5. Phoenix Arms HP22: If you are flat broke and need a pocket pistol, this is what you should buy. Its cost the same as a Jimenez but is much more reliable and of much better quality than a Jimenez. Unlike other cheapo pistols these have a track record of being accurate, reliable, and long lasting. They may look cheap, and many people may bash them, but comments from owners are almost always in the positive. The same can’t be said for jennings, bryco, Jimenez, and all the other junk makers out there. Downsides are that they are only in .22 caliber, while as small as a ruger lcp, they can be a bit heavy, are single action only,can be picky on ammo, and the one complain owners do have is that they have a magazine safety. But still a good bang for the buck, and they come with a lifetime warranty. However, if you have money to spend, buy something else. Cost $100-$150.
4. Ruger LCP/LC9: Easy to carry, good stopping power for a pocket gun, the Ruger LCP is probably the most popular pocket gun today. I would lump the LC9 in the same category. The downsides is that they can be picky on ammo at times, but this problem will go away as you break it in. It can also be hard to aim, with big fixed sights that are usually sighted in too low, and because of the DA trigger combined with its recoil, and not so good ergonomics, its hard to get speedy accurate shots. The plus side is that it is the lightest auto pistol out there and has better stopping power than all other pistols its size. Cost $250-$300.
3. Ruger LCR: You can’t go wrong with a good ol’ snubby revolver. and the LCR is the modern snubby. Its strength is in its simplicity, 5 shots of .38. It will not jam, it is simple to load, it is more reliable than any other auto pistol of its size. If it misfires just pull the trigger again. As a beginner this is a good gun, because of what I mentioned before and because as a revolver, it is simple to clean and maintain. Simplicity is awesome. The downsides are that it is double action only, only has five shots, and is slow to fire. Because they are revolvers, they are kind of bulky and heavy, but could be carried in a pocket. These pistols really push the $300 budget, I believe they cost around $350-$400.
2. North American Arms Guardian: Comes in .32 and .380. Its is NAA’s copy of the Seecamp, generally regarded as the best of the best in pocket pistols. A bit heavier than the LCP it is smaller in most dimensions to the LCP, but a bit wider. I think the extra width is an advantage because it gives it better ergonomics. I also rank it higher than the LCP because it is also what I call an heirloom gun, a gun you will pass down to your children, who in turn will pass it down to their children. These are the kind of guns you will see for sale at gunshows 50 years from now all original that will be every bit as good as they were brand new. Cost $350
1. Any kind of Beretta tilt barrel pistol; This would include the .25 jetfire, .22 Bobcat, and .32 Tomcat. I mentioned before the idea of heirloom guns, well these pistol already are heirloom guns as I see many 25-50 year old beretta pistols at gunshow that are every bit as good as what they were back in the day. They are still being produced today except for the Jetfire which was discontinued around 2005. One big advantage is the tilit up barrel, which makes cleaning, maintenance, and safety checking really easy. To break down just tilt up the barrel, and remove the slide, THAT IS IT!!! They are a bit bigger than the LCP, but still easily able to be carried in a pocket. Due to the slightly large size they are much easier to shoot accurately. They are also first shot double action second shot single action, making for better accuracy. And man can you unload lead, because of its negligable recoil I can draw and shoot, firing double taps, triples taps, even quad taps with ease. I would recommend going with the .32 Bobcat for the extra stopping power. The only problem is at first they can be picky with ammo, but this problem usually goes away after breaking in. Cost: $250-$300.
Honorable Mention: North American Arms Mini Revolver. These little .22 pistols are a neat novelty, but they are hard to shoot, inaccurate, slow firing, and lack any kind of power. The only advantage is its small size, the smallest production pistol on the market. I would not recommend someone just go out and buy one as a carry pistol. I do think this is a good gun for special carry circumstances. For instance, where jeans I carry mine because jeans have very shallow pockets. I could see where you are involved in heavy labor, such as construction, and can’t comfortably carry any other pistol throughout a whole workshift. Or perhaps you are a jogger wearing tight clothing. It would also make a good backup gun to you regular pocket pistol. Price $200-$250.