Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 4

Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 4

What’s in your pocket? Walther and Beretta vs. Sig

By Dennis Adler

What exactly is a pocket pistol? It should be small enough to fit in a pocket and safely inside a pocket holster. The Umarex Beretta 84FS is really a little too large of a gun to be easily carried in a pocket, of course, it depends upon the size of the pocket and style of pocket holster. It would be a push to drop this gun into the front pocket in a pair of Levis. The Umarex Walther PPS, as a training gun will fit in a pocket holster but the longer grip poses some issues for total concealment. The little Sig Sauer P365 in 9mm or .177 caliber fits a variety of pocket holsters like this Galco horsehide PH 460. Why horsehide? A leather holster with a rough finish will stay put in your pocket and not pull out with the gun, as some lighter synthetic or smooth leather pocket holsters can occasionally do. It is also small enough to leave very little outline in the pocket.

I began carrying .380 pocket pistols (as opposed to slightly larger 9mm semi-autos in belt rigs) about 10 years ago when I got the first of several Ruger LCP models. I reviewed them for Combat Handguns and Pocket Pistols magazines,and over the years ended up with a fully customized LCP and one of the rare Red Trigger Ruger models (which evolved from the custom pistol). The Red Trigger has most often been my companion when I carry concealed. I say most often because sometimes I carry a larger caliber pistol, but only the LCP drops cleanly into the front pocket of a pair of Levis with barely a trace of gun or pocket holster. Larger caliber guns like the 9mm Ruger LC9 come close, but are harder to cover. Sig Sauer did well in the pocket pistol category with their 9mm P938, based on a slightly scaled up .380 ACP Colt Mustang design, as well as their .380 Auto P230, which is a Colt Mustang-sized pistol. But when it comes to packing the most 9mm rounds into the smallest semi-auto, Sig Sauer rewrote the book with the P365; the smallest, high-capacity 9mm semiautomatic pistol on the market. It is that gun, upon which the Sig Sauer P365 CO2 model is based, it too, being the smallest blowback action pistol made with a self-contained CO2 BB magazine. It is the personification of “pocket pistol” in any caliber.

You can see with the P365 and PPS in pocket holsters, how much larger of a rig the Beretta would require, yet at one time this was regarded as a small gun suitable for pocket carry.

Consider the 10+1 capacity in 9mm with an overall length of 5.8 inches, a width of 1-inch, a height of 4.3 inches (with the flush magazine, 4.5 inches with finger extension) and a weight of 17.8 ounces empty. You get virtually the same measurements with the CO2 version.

A P365 is small enough that carried in a good pocket holster that minimizes the gun’s outline, it looks like a man’s wallet, or in some cases leaves barely any trace, as with these Levis…until you put your hand in the pocket.

Also the first micro-compact CO2 pistol with a self-contained CO2 BB magazine, handling the striker-fired P365 in either 9mm or .177 caliber is exactly the same except for recoil and the very loud crack of a 9mm round hitting the atmosphere from a very short barrel.

The Sig has another advantage, white dot rear and a green front sight which is very easy to put on target. POA with this air pistol is six o’clock but a little lower by about an inch than a traditional six o’clock hold. The Beretta has no dot sights, though I added a white do to the very small front blade. The PPS is just about on par with the Sig for ease of sighting and POA.

To make a CO2 pistol as authentic as the P365, Sig Sauer made one heavy concession, velocity, which with the Sig Air model is about the same as the Umarex Walther PPK/S. There is one great difference however, the CO2 generated felt recoil on P365 is greater and the gun’s accuracy at 21 feet significantly exceeds the old blowback action Walther air pistol. But how will it fair against its top two competitors, the Umarex Walther PPS/PPS M2 and the old tried and true Umarex Beretta 84FS?

The CO2 model has the exact same design as the 9mm including the front slide serrations. Note how trim and well-shaped the thumb safeties and slide release are to the side of the frame, yet they are very easy to work. The entire gun is angled and tapered to minimize mass and aid in easy re-holstering.
The Sig P365 is a marvel of engineering in 9mm or .177 caliber with the smallest magazines for a centerfire 9mm or a self-contained CO2 BB pistol magazine. The latest versions now on sale have an improved magazine to increase performance and reliability, like the test gun in this article.

P365 velocity and accuracy

The Sig averaged from 293 to 297 fps with Umarex steel BBs, close to but not into the 300 fps range, however, average 10-shot groups measured 1.40 inches with a best five shots at 0.625 inches.

Even the contours of the barrel in the slide ejection port are the same, which you don’t find even in some more expensive blowback action CO2 models. They’re close but not exact.

Now the final comparison; my best target with the Walther PPS had a 10 shot spread of 1.5 inches with a best 5-shots measuring 0.875 inches. The Beretta 84FS delivered 10 into a group measuring 1.625 inches with a best 5-shots measuring 0.75 inches. The Sig beat that with its sub 300 fps velocity with 10 rounds in 1.40 inches. Accuracy beats velocity in rare instances. The Sig Sauer P365 is one such case. It is the most technologically advanced of the three CO2 models as well as being the only true pocket pistol, based on today’s standards for concealed carry in a pocket holster. Perhaps it has multiple challengers in the centerfire handgun world, but for CO2 pocket pistols, the little Sig stands tall.

Slower but more accurate, the Sig Sauer P365 shot a better overall target than either the PPS or 84FS. It is a small difference, but the Sig is a small gun, and King of the CO2 Pocket Pistols.

One thought on “Pocket Pistol Roundup Part 4

  1. Two Walther PPSs with the slide fractured in the same place . Each slide shot about 3000 BBS before breaking. There seem to be no pistols available in the UK let alone spare slides.
    Shame as these have been my favourite modern pistols.


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