Fiction, especially the thriller and crime genres, loves the pocket shot. Nothing surprises a target character like a blast from a handgun from within a jacket or pants pocket.
But how true to reality is the pocket shot? Is such a thing even possible?
I explored this question while working on my Writer’s Digest guide to writing firearms and knives in fiction.
Admittedly, I chickened out when it came to testing the pocket shot in person. Maybe “had the good sense not to” is a better way to put “chickened out,” but I digress.
Instead, I tapped one of the firearm world’s leading authorities on handguns, Massad Ayoob. His book, Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry, explains the realities of the pocket shot in detail. Here’s what he had to say in his book:
Three of the participants used [pistols] for firing through coat pockets. All three specimens went five shots for five tries without a malfunction. The shooters did notice that it was distracting to have trapped, hot casings burning their hands and wrists inside the pockets.
In other words, it’s possible, but not probable, for a pocket shot in reality. A single shot is most likely to work, and only at an intimate range (a few feet away at most), since accuracy will be compromised.
So have at it, fiction writers. Embellish this bit of reality. It’s one of the rare times art really does imitate life when it comes to firearms.
Get the Book
The Writer’s Guide to Weapons: A Practical Reference for Using Firearms and Knives in Fiction (Writer’s Digest Books) comes with everything but the ammo. Pick up a print or digital copy from these fine retailers: