Firearm: Smith & Wesson Model 351 PD (MSRP: $806)
Whether for backup purposes, deep concealment or simply a toss-in-a-pocket firearm for quick errands, the Smith & Wesson 351PD AirLite revolver offers seven rounds of .22 Magnum in a package that weighs less than three-quarters of a pound. Now, we’re not making the case that .22 Magnum is the perfect defensive caliber, but if you’re looking for something as a backup piece, it’s certainly usable. With the light weight of the AirLite and seven-round capacity, it’s on par with most micro-380 pistols in that role. Folks with hand-strength issues who can’t easily run semi-automatic slides will appreciate the ease-of-operation of the revolver as well.
With an unloaded weight of 11.2 ounces, overall length of 6.2 inches and two-finger grip, the 351PD is supremely easy to conceal. On the range, an orange fiber-optic front sight presents rapid acquisition, while Smith & Wesson’s traditional double/single action operating system allows fast shots combined with precision when needed. Simplicity in operation has been one of the double-action revolver’s strongest points over the past century or so, and it’s one of the reasons it remains in contention as an EDC handgun even with more capacious semi-autos.
Since it’s the same Smith & Wesson J-frame that’s been around for more than 70 years, a whole world of holsters exists to carry the 351. Whether you want to carry it on a belt, around an ankle or in a pocket, you can easily find a method of safely carrying the 351PD from any number of manufacturers. The stocks are easily replaced if you’d prefer something smaller, larger or even with a laser built-in. There’s plenty of ways to best fit the Smith & Wesson J-frame to your hand, so if you’ve had trouble in the past with grips that didn’t quite feel right, this is definitely a consideration.
Let’s come back to the .22 Magnum chambering. No, it’s not the most powerful round available in a small revolver, that’s true. However, with trusted defensive ammunition available from companies like Hornady, Speer and Winchester, it’s a step in the right direction, especially for recoil-averse shooters and those with limited hand strength. As a backup, like a gun carried on an ankle or in a coat pocket, it’s solid; for deep concealment it’s quite well suited. It’s another option available to the concealed-carry practitioner, and we’re a fan of options.
Holster: DeSantis Pocket-Tuk (MSRP: $34.99)
Speaking of options, the DeSantis Pocket Tuk we’ve chosen to go with the 351PD serves double duty. It can be used either as a pocket holster or inside-the-waistband by simply adding or removing the plastic clip. When used as a pocket holster, the rough-out suede construction keeps it firmly anchored. When carried inside the waistband, it’s adjustable for cant and ride height. And, extra stitching and thicker construction around the reinforced mouth help aid reholstering (we do recommend removing it from the pocket if carried in that manner).
Two holsters for the price of one, and in the case of the Pocket Tuk, that price is eminently reasonable to begin with. There’s a lot to like about this holster, and it offers fits for a dizzying variety of small-frame revolvers and semi-automatics. There’s a good chance even if you’re not using a J-frame you can find one for your favorite small handgun.
Accessory: Allett Hybrid Card Wallet (MSRP: $44)
In keeping with minimalist, multi-use items, the last piece of our EDC gear today is the Allett RFID-blocking hybrid card wallet. With an ID section on one side and slots for credit cards on the other, you can carry quite a bit in this lightweight nylon wallet. Three to 10 cards can fit in the provided slots, with anti-RFID-skimming technology woven right into the ripstop nylon.
Whether you want to use this wallet as a travel wallet, something to keep ID and cash in while working out or even as your everyday wallet, Allett’s Hybrid Card wallet offers protection from electronic theft while keeping all your essentials in order. There’s even a nonslip silicone strip in each of the card pockets to prevent items from coming out of the wallet when you don’t want them to. Five color options are available, and the wallet even has a section for a miniature pen (available separately) should that be of interest.