Hello and welcome to Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad from the wilds of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world. This week, I’m joined by TJ Gauthier from the Firearms Insider to discuss some pocket carry considerations as well as my recent experiences with the Ruger LCP .380 pocket pistol!
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Week in Review
Ryan: -Took the Ruger LCP out for some range time to get more familiar with it. It definitely isn’t a target pistol!
- Sorted some .32 ACP and 9mm brass. No Fun!
TJ: - Nothing much, just concealed carrying
Main Topic: Pocket Carry Considerations and the Ruger LCP
As the number of concealed carriers has increased over the past several years, the number of people looking for good ways to carry a handgun has grown as well. For some people, carrying a gun on the belt is just not comfortable or feasible (I know, carrying a gun isn’t supposed to be comfortable). For those people, pocket carry may be a great way to go. I used to carry my Model 60 in an IWB holster for many years, but oftentimes I found it uncomfortable. Last year, I switched to pocket carry, and I have been blown away by the different options out there for holsters & other accessories, as well as the different guns that can be pocket carried. We will try to discuss and link to some of the more popular carry options.
Holsters & Materials: Some materials may be better suited for pocket carry comfort than others. One thing I have discovered is that the horsehide material that Galco makes their pocket holster with can become uncomfortable in really humid situations. Two key things to remember when pocket carrying: 1.) If the holster does NOT stay in the pocket when you draw, you need to find a better pocket holster. Having the holster come out with the gun on the draw is not a good situation. 2.) When holstering your loaded & chambered firearm, ALWAYS put the gun in the holster OUTSIDE of your pocket, and then put the gun and holster into the pocket as one unit. NEVER TRY TO HOLSTER YOUR GUN WITH THE POCKET HOLSTER IN THE POCKET!
Galco Horsehide Pocket Holster - This is the one I use to carry my Model 60. It does not have a sticky outer exterior like other pocket holsters, but uses a small hook molded into the leather on the back of the holster to catch on the pocket on the draw, leaving the holster in the pocket and the gun in your hand.
DeSantis Nemesis - The DeSantis Nemesis is the holster I am currently using for the Ruger LCP. The Nemesis uses a slightly tacky outside exterior to keep the holster in the pocket on the draw. I have been impressed with the comfort of the Nemesis, but I have heard that over time, the tacky outer exterior becomes less tacky, and may require you to replace the holster. Luckily, they are pretty affordable.
Remora Pocket/IWB Holster Clipless - The Remora Pocket/IWB clipless holster is designed so that you can deploy the holster in the manner that you choose: Pocket Carry or Traditional IWB. It uses a very tacky rubberized outer exterior to ensure that the holster stays put.
GlockTech MIC - The GlockTech MIC holster is a kydex sheath that covers the trigger guard. It doesn’t keep the handgun in a static position, nor break up the outline, but it will add that level of safety of covering the trigger.
TJ’s custom holster for the NAA Black Widow:
-Most pocket guns are going to have limited capacity and will be of a small(er) caliber. This makes carrying spare ammunition a very important consideration.
-Smaller guns often have different operating systems from their larger counterparts. Many small automatics run using a straight blowback system. This limits them to smaller calibers, usually no bigger than .380, to maintain small size while shooting a light defensive caliber.
-Because of this different operation, the ammunition you want to run with it should be tested. (It should always be tested, but even moreso, especially if you use the ammo in your larger guns and it works good there. It may not work the same in the smaller gun.) Many people suggest running several hundred rounds through it, but I don’t personally believe many people can afford to run premium self-defense ammo through it that much. I know that personally, running 50 to 75 rounds through with no problems would make me feel comfortable carrying it.
-When choosing speedloaders for a small revolver, be mindful of the method of operation of the speedloader. It can be of the twist knob or push button type, but you MUST test it to ensure that it will securely hold the rounds until you are ready to deploy it. Many people will carry speedloaders in a pocket or other area on their person, and it needs to be secure enough that you don’t go to reload and come up with an empty speedloader.
-Likewise, ensure you carry your spare magazines in such a manner that the feed lips do not get bent. This can cause feed malfunctions and ammunition loss in a hurry. Many of the holster makers like DeSantis also offer a companion magazine pocket holster pouch to protect the magazine and keep it in the proper orientation in the pocket.
What Guns Work For Pocket Carry?:
- In my experience, smaller autos and revolvers, and try to purchase or have one that is as snag-free as possible. This is of particular concern on a J-frame S&W or a D-frame Colt. The spur hammer can EASILY snag on the pocket and disrupt the draw. Some people advocate holding their thumb over the spur on the draw. I have two problems with this; 1.) I’ve tried it several times, and on some pockets, it just doesn’t work. 2.) In my opinion, having your thumb on the hammer during the draw will make you have a tendency to cock the revolver for a single-action shot. THIS IS A BAD THING! In a high stress situation, single-action is NOT the trigger stroke you want. I recommend having your gun converted to DAO, or purchase one that is DAO.
- ALL guns should be pocket carried with a holster that COVERS THE TRIGGER! Anything less than that is unsafe. I do not like manual safeties because they introduce one more thing into a stressful situation. I have personally missed the manual safety on some guns before, and I prefer that they not be there. The LCP or the Model 60 are perfect for me. Your decision may vary depending upon your level of comfort & familiarity.
The Ruger LCP:
Sights: -Black on Black sights that are nearly nonexistent. I put a touch of fluorescent paint on the front sight to allow me to know which one is the front sight in a snap sight picture. This is more of a “line the silhouette of the gun on the target and go to work” rather than something with a fine sight picture.
Magazines: - A 6 round magazine, with a 7 rounder available from Ruger. You can also get finger extensions that extend the grip frame for better controllability.
The 7 round magazine adds very noticeable extra grip surface
Controllability: -It barks, for sure. It is a very light .380 Auto that doesn’t have much of a grip frame. That said, I believe there is a reduction in recoil from the decision to use a tilt-locking design rather than a fixed-barrel blowback system. I think a fixed barrel blowback Ruger LCP would be very uncomfortable to shoot.
Cleaning & Disassembly: - Not very hard at all. Make sure the gun is clear, bring the slide out of battery just a little bit, and use some sort of flathead instrument to pull the takedown pin out of the frame. Cleans up just like most of your other autos that use a takedown pin system. Assemble in reverse order.
LCP - Gen 2(?): Ruger seems to have done an under-the-radar update to the LCP. I have no clue why they wouldn’t advertise it, because it seems to fix the two main problems of the LCP: the sights, and the trigger. The sights are noticeably taller and the trigger is somewhat shorter and lighter. See more information and comparisons at Guns.com.
(Photo Courtesy of RomeoTangoBravo.net)
Obscure Gun We Want:
Ryan: S&W 940 9mm J-Frame
TJ:7 Round .380 with at 3.5”ish barrel
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Until Next Week, Have Fun and SAFE SHOOTING!