SayUncle isn’t crazy about pocket holsters. It’s true that drawing from a pocket isn’t as fast as from a belt, and it’s hard to draw from a seated position, like a car.
I mostly pocket carry because it fits the way I dress. With any kind of belt carry you have to conceal the gun and holster. I don’t walk around with an untucked shirt, which seems to be the major solution to concealing. I’d feel goofy wearing a vest all the time. It’s too warm in Tennessee to wear a coat most of the year and then once you’re inside you have to remove the coat.
Pocket Carry Gun
For me shoving a gun in a deep pocket with a pocket holster is the only way to fly. The gun I carry most often is a Smith & Wesson AirWeight 642. It’s a small, five-shot .38 Special revolver with a two inch barrel. For pocket carry you want something light that won’t bang against your thigh all day. The 642 has a stainless steel barrel and cylinder but an aluminum frame, which keeps the weight to just 15 ounces. The aluminum and stainless steel construction translate to minimal worries about rust.
My carry load is the Remington version of the FBI load – a 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter hollowpoint (LSWCHP) in .38 Special+P. That load has a long history of both good penetration and good expansion, even out of snubnose thirty-eights. I use Safariland Comp 1 speedloaders to reload the 642.
The one weak point in the 642 and other J-frame Smith and Wessons is the small sights. I make up for that by using Crimson Trace LaserGrips. When you hold the LaserGrips in a normal position your middle finger naturally presses a button which projects a laser dot onto the target. I use the 305 model. If I were buying today I’d get the newer and slightly smaller 405 model.
Pocket Carry Pants
I like Columbia ROC pants for pocket carry. The pockets are deep with wide openings that make it easy to remove the gun. There’s a second pocket on the right side behind the regular pocket where I carry the snubnose .38. Like the main pocket the extra pocket it’s deep and wide. I use the front pocket for carrying a lockblade folding knife that I can open with one hand. Currently that’s a Benchmade Griptilian.
The Columbia pants are business casual and good-looking. My only complaint is that the material wears out faster than I’d like, but they fetch for less than 30 bucks, so I won’t complain too much. I buy mine at Belk’s, Gander Mountain, Bass Pro Shop, or the Mast General Store.
I always use a pocket holster. It keeps the gun in the right position, so when I grab the gun I get the grip and not the barrel. The holster also blocks the trigger guard for safety so you don’t get a surprise vasectomy, keeps lint out of the gun, and spreads the gun’s weight across a larger area so the pocket doesn’t wear out.
What I want most is a holster that stays behind in the pocket when I draw instead of coming along for the ride. If it disguises the shape of the gun that’s nice, too, but it’s secondary to actually being able to fire the gun once it comes out of the pocket.
The first pocket holster I tried was an Uncle Mike’s. It was inexpensive, but it wore quickly around the seams. Because it’s small and slick-surfaced it didn’t always stay behind when you pull the gun. It also didn’t do much to disguise the shape of the gun. I don’t recommend it.
The Desantis Nemesis is better made and has more surface friction to hold the holster in place. It’s wider, too, with a hook design below the trigger guard that grabs the inside corner of the pocket to keep it from coming out on the draw. You see a hook on the corner of a lot of pocket holsters and it does seem to help. You’ll also see leather holsters with the rough (suede) side out to grab the pocket lining and that helps, too. The pocket holster for my NAA Black Widow uses both of those tricks, and it’s a surprisingly good holster.
I mostly use the affordable but great Mika holster. It has a rubbery mesh band that grabs the pocket so the holster stays in the pocket and the gun pulls free. The sides bow out, so it’s especially good for pockets with lots of volume.
P.S. Here’s Jay G’s video demonstration of drawing from the pocket using a Smith & Wesson 360 and Desantis Nemesis. He’s fast. If you carry a revolver and want to know which speedloader to use read his post here and watch the videos.