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7 Best Pocket Pistol of 2020 Reviews | Small But Reliable Handguns

The best pocket pistol isn't the most expensive, or the one with the most features. As with choosing any kind of handgun, finding the best pocket pistol depends largely on personal needs, preference, and budget.

If you're new to pocket guns, you'd be surprised by the many options readily-available today. Check any store selling them and you'll get overwhelmed with the plethora of brands, models, and features you'll have to compare. Some models may serve as your best gun for home defense. This guide will help you understand the features to watch out for and take a peek of our list of 7 editor-chosen, best pocket pistols.

1. [Overvall Best Pocket Pistol]
 Bond Arms Centerfire Derringer

Bond Arms Centerfire Derringer

Editor's Rating 

4.7/5

Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 Semi-Auto Pistol

Editor's Rating 

4.7/5

3. [Best Glock Pocket Pistol:]
 GLOCK 42 Semi-Auto Pistol

GLOCK 42 Semi-Auto Pistol

Editor's Rating 

4.6/5

Everything You Need to Know to Pick the Best Pocket Pistol for Your Money

Shopping for a small hand gun is complicated since everyone has their own idea of "the perfect" one. 

What to Look For in a Pocket Pistol? 

Two most important things to focus on when shopping for the best pocket pistol for you are fit and size. 

Obviously, the pistol should be small enough that you can conceal it properly. Because these kinds of handguns can be used without a holster, they should be small enough that owners feel comfortable to carry them even throughout the day. 

Fit is just as important because your hand is uniquely yours. The size of your hand, how strongly you're able to grip, and even the length of your fingers play a role in how well a pocket gun would fit.

What Dimensions Qualify As a Pocket Pistol?

A pocket pistol is defined as any small, "pocket-sized" semi-automatic pistol that is suitable for concealed carry in a trouser pocket, jacket or coat. However, this definition can be subjective. Your size of trouser (and its pockets) can be bigger than your friend's trousers. 

In general, the handgun industry has defined pocket pistols as guns that are sized 4.5 inches tall and 6.5 inches long (or smaller), with an unloaded weight of under 20 ounces.

FAQ

Product Name

Benefits

Rating

Bond Arms Centerfire Derringer
  • Easily concealed


  • Comfortable to carry


  • Super cool design

4.7/5

Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 Semi-Auto Pistol
  • Heavy trigger pull works as second layer of safety


  • High accuracy and reliability


  • Designed specifically for home defense and concealed carry

4.7/5

GLOCK 42 Semi-Auto Pistol
  • Very lightweight and compact design
  • Familiar trigger as used by other Glock models


  • Ergonomic grip (even for its small size)

4.6/5


WALTHER ARMS INC - CCP M2 380 ACP 8+1
  • Just right gun weight 


  • Top-notch design


  • Effortless reassemble and disassemble

4.5/5

Beretta Pico Semi-Auto Pistol with Inox Finish - .380 Automatic Colt Pistol

  • Sweat resistant, ergonomic design


  • Quick disassemble and reassemble


  • Flush base plate magazine is a welcomed freebie

4.4/5

Taurus Spectrum Stainless Steel Semi-Auto Pistol

  • Small enough to conceal carry without printing



  • Quick release magazine
  • Super-sleek stainless design

4.4/5

Ruger LCP Semi-Auto Pistol - .380 Automatic Colt Pistol
  • Super discreet and lightweight pistol
  • Well-design and ergonomic
  • Moderately reliable for its size

4.4/5

Why Go For A Pocket Pistol?

Even the best pocket pistol cannot replace a full-sized, regular carry pistol. To create these hand guns at such smaller sizes, accuracy and firepower was compromised. This simply cannot be disputed. 

So why do people go for a pocket pistol, if this is the case? 

The answer is a pocket pistol solves your dilemma, if you want to prioritize concealment above anything else. For example, you're under cover, wearing a tuxedo, and need to be very discreet about your pistol. 

With this in mind, small pistols can still be used for:

Self Defense

You have to understand that any gun is only as good as the person pulling the trigger. So with proper training and ensuring you choose the best pocket gun for your hand size, these smaller-sized guns can be effective in defending yourself should the need arise. 

Concealed Carry

Here is where pocket 9mm pistols, .380 pistols, and other compact pistols shine. They were built precisely for maximum concealment, or keeping the pistol well-hidden and out of plain sight.

Remember that a concealed pocket carry shouldn't cause undue attention or discomfort. 

Home Defense

Technically speaking, small handguns have lighter bullets that travel slower. But if you trained yourself how to use it, any home intruder should be in big trouble if they stood in front of one. In this case, the goal of a pocket gun is to stop an intruder. 

I emphasize training because your home defense with even the best 380 pistol wouldn't matter if you do not know how to shoot an intruder that can cause incapacitation. Statistics show that those being hit by micro pistols continue to attack once or twice, until you're able to get a head/torso single shot. 

Best Pocket Pistol Reviews  

After hunting for dozens of pocket pistols in the market, I came up with 7 impressively designed pocket carry to help you get started with your shopping. 

  • From the makers of the original Derringer Pistol
  • Five grip designs available
  • Bond Arms barrels compatible
  • Exceptional design and build
  • Weight and fit is a lot heavier than you'd expect for its small size
  • Comes with a holster
Bond Arms Centerfire Derringer

Bond Arms Centerfire Derringer Specifications


Cartridge or Gauge

.410/45 Long Colt

Model Number

BASS4-45/410

Action

Single/Double

Barrel Length

4.25"

Finish

Stainless Steel

Stock Color

Rosewood/Snake Slayer IV

Round Capacity

2

Gun Weight

23.5 oz.

The Bond Arms Centerfire Derringer pocket pistol is our top pick for several reasons. But first, a quick history:

Gunsmith John Deringer created a small percussion pistol between 1852 and 1868. At the time, Deringer didn't patent his design, which led to hundreds of copycats then until now. 

Today, what once known as Philadelphia Deringer is now associated with the Old West and makes a very awesome-looking handgun to have. Many modern manufacturers have their own version of the Deringer, but not as fantastic as the ones made by Bond Arms.

One good example of a high-quality Bond Arms Deringer is the "Centerfire." 

Why it Stands Out

Bond Arms Centerfire, like all other derringers from this company, were manufactured using the lost wax casting process in producing stainless steel components combined with hardwood handles. You can feel the weight of these double-barrel pistols at your initial handling. 

In addition, Bond Arms Centerfire is spring-loaded and features tight locking levers that create the perfect frame-to-barrel fit. It can reload faster because of the built-in, auto extractors and rebounding hammers responsible for quicker follow-up shots. 

Who is it for? 

If you already have other Bond Arms calibers, you're in luck because the barrels of Centerfire Derringers are interchangeable with your existing models. 

Those new to the pocket handgun world would highly benefit from choosing Bond Arms Centerfire Derringer, especially if they're after something to carry in a purse, pocket or pack. 

It also doesn't hurt that there are several variations, from the "Rustic Ranger" with its Rosewood grips and Texas star, to the Pink Mini, 3-inch rifled barrel of the "Patriot" and Snake Slayer (or its newer version Snake Slayer IV), you can match your personality to the handgun of your choice.

Pros

  • Easily concealed
  • Comfortable to carry
  • Super cool design
  • Solid weight and perfect fit for most hands
  • Made in Texas (by Texans)

Cons

  • Other varieties are always sold out
  • Designed to conceal easily even with light clothing
  • Built with stainless steel barrel and slide
  • Locked breach design
  • Corrosion-resistant coating
  • DAO trigger pull
  • 2 magazines
Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 Semi-Auto Pistol

Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 Semi-Auto Pistol Specifications


Cartridge or Gauge

.380 Automatic Colt Pistol

Model Number

109381

Action

Semi-Automatic, Ambidextrous Hand

Barrel Length

2.75"

Finish

Black

Stock Color

Black 

Round Capacity

6+1

Gun Weight

12 oz

If you're searching for the best .380 automatic pistol that is also affordable and beginner-friendly, the Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 Semi-Auto Pistol is an excellent choice. 

Not only is the brand known for high-quality firearms, The Bodyguard itself has been renowned since Smith & Wesson first launched the model back in 2011. This current model is a slight upgrade, but continues to be the smallest firearm in Smith & Wesson’s Military & Police lineup. 

Why it Stands Out 

Smith & Wesson took features usually incorporated into full-sized pistols, such as the Crimson Trace built-in laser, frame-mounted safety and slide release, into this lightweight pocket carry. To bring the price lower, it was built with a polymer frame and stainless steel, topped with a gorgeous all-black matte finish. 

Although the all-black matte is the most popular (and highly reviewed one) of all The Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard colors, it is also available in either two-tone silver and black, as well as flat dark earth and black.

Who is it for? 

Anyone interested in a 0.38 pistol, but prefer a smaller-sized pistol that is easier to conceal and carry around. Thanks to the M&P Bodyguard 380 pistol with 6-round capacity, ergonomic grip, manual thumb safety and double action fire control, even beginners can handle it with ease and confidence. 

Regardless of skill, any user would be glad to know that the Bodyguard 380 is actually pretty easy to disassemble, which is not the norm for pistols as small as this. Instead of pulling the trigger to field strip the handgun, disassembling only requires locking the slide back and rotating the lever 90 degrees to pull off the slide without issues. 

Pros

  • Heavy trigger pull works as second layer of safety
  • High accuracy and reliability
  • Designed specifically for home defense and concealed carry
  • Impressive Crimson Trace aiming laser 

Cons

  • No external hammer

  • Super-slim and compact design for maximum concealment
  • Uses the same mechanisms as bigger-sized Glocks
  • Dual recoil spring assembly
  • Features a Safe-Action trigger system
  • Locked breech
  • Comes with two magazines
GLOCK 42 Semi-Auto Pistol

GLOCK 42 Semi-Auto Pistol Specifications


Cartridge or Gauge

.380 Automatic Colt Pistol

Model Number

UI4250201

Action

Double

Barrel Length

3.25"

Finish

Black

Stock Color

Black Polymer Grip/Frame

Round Capacity

6+1

Gun Weight

2.8 lbs.

The Glock is designed and produced by Austrian manufacturer Glock Ges.m.b.H, and is known to be named after a series of polymer-framed semi-automatic pistols released since the 1980s. The Glock 42 Semi-Auto Pistol is another example of this company's legacy in the handgun industry.

Why it Stands Out 

The Glock 42 is the smallest pistol in Glock's entire lineup (it only measures 5.94 inches long with a barrel length of only 3.25 inches). This mini pistol is also the thinnest of all, barely reaching the one-inch widths of most Glocks. 

Glock 42 is only .98 inches wide and weighs only 13.76 ounces when unloaded. If you load it up with six rounds of .380 ammunition, the Glock 42 is still a lot lighter than Glock 43 (its closest counterpart within the brand). 

Who is it for? 

Many experts believe that the Glock 42 would fit the hands of most beginners, since it is relatively easy to shoot, disassemble and operate in general.

However, this pocket.380 Glock 42 pistol isn't for everybody, especially if you have big hands and prefer to have a perfect grip for all your firearms. However, if you're looking for the same features of larger Glock calibers, but do not have the funds for it, Glock 42 can be your best bet. 

I bought a Glock 42 Semi-Auto Pistol since I'm a fan of Glock's design and concealability factor, and I have never looked back. Take a closer look at Glock 42 if your main focus is discretion and style. 

Pros

  • Very lightweight and compact design
  • Familiar trigger as used by other Glock models
  • Ergonomic grip (even for its small size)
  • Ease of use and shooting

Cons

  • Too small or too lightweight for some people

  • Gas-Delayed Piston Blowback System
  • Durable Stainless-Steel Barrel
  • Ergonomic and rounded design
  • Reversible-button Magazine Release
  • Tool-less disassembly
WALTHER ARMS INC - CCP M2 380 ACP 8+1

Walther Arms Inc CCP M2 380 ACP 8+1 Pistol Specifications


Cartridge or Gauge

380 AUTO (ACP)

Model Number

CCP M2

Action

Blow Back

Barrel Length

3.54"

Finish

Black

Stock Color

Black or Bi-tone

Round Capacity

8+1-ROUND

Gun Weight

1.39 lbs

The Walther CCP M2 (Concealed Carry Pistol) may just be the best 9mm pocket pistol you can find today. It looks absolutely handsome and is also ergonomically designed with advanced technology to ensure the size wouldn't compromise on accuracy and operations. 

Why it Stands Out 

Walther's CCP M2 isn't famous for being the smallest 9mm pistol in the market. It shines because of the many high-end features it was built with, considering its competitive pricing that competes directly with handguns of the same size. 

For example, this carry pistol is built with a Softcoil gas-delayed blowback system. With this system, gas pressure from an ignited cartridge is directed through a small port in the barrel in front of the chamber. This results in a dramatically reduced recoil, which allows users to easily manipulate the slide regardless of their hand strength.

Aside from this, Walther also incorporated low-profile 3-Dot sights and manual thumb safety. 

Design-wise, you'll love all the small intricate details of the non-slip grip and design features like accessory rail on its polymer frame that make the overall first-look of the pistol wow-worthy.

Who is it for?

Walther doesn't specifically state or pinpoint a market audience for the CCP M2. However, because it has moderately-low market price and it is built for precision, style and utmost safety, I'd assume this is for beginners trying to level up with a second everyday-carry pistol.  

Pros

  • Just right gun weight (22.3 ounces when unloaded & 25.5 ounces when loaded)
  • 9mm caliber of the CCP M2 is user-friendly and satisfying to shoot
  • Top-notch design
  • Effortless reassemble and disassemble

Cons

  • Some users think the 3-dot standard polymer sights were on the small side
  •  Stainless-steel and polymer construction
  • 3-dot sight system
  • High-quality build and perfect pocket size
  • Ambidextrous magazine release
  • Comes with two stainless steel magazine sizes
  • Also comes with storage case
Beretta Pico Semi-Auto Pistol with Inox Finish - .380 Automatic Colt Pistol

Beretta Pico .380 Semi-Automatic Colt Pistol Specifications


Cartridge or Gauge

.380 Automatic Colt Pistol

Model Number

JMP8D25

Action

Double, Ambidextrous Hand

Barrel Length

2.7"

Finish

Black/Silver

Stock Color

Black 

Round Capacity

6

Gun Weight

11.5 oz.

Beretta's Pico is designed with a low-recoil mechanism, an ultra-tough and durable look, adjustable sights and a true-to-size pocket, double-action-only (DAO) pistol that you can comfortably everyday-carry.

Why it Stands Out

This model is a popular one in the niche pocket handgun industry, mainly because Pico was designed with a distinct flat profile and snag-free lines. Meaning, it will snug firmly in any pocket holster and give users more control when they need to draw from concealment. 

Taking features from its bigger-sized counterpart Beretta Nano, the Pico is just as easy to take apart and reassemble with just one tool. If you've always wanted to customize your pistol, here's your chance because the frame can be swapped to any frame you like and keep the serialized modular chassis intact. 

Who is it for?

Those looking for a 380 handgun, but have not been able to hold a pocket pistol that fits perfectly would be pleasantly surprised at how well the Beretta Pico .380 Semi-Automatic Colt Pistol would fit most hands. This can be attributed to the pistol's overall ergonomics, grip, textured back & frontstrap, as well as excellent sights. 

Most users would find the smaller, flush base plate magazine more challenging, but provide maximum concealability. You'd soon find out that this is the reason Beretta included the longer magazine with the Pico, which gives all fingers of your shooting hand a more solid grip.  

Pros

  • Sweat resistant, ergonomic design
  • Soft-recoiling feed makes it easy even for small hands
  • Quick disassemble and reassemble
  • One of the most affordable compact.380 in the market
  • Flush base plate magazine is a welcomed freebie

Cons

  • Some users report occasional jams
  • Double-action-only (DAO) trigger
  • Made as concealed carry pistol (CCP)
  • Striker fired and fixed sights
  • Lifetime parts warranty
  • Comes with two magazines
  • Ergonomic polymer frame
Taurus Spectrum Stainless Steel Semi-Auto Pistol

Taurus Spectrum Stainless Steel Semi-Auto Pistol Specifications


Cartridge or Gauge

.380 Automatic Colt Pistol

Model Number

1007039101

Action

Semi-Automatic

Barrel Length

2.8"

Finish

Stainless

Stock Color

Black 

Round Capacity

6+1

Gun Weight

10 oz.

The Taurus Spectrum Stainless Steel Semi-Auto Pistol is the less popular brother of the 20-colored .380 ACP version, but it should be. It is designed as an easily concealed, everyday-carry pistol with non-corrosive polymer frame and Melonite-treated carbon steel slide. 

Why it Stands Out 

The stainless finish doesn't really excite much, but what it lacks in color, this Taurus Spectrum makes up for its design and mechanism. For instance, this model uses a striker-fired mechanism and a double-action trigger system - both of which make it easier for users to shoot and operate. 

The Taurus Spectrum also features soft-touch overmold panels on the polymer frame and the rear of the slide. These small details improve ergonomics, enhance overall shooting control and reduce recoil significantly. 

Who is it for?

Taurus is banking on beginners and shooters who are looking for a pocket pistol for practice. The Spectrum is ideal for this purpose without putting a dent on your savings. 

Like with all other pocket pistols, if you pair the Taurus Spectrum with a higher-quality ammo, expect the overall shooting experience to get better as well. 

Pros

  • Small enough to conceal carry without printing
  • Quick release magazine
  • Soft-touch overmold panels for extra grips
  • Super-sleek stainless design
  • Very manageable recoil and reasonably accurate for its size

Cons

  • Some users report of stiff recoil spring during the first 50 rounds
  • Legitimately concealable LCP (Lightweight Compact Pistol)
  • Double-action, hammer-fried
  • Locked breech system for lesser recoil
  • Glass-filled nylon frame and hardened steel slide
  • Comes with 6-round magazine
Ruger LCP Semi-Auto Pistol - .380 Automatic Colt Pistol

Ruger LCP .380 Semi-Automatic Colt Pistol Specifications


Cartridge or Gauge

.380 Automatic Colt Pistol

Model Number

3701

Action

Double

Barrel Length

2.75"

Finish

Black

Stock Color

Black Polymer Grip/Frame

Round Capacity

6+1

Gun Weight

9.6 oz

Ruger announced the launch of Ruger LCP .380 Semi-Automatic Colt Pistol at the 2008 SHOT Show. Although the manufacturer has been a significant name in the firearms industry at the time, this model was its first entry into the field of tiny, ultra-light defensive pistols. 

And for their first foray, Ruger definitely did it right. The LCP .380 semi-automatic colt pistol is extremely small and lightweight that you would easily forget that you're carrying a firearm in your pocket. Amazingly, the company didn't scrimp on construction material either - this tiny .380 is made with an alloy steel barrel, steel slide, and a glass nylon grip frame. 

Why it Stands Out

Aside from its teeny tiny size, the Ruger LCP also weighs a mere 10.6 ounces and measures only 0.82 inches wide, 3.60 inches tall and with a barrel length of only 2.75 inches. That's a pretty small pistol even for users with small hands. 

But what makes the Ruger LCP stand out is that the small size was matched with high-quality construction that gave a solid feel to the pistol and ergonomic features that offered a sustained grip all across the handgun. 

Unlike other small pistols, the Ruger LCP has a manual slide hold-open latch, which gives users the chance to clean and inspect the pistol manually. 

I also love that there is a wide range of Ruger LCP accessories and add-ons readily available for these pistols. Some are even compatible with components of other Ruger pistols.

Who is it for?

The Ruger LCP gives you good value for money, especially if you're after a true-to-size, pocket pistol. However, this model does have its shortcomings, such as long trigger pull and unreliability in shooting from a distance, but it is still a ruggedly designed pistol that could save you from a bad incident or person. 

If you're a loyal customer of Kel Tec, you'd probably get turned off by Ruger LCP, since Ruger was accused of stealing LCP's design from Kel Tec’s P-3AT resulting in a legal dispute over copyright issues back in 2017. 

The legalities of the LCP design and Kel Tec's P-3AT hasn't been resolved yet, which is probably why Ruger moved on and released two upgraded versions of the LCP - one with the laser sight built into the model, and a custom version that offers better trigger, better sights and a steel guide rod, which all contribute to provide users with a better shooting experience. 

Pros

  • Super discreet and lightweight pistol
  • Well-design and ergonomic
  • Moderately reliable for its size
  • Affordable price
  • Highly secured grasp thanks to the unique glass-filled nylon grips

Cons

  • Too small for other people's hands

Why Are Pocket Pistols Popular?

For a time, many people from the firearms industry warned about pocket pistols and how people should go for something more full-sized for better accuracy, firepower and recoil control. But as you may already discovered from your research, the old data about pocket pistols before was based from military-based or law enforcement training. 

Today, with many advanced pocket pistols launching in the market and the old thinking that these smaller guns are subpar finally phasing out, the popularity of pocket pistols has never been this high, especially as a first handgun

Are Pocket Pistols Reliable?

Reliability is an important factor for any firearm. Imagine using your tiny pistol only for it to get jammed or malfunction after a few shots fired.

Choosing the smallest gun you can find doesn't automatically equal unreliability. It doesn't guarantee reliability either. What you should understand though is that reliability of your chosen pocket pistol will depend on the brand, model, design and features of that particular pistol.

You see, the old belief that pocket pistols are not effective for self-carry or home defense has been disproven time and time again with every new model introduced into this niche firearm industry. 

Disadvantages of Pocket Handguns

 There is no contest to the concealing advantage of pocket handguns, but making them super small in size comes with three significant trade-offs that reduce: 

  • Firepower
  • Accuracy
  • Recoil control

In the end you may go for one of the 10mm handguns we reviewed including the Sig P220. However, if you are well aware of the limitations of pocket pistols and train well with these disadvantages in mind, then these smaller firearms can still be a good option. 

I hope this guide and list of recommended make and model gives light to your everyday-carry pistol shopping, and helps you create your top 5 pocket pistols. From there, I recommend you check them out in person and shoot with different pocket pistols first. It's 100x better to experience holding the pistol and shooting with it before making a final decision. 

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