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Old October 11, 2020, 03:38 PM   #1
Forte S+W
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Micro Compacts vs Subcompacts: Which do you prefer for Concealed Carry?

This was a topic of discussion that came up awhile ago, but the thread was shutdown prematurely since the Topic Creator failed to specify the difference. I have decided to revive the topic, as I think it makes for an interesting topic for discussion, but let's start this off right by pointing out the differences between a Micro Pistol and a Subcompact.

What is a Micro Compact?
A Micro Compact, also commonly referred to as a "Mouse Gun" or "Pocket Pistol" is a very small, thin, ultra lightweight handgun, typically chambered in smaller caliber cartridges from .22LR to .380 ACP with shorter barrels ranging from 1.5"-3" in length. Micro Compacts tend to have shorter grips which can only fit the average shooter's dominant middle finger and possibly their ring finger with a flush fit magazine. (YMMV)
Examples: Colt 1908 Vest Pocket Pistol, FN Baby Browning, Walther TPH, Ruger LCP.

What is a Subcompact Pistol?
A Subcompact Pistol is a small, more compact, lightweight handgun, typically chambered in cartridges ranging from .380 ACP all the way up to .45 ACP with barrels ranging from 2.5"-3.75" in length.
Examples: Walther PPK, Ruger LC9, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, Glock 27.

Which do you prefer for Consealed Carry?
While I see uses for all of them, and used to carry a Subcompact Walther PPK/S, in recent years I have come to prefer to carry a Micro Compact Ruger LCP during times when I cannot Concealed Carry a larger Compact Pistol. (As a frame of reference, a Compact Pistol is in terms of size about the size of a Glock 19.)
The way I see it is, if I cannot Consealed Carry a Compact, then I might as well carry the smallest, thinnest, lightest, pistol chambered in the most effective cartridge I can manage to shoot accurately. For me, that's the Ruger LCP.
However, I still like Subcompacts as well, I just haven't yet run into a scenario in which I cannot Concealed Carry a Compact, yet can still carry something larger than a Micro Compact, but that's mainly a result of the climate in my area being either hot or cold for the majority of the year.

What are your thoughts?
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Last edited by Forte S+W; October 13, 2020 at 09:35 PM. Reason: Added to the description of Micro Compacts based on reader feedback. (Thanks, dyl.)
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Old October 11, 2020, 03:45 PM   #2
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My immediate thought is that your definitions don't provide a clear line of demarcation.

Example: I have a Colt Pony .380. It has a 2.75" barrel. Using caliber and barrel length as the determiner, it fits both of your definitions. Is it a micro compact, or is it a subcompact? Since it fits both by barrel length and caliber, what do you use as additional criteria for making a decision?
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Old October 11, 2020, 03:48 PM   #3
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By these definitions I never carry a “micro” pistol. I typically carry a compact or in the few instances where those don’t work I carry a P365XL, which I guess falls into the “subcompact” category here. That is light enough, thin enough, and short enough that I haven’t felt the need to go smaller and would have a hard time drawing a smaller pistol from a holster with the amount of grip I prefer. I don’t pocket carry.


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Old October 11, 2020, 04:46 PM   #4
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My LCP is for lounging pants or shorts in the house.

Shield is EDC

Church gun is M&P9C

A different gun for different situations because I can.


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Old October 11, 2020, 05:30 PM   #5
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My LCP is my “easiest to carry so it comes everywhere” gun. I do have a Springfield 911 in 9mm that can fit in the pocket as well, but it’s just big enough where it’s comfier for me to carry on my belt.
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Old October 11, 2020, 05:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forte S+W View Post
This was a topic of discussion that came up awhile ago, but the thread was shutdown prematurely since the Topic Creator failed to specify the difference. I have decided to revive the topic, as I think it makes for an interesting topic for discussion, but let's start this off right by pointing out the differences between a Micro Pistol and a Subcompact.

What is a Micro Compact?
A Micro Compact, also commonly referred to as a "Mouse Gun" or "Pocket Pistol" is a very small, thin, ultra lightweight handgun, typically chambered in smaller caliber cartridges from .22LR to .380 ACP with shorter barrels ranging from 1.5"-3" in length.
Examples: Colt 1908 Vest Pocket Pistol, FN Baby Browning, Walther TPH, Ruger LCP.

What is a Subcompact Pistol?
A Subcompact Pistol is a small, more compact, lightweight handgun, typically chambered in cartridges ranging from .380 ACP all the way up to .45 ACP with barrels ranging from 2.5"-3.75" in length.
Examples: Walther PPK, Ruger LC9, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, Glock 27.

Which do you prefer for Consealed Carry?
OK, stated that way, I prefer "subcompact". I have an LCP. I find it just too small, with too crappy of "sights", for me to shoot well. I actually carry an XDS, or one of my .38 snubbies, which are about the same "size envelope".

Those guns I can actually shoot, and can actually shoot them for fun, and expect to actually hit what I'm shooting at.

The super-micro LCP is for when I can't carry anything larger, which isn't any time, right now.
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Old October 11, 2020, 05:54 PM   #7
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9mm minimum, enough mass or well timed semi so the recoil isn't 'too snappy even some .380s.
Tried quite a few. Ruger LC9s works great for me.
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Old October 11, 2020, 07:47 PM   #8
Forte S+W
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
My immediate thought is that your definitions don't provide a clear line of demarcation.

Example: I have a Colt Pony .380. It has a 2.75" barrel. Using caliber and barrel length as the determiner, it fits both of your definitions. Is it a micro compact, or is it a subcompact? Since it fits both by barrel length and caliber, what do you use as additional criteria for making a decision?
You're overthinking it, obviously there are bound to be a bit of overlap between the parameters. That being said, the Colt Pony isn't exactly ultra lightweight, is it? Nor is it particularly small, not compared to the examples I provided when it comes to Micro Compacts, ergo it would fall more within the description of a Subcompact.
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Old October 11, 2020, 10:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
You're overthinking it, obviously there are bound to be a bit of overlap between the parameters. That being said, the Colt Pony isn't exactly ultra lightweight, is it? Nor is it particularly small, not compared to the examples I provided when it comes to Micro Compacts, ergo it would fall more within the description of a Subcompact.
Well, that's the problem. Unless your criteria don't allow for overlap, there's going to be confusion.

I'm a 1911 guy. I consider a full-size 1911 (5") and a Commander (4-1/4") to be standard-size pistols. An Officers ACP (3-1/2" is a compact. A 3" such as a Colt Defender is a subcompact. And, compared to a Defender, a Colt Pony is much smaller and much lighter -- and the alloy version is lighter still. The Defender is too big and too heavy to ever be a "pocket pistol." The Pony is a pocket pistol.
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Old October 12, 2020, 01:29 AM   #10
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I try to find the smallest gun I can get a full grip on, because I shoot MUCH better that way. For me that is the G43X or XDs with the medium magazine. I prefer the Glock due to reloads (pinched myself way too much with the XDs) and capacity increase with the Shield Arms mags. The XDs fits into the "subcompact" realm easily. The G43X blurs the line between compact and subcompact, IMO.
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Old October 12, 2020, 09:07 AM   #11
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I carry a fullsize Glock or a fullsize magnum revolver.
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Old October 12, 2020, 11:32 AM   #12
Forte S+W
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
Well, that's the problem. Unless your criteria don't allow for overlap, there's going to be confusion.
You you can come up with a better description than I did which simultaneously accounts for overlap yet still manages to adequately differentiate between Micro Compacts and Subcompacts, then by all means do so.
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Old October 12, 2020, 01:35 PM   #13
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Subcompact

Springfield XDS 9mm
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Old October 12, 2020, 03:15 PM   #14
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forte S+W
You If you can come up with a better description than I did which simultaneously accounts for overlap yet still manages to adequately differentiate between Micro Compacts and Subcompacts, then by all means do so.
I just noticed another point on which I disagree with your criteria. As I said, I'm a 1911 guy. The Officers ACP has a 3-1/2" barrel. Your criteria (below) would classify that as a subcompact. I don't know anyone who would classify an Officers ACP 1911 as a subcompact. It's almost universally (in my experience) regarded as a compact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Forte S+W
What is a Micro Compact?
A Micro Compact, also commonly referred to as a "Mouse Gun" or "Pocket Pistol" is a very small, thin, ultra lightweight handgun, typically chambered in smaller caliber cartridges from .22LR to .380 ACP with shorter barrels ranging from 1.5"-3" in length.
Examples: Colt 1908 Vest Pocket Pistol, FN Baby Browning, Walther TPH, Ruger LCP.

What is a Subcompact Pistol?
A Subcompact Pistol is a small, more compact, lightweight handgun, typically chambered in cartridges ranging from .380 ACP all the way up to .45 ACP with barrels ranging from 2.5"-3.75" in length.
Examples: Walther PPK, Ruger LC9, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, Glock 27.
I don't get hung up on "micro" vs. "sub" compact but, since you asked for a non-overlapping set of criteria, my attempt would be

Micro Compact Pistol
A very small, single-stack pistol chambered in smaller caliber cartridges from .22LR to .380 ACP with a barrel length of under 3".

Subcompact Pistol
A smaller handgun, single or double stack, chambered in cartridges ranging from .380 ACP and larger, with a barrel length 3" or greater and less than 3-1/2."
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Old October 12, 2020, 03:18 PM   #15
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Sig 365 micro
sw mp c .compact
ruger sp101 2.1/8 compact
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Old October 12, 2020, 03:22 PM   #16
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Aguila, why are you arguing over the criteria. The OP clearly wants to talk about what people carry.

Focus on what the OP wants to talk about.
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Old October 12, 2020, 03:28 PM   #17
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The mouse guns are too small for anything but the instances where you must have extremely deep concealment.

For me a Glock 43X or a Smith and Wesson Shield is as small as I'm willing to go. I feel reasonably comfortable with either of those but if practical I'll step it up to a compact like a Glock 19.
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Old October 12, 2020, 04:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forte S+W View Post
....What is a Subcompact Pistol?
A Subcompact Pistol is . . . . [among other models,] . . . . Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, . . . .
Since my CC favorite is specifically named, I'll just go with that. I like the subcompacts.

I must admit, though, that the though of a micro for summertime pocket carry does have some appeal.
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Old October 12, 2020, 06:24 PM   #19
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I do not own a mouse gun but do have a number of pocket guns I love to shoot and have been for over 10 years. The Beretta Pico, the Karh 380.

I also love the Micro 9mm's, the Beretta Nano and the Kahr CW9mm. I also like Snubbies.

I never carry anything above a Micro 9mm even though I own many.

The smallest gun I EDC in the summer is the Keltec P32. 6 1/2 oz.

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Old October 12, 2020, 07:19 PM   #20
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Well...If I knew There was a good change of running into trouble, I would simply change my schedule and avoid it. If I couldn't avoid it I would have a 1911 .45 several mags, a 12 gauge plus a rifle with me. If I knew there was no change of trouble, I wouldn't carry.

BUT One will never know this for sure!!!
If all you can carry legally concealed is a .25 Baby Browning - Take it with you.
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Old October 12, 2020, 09:22 PM   #21
Forte S+W
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
I don't get hung up on "micro" vs. "sub" compact but, since you asked for a non-overlapping set of criteria, my attempt would be

Micro Compact Pistol
A very small, single-stack pistol chambered in smaller caliber cartridges from .22LR to .380 ACP with a barrel length of under 3".

Subcompact Pistol
A smaller handgun, single or double stack, chambered in cartridges ranging from .380 ACP and larger, with a barrel length 3" or greater and less than 3-1/2."
Those are okay and all, but they're actually less descriptive than the ones I provided, ergo they only leave more margin for error.

I would rather see a more detailed description.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghbucky
Aguila, why are you arguing over the criteria. The OP clearly wants to talk about what people carry.

Focus on what the OP wants to talk about.
I appreciate your attempt at keeping the discussion on-topic, but it doesn't bother me, so he can say what he likes. Besides, I've already challenged him to come up with a superior description of his own, and obviously if he can do so, then the thread can only benefit from it. He's already isolated the issues, has continued to identify flaws in my description even after I pointed out the fact that overlap is inevitable, so clearly he must have a superior description in mind, and I would like to hear it.
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Last edited by Forte S+W; October 12, 2020 at 09:28 PM.
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Old October 12, 2020, 10:33 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forte S+W
Those are okay and all, but they're actually less descriptive than the ones I provided, ergo they only leave more margin for error.

I would rather see a more detailed description.
You are free to consider my definitions inferior to yours -- opinions are what make horse racing -- but mine do not allow for any overlap. Personally, I carry what I want to carry and I don't care if someone else calls it a micro-compact or a subcompact or a compact.
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Old October 13, 2020, 07:08 AM   #23
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I consider a J frame to be a mouse gun.
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Old October 13, 2020, 07:50 AM   #24
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I would bet a hill of money that the LCP is the most CARRIED gun in the US by people with concealed carry permits.

Then I would double down on that bet with a follow up that most people with a concealed carry permit do not carry at all.
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Old October 13, 2020, 11:24 AM   #25
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Someone how I doubt that the majority of folks who went through the trouble and expense of obtaining a Concealed Carry Permit/License do not carry a firearm.
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