When envisioning a pocket gun, most shooters picture a petite weapon built with ergonomics suited to fit the hands of a child, and ballistics that narrowly surpass a BB gun. In most cases, they wouldn’t be wrong. But despite their shortcomings, these small-scale shooters can fill an important niche in every shooter’s concealed carry kit.
What are they?
While there is no exact definition for the moniker “mouse gun,” one could make the argument that guns befitting that title are small caliber (while some pocket-sized guns are now offered in 9mm and even .45, I would classify a true mouse gun as .380 caliber or smaller), ultra-compact or “micro”-sized, and fit handily in a front pocket.
First, the bad: Because little is the name of the game, a typical mouse gun has low-profile, difficult-to-see sights, puny grips, and a limited magazine capacity (typically six to eight rounds). The combination of sights, grip, and short barrel length (often less than 2.5 inches long) means a realistic range for accurate shot placement is limited to about 10 yards. Since most gunfights take place within seven yards, that doesn’t disqualify it as a concealed carry weapon, but it is a limitation to consider. That short barrel also renders an already-anemic round even less impressive, as the bullet doesn’t reach as high a terminal velocity as it would in a weapon with a longer barrel.
Now, the good: When it comes to concealment, mouse guns excel. Even in a pair of shorts and a tee shirt, you can pocket one and forget you have it—until you need it. Small caliber bullets are not ideally suited for stopping power, but they are also unlikely to over-penetrate a target, either—a real concern when considering a round that strikes a bystander can mean manslaughter charges and jail time. Lastly, these pint-sized pieces cost considerably less than full-sized pistols; you can easily find a good-quality mouse gun for under $300.
Why you should add one to your concealed carry kit:
Though not my suggestion as your only carry gun, these pistols ensure you’ll always have a firearm on you, even at times when attire may not permit carrying your larger primary weapon. After all, the most essential principle of concealed carrying is always having a weapon with you.
For those who have shot or regularly carry a mouse gun, what do you think of them?