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Best .22 LR Pistols & Revolvers for Pocket Carry [Guide]

Sometimes, bigger isn't always better. These pocket-sized .22s offer convenient defense options in a petite, pocket-portable package.

    Updated 9.28.23: Swapped in NAA Black Widow.

    What happens if you can’t strap a real gun to your belt or stick it in your purse? You stick it in your pocket.

    And, for that to happen, you’ll have to leave your Glock 19 or 1911 at home and go with something a bit smaller…perhaps pocket-sized?

    Crimson Trace RAD Pro Gunsite Glock G19
    Yeah…that won’t fit in your Wranglers.

    Today, it’s all about pocket pistols chambered in .22 LR. We’ll lay out our favorite models and tell you why .22 LR pocket guns rule.

    Best .22 LR Pistols & Revolvers

    1. Best .22 LR Revolver

      Ruger LCR .22 LR

      Stand-out for CCW, easy to use and fire, 8 round capacity.

    2. Best High End .22 LR Revolver

      Smith & Wesson 43C

      XS front sight, 8 round capacity.

    3. Best Semi-Auto .22 LR

      Ruger LCP II .22 LR

      Semi-auto pistol, 10 round capacity, and Lite Rack Slide.

    4. Best for Arthritis

      Beretta 21 A Bobcat

      Tip-up barrel and 7 round capacity.

    5. Best Affordable .22 LR Pistol

      Taurus PT-22 POLY

      Lighter than the Beretta Bobcat, easy to pocket, and 8 round capacity.

    So, keep reading!

    Table of Contents


    Why You Should Trust Us

    Here at Pew Pew Tactical, we love plinkers. There’s something about that classic .22 LR round that is just plain ‘ole fun on the range.

    We do love a good range day.

    Several of the Pew Pew staff started their gun journey on .22 LR platforms and continue that love even today. So, for this article we pooled our knowledge and came up with what we felt were some solid .22 LR pistols meant for pocket carry.

    We always strive to bring you the best information based on testing we’ve done and our personal experiences while keeping our list up-to-date with what is actually available.

    Best .22 LR Pocket Pistols

    1. Ruger LCR

    Ruger LCR
    Ruger LCR

    The Ruger LCR is probably the stand-out choice for a concealed-carry revolver.

    And though the .22 LR version is not the cheapest gun on the block, it is a good option.

    Having a polymer frame with a shrouded hammer goes far in helping you properly operate the gun, and the Hogue Monogrip helps you hang onto the gun. But let’s face it, recoil won’t really be a consideration.

    .22LR Round
    .22 LR Round

    Its barrel length measures 1.87 inches. Weighing 15 ounces, this gun would travel well in your pocket — in a holster, of course.

    If you want a bit more power, the .22 Magnum version is available for the same price and weighs just one ounce more.

    Best .22 LR Revolver
    at GrabAGun

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Check out our review here!

    2. Smith & Wesson 43C

    The S&W 43C is an 8-shot .22 LR that weighs 11.5 ounces.

    It offers an XS Sight White Dot front sight and a shrouded hammer. I like XS sights because they’re easy to spot.

    An abbreviated boot-type grip makes this revolver one that can go with you anywhere.

    And at under 12 ounces empty, it probably would go with me wherever I went!

    Best High End .22 LR Revolver
    at GrabAGun

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    3. North American Arms Black Widow

    You want teeny tiny…we’ll give you teeny tiny. The NAA Black Widow is one of the smallest guns out there and one of the tiniest on our list.


    This mini revolver is a .22 LR/ .22 Magnum model (swappable cylinders) with an overall length of 5.88 inches, a barrel length of 2 inches, and a width of a mere inch. It stands 3.69 inches tall and weighs 8.4 ounces.


    At this size, capacity is reduced to five rounds, and some large-handed shooters might struggle with getting their hands around this one, but it’s more of an “in a pinch” kind of gun. Our reviewer did note a few failures to fire as well with certain ammo. So choose your .22 LR carefully.

    Aside from that, where this model excels is its size. It will easily fit into a pocket and carry comfortably.

    at Kygunco

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Want to learn more? Read our full review on the NAA Black Widow!

    4. Ruger LCP II

    The Ruger LCP II makes for a great carry gun if you want a small pistol chambered in .22 LR.

    Sinterfire .380 ACP 75 grain HP Frangibles and a Ruger LCP II. If you like .380 ACP you really should check out Sinterfire’s frangibles
    LCP II

    It holds 10 rounds in its magazine, has a Lite Rack slide, and features a fore-and-aft manual safety. It also opts for fixed sights — not too large but easier to see than those on the original LCP.

    The LCP II also comes with a Hogue Hand-All grip sleeve for a few bucks more. Overall, it’s a nice little gun perfect for pocket carry.

    Best Semi-Auto .22 LR
    at Palmetto State Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    What do you think of the Ruger LCP II? Give it a rating below.

    Readers' Ratings

    4.97/5 (1332)

    Your Rating?

    5. Beretta 21A Bobcat

    The Beretta Bobcat makes racking the slide to load that first round a motion no longer needed.

    With its tip-up barrel, you pop it open via the barrel lever, stick a .22 LR cartridge in the chamber, close the barrel, and put the loaded 7-round mag in place.

    (Photo: Guns.com)

    It’s ready to go!

    You even have a manual safety if that’s your preference. Weight-wise, the Bobcat is around 11.8 ounces, so it’s manageable for pocket carry.

    Best for Arthritis
    at Gunprime

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    6. Taurus PT-22 POLY

    Similar to the Bobcat, the PT-22 POLY brings an easy-to-handle .22 LR that weighs less than the Bobcat. It tips the scales at 11 ounces even.

    This gun handles much like the Bobcat. And those who suffer from arthritis will appreciate a pistol that is easy to chamber a round in.

    Not to mention, it shoots well and also adds another round in its magazine — eight compared to the Bobcat’s seven.

    I had one of these years ago and enjoyed my time with it.

    Best Affordable .22 LR Pistol
    at Guns.com

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Revolver vs. Pistol

    You do have a choice with the .22 in terms of revolver vs. semi-auto, and decent guns exist in both camps.

    However, one thing to remember is that the .22 LR is a rimfire cartridge. That means its priming compound is in the rim at its base — hence the name rimfire.

    .22LR Round
    .22 LR Round

    For this reason, a double-action revolver might be the better choice since all you have to do in the event of a misfire is to pull the trigger again.

    Another factor to consider is the ammo itself. .22 LR is notoriously finicky.

    Don’t expect ammo from that ginormous box of two zillion rounds you got at your local big-box store to go off every time…you’re asking too much of it.

    Popular .22LR Ammo
    It might take a while to find the right kind for your gun.

    Instead, if you carry a .22, do some research about the best loads for defense.

    Won’t a .22 LR Just Make ‘Em Mad?

    First, a .22 is not the first choice for the best concealed-carry gun caliber. There are other calibers better suited for CCW, but sometimes you find yourself in situations where you need a small gun and, well, .22 LR pistols fit that bill.

    It doesn’t have the same punch as 5.56 but then again you can’t really carry that around concealed can you?

    A .22 handgun does have a few pluses in its corner…

    These guns are typically small, lightweight, and easily carried. Not to mention, they err on the side of affordability. Granted, you won’t get a ton of velocity out of them, but it’s better than nothing.

    Ruger LCR
    Ruger LCR

    And yes, this round doesn’t pack the same oomph as a 9mm, but a .22 with the proper load and bullet placement offers you a fighting chance.

    Final Thoughts

    We’ve looked at several .22 LR handguns worthy of pocket carry. Remember that shot placement is king with small calibers, so hit the range and practice!


    Not to mention, .22 LR can be fickle, so “audition” your ammo before loading it for defensive purposes.

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

    S&W M&P Shield EZ .380
    S&W M&P Shield EZ .380

    What’s your favorite .22 LR for pocket carry? Let us know in the comments below. Ready to snag some rimfire ammo? Check out our guide to the Best .22 LR Rimfire Ammo.

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    59 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      John H

      I had an LCP II 22 and it went back to Ruger 3 times, finally for a refund. Completely unreliable.

      March 18, 2023 11:30 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      michael Lamb

      where is the slide mounted safety/decocker on the taurus 942 revolver. If you can't get this simple thing right how can we be sure you have any idea what you are talking about. Get the facts right before you give advice on things that may affect someones life.

      November 24, 2022 11:48 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Dagger Treadwell

      The appeal to me is the .22LR won't blow out my ears in a confined space. I'd like to keep what hearing I still have. Don't the .25s, .32s and .380s make a much bigger bang?

      October 8, 2022 2:19 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Hank Treadwell

        The .22 can be a loud little ... indoors. I still love the compactness and they can be extremely efficient and quiet w/a supressor just ask any assassin.

        October 29, 2022 5:13 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Rick C

      Rick C
      I carry a Ruger LCR 22. My question is would it be better..for "quick reloading purposes"..as an example a Ruger LCP ll pocket pistol with the advantage of fast "mag" reloading? The Ruger LCR is a great revolver but reloading 8 rounds into the cylinder would take some time. But for close up encounters 10 rounds of a LCP ll 22's should do the job. Any thoughts?

      September 21, 2022 7:54 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        My thought is that ease of reload is not a top priority when going with a pocket gun. It's there as a back up, so that you can go into a gas station without having to carry a larger gun. In that kind of situation, I doubt you're planning for a long firefight, you're just looking to pop off a few shots to scare 'em away while you retreat. If you really want more firepower, at that point, you're probably better off going with a .380 or a 9mm with a larger mag capacity. They make LCP in 9mm, and the Hellcat and M&P Shield in 9mm seem to have good reviews online.

        February 23, 2023 11:18 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      When I go to a .22lr it's an older Taurus PT22 loaded with the new Federal Punch.

      July 21, 2022 5:43 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Joe Morris

      Why no mention of the horrendous triggers on these guns.

      May 22, 2022 3:04 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Don H

        Lol….so true!

        June 21, 2022 11:44 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Rex T. Dog

        We own a NAA, the 942, and the Ruger lcp ll...the double action trigger on the 942 is a little heavy, the single action trigger very light...the NAA isn't too bad, as it also is single action...the lcp ll trigger is reasonable...the heavier triggers are the double action only revolvers, as .22 does require a firm hit...

        August 26, 2022 1:40 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Gordon Haire

        I had a cheap Taurus .25 years ago for a road trip. I thought the trigger would cut through my finger before it fired.

        December 19, 2022 3:07 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      The 21 A Bobcat has been my favorite since I lost my 25 Barrett’s after 30 years of being my everyday everywhere, I shoot the Bobcat a lot more thanI did the 25 but still can’t use it squirrel hunting like the 25.

      May 17, 2022 10:28 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Ed K

      This is a great article, and just what I needed! Brief, concise, and accurate. The people who commented negatively should write an article of their own on their own website, and see how much effort and research it takes...then watch all the comments flood in correcting them on grammar, spelling, punctuation, and firearm data accuracy. The author here didn't falter on any of these. If you don't like his opinion, just click away people! Great article.

      March 8, 2022 7:10 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Thanks, Ed - appreciate the kind words. Thanks for writing!

        March 11, 2022 7:47 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      John C

      Editor alert:

      “The Taurus 942 moves the slide-mounted safety/decocker to the frame. It also sees the magazine release moved from the frame heel to behind the trigger guard.”

      And no mention of the revolutionary step of adding a safety/decocker to the frame of a revolver???

      February 25, 2022 4:36 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Jacki Billings, Editor

        Hey John, thanks for that catch. Sometimes in editing, we slip up and miss things. This was my bad. That portion has since been corrected. Thanks for looking out for us and reading!

        February 25, 2022 7:26 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jim whetzel

      My backup gun is a heritage barkeep 2inch barrel and I swapped out the 22cylinder for a 22 mag. For a little more oomph. And speer golddot specially designed for short barrel's. Light small and deadly.

      February 24, 2022 4:57 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Jim, good choice for a single-action backup. I reviewed one of those before - it was a handy gun! Thanks for the comment.

        February 25, 2022 5:51 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      dr raval

      recommending a .22 for carrying speaks volumes about you IQ and education level. as an MD with forensics experience - you are putting peoples lives at risk with your cerebral flatulence.

      January 21, 2022 11:44 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Jacki Billings, Editor

        Thanks for the feedback. We believe that everyone should make their own choice on what they want to carry and we provide recommendations on a variety of guns/calibers. If you don't prefer .22 LR for carry, that's absolutely fine and we have a wealth of other articles for other calibers and guns. I invite you to poke around the site as I'm confident you will find something that will fulfill your needs. :)

        January 24, 2022 7:37 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        John Doctor

        You’re a phony!

        December 14, 2022 7:14 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Mike Conlon, USN, Ret'd

        I discussed many things, including wound tracks, with Doctors in my career as a Hospital Corpsman in the Navy. What, specifically, is your issue here, Doctor? To me, the 22 most definitely has enough punch to penetrate the facial bones of assailants close to me. Thats truly my only concern, and the focus of most of my range training, as today so many wear lots of shirts and coats when committing crimes, so forget the "center mass" advice unless your concealed carry personal realty can truly conceal them.

        July 26, 2023 6:00 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Rex T. Dog

      We sometimes carry our NAA .22lr when not much else is feasible...it ain't much, but it is reliable, and totally concealable...the lifecard we rejected immediately, and although the Bonds are powerful, they are also much bigger and heavier...we know .22lr not optimal, but at arm's length a winning shot is possible...we practice with the little monster every range visit, that is crucial to having a chance...

      November 21, 2021 3:19 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Rex, at least you'll have some type of gun with you when you might not be able to carry something larger and that is what counts. Looks like you've got it figured out - thanks for writing!

        February 25, 2022 5:55 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      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
      • Commenter Avatar

        John, prices are what they are today - I have no control over that. And, even a gun that says "22" on it is better than no gun at all. Thanks for writing!

        February 25, 2022 5:57 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      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
      • Commenter Avatar

        David, good point. for that purpose, a .22 should work. Thanks for writing!

        February 25, 2022 5:57 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      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
      • Commenter Avatar

        James, I remember the belt-buckle guns - they were interesting, to be sure. I just couldn't list all the guns out there that would work for a .22 pocket gun - there are many. Thanks for writing!

        February 25, 2022 5:58 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      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
      • Commenter Avatar

        Dave, you are right. Sometimes less is more. If a .22 is what you can cleanly carry, by all means do so! Thanks for writing.

        March 3, 2022 3:25 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      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
      • Commenter Avatar

        ER, I tend to agree with you. A revolver solves the reliability problem - just pull the trigger again. Thanks for writing!

        March 3, 2022 3:26 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      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
      • Commenter Avatar

        Scottyb, I like it, too... the only thing I don't like about it are the 10-round mags that come with it. They should've been 16 or 17. Thanks for writing!

        March 3, 2022 3:27 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      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
      • Commenter Avatar

        Robert, that is a good feature, one borrowed from the original "Peacemaker"... drop the hammer between chambers for safety. NAA did a good thing. Thanks for writing!

        March 10, 2022 3:08 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      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
      • Commenter Avatar
        ROGER R VEGA


        April 18, 2020 8:06 pm
        • Commenter Avatar

          Roger, glad you enjoy yours. They have been around a long time, for sure. Thanks for writing!

          March 10, 2022 3:11 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        H., I saw a Phoenix not long ago. They were chastised for not being top-notch quality, but if the gun goes bang every time you want it to (and doesn't when you don't), then it's useful. Thanks for writing!

        March 10, 2022 3:10 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      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
      • Commenter Avatar

        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
        • Commenter Avatar

          jc, good points. The derringers are fun but I would carry one as a backup to my backup, if I did such things. Some folks really like them, and that's great - everyone's different. Thanks for writing!

          March 10, 2022 3:14 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Art, you must've missed it but the Bobcat was #6 on the Best Pocket List I posted above. I really like it! Thanks for writing.

        March 10, 2022 3:12 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Art, I did mention the Beretta - it's #6 in my list. Thanks for writing!

        March 11, 2022 7:48 am