Tiny Semi-Auto Guns for Self-Defense?

If you follow recent trends in the gun industry, then you have probably noticed an increase in the number of new gun models that are of the sub-sub-compact variety. I’m not talking about smaller sized guns, suitable for concealed carry. No, these are ultra-small guns, and companies seem to be competing to see who can make the tiniest gun. Some examples:

Beretta Pico: due out in August of 2013. Here’s an article describing the gun. It’s smaller than the Beretta Nano. I couldn’t find specs on the barrel length, but from photos it looks to be smaller than the Nano’s barrel (3.07″). It also looks like it holds fewer rounds than the 6+1 Nano. A cool feature is that it can switch from .380 to .32 caliber with only a barrel swap.

Rohrbaugh R9: not much different in size than the Pico, but in 9mm caliber. It’s only 13.5 oz. As you probably already know, recoil is affected by gun weight: double the gun weight is half the recoil. But half the gun weight is double the recoil. Ouch.

Ruger LCP: Is a 13.5 oz gun too heavy for you? Is 2.9″ more barrel than you need? Then consider the Ruger LCP in .380 Auto, with its 2.75″ barrel and a weight of only 9.4 oz. See what I mean about companies competing to make the smallest gun?

Double Tap Derringer offers a pocket pistol in .45 ACP. Truly pocket size, this gun has a capacity of 2+0, with a couple extra round stored inside the grip. There’s no magazine. In true Derringer fashion, there are two barrels and two rounds lined up for use, one in each.

Now there are small revolvers with shorter barrels. But barrel length in a semi-auto includes the length of the chamber; in revolvers, it does not include the chamber. Also, revolvers tend to be more accurate than semi-autos, due to the movement of the slide and barrel in the latter. So a tiny semi-auto is more problematic to design than a revolver.

These tiny semi-autos are very easy to conceal. They can each fit in a good sized pocket, without a holster. But what is the purpose of a concealed firearm? Is it not self-defense? The problem with smaller guns is that they are inherently less accurate. And below a certain barrel length, that inaccuracy is not merely due to the small length from rear to front sights. I like a gun to be more accurate than I am as a shooter. It reaches a point with very small guns that the gun is less accurate than you are.

The rear sight of the Pico is adjustable. I don’t think a gun that small has the accuracy to worry about the rear sight adjustment. Some of the smaller guns have fixed sights. Fine, but the R9 comes with or without sights. You don’t need sights because guns that small are not so accurate.

This inaccuracy means that you can only use tiny guns for self-defense at very close range. And I find that issue to be a serious limitation. You can argue that a tiny gun might save your life if you are attacked at very close range. True. But in other scenarios, you could easily miss your target with most or all of your 2 to 6 rounds.

These are not the type of carry guns that would be suitable for prepping purposes, since they are very limited in range. You want a prepping gun to be more versatile than that. In my view, a long gun is best for home defense, due to the accuracy and range. But at the very least, you would want a full-size revolver or semi-auto for that purpose. As for carry guns, I disagree with the current trend of smaller-is-better. I would prefer the largest gun than can be properly concealed, in at least 9mm caliber, and with as many as 10 rounds (since I don’t live in NY State, with its 7 round limit).

– Thoreau

4 Responses to Tiny Semi-Auto Guns for Self-Defense?

  1. What? No Seecamp? Now there’s a mouse gun with big teeth and a little tail.
    I also hear the MasterPiece Arms mice are nice.

  2. Look at the Kel-Tec PF9. The Ruger subcompact 9mm is a ripoff of the Kel-Tec. Most people like the KT better, and it’s about $100 cheaper. Get a 9mm smaller then the KT and you have a good chance of losing it when it recoils. If you buy any of these and they have extra mags, better grab ‘em. A semi auto without an extra magazine is about as fast to reload as a single action revolver. Remember, the fastest reload is another gun.

  3. My smallest handgun is a Ruger LCP. I’m quite fond of it. I can easily hit the ten ring at 15 yards with it.

    The Ruger LC9 is not a ripoff of the KelTec PF-9. It’s an improvement, lol! The Ruger LCP is an improvement over the KelTec P3AT. I know because I had a KelTec first. I’d say “most people” is also a bit of a stretch. I can think of a number of people, myself included, that use handguns for a living, and most of us have migrated from KelTec to Ruger due to improvements.

  4. I would also consider the Smith Bodyguard 380, a whole lot of PD’s allow their people to carry this, I believe even LAPD. I have even carried a small auto as an extra backup along with my revolver. As the old saying goes, would rather have a “tiny” gun ie. 25, 22 or 380 then a stick.
    These guns make a great second gun and with practice can be lethal out to a decent distance