concealability.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We now turn our attention back to the Smith and Wesson brand. And yes, it is just as reliable as the rest of the Smith and Wesson pistols that are available on the market. This will have the ability to shoot 9mm rounds with ease and will provide excellent stopping power in a self-defense situation. With two magazines at your disposal, it will be interesting to see how many you need handy in order to ward off any dangerous attackers (if the situation warrants it). On top of that, it might also be a good thing to have them around when you are using this pistol in a competitive situation. Simply put, it’s a versatile pistol that you can depend on.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used mostly by shooters who want to depend on a pistol that can go the distance in any given application. Nevertheless, it’s perfect for someone who wants to inflict serious damage while knowing exactly where the shot will go. Accurate and dependable, this will be a good sidekick to have in your pocket just in case.

Bottom Line

The Smith and Wesson M&P Shield Performance Center 9MM will certainly get the job done when it comes to making sure it will keep your assailants in check and think twice about messing with you. Or you can use it for target shooting and hone your sharpshooting skills. Either way, it’s the 9mm that fits in your pocket and delivers the high-quality performance that you deserve.

Most Reliable .380 Pocket Pistol: 
Kimber Mfg. 1911 Micro SS

Pros

  • Fit and finish are superb
  • Excellent quality overall
  • Perfect for concealed carry
  • Easy to draw and re-holster
  • Trigger pull is pretty decent

Cons

  • Trigger pull may be gritty
  • May be a little loud at times
  • Loading may be a challenge

What Recent Buyers Report

One of the major things that really stood out for this pistol was the ability to shoot reliable, accurate shots with a trigger pull that wasn’t too light or too heavy. Many users said that the trigger pull weight was not sensitive in the slightest, but it was light enough to apply a decent amount of pressure. After all is said and done, the shooting groups were considerably tight. One user even said that he was able to keep the shooting groups tight no matter how many different bullets he fired.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol looks pretty sharp when it comes to aesthetics. It might just be enough to turn some heads at the range. But granted, it’s a pretty good-looking pistol that will intimidate any attackers that might try to threaten you. This is a 380 caliber firearm that will provide excellent concealability, won’t budge, and will continue to fly under the radar every day you carry it. The firing power does pack a pretty serious punch, so expect some manageable recoil.

Who Will Use This Most

This pistol will be well-deserving of anyone who wants a handgun that is concealable and easy to shoot. It’s got the looks, overall performance, and concealability all rolled in one nice little package. If you want a pistol that will definitely be a worthy sidekick, you will want to consider this as a possible long-term choice for you.

Bottom Line

Looking for a sharp-looking and ridiculously sharp-shooting beast? If so, you should consider the Kimber Mfg. 1911 Micro SS as your go-to option. You might say that it’s one of the most perfect pocket pistols on the market (and you would be right). It’s not going to be a disappointment when it comes to performance, and it certainly won’t disappoint when it comes to aesthetics either.

Best .22 Pocket Pistol:
Beretta 21 Bobcat

Pros

  • Excellent concealability
  • Light in weight, even when loaded
  • Effective in a self-defense situation
  • Easy to shoot in single-action mode
  • Superior quality; really tough all over

Cons

  • May be difficult to load at first
  • Hammer may be tough to cock back
  • Trigger pull is much heavier in double-action mode

What Recent Buyers Report

New users were quick to point out the tight shooting groups that this pistol left on their targets. After going through a full magazine, new users observed this and were quite impressed with its overall accuracy. They were also impressed that for a handgun of its size, it was able to handle the bumps and scuffs of consistent shooting. New users also found that they were able to get a good grip on this pistol in bad weather conditions.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If there was one other caliber that concealed carry users rely on for warding off attackers or home invaders, a .22 will be among their top choices. Yes, they are similar in size compared to that of 9mm or 380 rounds, but they can definitely leave pretty tight shooting groups (especially this particular pistol). The Beretta 21 Bobcat comes with single and double action modes. If you want to get a shot off quickly, odds are the single action will work to your advantage. If you want to take your time and prepare for each shot, then double action is better suited. Either way, you will be able to put this to good use any way you slice it.

Who Will Use This Most

You can be sure that this handgun will come through for you in a life and death situation. Even if you don’t find yourself in dangerous situations, it will be useful in a target shooting situation. Casual or competitive, it’s a dang good pistol to have at your side. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned user, this pistol might be hard to pass up in terms of giving it a chance. Accuracy, reliability, and max concealability are what you’ll get.

Bottom Line

The Beretta 21 Bobcat can last you for a good long while because it’s durable, reliable, and very satisfying to shoot. Once you put this in your pocket, it will definitely come to your aid when needed. If a .22 caliber is what you want, you should give this pistol a good look.

Best Colt Pocket Pistol:
Colt Mustang Lite

Pros

  • Simple to load
  • Easy to pull the trigger
  • Excellent concealability
  • Perfect for both right-handed and left-handed shooters
  • Allows for excellent handling and control for accurate shooting

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

New users were either right-handed or left-handed shooters who were able to get a good handle on this pistol when test firing it. While at the range, new users were putting the bullets to paper leaving tight shooting groups consistently. Even after firing 100 or more rounds, they were happy to report that no jamming or malfunctioning had occurred.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We now focus on a pistol that is unique for both left-handed and right-handed shooters. Yes, the pistol is ambidextrous (along with the safety). So, no matter which direction you push it in, you will make sure the safety is on and no accidental misfirings occur. This pistol will also fit in most concealed carry holsters, be it on the hip or in your pocket. It also won’t snag, thus making it easy to draw and quick to re-holster.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be perfect for beginners who want a pistol that will allow excellent concealability. If you are new to concealed carry and want a handgun that is easy to use right from the jump, you may want to consider this as one of your top options. Yes, it’s easy to load, easy to shoot, and will certainly be impressive as far as overall performance goes.

Bottom Line

For a newbie-friendly pistol, the Colt Mustang Lite is no slouch. It will leave you with a lasting impression that makes you want to use this again and again in whatever application you see fit. What’s not to love about a pistol that is easy to load and easy to shoot? For a firearm that will certainly rise above and beyond the call of duty, this could be the perfect one for you.

Best Glock Pocket Pistol:
Glock 42 .380 ACP

Pros

  • Simple to conceal
  • Superior reliability
  • Easy and quick shooting
  • Provides excellent firing power
  • Perfect for concealed carry situations

Cons

  • May be tough to load at times
  • Trigger quality can be a bit better
  • Not ideal for shooters with large hands

What Recent Buyers Report

New users have confirmed what we already knew about this gun: it’s pretty dang reliable. They were able to fire 100 to 200 shots or more without a single malfunction or jamming. They were really happy with the overall quality. One user said that it was so well-constructed that he knew that he would be using for years down the road. Additionally, new users were able to conceal this in their pockets with not a single bulging issue.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Glock brand is one of the many names that will be included in a conversation about reliability. It’s the one name that is relied on by many users (even law enforcement and military members across 50 countries). Aside from its legendary reliability, the firing power of a Glock is unmistakable. Of course, you’ll feel it with every shot you take. No Glock is complete without getting consistently accurate shooting. It will tighten up shooting groups no matter what kind of 380 rounds you use.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want a pistol that will get the job done and will give you years or even decades of dedicated and reliable service, this is the pistol you’ll want to go with. Even better, it’s super concealable as well. Talk about the total package. This is a pocket pistol that you’d be insane to pass up if the opportunity to snag this puppy was standing right in front of you.

Bottom Line

The Glock 42 .380 ACP is the real deal. And it might be one of the dark horse choices for the “best overall” in the not so distant future. Don’t be shocked if this ends up gaining more steam and popularity over the next couple of years. If you love a pistol that will deliver smooth, consistently accurate shooting, then you’ll love this Glock 42 to death.

Best SIG Pocket Pistol:
Sig Sauer P238 Spartanii 380 ACP

Pros

  • Superior firing power
  • Excellent fit and finish
  • Trigger pull is smooth and easy
  • Easy gripping and control in any condition
  • Perfect for concealed carry and target shooting

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

New users were super happy with this pistol for a few good reasons. For one, they were able to get shots off smoothly and without a single instance of jamming or malfunctioning. New users say they were able to shoot accurate and precise shots from distances between 10 to 20 yards. One user said that this was the perfect concealed carry pistol for close quarter shooting. He was confident that he would be able to use this in a self-defense application if the situation were to arise.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Going back to the conversation on reliability, another name that will be mentioned often is SIG Sauer. Why shouldn’t it be included? It’s a pretty awesome brand, which produces guns that are excellent for firing at the range. But when the situation arises where you have to defend yourself, it will give you a boost in confidence knowing that you’ll be able to pull the trigger and quickly get a shot off. That’s the beauty of an ACP pistol. It’s smooth in shooting and will be easier and quicker than most. And since it will fit in your pocket, consider it more of a perk than anything else.

Who Will Use This Most

Expect this to be a really good pistol for newbie users. If you are a beginner that needs a pistol before starting out with your CCW training, then you’ll probably end up finding a pistol like this working to your advantage. Once you are complete with your training, you will more than likely want to keep this on hand. If you want a serious long-term option for carrying in your pocket, this is the pistol you may want to consider.

Bottom Line

If concealability, reliability, and smooth shooting are what you want in a pocket pistol, then make no mistake about this bad boy. The SIG Sauer P238 SpartanII 380 is without question a favorite among concealed carry users. Purchasing this pistol might just be the best investment you’ve ever made.

Best Taurus Pocket Pistol:
Taurus PT-22 2.75In

Pros

  • Great durability
  • No snagging when drawn
  • Shooting is smooth and easy
  • Allows for maximum concealability
  • Fits in most pocket holsters with ease

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new buyers were satisfied with the Taurus PT-22 2.75In. They were able to draw this and re-holster it without dealing with any snagging. On top of that, they were able to conceal this without a hint of bulging or giving away their concealment position. Overall, this handgun was easy to shoot and it allowed them to fire 100 rounds without any jamming or malfunctions. One user said that it was accurate at distances up to 20 yards and was easy to maintain control over.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Just by looking at the design of this pistol, you might think that it is one of the most unusual designs you’ve seen. It looks as though the grip is longer than the barrel. But rest assured, it can still give you accurate and precise shots (especially in a CQB setting). The grip is perfect if your hands happen to be on the large side. No matter your hand size, you still get a pretty good amount of control. If you want a pistol that won’t discriminate on hand size, this might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Who Will Use This Most

This will certainly work for beginner users, and since the barrel is short in length, it will come in handy if and when you need to use it against an assailant at close range. Of course, by the time you approach them to get an effectively accurate shot off, they might be smart enough to run away. This pistol is small, but it’s pretty dang fierce from where we're standing.

Bottom Line

The Taurus PT-22 could be the best pistol you’ve owned, considering its features and characteristics. But its performance will pretty much leave you impressed every single time. Whether you use it for an EDC application or just a day at the range, its accuracy and reliability won’t let you down and it will deliver on the promise.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

It’s always a great idea to make a well-informed decision regarding which firearm will best suit your needs. Consider the following aspects below so you are able to make an easy decision for a pocket pistol that you’ll end up using for a long time:

Will You Need a Pistol For CCW Training?

If you are considering CCW training, instructors highly recommend you purchase your own pistol for training purposes (and using it for the real situations once the course is complete). This way, you’ll be able to get to know your pistol and use it properly. You will also be able to use it in target shooting situations so you can be trained on knowing when to shoot and when not to shoot. 

Is a Pocket Holster Necessary?

While a pocket holster will allow for pocket pistols to fit, it may also fit some compact or subcompact holsters. It may also depend on the design as well. You’ll need a holster that will allow for easy access to your pistol rather than have it sit deep down in the holster itself and allow for slow drawing. 

Which Caliber is Best For Me?

While there really isn’t a recommended caliber to try out, it’s a personal preference for you to choose which ammo is worth firing. If you are looking for a pistol that is guaranteed to provide maximum concealability, then you may want to consider a 380 pistol as one of your best options.

Conclusion

The best pocket pistol for you could certainly be one of the options reviewed above. Consider choosing one that is proven to be excellent in quality, reliable, and consistently accurate. There is no question of what you can do with a pocket pistol. You better believe that it can protect you from assailants who are stupid enough to approach you and threaten your life. These make excellent EDC pistols for when you need them the most. Take care of your pistol regularly and it will certainly take care of you too. 

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