The Five Best Pocket Pistols For Deep Concealment

— Travis PikeCADRE Dispatch

I approach concealed carry with the toolbox idea. It’s simple: You have a toolbox to pick the right tool for the job, and there is no perfect tool.

The self-defense toolbox involves different guns and different holsters for various purposes. One of the many tools in my box is the Safariland Model 25 pocket holster, which I can use with various pocket pistols. 

Why Pocket Pistols?

The only thing less understood than pocket pistols is the posi-trac rear-end on a Plymouth. These little pocket rockets aren’t the best option in a gunfight, but they are better than harsh language. While they might lack Mike Tyson’s punch power, they are very convenient to carry and conceal better than Sephora’s expensive stuff.

Everything is give and take and the pocket pistol really shines for deep concealment and convenience.

drawing or holstering a pocket pistol
Pocket pistols are super easy to carry and quite quick to draw.

If I’m running to the store to get milk at 8 PM, I’m likely going in gym shorts with a pocket pistol. If I’m dressing up for an event in nice clothes, I don’t have room for my typical pistol, so I don a pocket pistol. The same goes for exercising, the beach, and similar oddball events when an appendix rig and a Glock 19 won’t cut it. 

Don’t Forget the pocket Holster 

When you hear the phrase “pocket carry,” you might picture just dropping a gun in your pocket and going about your day. In reality, you need a holster. A good holster.

A pocket holster like the Safariland 25 protects the trigger and prevents negligent discharges. Pocket holsters orient the gun for a quick and intuitive draw and keep the weapon consistently in one place in your pocket. 

The Model 25 has a Suede outer material to reduce the movement of the holster in the pocket. The reinforced inner lining keeps the holster open for no-fumble reholstering.

Without further ado, let’s get down to our list of the top five pocket pistols. We’ll start out with Beretta’s recent launch.

1. Beretta 30X 

The king is dead. Long live the king! In December 2023, Beretta discontinued the 3032 and 21A, ending their line of tip-up pocket pistols. In a fairly surprising move, by January 2024’s SHOT Show, we got the Beretta 30X, which gave us an updated 3032. 

Beretta knocked out the fatal flaw of frames cracking by upping the strength of the frame, which, according to Beretta, is 100% stronger. They also swapped the lever barrel release for a button and moved the magazine release to a traditional behind-the-trigger position.

Beretta 30X 32 acp pocket pistols
The Beretta 30X is one of the first new production 32 ACP pistols on the market.

With the 30X, we get a micro-sized, all-metal pistol with what has to be the world’s smallest DA/SA system. I love the DA/SA design, which keeps me returning to Spaghetti Blasters. 

The 30X gives us eight rounds of .32 ACP on tap. This little .32 ACP is a natural choice for pocket pistols, offering limited recoil but excellent penetration. For pocket carry, the 30X is very refined and good-looking. It’s almost a shame it’ll live its life inside your pocket. 

2. Ruger LCP 2 Literack 

Ruger might be the foremost pocket pistol company. They made waves with the LCP in .380 ACP, and this is the first of two LCPs to make the list.

When the LCP blasted its way into a generation 2 design, it brought a new caliber, the .22LR. The LCP 2 Literack gives us a direct blowback .22LR pistol capable of holding a mighty 10 rounds in an ultra-small magazine. 

The slide doesn’t give much purchase, but you won’t need much to rack the gun. It glides back effortlessly.

LCP 22 22LR pocket pistols
The LCP 2 in 22LR is a very low recoil option for concealed carry.

A set of nice-sized sights makes shooting easy, and you’ll be surprised by how accurate you can be with this little gun. The lack of perceptible recoil generated by .22LR makes this the softest shooting 11-ounce pistol out there. 

I purchased one and quickly lost it to the needs of my wife, who actually enjoys shooting and will actively carry the LCP 2 Literack. You’ll need to keep it fed with modern premium grade .22LR ammo from sources like CCI or Federal for reliable ignition, but you can practice with the cheap bulk stuff without a problem. 

3. Ruger LCP Max 

One good turn deserves another, and Ruger might as well be a merry-go-round for pocket pistols.

The LCP Max takes pocket pistols to the next level by almost seamlessly blending them with micro compacts. The “Max” in LCP Max comes from the 10-round flush-fitting magazine or slightly extended 12-round magazine. Ruger had to make the LCP Max fractionally wider and longer, but not enough to remove it from the pocket pistol realm. 

Ruger found a way to make the LCP Max weigh the same as the original LCP. This is the gunfighter’s pocket pistol.

LCP MAX handgun
The LCP Max offers you a handful of ammo that squeezes into your pocket.

It still packs some nasty 380 recoil, but you get 10 or 12 rounds to get through. We even get a big set of sights that easily outperform the old-school LCP. 

If you are unsure about the idea of a pocket pistol, the Ruger LCP Max is for you. It offers the capacity of a subcompact, a good set of sights, a decent trigger, and a grip just long enough to hold. It packs a punch without exceeding the characteristics of the small pocket pistol genre. 

4. S&W 432 UC 

The S&W 432 Ultimate Carry is a Lipsey’s exclusive revolver that’s gotten quite popular as of late. The S&W 432 chambers the .32 H&R Magnum, which is odd these days but a natural cartridge for a pocketable revolver.

Alongside the .32 H&R Magnum, the little gun can chamber the .32 S&W, the .32 S&W Long, and even the .32 ACP. The .32 H&R Magnum is the best choice for self-defense of these many calibers. 

The 432 UC comes with real sights! Not just a trench across the top strap and a front sight. We get a high visibility front night sight and an all-black fixed rear sight.

S&W 432
The S&W 432 is an awesome option for pocket carry.

The grips are nicely sized and rounded for a good grip. The trigger is impressively smooth for a double-action-only revolver. Shooting straight won’t be tough for most shooters. 

The S&W 432 UC holds six rounds in a very compact frame. It’s my pocket carry gun of choice at the moment, and it is riding in my right pocket as I type this out. The recoil is light, and the gun’s easily fired with a single hand.

It’s nice to see the J-frame stumble out of the .38 Special and into a light recoiling caliber that gives you one extra round. 

5. Seecamp LWS 32 

The ultimate pocket pistol is, without a doubt, the Seecamp LWS 32. These guns are as small as they can possibly get.

The Seecamp LWS 32 is almost small enough to be shoved into that little change pocket on most jeans. It is a .32 ACP pistol that uses a chamber-ring delayed blowback system. 

The little guns are double action only pistols with a surprisingly smooth trigger. It’s long, for sure, but it isn’t super heavy.

The design of the gun focuses on a snag-free draw, and to do so, they shaved off anything that could stick out. This includes the sights, and they used a heel-mounted magazine release. The lack of sights limits the gun’s capability beyond close range. 

The Seecamp LWS 32 might be the smallest a semi-auto can be.

The LWS 32 delivers surprisingly low recoil for such a small gun. It’s not as light as other polymer frame designs, which certainly helps make it easier to shoot. The longer trigger pull will require some practice to achieve successful fast shots, but with enough practice, you can become surprisingly competent with the pistol. 

Pocket Carry Pistols 

Pocket Carry and pocket pistols aren’t for everyone. They require a good deal of training to use effectively, and even in the hands of a competent shooter, these guns are limited in their capability.

Even with their downsides, the small size, ease of concealment, and convenience of carry make pocket pistols a valuable tool to keep in the box. 

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