Two things make concealed carry effective: concealment and access. Your gun needs to be out of sight until you need it. When you need it, access must be almost instant, because when you need it, you need it right now.
You can have concealment and access while you carry a full-sized pistol. What you won’t have with a big pistol is a lot of comfort. Yes, it will be passably comfortable. Yes, you can debate that a gun should be comforting and not comfortable, but the truth is, most people want to be comfortable. As a result, many people look for smaller guns that weigh less and still offer a passable level of defensive punch.
At the far end of the spectrum is the pocket pistol. These tiny auto-loading pistols typically offer about six rounds of small-caliber ammunition, with .380 ACP being the most common and popular.
We could enter into the debate about which caliber is “suitable” for personal defense, but that’s not what this column is about. Let’s, instead, talk about where and how you carry such a pistol. Remember, the goal is concealment and access.
Dropping a tiny pistol in your pocket works. But when I say “works,” what I really mean is it is one way to do something, but maybe not the best way. Eating cold oatmeal works to provide you some sustenance, but I think you would agree that doing so is not the most enjoyable way to partake of a meal.
Slipping a pistol into your pocket offers plenty of drawbacks; the first and most noticeable is safety. A pistol loose in your pocket has nothing covering the trigger. A good holster, regardless of where you carry your gun, should always cover the trigger.
Without a holster, the pistol also has the opportunity to move. It could move enough to make it difficult to grasp when you really need it. A good pocket holster will keep the gun in place, ready for action. The middle of a deadly scenario is no time to be fumbling for your gun.
The best thing about pocket holsters is that they come in all shapes, sizes and materials. Companies like Sticky Holsters and Elite Survival Systems offer holsters made from man-made materials that seem to literally stick in place. Galco and other manufacturers offer leather pocket holsters, like the Pocket Protector, that serve the purpose. All of them work very well; your personal preferences will dictate what you finally settle on.
Carrying in a pocket poses some logistical challenges. First and foremost, you need pockets big enough to not only hold your gun and holster combination, but with a big enough opening to allow you to draw the gun. Some pockets just don’t have enough room and you end up with your hand trapped like a monkey fist once you grab your gun.
The next logistical problem is the fact that once you put a holstered gun into your pocket, you should put nothing else in there — not car keys, not coins, nothing. The only thing that goes in the pocket is the gun, safely nestled inside its holster. Find another place to put your stuff.
Now you have to decide which pocket. Clearly you will want to have the gun on your strong side, but should you carry in your front pocket or your back pocket? The back pocket opens up your front pocket for other stuff, but, depending on the type of pants you wear and the type of holster you use, can show off the outline of the gun. This printing can be mitigated with a good holster, but it is something to consider.
Carrying a gun in a pocket is fodder for much further debate, but it is a viable option, especially when deep concealment is required. But just like any other element of concealed carry, it requires research and planning.