Bond Arms .45ACP Backup Review
Major Pandemic 06.03.14
Many of Bond Arms’ law enforcement community were asking for a very compact backup Bond Arms Double barrel handgun in .45 ACP as a last ditch backup gun that packs enough punch to actually stop an attacker. They were also asking for something a little less shiny, as well. Bond Arms’ answer is the very short .45ACP chambered “Backup,” which features a crinkled flat black finish and bead blast barrel finish.
Historically all of Bond Arms double barrel handguns have been stainless and pretty much all looked the same with the exception of barrel length and grip type. The Backup definitely stands out from their regular line up. Knowing that the .45ACP in a short 2.5” barrel would not be a plinker, I also ordered a 4.25″ .357 Magnum barrel to swap out for a bit more ammo versatility and more play time at the range.
Fit, Finish, Feel, and Features
As noted in my Bond Arms factory tour article, one of the features of the Bond Arms handguns is that any barrel length and caliber offered by Bond Arms can be swapped out with any Bond Arms frame and vice-versa. Gordon went a step further and created sets of various grips and grip sizes. All the Bond grips can be swapped between the frames.
Technically, all the Bond Arms frames are the same–some models feature different finishes or have a removable trigger guard, so if you have a Bond barrel, it will fit on any Bond lower receiver. Honestly it is dizzing to think of all the combinations, but in this case the Backup is a standard Bond Arms receiver with a black a crinkle finish and removable trigger guard and rubber grip. Both the flat bead blast barrel finish and the standard brushed barrels finishes look great.
Obviously the very short 2.5” barreled Backup is designed for one purpose: to deliver a last ditch option when the primary firearm is inaccessible or inoperable. To keep the Backup as low profile and compact as possible, the barrel has been bead blast finished and the receiver is flat black crinkle finished. The Rubber grips are kept compact and provide a surprising amount of grip for tiny little grips, but they deliver a lot of control for this powerful little package.
I did actually work through 20 rounds each of full power Hornday TAP 200gr XTP and 185gr FTX ammo, and I am surprised to say that it was not bad. I noticed the recoil, but it was far less than I had imagined it would be. Having shot a competing DoubleTap pistol in .45ACP, which felt like it broke my hand, the Bond Arms Backup .45ACP was a cake walk.
According to Gordon Bond, many law enforcement wanted a backup pistol to tuck in their pocket or under their body armor. The Backup fits that need perfectly.
Functions and Accuracy
Just like any of Bond Arms handguns, the Backup’s operation and loading is simple. Push down on the left-hand side action lever and the action will pop open, drop in two rounds, close the action, assure the safety is pushed to the right (fire), cock the hammer and pull the trigger to fire the first round, and cock the hammer and pull the trigger to fire the second round. Bond Arms features and automatic firing pin selector which automatically moves to the next barrel with each cocking of the hammer. Is it as fast as pulling the trigger twice on your Glock? No, but it is surprisingly fast, and if you have been brushing up on your Cowboy Action Single Action Revolver skills, it’s quite fast.
These are not target pistols. They are very short barreled defensive pistols, so you cannot hold them to the same accuracy standards as full-sized pistol. Realistically beyond ten yards, I had a difficult time maintaining 2” top barrel and bottom barrel groups. There is difference in point-of-aim between the top barrel and bottom barrel, but if you hold center of mass, you will consistently deliver gut and chest hits. If you want to shoot for groups, pick a barrel and cycle through shooting groups with that chosen barrel, otherwise you will end up with a 2” top group and about 4”-6” lower another 2” group with the respective barrels.
Naturally the longer the barrels the better the practical accuracy. The long .357 Magnum barrel was delivering 50-yard offhand shots on full sized Action Target Silhouettes and keeping most shots within a large pie plate sized ring. The .45 ACP was a little harder to control and aim with that short little barrel.
I thought I was a little nuts buying such a short handgun in .45ACP, but the Bond Arms has enough mass to not make shooting the thing terribly unpleasant. Where the longer and heavier 4.25” barrels provide all day plinking and shooting comfort, the 2.5” was very snappy but controllable. My biggest observation was that due to the extreme short length, support hand fingers could potentially end up in front of the barrel. This is really not a two handed gun anyway and is not designed for that hold. If you have to use this gun, it will likely be single handed during a struggle.
Moving over to the .357 Magnum, I had a blast mainly because I was able to shoot my cheap cast bullet reloads. I also tried out some of Hornday’s new 90gr .38 Special FTX Critical Defense Lite with the “Pink” Label. For the highly recoil sensitive shooters this was a joy to shoot, and even full power .357 Magnum loads were still enjoyable to shoot. In reality the Bond Arms frame with a longer barrel is actually heavier than your typical airweight revolver, which translates into less recoil. The .357 Magnum barrel I have been having a lot of fun with.
The Bond Arms guns have proven to be infallibly reliable and easy to shoot. Add in a premium quality not found on most guns these days, and you have a tough-to-beat firearm. Sure, on almost any given day, I have a Walther PPS, Glock 26, 19, or 17 on my hip, but there are times and places where having a tiny little concealable gun with full bore power is the only carry option. Although I initially picked up the Backup as a fun gun to add to the arsenal, I do find myself carrying it more often than I had imagined, all while feeling well armed.
- Bond Arms .45ACP Backup
- Interchangeable Barrels
- Rebounding Hammer
- Retracting Firing Pins
- Crossbolt Safety
- Spring-Loaded Cammed Locking Lever (for a tighter barrel/frame fit and Rapid loading and unloading)
- Stainless Steel with Matte Finish and black crinkle powder coat
- Trigger guard
- 18-19 oz
- Rubber grips
- 2.5″ barrel, .45ACP (included on gun)
- MSRP $410
Optional Accessory Barrels Available in Matte Finish (please specify matte finish when ordering)
- .357 MAG/.38 Spl
- .45 Colt, Only (not .410)
- .40 SandW