Several years back I got into a discussion with my brother who lives back in the Midwest about concealed carry options. At the time, I was living in Seattle and had obtained my concealed carry permit from the state of Washington and was carrying a subcompact .40 cal S&W. My brother liked my choice of carry pistol but also stated that when he went out for the night or took his dog for a walk, he liked to just pop his KelTec .380 pistol into his pocket and walk out the door. He liked the little .380 so much that it became his primary carry pistol in his front pocket.
At the time I found that concept very interesting. I was in agreement with my brother that there were times when carrying a subcompact or compact pistol was a pain in the ass. For instance, when I just wanted to wear shorts, t-shirt and flipflops. Shortly thereafter, we took the KelTec .380 to the range and I found the small pistol wanting. My exact words were, “I wouldn’t trust my life or my family’s life to this thing.” The sites on the KelTec were terrible at best and I think it might have even jammed up a few times. After that experience, I decided against pocket carry.
Several years later I got into another discussion with a friend of mine who served as tank officer with the US Army. He had a similar attitude as my brother’s about pocket carry but he also carried a compact pistol in certain situations. His choice of pocket carry was also the KelTec .380 but his decision was a little bit more involved than my brother’s criteria. He stated that his concealed carry decision came down to three factors:
1. Threat Level
For the first factor, Threat Level, at any elevated threat or concern my friend would upgrade his pistol, which in this case was the Glock 19. This would include trips to the mall, grocery store, hiking, driving downtown, strip malls, gas stations, road trips, and many other daily activities. Low threat levels might be walking the dog, back yard BBQ, bike ride, etc when he would just use the pocket carry .380.
The second factor, Clothing, is pretty self explanatory. Sometimes if you are wearing a t-shirt and shorts on a hot day, the last thing you want to add to your person is a belt, holster, and pistol. The last factor, Situation, is sort of the X factor. If you are going a place with a high police presence, such as dropping a friend off at a major airport, you might just go with pocket carry. But if you are going to a backyard BBQ at a friend’s house who lives in a tough neighborhood, you might upgrade from pocket carry to concealed carry.
Pocket Carry Pros:
Quick draw from hand in pocket position
More clothing options
Low recoil (small caliber pistol options)
Pocket Carry Cons:
Smaller Magazine Capacity
Less knock down capability (there are exceptions to this)
Some pant or short’s pockets are not designed well for pistols
Some pockets show pistol print
Concealed Carry Cons:
Sometimes requires a belt
More recoil (*higher caliber rounds)
Less clothing options
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