One of the great things about carrying a small concealment handgun—such as my Smith & Wesson 642 .38 Special Revolver—is the myriad of ways that it can be comfortably concealed. While mid- and even full-sized handguns can be concealed comfortably, they can’t be concealed everywhere. For example, concealing a full-sized 1911 on the ankle is pretty much not an option.
One of the concealment locations that I have used frequently—particularly while working in uniform—has been “inside-the-pocket” carry. I found that the best place for my 642 was in the left pocket of my uniform trousers, where it rode securely in an old Uncle Mike’s pocket holster. I could draw it with my weak hand from standing or grounded positions, and it rode there unnoticed.
Before going on, let me state firmly that pocket carry of a handgun requires a pocket holster. A good pocket holster should protect the handgun from lint, conceal the shape of the handgun from the casual observer, and reduce the chance of dislodging the handgun at an inappropriate moment. TUFF Products “Pocket-Roo” holster meets all these basic requirements and adds a pouch to the holster (hence the name) that allows the wearer to carry a spare magazine or, in my case, five additional rounds of .38 Special ammunition in a TUFF Products QuickStrip.
Made in the U.S.A., the Pocket Roo—and its pouchless counterpart the “Jr-Roo”—features stiff, heavy-duty synthetic construction that masks the shape of the pistol in the pocket. Pocket holsters are at their best when carried in front pockets or large cargo pockets. They are not at their best for rear pocket carry, and were you to carry one there, it would be more subject to pickpockets (not to mention your anatomy would be more subject to discomfort).
According to the TUFF Products website, the Roo pocket holsters are constructed with an outer surface material that provides more friction than the inside holster surface. This is done so that the holster will remain in the pocket and not follow the gun out during the draw. There is no manual retention device. The gun is retained within the holster by its shape and fit, as well as the pants material and the depth of the pocket. Even with the smaller Uncle Mike’s holster, I never had a handgun even begin to leave my pocket.
The Pocket-Roo is manufactured with a pouch that is an extension of the rear of the holster. It is separated from the holster interior by a line of stitching. The fact that it is an extension makes the Pocket-Roo wider than the Jr-Roo, and helps lock it into place in the pocket. A QuickStrip with five .38 Special rounds slides into the pocket. (The grip tab of the QuickStrip protrudes out of the pouch, allowing it to be pulled out if a reload is needed.) While .38 Special ammo works fine, .357 Magnum ammo is too long to fit in the pouch. Those of you carrying a J-frame .357 in your Pocket-Roo will have to downgrade to .38 Special QuickStrips for the holster pouch supply.
I tried out the Pocket-Roo with both blue jeans and 5.11 Tactical trousers. I put a loaded speed strip into the pouch and attempted to insert the holster (with gun in place) into my weak-side trouser pocket and found there was a problem. The holster didn’t fit in my pocket. Fortunately, the solution was simple.
In order to easily fit the Pocket-Roo into a pants pocket, simply fold the pouch forward toward the outside of the holster, and slide it into place while folded. Once the entire rig is inside the pocket, flip the pouch back into place. The rig will be locked in, and those extra rounds of ammo will be available if needed.
Once in place, the rig rides comfortably without movement. The outline of the gun is hidden, and the butt of the gun is held firmly in place, allowing consistent access for a smooth draw. The synthetic construction is supple enough to give with the position of the body and provide a high level of comfort.
It took a bit of testing to determine the best setup for the Pocket-Roo. In the end, I decided to carry two QuickStrips in a QuickStrips Tactical Pouch in my strong side pocket, and one additional QuickStrip in the Pocket-Roo. With this arrangement, my first reloads would come from the Quick Strips in my strong-side pocket. If I needed more than an additional ten rounds of ammo to resolve the situation (I hope not), I would fall back on the remaining five rounds in the Pocket-Roo pouch.
The TUFF Products Pocket-Roo is totally ambidextrous, and the Size 10 I tested will fit Smith& Wesson J-Frames and similar-sized revolvers. The Pocket-Roo works best in large pockets. MSRP is only $21.00. If you don’t feel the need to carry an additional magazine or QuickStrip, or want to carry your gun in smaller pockets, then the Jr-Roo is right up your alley and is also $21.00.