“Ultra-compact” or “ultra-concealable” firearms are a class of semiautomatic handguns characterized by their small size and high caliber. Firearms manufacturers began to promote these handguns, sometimes known as “pocket rockets,” in response to a growing number of state statutes that permit licensed persons to carry concealed handguns.1 The portability of ultra-compact handguns increases the risk of indiscriminate use by previously law-abiding citizens thrust into emotionally-charged situations.2
Ultra-compact handguns are typically no more than seven inches in overall length and are chambered for higher caliber ammunition (i.e., 9mm or larger). Tracing data from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives indicates that ultra-compact handguns are increasingly traced to crime.3
There are no federal or state laws prohibiting the manufacture or sale of ultra-compact handguns.
A few local governments in California – Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco – ban the sale of ultra-compact handguns. These municipal bans define ultra-compact firearms as a handgun with a length of 6.75” or less, and a height of 4.5” or less.