Rimfire Pocket Pistols

Contributor Mike Searson gives us the breakdown of several iconic rimfire pocket pistols.

Featured image containing all the pocked rimfire pistols.


Rimfires have always played a crucial role in preparing for disasters. The ammunition and even the guns themselves are lighter than their centerfire counterparts. They are accurate, have virtually no recoil impulse, and excel at pest control or taking small game such as squirrel and even grouse. Most intelligent shooters understand this and own rimfire rifles and target pistols for these reasons. But what about a pocket pistol? Not too long ago, if you asked a self-defense instructor what their favorite rimfire pocket gun might be, you would hear a derisive laugh followed by, “I’d rather have a knife.” However, times change and materials improve, as do manufacturing methods and ammunition. Compared to a centerfire handgun, a rimfire pocket pistol’s range might be decreased, and applications might be more specific, but these tiny rimfires can fill a role for anyone’s loadout. If you’re walking in the woods and step near a rattlesnake, must check a trap line, or even come across a critically injured large animal that needs to be put down, a pocket .22 can be ideal for those needs.

In the past, most of these pistols — like the Jennings J-22 or cheap imports prior to 1968 — were made of dubious materials that would not hold up over the long term without constant maintenance. Rimfire ammunition tends to be dirty, which impacts its performance and reliability. In the case of .22 LR, reliability was often a concern with cheaper brands of ammunition. Yet, due to improvements in ammunition and bullet design paired with the fact that rimfire pistols are currently made to be more reliable than the ghosts of .22 pistols past, they can also play a role in self-defense as a backup gun or even an option for the recoil sensitive.

This is possible due to a few new flavors of rimfire ammunition that have come on the market in recent years such as Federal Punch (.22 LR and .22 WMR), Winchester Silvertip (.22 LR) and Hornady Critical Defense (.22 WMR). These rounds are optimized for firearms with short barrels and their penetration and expansion (for the latter two brands) looks pretty impressive so far. Accuracy with these little pistols will vary from shooter to shooter, but most should be able to achieve a 3- to 4-inch group out to 10 yards, apart from the LCP II which is good out to 25 yards or possibly further.


It seems safe to say that rimfire pocket pistols have finally arrived as a reliable, capable, and concealable option. Just make sure they’re not all you have on you if you venture into grizzly bear or mountain lion country.

Bond Arms: Honey BStudio photo of the Bond Arms Honey B.

Bond Arms is an innovative manufacturer of firearms based in Texas. Although mostly known for their improved versions of the classic Derringer, Bond makes semi-auto pistols and is debuting a radical new lever gun sometime this year (we hope). Having personally viewed some prototypes from Gordon Bond’s “skunkworks,” I can attest to the brilliant minds behind their firearms. The Honey B is an entry-level Bond Derringer with a matte bead-blasted frame as opposed to a shiny finish. A full-size grip frame and a decent front sight make it easy to hold and shoot. Interchangeable sets of barrels chambered in .22 LR, .380 ACP, .38 Special, and 9mm can be ordered as well.

  • Caliber: .22 WMR
  • Barrel Length: 3 inches
  • Dimensions: 5.5 by 4.2 inches
  • Weight: 17.5 ounces
  • Capacity: 2 rounds
  • Price: $320
  • URL: bondarms.comStudio photo of the Bond Arms Honey B.


  • Very comfortable with the checkered grips made of B6 resin
  • Slim enough to stow in the back pocket
  • Impressive safety features


  • Capacity limits you to two rounds
  • Reloading can be slow until you build up a manual of arms
  • Single-action, requiring the shooter to manually cock the hammer for each shot

Originally published by Patrick Diedrick in Gear

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