Big-Bore Derringers: I Don’t Get it


Big-Bore Derringers: I Don’t Get it

I’ve never taken a really serious look at a derringer-type pistol, except to appreciate it as I appreciate all firearms. But some people seem to like them a lot — even when the little handguns go beyond their traditional role of small-caliber, easy-to-handle last-ditch defense sidearms.

For example, Bond Arms makes and sells a line of top-hinged two-shot derringer-style pistols chambered to fire both the 45 Colt and 410 shotgun shells. This sounds ridiculous. These rounds are fairly powerful, and putting them into tiny packages means the shooter will feel one heck of a kick. Even the stumpy little 2.5-inch-barrelled models that take 357 S&W Magnum or 38 S&W Special are a real handful.

The Papa Bear from Bond arms has a 3" barrel, just barely long enough to accept a 410 shotgun shell. MSRP is $560.
The Papa Bear from Bond arms has a 3″ barrel, just barely long enough to accept a 410 shotgun shell. MSRP is $560.
(Image: Bond Arms)

Add to that a hefty price tag that can exceed a thousand bucks (and the lowest MSRP on their website is a whopping $534), and things become even more inconceivable. Why would anyone want such a gun? And honestly, I can’t say I don’t want one. After all, I like all firearms, but for that kind of money I would expect more. And for a carry handgun, why would anyone want something heavy and difficult to grip that only holds two rounds?

I just don’t get it.

Bond arms "Girl Mini" model with 2.5" 38/357 barrel. MSRP $534.
Bond arms “Girl Mini” model with 2.5″ 38/357 barrel. MSRP $534.
(Image: Bond Arms)

So… to all big-bore derringer lovers: Why? Why do you like them? What is it about them that pulls your money out of your pocket? Why are you willing to punish your hands with those tiny grips? And finally, do you prefer to carry them instead of toting a revolver or semi-auto pistol?

Let us know in the comments below.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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