Colt’s Model 1908 “Vest Pocket”

Launched in 1908 and in production for forty years, over 400,000 of these tiny Colt semi-automatic pistols came out of the Hartford factory. I decided to put a few hundred rounds through one at the range to see how it stacks up to the myriad of pocket pistols that are being sold over a century after this gun’s introduction. This particular gun shipped from the Colt factory in June of 1930 to a dealer in Chicago, and it’s not bad looking for pushing 90 years old.

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Beretta Model 70 “Puma”

In 2010 I purchased this pistol at a farm auction in Stem, North Carolina. The gun felt sleek and precise and seemed well worth the $200 that I bid it up to, but I had no idea at the time what a gem I had stumbled into. The Model 70, chambered in .32 ACP, is one of the most precise pocket-sized handguns I’ve ever shot.

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Smith & Wesson Model 60 Pro Series

Smith & Wesson’s venerable J frame revolvers have long set the standard by which all other compact revolvers are judged, and with good reason. Any gun that has been in production for over 50 years has necessarily undergone a variety of changes, but the basic package being sold now looks very much like the Chief’s Special that made its debut almost 70 years ago. J frames have appeared in many configurations over the years, but for many (this writer included) the Model 60 is the zenith.

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Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ

Long story short: this may be the best gun of 2018.

The EZ has the same basic profile as the more common Shield models, and you’ll feel right at home if you’re already used to the M&P line. The notable differences are the chambering in .380 ACP (previously the only Smith .380 offering was the bodyguard), the backstrap safety (just like on a 1911), the magazine with a built-in thumb follower (like on the Ruger Standard), and the very light recoil spring that makes the slide very easy to manipulate.

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