An Attempt to Define Pistol Size Categories

Are you confused about the different category names that are supposed to clearly identify handgun sizes? You’re not alone.

“Pistol size categories are notoriously ambiguous. What’s the difference between a micro compact and a subcompact? We don’t know, and we’re pretty sure nobody else does either,” says Chris Baker of in the video below. “A handgun’s physical dimensions—its size, shape, and weight—largely determine how well it will fit our hands and whether we’re likely to find it comfortable and concealable as a carry gun.”

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Checklist: Matters to Consider When Deciding on a Handgun ]

Watch the video to get a feel for the different categories:

  • full size (also called duty size)
  • compact
  • subcompact
  • micro compact
  • pocket
  • single stack
  • double stack

Another article to read is “Handgun Sizes Explained” on The Broad Side blog.

And an excellent resource to use for basic size comparisons is Handgun Hero. It allows you to pick two handgun models to see correctly-scaled images side-by-side.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, The 4 Basic Rules of Gun Safety ]

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