Pocket Arms.—The most extensive use of the revolver as a pocket weapon is for police service. Special arms are manufactured to meet the requirements. These weapons are generally similar to the military revolvers, but smaller in size and adapted for lighter charges. All projections, such as sights, hammer, etc., must be eliminated or minimized so as not to catch in drawing the arm from the pocket or holster. The barrels are usually from 3 to 5 inches in length, the trigger pull 4 pounds and the caliber .22 to .38. The larger calibers are much preferable for the general purposes of an arm of this character. The difference in weight is slight, while the power and effectiveness of the large calibers is important and a great advantage.
They have solid frames and actions identical with those of the military arms. The Smith & Wesson is made only in .32 caliber but the Colt may be had in .32 or .38. Both are double action.
One of the most popular pocket revolvers is the Smith & Wesson Safety Hammerless. This arm has a safety latch in the back of the handle, so designed that unless the piece is properly held it is impossible to operate it. It has many valuable and desirable features to commend it as a practical pocket weapon and for home protection. The standard length of barrel is 4 inches. This arm is also furnished in .32 caliber.
With 4-inch barrels, the foregoing pocket weapons are capable of shooting regularly within a 2-inch circle at 20 yards.
A heavier and correspondingly more powerful Pocket revolver is the Colt " Double Action " revolver. This arm is chambered for the Colt .41 caliber short and long cartridges. It has a solid frame, and is operated exactly like the Colt Single Action Army Model (Fig 6). It is compact, strong, durable, and accurate.
For many years there was no high grade .22 caliber revolver on the market. Within the last few years two excellent arms in this caliber have1 been produced. The Smith & Wesson is supplied chambered only for the S. & W. long cartridges, but in two lengths of barrels; 3 inches with fixed sights and 6 inches with target sights. The Colt is furnished only in one length of barrel, 6 inches, but chambered for any of the rim-fire cartridges, and the .32 caliber short and long Colt, central-fire cartridges. These arms with 6-inch barrels are extremely accurate, pleasant to shoot on account of the light recoil and the ammunition is inexpensive. They are well adapted for target shooting for ladies and excellent for small game shooting.
A very handy little arm to carry in the pocket on hunting and fishing trips is the Stevens Diamond Model single-shot pistol. It is light in weight, very accurate, and low in cost.
All these .22 caliber arms can be depended on to kill grouse, ducks, rabbits, and other small game. The hollow-pointed bullet ammunition should be used, or the regular cartridge, with the front of the bullet cut off square, so as to leave a flat point. This will increase the killing effect of the bullet considerably.
Magazine pistols of smaller size than the military arms have in recent years become popular as pocket weapons. Such types as have safety devices to prevent discharge when the arm is not properly held for firing, are well adapted for this purpose.
The Colt Pocket Models are made in .38 caliber and .32 caliber as shown in Fig. 25, and in .25 caliber.
The Savage Pocket Model is made in .38 and .32 caliber using the same cartridge as the Colt. It has an automatic indicator showing when the arm is loaded. A recent improvement in this arm is a spur cocking lever which permits cocking with the thumb of the hand holding the weapon.
The Smith & Wesson automatic is furnished only in .35 caliber. It has a wood stock backed by steel plates. The automatic safety in this arm is located in front of the trigger guard and is operated by the second finger.
As in the case of pocket revolvers, the larger calibers of the pocket automatic pistols will be found to have better stopping power and as practical weapons for use in case of emergency are to be preferred to the smaller calibers.
Persons who have very limited use for a weapon as for home protection and occasional pocket use, especially when they do not expect to practice shooting with it regularly will find a suitable revolver much more serviceable, safer, and generally more satisfactory than a magazine pistol. The latter on account of its more complicated and concealed mechanism is liable to be left in an unserviceable condition for safety in the home (unloaded, magazines misplaced, etc.) and when needed, unfamiliarity with its manipulation not only causes delay in getting it in action but also is a fruitful source of accident. For the purpose referred to in this paragraph a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson Safety Hammerless, a .38 or .32 caliber Colt Police Positive, or a .32 caliber Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector with a 4-inch barrel and a 4-pound trigger pull in each case is recommended. Owners of such weapons for home or personal protection should practice with them occasionally, firing at least 20 or 25 shots. A good range for such practice is 20 to 30 feet. After using the arm it should in all cases be carefully cleaned and oiled as described under " Cleaning and Care of Arms."
Himmelwright, A.L.A.. Pistol and Revolver Shooting. New York: MacMillan, 1922.
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