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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.

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

What do you do? You stick it in your pocket.

A pocket gun may be the best solution depending on your CCW setup.

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 Affordable Revolver

    Taurus 942

    Several finishes and barrel lengths, and 8 round capacity.

  3. Best High End .22 LR Revolver

    Smith & Wesson 43C

    XS front sight, 8 round capacity.

  4. Best Single-Action .22 LR

    North American Arms 22LLR

    Single-action revolver, 5 round capacity.

  5. Best Semi-Auto .22 LR

    Ruger LCP II .22 LR

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

  6. Best for Arthritis

    Beretta 21 A Bobcat

    Tip-up barrel and 7 round capacity.

  7. 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

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Best .22 LR Pocket Pistols

1. 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.

Ruger LCR
Ruger LCR

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.

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
499
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

2. Taurus 942

Taurus makes several .22 revolvers, but we’ll look at just one – the Taurus 942

The Taurus 942 moves the slide-mounted safety/decocker to the frame.

A nice touch is that the rear sight on most of the models is adjustable for windage.

Holding eight rounds of .22 LR, it definitely fits in a pocket. And starting around 17 ounces, these are easy to carry.

The 942 is available in several finishes and two different barrel lengths — 2 and 3 inches.

There are 10 models in total, so plenty to choose from!

Best Affordable Revolver
339
at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

3. 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 could 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
824
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

4. North American Arms 22LLR

The North American Arms is the only single-action revolver on this list.

Though NAA makes a bunch of revolvers — at last count, I saw six LR versions, 13 Magnums, and even one .22 Short – but I’m singling out the NAA 22LLR.

This is a 5-shooter with 1 5/8 barrel that weighs 4.8 ounces.

Complete with rosewood bird’s head grip in stainless steel, this little guy is handy to carry in a pocket, boot, cell phone case, pocket-watch pocket…you get it, it’s teeny.

teeny tiny

Would I count on this to be my main CCW?

Of course not, but if I was ever in a jam, I’d have something at least. So, as a last-ditch gun, it works.

Best Single-Action .22 LR
252
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

5. 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
314
at Guns.com

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

4.96/5 (926)

Your Rating?

6. 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
419
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

7. Taurus PT-22 POLY

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

This gun handles much like the Bobcat. And for 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
245
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 LCRs
Ruger LCRs

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.

Conclusion

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!

Ruger LCP II
Ruger LCP II

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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49 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    JM

    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
    Thomas

    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
      Mike

      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
      Mike

      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
    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
      Mike

      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
      Mike

      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
    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
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike

      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
      Mike

      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
      Mike

      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
    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
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike

      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
    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
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike

      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
    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
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike

      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

      '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
      • Commenter Avatar
        Mike

        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
      Mike

      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
      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
      • Commenter Avatar
        Mike

        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
      Mike

      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
      Mike

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

      March 11, 2022 7:48 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Leonardo

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

    July 30, 2018 5:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike

      Leonardo,
      A qual arma você se refere?

      March 10, 2022 3:16 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    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
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike

      Court, the NAA does make a good hideout gun. I think they fulfill a niche in the market. Thanks for writing.

      March 10, 2022 3:17 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    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
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike

      Bill, yeah, the LCP would be more effective but sometimes that little-bitty .22 is just what you can carry. Sounds like you have it figured out, how to use yours. Thanks for writing.

      March 10, 2022 3:18 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    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
    • Commenter Avatar
      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
      • Commenter Avatar
        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
        • Commenter Avatar
          Mike

          Mark, interesting! Doesn't say much about his ability to pat you down, I guess. Good thing you're one of the good guys - that could've gone south in a hurry with the wrong guy. Thanks for writing.

          March 10, 2022 3:22 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Mike

        Joe, true. A gun in the pocket offends no one and nobody need know you have it. I'll bet there are many more guns carried in gun-free zones than anyone knows. Thanks for writing.

        March 10, 2022 3:21 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike

      Alex, that's the ultimate truth - the gun you have with you is better than the one at home. Thanks for writing.

      March 10, 2022 3:19 pm
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