Today, the lightweight pocket 9mm handgun market is flooded with options, with that configuration being one of the major “weapons of choice” for the contemporary concealed handgun carrier. However, in the 1980s, it was a different world. Those few who carried firearms on a daily basis generally preferred to carry revolvers, either larger service-sized firearms, or smaller snubnosed .38 cal “detective” models. Detonics, a company whose name elicits excitement from handgun geeks all over due to their at one time unique catalog, developed a pocket 9mm handgun in 1985, ten years ahead of the Kel-Tec P11 that jumpstarted that market in the mid-1990s. Detonics’ gun – appropriately called the “Pocket 9” – was a commercial flop (being cancelled in 1986), but its innovative design makes it today a special rarity sought after by handgun collectors. Ryan Michad, host of the Firearm Radio Network’s Gun Guy Radio and Handgun Radio shows, takes a look at the Pocket 9 in a video embedded below:
The Pocket 9 uses an interesting obturation-delayed blowback mechanism, whereby brass cases are allowed to expand outward into a ring cut in the barrel’s chamber. This delays the separation of the case and the barrel long enough to maintain a reasonable slide and return spring weight. However, as Ryan discovered, the Pocket 9 carries with it a substantial recoil, despite being a metal-framed pistol with a fairly hefty slide, suggesting higher than normal slide velocity.