Mouse Guns Are Dead And PHLster Killed Them

Mouse guns have never been the best gunfighters. These little compromises have a niche role, but that role has been stomped to death by Phlster. Well, maybe not totally, but damn near. Phlster is the American Dream, a company built on hard work that sprung up organically as the founders learned and grew as holster makers. Plenty of great holster manufacturers exist, but Phlster was who changed my mind on both carrying a full-sized firearm and appendix carry.

So mouse guns are dead, and Phlster killed them. It’s that simple, but I guess I could and should expand on exactly what I’m running my suck about a bit more.

What’s a Mouse Gun

I guess we should say what a mouse gun is to explain why Phlster killed them. A mouse gun is a sub-genre of pocket pistol. The definition of a mouse gun isn’t found in the dictionary, but I’ve always considered a mouse gun a superbly small pocket pistol chambered in a caliber below that of 380 ACP.

So your 32 ACPs, your 32 NAAs, your 25 ACPs, 22s, and even 22 Magnums can be considered mouse guns. Not all of the guns in these calibers are mouse guns, just super small guns in these calibers. These little guns have been around for quite some time, and guns like the Beretta 418 were made as far back as 1919, and the 25 ACP goes back to the OG mouse gun.

John Browning 25 ACP
Little guys like this are mouse guns.

John Browning designed the 25 ACP to provide a reliable option for a defensive pistol. Rimfire simply isn’t as reliable as a centerfire pistol, o the 25 ACP offered an ultra-small cartridge for ultra-small guns. One of the first successful mouse guns was the FN M1905/1906. This gun became the 1908 Colt Vest Pocket pistol a few years later.

They’ve been around for a long time and are still made to this day, and the big question is, why? Knowing what a mouse gun is, is only a single part of knowing why Phlster killed them. What makes them popular is important to consider as well.

Why Are Mouse Guns Popular

Mouse Guns offer you a very small gun that’s insanely easy to conceal and very easy to comfortably carry. Carrying a gun can often be uncomfortable, and often the larger the gun, the harder it is to conceal and the less comfortable it is to carry. Mouse guns grew in popularity at various times because they are easy to conceal, comfortable to carry, and easy to carry.

The rise and fall of mouse guns of various times can be traced to the allowance of concealed carry. In the 1900s, they were everywhere and provided a small and light alternative to guns like the S&W M&P revolvers, the 1911, and Hi-Power. As more laws restricted concealed carry, the guns faded away. In the last few decades, Florida led the charge in shall-issue concealed carry, and we saw the majority of states follow.

mouse gun with two mags
I mean, considering how little these guys are, I get the popularity.

Alongside the growing concealed carry phenomenon, we saw the rise of mouse guns once more. Stashing a mouse gun takes no effort. Toss it in your pocket, get a phone holster like the Sneaky Pete, or heck, put it in your front shirt pocket. Some of these guns are so impossibly small that they disappear into your pocket with absolute ease.

How Exactly did Phlster Kill Them?

Well, simply put, they took the reason behind why mouse guns are popular and applied it to full-sized and compact handguns. They did this with an innovative series of holsters that makes it possible to carry bigger guns with ease. Packing big guns can be a major hassle when it comes to comfort, but Phlster holsters take the sting outta packing a piece.

How so, you ask? Well, Phlster holsters are extremely modular. You can swap out loops for clips of various types for a good fit on your belt and waist. You can do things like change cant, adjust ride height, and add Mod wings and the like. This allows you to easily fit the holster to your body and carry style.

Modlite PL350 Holster
Modlite PL350 Holster

For me to find appendix carry comfortable, I utilized some reverse cant and a higher ride height. I also broke my ‘gig’ line and moved my belt buckle to the far left. After that, I finally realized that appendix carry didn’t need to feel like a knife being shoved into my stomach slowly.

Holsters like the FLoodlight and Spotlight allow you to carry the most decked-out guns with ease. Maybe your Glock has a Streamlight TLR 1, a Holosun 507C, and a compensator, and heck suppressor height sights. Well, holsters like the Floodlight and Spotlight make these easy to conceal without issue and accommodate all your accessories without complaint.

Well, What if I’m Wearing Gym Shorts?

Yeah, I won’t lie. Shoving mouse guns into the pockets of gym shorts or sweat pants is a simple way to run lazy errands. But still, Phlster has a solution for you. You need to check out the Phlster Enigma. The Phlster Enigma is, well, it’s hard to classify. It takes the idea of a belly band and makes it not crap, and it’s not a belly band. It’s its own thing entirely and works with a variety of holsters for Phlster and even other companies.

PHLster Enigma concealment chassis system.
The PHLster Enigma is a truly unique option in the conceal carry space. Offering the retention of a belt with the flexibility of a belly band and the safety of a kydex holster all in one.

The Enigma doesn’t require a belt, or belt loops, or even stable, sturdy pants. It fits under gym clothes without issue. It provides a very comfortable means to carry a gun regardless of what you are wearing.

Why do I care?

Well, a full-sized or compact gun is much better for self-defense than a mouse gun. They pack a more ballistically capable caliber, are easier to shoot accurately, and often easier to draw and easier to control. If you can carry a full-sized handgun or even a compact handgun like the Glock 19, with the same level of comfort as mouse guns, why wouldn’t you do so?

PHLster floodlight holster with CZ P09
The Floodlight fits weirdos like the CZ P09, as well as Glocks, FNs, etc.

Especially in the face of optics, compensators, and magazines that contain anywhere from 15 to 19 rounds of 9mm. If you get in a fight, you might as well as have the best fighting tool available.

Okay, Mouse Guns Are Still Cool

The only thing Phlster can’t kill in regards to mouse guns is the cool factor. C’mon, look at a Beretta Tomcat and tell me that’s not a cool gun. The same goes for Baby Brownings and the NAA mini-revolvers. They might not be the best fighting tools, but they are dang sure fun guns to shoot and own. For concealed carry, I’ll stick to my bigger, more competent firearms.

What say you? Let us know below if I’m bloviating crap or making a point.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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