BY Dr Bill Chachkes
SO this is a re-write of a 2015 Article I wrote that went around to the Gun Magazines, and had Harris publications not folded in the spring of 2016, it would have been published. I’ll also open a conversation about self defense ammo.
What makes a pocket handgun? It needs to fit in a pocket clearly, but it also will have certain other features. Should it be a semi auto? Should it have the reliability of a Revolver, or does that design restrict its capacity? That is for you to decide. I am going to List 10 Pistols, but there are many. I saw a Magazine recently boast “300 Plus.” I will also write a brief commentary on each. They are not ranked in any order.
- The Springfield XD & XD Mod 2 Series- You can’t argue with the convertible magazine capacity, Trigger design, or Grip (esp. the new Gripzone feature on the newer models). I personally stopped shooting 1911’s because I did not like the beavertail grip safety. That does not mean I don’t like the 1911 Design. The squared off slide gives you an improved sight plane and there are many different sighting options. The XD series pistols, made in Croatia for Springfield, are solid Guns. (Price:$379-$650 depending on features)
- The S&W Shield- One of my Personal favorites, the Shield now comes in 9MM, 40S&W, and 45ACP, and in the Ported Performance Center version ($499-$549) comes with several worthwhile additions. S&W will tell you that they have produced over 2 million of them, and there are a Lot of magazines out there for them. The gun comes with 1-7 round and 1-8 round Magazine, and Pierce makes magazine extensions that give you up to 10 rounds in the magazine in a compact package.($329+)
- The Ruger LCR &LCR-X Revolvers- They range in Calibers from 22LR & 22WMR(Magnum), 32H&R and 327Mag, up to 38Spl and 357Mag. This is an improved Design, but because of improvements it’s not for people with “Hand Strength” issues. Trigger pull can weigh in at anywhere from 8-12 pounds. Tests have shown the LCR series to be highly accurate even at distance. In it’s “X” version it offers a 2 or 3 inch barrel and an exposed hammer.($379 and up)
- The S&W Revolvers (Various). There are so many Wheel Guns coming out of the S&W plant that I have lost track. But look for the names “Airweight”, and “Chief’s Special.” These are 5 shot Revolvers with several variants. Some are so light in heft that I would advise against 38+P(hot loaded Ammo) or .357 in them unless you can handle the recoil. The smallest of their Revolvers that handle the 357(with the right grip for the right person and their hand) is the M&P340.($349-$599)
- The Ruger SP101-This is not a Pocket gun Per Se, but my Better half does a good job of carrying hers in her Bag. Either in Blue or stainless, in it’s 2-1/4 inch version it is easily concealed. But unlike other compact or sub compact guns, because it’s a steel gun it will soak up some of the recoil for .38+P and .357 rounds. There is also a 4 inch version.($299+)
- The Glock 42/43 This was Glock’s first walk into the compact single stack guns. The 42 is chambered in .380 and the 43 in 9MM. While I’m not a “Glock guy” per se, they have their usefulness. I do own several Polymer framed handguns. Glock’s celebrity spokesperson is “The Gunny” R Lee Ermy, who told several Gun Bloggers and Podcasters “ I can shoot anything I want at this stage of my life. These guns are well made,” ($399+)
- The Kimber Compact & Micro (various $$ above $1K) The Kimber Corporation has been around for some time, with their Factory in Yonkers NY Just off the NY State Thruway. While they have many models and the craftsmanship is top notch, I don’t know a lot of people who will Pay $1000-$1500 for any 1911(and I am sure some will). If you do, then more power to you. Like Many 1911’s Designed by the great John Moses Browning but updated for recent times, they come in many sizes, from 3-1/2 Inches to the full sized 5 inch Carried by All US Service branches into the 1980’s and by the Marines to this day. Kimber Chambers them in .380,9MM, & 45ACP
- Staying with the 1911, we have the Original Colt 1911 & 1911-A1 but also in a few different sizes from the Mustang Pocket-lite and XSP through the Defender, and up through the Commander and the Government models. Primarily Colt released and refined the 1911 as a .45ACP gun, it was the changing times that led Colt to try other calibers like the .38super and .9MM. The Gold Cup and Gold Cup National Match models were staples on the competition circuit forever. In the last 25 years almost every company has began producing a 1911 framed gun. ($749+)
- The Ruger LCP, LCP Custom, LCP II, LC9 & LC9S/9S PRO (Wow that’s a Mouthful) This is basically the same “Framed” Gun that has evolved and improved with time. The LCP/LCP II are chambered for .380, with the II being a brand new version with many improvements. The custom is the first version of the trigger in the II. I put nearly 4000 rounds through my original LC9 before the Magazine Release began releasing too much. Ruger and Davidsons replaced it with a new LC9S. The LC9 series takes 7 and 9 round magazines and the LCP’s take 6. It’s a sturdy gun, which I have carried every day since I moved here to Arizona. Ruger’s reliability is considered outstanding in the business.($279-$349 and up)
10.) Charter Arms Under Cover/UC Lite/Lady UC/Bulldog/Pitbull
Charter has long been known for producing reliable compact revolvers. In the 1990’s the company had a difficult spell, but re-invented itself at the beginning of the last decade, and their craftsmanship has rebounded to it’s 1970’s level. They also “finish” the Under Cover in various color schemes now as well. The Bulldog is the .357 version, and there was a version in .44 Special. The Pitbull is the newest model that shoots rimless cartridges like the .9MM and .40S&W. They have been dependable backup/off duty guns for over 50 years, primarily in .38special.
Others of note: Glock 26, Beretta PX4 compact, CZ Rami, Kahr C/CM/P/PM, Bersa Thunder, Walther CCP/PPS, EAA Witness/Witness Pavona.
Ammo: Federal HST in its various flavors, Sig VCrown in its various flavors, Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty, Speer Gold Dot, Winchester PDX…Fiocchi Monoblock…