Safety Reminder on Pistols in Pockets


Derringer Handgun in Holster on Wood Background
A carry-pistol must be carried and secured in a suitable holster, which completely encapsulates the trigger-guard and thus isolates and protects the trigger, making the trigger inaccessible when the pistol is holstered.

Ft Collins, CO –-( Pistols in Pockets!

A company making a line a small, concealable carry-pistols, Cobra Firearms, includes in its list of products an over-under Derringer.

This small pistol has been accused of not being drop-safe, as it has been implicated in at least two cases where pants in whose pocket it was placed where thrown on the floor, ostensibly causing the pistol to discharge, injuring the owner.

I have no opinions on any of these cases, as I don’t have a set of facts, and I am unfamiliar with Cobra’s product line. I personally don’t own any.

However, we should all be warned against throwing pistols, any pistol, unprotected, into pants pockets, handbags, etc.

For a personal defensive pistol to be truly useful, it must be loaded when it is carried upon the person. The practice of carrying pistols with no round chambered is confined to the realm of idiots.

That being the case, a carry-pistol must be carried and secured in a suitable holster, which completely encapsulates the trigger-guard and thus isolates and protects the trigger, making the trigger inaccessible when the pistol is holstered.

Such holsters can be on belts, ankles, or incorporated into handbags.

The point is that pistols, rattling-around loose in pockets, briefcases, handbags, etc are a veritable invitation to catastrophe, no matter what kind of pistol is involved, and the practice is thus highly not recommended by any competent instructor I know of, including me.

When you decide to go armed, you need to get serious, with serious gear and serious training. Otherwise, my sincerest recommendation is that you abandon the whole idea.


Defense Training International, Inc

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or in-actions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr. Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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H. Spires

The safety on my S and W bodyguard .380 is a little hard to take off but that makes me a little more comfortable carrying it in my pocket. There places that you go and clothing that you wear that makes it hard enough to conceal just the gun. Concealing the gun and a holster would be even more difficult. I know where the safety is located and can disengage it pretty easily. Guns without a safety would be a terrible risk to pocket carry unless you kept the chamber empty.


Some states carrying a handgun not in a holster is a crime. Always use a holster, even if you pocket carry. Open carry is legal in Texas for holders of a LTC, provided the handgun is in a shoulder or belt holster.

Scotty Gunn

Carry a lightweight snubbie or a small 380 double action auto. More shots, much faster into action, and not going to shoot your junk off.

Bob S.

Condition 1, or 3, is a choice for the individual. After 6 years in the military, 2 1/2 years as a city cop, and the next 40+ as a minister, I choose condition 3 for my current carry weapon. With my background, my current church asked me to carry as part of our safety team. If an armed person comes in our church, none of the 10 or more men carrying weapons are to confront the individual with their weapon. If an imminent threat is made, or a shot is fired, the shooter will be put down. My carry weapon… Read more »

William Snyder

; Many derringers carry instructions to carry half/cocked; NOT fully cocked or hammer down. A friend of mine, now deceased, was five time New York State police pistol champion. He said one went off in the police station; after which instructions were given that officers who carry derringers should have them on half/cock.

It would be good if modern derringers had hammer blocks like modern single action frontier style revolvers. Older single action revolvers were best carried with an empty chamber.


Bond Arms derringers have trigger guards like a revolver. They are out of Texas.


The one pictured here has a rebounding hammer. That means that the hammer falls, hits the primer, and then rebounds back clear of the firing pin. The only way this type would fire would be if dropped on its muzzle(since such types generally also have in inertial firing pin, like a 1911a1), as opposed to the old style SAs which fire if dropped on the hammer. Cobra does not make clear whether this gun has an inertial pin or not. If not, then the hammer just bounces back to a half cock position automatically. Its hard to imagine a situation… Read more »


Look at Bond Arms. They are in Texas.


“a carry-pistol must be carried and secured in a suitable holster, which completely encapsulates the trigger-guard and thus isolates and protects the trigger” Mr. Farnam: Doesn’t it seem like you should reword this so that it applies only to glocks and other pistols lacking any safety systems other than a trigger lever that goes off automatically at the slightest touch of the trigger? This says for everything at all times, but it obviously cannot apply to all firearms, for example SA revolvers(trigger does nothing until hammer cocked), Modern DA revolvers such as every one made since the 1970s, and even… Read more »


You Obviously don’t know Glocks, Lacking in safety features?? I have to laugh.


Another person who believes in the marketing hype over the facts. Oh, well. Believe whatever you like, you have that right.
But I also have the right to point up how silly you are. Did you believe; “if you like your doctor you can keep him”, also?

Gun Guy

Kenneth, I agree with the “glock safe-action trigger” and clones being mostly marketing hype. However, with that said, I confidently carry a handgun with no external safety every day. An external safety is just another system that can fail. No handgun should EVER be carried without a sturdy holster that covers the trigger guard completely. A handgun is only as safe as the operator. An external safety is no replacement for knowledge, presence of mind, and training. If you pocket carry a handgun without a holster, you are asking for trouble.


If, as you state, “If you pocket carry a handgun without a holster, you are asking for trouble.”, no matter what the handgun type is, then why did so many people pocket carry DA revolver without problems? I’ll bet you money that you cannot find even one example of a dropped, caught( or whatever) ND of a DA revolver with a triggerguard. Because they just don’t happen. I have a S&W SD9ve. It’s fine as a carry piece but then, it has a DA trigger, vs. glock and others semi-cocked, UN-“safe-action” system. The large rash of NDs going around happen… Read more »

Gun Guy

Kenneth, I suppose we will have to agree to disagree. Just because you have done something without negative consequences doesn’t mean that it SHOULD be done that way. I think that your position comes from experience, and I respect that. But I think it is a very bad idea to tell tell the target audience (those without experience) that it is acceptable to carry any gun without a holster. You have the knowledge to make an informed decision based on the type of firearm you chose to carry. Are you confident that everyone who reads your advice will have the… Read more »


gun guy; I am confidant that anyone who actually reads the advice will, because the why is included in the advice. And for those who won’t read it, what difference does it make since they won’t hear it anyway? Besides the advice is not for those who already understand. All of those already know this advice is stupid. But newbies will be misled and end up thinking that DA revolvers have the same limitations as the unsafe, semi-cocked striker semis, which is complete B.S., and very bad since they will likely continue the lie on to the next generation because… Read more »

Roy D.

Mr. Farnam calls everybody who carries condition 3 an idiot and then turns around and gives his blessing to everyone who carries in condition 1 so long as that condition 1 firearm is secured in a safe holster and then it is placed in: a pocket, a briefcase, or a handbag, etc. The denigration of condition 3 carriers is supposedly due to the Impossibility of bringing the condition 3 firearm into use in a timely manner. Perhaps someone should perform a comparison of the two and see which is faster in reality. I don’t think I have ever seen such… Read more »


And that’s another issue. I’ve learned in six decades and loads of instructors in various disciplines, never trust any instructor that talks in absolutes. They are invariably either using the “everything is this, absolutely, at all times…” as a cover up for something, or they are a religious fundamentalist(a true believer… in whatever) who cannot conceive of any case where the ‘rules'(of whatever book they like) are less valuable than experience. Or perhaps just repeating a memorized phrase that an attorney suggested they say at least X number of times per class… OR ELSE. Such instruction is not worth the… Read more »

Dr. Strangelove

You can deploy a rock much more quickly and effectively than a condition three firearm. It’s a lot cheaper, too.

Roy D.

I hear that hockey pucks are the defensive weapon of choice these days.

Don in Arkansas

Here’s an example where condition 3 likely got 2 people killed.

Roy D.

Well, that settles it for me; no more condition 3 carry. Of course if I were in a situation where my chance of being faced with a loaded gun every day I would be carrying my G19 with a round loaded in the chamber. But, that is not the case. Doing what I do is my choice made after careful deliberation and practice. Admittedly, I have pulled my pocket carry gun on only two attackers in the last six years so maybe I just got lucky. YMMV.

Charles Moore

That test that you propose is meaningless. Standing in front of a piece of paper and drawing and chambering a round is one thing; doing it while someone is shooting at you is entirely something else. Chances are VERY good that you wouldn’t get it done. You’re likely to not even remember that it needs to be done under those circumstances. Would you actually be so foolish as to bet your life on it? (Or the lives of your loved ones?) The same is true of manual safeties, even if you do it thousands of times. Rob Leatham (I believe)… Read more »

Roy D.

I remember Rob Leatham at a IDPA Nationals Match at Tunica in the early 2000s bitching and moaning about a “procedural penalty” he received on a stage. My son and I told him he got it the old fashioned way, he earned it. That would also be the year that his cover garment did not meet the requirements and yet he was allowed to shoot the match. Rob was/is a very good shooter but he still has feet of clay.

Roy D.

Given your line of reasoning I suppose standing in front of a “piece of paper” for 22 years, every year, to requalify was a foolish thing to do. And therefore, by extension, all those hundreds of thousands of other LEOs were also just wasting their time, and the public’s money, doing the same thing every year sometimes several times a year. Not to mention all that time and money spent on my own at a range. It is hard to take you seriously Charles when you write silly stuff.