Semmerling LM4 Hideout

Evaluating a rare and expensive hideout pistol.

by Robert Kolesar

Hideout guns are an interesting category of handgun. They’re usually smaller, thinner and lighter than other concealable firearms a citizen or off-duty cop would carry, but still with enough power to save your life with a well-placed shot or two. I don’t consider a 22 Long Rifle derringer or 25 Automatic Colt Pistol a viable hideout; there’s too many good options out there to consider an unsafe pop-gun. When you need a hideout, you’re in BIG trouble and bringing the best you can find to a gunfight is probably a good idea.

Hideout guns are mostly police weapons. Citizens who legally carry a concealed pistol or revolver don’t need a back-up or hideout handgun. Just having any handgun available puts the concealed-carrying citizen ahead of the game. There aren’t too many running gun battles in suburbia or the local mini-mall between heavily armed criminals and the average Joe. Civilian shootings involving someone that is not a member of a uniform-wearing military or police organization are over with one or two shots fired in a couple of seconds or less. In doing research about legally justifiable shootings a few years back, I could find no instance anywhere nation-wide where someone (not a policeman) had to reload their weapon, draw another handgun, or move under fire to a position of cover. It just doesn’t happen.

Police shootings, on the other hand, occur when the officer responds to gunfire, instead of trying to avoid conflict like a citizen should. Backing off and being a good witness is not an option for a street cop. A hideout or backup handgun is a tool of last resort when the primary firearm is empty or disabled. There might not be time for a speed reload or your ammo supply has been exhausted. You could have dropped your duty gun or it may have malfunctioned. It happens. Police chasing and sometimes engaging heavily armed suspects with gunfire during the course of an arrest are an almost daily occurrence in the United States now.

Having a second gun on your person is tactically smart and increases your chances of survival if a contact or arrest goes sideways. When I worked the Big City I always carried two guns, sometimes three. It depended on what I was doing that day or night. Mostly my back-up or hideout was a 2” Smith & Wesson Bodyguard in 38 Special. Later on, it was an Airweight S&W. These handguns were what was authorized by my department, so I carried what was allowed. They both worked well enough and gave me the option of an additional weapon in sometimes dangerous circumstances.

The Semmerling LM4 would have been an interesting option, had I been able to carry one. Short, thin, and flat with five rounds of 45 ACP punch, an LM4 would have been a great choice in a reinforced leather uniform pocket. A shade heavy at 24 ounces, but you can’t have everything. Having to use two hands to chamber each round would be a big concern, but more on that later.

Semmerling History

Designed in the early…

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