A wise credo to live by might be “Simple is as simple does.” The emphasis on simplicity in defensive weapons and tactics has been around for a lot longer than that old saying. Remember the acronym “K.I.S.S.” (Keep It Simple Stupid)? This certainly does not mean people should arm themselves with a rock or a club; just seek the level of weapon sophistication their training and ability makes feasible. Over the years I have steered many folks to revolvers, including my parents. My folks mastered the wheelgun’s manual of arms with some effort and practice. With a pump-action shotgun in their closet for around 50 years, they (and I) also felt comfortable with the slide action as an option.

Familiarity has to extend beyond just knowing how to point and shoot a firearm. It also has to include the mechanics of loading and unloading (which includes checking its status). Even the simple revolver requires a few “must know” steps to accomplish this. Here’s where I’ll step on a few toes.

Assuming your only interest is protecting yourself at home, I do not feel spending a lot of time mastering malfunction drills is necessary for firearms bought and kept solely at home. If you fire one or more shots and the weapon fails, retreating to your “safe room” is the only reasonable option. (And a good time to acquire any backup firearm stored there.) If you also carry out in the world, making retreating to a safe room impractical, then by all means learn to get your firearm back up and running.

Perhaps one of the easiest weapons to learn to manipulate is the old break-top single-shot shotgun from my childhood. Pop it open, drop a shell in, latch it closed, ear back the exposed hammer, and fire. Repeat as needed. From kids to grandmas, the operation was picked up fast. Pots were filled, and pests of all sizes dispatched or persuaded to find other areas to haunt.

Which brings us to a handgun utilizing essentially the same manual of arms as that old standby shotgun: the derringer—specifically the derringer as produced by Bond Arms of Granbury, Texas. Solid, top-quality firearms, Bond derringers combine simplicity and effectiveness in a package small enough to encourage people to have it with them when needed.

As important as all of those factors mentioned in the preceding sentence are, I believe “have it with them when needed” tops the list. When things go south, you almost never get a chance for a quick timeout to run home and get a gun! Similarly, if you decide to investigate a bump in the night unarmed, what are the odds you’ll make it back to the safe room to retrieve your weapon after discovering someone, not the cat, caused the bump.

Derringers are sized to make them easily portable. Flat, with few snag points, Bond’s derringers ride nicely in hand or pocket holster, as well as in the belt holsters Bond offers. When drawing from the pocket, snagging is easily prevented by draping the thumb over the hammer during the draw, which places it perfectly for earing back the hammer when needed.

Beginner Bonds

New shooters, regardless of their gender, often need a little simplicity in their life—range life that is—when dipping that first toe into the water. Newbies can quickly have information overload with one of today’s plethora of semi-auto pistols. Safeties to work (or the absence of a safety to confuse), slides to rack, magazines to load, insert, and remove. Correct unloading procedures as well as how to clean and lubricate are essential.

Many women find firearms intimidating or physically difficult to handle or operate. Way too many males are guilty of introducing the females in their life to firearms by handing them something loaded with a bruiser cartridge for their first taste of shooting. If the woman was not intimidated before, touching off a full-bore .44 or .50 magnum should get the job done.

Also of consideration, women’s hands are usually smaller and weaker than most men, which means racking the slide on a pistol could be out of the question. The same can be said for pulling a heavy double-action trigger on a revolver or pistol. And of course, the double-stack pistol or N-frame revolver fitting the boyfriend or husband will be as comfortable as holding a brick!

Derringers from Bond Arms sport comfortable grip areas. My wife’s small hands can work with them quite nicely. The grip shape is similar to the single-action revolvers of the west, which might lead you to expect Bond derringers to roll up in the hand when fired. They don’t, driving essentially straight back in the hand instead, keeping the sights more on the target ready for the hammer to be cocked for the next shot. Yes, “next shot.” Unlike the pocket model that made Henry Derringer famous, with its single shot design, the Bond derringers all offer double barrels in an over-and-under configuration. And guess what? You are quite likely to need a second shot, regardless of the caliber or type of handgun used. (That’s an article for another time.)
As for the simplicity I mentioned previously, Bond Arms derringers have a reduced manual of arms. Hammer back, ready to fire.

Hammer down, ready to carry. Those are the conditions for these two-shooters. (As with any firearm, keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot!)

Need to check if the Bond derringer is loaded, empty it, or load it? Press down on the barrel release lever, the barrel assembly pops free and flips back to expose both chambers. (This is where the experienced will rotate the frame to keep the barrels pointed away from their face.) Check, load, unload, or clean as needed.

Machined with exacting tolerances from stainless steel, these derringers utilize a rebounding hammer, spring-loaded firing pins, and a hammer block to provide a high degree of safety. If you need more, there is a cross-bolt safety which, when pushed to the right, will prevent any hammer contact with the firing pins. As a personal preference I don’t use the cross-bolt except when I am lowering the hammer by hand. However, it can be pushed into place, effectively rendering the derringer unable to be fired, as added insurance.

Sights are a large front sight and a rudimentary rear both integral to the barrel top. These sights work just fine for the distances one will deploy these handguns. All three of the derringers supplied for this article had a manageable trigger pull in the 6- to 7-pound range.

Carry, Load, Feed

As mentioned, Bond Arms offers a number of holsters perfect for carrying their offerings. Holsters range from pocket through belt, and even include a shoulder rig. Other manufacturers add ankle rigs to the mix. No firearm should be carried without a holster. If your home protection is stored in one of the multitude of small quick access safes, a holster may be superfluous.
Loading the derringer has been made easier by the introduction of the Tuff Products’ Quick Strips in their many calibers. There should be a 6-round Quick Strip to handle each caliber Bond offers. These make feeding one or two barrels at a time a snap and they can be carried in a pocket or one of the pouches Tuff has.

What you feed them is a different story. Wandering my snake-ridden Texas property, I find .410 birdshot just the thing for pest control. A .45 Colt/.410 derringer in the pocket is more convenient than a shotgun, thus more likely to be there.

For most of the centerfire Bond barrel offerings (Did I mention barrel and caliber changing is easy?) there are an abundance of quality defensive rounds. When it comes to the .410, there is only slug and buckshot. I would opt for a .45 Colt hollowpoint over the slug. In buckshot loads, Winchester offers their Super-X in 2 ½ and 3-inch loads carrying three and five 000 buck pellets, respectively. For a little more variety, the Winchester PDX, also available in 2 ½ and 3-inch shells is stuffed with three plated defense discs and 12 or 16 BBs.

Federal and Remington also have offerings in the .410 defensive genre. Federal offers their Personal Defense loads in 3-inch shells carrying five 000 or nine 0000. Remington’s Ultimate Home Defense load packs four 000 pellets in 2 ½ inch shells.

Simple to use, easy to learn, and reliable—traits that make the Bond derringer excellent for novices and experts alike. Add in a variety of calibers to choose from and excellent defensive ammunition choices, and it becomes obvious that a Bond derringer might be just the ticket for your every day protection.

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A wise credo to live by might be “Simple is as simple does.” The…