Recently I had the opportunity to test a type of handgun that I have had little experience with — the derringer. I crossed paths with the folks from Bond Arms in the fall of 2016 at a media event in Florida and again at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas in January 2017. A homegrown company in Granbury, Texas, Bond Arms builds derringers with a wide variety of options. Admittedly, a derringer is not my top choice for a carry gun, but if it were, a Bond Arms derringer would be my pick.
I tested the Bond Arms Backup. Perhaps one of the greatest assets of this little gun is the fact that you can easily switch barrels, and thus switch calibers, in less than a minute. In our test, Bond Arms provided their Backup model in 45 ACP. It also comes in 9mm. Along with those were two additional barrels: 45 Long Colt/410 and 22 Magnum. The additional barrels are an added option.
The Backup is handsome, with a gray bead blasted textured frame in a 2.5-inch barrel and black rubberized grips. All of the Bond’s derringers are over and under barrel two-shot system. While the company does make models without a trigger guard, I liked the fact that the Backup has one.
At 18.5 ounces, the little gun has some heft which is probably good considering the recoil felt from 45ACP exiting a 2.5-inch barrel. While not excessive, the recoil does not go unnoticed. The 45 Long Colt/410 in a 4.25-inch barrel also displayed significant but manageable recoil. The 9mm and 22 Magnum calibers were both very easy to handle in the recoil department. The company provides an oversized black rubberized grip as an option that I would highly recommend for firing those stouter calibers.
Bond has a wide variety of barrels, from 2.5 to 4.25 inches in both a bead blasted matt and stainless finish. In all, there are 16 barrels and 22 calibers from which to choose. This hammer-fired derringer also has a cross-bolt style safety and a pronounced front sight.
At seven yards, all shots from both the top and bottom barrel were within defensive accuracy standards, easily within an eight-inch target area.
Some advantages of the Bond Arms derringer, which by the way is one of the oldest gun designs in the world, are fairly obvious. Among them: concealability, ease of carry and convenience. Bond Arms has a very nice leather holster that is an added option for all of their derringers.
Disadvantages of a derringer platform would include having to manually cock the hammer and defeat the safety before firing. Also, if using a pocket carry for concealment, the hammer could become a snag point in getting the gun into play. One must be cognizant of the short barrel options and keeping hands and fingers out of the way when getting the derringer out in a hurry.
MSRP on the Bond Arms Backup is in the $450 range. As a pocket or last-ditch gun, Bond Arms derringers provide an alternate choice for folks who may not be able to carry a small revolver or semiauto. It is perhaps one of the most overlooked options for concealed carry today.
Have you ever shot a Bond Arms Backup? Do you like derringers? Share your thoughts in the section below: