The Palm Pistol Debate

    palm pistol

    No blogosphere, least of all the gun blogosphere, would be complete without the occasional controversy. The latest of these to hit our corner of the internet is a debate over the utility of the Palm Pistol concept.

    Last week Outdoor Life writer John Snow wrote a blog post criticizing the Palm Pistol. He said

    Is it a serious gun? By definition, anything that can shoot a .38, even a single shot, is a serious gun, but by the same token I seriously don’t think I would depend on this to save my life in a time of crisis.

    The makers of this pistol, Constitution Arms claim that it is ergonomic, accurate and able to be fired by people who lack the grip strength to pull the trigger on a regular handgun—though I find this last point a bit hard to swallow when I think about the sweet single-action triggers on my favorite 1911s or even the smooth DAO trigger pull on my Sig P250.

    NRA Shooting Illustrated writer Bob Boyd responded to John’s criticisms saying

    Having been disabled since birth, I can tell you that people suffering with quadriplegia, for example, may not possess the strength to lift a firearm of average weight, or the motor skills required to grip a traditional handgun. Even a crisp, 4-pound trigger on a custom 1911 may well be impossible for them. While Snow’s taste in handguns is excellent, if his SIG Sauer’s trigger is anything like the 7-pound, 2-ounce deal on the one I evaluated for Shooting Illustrated, depending upon the degree of paralysis to the limbs, the trigger may be too heavy. Just because it worked for this quadriplegic, doesn’t mean it will for others. While I may not need a Palm Pistol for self-defense, others aren’t as fortunate.

    Shame on Snow for indicting a specialty product with a limp-wristed attempt at coming to grips with the market for which is intended.

    I think it was unfair of Bob to criticize John personally. If gun writers cease criticizing the industry, and thereby encouraging the industry to improve their products, it will be consumers who suffer.

    FN Five-seven -a pistol often criticized for using a weak cartridge (of which it holds 20 in a standard magazine)

    If the Palm Pistol is the only weapon that can be operated by a shooter, then it is infinitely better than a gun that cannot be, but it is not a weapon that should be carried to investigate ‘things that go bump in the night’. It is the type of weapon that you pick up after locking the bedroom door and praying that nobody finds you.

    Is it not fair to ask why the Palm Pistol does not have two or more barrels? About 120 years ago the Minneapolis Firearm Company brought the Protector to the market1. It was palm-sized and held seven rounds.

    The problem with this pistol was that it chambered a tiny 6mm Short cartridge which I doubt reached even 25 ft/lbs of muzzle energy. Still, it proves that a tiny, easily operated and multi-shot pistol is possible.

    6 mm ME Flobert Short – reaches almost 30 ft/lbs of energy (from a longer barrel than the Protector had).

    A few days ago John Snow responded to Bob’s criticism saying

    None of this changes my perspective, however, that the Palm Pistol would be about the last option I’d consider for defending myself with a firearm. By the same token, I wouldn’t recommend it to friend, family member or total stranger for that matter if they could wield anything else. As a single-shot and as an object that doesn’t look enough like a traditional gun to intimidate and potentially dissuade a potential attacker it just isn’t “enough gun” in my view. So call it the pistol of—literal—last resort.

    I share John’s view. It is a ‘pistol of—literal—last resort’.

    Regardless of my criticisms, I am pleased that the makers of the Palm Pistol, Constitution Arms, are trying new things and serving a currently neglected market. I hope they succeed and will continue to develop the concept, hopefully adding multi-shot capability in the future.

    1. Hat Tip: James @ Hell in a Handbasket for the information on the Protector. 

    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!