Clip grips aren’t new…this idea goes back probably fifty years at this point, and always had the same idea in mind. Carry as little gun as possible, as minimally as possible, with the least bulk. These guns are great for deep concealment in light clothing. They’re also likely to be missed by most casual observers, the criminal element included. They do take some work to become accustomed to the modified draw stroke, and achieving accessibility though.
This was a patient of mine who was a VICTIM of violent crime…a parking lot robbery. As he attempted to make his escape, his assailant fired several rounds from a small .22 revolver. One went through the windshield, strike him squarely in the nose, and traversing his face, lodging in the posterior wall of his maxillary sinus. You can see the deformed projectile on the above panoramic radiograph. The white thing that looks like a cursor flipping you the bird is the bullet. It was so firmly lodged, and close to vital structures, that it was left in place.

At the last TacCon event, in March of 2023, I attended a lecture by my friend Darryl Bolke (herein abbreviated as DB) entitled, “The MOUSEGUN MINDSET.” It was a great talk about the rationale behind using small caliber guns in NPE scenarios, and the alterations necessary to the philosophy of the prepared Civilian Defender to make these small guns work for them. It takes some adaptation and effort! There is a good amount of study going into this line of thinking, and DB is one of the great minds leading the charge on this. Rhett Nuemayer is another fantastic practitioner and instructor who has the skills and the background to demonstrate and teach these same concepts that are needed to make the MOUSEGUN work for you. I will break down the big takeaways from DB’s lecture, and also spin some of my own experience into it. It really dovetails nicely into the mission of the Civilian Defender…we aren’t raiding the castle or hunting escaped fugitives…we are just trying to live our lives and go home safely at the end of the day. Lots of people forget this! Your local police might carry a Glock 45 with a RDS, and three spare magazines on their belt. They carry that pistol and that much spare ammunition because they are ACTIVELY moving towards the sound of gunfire, and they are charged with the duty of (hopefully) opting to effect an arrest or seizure of bad guys. We aren’t doing that! And military special operations personnel are responsible for directly engaging the enemy to complete some sort of tactical objective. Thus, they carry box magazine fed weapons that allow them to achieve that goal and they don’t have to care about the same things that the Civilian Defender does. We, as responsible Civilian Defenders are charged with avoiding trouble at all costs, but when it comes to us, we launch some sort of definitive counter ambush to force the bad guys to break contact with us. We aren’t trying to apprehend them like the police do, and we aren’t trying to destroy them with overwhelming firepower like the military does. We win 100% of the fights we don’t get into, and thus it is incumbent on us to keep our eyes and ears up and open and stay one step ahead of the opposition. Our mission is different…and the MOUSEGUN MINDSET fits right into that.

“No professional would ever carry a mouse gun.”-says the internet gun experts

As I’ve said many times before, many people in our circle believe that you have to carry a full-size, compensated service pistol with a red dot sight, a 1000 lumen weapon light and a 20 round extended magazine to be ready for any kind of danger that will come your way, up to and including a violent takeover of a mall or a professional sporting event, orchestrated by Islamofascist terrorists. This is a low probability event, and MOST regular Civilian Defenders are far more likely to encounter street (or more apropos, according to Tom Givens, “Parking Lot,” level violence) in the form of an armed robbery. You don’t need a full size Mark 23 to defend yourself from this type of attack, and the concealment infrastructure around a gun of that size is outside the realm of realistic practicality for 99% of the population, the people living in Wyoming or Alaska excepted. For everyone else, this kind of look will be noticed even by the blissfully unaware phone monsters that most of us work and live around. Thus, something more discreet, practical and concealable is called for. The limits of concealability these days are really in flux; on the Phlster Facebook group, there was recently a picture posted of a fit woman wearing a g-string and a sports bra, with the caption that in that same photo was a Phlster Enigma carrying a Glock 19. How she did it, I don’t know, but it was there, apparently. I kid, but only slightly. People can hide large guns, on small frame bodies, with the Phlster Enigma. It is truly a game changer and a practical option for the average Civilian Defender.


◦ (MOUSEGUNS) ARE Really good guns when you can’t have a gun or you don’t want to look like a cop; if you get made you are getting killed

◦ Your Bill Drill times will suck with them

◦ “When you carry a .22 revolver you don’t do stupid stuff. It completely changes everything about your mindset to NOT being about the gun.”

◦ He rationalized it by saying that if he had operatives overseas, he put them there with a .22, and it was concealable, wouldn’t make them want to be in a gunfight, and left no casings behind

◦ If you were in any leftist owned city these days, you MIGHT want to carry a gun that leaves you in a situation where the PROBLEM HAS TO COME TO YOU (get out of trouble guns)

◦ How many people do we know break the rule of stupids BECAUSE they have a gun (gas station at 1230am)

◦ All DB’s cop friends are now carrying J frames so that they DON’T get in trouble by accidentally interfering in dangerous situations

◦ What is the more tactically correct thing to do? Don’t be a big damn hero

◦ When you don’t shoot people through the heart or the brain, they don’t become incapacitated; most pistol bullets don’t work unless you shoot people in the right places

◦ John Helms Mindset; greatest extant gunfighter today: sights I can see, trigger I can manage and it should be reliable. The rest is fairly irrelevant


I would take DB’s MOUSEGUN MINDSET and further apply it to the Civilian Defender philosophy. As I said in the opening, we aren’t going out looking for trouble. We are out looking for used cars, good samples of granola at Costco, a tasty burrito at Chipotle, or a quiet walk on the beach with our friends and/or family. If the criminal element decides to victimize us, they have to be nearly at arm’s reach. Inside that space, a small caliber gun will work! See the above anecdotal stories… Furthermore, the .22 S&W revolver in the Phlster Enigma that is worn at the time of the robbery beats the Roland Special that is left in the safe at home. Yes…shot placement with MOUSEGUNS is paramount, but isn’t it also paramount with full sized, or compact sized service pistols (the answer is YES)? So what is the difference? The difference is in the practice required to achieve proficiency. With purpose built defensive rounds like the Federal PUNCH in .22LR, there is now a predictable, penetrating, nearly hardcast type bullet that works well in both pistols and a revolvers, and works well in both ballistic gelatin and in anecdotal reports. And, despite what you may believe, I don’t put much stock in compilations of shooting reports under the guise of, “scientific research.” What you’re reading is largely a literature review of the field reports and studies about what is out there, and what works. There is enough variation in individual human anatomy that even if you could rig up an experiment where all other variables were controlled, down to the distance from the muzzle, the clothing worn, and the angle and point of impact, unless you were shooting identical twins (and that’s not ethical) then you are going to have skewed results. So yes…we can look at ballistic gelatin and clear gel tests to get comparative testing, but those are also not a panacea. They’re merely a good test medium to use to compare the performance of projectiles against other projectiles. So stop worrying about the performance of the rounds…worry more about where you are putting them, and be able to deliver tennis ball sized groups, as fast as possible, out to the distance of two car lengths (about ten yards). This will prepare you for probably 90% of all violent confrontations. Like we’ve all said, civilian interpersonal violence takes place at conversational distances…nobody is going to rob you or carjack you from across the parking lot at the Super Walmart.

Go into thinking through the problem with the underlying motive of, “How will I extricate myself from this situation?” Pulling out a gun and just start blasting is only a piece of the algorithm. It’s not THE solution…there is far more to it than that. The gun is a small piece of the overall pie.

This is a newer variation of the clip grip, by Hamre Forge ( and it is digitally printed from a semi abrasive type of polymer that does a good job of holding onto light fabric, but not providing so much drag that it snags the cover garment like some rubber grips are prone to doing. The hook is tall and angled in a comfortable way that it doesn’t interfere with shooting, and it makes it easy to get a full firing grip with the gun, for at least two fingers, even for large mitted individuals like myself. These are available for the J frame (pictured here on a Smith 442) and also the Ruger LCR and the Taurus 856 (coming soon at the time of this writing they are in prototype phase). Loaded with wadcutters, this is a compact and controllable package, in the top end of the, “MOUSEGUN,” calibers.
This Shadow Systems CR 920, and other ten shot 9mm guns are a great choice for the active Civilian Defender. Whether in light clothing with a Phlster ENIGMA, or in scrubs or regular attire in a suitable concealment holster, you can carry a 10+1 pistol in a respectable caliber, that will get the job done, while being easy to manipulate and also deal with the eventuality of multiple attackers without having to reload quickly. The chances of getting to reload under the pressure of an armed confrontation are possible, but slim. This is more likely to occur with an easy to load semiautomatic pistol than a more complex (and technically more difficult) set of moments that a revolver requires. Even in ban states, 10 round magazines are available. And since guns like this and the SIG P365 are built around a ten round magazine from their inception, you could do a lot worse. Many capable Civilian Defenders are quite comfortable with a Glock 48 or 43X, loaded with a 10 round factory magazine, and live worry free about their choice of sidearm. The popularity of guns like this, as demonstrated by their presence among the cognoscenti at national events like the Rangemaster Tactical Conference isn’t coincidental…these compact size guns work!
This Beretta Bobcat 21A in .22LR in the, “Kale Slushy,” finish is a great pocket gun. I’ve seen a number of farmers, ranchers and loggers in my area who carry these guns in the pocket of their bib overalls, and they serve well in that function. For pocket carry, a long DA trigger pull is ideal for safety purposes. The sights on these suck, but in the conversational distance confrontations we are talking about here, they would probably work just fine. I would like this gun a little more if it had a set of miniaturized XS Big Dot sights on it. I carried a 21A in .25 ACP as a holdout piece during my time on the armored truck. As a 3rd gun, it rode in my uniform shirt pocket, underneath my external armor carrier, in an empty box of Marlboro 25 cigarettes. My partner new it was there, but everyone else just thought it was a box of cigarettes.
S&W 43C in .22LR. Ahrends (unfortunately now defunct) boot grips. I’ve used this gun extensively with the Federal PUNCH round and it shoots to the sights, has almost no recoil. The XS standard dot are OEM and easy to pick up quickly.


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