Throwback Thursday: Smallest Handguns for Ultimate Concealability

Whether it be for physical or legal restrictions, sometimes the situation dictates you go unarmed. Other occasions simply require a bit more discreteness. We can’t always have our full-size P226 or AR-15, but we can often have a little backup piece that might just save the day. Small guns tuck away well and are easy to bring along, which makes you more likely to carry. Here are some of the smallest handguns for ultimate concealability.

NAA Mini Revolver

The NAA Mini Revolver is what I immediately thought of when I heard “small gun.” Available in .22 LR and .22 WMR with a variety of barrel lengths, the Mini Revolvers from North American Arms, to me, is the quintessential small gun. I prefer the standard 5-shot .22 LR model with a 1.13-inch barrel and rosewood grips. With a 4-inch overall length, and only coming in at 4.5 ounces, the Mini Revolver disappears in your pocket. Likewise, it can be worn on a belt buckle holster or mounted inside a cowboy hat for the true action star. All of NAA’s Mini Revolvers are single-action only and feature a “safety cylinder,” making them perfectly safe to be carried fully loaded.

NAA Mini Revolver
The NAA revolver isn’t a chore to load, but it isn’t fast to load!


The LifeCard from Trailblazer Firearm is above all else, unique. This transformer of a firearm has a grip that folds in half for increased concealability. The discreet design mimics a cell phone/credit card/wallet shape and cannot be fired in the closed position. When you need it, the piece folds open and clicks in place to cock and fire one round of .22 LR. This break-action pistol has a 2.5-inch barrel and is constructed with an aluminum frame and barrel shroud.

Trailblazer Firearms LifeCard
This transformer of a firearm is certainly unique.

Bond Arms Stinger Derringer

The Bond Arms Stinger is a classic undercover pistol design people have relied on to get out of a jam for decades. The Bond Arms Derringer replicates the classic design of the past and adds a few modern improvements. For the ultimate concealability, the Stinger — chambered in .22 LR — is the thinnest and lightest model offered. At just 0.88-inch thin, this makes for a lightweight and concealable package that is simple and easy to operate. The Derringer model provides you with two shots of single-action fire, afterwhich, you will need to hinge open the barrels and manually remove/insert cartridges to reload. 

Bond Rawhide .22 derringer with the barrels opened for loading; small guns
The derringers are loaded by using a lever to tip the barrels up where they are accessible for extracting and loading.

Ruger LCP 

For a bit more stopping power and similar concealability, the Ruger LCP is a great option. One of the top concealed carry pistols on the market, the LCP is a single-stack .380 ACP pistol that holds 6+1 rounds. The original LCP has minimal sights that are basically reserved for 5 feet and closer. The LCP II offers a bit of improvement in the sights department. The LCP has a good reputation for being a dependable and reliable pistol that is lightweight and carries like a dream.

Ruger LCP small guns
The Ruger LCP is a reliable semi-auto pocket pistol.

Classic J-Frame

Something about a revolver just seems to conceal better — for me at least. Maybe it’s because the cylinder is concealed under the pants with just the tiny grip protruding. Both in the pocket and inside the waistband, a 5-shot J-Frame seems to do the trick and disappears. I prefer S&W, but there are other similar models from companies such as Ruger, Charter Arms, and Taurus. You also get the reliability of a revolver compared to some finicky semi-autos of this size. Most J-Frames will give you 5 rounds of .38 Special or .357 Magnum, but there are other caliber options. That’s nothing to sneeze at. 

A Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolver in a pocket holster be inserted into the pants pocket
A J-Frame revolver is great for pocket carry.

Why choose small guns?

Some people may ask, why have a gun so small? Small guns are easy to carry. Most of us aren’t getting into a gunfight every day and most of us will never see one in our entire lives. The amount of time where that pistol is just sitting on you is high. It needs to be comfortable, or you’re not going to carry it. We’ve all seen the classic stats on self-defense shootings using 5 or fewer rounds. I know that’s not the end-all be-all and we could be better armed, but most will not sacrifice the comfort for something we will likely never need. 

Do you carry any small guns? Why? What’s your go-to tiny blaster? Share your thoughts in the Comment section.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January of 2023. It has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and clarity.

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