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Best .22LR Pistols for Pocket Carry

Why is it that you carry?

What happens when you need to go to a place where you can’t carry your normal EDC gun?

Pistol in concealed carry waist holster
Carrying Concealed

You need to come up with alternatives

For example, lot of  people choose to carry a knife or some sort of bad guy deterrent spray.  While these can be effective methods for personal defense, they aren’t a gun.

Carrying a gun, even a small one, provides a greater sense of security in that it can be used while still keeping space between you and the attacker.  Now, you can achieve the same effect to a certain degree with the deterrent spray like pepper spray or something, but not at the same distances and not with the same ability to intimidate a would-be attacker.

Kimber Pepper Blaster
The Kimber Pepper Blaster is pretty damn tough, but it’s no gun. But it did help protect a PPT writer and her dog!

Today we’re going to talk about the best .22 LR pocket pistols.  These guns are small and easy to conceal, but still provide you with the ability to protect yourself, your property, and others.

Table of Contents

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1. Trailblazer LifeCard .22 LR Pocket Pistol

LifeCard Pocket Pistol
LifeCard Pocket Pistol

You may remember the LifeCard .22 Pocket Pistol from our post introducing it back in August.  If not, here’s what you need to know.

The LifeCard is small.  How small, you ask?  Smaller than a deck of playing cards.  The LifeCard is 1/2-inch thick and is 3.375 inches long when it’s closed, around 4 inches when open.  

life card mechanism
How the LifeCard Folds and Unfolds

What do I mean by closed and open?  This is the coolest feature of the LifeCard.  It folds into a safe folded position for easy carrying, especially concealed carrying.  And, because it doesn’t clearly look like a gun when folded, it provides some discretion if the viewer isn’t familiar with what you’re carrying.

folded life card on wallet
Too Small and Square to Look Like a Gun

One of the first things that came to my mind when looking at this pistol was that holding onto this butterfly knife of a gun must be a pain.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it actually has a full sized handle so you can fit your whole hand on it.  This is a big plus for a lot of shooters.  Who wants to protect themselves with a dainty little gun that you have to hold a special way to shoot?  

The LifeCard is a single shot .22 and has storage for 4 more rounds of .22LR in the grip.  To reload, you need to tip the barrel, load a round, then manually cock the hammer.  Think of it loading like the classic side-by-side double-barrel shotguns.  

2. North American Arms Pocket .22s

North American Arms has quite a few different models of mini-revolvers you can carry in your pocket.  Some shoot .22 short, some .22LR, and yet others .22 magnum.  The one I am going to talk about here is the NAA-22LLR-HG ($249.99).

NAA-22LLR-HG
NAA-22LLR-HG

What this long part number means is it’s a longer barrel .22LR with a holster grip.  A lot of these little guns have an exposed trigger and hammer that are easy to snag on everything while you are taking it out of your pocket.  The model shown here with the holster grip takes away half of this problem.  

Another big benefit of having the attached holster act as the grip is that you have more grip to hold onto while you are shooting.  A small handle is an inherent problem with a small gun.  The overall length is about 4 inches.

NAA-22LLR-HG unfolded
NAA-22LLR-HG with the Handle Unfolded

This mini-revolver holds 5 rounds.  To fire a round, you need to cock the hammer, then pull the trigger.  This helps with safety.  If it were a dual action, then you would just need to pull the trigger to fire.  If you have a model that didn’t cover the trigger, you could see how dangerous that could me.  Keys and gun in the same pocket, you bend down to get some of the cheap cereal at the grocery store and BAM! bye, bye Crunch Berries.  

3. Bond Arms Rustic Ranger

Bond Arms makes a lot of the mini-pistols, however, few of them are chambered in .22.  The Rustic Ranger does have an option of .22LR, along with:

  • .357 MAG/.38 Spl
  • .45 ACP
  • .45 Colt, Only
  • .45 Glock Auto
  • .44 Special
  • 44-40 Winchester
  • .40 S&W
  • 10 mm
  • 9 mm
  • 32 H & R Mag
  • .22 Mag
Rustic Ranger
Rustic Ranger

As you can see, this is a wide variety of calibers, all in the same small package.  The Rustic Ranger is a 2 shot pistol with an overall length of 6 inches, about the same length as a dollar bill.  It’s larger than others in the list, but it is still pocket size. 

But you can get a shorter 2.5-inch barrel that even has a laser.  This knocks the overall length down by 1.75 inches.  You end up with a gun about 4.5 inches in overall length.  That’s shorter than the Smith & Wesson BodyGuard 380 which is a smidge over 5.25 inches long.

Ranger II
The Ranger II is also worth a look.

Something you get with the Rustic Ranger that no other pocket .22 has on this list is the ability to change the barrel so you can have a different caliber.  All those calibers listed a couple paragraphs ago… yeah, you can get those barrels as accessory parts and change the caliber of the gun you’re carrying.  

The barrel it comes with is chambered in .45/.410, so you will need to buy the .22 barrel as an add-on.  

Then check out our favorite Bond Arms derringers.

What do you think about the Bond Arms?

Readers' Ratings

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Should You Carry a Pocket .22?

Now that you know a little more about some of the options, the burning question remains: is this style gun right for you? Here is my take on these little guys.

I think they are a last resort weapon.  Not because of their caliber, but because of their size and general accuracy.  In a stressful situation, they will take more thought to position your hand, aim, and fire than a larger gun.  

Where these pocket .22 shooters come in handy, however, is their ability to be concealed.  Sure, they might not be the easiest to remove from your pocket, but if you are somewhere that you can’t wear clothing conducive to wearing your normal holstered EDC gun, then these are a good option.  

life card holster
The LifeCard fits nicely in a purse or even small pockets.

Precautions when Carrying a Pocket .22

I mentioned earlier that these are a single action.  Safety is the main concern. As you are crouching, walking, and sitting down, you don’t want one of these things randomly going off in your pocket.  Always ensure that the hammer is not cocked when it’s in your pocket.  

There are holsters for some of the pocket .22s on the market.  While they are not always necessary, they will probably make carrying the pistol more comfortable.

Leather Holster for the Rustic Ranger
Leather Holster for the Rustic Ranger

Conclusion

Some people call them backup guns, while others think of them as toys.  Regardless of what you call them, these .22s for pocket carry have their place in your concealed carry bag of tricks.  They might not be as badass as your XDs with a flashlight, but they can certainly do their job.

Want something bigger?  Take a look at our Best .380 Pocket Rockets guide.

Would you carry a .22 LR like these in your pocket?  Do you have a favorite pocket pistol?  Let us know why or why not in the comments.  Still want to go less lethal…check out our Best Stun Guns and Pepper Spray article.

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17 Leave a Reply

  • john mason

    the 22 pocket square pistol at the top is a fine looking weapon, EXCEPT, it says right on it 22?? so wheres the consealment if someone looks at it?? the jig is up. it tells on itself? paid $39.99 for a butler 2-shot derringer in 84, crome and pearl handle. whats with the prices for pop guns??

    June 1, 2021 12:24 pm
  • David

    The use of defensive weapons are to break contact, get to a safe place and call for support. The FBI studies show all most all encounters are close range. A 22 yellow jacket will hurt like hell, think knees throat,eyes foot. Causing pain will let you retreat. This goes for knifes also.

    March 28, 2021 8:50 am
  • James Heavey

    These seem like novelty guns...what no belt buckle gun? Beretta Bobcat or Taurus make useable pistols in .22. Ruger LCR or S&W kit gun are viable as well.

    February 20, 2021 9:50 am
  • Dave McLaughlin

    I have had a Tarus PT22 for a number of years. I also have the usual selection of 9's 38's an 357s. I am 140 lbs so dam near anything I carry in the summer shows. I stick the 22 in my pocket and away I go. I figure that the first one to draw his or her weapon wins, regardless of caliber. Being hit in the head with a 22 will certainly ruin the bad-guys day.

    January 18, 2021 8:01 am
  • ER

    I have a bunch of guns in a bunch of calibers, but the one gun that goes everywhere with me is my Ruger LCP II .22LR. It is my “home carry” gun in and around the house and property. It becomes a BUG when out and about. The issue with .22 (or any rimfire, for that matter) isn’t the caliber; a .22 can shred a person internally. It’s the reliability of the load. Rimfire is notorious for light primer strikes, loose / hard packing, and failures to feed. Limp wrist a shot with a .22 and you’ll get a “stovepipe.” So how to avoid these issues? If going .22, get a revolver. While I love my LCP, it’s a semi auto that does occasionally have semi auto rimfire issues. At some point in the proximate near future, I’ll be picking up an LCR or something similar to use as my “walking around” gun and BUG.

    December 12, 2020 4:16 pm
  • Scottyb

    What about the new Glock 44. I love mine, it’s basically a 19. With good ammo is very accurate to to 20 feet. Very light too.

    July 19, 2020 9:01 pm
  • Robert

    For safety the hammer on newer NAA 22LR revolvers rides in a notch between cartridges. NAA will replace at no charge older cylinders that did not have the notch. The holster grip does a lot for stability and concealment, and deploys easily.

    June 15, 2019 6:59 am
  • H. Johnson

    It seems to me that if you 're going to carry a .22 for personal protection that you might want one that shoots more than once or twice. The Phoenix Arms HP22 loads 10 in the magazine. Mine has functioned flawlessly since the '90's (gun great .... .22 ammo not so much) for about $130.00. A Beretta Tomcat is in the $230.00 range. .22 is way better than a pocket knife or a sharp stick.

    June 4, 2019 8:04 am
    • ROGER R VEGA

      'AMEN' TO THE PHOENIX.......PROBABLY THE BEST MADE 22 SMALL GUN EVER MADE! IT EATS MOST GOOD 22-AMMO, AND NEVER FAILS.......IT'S NOT MY REGULAR CARRY, BUT EXCELLENT TO CARRY OR BACKUP........BUILT LIKE A TANK AND NEVER FAILS.........NOTHING BETTER FOR THE PRICE OF A 22......'NOTHING !'

      April 18, 2020 8:06 pm
  • Art out West

    Poor article. You guys are usually pretty good.

    Talk about pocket 22s and not mention the little Beretta Tomcat/Bobcat?

    Unlike the credit card thing, the Beretta is a real gun.

    Frankly, the LCP .380 is small enough to go anywhere I need a gun to go. I have pocket carried my Ruger SR22 before, but it is a much larger category than the NAA or Beretta.

    November 14, 2018 11:08 am
    • jc

      Your points are excellent. Dunno if these guys actually SHOT derringer-type weapons, but they...suck. Other issue is lack of rounds. If you are REALLY going to use .22 be it LR or Mag you will absolutely need to fire more than 1-2 rds. .380 is the smallest round I'd consider carrying.

      September 22, 2020 5:51 pm
  • Leonardo

    Quanto custa?
    Qual o preço do frete para o Brasil?

    July 30, 2018 5:22 pm
  • Court

    I ALWAYS have my NAA 22 LR-HG unless I'm in my underwear.. Even with a tucked in shirt it looks like a pocketknife. Its accessible, comfortable and concealable I oftentimes forget im carrying it. I get over 12" of ballistic gel penetration out of the short little NAA barrel with 36 gr CCI .cphp

    February 15, 2018 9:38 pm
  • Bill W.

    I have a NAA pistol I mostly carry on my jon boat in an ankle holster with rat shot for snakes. For everyday carry I really like my LCP, plenty small and more effective than a 22.

    October 13, 2017 6:31 am
  • Alex Alfonso

    I agree with the article, something is better that nothing. Especially when it mat not be practical to carry a larger firearm. As I read once, the gun on your person will defend you better than one sitting on the shelf of you safe or closet.

    October 10, 2017 1:43 pm
    • Joe L

      Something is most definitely better than nothing. Here in Indiana, the so-called "Gun Free Zones" don't carry any legal authority(excluding government buildings or schools). So the sign at a restaurant like Buffalo Wild Wings "banning guns" is meaningless from a legal standpoint. Sure, you're trespassing if they ask you to leave and you refuse, but the sign doesn't have any bearing on that. What I'm getting at is its not illegal for me to carry at a business with one of these signs. If they can't see the gun, they'll never know its there. In these instances, a pocket pistol is very useful. It certainly beats leaving it in the car or at home.

      October 11, 2017 9:10 am
      • Mark

        Funny story: Years ago, I was in a car whose driver was mistaken for a criminal, leading to both of us being ordered out of the car and patted down. And the officer missed the .22 magnum High Standard derringer in the sleeve pocket of my jacket!

        December 8, 2018 8:31 pm