Pocket carry exposes the eighth great mystery of the universe: it’s much easier to put a gun in your pocket than to take it out. It makes sense when you think about it. When you go to draw a pocket carry handgun, your hand is wrapped around it in a firing grip, so the entire package is much, much bigger. It’s kind of like trying to grab a candy bar out of a vending machine through the main door. For this reason, I’m adding a major subjective criteria to the selection process of the top five: ease of draw. If you can’t get your pocket gun out of your pocket smoothly, it’s not much good is it?

On a related note, you might notice that the five guns here all have smooth profiles, no big levers or controls sticking out the sides like satellite dishes on a high-rise apartment building. The reasoning is the same, you don’t want things getting stuck and hung up on fabric when you draw your gun from pocket concealment.

Oh, one more thing. All of the guns listed here have excellent pocket holsters readily available. Never, ever, ever, ever carry a gun in your pocket without a pocket holster.

5. Springfield Armory XD-S

No bigger than a J-frame revolver, the Springfield Armory XD-S shoots like a bigger gun, and that's a good thing.

No bigger than a J-frame revolver, the Springfield Armory XD-S shoots like a bigger gun, and that’s a good thing.

I really, really like the Springfield Armory XD-S pistol, so much, that I wrote a book about it. It’s a great shooting pistol, large enough to get a positive grip, yet small enough to easily conceal. It’s got enough weight where recoil, even in the .45 ACP model, isn’t punishing.

There are a couple of reasons it makes my top 5 pocket carry pistols list. First of all, it’s flat. More importantly, it’s consistently flat, meaning there is no telltale bulge in the grip area. Most of the pistol is .91-inches wide, and the very widest portion of the grip I can find is only .95-inches wide. The uniform “flatness” helps with concealment when carried in a pants pocket.

The second reason this one makes the list is the multi-caliber option. You can buy this one chambered in 9mm and the 3.3-inch barrel is long enough to provide perfectly acceptable velocity. Capacity is 7+1. If you just gotta have .45 ACP, that’s available too in a 5+1 capacity model. Both models have extended magazines which bump the capacity up by one round.

My favorite pocket holster for the XD-S is the Galco Pocket Protector. With a reinforced mouth and wide and stable bottom, it conceals well and stays oriented correctly in your pocket. If you’re going to carry in a large cargo-style pocket, check out the Recluse Pocket Holster.

4. Beretta Tomcat

I like this Beretta 3032 Tomcat so much I put custom grips on it.

I like this Beretta 3032 Tomcat so much I put custom grips on it.

It’s my list so I can put whatever I want here. Yeah, I know, this gun is a .32 ACP caliber. Contrary to Major Boothroyd’s description to 007 in the movie Dr. No, the “7.65 mil” cartridge doesn’t exactly have “a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window.” Keep in mind, during that famous scene, Boothroyd and M forced Bond to ditch his .25 caliber Beretta in favor of the new Walther PPK, so at least, comparatively speaking, he did climb a stair or two on the power curve. I’ve seen .25 ACP projectiles bounce off Frisbees. Not that I care to be shot by one…

I include the Beretta 3032 Tomcat here because it’s just so darn useful. No matter what guns are coming and going through the evaluation machine, this one has always been a “go to” for pocket carry. The grip is wider than you might want, but that makes it easy to control. The default sights are small and black, but it’s a pocket gun. By the way, you can order one equipped with an XS Big Dot front sight if you like. Even with its heavy trigger, it’s a very shootable gun. And you have to like the tip-up barrel feature for topping of the +1 part of it’s 7+1 capacity. The beveled profile of the safety is easy to operate, but won’t catch on anything during the draw.

I like it. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

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