How many tiny pocket pistols chambered in .25 ACP, .32 ACP, and .380 ACP are being quietly carried around in pant pockets across the country? Nobody knows; after all, we call it “concealed carry,” not “tell everyone you’re packin’ heat carry.” My educated guess is that there are more pocket pistols out there than anyone realizes. In 2009, pocket pistol specialist Kel-Tec was listed by the BATFE as America’s fifth largest pistol manufacturer, selling over 5 times as many pistols as Colt, and more than 22 times as many pistols as Heckler & Koch. The majority of Kel-Tec’s pistols that year were smaller than 9mm.
Indeed, these pistols are intended to be carried in pockets, and most of their owners do just that. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a P3AT or Ruger LCP carried in a waistband holster, and ankle holsters haven’t been real popular since the 1980s. Most of these guns ride in pockets without a holster of any kind, but there are good reasons not to do that. In an emergency, quickly clutching at a pistol in your pants without a holster can cause a negligent discharge (ask Plaxico Burress). Most of these pistols do not feature an “active” safety to disengage before the gun will fire. They rely on a long, heavy double action design to prevent the trigger from an unintentional pull, but if that trigger moves back far enough, the gun will discharge. In a life-threatening situation where the owner must draw the firearm as quickly as possible, this trigger type provides only a slim margin of error. Carrying in a pocket without a holster also invites lint and residue from anything else you had in your pocket to find their way into the barrel and other important parts of a pocket gun, promoting rust and risking a malfunction if firearm is not maintained and the lint builds up over time.
The solution is to carry the tiny pocket pistol in an equally tiny holster that fits entirely in your pants pocket. The holster protects the gun from lint and body sweat. On the draw, your trigger finger can go outside the holster while the rest of your fingers grasp the pistol’s grip, making it less likely that you will put your finger in the trigger guard as you pull the gun out. The holster also holds the pistol in the same place consistently, which means no fishing around in your pants pocket due to the pistol shifting position (and costing you precious seconds when your life is on the line). The soft lining of the holster is more comfortable against your leg than the sharp edges of the pistol’s magazine release and other frame mounted controls. Finally, a pocket holster hides the shape of the pistol, preventing it from “printing” if the pocket pulls tight against your leg when sitting down.
How expensive is a pocket holster for your ultra compact? Oh, about ten bucks. Cheaper Than Dirt currently carries Uncle Mike’s pocket holsters in four sizes fitting guns as small as the Beretta Bobcat or as large as a Glock 26, if you have large pants pockets of course! The pocket holster is different from other holsters in that there is no provision to attach it to a belt or waistline. It is simply as smooth as possible on the inside to facilitate an easy draw, and the outside features a “retention strap” of rough textured material which grabs the inside of your pocket. This prevents you from pulling the holster out along with the gun on the draw. That’s all there is to a pocket holster—no straps, no buttons, no buckles—it all has to fit in your pocket. The only disadvantage to a pocket holster is that practicing your drawstroke with it is tedious. Re-holstering a loaded gun requires you to pull the holster out of your pocket, put the gun in the holster, and put the holstered gun back in your pocket.
In terms of real world benefit per dollar spent, the Uncle Mike’s pocket holsters may be the most valuable products we carry here at Cheaper Than Dirt. They add concealability, a very necessary degree of safety, and comfort while also protecting your firearm. All for 10 bucks!