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.
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?
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
So, keep reading!
Table of Contents
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
5. Ruger LCP II
The Ruger LCP II makes for a great carry gun if you want a small pistol chambered in .22 LR.
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.
What do you think of the Ruger LCP II? Give it a rating below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.