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Thread: Pocket Handgun: Small 9mm Auto or 642 Airweight?

  1. #1

    Pocket Handgun: Small 9mm Auto or 642 Airweight?

    I carry a mid or full size pistol every day IWB. However, sometimes when taking the dog out at night I wish I had something I could just throw in a pocket holster in my stretchy shorts (no belt) and head out, or take out the trash, get mail, etc...
    While my next purchase will be primarily for that purpose, I'd also like for it to double as a BUG to my primary. I used to carry a G26 in the pocket, but the weight of it loaded is more of an issue than the size (though granted, it is chunky).

    I always had a S&W 642 Airweight fingered as what I'd go with, primarily going off of @DocGKR 's BUG article, but this isn't just a BUG. It will also be primary for short periods in the scenarios listed above, and perhaps NPEs. I know this is the Semi-Auto forum, but being as it's this or a revolver, for my intended purpose, I figured it'd be okay.

    Seems like most these days gravitate toward pistols like the P365, Hellcat, G43, and other so-called micro-9's with higher capacities than seen in previous years. After getting burned by Sig pistols several times over a period of 12 years, I'm hesitant to trust a P365. Also have been less than impressed with HS Produkt pistols, although the Hellcat does shoot very well.

    Are we in an era of micro 9s where it makes more sense to go with one of those for pocket carry instead of the old standby: the J frame .38? Previously tiny pistols have had a reputation for spotty reliability, or anemic power. Now we have an array of quite capable 10+ round micro 9mm's in a size unimaginable just a decade ago. Just looking to get thoughts and how many of you have tackled this niche of a pocket pistol that needs to be light enough for no-belt pocket carry.
    Last edited by SwampDweller; 09-06-2022 at 08:34 PM.

  2. #2
    Site Supporter
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    In the desert, looking for water.
    We have 2 G42s, and 3 jframes: a 642 is the one that has the most miles on it, a 442 is the current gun with the old 642 as the backup/spare/air travel gun, and the 60-9 is the steel gun I shoot most of the three.

    I mostly carry a jframe. SWMBO mostly carries a G42. I use the G42 in a smart carry as a gym gun, but have used it as a pocket gun as well.

    I use a G26 as a belt gun.

    For what you are wanting to do with it as a pocket gun, I think a single stack micro 9 or .380 could do, but I’m partial to the .38 for the task, most of the time. They are less likely to get messed up and not work when you need them to, and work in entangled situations really well.

  3. #3
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    Is that thunder? No, it’s just Fort Hood.
    I tend to use a G42 as my pocket gun, but now that I’m in the land of cargo shorts I’m going to try and upgun to a G26 or P365.
    Ken

    BBI: ...”you better not forget the safe word because shit's about to get weird”...
    revchuck38: ...”mo' ammo is mo' betta' unless you're swimming or on fire.”

  4. #4
    What is your threat profile when walking your dog or in NPEs? Is 5 rounds “enough”?

    If so, the j frame offers a lot; primarily better pocket carry characteristics and a rounded shape.

    If not, then get a hellcat/p365/G43X/etc.


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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by john c View Post
    What is your threat profile when walking your dog or in NPEs? Is 5 rounds “enough”?

    If so, the j frame offers a lot; primarily better pocket carry characteristics and a rounded shape.

    If not, then get a hellcat/p365/G43X/etc.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Mostly coyotes (strangely the ones here aren't shy and run right past me and my dog, one stopped and growled the other night) and drunken tourists, but every once in a while you have a tourist that just decides to go clock someone random on the street. I'm not in a big city per se, think of like a resort. There are break-ins and the occasional murder.

    I like the idea of being less likely to mess up the J Frame, although I guess I could theoretically short stroke the trigger. G43X would be nice but I think the grip is a bit long for pocket carry. I also would imagine the smaller autos are more sensitive to grip.

  6. #6
    Site Supporter Joe in PNG's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    Papua New Guinea; formerly Florida
    I went from a bobbed Mod 36 to a Shield 1.0 a few years back, due to the problem of finding wadcutters for a snub 38.

    It's still my 'hike the neighborhood nature trail' pistol when I'm back in the US.
    "You win 100% of the fights you avoid. If you're not there when it happens, you don't lose." - William Aprill
    "I've owned a guitar for 31 years and that sure hasn't made me a musician, let alone an expert. It's made me a guy who owns a guitar."- BBI

  7. #7
    Member psalms144.1's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
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    Bloomington, IN
    I'm currently in a similar position, largely due to a number of stacking medical conditions that make belt carry (IWB, AIWB, or OWB) painful to the point of being basically un-doable. I'm NOT a fan of pocket carry, but I'm down to that as the lesser evil to going unarmed altogether.

    I had been pocket carrying my Shield Plus, but I found the weight with a loaded spare magazine was such that I've still got to crank my belt tight enough to be as uncomfortable as OWB carry. So, the only other option I currently own is the LCR, which, loaded with two loaded speed loaders, weighs what the Plus weighs empty.

    The issue for me is, I don't feel comfortable with "5 for sure" - and would like a little more shootability and capacity. I've owned the G42 and G43, couldn't shoot either of them worth a darn (though better than the LCR at speed). I've owned the LCP and LCP Max - neither of which works for me for a variety of reasons. Which is pushing me back towards the P365, which is smaller enough than the Plus to be easier to pocket, a couple of ounces lighter, and offers the same 10+1 capacity that is sort of my "soft limit." If the 365-380 had the same reliability track record as the 9mm, it would be the obvious choice - about 4 ounces lighter with the same decent sights and trigger.

    What I need is a P365X with the old optics mounting plate, and a curved trigger (I really dislike the X/XL straight trigger). Then I'd buy a standard $35 365 grip module for pocket carry and be perfectly happy... For a day or two.

  8. #8
    An Airweight J frame is lot less hassle to pocket carry.

    A G26 is a *lot* easier to make hits with at speed, and has twice the capacity with the flush 10 round mag. Not to mention is about as easy/fast to reload as a G19.

    If you add a 12 round mag to G26 you basically have a G19 grip, at least for my hands.

    A G26 loaded with 10 round mag is ~27 oz IIRC, which is about same weight as an unloaded Lightweight Commander.

    I've carried both more than a little.

    Now I normally pocket carry pair of G26's, usually with the 12 round mag, drop down to the 10 round mag for certain pants. Handful of times a year for various reasons I only carry the J frame.

    The Crimson Trace grip on J frame makes up for the short sight radius, but even so I could shoot G26 better with the 10 round mag even when I first got it than I could the J frame when I was shooting 500-800 rounds a year from the J frame, not a lot for a pistol but a lot IMHO from j frame, plus 2-3 times a week dryfire with the J frame.

    The G26 is also a lot easier on the hands, which at this point in my life is a real issue unfortunately.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Dov View Post
    An Airweight J frame is lot less hassle to pocket carry.

    A G26 is a *lot* easier to make hits with at speed, and has twice the capacity with the flush 10 round mag. Not to mention is about as easy/fast to reload as a G19.

    If you add a 12 round mag to G26 you basically have a G19 grip, at least for my hands.

    A G26 loaded with 10 round mag is ~27 oz IIRC, which is about same weight as an unloaded Lightweight Commander.

    I've carried both more than a little.

    Now I normally pocket carry pair of G26's, usually with the 12 round mag, drop down to the 10 round mag for certain pants. Handful of times a year for various reasons I only carry the J frame.

    The Crimson Trace grip on J frame makes up for the short sight radius, but even so I could shoot G26 better with the 10 round mag even when I first got it than I could the J frame when I was shooting 500-800 rounds a year from the J frame, not a lot for a pistol but a lot IMHO from j frame, plus 2-3 times a week dryfire with the J frame.

    The G26 is also a lot easier on the hands, which at this point in my life is a real issue unfortunately.
    I used to carry a G26 a lot, including in a pocket holster. While it was on the absolute large end of what I could carry, it was doable in pants with a belt. My issue is that I have doubts it would be doable in shorts without a belt. It's just got the stretchy waistband. I agree about the G26 being way more shootable than a J Frame or smaller 9mm's. I could shoot it about as well as my G19. If I could consistently carry a G26 in a pocket holster in my shorts without a belt, that'd be ideal, but I'm not sure it's in the cards. It's more the weight than the size.

  10. #10
    Site Supporter
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    Feb 2016
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    I carry a Sig P365 in a pocket holster (currently a Pocket Concealment Systems Tomahawk) 5 days per week for 6-7 months per year. I previously carried a G26 in that role.

    The P365 is noticeably thinner than the G26, but only a few ounces lighter. I do occasionally carry this gun in NPE’s.

    I find that I can conceal either of these guns as well or better than a small revolver. Having 10+1, good tritium sights, and a good trigger are all helpful.

    Reliability has not been an issue with my P365.


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