A mousegun is most often considered a category of small revolver, or semi-automatic handgun intended for concealed carry (CCW)self defense. Typically such small pistols are of .380 ACP (9mm Short) caliber or less, with .32 ACP, .25 ACP, .22 Long Rifle and .22 Short calibers also being common. The popularity of so-called mouseguns has increased, coinciding with the popularity of concealed carry (CCW) permits, relaxed CCW attitudes by law enforcement and society, and new improvements in firearm design.
In order to create such small pistols, compromises in the list of features wanted on a gun needs to be made, so many mouseguns lack features such as slide stops and external safeties, and few function as reliably as a full-size pistol. The small size and mass of these pistols, and low energy of the smaller cartridges, can make functioning of semi-automatic versions less reliable.
Examples of revolver mouseguns include the North American Arms Mini Revolver, which is a spur trigger design with birdshead grips. The North American Arms Mini Revolver is styled very much like popular pocket revolvers of the 19th Century, but is made entirely of stainless steel.
Particularly small and high-quality examples, such as the Seecamp LWS 32 .32 ACP pistol, formerly commanded prices significantly higher than its US$600 retail. During the mid-1990s, demand so far exceeded supply that contracts for guns were sold up to two years before the guns themselves were produced, and the guns themselves were then often resold for as much as $1100 USD upon delivery.
Since roughly 1995, however, there has been considerable erosion in these high prices, as a result of manufacturers producing smaller pistols chambered in .380 ACP and 9mm.
- Lee, Jerry (9 July 2012). "The Truth about Mouseguns". Gun Digest 2013. Iola, Wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. pp. 102–107. ISBN 1-4402-2932-5.
- Ayoob, Massad (28 February 2011). Gun Digest Book of Beretta Pistols: Function, Accuracy, Performance. Iola, Wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. pp. 37–41. ISBN 1-4402-2653-9.