When proponents of concealed carry wax eloquent about self defense philosophy, they will spend virtually no time on the age-old notion that you should “always bring a gun to a gunfight.” That’s a foregone conclusion. They will, however, voice all manner of opinion with all kinds of emotion on which make, model, and caliber of firearm you should bring to a gunfight: “I would never carry anything other than a [insert manufacturer or model] in [insert caliber]!”
Somewhere in these discussions about single-action vs. double-action or 9mm vs. .45 ACP, a wise old soul will offer up the idea that you should always bring two guns to a gunfight — a main gun and a backup, just in case. A hush might fall over those engaged in the discussion as they contemplate a scenario where guns have been drawn, shots have possibly been fired, and the main gun has either been lost or dropped or has no more ammunition or has failed. Now what?
Backup guns, the smallest of which are sometimes called mouse guns due to their diminutive size, have saved lives and long played important roles in police and detective work. Moreover, with 49 of the 50 U.S. states offering some manner of concealed carry for citizens, small handguns are more popular than ever. Often chambered in smaller calibers (.380, .25, .22, etc.) and smaller dimensions, these weapons are truly pocket pistols. Some people carry them as a primary carry gun—always bring a gun to a gunfight, right?—and some carry them to back up their primary weapon, just in case.
Beyond the matter of reduced caliber, guns with smallish dimensions offer additional challenges for shooters. For example, because they are smaller they may be more difficult to hold properly. Indeed, some might struggle to keep hands or skin out of the way of the moving parts or find it awkward to place a finger properly on the trigger or manipulate the magazine release. Bottom line: It is possible for a gun simply to be too small to hold comfortably or handle safely.
In an effort to mitigate some of these concerns, Miami, Fla.-based Taurus Manufacturing in 2009 produced a small .25 Automatic pistol based on a Beretta pistol design they purchased many years ago. Compared to the old Beretta, Taurus president Bob Morrison says the new Taurus .25 a “modernized and technically superior version.”
Called the PT 25PLY, Morrison says it is the result of significant input from customers and is designed to meet the expectations for a present-day concealed carry weapon. New features of the 25PLY include enhanced ergonomics and polymer construction. Yet it retains the tip-up barrel from the old design. Morrison says Taurus produces the entire gun, as well as a .22 caliber model, in its Miami manufacturing facility. The PT 25PLY retails for $273 (blued) and $289 (stainless) and despite being produced in 2009, the gun has not been available until now.
The most notable features of the PT 25PLY are its size and weight, or lack thereof. At 5.33 inches in length the PT 25PLY certainly qualifies as backup gun (“BUG”) or mouse gun or hide-out gun. In fact, when holding it in my medium-sized hand and placing my trigger finger along the slide, my fingertip extended just beyond the muzzle. Grasping the PT 25PLY resulted in most of the gun disappearing under my grip; the exposed slide and barrel sat low but a small beavertail kept the web of my hand out of the path of the slide. The PT 25PLY weighs in at 10.8 ounces, unloaded. With eight rounds of .25 Automatic on board, the weight increased to 12.9 ounces. By comparison, most subcompact handguns weigh twice that amount.