By Mike Schoby
Some CCW experts say you should carry and train with the same defensive gun exclusively, never changing your go-to concealment rig. It’s probably not a bad idea…but how boring. I carry every day I can (airlines and certain cities disrupt my 100% attendance), but what I carry changes by the day, season and situation. It may be contrary to the “internet-expert’s” best practices, but for me it works.
For carry in an urban environment with normal clothing (an untucked button up shirt), I usually use a Hellcat Pro in an IWB holster. For beyond the waistband in the backwoods, a Springfield XDM 10mm or Taurus 44 Magnum is often in my chest rig. If I am going bougie at a fancy western backyard social gathering, where an open carried handgun is more a statement piece than a necessity, a H&K P7 or Nighthawk custom gets the nod. But from about May through September, when my daily attire is cargo shorts, sunglasses, flip flops and a t-shirt and my activities involve nothing more dangerous than playing with kids or feeding the chickens I get lazy and go small. I have toyed with various .22 LRs and .22 WMRs but honestly, even if their inconsequential diameter and low energy weren’t a problem, their misfeeds, rimfire failures to eject and misfires are.
The various pocket .380s are fine, but I believe a good-quality, high-performance .32 ACP provides nearly the same terminal effectiveness, can be had in a smaller package or with higher capacity in the same size frame and for those sensitive to recoil and blast out of a small handgun, the .32 ACP is significantly less than a .380.
A few years back, when the threaded barrel was released, I bought a Beretta Tomcat. Even though I have never run a silencer on a pocket pistol, the Tomcat Covert gives me the option if I want to…and it looks cool at any rate.
Like the smaller Bobcat, the Tomcat is a tip-up barrel design, which I am fond of. It is easy to load and unload, easy to check for clear, and is a great design for novices who often slide check a gun, inadvertently loading one from the magazine into the tube. In addition, for folks with weak hand strength, the tip barrel design is far easier to use than a traditional auto that needs to be racked.
Capacity is 7 rounds, and overall size is about 5.5 inches long and 3.7 inches tall. The mechanism is straightforward and simple—it can be operated double or single action and it has a single position side safety. The double action trigger pull is heavy, but for a pistol that’s muzzle is nestled up to my favorite asset all day, I find a heavy trigger reassuring. Speaking of such, the Tomcat is perfect for pocket carry with snag-free lines and low profile sights that are still windage adjustable. Traditionally the Tomcat has been offered in Blued and Inox (stainless) and FDE. Now for those in favor of selecting their pronouns it is offered in Kale Slushy (greenish), Silver-Black Gorilla (black & silver) and Ghost Buster (silver).
I’ve fired a couple hundred rounds of various loads through mine—Fiocchi FMJ primarily—but I also have tried Hornady XTP Critical Defense, Buffalo Bore and some old Winchester Silver Tips I had on hand. I have experienced zero problems to feed or eject any of the loads and accuracy at 7 yards (where I test pocket pistols) was more than adequate—generally, under 2.5 inches.
Pros: Easy to operate, compact, suppressor-ready
Cons: I like the new colors but hate the names, especially Kale Slushy.